Exclusive interview with Sonus faber!

2018 marks the 35th anniversary for Sonus faber and interesting new products are coming out!?
The 35th Anniversary of the brand gave the team the opportunity to re-think about the brand’s values and our true DNA. During 2018 we put all our efforts in strengthen the core values of Sonus faber: with the entry level collection Sonetto, we feature all the Sf fundamental elements into an affordable collection Made in Italy.

With Gravis collection we went back to what we used to do, and we did a step forward the completion of our catalog.

With Electa Amator III we celebrate our classical spirit of hand made and very high-quality materials, and our history.
2019 started with the introduction of the first collection ever of custom installation speakers. Sonus faber never entered this market sector.
How does recent changes in the Sonus faber’s management affect the brand’s direction?
New products introductions give the answer. The new management enter the company leaving the team free to express priorities and ideas. Setting a Manifesto (available on our website at manifesto) has been the first initiative of the new CEO and this has been a true team work.
Sonus faber now is more aware of its essence and is focusing to stay true to it, in everything we do, now and for the future.
Can you kindly list the current Sonus faber product line?
From top to bottom:
  • Reference collection (Aida II; Lilium; Il Cremonese)
  • Homage Tradition collection
  • Olympica collection
  • Electa Amator III and Minima Amator II
  • Sonetto collection
  • Gravis collection
  • Palladio collection

Who makes the creative, inner core of the Sonus faber?
P.T.: Livio does, I only execute orders :-P! I am just kidding of course…
It really depends from what you mean for “inner core”, generally speaking Livio is more focused with everything related to the cosmetic presentation while my job is much more focused on functionality, but the reality is that the border between the two sides of the coin is not that defined. Of course when it comes to the “inner core of Sonus faber”, according to our “brand manifesto”, with our creations we are always aiming to provide a total luxury experience and this is involving both sides of the coin. 
How long does it usually take from the initial idea to the final product and can you describe the process?
P.T.: Well, it really depends! Different creations require different execution times. We learned over the years to become particularly quick (Sometimes) so we can say that the average timing is 1-1.5 years from initial idea to production lines. Describing the whole process, even a summary of it, would take forever, but I believe it is interesting to mention that, since one year or so, we have an internal committee, composed by sales, marketing and product development people, which is brainstorming new product ideas and then is voting the ones which deserve to become a project and the relative priorities: it’s a very democratic process.
What specific materials do you use for building speakers, what technology and why exactly?
P.T.: Also here I could talk forever. If the question is about transducers we need to point out once again that we are always aiming for a natural sound reproduction and over the years we realized that this result can be only achieved by designing the speakers around a diaphragm made of natural materials. Sometimes those natural materials are refinement of traditional solutions like silk and cellulose pulp (here we developed our own way to produce such a diaphragm adding certain natural fibers to the cellulose blend and developing our air drying process…), sometimes they are about technological solutions such as the sandwich cones based on cellulose pulp skins. Then we always enhance the transducers with the best possible solutions in terms of suspensions (Material and geometry) magnet circuit and baskets. If the question is about the cabinet we use several materials starting from HDF moving to multilayered solutions sometimes based on exotic woods like Okumè…and let’s not forget solid walnut; the more the creation we are talking about belongs to an high range the more we enhance the cabinet properties with CNC machined from solid billets aluminum elements.
Paolo Tezzon (Chief of Sonus faber R&D and technical department)
L.C.: to complete Paolo’s answer regarding cabinet construction our philosophy partially reflect the sound one, where natural materials are preferred to achieve the more natural response. But heterogeneity, generally speaking, is the key when you have to treat the full spectrum of resonances. Every material has is own mechanical and acoustical characteristics, so a singular material enclosure will always perform it’s best in a limited range of the spectrum, while a multi-material construction, wisely designed, can offer a more consistent effect among the overall spectrum.
Livio Cucuzza (Chief Design Officer at World of McIntosh)
From the design point of vie our credo is to show the materials we use exalting their nature, trying to not obscure their peculiar aspects.
Is everything made in-house?
P.T: Everything is absolutely designed in house and most of the time assembled in house as well.
L.C.: Talking about cabinets, while the assembly process is 100% made in house, physical parts are coming from outside, from our historical partners.
What are the Sonus faber standards of quality?
P.T.: Our quality standards are extremely high, at any level and about every single detail 
L.C.: highest of the market, without any doubts. We are usually one of the most difficult customer for our partners 😊
How important is the quality of parts being implemented?
P.T.: Of course, it’s of paramount importance, we always looking for the best possible quality in any given application
L.C.: Fundamental. Our customers are used to check any detail of their Sonus faber speakers and we always try to impress them taking care of almost invisible details.
Do you use any exotic materials and if so why?
P.T.: We already mentioned Okumè wood and we use it because it’s the only one able to keep dual curvature shapes. When it comes to speakers let’s remember that we were the first to use a “ Diamond like carbon” vapor deposition on a Beryllium diaphragm on the Ex3ma’s tweeter and let’s also remember that we started using sandwich cones based on Nano carbon sheets back in 2010.
L.C.: talking about exotic we must be sure, first, where is the limit to consider a material an exotic one. For sure I can say the the variety of materials involved in our product is pretty huge, going from composites to solid wood, rubber, aluminum, brass, leather a many other.
Can you tell us more about your unique, custom made drivers?

P.T.: First of all I wouldn’t use the expression “custom made” because our drivers are designed from scratch by us. Again, I could talk about them forever…maybe is worth mentioning that we developed a very special relationship with Kurtmueller (The best diaphragm and moving part producer of the world) which allowed us to experiment with diaphragms and develop our own unique solutions.
What is needed to achieve real high- end performance?
P.T.: Extreme attention to every single relevant detail
L.C.: you need to keep your mind open to different solutions. As I already said the answer to a variety of problems can’t be just one. Very often is the combination of multiple, different things, that make the difference.
Can a properly constructed loudspeakers deliver the high-end sonics and performance to a typical listening environment?
P.T.: It depends from what you mean for “typical listening environment”. Generally speaking let’s say that it works like Formula 1: nothing like a well-designed racetrack is able to enhance a car performance and nothing like a room with a good acoustic behavior is able to emphasize a “properly constructed speaker” performance. On the other hand, a Formula 1 car is able to perform better than anything on a street racetrack like Montecarlo: same happens with a well-designed speaker in any given listening situation.

L.C.: This is one of the most controversial topic of our business, right? If a system should create the illusion of a real event or just deliver a pleasant experience. I personally think that a high end system must create the illusion, but since the real experience of a live concert stimulate our brain in different ways the elements of an high end system that contribute to a lifelike experience are subjective. I’m particularly sensitive to the soundstage and the overall 3d presentation for example, that is my link with the reality, for other people is all about timbre or dynamics. At the end is a matter of compromises, going up in our range the level of compromises simply decreases…
With your flagship models, do you feel, that the reality is closer than a few years back?
P.T.: Yes I do 🙂
L.C.: I do too…
Made In Italy. Is it still as important as it was?
P.T.: In my opinion yes, it still is. In fact we wrote this in our Brand Manifesto because we understood how much important is to keep building our identity stronger and  reliable: producing in Italy is one of the best way to achieve this result.
L.C.: Yes it is. Especially to do things all together under the same roof. In the Sonus faber plant. That is giving to the product an added value, the value of the team that works here.
What is the universal vision of Sonus faber?
L.C.: Agree with Paolo.
What would you say about the high-end industry in a current state?
P.T.: The high – end industry today is probably still facing the problem which most of us outlined 10 or even 15 years ago: the fact that it missed the chance to attract a younger generation of people. As a consequence now most of the hi-end customers are getting old  but few new ones are coming out. Vinyl renaissance helped a lot to postpone/mitigate this problem and, today, the new wireless technologies + streaming services are an opportunity to attract new customer because, no matter the media you are using (Of course not talking about brutally compressed files), an hi-end system will always be able to enhance the listening experience and bring it to unexpected level of quality, so it’s “just” a matter of let more people discover this opportunity.  
L.C.: our industry unfortunately lost, in some cases, the contact with the reality. People are consuming more music than ever but our business is, in the best cases, not growing. The distance between the last accessible mass market products and the high-end products in terms of price and functionality is too big. We must follow our rules to achieve great sound but we should also take care of people’s environments and habits, giving them visibility of our brands and our amazing toys. Humans are always in search of better quality, we should just be open and talk with a wider audience. Less fear, more fun!
Based on the years being in the industry; is there a difference between audiophile and music lover in your opinion?
P.T.: Of course there is: Music lovers use the equipment to listen to music, audiophiles use music to listen to the equipment!
L.C.: Of course there is, we must be open to both. Most of the supercars owners are not using their cars on a regular base, in most of the cases they are buying them just for the pleasure to own them. This must be the case of our toys as well. Make the hifi cool again, I would say…😊
What makes Sonus faber different from the competition?
P.T.: Its unique approach.
L.C.: Everything. First of all the people that works for the brand, you should be a mix of craziness and competence to work here. Not for everyone.
What are your biggest challenges?
P.T.: Staying true to who we are and, at the same time, living in today’s world.
L.C.: I can’t say any better than Paolo said.
How did internet affected Sonus faber’s modus operandi? 
P.T.: Internet affected everybody’s modus operandi and so did for Sonus faber, in many different ways from communication to user’s experience (Thinking about streaming services of course).
L.C.: Internet made the world smaller, but also simplified the message we are spreading. Physical products require a bigger effort than ever to be truly appreciated.
Any insights into the Sonus faber’s future?
P.T.: In the future we will introduce into the market creations able to provide a contemporary user’s experience staying absolutely faithful to our Brand manifesto at the same time.
L.C.: It is an exciting one. Stay tuned…😊
How would you define Sonus faber customers?
P.T.: They are people looking for overall beauty and quality, at every level.
L.C.: Agree with Paolo.
Any last thoughts for our readers?
P.T.: Always remember to enjoy your favorite music!
L.C.: Always have fun with your toys, don’t forget your childish spirit!