Sonus Faber sent over a pair of Sonetto V, the middle of the Sonetto floor standing line up, for review. The Sonetto V comes in at a price of $5000.00 with a claim that these are Italian Poetry. The Sonetto Line up is the second level of Sonus Faber, the Lumina line being their entry-level speaker. There is quite a noticeable difference between the two lines, most obviously in the cabinet. The Sonetto line is the most affordable speaker that uses the signature Sonus Faber Lute cabinet shape, whereas the Lumina uses a more standard box shape. Is the Sonetto poetry, will this be a Shakespearian sonnet, are we able to “compare thee to a summer day“? We spent some quality time putting the Sonetto V through the paces to find out just that.
Sonetto V Unboxing and Setup
The Sonetto V came double boxed and wrapped up to protect the drivers and finish in transit. Getting them out of the boxes will be much easier if you have some help, so will getting them in your house. Make sure you open them standing up and upside down as you will need to attach the outriggers and spikes to the bottom. I recommend plugging the bottom-firing port with a towel or laying some cardboard over it while you put the feet on, you don’t want to drop a screw into the speaker. Once you have the feet on and tightened down you can flip the speaker upright and move it into place. Also included with the speaker are spike pucks in case you have a hard surface floor. Though you may want to use them on the carpet as well, just depends on your preferences. I will note that with thick carpet the spikes sink in pretty deep and do not allow much space for the bottom port. You may want to play with adding some type of platform or spacers to get more clearance under the speakers. Also in the boxes are grilles for the front if you prefer that look or need to protect the drivers from pets or curious children. I really like that they are magnetic and when off there are no holes or lugs visible.
When it comes to placing the speakers you have some freedom while still getting great sound. I tried them in my typical placement first which has the face of the speaker 1 foot from the sidewalls, and 3 feet from the back wall. I had them toed in a few degrees and this worked really well for my room. Later I moved them back while keeping the side position the same. I actually liked this better. With a down-firing port, you can get a lot closer to rear walls, which is especially nice in rooms that may not be dedicated to listening or shallower rooms. moving them back in my room at least opened the stage a little more. I always highly recommend playing with speaker positions, set them and listen for a while, try adjustments and note if the change made a difference, good or bad, and listen for a couple of days and so on. There are plenty of guides that can get you started, but with a near-infinite amount of variables, they can only get you so far.
Sonus Faber gave the Sonetto V dual binding posts so you can Bi-Amp, Bi-Wire, or Single-wire them. Bi-Amping can make a huge difference in sound quality in speakers. Not only can you push more power but the amp dealing with highs does not also have to deal with dampening the bass drivers. Having the option is always nice and eventually, something I would like to have the option to do in-house, I just need some more power amps. I have listened to the difference in shorter-term settings and recommend it when possible. Bi-wiring is more of a preference thing, I prefer personally to use a jumper, either solid or short wire. For our review, this is how they are hooked up. Speaking of the binding posts, they are very nice and large, accepting bare wire, large spade lugs, or banana plugs. I use Rhodium locking banana plugs, if I didn’t have them in and out of speakers constantly I would probably opt for a nice spade lug.
Sonetto Sound Quality
Sonus Faber speakers are well known for high-quality sound, but what of their more entry-level options. While it may be hard to say that a pair of speakers that run $5000.00 U.S. are entry-level, some of Sonus Faber’s speakers command a 6 figure price tag. So if they are priced at the higher end of the entry-level market are they worth it? I think they may actually be one of the best values in speakers on the market. While I have not heard every speaker, I can say with some confidence that these may be one of if not the best sounding speakers for 5 grand.
Before we get into the sound, let’s discuss the testing equipment, music, and so forth. Powering the Sonetto V’s is my McIntosh MC250 amplifier and my Marantz SR7009 as a Preamp. Sources include my Rotel CD11 Tribute, AudioTechnica LP-7 with Ortofon Bronze, as well as my Fiio M9 with Flac files, and my iPhone 11 Pro playing Spotify over Bluetooth. I wanted to listen to every possible scenario I had available to me at the time.
I listened to a wide variety of CDs starting with System of A Down – Toxicity. Serj Tankian is in my opinion the best singer in all of Metal music, his octave range is incredible, and listening to SOAD on great speakers makes enjoying Serj even that much better. The Mid-range is exceptionally well represented by the Sonettos, which as many of you know is where much of the music lives. Nailing the mid-range is so crucial to good sound. That said the high frequencies are wonderful, cymbals come through nicely without being thin or tinny. They balance nicely with the snares and kick of the drums. As we will see lower the Sonettos measure fairly flat with a touch of extra bass and this is noticeable in subjective listening as well.
After enjoying Serj’s vocals, I switched gears and listened to André Rieu, a Dutch Violinist, who was actually my inspiration to play violin starting in the first grade and was my first concert. On my mother’s side, my family is from Holland and I grew up listening to André with my grandpa. He and his orchestra play beautiful music, if you are interested in Waltz or Classical music and have not listened I highly recommend giving him a try. The CD I listened to was André Rieu – Best Of. The Sonetto V did André justice, offering the giant sound of an orchestra. You can coherently pick out the instruments, there is space for every note to breathe into the room.
Later on, I tried some Techno, specifically The Crystal Method’s – Vegas on CD. The Crystal Method falls into the sub-genre of Big Beat, if you are not familiar, the most famous of the genre is probably The Chemical Brothers. Big Beat Techno has a tone of Breakbeats, synths, and very often samples. It tends to have a fast tempo and can really stretch a speaker’s legs, with hard-hitting fast bass, long-lasting high-frequency synths, and a ton of layers. Electronic music often doesn’t get as much respect but is often as complex as many other genres.
Vinyl Play Back
On vinyl, I listen to a Hifi Chicken staple, Herb Alpert, and the Tijuana Brass – Multiple Albums. Hercule loves Herb as much as I do, his trumpet playing is second to none and the jazzy tones of his band’s music are so much fun to listen to. Brass instruments come to life on the Sonetto v, they mostly live in that mid-range that Sonus Faber did so well on these speakers. Some horns and brass instruments can reach lower into the bass frequencies, which the Sonetto covers very nicely.
Switching up genres led me to the Gorillaz – Self Titled Album, who produces a very interesting sound. I really do not think there is anyone else out there that has a similar sound, making it almost like they are a genre unto themselves. Vocals from multiple singers create a wide range of frequencies to cover. They also have a lot of guitars, piano, and brass in their music, as well as electronic sounds. They blend Instruments and electronic music so seamlessly. The Sonettos didn’t break a sweat keeping up with the diverse range of music that the Gorillaz create.
The Sonetto V is a speaker for anyone, there is nothing it does poorly. Some speakers really lend themselves to a genre or certain types of music. These do not lean into a particular type of music. No matter your musical tastes you should enjoy the Sonetto V and likely anything else from the line depending on your space. When you have playlists that range from metal to classical to hip hop you want a do it all speaker. Some may think of the phrase “jack of all trades master of none…”. The thing is, there is more to that saying, the rest is “but oftentimes better than a master of one”. I would much rather own the jack of all trades or sounds.
As I mentioned earlier the Sonetto V is a very balanced speaker, as someone who typically listens to Martin Logan Electrostats they come across as almost a little too balanced at first. I am so used to a more present top end and less of the low end. This is not a bad thing for either as it simply comes to a preference. If I had to find a similar sounding speaker I would say it may land near the tonality and timbre of the Paradigm Founder series. Think of something a little less bright than Bowers and Wilkens tend to be, but not quite as warm as most of Paradigm’s lineup. These are in the happy median between the two for me.
So we have to talk about the shape right, Sonus Faber is fairly unique in their cabinet design. I reached out to the Rep I work with at McIntosh Group, who owns Sonus Faber. The Lute shape is both an aesthetic and acoustic choice. They get their shape from traditional Italian boats, creating a sleek look. The front slightly curved baffle is integral to the curved sides creating an extremely rigid cabinet. The swept tail also helps control internal resonances as there is not a flat rear wall for waves to bounce off and back to the drivers. Also as mentioned to create a more forgiving speaker the bass reflex port is in the bottom and not the rear.
All of the drivers for the Soneeto line other than the Damped Apex Dome tweeter are newly designed specifically for this line. The DAD tweeter actually came from the reference line of speakers and previously was only available on that line. The woofers started with the existing basket Sonus Faber had and then the rest was built for the speaker off of that, ending up with an aluminum cone to offer tight, controlled, and also fast bass. The mid-range driver went through the same process which landed at a natural cellulose pulp cone. The combination was chosen specifically for the project and the result is evident that these were not just off of the self units.
Sonus Faber makes everything in house, this from drivers to crossover and cabinets. They can control the quality of every aspect of production which leads to what we have here. Even for something closer to entry-level than flagship, nothing has been outsourced or part picked from bins of existing products. When you can design a speaker from the ground up and control all aspects you have the freedom to make exactly what you want, you don’t have to make a box work for a driver or the other way around. There are more expensive speakers out there that don’t do this, so it is exciting to see it on a 5000 dollar pair.
So what are you getting? To sum up, the sound is smooth, warm, and comfortable. These speakers don’t attack you, they have a rich midrange and low end. The top end is easy to listen to for hours, the sparkle is for me just right. I actually prefer these over my Martin Logan Aerius I, in fact so much I have purchased these speakers for my reference system and will be the speaker I use for all future reviews. The sound stage has plenty of width, especially if you don’t have them too close to the side walls. The depth is not quite as much as my Electrosats, though this is something I found with just about all the conventional driver speakers I have listened to. Imaging is spot-on accurate, and listening to well-recorded live albums is especially enjoyable.
Negatives about this speaker are fairly limited really. One thing I would really like to see would be some type of included spacer that could go between the legs and spikes to get some more height in thicker carpet. This is something that the buyer can add but at this price point, it would be a nice touch. I will say if you like sub-bass you will also want a subwoofer, though this is not much of a strike against these as I tend to find that with most speakers. Other than very large speakers you simply will not get sub-bass out of smaller woofers, you need to move a large volume of air. Some of the only speakers I have heard and liked without a sub have been monster size speakers with price tags to match. I know many listeners prefer no sub and if good coverage with roll-off starting at 60hz works for you then these may be your speakers.
Measurements shown below are taken using a UMIK-1 Calibrated Mic using REW frequency response sweep. As you see there are two lines, the Green line is with the Sonetto V sitting out of the carpet on discs and the red is without and much closer to the floor. As there is not much difference the response as it drops off is a little smoother and there is an audible difference while listening to music. I will way this not a night and day thing. If I had not been the one to make the change and listen for it I am not sure I would have heard it. Below is the same graph just with the lines separated. As I do not own or have access to an anechoic chamber please understand this is how they measure in my room. These are also taken without my subwoofer on.
- Preamp: Marantz SR7009
- Power Amp: McIntosh MC250
- Sources: Audio Technica LP-7 w/ Ortofon Bronze, Rotel CD-11 Tribute, Fiio M9, iPhone 11 Pro
- Cables: AudioQuest Powerquest 3, AudioQuest Forest Interconnects, Viborg Power Cables, Custom made Speaker cables
- Umik-1 Calibrated Mic, REW
Sonetto V Manufacturer Specs
3-way floor-standing loudspeaker system. Vented box design.
Tweeter: High Definition DAD™ driver. DKM dome diaphragm, Ø 29mm
Mid: Custom diaphragm made with cellulose pulp and other natural fibers, Ø 150mm
Woofer(s): Ultra-free compression basket, aluminum cone for maximum speed. Ø 2x180mm cone drivers.
235Hz – 3.000Hz
38 Hz – 25.000 Hz
90 dB SPL (2.83 V/1m)
SUGGESTED AMPLIFIER POWER OUTPUT
50W – 300W, without clipping
1072 x 258 x 409 mm
42 x 10 x 16 in
22,6 Kg ea – net weight
49,8 Ib ea – net weight
Overall the Sonetto V is a great speaker that can make just about any music lover happy. No matter your genre, and no matter your space. They come in a variety of finishes and with a done firing port you can blend them into just about any space. You get more control over placement than rear port options, letting you get very close to rear walls. Their voicing makes them excellent candidates for multi-purpose rooms as well. I did not try these in the Theater room as the rest of the system would not really do this justice, however, our local Sonus Faber dealer Sound and Vision has had the full line in a theater setup that I listened to for a while. If you are looking to upgrade a pair of speakers and have 5000.00 dollars to spend I recommend auditioning these. They perform above their price point, I would imagine largely due to the fact that Sonus Faber made designed every single aspect of these speakers solely for these speakers. These will likely be my reference speakers for many many years to come. I can honestly say I am happy with them and other than the obvious desire for exotic speakers I won’t be actively looking for an upgrade for quite some time. While it would be awesome to be able to own every piece I review, These have been the only ones I have actually bought so far after reviewing them for what it is worth.
To find a dealer near you click the link below.
If you’re in Ohio Sound and Vision is a Sonus Faber dealer and often has the Sonetto line on display. Click the link below for hours and locations
Sonus Faber loaned Hifi Chicken the Sonetto V for the purpose of review. Sonus Faber nor affiliates paid in part or full for our review. We have purchased the Sonus Faber Sonetto V as our new reference speaker, this decision has not influenced our review, though we know it may affect your perception of our thoughts.