SONUS FABER AMATI HOMAGE..ANYONE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-10-2000, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am interested in selling my aerial 7b's and adding these $20,000 bad boys to my home theater system. The first problem is how they will blend and match with my cc3 and sr-3's. Secondly, I have no idea how good these speakers really are. Are they that much better sounding than the 7b's or 10t's? They cost 5 times as much so they had better be. Can they do both HT and 2-channel audio equally as well? They are true full range speakers which the 7b's are not. Any input would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-11-2000, 07:59 AM
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Keep your 7Bs.......I have listened to the Amatis and was shocked that they performed much less than my expectations. They are using top notch drivers, and the cabinet is just beautiful, but they have done something seriously wrong in the xover that has just ruined that speaker.

They would be a very bad choice for HT as their dynamics are lacking and you won't get the punch as you do with your 7Bs.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-12-2000, 04:41 AM
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Eric,
if you want an expensive speaker in that league and are willing to wait, Mike Kelly is supposedly working on a "20t" speaker- that Im guessing will be made entirely of that Novalith stuff that the head unit on the 10t is made of- harder than rock with extremely minimal resonance. I think pricing will be around 18k. Or, get 2 10ts and 2 sw12s (1 for each 10t). Do you currently have a system that allows sides and rears? Are you using sides and rears? I think youd be impressed with sides- theres a great article in TPV this month about why sides are important.

- Jerry

[This message has been edited by aerialman (edited May 12, 2000).]
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-24-2000, 02:21 PM
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I'm afraid I'm with Dennis and Chumbley. I like other SF speakers very much and I wanted to like these just because of the way they look, but I've heard them several times now, with among other things, Levinson 33s (not 33Hs, 33s) and the rest of the usual Levinson suspects, and the full bore ARC Reference tube amps monos and Ref preamp, and I just don't know what Michael Fremer and others are so taken with.

I don't know the Aerials well, but for $5K less than the Amati you can buy a nice pair of Revel Ultima Salons which is an infinitely better all round speaker, IMO, provided your wife doesn't mind the unusual styling.

Paul
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-26-2000, 12:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I had the opportunity myself today by mistake. I walked into a NYC local Hi Fi dealer and heard the Amatis myself. I gotta tell you as much as I tried to be, I was not impressed. So much so, that now I think even less of reviews and reviewers. The speakers were terrrible. Room acoustics, Levinson monoblocks with lLevinson transport, MIT cables and still, blah. I'm not the shy type and let the dealer know what I felt. He did his job and lured me into another room with Wilson Watt 6's. I do my faur share of reading and was prepared for bright sound. Au contrair mon frere. This speakers sounded great. The bass on the amatis was non-existent and on the Watts I felt my pant legs ruffle. Very clear sound, not bright. Detailed, quick, fast..I loved them. Now it's back to audition the 10t's again..
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-27-2000, 12:03 PM
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This is fun.

The problem with speaker selection, though, is that it is the one component in the audio reproductive chain whose preference among listeners is entirely a function of individual taste.

Having said that, I apologize flegal, but I have to agree with ericbee and disagree with you. You may like the Amatis very much, but the setup wasn't the problem with ericbee's demo. As I previously said, I've heard the Amatis set up with Audio Research Reference 600 tube monos, a Ref tube preamp, and with both digital and analogue sources, in live rooms and in well-treated rooms. In most respects, the reference ARC equipment is at least as good as the Nagra gear you cite and which I've heard many times myself, and superior in bass extension and dynamics to the Nagra stuff. As far as solid state equipment goes, the big Levinson gear is as good as it gets, and well-suited to the Sonus Faber "sound." Believe me, the MIT cable and Levinson front end wasn't the problem. The Wadia you recommend, and the Levinson front ends are very close, and I've had extensive experience with both. And in the context of the Levinson demo system ericbee auditioned, the Levinson front end was a better choice than a Wadia 270 and 27ix would have been for synergistic reasons. Finally, you may like vandenHul better than MIT but neither will make or break the sound of the sensational equipment you and I have listed.

The problem is the speakers, IMO. They just don't do it for me and for many others, apparently. They don't have clarity which is the biggest problem for me, the bass is limited, the highs can be annoying, and they always remind you that the sound is coming from a box. I'm sure at the accomodation price a reviewer gets (sometimes free!), I might not be as picky and my opinion would be better, but for the U.S. retail price of $20K that Sonus Faber asks, my money would have been spent on either the $15K Revels or the new Watt/Puppy 6s (and in the end it was the latter that I did spend my money on). It gets worse: In my opinion, the JM Labs Utopias and Mini Utopias are better than the Amatis, the Thiel 6 and 7s are better, the B&W Nautilus 801s are better, the Avalon Eidelons are better, the Egglestons (when they were in business -- are they back?) were better, Dynaudios are better, and my very limited listening to the Aerials suggests to me that they are much better, too...I could go on, unfortunately. The the Amatis are way down on my list of expensive quality speakers.

The other obvious advantage of the Aerials and the Revels is that after you buy your nice stereo pair, these companies have very logical upgrade paths towards a sensational state of the art home theater surround sound setup.

On the other hand, if you're looking for impeccably finished equipment, such as the Amatis and the Nagra gear, to make a strong artistic statement in your beautifuly decorated music room in your expensive home, well that's another story...

Sonus Faber makes the most beautifully crafted speakers in the world, and the Guarneri is one of my faves though it obviously costs too much for the performance it offers. But I can't say even that about the Amati, which just doesn't sound right to me. Maybe they work well on very small scale classical music but for everything else musical (never mind hometheater!) they are wanting, IMO. But as I said at the outset, this is a component area that is totally a function of personal taste. https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

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post #7 of 12 Old 05-28-2000, 01:47 PM
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flegal,

Well now, this is serious fun, isn't it. https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

Time to get real, though. I've heard the Guarneris many times at Sound By Singer in New York, on the best tube equipment and front ends money could buy. The Guarneris, which I like, -- and I'm one of the very few you'll find who will say that about a small mini monitor that costs $10,000US (!) -- are not even remotely in the same league of music reproduction as the latest top of the line Thiels, or Dunlavys, or Revels, or JM Labs, or B&Ws, or Dynaudios, or Aerials, or ProAcs, or Sound Labs. Or my personal favorite, Wilson W/P 6s. The Guarneris have their charms and I admire your exquisite taste and style for owning them. But they'll never run with the big boys even if you stick VTL's monster Wotans on them. (Actually that might sound pretty good and look very tricky to boot. Horribly expensive, though.) By the way, Sumiko, the U.S. importer of Sonus Faber speakers, bought $30,000 Levinson 33 monos because they thought the Guarneris and Extremas sounded best with that amplifier. Not Nagra, not VTL, not ARC tubes; Levinson.

Let me refresh your memory, if I may. The Guarneri was a one-time special edition speaker built as a tribute to the great violin makers and to showcase the craftsmanship of contemporary Italian wood workers -- it was never meant as an attempt at the state of the art in sound reproduction. Not even Sonus Faber would make that claim, given the compromised drivers and tiny size of the speaker. The Extrema, which is no longer current, or the Amati Hommage, is what would and should be compared to Wilsons and the other state of the art speakers I mentioned.

Music may be about "soul" as you say, but audio technology moves fast and the limited edition Guarneris, which were never really intended to be the last word or at all cost effective, are just not even to be considered anymore in the U.S., unless you really would like to make a decorating statement (which is a perfectly good goal, IMO). There's just so many better ways to spend your money today and still get "soul" and vastly greater performance. Obviously.

And if it's "soul" you want, I'll put Watt/Puppy 6s on your favored Nagra tube equipment and I'll bet you that you couldn't bring me a single serious audiophile or music lover who would honestly call the Guarneris equals. Even you'd be very impressed.

How can I be so sure? Well, first of all, despite your hazy comments, I'd say you've never actually heard this great combination. Second, when Nagra has come to the U.S. for trade shows in the past, they have used Watt/Puppies exclusively in their demos. You didn't know that did you, but I've heard it for myself. And that was version 5.1, a much more "analytical" sounding speaker (as you put it) than the current W/P 6. So, it appears that Nagra might disagree with your conclusions about my "cold, analytical, introspective" musical taste.

I'd also be willing to venture that Nagra has a new pair of W/P 6s on order with Wilson. Frankly, I don't know if that's true; it's just an educated guess. Would you care to wager?

So, I'd guess that you probably heard the previous 5.1 version and you didn't like it, couldn't understand what all the fuss was about, and why they cost so much. That's fine. Lots of people didn't love that Wilson speaker, including me.

But the truth is you haven't actually heard the new W/P6s with any of the amp/preamp combinations that I have, have you? Certainly not the Nagras you mention, nor the ARC reference combo that you stated is vastly inferior. Nor VTL 450s, a line I assume you like. Nor monoblocked BAT VK60s, a fabulous combination. Nor McIntosh's new tube effort, the 2000 (not my cup of tea). Nor VAC Renaissance 140s or the equally good 70/70. Or Levinson's 335, 336, and 33H with either the 380S or the new reference 32 preamps. Or CJ Premier 8a monos with the CJ ART. Or Wadia's PowerDac system.

Well, I have heard all of those with W/P 6s. And before I bought my current solid state gear, my setup was CJ Premier 12a tubed monoblocs and a CAT SL1 Signature Mark III tubed preamp, components that would extract more from your Guarneris than your solid state Micromega preamp processor and no longer current VTL 120s, I'm afraid.

So the question remains: Where and with what equipment and music have you heard the new Watt/Puppy 6s that you're so certain are cold and analytical?

Ultimately, I'm too old to truly mind your slights about my taste. And I certainly don't mind if you don't like Wilson speakers or Audio Research amplifiers. You're hardly alone there.

But you seem quite biased and have offered no support for your extraordinary opinion that the tiny Guarneri is better than the new W/P 6. So I'm starting to think that perhaps you've just presumed that Wilson's new speaker sounds just like the previous versions and that's why you dismissed it.

Paul https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif



[This message has been edited by PF (edited May 29, 2000).]
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-29-2000, 01:11 PM
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Hold onto your bi-wires, Lex "Mr. sonus" man is here! Kidding https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

I currently own all concert series except the Concertinos. That is, GPs, Concertos, and Solo center. I think thats all the concert series anyway.

While I cannot jump into this pissing contest between Flegal and PF, as I have not heard the Guarni Hommage, I have to lean to Flegal's side of this stimulating discussion. The Sonus fabers are not intended to replace the concert loudspeakers at a Led Zeppelin concert. Rather, they are intended to purely and closely approximate the sound of fine concert instruments themselves. They will do so only when properly mated with surrounding equipment, as well as the environment. Admitedly, I didn't really know what I had in my GPs, until I got them home and "tweaked".

This takes me back to a visit once paid to my home by a fellow moderator. He didn't like my speakers. Said they were not "in your face" enough for him. Geesh, gimme a break, they are not supposed to be! He just never got it, even with Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling toward's Escacy. Mid range so pure and evident from this first order speaker, that to deny it, is to well, have mud in your ears. Anyway, I digress-

I run GP mains through MC-1/Proceed HPA-2. AMP5 to Solo and Concerto sides with AQ cabling. The only shortcoming is as chumbley said. At higher volumes, they can "splatter" a bit. Save your money Chumbley, the GPs do this as well when pushed hard and ran full range. If over amplified and ran full range, they can make a very unpleasing sound through the passive radiator. I guess the drivers are excursing beyond the points of the intended portless design. Obviously, I try to keep this from happening by crossing my speakers at 80 for demanding theater use, and full range only for "normal theater", or music.

But I end my semi-sonus bash, by stating, that for all around music/theater use in a set of speakers that are less than 5K, you will be hard pressed to beat the concert series. Beyond that, I simply have no experience to draw on. But I seriously doubt that that these speakers (Guarni) cannot be setup with outstanding results. If so? Then, either Sf is changing, or they made a tremendous mistake. Because the one thing you can be assured of with the Sf name is quality. As far as calling them bad? I don't think their is a bad Sf speaker made personally, only bad environments. (including electronics)

Lex
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-29-2000, 05:29 PM
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Well now that I've pinned you down M. Flegal, I can see that it's hopeless.

You obviously love colorations in your music which is why you run your VTLs in triode mode and use 50 year old tubes in an ancient SP9, which nobody called shockingly transparent even when it was current years ago. Now you're so accustomed to rolled-off, opaque sound, you couldn't possibly appreciate how much closer to the details, and yes the gestalt of the performance, the new stuff would bring you.

Once again, let me repeat, I'm one of those who like Sonus Faber speakers both for their sound and looks. However, I know of no recording studio using SF Guarneris or Amatis. I know of many, however, including George Lucas' fabulous 145,000 square foot state of the art scoring stage at Sky Walker Ranch, using Wilson Watt/Puppies or B&W 801s, to name a couple that I previously cited. Why is that do you think? Because they sound just like the live mike feed. How ironic that some of the film scores in your DVD collection were probably created with the benefit of Wilson speakers. Probably a number of your CDs, too.

Nobody loves a great female vocalist heard via a good tube amp in triode mode fed by an SP10 with NOS tubes (give me a break with the, mid-level, econo box SP9) more than I. But it's a distortion we're listening to, not reality. Kind of like setting the color temperature on your video projector too high so that the colors look more vivid but all the actors look like they just spent a month in Nice.

I hate to break up your party, but haven't you noticed in your listening that everything sounds the same. It's beautiful, but you can't tell a Mercury from an RCA shaded dog, Merchant from McLachlan.

If that's what you like, I say go for it and enjoy. I like a dose of it every now and then, too. But please. Don't preach to the rest of us about the state of the art.

Oh, I still haven't heard what W/P 6 based systems you've actually heard. "Been there, done that," doesn't cut it.

Paul
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-29-2000, 07:54 PM
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It appears this thread has turned into a tennis match between PF and Flegal.

Everyone is looking for something different in a speaker because we all have our own tastes. PFs's and Flegal's tastes are obviously different as mine yet it seems that we are all pretty schooled in the art of high-end.
I doubt this tennis match of tastes will ever be won because PF's and Flegal's flavors will never merge, therefore there is no need to continue on and have a bad taste for each other. I would have to bet that you guys would be chums if you were neighbors. https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif

Anyway, the original poster demoed the system for himself and found that it wasn't what he was looking for so there is no reason to go on about what is better like the sound from a CD or an LP because that debate is endless as is the speaker debate. https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-30-2000, 04:58 PM
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Deniz, Jeff,

I agree with you that speaker debates are endless (although the debate between analog and digital is about to be settled, IMO -- in favor of Sony's new SACD DSD technology).

The problem I have with some audio hobbyists is that they make dismissive statements but don't have a basis for doing so. Ericbee asked for opinions about the SF Amati. Several of us who've heard it agree that it's not all that it's cracked up to be. One or two think its excellent. So far, so good.

Flegal then offers an opinion. He says it's not the speaker that's the problem for those who don't like it, it's the fact that you must use an analog source, tubed electronics, and not use a specific brand of cable. In addition, they should not be demoed in "a typical, overdamped, US room."

OK, but I've heard them with the ARC Reference electronics (in a demo set up by Sonus Faber, no less), with an analog source, in an untreated room.

To which he replies on May 28th, the Nagra stuff is "vastly superior," to ARC's Reference components, and your taste in speakers is "cold, analytical, and introspective...nothing derogatory in this remark, of course." In other words, PF, you suck, too. https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

That may be. But Flegal has contradicted himself, now. In his original May 12th response to Ericbee he said, "Some have reported excellent results using ARC or Levinson electronics."

He also contradicted himself on May 26th implying that the Levinson electronics with which Ericbee demoed the Amatis, now had "shortcomings."

So which is it. Frankly, I don't think he's actually heard any of these combinations up against his favored Nagra gear.

Here's the problem: Ericbee has asked for opinions about a purchase he's contemplating. There's an implicit responsibility on our part to give responses based on informed opinion. To be informed, though, you actually have to have had some experience with the components either in demos or in your home.

Deniz, you're wrong about one thing, though. I think I like flegal, anyway. He's pompous and full of it, but he's got something to say and I like that in a person. Probably because I can be just like that, too. I may not believe he's actually driven a Viper, but I'm still interested to read his opinion about it. https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif

Paul

[This message has been edited by PF (edited May 30, 2000).]
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-30-2000, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Man, I had no idea asking about a speaker would lead to so much BS. I decided against the Amati's, sorry to all of those who positively responded. I will not be demoing any tube components with the Amatis because I have no intention of using tube gear with anything I will buy, strictly solid state. Now my latest question: Aerial 10T or Wilson Watt6. I have emailed a few about the choice and am getting mixed responses. But, I will leave that to another post.
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