Sonus Faber Guarneri's

I'm mulling the idea of dialing up the performance of my second system and am considering the SF Guar's. I have an AirTight 8W SE amp driving Spendor LS3/5A's, so I'd need more ooomph from the amp (looking at a Lectron JH50). So any comments on the SF's - haven't heard much lately - vis-a-vis the Spendors? Speaker cable recomm's (I have AudioNote KSL copper now, thinking about Omega Micro...)?

Also, I know SF changed the construction from 8 to 7 panels a few years back, and thought I remember a possible tweeter change about then also. Any advice on new versus older model?

Thanks for the feedback.

The Guarneri's are something very special especially for a second system. They will need an amp with more oomph then 8 Watts. Depending on how loud you like to listen and room size, I wouldn't give them less than 50 tube-watts and preferably more (86.5dB/W/m). The Guarneris like space from the side and front walls to really sing. And need maybe 9-10 feet from the listening position to gell. They sit taller than most monitor speakers (50"), so a 9 foot ceiling height is better than the typical 8 foot height (again even higher ceilings are better). In short, small rooms are out and nearfield listening is less than ideal for these speakers. The older 8 panel versions should be much harder to locate, but some have said they're better than the newer version. They also do not go much below about 42 hertz so you'll need a subwoofer (REL STENTOR?)I have also heard that some Guarneris a few years back have had finish problems (a white film underneath the varnish)in more humid parts of the world. You are looking at a very musical monitor with one of the best midranges ever! Good Luck in your search.
To add a few notes to Dovetail's and second some suggestions.
{Ref to recent pair with a "factory tweaked" esotar tweet (haven't quite grasped exactly what they did to it)}.

Very musical is the motto, one of the best sounds I have experienced. It's also commendably fast (i.e. timing is top-notch).
Power: that's a difficult one. We first tried these speakers with a number of medium-sized amps, and got stumped (the esotar sounded too loud, or the instruments were lacking in volume, the voices were clear but "angelic" i.e. disembodied...).
To give an indication, we started driving them well and getting beautiful music at Passion stereo / Symphonic Line Kraft /CAT JL (whatever) stereo levels. Another amp we tried was the KR Antares tube (good driving capabilities) -- but, no cigar. Unfortunately, these were the available amps (i.e. no big bat, cary, arc... etc).
The cables used were bearlabs -- consistent in earmarking differences between the amps. We also had Nordost spm's (IC & speaker) on hand, but they seemed to invariably excacerbate the tweet frequencies at the expense of the rest of the spectrum, so we gave up on them.
We listened to classical, leider (mono & stereo) and symphonic music.

Placement: as above, with listening position about 3ft away from the back wall and toe in focusing behind the listening position.

If there's anything youneed & I know, don't hesitate.
Thanks mucho Greg.

I've always had the SF's in the back of my mind and now that I'm going to change amps, I'd like to do so with them in mind in the future. I'm looking into a mod'd up Lectron JH 50 - an EL34-based 50W tube amp - and the person doing the mods has the Guarn's with the same amp and says it is a wonderful match. Literature says 30-200W needed, but with the 200 staring at you (and the sentitivity) you know what that really means. I have a smallish room for this system and mainly listen when I'm writing or take a break for a glass of wine or have company over, so not as critical for that sit-down-and-immerse-for-three-hour-experience, or for loud listening. My problem is that I'm VERY picky on mids and on the musicality route even in that context (I've also been a stalwart Quad owner in the past and if don't go with the SF's down the road may go back to the Quads, and the Lectron would be good there too). The Gaurn's sounded like they'd fit the bill (I heard them years ago, but didn't hear as well then, but liked them very much). I mostly listen to violin, live jazz and blues and female vocals and piano on this second system, so I can also work within those parameters.

We'll see...

Would still like to hear any comments, especially on the old vs. new models.

Thanks again.

Hi Mark, the newer version is supposed to present a more "benign" load and sound vs. the older version that was a wilder beast more difficult to "tame".
It also seems that many SF resellers were having trouble selling the G's... Allegedly NOT because the asking price was high for the speakers but, rather, because the price for appropriate electronics went through the roof.
This is hearsay, I haven't actually gauged the differences myself: in a well treated room (dealer's) and driven by the same 250W class A machine, I hate to admit that old & new version G's sounded nearly identical to my ears... whatever.

A note about the sub: our experiments above were conducted WITHOUT the sub (SF's big one). We wanted to solve the driving issue disregarding, as far as we could, the low frequency roll-off (it was -2db @ 45Hz in the room).
In this respect, and as Mr Hiraga's machine is being modded with these speakers in mind (heavy duty caps will move into the PS, I suppose!), there shouldn't be a problem. But you do need a minimum amount of power to get correct sound from the G's, however low the volume. I would assume that the nominal rating required for a good tube could easily be half that of the equivalent ss... Cheers
If you decide on the Sonus Faber, consider the VAC 70/70 MkIII-S Ren as it will be a highly recommended match. I mention this not only because I have one (VAC) for sale but because from experience it is one of the best synergies I've heard.
Thanks Gregm and Mjc. Probably a couple of years off on the SF's, but some of my buying decisions now will effect that system, so I wanted to start mulling it over. You've given me some great advice. Thanks again fo the help.

Mjc: on the VAC, yes, I am familiar with it - nice piece. My problem with it is all the 300B outputs. NOS systems ALWAYS sound better if properly done, and you are pretty much left with the Golden Dragons that VAC distributes if you want to run the thing, ie. for me, at least, drudging up multiple pairs of new issue WE300B's at $400 a tube - and you really have to because the GD's sound harmonically brittle in comparison - gives me a cerebral hemmorhage just thinking about the expense, much less the logistics! Thank you, though, a good choice. I think I'll end up with a Lectron JH50 EL-34 based amp, or, more likeley, a Cary 805 SE (not a push pull SE like the VAC).
Just another thought and possible option. I use a pair of Pass Aleph 0 Monoblocks with my SFGs. Very reasonably priced on the used market. Rated somewhere between 50 and 75 watts rms - fits nicely into that window of power recommended by many SFG owners. Known for a SS design with very much a tube sound. Warm, transparent and detailed. Mid range to die for. Almost too much of a good thing when driving the SFGs. The Aleph 0 Monos do have feedback and do have three stages - different than the rest of the Pass line which are designed with no feedback and 2 stages. The two stage designs also have a rep for incredible mids and tranaparencey but no "umph" to drive the bass needs of certain speakers. The Aleph 0 Monos provide incredible bass - fast, very articulate but rounded and full. A great fit for the SFGs. I am also using a Joule Electra 150 Preamp, Golmund 29 CD Player, VPI Aries and Memorial Arm, and Van Den Hul cartridge. Just bought a REM Stentor III sub and I am still evaluating it's impact and contribution. Again, all of these component choices (except for maybe the Van Den Hul) point to my specific lust for midrange warmth and detail.
Thank you, rsyou, for your thoughts. Yes, I have a Joule too. That is an interesting balance you have there between the Goldmund and the Joule, probably sounds nice (came very close about five years ago to mating them together myself).

Yes, the Pass stuff is nice, and older O's too, which are a great deal if you can find them used. But I'm pretty much a tube guy these days, for good and bad. The Aleph's do have a single-ended feel to them, relative to other SS, although I would not say that they are warmish; just not as much distortive artifacts and more natural continuity between voice and surrounding space, on transients and so forth. But still not tubes, good ones, I don't think. Good suggestion though - one I might make to someone else myself. Thanks again.

Unfortunately, the SF project is, presently, taking a back seat to a new house and my inability to stay away from the 2000 Bordeaux's; poor men do not mix well with rich man's hobbies...
Another speaker you may want to look at because it costs about half of the SFG, has a similar look (battenboard), great musicality, easy to drive (89dB w/ a very benign load), and 30-35 Hz bass response would be the JM Reynaud Offrandes.

I own a pair and have been extremely pleased with them, and Bob Neill has reviewed alot of the Spendor, Harbeth, and JM Reynaud models and compared and contrasted them quite a bit so you could probably get a good feel for them off of his various reviews on Positive Feeback and Enjoy the Music.
I owned a pair of the newer models. I drove them quite successfully with a 20 watt single ended tube amp using KR tubes. My room was 21 X 16 and opened into other rooms. I used JPS speaker cable and a REL sub. They were wonderful. When I moved, my new room is smaller and the Guarneri didn't seem to like the space as much. They are beautiful to listen to. They are the nicest piece of Hi Fi gear I've ever seen.
Because I am doing the research thing [near new Cremonas vs used Guarneri Homage's]. I got into your thread and noted your comment on the G's finish problem. Can confirm this as I am looking at a pair here in Tokyo where the cloudiness is definately present in spots; along with a similar discoloration on top near the edges.
They sure do sound nice though!
And they are asking over $6k for them, used, with the blemishing?! It is a deal where it is easy to wait and see if they soften. Regards, Dave