Sonus Faber V's Sonus Faber

What would you chose, if the price was identical between a shop demo pair of S F Guarneri's with a REL Sub and a pair of new S F Cremona's (no Sub) ?

What would be your deciding factor ?
Probably Cremona's, as I said before new Guarneri Memento will be released soon... Are you using same room that you mentioned in your previous thread? If so, Cremona might be too big for it... Also, your Jadis JA30 will not have enough power to drive Cremona's(it probably could drive Auditor)-you will need either JA80(6550s) or new JA100(KT90s). Cremona needs about 100w of solid-state or 70-80w of tube power to work properly. Regarding Guarneri Homage-using sub with that speaker is IMO something like a diversion on coherence that Guarneri's are famous for.
I can tell you that I successfully used Guarneris with Rel Strata III. This is a sealed box sub with tremendous flexibility. The Guarneri are very refined. Make sure you get a great deal. They sell here all day for $4500-$5500 used and this is BEFORE the next Guarneri is introduced.
As an aside, the Guarneri might be the most beautiful audio component I've ever seen.
Interesting, I would say just the opposite of Branimir, but I have not done the specific A/B comparison. It may largely depend on your music preferences and certainly on room size. You will get more bass out of the Cremonas in a larger room than out of the Guarneri’s, even if the REL does help. But musically, my money overall would be on the Guarneri's.
Find a pair of Sonus Faber Extrema speakers.

The Extremas are pretty incredible !
The Guarneri are in a different league vs the Cremona. No comparison, and no question, get the Guarneri. I listened to both and ended up with the Guarneri
Answers to questions raised;


Yes it is the same small room, 15' 6" X 11" 6" with the new model Jadis Mono Blocks (30 watts using KT 90’s)


Price is at the top end of your range, however the Guarneri’s are still new (ex shop demo models), Cremona’s are new in the box, considering market scale in here in Australia, I think it is a good price.


Music taste, average AOR, Female vocals, and average classical use, nothing too taxing.

Seating distance would be 8 feet from the speaker face, with 3 feet behind my head and 3 feet behind the speaker
Given your room size, I think it is becomes a very straight forward choice - Guarneri’s and REL. I envy you - it will be a very nice combination.
Kjgp, If you go for Guarneri's Homage you should negotiate price really hard... New Guarneri Memento will be released on CES2006 and few weeks after that it will be in showrooms(at least, here in Europe..). I am not saying that Guarneri's Homage are not good, quite the opposite!
Your amps will drive them very nicely.
BTW, prices of Guarneri Homage are allready droping in Euro market, so...
Your 30 watt Jadis would run the Guarneris in that room just fine. I will tell you that I had more success with them in larger rooms than small ones surprisingly. They like room to breath and will play "big" in a decent size room with a bit of power on them. I think they will sound very nice in your room. Make sure you get the shorter of the two pedestals that were made for them. I think the combination of speaker and stand equals about 51"
Guarneri is in a totally different class.
I hv owned all that is worth owning in the Sonus stable and can safetly say that Cremona should not even be in comparision with Guarneri.
With or without a good sub, it just is head and shoulder above all sonuses except maybe the Stradivarius.
The two best sounding speakers Sonus Faber ever designed are the Extremas and Stradavarius. I am lucky to own both and would say these are by far head and shoulders of what's in there lineup.
Not sure if I can agree with some of the claims above.

I have owned almost every single higher end Sonus Faber made except the Stradivarius. After owning Amati for a while, Extrema, though very nice overall, just can't quite compete. The higher efficiency of Amati brings out so much more than Extrema in details, transparency, dynamics, and many other areas. You can see all the newer SF speakers having higher efficiency for the same reason.

Dynaudio Esotar is a very nice tweeter, but it does have its short coming. I have owned Dynaudio Confidence 5 for years, probably the best executed Esotar based speakers, and Amati still betters C5 overall.

I think for overall enjoyment, Cremona is a better speaker than Guarneri unless you limit your listening preference to music without bass.
Thanks for all of your input and responses.

After listening to both the Guarneri and Cremona, I have chosen the Cremona.

Reasons were many, but mainly as follows;

I can now understand the comments by 213cobra on the other thread “crossovers just don't get out of the way with modest power, especially the Guarneri”, whilst the loudness levels from the Guarneri were never a real problem, I always felt that they wanted more, a kind of listening frustration was apparent, as if the Guarneri was dragging the amp along rather than the amp pushing through the speaker (if that makes any sense), conscious of the size of my room, I could not could not have lived with the increase in loudness levels needed to get passed the crossovers. Also the only Guarneri available at the price quoted to me, were shop demonstration models, accordingly they were available only with the 39” stands, from my seating position it seemed to be too high.

I think that the Guarneri is the better loudspeaker, however having said that, the Cremona’s driven by the 30 watt Jadis mono blocks is a magical combination. Another SF dealer (one who uses Guarneri’s at home) advised me that once I listen to the Jadis / Cremona combination I would realise what the word “synergy” actually means, he was so right.

All I am waiting for now is delivery of the Cremona’s (this Friday) then all I will have to do is break them in!
Kjgp, Congratulations on new Cremona's! I think you will be very happy with them... Also, I am also glad that my advice regarding Cremona was a good one and that I was wrong about power issue. Those 30w that your JA30 produces sound much more I guess... Jadis JA30/SF Cremona's is very emotional sounding combo... Welcome to the Sonus Faber family! There is SF Clus site, you may find it interesting
Happy listening!
Well, you did the right thing, even though FOR ME the Guarneri would have been a better choice, its YOU who are buying these, not ME. This underscroes the highly subjective aspect of this hobby and why hearing gear is more important than all the opinions you might elicit here....

Have fun!
Have fun
I did the same choice 1,5 years ago (the same dillema) and having lots of fun with SF Cremona.
Congrats on your purchase! I will be upgading to Cremonas in the somewhat near future. I have now owned 3 pair of Sonus Fabers and could not be more happy..

I totally disagree with Semi.

Owning both Extremas & Stradivarius, the Amati speakers are not in the same class of these two speakers.

The Best speaker is the Stradavarius. The only other speaker in Sonus Faber's lineup is cut from the same cloth of the Stradivarus is the Extrema.

Stradavarius is just a bigger version of the Extrema.

When Sonus Faber set out to make a statement speaker with no holds barr design. The Extrema & Stradivarus are the only two. The Amati is a very good speaker but not in the same class as the Extrema or Stradivarus. If the Amati was that great, there would of never been a Stradavarius.

There has not yet or never will be a replacement for the Extrema when talking monitor style speaker. Pound for pound the Extremas are the most amazing speaker. They can easily fill a large room. If you want to call a single drawback of the Extrema is that it craves lots of power. No tube amp should be used on the Extremas. Stick with Pure Class A Solid State mono blocks and you'll take the Extremas to another statosphere.
I own the Guarneri but I would have to say I have been impressed with all their speakers and from my experience the Extrema is their best speaker (have not heard the Stradivarus.

I spent a afternoon(whilst on holiday in Italy!) at SF's agent in Bergamo who were very gracious and eager to let me hear the various ranges.

Here were our conclusions

1st: Extrema but only with a very good SS amp that could control them. Amazing full range sound including a bass quality to die for when we listened with Spectral amps (which mated better than Levinson).

2nd: Guarneri and Amati. Love them both, especially with strings and vocals. The Amati of course went deeper. Great with both the Spectral and Sonus Faber.

3rd: Cremona had a great overall sound, lighter than Guarneri or Extrema and worked well with all the amps we tried (Audio Analogie, Sonus Faber, Spectral).
A whole lotta Pure Class A Solid state power for the Extremas and you'll be in beezzzzzzness.

Have a Happy Thanks Giving Day everyone.

If you have a chance to compare side by side the following: Extrema, Amati, and Dynaudio Confidence 5, you will know why I vouch for Amati and sold the Extrema.

Dyn C5 with Esotar tweeter/mid has significantly more micro dynamic than Extrema, more details, even faster bass, and flat tonal balance from top to bottom. On top, Extrema has severe upper mid recess which gives it a polite and pleasing character that Amati does not have. It was Bobby from Merlin who pointed this out to me and I eventually could not live with the "flaw". Amati is significantly more difficult to setup correctly since it's less forgiving, so don't judge the Amati by one listening session. I have owned Amati and Extrema for 5+ years, I am speaking from experience.

You are entitled to your opinion of course, but I am sharing my experience with others who have an open mind.

In fact, I like Cremona better than Extrema overall so I bought a pair as well.
The two top speakers that Sonus Faber ever designed are the Extremas and Stradivarius period. To say the Cremona model is better than Extrema , you must be deaf. I say no more.
Then Mfslgoldcd is declaring solid state is the best sounding amp on earth because Extrema can't be driven with tubes and without tubes there is no music. I rather live with Cremona with tubes than Extrema with any solid state amp.

That goes to show your musical taste.
I had a chance to talk personally with Mr. Serblin at hifi show about his designes... And you do not want to know what he thinks about(in your opinion the best Sonus) Extrema's... But, you would say to him directly that he is deaf! Extrema were excellent speaker in 1992 but, in 2005?
What about progress?? I like Stradivari Homage and new Amati Anniversario very much but, I finally choose Anniversario's. Then, I must be deaf also?
And this thread was about choice between Guarneri Homage and Cremona...
Semi, BTW-Anniversario's are amazing!
Hey guys chill out this no best ever contest.
The Sonus Faber lines keep bringing new series so we expect the new Amati Anniversario and the new Guarneri and the which is best maybe change (maybe not).
All the above Sonus speakers are very good anyway IMHO.
I have to agree with Mfslgoldcd here, its simply LUDICROUS to even compare the cremona to the extrema. Sorry, Semi
The guy who started the thread bought the Cremonas, so in a way, the 'market' was spoken. I had both in my home at one time and chose the Guarneris. Different strokes for different folks....
This forum is about opinions and views from fellow audio enthusiasts and I think we should keep this in mind when we participate in any discussion on any topic at all. I think we should refrain from using any harsh language which will not do any good to anybody. Disagreements in views will happen for sure but they can be done in a friendly manner.
This thread is about Cremona and Guarneri but it seems to have been diverted elsewhere.

Come on guys lighten up, the main question was for your opinions of Gaurneri and Cremona driven with 30 watt vale amplifiers, in a small room.

There was no way that I would be willing to (or afford to) purchase Amati or anything similar.

The dealer has a pair of Extrema’s with stands, however I was aware that high current “Class A” style amps would be required and I had been down the Krell route previously, whilst I enjoyed the Krell way, I have returned to valves.
That takes real "Ignorance" for member Semi to say Sonus Faber Cremona speakers are better than the Extrema speakers ??? The Sonus Faber Extrema speakers are one of the best speakers ever designed. The Cremona are decent speakers but no where near the design, sound and performance of the Extrema speakers.

Until you have a chance to hear Amati/Cremona/Guarneri driven by Tenor vs. Extrema driven by the best solid state amp, you have no clue what you are talking about.

I have owned them all for years, have you?

Before you insult someone, you need to do your homework.
I have heard both Semi. The Extremas are hands down winners verse the Cremona speakers.

Currently I own both Extremas and Stradivarius speakers. In the past I've owned the Amati and Guarneri speakers. This is the last time I will say this. Amati & Guarneri speakers are very good but not in the same league. Sonus Faber released Stradivarius speakers to make a statement for that type of design.

Sonus Faber has already made there statement with the Extrema speakers. Still up to this date there has been no speaker that actually replaced the Extrema's performance.

The Extremas are simply the best speakers that Sonus Faber ever designed. Now system compatible is very imprortant. And it sells Semi does not know what he is talking about with set ups of the Extremas.

The Extrema speakers were never replaced by another speaker in the line when it came to statement performance from a monitor speaker.

I love both Extrema speakers and Stradivarius speakers. And find it insulting when someone who says Cremona speakers are better than Extremas. That is a big joke statement.

Sorry to say the Cremona speakers are not in the same class.

Since you have owned them all, you know very well Extrema is a dry sounding speaker due to the tweeter. I have spoken with Dynaudio NA (Al Philippele) in length about their Esotar tweeter when I owned C5 in the past, they openly admitted Esotar T-330D used in Extrema and many other was very dated (introduced in the mid 80s') and slow sounding. The huge amount of ferrofluid used to cool the tweeter slows the speed. Yes, it can take 1000 watt in transit which is needed for recording studio that plays at 100 db all day long and reaches 110+ db in loud passage, but that design also becomes its fatal flaw when compares to modern dome tweeters not to mention ribbon. As a result, Esotar 2 employs smaller rear chamber to increase its top end extension at the expense of lower freq extension. Bob of Merlin decided to stick to Esotar 1 for that exact reason since he is making 2 way speakers and can't crossover woofer any higher in freq and still go to 30 Hz. He told me that verbally.

And as Branimir mentioned, Franco also perceived the shortcoming of its old design and moved to much higher efficiency drivers for all of his new speakers. I have also read in Taiwan audio publication an interview of Franco claiming the same thing. So if Franco is deaf, his Stradivarius should suck big time since Stradivarius is his cumulation of experience from past 20+ years.

I am not saying Cremona is perfect. What I am claiming is Cremona, given its higher sensitivity, can make beautiful music with modest tube amp and create a magical illusion that can't be matched by Extrema. Extrema is a speaker designed to wake up at loud volume, try playing it at 80 db and see what you can/cannot hear.

There are two camps of audiophile for everything - amp, speaker, etc. I belong to the camp that without tubes, there is no music. If I can use a small tube amp to create beautiful music, I don't mind Cremona's top end being not as refined nor as textured, low bass not as detail, etc.

Extrema and Stradivarius are on the two totem poles of Sonus Faber design. If you agree Stradivarius is a fine speaker, how can you claim Extrema is the best ever came from Sonus Faber?
The Extrema from a design perspective is one of the best speakers ever. Plus remember the Extrema is a monitor design that can truely fill a large room.

You made some valid points Semi. So we are mending the fence.

In laymen terms these are the points I am trying to incorporate without insulting anyone.

The Stradivarius is top of the food chain for full range design.

The Extrema is top of the food chain for monitor design.

I am torn between the two speakers owning both of them currently. Both are great but in there own ways. The Extrema is a special design and feel that it has the most accurate highs and natural mid vocals you'll ever hear from a speaker. The only drawback if you can call it one. Is that the Extrema is definitely difficult to drive to reach it's potential. But at this level it's all worth taking the time out and matching the equipment to the speaker.

It is a matter of opinion with the tubes. Tubes are warm and can be rewarding. But solid state can deliver a lot of advantages over tuber if set up and matched with synergy. I personally feel that the Extremas reach a higher potential with pure class A mono blocks than triode tube amps. Don't want this to be an issue of tubes vs solid state. This is a debate and fact that the Extremas are great speakers. And are head & shoulders above the Cremona speakers. Remember these Extremas were $14K with stands back in 1992. Today dollars you are easily over $20K. Not to say price is everything but Sonus Faber knows what they are doing.

The Cremona speakers have there place. But when compared to either the Extremas or Stradivarius speakers they can not compete overal. Remember compare apples with apples.

In my opinion the Stradivarius is the best full range speaker. The Extremas are the best monitors. Now overall when listening to Blue Note Jazz Lps or CDs, believe it or not I prefer the Extremas over the Stradivarius. Stradivarius has more bottom end over the Extrema. But when it comes to lush midrange, vocal and super smooth highs I prefer the Extremas. So overall as a speaker I feel the Extremas are the best in Sonus Fabers designs. A lot of Extrema owners will agree.

10, 20 yrs down the line people will be searching for Extremas. Honestly I cannot say that about the Cremonas. Time will prove that I am correct as they are harder to find.

I am done on this topic.
Semi, what amplifiers are you driving the Extremas with? If you have heard them driven by amps like the CAT JL-3 (or even JL-2), if you like tubes, and the Gryphon Antileons, your perception of the Extremas may well change.
To really enjoy the full potential of the Extremas, a lot of attention must be given to the proper set-up of these speakers.
I could not of said it better !

Extremas are not the easiest to setup and match . But when it's done correctly; WOW !! You'll hear how wonderful the Extrema speakers really are.

Now this is the last I speak on this topic.
Very good friend of mine owns Extrema's and he also think that it is the best speaker ever but, this weekend he came to my house to audition new Amati Anniversario and left completely confused... He admit to me that Anniversario is better speaker then his beloved( and cult like worshiped) Extrema's! Please, don't talk about amp since he also owns Mark Levinson No.33 and No.32, one of the best designes in his opinion! Extrema is 15 year old design and I simply can not except that somebody claim that it is better then Stradivari Homage, Amati Anniversario or new Guarneri Memento(yes, it is released in Europe!)... I respect Extrema very much but, let's put them were they belong-in history of high end audio. Of course, as one of the best speakers ever designed! Mr.Serblin do not share same opinion as Extrema fans but, at least they are very 'extreme' in defending their object of worship!
I like new Franco's speakers more then the old ones. In fact, IMO every new generation of Sonus Faber speakers is better and better. This is not souly my opinion(it is Franco's claim)...
Pass X350, McCormack DNA-2 LAE, Rowland 8TiHC, and on and on. If those don't bring out the best of any speakers, something is wrong with the design.

It's like saying your Ferrari GTO will not be competitive against a Honda S2000 unless you have F1 superglue tires, 110 octane racing fuel, and Michael Scheumacher behind the wheel.

Bottom line is Kjgp bought what he liked and I thought he made an excellent purchase. Cremona is more coherent than Guarneri unless you only listen to light jazz and string quartette. No subwoofer can perfectly integrate a small monitor or no one will pay the extra bucks for full range speakers. Guarneri is even more refined than Extrema from midrange and up, but Cremona is not far behind and has decent bass for better musical enjoyment.

For those Extrema lovers, go hear Dynaudio Confidence 5 and you will ditch your Extrema like a hot potato. Just make sure you have a power plant at home because they are even less efficient than Extrema. Guess why I sold them.
All said and done Sonus Faber Extrema speakers are one of the world best speakers ever designed. Just a little difficult to drive. And with either Amati or Extrema the listener will have a great, great speaker to enjoy.
halelluia Sonus Faber fans what a thread.
I could say that little speaker companies in the world can be proud of so many good speakers in their lines to begin an "inter-brand" war.
Good points from everyone all are killer speakers let's enjoy them !
i have heard the extremas, guarneri's, and electra amators.
i have been nothing less than amazed by how musical all three speakers were, and i have zero doubt that the other models discussed above sound any less wonderful- mr. serblin has some of the best ears in high-end audio. i do have some concerns however with the introduction of the stradivari which doesn't image/stage that well (according to reviews)- at $40k that's not encouraging- it should do everything plus make cappiccino imho. i also feel that the amati's should do 20hz-20khz with ease, with tight, deep bass and macrodynamics second to none, especially at ITS price point. the amati-2's hopefully resolves these issues, although the pictures of it (that i've seen) aren't nearly as nice as the red-violin finish on the amati-1's.
so, i don't know if sf has done quite as well in designing large/expensive floor-standing systems as they have in previous years with their monitor-line, from a price comparison standpoint. i have guarneri's in one room, and eggleston andra-2's in my living room. both sound great to my ears, but as of late i've been tweaking/upgrading the guarneri system and the speakers actually "communicate" a bit better than the egg's, which are connected to a MUCH more expensive system (amazing). i do wish the sfg's could go a little lower (bass), so now i want to either get a different amp or better interconnects (or both!$!) to see what the little guys can do, without getting a subwoofer. but i just can't get over how good sf speakers sound- my first exposure to them was at the stereophile show in miami years ago, where i 1st heard the extremas. and, even under show conditions, the sf's sounded better than 95% of the competition in the other rooms, regardless of size, design, or price. i wasn't the only person who waited patiently for a chance to sit in the front-middle chair, where the realism and the imaging was really spectacular.
that day perhaps more than any other had an enormous effect on what kind of a system i myself would eventually end up with.
Late to the thread so my comments are going to be of no help to you Kjgp but may be of help to others. I was trying to make the same decision a couple of years ago and ended up with Kharmas. Anyhow, I really liked the Cremona. They were more "exciting" but I felt it "pushed" the bass a bit too hard for my tastes. I hope it doesn't overwhelm your room with bass (as it can do that). The Guarneri was simply much more refined and exquisite (not just the looks). But it needed a sub and so it was simply more money.

But if I was in the same boat, it would be a hard choice. The Guarneries are clearly the better speakers but they are going to be replaced so that might be an issue.

About the reasons behind your choice. I actually think it's the opposite. The Cremonas need to be played louder than the Guarneries. I doubt many owners play the Guarneries at too high of an SPL level. I would not worry about the stands being too high. If anything, the Guarneris and the Cremonas for that matter, are meant to project up. And so ceiling height would actually be the more important factor than room length or width with the Guarneries.