Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sonus Faber dream

After using so many speakers, I didn't expect myself to be drawn into the sound of the Sonus. Beside the sound, it's a piece of art as well with 21 layers of lacquer paint while the Cremona has 7 layers.

Object of beauty and desire....

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

LA. 4 Just friends

For those of you who love jazz, and love good recording and is looking for a cd to test your system, this LA 4 just friend shall be your perfect choice. You will hear alto saxophone, drums, guitar and bass playing in great harmony.

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Location:Princess Margaret Road Link,,Hong Kong

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sonus Faber ribbon tweeter series

Hifi world often is being ruled by rumors mongers. I was reading the hifi tread and saw many so called experts expressing their concern with the new Sonus Faber Cremona SE series using the ribbon tweeter that is, by the way, often found in high end speakers. They were so afraid of these SE series for Greater China. Some were even afraid that theses might be fake.

IMHO, following my discussion with the sales, my understanding is thatbsince Greater China markets are being handled by Sonus Faber own subsidiary, it is quite common that they may want to launch their latest series in their territories while allowing their distributors time to clear away their existing older models...

Sonus Faber being a big corporation is not stupid. If they can put the latest ribbon tweeter in their top range Guarneri series, why should one be afraid of these latest changes?

Of course, some may prefer the older warmer but slower Sonus Faber sound .. But there are those who can opt for the latest more accurate and dynamic sound using the ribbon tweeter.

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Les Miserables

Just watched the new Les Miserables movie. With the movie, it's about time also to highlight the 1985 original London cast recording...who can forget the song Do you hear the people sing?


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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sonus Faber Cremona versus Cremona M versus Cremona M SE

I was viewing through the forum comments with regards to the Sonus Faber Cremona and it seemed that the first group of people who have bought the Cremona much preferred the Original Cremona then the newer release Cremona M. The suffix “M” indicates a project for the optimization of the little two-way unit with the application of new technologies already introduced and tested with Elipsa. Auditor “M” embodies the Sonus faber tradition in the field of compact loudspeakers, making use of top-quality components and a minimal crossover network. Auditor M employs a gentle 6dB per octave roll off in order to create a refined sound, a musicality of unquestionable charm.

When the second group of audiophiles who has bought the Cremona M saw the new release of the Cremona SE, the same phenomenon happened as they would prefer the Cremona M then the Cremona M SE.

I wonder when the Cremona M SE is being replaced by a newer release, what will the audiophiles say?

It seems that there are so much sentimental values with regards to hifi. For iPad or iPhone of camera, there is a general willingness to accept the newer models then in the case of hifi. It is often these differences that has resulted in much quarrels among the audiophiles.

This phenomenon can be seen in the case of Rogers LS3/5a where the early Gold badge is supposed to be best, followed by the black badge, then there is a comparison between the 15 ohms versus the 11 ohms.. Now, there is even replica...
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Monday, January 07, 2013


While traveling on business trip, I have some time to do some reflection. With the move towards the Sonus Faber Auditor M SE, I have come to realize that human being is sentimental by nature. There are somer users who prefer the Sonus Faber Auditor M instead of the latest Sonus Faber Auditor M SE series. I am sure, there are also Sonus Faber Auditor users who prefers the Sonus Faber Auditor without the "M" series..

From the vintage collection point of view, I can understand as I am collector of vintage watches and pens. However, with vintage watches and pens, there are auction houses such as Bonham, Sotheby's and Christie and with international and global collectors.

For vintage amplifiers, there are no auction houses as perhaps, the maintainence of these are more difficult plus electronics items have a life spend?

Another phenomenon is that there are people who is willing to pay huge $ for the 70s Rogers LS3/5a. Is it basing on quality of sound or sentimental values?

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Location:công trường Lam Sơn,,Vietnam

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Accordo speakers.

With the recent acquisition of the Sonus FAber speakers, it is natural for me to mention Franco Serblin, Sonus Faber founder and ex-director (between 1983-2005), who has now set up his new company Accordo speakers. These new speakers look quite nice with fine Italian craftsmanship.

I have not audition the speakers but one can read a review at:

The price of theses speakers are around hk$60,000 (not cheap considering that these are book shelf speakers). From the review, it seems that the matching of the amplifier is important and is good for listening areas that are not too big.

For the moment, I am happy with the Sonus Faber.

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Saturday, January 05, 2013


After more then 24 hours of non stocks running in, my Sonus Faber is beginning to warm up.

For those of you who wants to test your speakers capabilities for details and hear the stereo effects, you can try 崔健:新長征路上的搖滾 (my favourite China singer) using the track now 5: 假行僧 (especially during the first 32 seconds' where the instruments starts to play before the vocal).. Following which, you will be able to blend in with where the good mix of vocal, plus a multiple instruments interacting together. If your speakers is not analytical enough, you will find the music noisy and clustered. A good speakers will enable you to listen to the details, see the sound stage and transparency with a good high mid low frequencies interacting together. The stereo effect is perhaps is what hifi is about when it first starts.
With the ribbon tweeter 8/70mm high speed, high definition pleated tweeter, the high frequencies are able to capture the "start and stop" of striking of the instruments, it enable one to listen to much details that are previously missing..
If you want to listen to simple vocal plus guitar and light instruments, the track no 4 花房姑娘 will be perfect.
When listening to Cuijian, you will have to listen to the track nos 8: 一無所有

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Location:Princess Margaret Road Link,,Hong Kong

Sonus Faber Cremona M SE and Auditor M SE

Today, i have officially edited my blog title from vintage hifi experience to Vintage & Modern hifi experience. This is especially true now where my power a,Olivier, per amplifier, and now speakers are all modern, while still keeping the vintage Philips CD player, the vintage Western Electric CD isolation transformer.

The evolution from vintage to modern hifi was natural as with the improvement of science and technology, the demand for realistic sound has also heightened. While the vintage gears have its merits, there are many smaller details that are missing..

One day, when I move to a bigger apartment, I shall upgrade to a bigger floor standing speakers...

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Location:Princess Margaret Road Link,,Hong Kong

Friday, January 04, 2013

Chario sonnet and Sonus Faber

My love for Italian speakers come about as a result of the Chario Sonnet superb workmanship. I have seen the photo from the web and was attracted by the design.

Following which, I have tried to audition the Chario Sonnet without much success as many of the hifi shops in Hong Kong only carry the other cheaper Chario models. Even thought, I have bought the Sonus Faber, another Italian brand,there is always a question marks with regards to Chario Sonnet sound in my heart.

Last time, I went to TST and has managed to find a shop who has a pair of Sonnet. The workmanship is really nice but the size of the speaker is much bigger then what I imagine and seen from the photo. Given the size, there will be a need to get the original speaker stands as the depth of the Sonnet is much deeper then the other bookshelf speakers. The appearance and look of the Sonnnet is superb and now comes the sound.

I have asked the shop to connect and let me audition both the Chario Sonnet and the Sonus Faber auditor M SE. The first audition is on the Sonnet and I must say that the music is nice with a stronger base. Then came the auction of the Sonus Faber Auditor M SE. Upon AB comparison, I have immediately known that I have made the correct decision as the sound of the Sonus Faber is much clearer and more analytical and has a clear soundstage. Phew, lucky, I have made the right choice as my previous audition was with the other range of the Chario. IMHO, Chario is also a good pair of speaker but it's strength is in the pop music where the strong bass is important.

For Violin music, jazz and classical music, the Sonus Faber will be there for you. I have asked the shop sales what is the different between the Sonus Faber Auditor M version versus the newer the Auditor M SE version besides the tweeter.

According to the sales, since HK is being distributed by Sonus Faber Asia limited directly and not via a distributor, they tend to launch the latest Sonus Faber Cremona M, Auditor etc with their latest innovation. The ribbon tweeter with its ability to reach higher frequencies and better control, the speakers will be more "accurate"' faster and and dynamic then the older version where there is tendency of being warmer but slight sluggish.

I was formerly a user of vintage speakers but with the improvement in science and technology, I am now starting to open up my mind to accept newer things and allow myself to explore the new equipments. The advantage of the Sonus Faber is that the design of the speakers is still "traditional" in design, with superb craftsmanship (like a violin) with modern technology in term of drivers and tweeters. 

I have realized the different between vintage watch collection where I appreciate the old technology and the play with vintage nostalgic. For hifi, the equipment is supposed to bring out the realism of music and make the home system sound like "live" music, the advancement in term of science and use of materials etc is inevitable.

The sound of vintage amplifiers is a different kind of fun and if the chase is for realism in terms of music and clarity of sound stage and presentation of symphony orchestra music, perhaps one should take another look. If I intend to upgrade, I will move up to the next level of Sonus Faber...haha...

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Ribbon tweeter

My new toy Sonus Faber Auditor M SE version is using the Ribbon Tweeter. What is it? From the web, Ribbon tweeter is
A ribbon tweeter uses a very thin diaphragm (often of aluminum, or perhaps metalized plastic film) which supports a planar coil frequently made by deposition of aluminium vapor, suspended in a powerful magnetic field (typically provided by neodymium magnets) to reproduce high frequencies. The development of ribbon tweeters has more or less followed the development of ribbon microphones. The ribbon is of very lightweight material and so capable of very high acceleration and extended high frequency response. Ribbons have traditionally been incapable of high output (large magnet gaps leading to poor magnetic coupling is the main reason). But higher power versions of ribbon tweeters are becoming common in large-scale sound reinforcement line array systems, which can serve audiences of thousands. They are attractive in these applications since nearly all ribbon tweeters inherently exhibit useful directional properties, with very wide horizontal dispersion (coverage) and very tight vertical dispersion. These drivers can easily be stacked vertically, building a high frequency line array that produces high sound pressure levels much farther away from the speaker locations than do conventional tweeters.
I was told by the salesmen that Sonus Faber will be using these new Ribbon tweeter to replace their existing models. The advantage is that the music produced will be more dynamic and less sluggish....

There are many different types of ribbons with different resistances, thicknesses, responce times etc.. but in general they have a much lower mass then any cone or dome tweeter, respond faster and stop faster then any cone or dome driver and lack coloration. They can have a very high powerhandling with no audible distortion on good designs with good magnets..

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Sonus Faber Cremona auditor M SE

After some running in, my new speakers began to sing! With the speakers and the stand, I can listen to much more then my previous set up.
I have auditioned the violin music and I must say that the presentation is so real! Initially, I was looking at the Chario ( because of its superb wood craftsmanship).

After having AB comparison, I have found the Sonus Faber having much more clarity and clean. The Chario has a much stronger base ( and the sales person has pointed out that Chario with a strong base may be suitable for the playing of AV system where strong base is key).

From the hifi forum, there are some audiophiles who is afraid of this special edition for HK and China. Since I do not have the opportunity to do a comparison, I can only compare the Sonus Faber with the Chario Cygnus to get a feel of the sound characteristics. The Chario having its strength of more base also sounded quite "boxy" while the Sonus Faber sound is more open.

Given the differences in the tweeter, I have emailed Sonus Faber and i have received the confirmation that this special edition having the ribbon tweeter is also made in Italy (and not China) with individual serial number. I have managed to get a very nice 1833 number, which is a bonus..

Given the stand alone costs around,HK$9k+, the promotional price is really exceptional and there are only 30 sets per shops making a total of around 150 sets of the Auditor and 150 sets for the Cremona M ( I guess).

After searching for so long, I have finally able to find a pair of speakers which can give me much more and enable me to listen much more details. I know that there are many who love vintage speakers for nostalgic reasons but IMHO listening to hifi is also about listening to the details and the the Sonic and tones of the various instruments..

So, if you really want to enjoy music, please don't self imposed such limitation. Have a few pairs of different speakers so that you can enjoy vocal, light instruments, and orchestra music. There is no need to keep many pair of the same kind as the differences will not be huge.

The most important thing is to progress and enjoy! To put it in simple language. It's like removing the cloth that has wrapped around the ears and the sound is absolute clarity, clean and with much details..moreover, the workmanship, the speakers touch and feel, attention to details are remarkable!

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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2013: start of a new hifi journey : Sonus Faber Auditor M SE

Happy New Year everyone!
I have started the new year with a casual shopping at the hifi shops. Originally, I was looking to listen to the Italian made Chario Sennet. (I was captured by its good wooden craftmanship) However, the shop only has other Chario models. During the audition, my ears were captured by the sound of Sonus Faber Auditor M SE, another Italian speakers maker, where the budget for these are much higher then the Chario.
For many years, I have been using vintage speakers from Rogers and Chartwell LS3/5a, Tannoy Cantebury, full range speakers including the famed Western Electric 755a. While the sound of the vintage speakers sounded sweet for vocal, I have wanted to try new things..

Following which, I have switched to new speakers such as the Tannoy Mini, and twice the Dali Royal Menuet speakers (both small book shelf speakers) hoping to find the details, and more analytical sounds and detail. 

With the improvement in science and technology, I am now willing to try with new technology, the new speakers will have better presentation in term of sound stage and clarity and analytical sound. With the Sonus Faber Auditor, it gives me the clarity, analytical and sound stage that I want when playing the symphony!
Happy new year !

I have bought the latest Sonus Faber Auditor M SE version where there is a different in the tweeter (using 8/70mm high speed, high definition, pleated ribbon tweeter) instead of the 25mm tweeter. There are not much information on the new SE version on the net as these special edition are made fro HK& China. My initially listening is that it has a very clean musical with good clarity and sound stage. Since I want to change my speakers, I might as well get the latest.. (At one stage, I was even thinking of the old Chario 1, 2 and the Millenium & Old Sonus Faber Coneetino and Concerto..which in retrospect, doesn't make much sense as these weree over 10 years old models)

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