SONUS FABER BOOKSHELF SPEAKER ADVICE: Lumina II; Sonetto I; Sonetto II; Venere 1.5

venessian

Novice Member
SONUS FABER BOOKSHELF SPEAKER ADVICE: Lumina II; Sonetto I; Sonetto II; Venere 1.5

I would appreciate advice from readers who have direct experience with any or more of the following Sonus faber bookshelf speaker models:
Lumina II
Sonetto I
and/or Sonetto II
Venere 1.5

NEED:

Bookshelf speakers with great musicality, in a normal living room, especially off-axis (I do not sit in a set position), front-ported.

I have recently heard and really liked a pair of older Sonus faber Cremona M stand-mounts, as well as KEF R3 (the KEF are out of our budget). The speakers I directly compared to which I did not like much were various Bowers & Wilkins (606 S2; 607 S2; 705 S2) models, Monitor Audio Silver 100, and Martin Logan. Focal Chora 806 were recommended by a friend, but we could not listen to them anywhere. Both stores I visited stated that if I preferred the Sonus faber Cremona and the KEF R3 and did not like B&W and Monitor, I would very probably like any of the other Sonus Faber models, and not so much the Focal.

Based on this and other research, inexperience in audio matters, and fatigue from research/etc., I would like to narrow the list down to just the Sonus faber models. The max $1200 budget allows for either new Lumina II or used Sonetto I, Sonetto II, or Venere 1.5. I am trying to gather information between these models as I cannot audition any of those.

The Lumina II seem to garner universal praise, and I have been told I would enjoy them. What appeals to me a bit more about the Sonetto I, Sonetto II, and Venere 1.5 (but only if they are acoustically equal to or better than the Lumina II) are the slightly larger size and the classic Sonus faber "lute" shape.

PURPOSE:
Music almost exclusively. The speakers would connect to the TV but HT is not a requirement at all.

ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT:
Cambridge Audio AXR100 stereo receiver
Rotel 955 CD player
2 x Rythmik L12 subwoofers

ROOM:
The room is a standard small/medium living room (not a "listening room") of ~240 sf with a 60 sf dining area diagonally away from where the speakers would be. So, ~290 sf total (~2,500 cf). The speakers would have to sit on 16" maximum deep solid shelves, so front-ported is good. Speaker stands are not a viable option, for both space and budget reasons.

Any advice and impressions from those who have experience with any of the Sonus faber models listed above would be welcome.
 

alanalain

Novice Member
Hi, did you ever sort it out and does it appear that the Lumina 2 would be better than the retired Venere 1.5 ? Thank you...
 

venessian

Novice Member
Hi, did you ever sort it out and does it appear that the Lumina 2 would be better than the retired Venere 1.5 ? Thank you...
Sorry for the delayed reply, but the final decision only occurred recently, and I thought this thread had died since there were no replies.

The short answer to your question is "Yes".

Although I never heard the Venere 1.5 anywhere, I read enough reviews of them and listened to other Sonus faber enough to know that was my take at least. The consensus seemed to be that Lumina are just a better built speaker, for starters, as well as utilizing more recent technology and 100% built in Italy at SF factory newer. Also, not as strictly oriented to being an "entry-level HT speaker" like the Venere. In my opinion, the Lumina II are well worth it over the Lumina I unless one has a really small room. You can read my impressions of the various Sf models below. The Lumina II is very impressive.

I hope this helps.

**********
Here is the longer answer I posted on another forum a few weeks ago, with more history on the search and with the various contenders I did listen to quite a few times:

I decided I did not want to buy the used Sonus faber Cremona Auditor because of the color/no grilles/price/stands, ergo not risk damage transporting them home and back, so I decided it was between Sonus faber Lumina II, Sonus faber Sonetto I, Vandersteen VLR Wood, and KEF R3. I did A/B compare the Lumina II and the Cremona at the dealer one last (third) time, and was sufficiently impressed with the Lumina II on second/third listen that I thought excluding the Cremona Auditor was the correct decision.

I had already crossed the KEF R3, as good as they are, off the list for my specific preferences and purposes.

Then, as noted above, I really liked the Vandersteen VLR Wood but also had some issues with them and decided I would be happier without them.

So in the end I bought the Sonus faber Sonetto I. They arrived today, are connected, and I have been listening to them for the last 4 hours. They are great, even better than at both dealers. I like everything about them, sonically, and find the design and piano black color really elegant. I love them.

Honestly I think I would have been OK with any of those 4 listed above, but feel like these are the right ones. I am not a seller/flipper; these will be with me a long time, likely for my life.

I will finish by saying that the new "entry level" Sonus faber are excellent, very consistent across Lumina and Sonetto lines. Fabrication is top-notch, and they sounded excellent in different stores, with different equipment. They are strong. That said, the:
Lumina I: just too small, only good for a desktop/small bedroom in my opinion. Not feasible in a larger, standard room in a 2.0 or 2.1 system.
Lumina II: really excellent, much "bigger" presence than the Lumina I and even gives very little away to the Sonetto I. Definitely worth the cost increase vs Lumina I.
Sonetto I: I do prefer the larger size, the lute shape, and the piano black finish of Sonetto over Lumina. I also think they sound a bit more developed, refined, balanced. Initially I was not sure that the $600 cost difference between Lumina II and Sonetto I was worth it (I still think it might not be for many buyers, especially when buying new) but in the end considering the characteristics and the fact that I am a one-time buyer I did think it worth it for myself. They merge extremely well with the Rythmik L12 subwoofers. I really have no regrets.
Sonetto II: I never had a chance to hear these but I suspect they are super. Worth the cost increase over Sonetto I? That I do not know; they seem very similar.

I am in the studio now, across a small hall from the living room where the Sonetto I are playing, so I am very off-axis, etc. The sound is still wonderful, precise, rich, light. In fact when I walk into the living room, and then into the kitchen, I really do not find the Sonetto I sound changing much with axis shifts and distance, other than volume of course. That is great performance for my life-style.

Room:
Standard residential living/dining room, approximately 14' x 18' + 7' x 6' nook
(circa 294 sq ft / 2,350 cu ft)

Equipment:
Speakers: 2x Sonus faber Sonetto I
Subwoofers: 2x Rythmik L12
Integrated Amplifier: Cambridge Audio 851A
Network Player: Cambridge Audio 851N
CD Player: Rotel RCC-955
Cables: various Blue Jeans Cable
 

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