Sonus Faber Fenice Speaker

The Italian high-end bastion Sonus Faber is well known among audiophiles for its superb speakers. Just over a month ago, the company introduced its latest creation—the Fenice—at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.

The driver complement and configuration is somewhat more complicated than found in many speakers. On the front face, the highs are handled by a 1-inch ring-radiator tweeter that is visco-elastically decoupled from the main baffle, and it sits in front of natural-wood acoustic-labyrinth chamber with a mechanical anti-resonator. The midrange driver is a 6.5-inch cellulose pulp/papyrus cone that, like the tweeter, is decoupled from the main baffle.

Also on the front face are two 10-inch woofers, whose cones consist of high-tech syntactic foam sandwiched between layers of coated-cellulose pulp, giving them the same character as the midrange driver. Bringing up the bottom is a side-firing 15-inch subwoofer with a similar sandwich construction, except in this case, the outer layers are a nano carbon-fiber material. Two low-frequency reflex ports are treated with special material to fine tune them and reduce any port noise.

Two more drivers are positioned on the back of the speaker—a 1-inch ring-radiator tweeter and 4.5-inch, ported, paper-pulp/papyrus midrange driver—in a module called the Sound Field Shaper.

Adjusting the direction and output level of this module with controls on the back panel affords you some control over the direct/reverberant soundfield.

Many steps were taken to minimize vibrations in the cabinet. For example, it employs dual-curvature, cross-grained plywood with a double-thickness constriction layer. Also, the cabinet is decoupled form the floor through a patent-pending suspension system, and aluminum "vibration conveyors" on the top and bottom of the enclosure "collect" vibrations from the cabinet walls and drivers—somewhat like a parabolic antenna collects radio waves—and transmits them to a "mass damper" that cancels structural resonances by vibrating out of phase.

The result of all this innovation is a frequency response from 20Hz to 35kHz and a sensitivity of 92dB/W/m. And the cost? The press release says "over 140,000 euros" per pair ($186,000 as of this writing). Sonus Faber has decided to make only 30 pairs of the Fenice, so order yours now to avoid disappointment!

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Cabrera's picture

Who designed this speaker? If my memory serves me right Franco Serblin left Sonus Faber in 2005.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Cabrera, your memory serves you right. I don't know who designed the Fenice.

Jarod's picture

Id love to give these babies a listen. Its the kind of speaker that just looks high performance.

Seth G.'s picture

To only make 30 pairs seems such a waste as if the price alone didn't make it exclusive enough - means its going to be very rare and near impossible to get to hear for myself. Which I find more than a bit disappointing... Am I the only one noting a bit of similarity in the shape of the Fenice and the Ktema speaker by Franco Serblin? The Ktema seems to be exaggerated a bit more - I have to wonder how long the idea for the shape has been gestating with Mr Serblin and if we are seeing some of that train of thought still lingering in the design of the Fenice. Despite his absence from the company. Especially given that Sonus faber is stating that the Fenice shape is an evolution of the "lute shape" with a new dual curvature.

oskie's picture

C'mon...its too expensive! How about a good speaker for regular people like us?

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Seth, I also noticed the physical similarity between the Fenice and Ktema, which also led me to speculate about what influence Franco Serblin might have had on the Fenice. But he's been gone from the company for five years, so I doubt he had any direct influence, other than perhaps some early sketches he left behind. Oskie, the purpose of this blog is to profile extreme A/V products that most of us can only dream about. I don't know about you, but I find such dreams to be a lot of fun!

Bob (LOTR)'s picture

They have the looks, they have the price, they have the sensitivity (I wonder about the impedance though), they have a limited production, they have the technology, they have a lot, and they must have the sound too. - But what do they have that I don't?, I don't have the dough for them, just the dream... Speakers are not like women, they can be duplicated to a certain extent. I can give a shot at it, nobody can stop this, I just need a cooperative owner... But women, might is well just forget it; you might be able to find a similar exterior, but it's the interior that ain't so easy to duplicate. In the future though, surrogates might become a reality.. And then, you might be asble to fine tune them to sound just the way it pleases your ears, and other senses too... But will it be common sense? Who knows, only the future holds that mystery. We are indeed quite interesting as a human race, and we can create a lot, but can we recreate the world all over again, or are we simply better at creatin

Bob (LOTR)'s picture

^ creating the end of it? * Runned out of characters!

Scott Wilkinson's picture

You're quite the philosopher, Bob!

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