Sonus Faber Venere Speakers and REL T-7 Subwoofer Page 3

Performance

Sonus Faber products are generally designed for enthusiasts who spend a small fortune to hear every last detail in their Diana Krall records. That’s why I’m so surprised to be in the position of describing the Venere 2.5 as a fun speaker.

When I played “May 1, 1990,” from guitarist/ vocalist Adrian Belew’s Here, the Venere 2.5 lit up my listening room with loads of ambient detail, powerful groove from the kick drums and bass, and vivid vocals and guitar. In places, this recording switches abruptly from super-dry mono snippets to huge-sounding, reverb-drenched passages, and the Venere 2.5 conveyed every note, every harmonic, every reverb tail with impressive precision. I especially loved the tuneful, effortless bass reproduction; the 2.5’s port-loaded 7-inch woofer pulled off the tough trick of sounding simultaneously full and tight.

“Sounds so lush and so right,” I wrote in my notes as the Venere 2.5 delivered the lively, danceable beat and the room-wrapping background vocals in Cape Verdean singer Fantcha’s “Cme Catchor,” from her Criolinha CD. I did notice a bit of coloration in Fantcha’s vocal, though: a trace of excess sibilance and a bit of “cupped hands” coloration in the lower treble, which made the sound seem a little more confined to the speakers. I heard the same effect with most other singers, too. Still, it was never enough ?to lessen my overall enjoyment of the Venere 2.5; in fact, I was able to focus on this anomaly because I found nothing else to complain about.

Replacing the Venere 2.5 towers with the 1.5 minis eliminated the cupped-hands coloration — ?no big surprise, considering that the 2.5’s 7-inch midwoofer crosses over to the tweeter at 2.5 kHz, while the 1.5’s 6-inch midwoofer crosses over at? 2 kHz. (For a simple explanation of how and why? this matters, read “Crossovers: A Show and Tell” here.) Suddenly, the midrange opened up wide. Even with a sound as seemingly simple as George Benson’s hollow-body jazz guitar on “What’s New,” from his Giblet Gravy CD, the mini’s mids sounded more natural and spacious than the 2.5 tower’s. There was still a touch of sibilance in the vocals, and of course there wasn’t much bass, but the sound was cleaner and more natural than most other speakers I’ve heard in the 1.5’s price range.

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