To Hans Wetzel,
Sonus Faber speakers have always been loved because of their beautiful visual design and because of their relaxing sound, super easy on the ears, just as you described in your Olympica I review [on SoundStage! Ultra]: “Indeed, a lack of spotlighting of any part of the sound meant that, in longer listening sessions, or hours of background playing as I went about my day, ‘listener fatigue’ never became a problem. This was surely intentional on the designers’ part, and remains true to Sonus Faber’s roots, and to [Livio] Cucuzza and [Paolo] Tezzon’s aspiration to make this a livable speaker -- easy on the eyes, even easier on the ears.”
However, in your review of the Venere S you wrote that they “sounded different,” “I heard abundant ambience and top-end sparkle,” and “[t]he Venere S toed the ever-slender line between sounding engaging and eager or crisp, lively, almost metallic.”
So, my questions for you are: 1) Do you think that the Venere S is not a livable speaker?, 2) Do you think that with the Ses listener fatigue may become a problem in longer listening sessions?, and 3) The prices in Spain are €6210 for the Olympica I with stands, and €5690 for the Venere S in wood finish (the only one you should contemplate). If you ever quit the reviewing game and had to choose between these two Sonus Faber speaker models for “long-term listening enjoyment,” which one would you buy?
I really like the looks of the Venere S. I think the Venere S is the prettiest speaker I’ve ever seen, too, and being a tower I think that the S can play louder and maybe deeper in the bass, with more dynamics. It costs less money, too, but if you tell me that these are the only points where you think the S is more enjoyable than the Olympica I, maybe adding a good subwoofer later on to the Olympica I we can solve these advantages. Do you not think so?
Hope to hear from you soon. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your reviews.
Oof, this is tough. It seems like you’re really drawn to the Venere S, but also love the classic Sonus Faber sound that the Olympica I exhibits. If the latter is what you’re after, I worry that the Venere S will be too much of a deviation from that for your liking. From the way your e-mail reads, then, I might suggest you spring for the Olympica I and look for a subwoofer down the line.
You did ask what I would do in your situation, though. I think the Venere S is a perfectly competent speaker to live with for the long run, and of the two models you mention, it’s the one I’d buy. Crucially, however, I happen to like the Venere S’s sound. I enjoy extended treble response, and a clean, maybe even crisp midrange. But that sound profile is certainly a bit different than the Olympica I’s, which is demurer by comparison. Trust what you like, and if that’s what you read in my Olympica I review, I think you already know which loudspeaker you should opt for. . . . Hans Wetzel