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Sonus faber amati anniversario review

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Like Sonus Faber's other Homage designs, the Amati's lute-profiled cabinet is created from horizontal layers of maple of varying thicknesses, combined with a polymer glue that offers internal damping and reinforced with internal ribs. The consequence is said to have maximal rigidity to control panel and air-space resonances; finished in seven layers of high-gloss lacquer, with a baffle covered in black leather and a piano-gloss black rear panel; it also makes for a wonderful, if heavy, piece of eye candy, especially with Sonus Faber's traditional vertical-string grille in place.


The four drive-units are fixed vertically in-line on the front baffle. Whereas the original Amati Homage used a 28mm soft-dome tweeter, the anniversario tweeter is a version of ScanSpeak's 1" (25mm) ring-radiator design, this using a silk diaphragm and fitted with a dual-cardioid rear chamber to eradicate reflections and resonances. Covering the range above 4kHz, it crosses over below that frequency to a 6" polymer-cone midrange unit. Assembled on a "skeletal" diecast chassis and mounted in its own subchamber decoupled from the main enclosure, this uses a voice-coil wound on a Kapton former with a Faraday ring on the pole-piece to decrease distortion. All moving components are said to be vented "for resonance-free response." Twin 8.5" woofers take over below 350Hz, these each using an aluminum-magnesium–alloy cone fitted with a distinctive-looking ventilated phase plug. (The original Amati had pulp-cone woofers.)


Like its precursor, the Amati anniversario was considerably more sensitive than average, at an estimated 91.2dB(B)/2.83V/m, within experimental error of the specification. However, the speaker demands quite a lot of current from the amplifier, with an impedance that remains below 6 ohms for almost all the audioband and drops to 3 ohms for much of the midrange (fig.1). There is also a mixture of 3.8 ohms magnitude and –50° at 68Hz, a frequency where melody can have significant bass energy. This phase angle at higher frequencies is otherwise quite low, but this speaker still needs to be partnered with an amplifier unfazed by high current.


As he had when I reviewed the Sonus Faber Cremona, Sumiko's John Hunter set up the Amati anniversarios in my listening room. Finding the approximately ideal location didn't take long, but then followed a couple of hours of fine-tuning of both rake-back angle and speaker positions. For the former, John adjusted the speaker's front and rear spikes to slope the top of the enclosure back by 4", so that my ears were level with the top of the midrange unit. (Sitting above that axis made the upper mids sound a little "shouty.") In terms of speaker placement, it took final movements of as little as half an inch to bring the stereo image into focus and best manage the transition between the mid- and upper bass. Once John had left, I did some experimentation of my own, but ended up with the speakers back where he'd left them.


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