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Sonus faber Duetto Speakers Use Ultra Wide Band Wireless Tech

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Sonus faber Duetto

Sonus faber Duetto

Summary

  • Product Name: Duetto
  • Manufacturer: Sonus faber
  • Review Date: December 12, 2023 00:15
  • MSRP: $3,999/pair
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now
NEW Sonus Faber Duetto - The BEST All-In-One Powered Speaker?!

  • Frequency Response: 37 Hz –30,000 Hz
  • Max SPL: 105dB @1m
  • Onboard Amplification: 
    • Tw: 100W Class AB
    • Mw: 250W Class D
  • Connectivity
    • RCA Line/Phono IN
    • Optical
    • HDMI ARC/EARC
    • SUB Output
  • DAC: Sabre/AKM
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 13.4” x 8.3” x 10.7”
  • Weight: 15 lbs each

Sonus faber Gone Wireless?

In early 2022, Sonus faber launched Omnia, the brand’s first wireless speaker. It was a premium, one-box audio solution, not unlike a soundbar, but with a focus on music rather than movies and TV. For its asking price of $2K, you got a gorgeous design crafted from the company’s signature wood and leather, and surprisingly good sound. One of the Onmia’s party tricks was throwing an unusually wide soundstage for a one-box design. This was made possible by an advanced signal processing system and a pair of side-firing full-range drivers, which worked alongside the speaker’s main drivers (one 6.5-inch woofer, two 3-inch midrange drivers, and two 3/4-inch tweeters). The speaker has received positive reviews, and would certainly make a good soundbar replacement in a very classy living room or bedroom. We all love the simplicity of streaming music, and it doesn’t get any simpler than using your favorite app to play music on a self-contained, self-powered system. But as impressive as the Omnia is, many audiophiles — myself included — won’t be tempted by any one-piece audio solution when we know how much better a pair of speakers can perform. We want real stereo separation and precise imaging within a soundstage with dimension and depth. And you need two speakers for that. Sonus faber is now happy to oblige with Duetto ($3,999/pair), a wireless stereo speaker system with built-in streaming capabilities, promising true audiophile sound without the hassle of a multi-component stack of gear.

Duetto 900x450

Sonus Faber Duette Design Overview

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: the Duetto sure looks like a traditional Sonus faber speaker, and that’s a very good thing. Aesthetics are subjective, of course, but this has to be one of the most attractive wireless streaming speakers available. The company says this new speaker follows a “decades-old philosophy of the most natural sound reproduction through the use of natural materials.” The now-familiar lute shape of the cabinet works together with the custom-designed heatsink to increase stiffness and avoid internal resonance, according to Sonus faber. 

Duetto touch controls

The leather top uses the same Senso touch interface developed for the Omnia, allowing the user to control and set up speaker functions such as volume, input selection, and connectivity, using finger-swipes rather than buttons. Finish options are Walnut or Graphite wood veneer. 

Duetto Tweeter and Waveguide

The Duetto is a two-way ported design, and its beautifully-proportioned front baffle shows off the 0.7-inch soft dome tweeter and 5.25-inch mid-woofer. These aren’t off-the-shelf drivers; they’re custom-designed from scratch by the Sonus faber R&D team in Vicenza, Italy. Sonus faber tells us that the silk dome tweeter is equipped with a ferrite magnet system and a copper cap to “amplify the driver’s emphasis on the lower frequencies while keeping the highest notes smooth and clear.” The tweeter also sits within an integrated waveguide that reportedly increases off-axis response and “guarantees an astonishing listening experience from every part of the room.” 

Duetto Woofer with Organic Basket

The paper pulp mid-woofer features a neodymium magnet and Sonus faber’s new Organic Basket, which aims to prevent resonance and ease the air-flow production by the long-excursion of the driver. The mid-woofer also features a copper cap and aluminum ring, and is powered by a 250-watt class D amplifier that provides “the power needed from the mid-woofer to deliver deep and firm bass.” Meanwhile, the tweeter is powered by a 100-watt class AB amplifier that promises accurate and smooth high-frequency reproduction. The system uses high-performance DAC chips  — an ESS Sabre DAC for the main speakers and an AKM DAC for the subwoofer outputs. 

Our intention behind expanding into the wireless speaker category is to provide our consumers with the Sonus faber authentic sound quality they know and love combined into one versatile package. Duetto is a true Sonus faber stereo system, blending 40 years of premium speaker design, Italian style and materials with the modern technology and streaming features. Today’s streaming capability does not compromise quality but rather offers an even higher quality for an almost infinite choice of music. Place the Duetto in your preferred space, choose your favorite source, close your eyes, and enjoy a one-of-a-kind listening experience.

— Livio Cucuzza, Chief of Design, Sonus faber

Sonus faber App & UWB Technology 

The developed-in-house Sonus faber app allows the user to control the Duetto and customize various settings. Inputs include optical digital, RCA line-in with a (defeatable) built-in phono preamp for turntables, and HDMI eARC for using the Duetto with your TV. There’s also a subwoofer output that is automatically activated when a sub is connected. Via Wi-Fi or ethernet, the Duetto provides a suite of streaming options including Apple AirPlay, Google Chromecast, Tidal, Spotify, and Bluetooth. The Duetto is also Roon Ready. A simple button press can change the audio signal to swap which speaker is the left, and which the right. The wireless link between the two speakers is made using UWB (Ultra Wide Band) technology, which reportedly avoids both latency and potential interference in the connection. To my knowledge, the Duetto is the first wireless streaming Hi-Fi speaker system to use UWB tech for the all-important inter-speaker connection. Sonus faber says the UWB connection guarantees a very wide frequency spectrum to send data signals at high speed.

The UWB technology used in the Duetto was provided by Spark Microsystems, a Canadian semiconductor company specializing in next-generation short-range wireless communications. Spark Microsystems says that its goal as a company is to leverage patented technologies to “minimize and ultimately eliminate wires and batteries from a wide range of applications, while delivering a wired-like performance.” Spark’s UWB technology delivers high-quality, uncompressed audio performance that can’t be achieved with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, according to the company. The system supports a range of up to 8 meters between the two speakers. I can’t imagine a scenario in which a pair of Duetto speakers would ever be that far apart, but there’s nothing wrong with over-engineering, and it means that users will have “unfettered placement/positioning flexibility with no compromises in audio performance,” according to Spark Microsystems.

Sonus faber’s Duetto speaker system demonstrates the market’s evolutionary shift to true wireless audio that delivers premium sound without the wires. The Duetto speaker system is based on SPARK’s UWB technology that enables low latency, deterministic, low power, and high-speed data transport, allowing Sonus faber to deliver uncompressed audio across wirelessly-linked speakers — an industry first achievement.

— Julie Delamarre, Vice President of EMEA Sales, Spark Microsystems

The Spark UWB wireless transceiver used in the Duetto uses very little power, and more importantly, boasts both high throughput and ultra-low latency. Spark Microsystems calls it “a new class of short-range wireless connectivity for premium audio applications.” Spark claims that its UWB tech delivers higher data rates and better robustness than other short-range wireless solutions, though it’s not clear what resolution is being used for the inter-speaker link. (For example, the KEF LS50 Wireless II maintains a 24-bit/192 kHz connection between the speakers when connected via ethernet, but that drops to 24-bit/96 kHz when Wi-Fi is used for the inter-speaker link.)

Spark’s UWB technology was chosen for the Duetto speaker system because of its capabilities to deliver uncompressed audio wirelessly with no latency, variability, or bandwidth concerns. These capabilities will give our customers a superior experience because they can enjoy audio as it was originally intended by the artists themselves, with the flexibility of wireless pairing between speakers.

— Livio Cucuzza

Duetto on Stands

The Sonus faber Duetto is available through authorized Sonus faber dealers, like our friends at Audio Advice. Duetto stands are sold separately for $749/pair.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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