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Sonus Faber New $750k Flagship ‘Suprema’ Speaker System

Sonus faber Suprema

Sonus faber Suprema


  • Product Name: Suprema speaker system
  • Manufacturer: Sonus faber
  • Review Date: May 06, 2024 00:00
  • MSRP: $750,000/system
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

Main Speakers Specs:

  • Frequency Response: Front Drivers, 45Hz – 40KHz; Rear Drivers, 500Hz – 20KHz
  • Sensitivity: 91dB 1m/2.83V
  • Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohm
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 100W – 700W
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 75 x 25.6 x 34.65 inches
  • Weight: 242.5 lbs each

Subwoofer Specs:

  • Frequency Response: 16Hz to 30/80 Hz (variable based on the setting of the electronic crossover)
  • Sensitivity: 92dB 1m/2.83V
  • Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohm
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 500W – 2000W
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 57.1 x 33.46 x 23.42 inches
  • Weight: 227 lbs each

Sonus faber has always made expensive speakers. The Italian company markets itself as a luxury brand, placing a greater emphasis on style, sophistication, and aesthetic elegance than many of its competitors. That’s not to suggest that high performance isn’t a priority for the company — Sonus faber has made many fabulous-sounding speakers over the years, including the active streaming Duetto bookshelf speakers ($4,000/pair), which I recently reviewed. At the higher end of the market, Sonus faber’s offerings have pushed into six-figure territory on more than one occasion. But the brand has never occupied the same rarefied air as the world’s most expensive speakers. Models like the Magico M9 ($750,000/pair) and Wilson Audio WAMM Master Chronosonic ($875,000 including subs) sell for truly bonkers sums, and will only be owned by a handful of the planet’s wealthiest audiophiles. It’s easy to scoff at these designs as the playthings of billionaires, with no relevance to normal people living in the real world. But their existence allows the companies that create them to fund extensive research and development projects, which ultimately progress the state of the loudspeaker art, and sometimes yield design advancements and new components that trickle down into less expensive offerings. Now, in celebration of the company’s 40th anniversary, Sonus faber has announced its own uber-speaker, the Suprema ($750,000/pair, including subs).

Sonus faber Suprema: Overview

Sonus faber Suprema side

Still rooted in luxury and meticulous craftsmanship, the Suprema is also an assault on the state of the art, featuring groundbreaking engineering and promising “unparalleled audio excellence,” according to Sonus faber. It is easily the most ambitious project ever undertaken by the company. The Suprema system comprises two main columnar loudspeakers, two separate passive subwoofers, and a pure-analog, fully-discrete external active crossover to blend the main speakers with the subs. The main speakers are a 4.5-way design in a sealed cabinet featuring Sonus faber’s signature lute-like shape — a callback to the first Guarneri bookshelf speaker from 1994. The carefully-considered curves ensure “seamless integration and the ability to disappear from the virtual soundstage,” according to the company. The wide-baffled subwoofer cabinets are also sealed, and their unusual proportions remind me of the beautiful second-generation Sonus faber Stradivari loudspeakers ($50,000/pair), introduced in 2023. The large baffle allows the subs to host large transducers without taking up a huge amount of floor space.

Materials quality and exquisite detailing are hallmark elements of any high-end Sonus faber speaker, but the Suprema takes these attributes to another level entirely. The application of each material was determined by its “individual characteristics and ability to complement one another to enhance their best properties,” according to the company. The speakers employ carbon fiber, chosen for its exceptional strength; wood, for its harmonic qualities; and solid, CNC-machined aluminum, for its static qualities. A multilayer wood material was used for the side panels of the main columns. Sonus faber says that these panels create “the illusion of ‘wings’ via a unique 3D bending shape.” In true Sonus faber tradition, the front baffle of the main speakers is dressed in leather — but not just any leather. Sonus faber partnered with renowned luxury furniture brand Poltrona Frau to source genuine Italian leather manufactured by “the most talented craftsmen in the country,” according to the company. 

Sonus faber Suprema: Loudspeaker Design

The Voice of Sonus faber

Each of the main speakers features eight front-firing and two rear-firing drivers. On the front, the tweeters and midrange driver are combined in an assembly known as “The Voice of Sonus faber.” Although other speakers from the brand use this same moniker, the Suprema features three new elements in its “Voice,” starting with a 20mm treated silk-dome super tweeter with a dedicated waveguide and neodymium magnet. Beneath that is an all-new 38mm treated silk-dome mid-tweeter, also with a dedicated waveguide. Perhaps most interesting is the new 6.5-inch Camelia midrange driver with a white cellulose pulp diaphragm and dual-driver motor system with a neodymium ring magnet. (More on that later.) Below “The Voice of Sonus faber,” an 8-inch “link mid-woofer” employs a neodymium slug magnet, a 2.6-inch voice coil, and a sandwich paper cone. Each main column also uses four 8-inch woofers — two at the top of the driver complement, and two at the bottom. These also feature dual-driver motor systems with neodymium ring magnets and 2-inch voice coils to move the sandwich paper cones. The crossover points are 360Hz, 430Hz, 1700Hz, and 6700Hz. Sonus faber says that the materials used in the drivers are “in line with Sonus faber tradition,” but the electroacoustic elements are all new designs from the ground up. On the rear of each main speaker, you’ll find a 28mm silk-dome tweeter crossed over at 2,300Hz to a 4-inch paper cone midrange driver, which operates down to 500Hz.

Sonus faber Suprema: New Midrange Driver

Midrange Driver

The all-new Camelia midrange driver was reportedly developed by a dedicated team of electroacoustic engineers in order to “ensure maximum resolution, while maintaining the legendary natural sound of Sonus faber.” The membrane itself has an unusual, non-circular shape, thus avoiding the formation of resonances associated with circular shapes, according to Sonus faber. And its edges are not masked by a surround, as they would be in a normal cone-driver suspension system. The result is that the driver’s entire surface can move unimpeded. The driver’s new dual-drive magnetic system reportedly ensures control and even dynamics, while the “organic” shape of the basket manages air flow. We saw this organic basket shape on the Stradivari woofers. Sonus faber is so convinced of the superiority of this design that the company plans to feature it in all of its next-generation speakers. 

Recycled Cork Acoustic Chamber

The midrange driver and tweeters are loaded in a dedicated internal volume designed to enhance the performance of the drivers, according to Sonus faber. The chamber and its inner walls also feature an organic shape designed via advanced acoustic simulator technology. The chamber is made entirely of recycled cork, chosen for its ability to enhance resolution and the naturalness of the midrange performance, according to Sonus faber. This design also marks the first time that a natural and sustainable material has been used to create an acoustic volume in a high-end loudspeaker, according to the company.

Sonus faber Suprema: The Subwoofers

Sonus faber Suprema front

The Suprema subwoofers were designed both for “optimal reproduction of infrasonic frequencies,” and to optimize the overall low-end response of the system, regardless of the position of the main columns within the listening room. Each sub features a pair of 15-inch drivers with forged carbon fiber membranes and a neodymium magnet motor system. Sonus faber claims that the subs can provide “undistorted pressures” down to 16Hz. Like the main columns, the subwoofer cabinets sit on special decoupling feet created in collaboration with IsoAcoustics. These feet control the coupling between the speaker and the floor in order to achieve “the purest level of silence within musical texture,” according to Sonus faber. The feet are said to help the Suprema system “reach unparalleled levels of dynamics and power, while preserving energy content and avoiding the propagation of unwanted vibrations within the listening environment.” (Recently, IsoAcoustics has also contributed its decoupling feet to several other high-profile loudspeaker projects, including the Perlisten S7t Limited Edition, the PSB Synchrony T800, and several models from the Swedish high-end loudspeaker company Marten.)

Sonus faber and IsoAcoustics: Cooperation for ‘Absolute Sonic Perfection’

IsoAcoustics GAIA Capsule

As I mentioned above, we’ve become familiar with seeing IsoAcoustics isolation products positioned underneath speakers, both as aftermarket tweaks and as part of the loudspeaker’s actual design. The Sonus faber Suprema system is a bit different in that the built-in IsoAcoustics GAIA-Capsule isolators are integrated between the speaker cabinet and the base plate. Sonus faber is a name synonymous with beautiful industrial design, and the team wanted a decoupling solution that would deliver no-compromise performance without interfering with the Suprema system’s carefully-executed aesthetic design. As a true full-range system, the four-column Suprema digs down to 16Hz and reaches up to 40kHz in the highs. From fairly early on in the design process, the engineers at Sonus faber knew that such a wide-ranging and finely-tuned system couldn’t just rest directly on the floor. In order to prevent the introduction of unwanted resonances that would interfere with the purity of Suprema’s sound, Sonus faber turned to IsoAcoustics.

IsoAcoustics GAIA Capsule cutaway

IsoAcoustics in Speaker xrayOnce on board and up to speed, the team at IsoAcoustics devised a multi-level suspension system between the cabinets and the baseplates of both the main towers and the subwoofers. The specially-tuned IsoAcoustics GAIA-Capsule isolators work double duty keeping vibrations from the cabinet from reaching the floor below, while also mitigating the reflection of these vibrations back into the cabinet itself. Because the vibrations are not transferred to the floor, they do not resonate in the room, resulting in a room that sounds cleaner and undisturbed by interference. At the same time, the isolators prevent vibrations from being conducted back into the speaker cabinet, where they could “smear the sound image and impede everything from the frequency response to transients… ultimately blurring the sound,” according to IsoAcoustics. Simply put, even a speaker as expertly-engineered as the Suprema achieves a more transparent and detailed sound thanks to the integration of the new GAIA-Capsule isolators, according to both companies.

We used to have a decoupling system outside of the main body, but that solution with exposed springs or elastomers was always a compromise for us. With Suprema we wanted to keep the design cleaner and more integrated. We had the opportunity to develop a system with IsoAcoustics that is part of the main structure. IsoAcoustics achieve this great performance in the mid-high frequencies where everything becomes clearer without losing dynamics on bass. IsoAcoustics is more precise, more refined, and everything in the soundstage is more clearly localized. We are really happy with the results.

-Livio Cucuzza, Chief Design Officer of Sonus faber

Sonus faber Suprema: The Crossovers

External Crossover 

The main speaker columns contain their own crossover filters, which are partially visible on the sides of the towers via cutouts in the carbon fiber structure. These use “the best mix of electroacoustic configurations experienced by the R&D team in the last decade,” according to Sonus faber, and were reportedly designed by way of simulation, objective testing, and subjective listening in an exhaustive, iterative process. The company sought to achieve “the perfect tonal balance and most rigorous control of the acoustic phases, responsible for impeccable timing and perfect soundstage performance in all three dimensions.” To blend the main speakers with the subs, a separate, external active crossover is included. This dual-mono, fully balanced electronic crossover holds “maximum respect for the electrical signal,” keeping all phase-cutting and control circuits 100% analog. The circuits use only high-quality discrete components, and the power supply is ensconced within a solid aluminum case inside the lacquered wood enclosure. The crossover unit weighs 37.5 pounds, and measures 4.3 inches tall, 17.8 inches wide, and 17 inches deep.

Sonus faber Suprema: Final Thoughts

I expect that many readers already knew how they felt about the Sonus faber Suprema as soon as they saw the price. And if you balked at the idea of spending three quarters of a million dollars on a loudspeaker system, I certainly wouldn’t blame you. It is an objectively ludicrous sum — and that’s before you start shopping for source components and amplification. The majority of Sonus faber’s less expensive speakers are still beyond my financial grasp, so you might expect a cynical reaction from me. And I’ll admit that part of me feels that spending this kind of money on audio is socially irresponsible, even if you’re loaded. But another part of me knows that if I won the Powerball, I’d go totally nuts. At the end of the day, my reaction to cost-no-object designs such as these is one of fascination and wonder. I’ve been fortunate to hear many of the world’s most incredible speakers (check out the aforementioned Wilsons and Magicos, the Living Voice Vox Olympian, and the flagship models from Tidal Audio, MBL, Gryphon, Rockport, and YG). I hope that the Sonus faber Suprema will eventually join the list, and that the technologies developed for this project will inform future designs from the company. In particular, the new midrange driver looks to have the potential to find its way into smaller, less exorbitantly expensive offerings. If, for some reason, you decide that $750K is simply too much to pay for a speaker system, I have good news. You can order the Suprema system with only one subwoofer, for the very reasonable price of $680,000. Both versions of the system are available to order now, and will be built upon request only. Because they’re built to order, you can customize the design by choosing from several finish options for the wood, leather, and metal. How do you feel about mega-expensive speakers? Are you intrigued, or do you dismiss products like the Sonus faber Suprema as pure audio insanity? Share your thoughts in the related forum thread below.

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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