Specialist dealers pick their loudspeaker ranges very carefully these days; the era of endless speaker brands arrayed for comparison are gone, with the preference now being for a lower number of key brands which can offer a growth through their ranges and width within each range.
So it’s significant news to hear that Sydney audio specialist Len Wallis Audio has chosen Sonus faber as its new loudspeaker brand, including models from the Italian brand’s Sonetto, Olympica Nova, Heritage Collection, Homage Tradition and Reference ranges.
Based in Vicenza, Italy, Sonus faber emphasises the traditional artisanship of its speaker designs — ‘Artisan of Sound’ is its tag-line, and its designs are differentiated by the quality of their cabinetry, combining finely polished wood, leather and metal brought together with science and craftsmanship.
Right: Research and Development Manager Paolo Tezzon wiring a high-end crossover
We had the pleasure of visiting the Vicenza production facilities at the time of its 30th anniversary, and there we spoke with the company’s Chief of Industrial Design Livio Cucuzza about their obsession with sourcing the right wood for its speakers. At the time it had secured a particular red spruce for a 30th anniversary limited edition Extrema speaker, of which only 30 pairs were made.
Why this particular wood?, we asked. Is it a very tight grain structure, or what’s the special property?
“It’s the resonance,” Livio Cucuzza told us. “The wood came from Val di Fiemme [protected Italian forests], and it’s very rare, a special wood that is used for violins — it was famous for the Stradivari violins but today it’s still used to make some very important instruments — cellos and violins. The resonance frequency of this wood is very particular. And this wood is protected in Italy, so we can have only these. If you feel, it is very light.
S+I: It is! Is that an advantage? Because often designers go for very heavy speakers?
LC: Yes, of course — if you want to have a totally silent environment it’s better to go with MDF. But if you want to use the resonance, it’s another story. Our choice was not to make the wood totally silent but to use the resonance.
Yet the company also makes use of modern materials — for that limited edition Extrema project for its 30th anniversary used a unique carbon-fibre and wood combination to achieve its combination of tradition and futurism.
Its main ranges similarly combine the latest in driver technology with the company’s unique approach to artisan cabinetry. ITs reference range use DLC (DIamond-like Carbon) beryllium tweeters and bass drivers controlled by Tuned Mass Dampers as used in F1 cars and skyscrapers.
Len Wallis Audio and distributor Synergy Audio have formed a new partnership allowing Len Wallis Audio to be one of the handful of retailers in NSW to carry the Sonus faber range, Managing Director Len Wallis saying that the Sonus faber range was the perfect fit for Len Wallis Audio, offering a premium high-end range of speakers that complemented existing offerings.
For more information visit lenwallisaudio.com