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Sonus faber Cremona Auditor Speakers Reviewed

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As for this review's preamble, here's why I laboured the point about knowing That Which Has Gone Before: you can now see that the Cremona Auditor is to the Guarneri Homage what the floorstanding Cremona is to the Amati Homage, and in every respect - sonic as well as physical and financial. Y'see, the Auditor sells for only 2149 per pair, with the stands costing another 399. As a result, even if you NEVER plan on relegating these to the rear channel role of a surround-sound set-up, the Auditor is precisely the speaker you should buy if you have long-coveted but simply could not afford the Guarneri Homage. So, another analogy: the Cremona Auditor is to the full-size Cremona what Porsche's Boxster is to the 911: less than half the price, nearly ALL of the performance.

If, as I wrote in the Cremona review, the 'Guarneri may be the finest speaker Franco Serblin has ever devised, but the Cremona is the real bargain in the pack,' that has to be modified. Now I know that the Sonus Faber Auditor is an even bigger bargain.

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It wasn't a brain by-pass which made me assume that the first Cremona was part of the Homage series: its main feature, which has been passed on to the Auditor, is a body with a cross-section like a lute (or a boat-tail, if you're of a nautical bent), as first seen in the Guarneri, then the Amati. The shape is intrinsically superior to a box with parallel sides, for it minimises internal standing waves AND produces a more rigid enclosure. The gorgeous looks are a by-product of both the shape and the use of staves of solid wood in the speaker's construction.

According to Sonus Faber's Cesare Bevilacqua, the Cremonas veer from Homage practice 'in the driver array, crossover and the finish. Although both ranges use the same concept of multi-layer maple, the Homage models are hand-finished like a violin with the "brilliant" varnish which owes its character to the luthiers of centuries past.' The drivers in the Homage models, in addition to being older designs than those in the newer Cremona range, are heavily modified, the crossovers use higher-grade components and connectors, and the spikes are different. Along with detail changes, the Homage models have a sound balance which is less in-your-face, more pensive is such a characteristic can be ascribed to a speaker.

All of which means that the two ranges are NOT mutually exclusive. But I have a sneaking suspicion that those who choose between Cremona and Homage will base their selections on budget constraints rather than any other consideration.

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