We went to Vicenza, Italy, the home of luxury loudspeaker manufacturer Sonus faber to listen to the limited edition Ex3ma launched in spring this year.
We entered the music room where Ex3ma stood, in its aerodynamics-inspired shape, the perfect combination between tradition and modern, performance and aesthetics. Its huge soundstage forms the basis of an emotive listening experience. Once you close your eyes, the Ex3ma disappears and envelops you with a 3D representation that defies space. Notes from the instruments flow in and out with a natural decay, reproducing the perfect acoustic guitar. Different layers are clearly represented, helped by the excellent 'airy' details highs delivered by the new 30-mm beryllium dome tweeter. What's most compelling is the extraordinary transparency coupled with the 'as it is' sound that the Ex3ma delivers with fidelity. They even provide clues into how the original recording was made, and the quality of the sound chain.
Thirty pairs of Ex3ma will be produced to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sonus faber. Head of Research & Development Department Paolo Tezzon explained that the collection's name is a nod to 'Extrema', a milestone in the brand's history. As a tribute, the best materials have been used in each part of the new Ex3ma. From the carbon fibre pattern on the complex, 6-element mold that forms a perfect 'v' and the beautifully laquered Val di Fiemme red spruce wood – cut with CNC high precision machines into asymmetrical shapes – , to the Avional and Ergal aluminium, gun metal basket arms and DLC beryllium diaphram of the tweeter, each Ex3ma's crossover is personally set by Tezzon who assembles it by hand. Thus, the Ex3ma boasts not only a fast, detailed sound but also the pursuit of sophistication.
“Sonus faber has a unique story to tell, from its foundation in 1983, to its position as a leading brand within Fine Sounds Group today,” Director of Marketing Fiore Cappelletto explained as we walked through the artisanal factory. Specialized craftsmen are dedicated to each step of production. “Most of the components used to produce the loudspeakers come from within a 50-km radius of this factory,” emphasized Head of Industrial Design Department Livio Cucuzza. This meant that from the prime materials such as wood and aluminium, all the way to the finished product, every part is numbered and can be clearly traced to its origins. Thus, 'Made in Italy' is guaranteed – a quality made even more precious if the client requests personalization.
Fine Sounds Group CEO Mauro Grange underlined a key factor in Sonus faber's authentic production: the attention paid to every step. “There is no compromise on the highest standards of materials, craftsmanship and performance.” The factory is as transparent as it is artisanal. Every line, from Toy to Ex3ma, is produced under the same roof. Even Venere, the only collection produced in China, uses premium wood shipped from Italy. Chinese and Italian craftsmen work hand in hand to deliver the same top-quality products.
He also told us that while Sonus faber has plans to enter the emerging markets, it is apparent that Asian markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and China have a much richer music culture where customers look for a perfect sound. Thus, they are encouraged to spend time to listen to Sonus faber loudspeakers in an appropriate setup so that they can truly appreciate the quality.
“We are the only loudspeaker manufacturer that actively pursues both design and sound technology. While we must manufacture something that the client will appreciate for aesthetics, we cannot sacrifice the technical aspects that make our products precision instruments. Quality speaks for itself, and these are works of art that speak to you.”