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Sonus Faber Guarneri Tradition Review. The $17,000 Speaker that Breathes Music. – Steve Huff Photo

Sonus Faber Guarneri Tradition Review. The $17,000 Speaker that Breathes Music. – Steve Huff Photo

Sonus Faber Guarneri Tradition Evaluate. The $17,000 Speaker that Breathes Music.

By Steve Huff – See my evaluation of the earlier mannequin,  Guarneri Evolution, HERE. 

That is one other HiFi Evaluate. I do these every so often because it has all the time been part of my life and delight in life. So sure, I take pleasure in positive cameras and advantageous audio ; ) 

Do goals come true? Positive! They will and do on a regular basis! I consider if we give attention to our goals, and push these goals out to the universe with sufficient ardour and drive that these goals may manifest for us. Sounds loopy, spooky and religious nevertheless it has by no means actually failed me in life. Perhaps it’s simply my ardour and drive that permits me to perform my objectives however typically it’s simply plain spooky the way it occurs. Extra on THAT later (in one other time and submit) as for now I need to speak about these beautiful audio system that made their approach to my listening room. BTW, I’ve owned EVERY VERSION of this speaker during the last 20 years. The Homage, The Memento and the Evolution. I’m now excited to share my ideas on this latest mannequin, the Guarneri Tradition. Does it surpass what has come earlier than or has Sonus Faber taken a fallacious flip right here? Learn on to seek out out…

A promo video for the Homage Tradition Line from Sonus Faber

In relation to HiFi or excessive finish audio 2 channel stereo copy…

Nicely, I just lately swore off costly audio system (I attempted anyway) after realizing that the actually excessive finish merchandise are typically not a lot extra of an enchancment over (some particular) decrease value fashions and naturally the monetary facet of all of it. Positive in excessive greenback audio system we get the large identify, perhaps a flowery design and supplies however on the finish of the day if a $1500-$5000 speaker can produce music that pleases the ear then why spend extra? Why pay for a reputation? Why spend $17,000, $25,000 and even $100okay on a set of audio system (sure some on the market do) when you will get good music copy from a bluetooth speaker that prices $200? Nicely, a few of you studying this know the reply to THAT query however critically, we shouldn’t have to lay our a fortune for good audio copy nowadays. By “Good” I imply ok for 90% of us on the market on the planet. However what about if we would like “Exceptional” or “Magical” or as I name it “Ethereal”? Properly, that’s one other story as a result of if we would like that final ounce of magic, it prices. Identical to it does on the planet of digital cameras, we will go for a $2000 digital camera or a $15,000 digital camera. Each do the identical factor, however each supply a special expertise. THAT is the distinction right here as properly, the EXPERIENCE. The Expertise is what makes a particular digital camera or speaker value it to the one who makes the acquisition.

The Sonus Faber Guarneri has all the time been a tremendous expertise for me, at the least in its previous variations. THAT is why I purchased them up to now. The construct high quality, the design, the sweetness, the heritage of the design, that particular sound signature of this mannequin, and the very fact that they seems to be like artwork in my room. Some pay $100okay for items of artwork. The Guarneri for me has all the time been a bit of artwork that play a number of the sweetest music chances are you’ll ever hear. So it’s a win win, at the very least that’s how I rationalize it in my head : )

My Luxman 590 AXII Performs Amplification Duties – Evaluation is HERE

Once I take heed to music I would like that sure expertise…one that touches my coronary heart, my soul and one that permits me to really feel the emotion inside the music. I cannot get THAT from a bluetooth speaker or from each system nor from the 1 million greenback techniques I’ve heard in life! Sure, I’ve heard one million greenback stereo system on two events in life, and to me it was type of lifeless so cash spent doesn’t all the time equate to superb sound copy. However there’s a level inside HiFi the place you will get magical outcomes with out spending $50,000 or 1 million dollars on a stereo. Very similar to the digital digital camera market, there are cameras that value $40,000 however does that imply you can’t benefit from the $1,200 digital camera. Even so, that doesn’t cease a few of us from lusting after sure excessive finish cameras from the likes of Leica, or Hasselblad, or different excessive finish manufacturers.

Me, I take pleasure in “good” stereo from decrease finish audio system and amps however the true magic, that power and soul that I take pleasure in greater than something has actually solely come from some larger finish techniques I’ve owned. That final 10% that brings the magic, that many people Audiophiles attempt for and chase like fools. I’m not a millionaire (and even near it) so it has not all the time been straightforward for me to have the system I would like or to justify it to myself or anybody else however I do know what I like, and for me, life is supposed to reside, to take pleasure in and to do with it what makes you cheerful.

For these like me, the music lover, all that actually issues is that benefit from the time, the expertise, and the moments we’ve got when listening to our music..lights dimmed, within the candy spot. It type of massages my soul in a method, and makes me really feel good. 

We aren’t all as keen about music as a few of us are so I’m chatting with you, the one studying this who is aware of simply what I’m speaking about. The Audiophiles who’re loopy, nuts, insane (like me)… spending giant chucks of money for a greater sounding system and doing it whereas on the lookout for that final 5%-10% enchancment. Why can we do it? Unsure however it’s a loopy pastime to be in, but in addition very rewarding. At the very least it has been for me for over 25 years.

The Guarneri Homage Tradition is handcrafted in Italy by craftsman who know their craft. 

The Ethereal Expertise

For over 25 years I’ve been into HiFi, excessive finish audio..or ought to I say, the copy of music that pleases me. I don’t all the time search for probably the most element or the standard audiophile needs and wishes, however I all the time search for the ethereal expertise. The sound that I hear in my head isn’t all the time straightforward to acquire from a set of audio system and electronics, however every so often I get it or get mighty near it.

What has all the time gotten me there…with out fail?

The few occasions in life when my system was sounding so good that it had me in audio heaven, and I imply my favourite techniques in life, all of them had one factor in widespread. That one factor comes within the type of Sonus Faber Audio system, specifically the Guarneri of which I’ve owned all variations and fashions, till this newest model referred to as Guarmeri Homage “Tradition”.

The unique “HOMAGE” have been probably the most lovely audio system I’ve ever owned. They sound simply nearly as good as they appear. 

Whereas I lusted after these new trendy wanting Guarneri, seeing them in photographs, I needed to stay with my very own promise of by no means spending huge bucks on audio system once more, and by “Big Bucks” I imply something over $10okay. I’ve had audio system in my room that vary from tons of of dollars to tens of hundreds, however the most effective of the most effective, those that all the time delivered a particular magic…that ethereal sound that spoke to my soul have been the Guarneris.  I liked all three earlier variations as every provided up a special musical taste whereas type of being the identical in some ways. All of them breathed music, all of them conveyed the emotion of the music.  Positive, I loved many different audio system however none have been giving me that expertise of the Guarneri which I contemplate a musical instrument extra that only a speaker.

The final mannequin earlier than this new Tradition was the EVOLUTION and I beloved this speaker.

My previous Mementos…

I’ve owned every model of the Guarneri during the last 20 years. So I’ve the all of the expertise I have to assessment these newest “Tradition” fashions and can inform you precisely what I consider them. 

I wrote about my historical past with this speaker in my previous Guarneri Evolution assessment. You’ll be able to see that right here as I converse of my expertise with the unique Homage to the Memento to the Evolution. However these new Tradition Guarneris, from what I heard in boards and. evaluations are totally different and take a brand new strategy to the best way that reproduce music. After seeing them within the flesh at an area vendor I used to be frightened that the soul was sucked out of them as the brand new stands (and design) have been totally different than ever earlier than. Extra trendy, much less “old world Italy” vibe. However hey, time strikes on and sooner or later I assume these audio system needed to get a facelift and that they did. What frightened me is I stored studying how these have been a extra trendy Guarneri with a extra tipped up excessive finish. Positive, the older Evolution was a heat fats sounding speaker, however I liked it for that despite the fact that it was virtually leaning to be a tad too heat at occasions. Might it have used extra treble power? Perhaps, properly, wanting again I might say sure. My solely niggle with the EVO’s over time was there was virtually an excessive amount of bass coming from them for my 12X13 room. However man did they sound so candy, wealthy and natural. They did “breathe” music and by no means ever fatigued me.

So the brand new Traditions, a minimum of from what I’ve learn, take a brand new strategy to the sound. I knew if this was the case they would be the 1st set of G’s I might not fall in love with. I liked the unique Homage and so remorse promoting them a few years in the past. I loved the Memento for his or her additional bass and zing however they weren’t as candy as the unique Homage although extra versatile. The EVO’s have been probably the most versatile of all the G’s however some disliked the larger bolder design and overly romantic sound. Design and appears sensible, the unique takes it for me, then the souvenir, then the EVO however all are beautiful IMO. All have prime notch development and supplies that are second to none. Interval. In case you are listening to the “new” Sonus Faber is making these audio system cheaply or inferior to earlier than, that is 100% incorrect. I’ve had all of them, and that is NOT the case with the upper finish strains that are nonetheless handcrafted in Italy, so relaxation straightforward. The new Tradition would be the most properly made Guarneri but.

Sure, this can be a evaluate of the brand new Guarneri Tradition. Being a fan of this speaker line, in truth, being my favourite speaker line of all time I used to be prepping myself for disappointment. Redesign, new funky stands, and a lower cost than the EVO. I used to be apprehensive! I needed to hear them, no…I actually wanted to listen to my room and with my system as solely then would I’ve the solutions to those questions that have been bothering me.

Fortunate for me, after a few visits to see them, my supplier allowed me to take the Traditions residence to guage them in my very own room. Ahhh, my curiosities have been about to be answered!

The supplier (Mike Ware at LMC in Scottsdale AZ) warned me that he had VERY little time on these demos, perhaps 1-2 hours. So he steered I allow them to run for a day or so earlier than listening which I didn’t do, as I used to be too excited to listen to these beauties as quickly as I received residence. Upon setting them up I noticed the brand new stands are totally different and a cause why these audio system might are available for $6000 lower than the earlier evolutions did. Yep, these are going to be a much less money outlay than the previous variations (which retailed for $22okay) but  $7k greater than the unique $10okay Homage. About $2k greater than the Mementos bought for brand spanking new which I consider got here in at $15okay.

Sure, these are insane costs for 2 method screens however these aren’t regular two method screens as they’re additionally half artwork, half excessive grade furnishings and once more, a musical instrument (at the least previous variations have been) that can certainly convey superb emotion with the music in a “touch your heart” type of means. Be mindful there are MUCH costlier small stand mounted audio system on the market than these. There are additionally cheaper that will get you near this sound however not the construct, design, or “tradition” of the Guarneri or that actual sound copy of this speaker.

However the stands are new..smaller, lighter, carbon fiber, skinny…nothing just like the previous large column and strings that made the Guarneri look so spectacular. Gone was the look of the previous, as this was time for the brand new. I assumed perhaps the look would develop on me, a minimum of that was my hope.


So I set these up within the room the place I had my Dynaudio Particular 40’s (and boy have been these 40’s sounding superb, prob my speaker of the yr) and the Guarneri sounded louder and larger than the smaller 40’s but in addition sounded sort of flat, bloated and uninteresting as compared. I used to be anticipating some new treble zing as I’ve examine however as an alternative I heard a heat speaker (which most G’s are) that had no actual air, no actual imaging and simply sounded “there’. They might play loud with out pressure however the place was the magic that Guarneris all the time had? I referred to as my son over to see if it was simply me. I informed him nothing aside from the very fact that I received the brand new G’s in for demo, and seeing that his fave audio system have all the time been the Evolutions he needed to see and listen to them.

His first impression was “I’m not impressed” as he appeared over at me with a disillusioned look on his face. He favored the construct, design and elegance however stated the Dynaudio Particular 40’s sounded method higher, and they’re $13,000 inexpensive! I agreed with him at that second. I used to be shocked and questioned what was occurring. The G’s performed louder with the identical quantity setting over the Particular 40’s however had much less transparency, air and there was no imaging to talk of. Freaked me out to be trustworthy!

(However hold studying to see how this all modified and the way these audio system now have a house with me right here).

Ugh. I used to be excited for these however the social 40’s have been wiping the ground with these new $17,000 audio system. How might this be attainable? Each different model of this speaker was magic on this room. I imply, magic. What is occurring I requested myself?

As my son and I seemed over the audio system we admired the sweetness and development which IMO surpass the unique and memento and even the Evolution. Thee are beautiful audio system in Pink or Wenge although my pref is for the brand new Wenge shade because it simply seems to be so proper for this speaker and the brand new stand. I truly was capable of have each colours right here over time and the Wenge was by far my favourite, however your choice might range.

Anyway, I spoke with Mike Ware and he advised me “Let them run for a couple days, do not even listen to them yet”. I did simply that. I allow them to run for two days with out listening a lot not anticipating my views to vary. However hey, one thing unusual occurred after these two days of fixed operating in…


Nicely, low and behold, two days later I come again into my room and holy bananas. Large sound, 3D sound.  They opened up and gone was the flat sound, the dullness and on this rom I used to be listening to a set of audio system with a few of the greatest imaging I’ve skilled subsequent to the previous Evo’s and Particular 40’s. These have been sounding so so good. An enormous soundstage which was lacking earlier than, lifeless middle vocals which was additionally lacking, and the air that was lacking was now right here however nonetheless not as spectacular to me because the previous EVO’s have been in that space…YET. That Guarneri magic returned, so that made me very comfortable. The bass was wealthy and full however scaled again a tad from the EVO’s which was a great factor in my room. With a smaller mid driver the bass is tighter and has some kick to it as nicely with none bloat in any respect. However these have a velvety wealthy, full but detailed sound as soon as they began operating in.

My fears of the G’s going brilliant or too zingy have been laid to relaxation once I heard the large big wall of sound that was wealthy, heat but detailed and considerably crisp but it was chatting with my coronary heart. In reality, one thing occurred that hasn’t occurred in years..I shed a tear whereas listening to some music. It touched my soul. This can be a true story and it made me keep in mind my days and reminiscences with all earlier Guarneri audio system. 

The unique Guarneri Homage have been with me throughout some particular occasions in life and reminiscences of my son and I when he was simply 5 years previous or so, as we loved music in my  basement with the Guarneri. Whereas we adorned the Christmas tree after a transfer to a brand new home whereas the unique Guarneri breathed out Christmas classics with their beautiful magnificence in full show we danced, sang and had fantastic reminiscences made. I foolishly bought them after deciding I needed extra bass. I’ve regretted that choice for years. These have been particular audio system certainly.

The Mementos have been with me on this home, on this room the place I’m writing these phrases now. They have been with me by way of a divorce and one night time whereas in a deep melancholy I used to be listening to the Mementos with my trustworthy canine at my aspect, shedding tears and realizing that the music and my trustworthy companion was saving me. I misplaced these audio system as I needed to promote for monetary causes at that time however I missed them dearly.

The Evolutions have been launched and I managed to get a pair as I used to be so excited to see a brand new Guarneri and I had fairly the setup and perfected my room and area with them however over time, my room was a tad too small for them because the bass power was immense and on some tracks it will simply be an excessive amount of of an excellent factor. Even so, these EVO’s have been a few of my favourite speaker ever as when it was proper, it was magic. My trustworthy canine handed away whereas these EVO’s have been with me and he would at occasions pay attention with me, or cling with me whereas I listened. After buying and selling within the EVO’s for one thing else I instantly knew I made a mistake. See the theme right here? I promote a Guarneri and remorse it for years. I lose a Guarneri and miss them terribly. This doesn’t occur with different audio system for me, solely the Guarneri. Very similar to once I promote a Leica Digital camera or lens. I remorse it or miss it. Typically I’ve no selection as it might be for monetary causes however what I do know is I really like this speaker because it doesn’t simply reproduce music, it breathes it.

100 hours of run in later….

It’s been a number of days since I began scripting this evaluation as I needed to let the audio system get extra time on them, in addition to place them completely within the room.

So now right here I’m listening to the brand new “Tradition” and as of this second I personal them, and have over 100 hours on them. I bought the WENGE vest low hour (like 2) Demo fashions from my vendor and was capable of do some commerce ins so it was not as painful as earlier fashions ; ) It was a win win and I couldn’t move up proudly owning the G’s as soon as once more despite the fact that my bank card was pushed to its limits. As I sit right here I simply swore to myself that I’ll NEVER eliminate these? Will I someday? If I do I will probably be an enormous dummy as previous Fred Sanford used to say. I’ll inform you why.

I’ve had some superb audio system on this room, and now, after spending hours putting these Guarneri Traditions, tweaking cables and different issues… what I’m listening to is the pure Guarneri magic as soon as once more however with a barely new presentation.

Extra clear, and if I may be 100% trustworthy, these remind me of the unique Homage however with extra bloom, extra bass and whereas the midrange will not be fairly as candy as these unique Homage Guarneri or as full throated because the EVO, it’s 95% there whereas every part else is so a lot better. It has the Homage taste with out query, not the EVO and never the Memento. THIS is an effective factor.

THESE ARE SPECIAL and sure they’re persevering with the Guarneri TRADITION.

These are extra dynamic than the EVO, not as thick sounding because the EVO, extra clear and clear than the EVO and just a little extra 3D as properly however shut. It’s a extra balanced sound than ANY earlier Guarneri ever comprised of what I’m listening to, and for this reason I purchased this pair. It’s superb how a lot operating them in modified them in a mater of 2-Three days. After they did run in, I positioned the Particular 40’s again in and yep, they’re implausible. BUT they now sounded a tad uninteresting as compared, a tad darkish and laid again. Earlier than these G’s ran in it was the other! My son got here by once more and was really shocked as he had written these G’s off and he was shocked I made the acquisition. He now love them simply as a lot as I do after he listened once more.


These are handcrafted in Italy, and by no means have that they had corners minimize. These are crafted like a nice instrument and are one of the best constructed Sonus Faber’s I’ve ever seen (and I’ve owned MANY SF audio system previous to new and others in addition to the Guarneri), so the standard is right here. The Wenge end is just breathtaking in individual. Pictures don’t do these justice. I’ve learn some boards the place some have been saying these are made “on the cheap” nowadays, and that is just a falsehood! 100% Unfaithful.

In the event that they have been I might say so and I might not have purchased them. Fact be informed, I used to be anticipating these to be the worst G’s of the bunch. However this was not the case. These are lovely in seems to be and sound.

Costly? Sure, with a retail of $16,900 and a worth improve coming in 2019 (what a vendor informed me) these are priced excessive, however I used to be simply taking a look at a Leica digital camera that sells for $15,800. A Jim Marshall Leica Monochrome B&W solely digital digital camera from It got here right down to the Leica or the Guarneri. The Guarneri was fairly a bit much less for me after my commerce and I knew I might get extra enjoyment from them over the digital camera (I personal many cameras). So I bit the bullet and gave myself a Christmas Current (after giving my household theirs in fact together with a brand new small system for my son with a musical constancy M2Si and Dynaudio Emit 20’s).

Nope, I’m not wealthy, not even shut. I stay in a small cheap home and drive a mid priced automotive. My enjoyment comes from a number of issues in life. Household, associates, music, images and even religious work. Not with automobiles, watches, boats or mansions. So for me, this can be a buy I’ve no regrets on and one that will convey a lot happiness and delight to me in life. At almost 50 years previous I favor to reside pleased, peaceable and in a constructive approach so I do what I can to being happiness inside it.

These are available two packing containers. One picket crate with the audio system and equipment and one for the stands that are pre crammed with some kind of weighted materials to dampen them. A part of the expertise of those is the unboxing! 

The Guarneri Tradition…what is going to they provide you?

When paired appropriately with a superb amp and cables (I exploit my Luxman 590 AXII (see assessment right here) and it powers them superbly in my 12X13 room.  With a correct setup you possibly can anticipate…

An enormous 3d soundscape, holographic imaging, silky clean tweeter but with element that isn’t over cooked or over finished. Such an ethereal sound with some recordings and with others a exact presentation. Small particulars, intimate particulars however not etched or exhausting, as an alternative lush and large at occasions relying on the recording in fact. Guitars and acoustics sound so good on these, ambient is superb, vocals are wealthy, current whereas not as pressured ahead because the Evolutions, they’re held again within the stage a bit however the imaging is great. The bass is highly effective and by no means flabby because the EVO’s typically acquired for me (with some tracks) and rather more current than with the Mementos which at occasions sounded somewhat skinny to me. The bass with the Tradition’s is highly effective and quick and fast. I don’t want a sub in my 12X13 room with these, under no circumstances. As I sit and take heed to “confessions of the mind” from Enigma the bass is just good. Wealthy, huge, tight, and I can FEEL it in my physique if I up the quantity sufficient. But it by no means “booms”. My Luxman is placing out solely 4o Class A Watts into the four Ohm Guarneri Tradition. These are 86 DB environment friendly so not environment friendly in any respect but the Luxman is giving them a tremendous 3D life. I nonetheless need to attempt a Cross Labs INT-250 although, and that could also be my subsequent amp evaluate. Making an attempt to come up with one if I can for a assessment. However with that stated, the Luxman is so good with these. Intimate, delicate and exact but an enormous sound that is one you possibly can virtually, however not fairly, step into.

In case you are after hyper particulars and tremendous crisp sound, these audio system are usually not for you. If you would like the soul of music, these are worthy of an audition or pay attention as they do have a method of touching your coronary heart. Romance is alive and properly in Italy, and with these Guarneris.

With out query,  Sonus Faber has created the most effective bass efficiency from a Guarneri up to now, with out query on this latest Tradition mannequin. The Guarneri is alive, nicely and nonetheless looks like a dwelling respiration instrument as an alternative of simply audio system. Clean as silk, by no means fatiguing and a candy holographic presentation awaits.


Somebody advised me just lately that these new Guarneri have been simply an Olympica I in disguise. They heard this from a supplier someplace and that had me fearful. Relaxation straightforward my associates, as that is NOT the case in any respect. These are a number of ranges up from an Olympica I. (which I’ve demoed right here as nicely and favored however not sufficient to purchase them at $7k). These are world class, and worthy of the Guarneri identify and are available for hundreds lower than the predecessor, the Evolution.


These are true Sonus Faber audio system that I 100% consider would make Franco Serblin proud. I’ve owned all of them, these are up there with the perfect, the originals, however with sound, even higher. Seems? I nonetheless want and have a mushy spot for the unique Homage. Perhaps as a result of it was my 1st Guarneri, or I knew they have been designed and made by Franco Serblin. That they had a mystique about them to me that was very very particular certainly. Whereas these Traditions sound higher, the unique Homage is one I want to personal once more simply to have. Heck, If I had the money I might personal all variations and have them in show in my house. THAT is how a lot I take pleasure in this speaker and their historical past and heritage. Some will say “That is nuts to buy a $17,00 speaker”. Nicely, I disagree. First you will get them for much less in case you are artistic and have a vendor you will have labored with for some time. Second, that is no totally different from those that spend $15okay on a digital camera. $20okay on a watch. $50okay on a ship. $100okay on a automotive. $200okay on no matter it’s that tickles their fancy. Some have extra money than others and a few simply go together with the bank card to get the issues they take pleasure in in life. If one thing improves upon your life how can we put a greenback quantity on that? Me, I acquired a deal of types on these and can pay it off over time. No worries, no drawback. The remainder of my system is paid off in full, and consists of items that are worthy of this speaker (Luxman 590 AXII, Nordost IC and Speaker Cables, Audioquest Energy cables, PS Audio Direct Stream DAC) so I went for it and haven’t any regrets. I might have gotten a $250 bluetooth growth field and listened to my music however I’ve earned this. I deal with myself and it retains me motivated.

Ahhh, goals can and do come true.

For me, these are certainly probably the most refined and greatest sounding Guarneri made up to now. The seems have modified however the sound is pure Guarneri by way of and thru. A speaker that touches your coronary heart and soul. Whereas not a speaker for everybody, it’s a speaker that might converse to you because it did to me. As all the time, an audition is vital in case you have curiosity in these. I by no means advocate shopping for a speaker of this caliber with out an audition, ideally in your personal residence. 

I purchased these from LMC in Scottsdale AZ. They carry many Excessive finish manufacturers comparable to Sonus Faber, Wilson, Linn, and even are the one vendor on the planet to demo and STOCK the $250,000 Sonus Faber Speaker. It’s an audition that might depart you breathless. They’ve their showroom open more often than not. Their web site is HERE.


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