OK, call me a sucker for fine Italian craftsmanship and fine loudspeakers. Guilty as charged. I remember walking into a local HiFi shop here in Minneapolis and seeing the Sonus Faber Amati Homage in person for the first time. As a un-jaded 22 year old without much HiFi experience, my mind was blown in every way. The look, the feel, and the sound created an impression that I haven't forgotten to this day. I was reminded of that experience when I first saw the press release a few days ago for the new special edition Sonus Faber Il Cremonese ex3me in the classic “Red Violin” finish.
I can't wait to hear these speakers in person. I really hope Sonus Faber keeps a traveling pair or at least a pair in the McIntosh Townhouse, for those of us who can't afford one of the 50 pairs to be produced. Here's the full story straight from Sonus Faber.
SONUS FABER LAUNCHES THE NEW EXCLUSIVE LIMITED-EDITION II CREMONESE EX3ME INSPIRED BY THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY PROJECT EX3MA
INTRODUCING THE II CREMONESE EX3ME
(September 22nd, 2020) – Sonus faber is proud to introduce the new special edition Il Cremonese ex3me. Introduced in 2015 with the intention of completing the Sonus faber Homage Collection, the speaker was named after a traditional Italian violin, the Il Cremonese. This violin is the most famous among the master Antonio Stradivari’s creations. Due to its superb sound capability, the new Il Cremonese speaker immediately placed among the ranks of Sonus faber’s Reference Collection catalogue, becoming a favorite among the Sonus faber R&D team members.
This predilection turned the Il Cremonese into a crucial internal Sonus faber work instrument, serving as an effective test bench for the development of various technical solutions due to the innate versatility of its electroacoustic configuration.
This concept led to the idea of using Il Cremonese as the foundation for a unique loudspeaker system characterized by new technical features with a precise performance target: absolute neutrality working around the behavior of both the top and bottom ends of the audio spectrum.
Il Cremonese ex3me embodies a loudspeaker system coming to life by combining elements from the original project, such as midrange and woofers, with iconic solutions derived from Sonus faber’s 30th Anniversary Celebration concept speaker model, Ex3ma.
Several new design solutions contribute to a precious electro-acoustic jewel available in a special, limited run of 50 pairs embellished by the return of a traditional Sonus faber finish, the classic “Red Violin”.
THE ELECTROACOUSTIC PROJECT
• High frequencies
From Ex3ma, Il Cremonese ex3me inherits its most iconic component, the Beryllium DLC tweeter.
Exclusively for these 50 pairs, Sonus faber approaches this transducer construction with a material well known in the high-fidelity industry since the 70’s. Thanks to its formidable physical characteristics, Beryllium has unique and beneficial characteristics in terms of transparency and micro dynamics. The typical sound presentation of its “metallic flavor”, due to the material’s resonant frequency above 20 kHz, is mitigated by the treatment of ‘D.L.C. (Diamond Like Carbon),’ which essentially changes the mechanical nature of the beryllium while leaving its mass relatively unaltered.
With a treatment called “Chemical Vapor Deposition" a layer of D.L.C. is deposited on the diaphragm surface, turning it black and giving the Beryllium the amorphous nature and the strength of the diamond. As a result, the new diaphragm is increasingly rigid with a nearly unperceivable resonant frequency (above 35 kHz), making it capable of extremely fast sound, very detailed and airy and free of coloration.
The powerful Neodymium magnetic system and the rear decompression chamber made of Ergal (Aluminum alloy) CNC machined from solid billets, guarantee extreme dynamic linearity and maximum resolution in reproduction.
• Middle frequencies
The mid-frequency dedicated transducer remains similar to the original model in order to preserve the iconic “Voice of Sonus faber”. This 180mm midrange features a cone manufactured according to the classic Sonus faber recipe: an air-dried, non-pressed blend of cellulose pulp, Kapok, Kenaf, and other natural. This treatment guarantees a natural sound with increased transparency and greater detail.
The Neodymium magnetic motor system is completely “Eddy Current Free” thanks to a copper Faraday ring strategically placed in the gap. The final touch a 1.5’’ voice coil made in Copper Clad Aluminum Winding (CCAW).
• Low frequencies
The two 180mm woofers of Il Cremonese ex3me are implemented in an independent acoustic chamber, acoustically amorphous and fitted with down firing ‘Stealth Reflex’ ducts. Their cones feature the ‘sandwich’ membrane made of two sheets of our cellulose pulp recipe with a layer of hi-tech rigid syntactic foam in between them. This construction technique provides maximum coherence with the mid-high units and ensures, speed, rigidity and low mass in the driver. These woofers cones are mounted on the Sonus faber die-cast Aluminum baskets designed for structural rigidity and maximum ventilation to the moving parts.
• Ultra-low frequencies
The 2 side-firing infrawoofers featured in each loudspeaker are designed ad hoc for this project. Their diaphragm is made from nanocarbon fiber, used not only for its incredible structural rigidity, but also as a call back to the mid-woofer of Ex3ma-- the project that gave the name and inspiration for Il Cremonese ex3me. This Tri-laminated sandwich cone diaphragm features Nomex honeycomb core and manages the driver’s excursion and resistance to flexing, even at extreme amplitudes.
Like the woofer, the infra-woofers are implemented in independent acoustic chambers, acoustically amorphous and each fitted with their own ‘Stealth Reflex’ duct.
• The Crossover network
The blend between the Beryllium DLC tweeter and the midrange is obtained courtesy of a totally redesigned mid-high crossover network, using non-inductive resistors and air core inductors. Capacitors are Mundorf Evo Silver Oil and Evo Gold Oil designs, known for their supreme performance in audiocircuitry.The entire crossover network implements Paracross TopologyTM, a special circuit making the crossover less sensitive to radio-frequency interference, lowering noise floor.
The overall aesthetic design of Il Cremonese ex3me does not stray from the original model, except for the detail of the tweeter- which diverges from the iconic "arch" of the D.A.D. system in favor of the protection grille applied in front of the Beryllium D.L.C. dome.
The design maintains the "Romboidal Diamond Design.” The 5-sided cabinet breaks the classic rules of Lute or Lyre shape. Taking inspiration from the shape of Sonus faber’s Lilium Collection, Il Cremonese has cleaner lines with a more edgy design aesthetic. Maintaining the absence of parallel walls ensures that the acoustic characteristics are not compromised by standing waves or internal reflections.
This solid cabinet is further strengthened by two "Dampshelves" machined from solid billet aluminum forming the top and bottom of the cabinet. These structural elements increase rigidity and lower resonance that contributes to the attenuation of spurious noise that contaminates the purity of the musical message.
Spurious micro-vibration is grounded to the Zero Vibration TransmissionTM system that mechanically decouples the entire loudspeaker from the floor using a combination of metal and elastomer isolation components inside of a multi-part coaxial spike assembly, called “Silent Spikes”. The result is an audible improvement in transparency and dynamics.
Il Cremonese ex3me has a suggested manufacturer retail price of 58,000 USD.
Il Cremonese ex3me will be available worldwide from September 2020.