Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 Loudspeaker System (Part 3)

4/24/2013 3:35:11 PM

 It’s a very mature performer at a price where rivals all too easily betray a lack of breeding…

I’m sure those elaborately shaped and angled cabinets play at least some part in the success the Venere 2.5s have with imaging. Again, they’re not up with electrostatic panels in their ability to hang voices or instruments in space like specific stars in the night sky, but still proved very handy at articulating a coherent stereo image and ramming it out into the room with no apologies made. Jazz is of course a great test for this, so I donned my black polo neck and sparked up a Silk Cut for John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman’s My One and Only Love – a seminal early sixties Impulse offering if you’re of the goatee bearded, Jack Kerouac reading persuasion. These boxes sure got on this track on the road; the saxophone sound was sublime, the vocals arresting and the piano a joy.

Generally this is pretty hard to spot, it’s just when the drummer gives it ten tenths the Venere 2.5 doesn’t quite go the extra mile

None of this would have been possible of course without a powerful yet disciplined bass performance. You’d never call it light – even when carefully positioned the low frequencies announced their presence on everything I played but it was always enjoyable. There was a physicality to the proceedings that suited rock and jazz really rather well, but you might find it a little overpowering in smaller listening rooms, or if you like the sort of anechoic chamber bass which is ultra-damped. In my room it was great sumptuous and extended right down to the bottom octaves.

So many floor standers of this size and price seem to slur the leading edges of new notes and cling on to the fading remains of the old ones, but you could never say that about these Sonus Fabers. But neither does the low bass stop and start with the speed of a light emitting diode. Instead it always feels weighty, and this tends to push the song along very enjoyable. Grace Jones’ Slave to the Rhythm proved wonderfully fulsome and powerful sounding, but there was just the teensiest sense of overhand on those bigger bass notes.

The only other mark on an otherwise squeaky-clean copybook was the very slight compression you get when the volume is turned up in anger. At high levels, the dynamic accenting on hard hit snare drums isn’t quite as explicit as, say, on a similarly priced PMC. Generally this is pretty hard to spot, it’s just when the drummer gives it ten tenths the Venere 2.5 doesn’t quite go the extra mile. Again however, as soon as you remember the price, such criticisms seem churlish…

Sound quality

Although not quite the most forensic or revealing at the price, this speaker boasts a wonderfully smooth and sumptuous balance that’s delightful to set ears on, yet still exhaustively imparts the music embedded in any recording. It’s a very mature performer in a way that’s frankly unexpected at the price one where many rival all too easily betray their lack of breeding. Factor in the superlative build, styling, finish and pedigree and Sonus Faber’s new Venere 2.5 floor standing speaker is pretty hard not to love.

In sight

On test

Sounds Faber claims 89dB sensitivity for the Venere 2.5, which is about 1dB optimistic according to our noise measure of 88.2dB, averaged for the review pair. The specified nominal impedance of 6 ohms is also somewhat high given our measured minimum modulus of 3-5ohms, which indicates that a 4 ohm rating would be more appropriate. But the Venere 2.5 is nonetheless a relatively easy load to drive with a minimum EPDR (equivalent peak dissipation resistance, which also takes into account impedance phase angle) of 2.2 ohms at 90 Hz. Frequency response errors 200 Hz – 20 kHz, measured on the tweeter axis, were a little high at  6.4dB and 6.6dB respectively, principally because of narrow notch in output between 6 kHz and 9 kHz, but careful selection of listening height may reduce this.

Otherwise the overall response trend is quite flat before a 3dB plateau in the last audible octave. Bass extension is commendable at 30 Hz for – 6dB ref 200 Hz, explaining the modest sensitivity figure. Pair matching was a little disappointing at 4dB. The cumulative spectral decay waterfall shows fast initial energy decay with only some low-level resonances at treble frequencies.

In sight

In sight

1.    29mm silk dome tweeter gives a smooth sound.

2.    180mm Curv polypropylene mid driver integrated nicely

3.    180 Curv woofer gives plenty of bass heft

4.    bi-ware-able binding posts are beautifully finished

5.    Front mounted slot type reflex port moves a lot of air

6.    Internally ribber, curved cabinet is superbly finished

How it compares

The princely sum of $3,450 buys you monitor audio’s superb GX200. This is one of the closet price rivals of the Sonus Faber Venere 2.5, but you’d never know it listening to the two together…

They’re as different as an Aston Martin DB5 and a Ferrari Daytona, the Italian speaker sounding more exuberant emotionally, a little more expressive and generally a more engagingly emotional experience.

The British box us and altogether more measured affair, and if truth be told a good deal more accurate. Bass is more even and slightly tighter; mid band offers a touch more detail (although the sound staging can’t quite match that of the Italian), and that gorgeous tweeter gives the sort of high frequency insight that you just can’t get from something sporting a cloth done.

Annoyingly though, just simply can’t ascribe an outright win to either. They’re simply different, the Monitor Audio being a calming, dry Earl Grey tea to the sweet frothy Cappuccino that is the Sonus Faber. That’s exactly why – yes that’s right – you need to find a good dealer and go and listen for yourself, preferably with your own amplifier and ancillaries. Either way, you’ll end up a happy customer.



§  Sonus Faber Venere 2.5

§  Origin: Italy/ China

§  Type: Floor standing loudspeaker

§  Weight: 19.45kg

§  Dimensions: (W x H x D mm): 340 x 1,107 x 437mm


§  Specified sensitivity: 89dB

§  Specified impedance: 6hms

§  29mn silk dome tweeter

§  180mm Curv midrange unit

§  180mm Curv

§  Bass unit

§  Distributor: absolute sounds

§  Website:

Our verdict

§  Sound quality: 5/5

§  Value money: 5/5

§  Build quality: 5/5

§  Ease of drive: 4.5/5

§  Like: Smooth, polished tonal balance; expansive sound staging; overall musicality; superlative build and styling

§  Dislike: Bass prominent, especially in smaller rooms

§  We say: Beautifully presented, great sounding affordable floor stander

§  Overall: 5/5


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