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Sonus Faber Concertino - Help

joetyrrell1986

New member
Jan 11, 2013
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Hi all

I've recently inherited a pair of Sonus Faber Concertino speakers. I've never owned anything this high end before and i'm not sure what speaker cables (& Connections) and what kind of amp to get that will match well. Apologies for my lack of knowledge but would really like to use them to thier best capabilities.

Can anyone help?

Thanks

Joe
 

acalex

New member
Sep 13, 2011
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joetyrrell1986 said:
Hi all

I've recently inherited a pair of Sonus Faber Concertino speakers. I've never owned anything this high end before and i'm not sure what speaker cables (& Connections) and what kind of amp to get that will match well. Apologies for my lack of knowledge but would really like to use them to thier best capabilities.

Can anyone help?

Thanks

Joe
I am a passionate of SF, I have a pair myself. I have tried quite a few amps and found tube amps work particularly well with SF.

What's your budget?
 

joetyrrell1986

New member
Jan 11, 2013
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Hi

I have about £900/1000 at my desposal, though if I can get away with spending less i'd be happy as I don't particularly have a want for the highest quality as it's only for casual listening in my living room. (Now i'm just hoping ive not embarrased myself by grossly underestimating realistic costs.)

Thanks for your help
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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joetyrrell1986 said:
Hi

I have about £900/1000 at my desposal, though if I can get away with spending less i'd be happy as I don't particularly have a want for the highest quality as it's only for casual listening in my living room. (Now i'm just hoping ive not embarrased myself by grossly underestimating realistic costs.)

Thanks for your help
The first thing to sort is the amp, and so put most of your budget on that. At this stage use some simple copper speaker cable like QED 79 strand (or Linn K20 off ebay), and Linn Black I/Cs off ebay (around £20). It is time enough to try out more expensive cables at a later date.

For amps look at Musical Fidelity M3i and Harman Kardon HK990. If you can go a little more expensive, look at Sugden Mystro and Electrocompaniet PI-1.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi,

I have a pair of concertinos for some years connected to a old amplifier creek 4140s2. This worked fine in higher volumes, it has a nice rythmn and it is very musical. But now i need something that works well in much lower volumes and that has a more sweet sound.

I was adviced to maintain the sonus faber and to upgrade the amplifier to get this, since the speakers are still ok. The shop i went mentioned cambridge audio Azur 851A integrated class XD, which seems to have enough power to drive the speakers, but,

1) is a bit beyond my budget

2) does not have a phono input

3) no digital inputs

Doing some research, i found the new Pioneer A-70-K that could match these speakers, at least in terms of power it seems it could fit in. It is cheaper, also have some interesting new stuff like a built in DAC and digital inputs. And a phono input too. Prefereble by Specs.

Have anyone heard this amplifier yet? Is it a good idea to pair these?

If anyone happens to try these, pls drop a line.

Thanks

Vasco
 

MrRibbits

New member
Jun 23, 2013
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Hi there. I'm new here, but also just inherited a pair of SF Concertino speakers. I looked for a good integrated amplifier in the $1K range, and I decided to purchase the "Sphinx" by Rogue Audio. The "Sphinx" is getting excellent reviews, it's a 100-watt (8 ohms) hybrid amplifier with tube input stage and solid state output. It also has a well regarded phono input and headphone output. I'm waiting to receive it, and I can post my thoughts on it once I have put in some listening time. It seems to be a worthwhile consideration in this price range and should pair well with the Concertinos.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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CnoEvil said:
joetyrrell1986 said:
Hi

I have about £900/1000 at my desposal, though if I can get away with spending less i'd be happy as I don't particularly have a want for the highest quality as it's only for casual listening in my living room. (Now i'm just hoping ive not embarrased myself by grossly underestimating realistic costs.)

Thanks for your help
The first thing to sort is the amp, and so put most of your budget on that. At this stage use some simple copper speaker cable like QED 79 strand (or Linn K20 off ebay), and Linn Black I/Cs off ebay (around £20). It is time enough to try out more expensive cables at a later date.

For amps look at Musical Fidelity M3i and Harman Kardon HK990. If you can go a little more expensive, look at Sugden Mystro and Electrocompaniet PI-1.
The Concertinos were smashing speakers and much easier to drive than their more expensive brethren. Properly driven and set up they can sound exceptional

Cno's recommendation of te Electo gets a hearty endorsement from me and one of the middle sized Icon Audio valve amps should do very nicely indeed. Sadly both are rather over budget and I am struggling to think of anything sub £1k that would do them justice.

Personally I would stear very clear of the mainstream Japanese amps at this level, but that is just me. The Rega amps should be a decent fit musically but this is not a combo that I have ever been able to try.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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matthewpiano said:
davedotco said:
Personally I would stear very clear of the mainstream Japanese amps at this level, but that is just me.
Hi Dave. I'm interested to know why you say this.
Apart from my usual elitist, pig headed view on all things hi-fi I assume?

OK, I'll try to explain but only if you promise not to laugh.

I have over the years found a few products and manufacturers that are to me on a different plain to most of the hi-fi world. These products somehow manage to defy my normally rational responses to equipment and, flying in the face of my usual high regard for accuracy and transparency, simply reproduce music in a way that is far more engaging then any comparable products.

Many of these products are pretty expensive but the Concertinos at a very modest price do a pretty good job of engaging me, not as much as my favourite Electa Amator but pretty good nevertheless. Buy my usual standards the Concertinos are not remotely hi-fi but I like what they do immensly.

On the other side of the coin I find inexpensive japanese amplifiers to be bright, analytical and the exact opposite of engaging, so I would not dream of partnering such an amplifier with a Sonus Faber loudspeaker, even one as modest as the Concertino.

Now the funny bit.

Even though I know that these comments are unfair and probably far from reality, my own (psycological) biases are so strong that I have to take them into account when choosing equipment for my own use. Ie, see japanese amplifier > expect bright analytical sound > hear bright analytical sound, expectation bias at it's simplest!

I know this is probably all in my mind but from time to time I find other people with comparable views (particularly in my time as a dealer), so I find myself wondering if there may, just, be something in these observations.

This nagging doubt is real and unsettling enough that it would influence my spending to such a degree that, were I in the position to be buying a decent system at this time, the Electrocompaniet mentioned by Cno above would be one of the cheapest amplifiers I would seriously consider.
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
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If you are not seeking high quality audio - why not sell the S fabers and get somehting more modest and pocket the difference.

I am only guessing here but speakers like that might be a bit revealing of whatever you feed into them - you might bet better results of all more modest gear - it might be a more enjoyable listen to someone no that into it

Just a thought
 

Tacty

Well-known member
Jun 15, 2013
27
0
10,540
you are giving concertinos more credits than it deserves...they're not the last word in transparency, speed or dynamics...let alone weak bass and small scale of music...it's a good speaker but not the end of the world...tube amps are good idea, but i don't think they're good partners for low wattage tubes...and it means ££££ for appropriate tube amp...

@dave

i'm basically a tube guy, but couple of months ago i bought yamaha a-s500 for summer setup, partnering with vienna acoustics haydn grand...it is beyond my expectations, big, bold and beautiful sound, with no traces of harshness, grain or cold, analitical sound...i wonder what reviews and oppinions about yamaha will be if it is repackaged in some kind of high end like box with two knobs...
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Tacty said:
you are giving concertinos more credits than it deserves...they're not the last word in transparency, speed or dynamics...let alone weak bass and small scale of music...it's a good speaker but not the end of the world...tube amps are good idea, but i don't think they're good partners for low wattage tubes...and it means ££££ for appropriate tube amp...

@dave

i'm basically a tube guy, but couple of months ago i bought yamaha a-s500 for summer setup, partnering with vienna acoustics haydn grand...it is beyond my expectations, big, bold and beautiful sound, with no traces of harshness, grain or cold, analitical sound...i wonder what reviews and oppinions about yamaha will be if it is repackaged in some kind of high end like box with two knobs...
Concertinos are the baby of the range and not that difficult to drive, something decent with paired EL34s should do the job.

If the Yamaha is that good why hang on to your valve amps?

Because they are better, thats why. It simply depends how important that difference is to you.

My main sysyem, now sadly in storage, is driven by a 30wpc valve amplifier utilising paired EL34s in pentode mode.

It is not required to drive big wideband speakers to any great level but within it's capabilities and driving my small 2 ways with dipole ribbon tweeter it is fabulously enjoyable.

By my usual standards the system is not even hi-fi as it lacks both bandwith and scale but as I tried to explain in my earlier post, it has qualities that lift it to a level that is inhabited by very few components or systems.

Again as I said ealier, these are intensly personal observations on my behalf and not to be taken out of context.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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davedotco said:
It is not required to drive big wideband speakers to any great level but within it's capabilities and driving my small 2 ways with dipole ribbon tweeter it is fabulously enjoyable.

By my usual standards the system is not even hi-fi as it lacks both bandwith and scale but as I tried to explain in my earlier post, it has qualities that lift it to a level that is inhabited by very few components or systems.
IMO. That is the difference between a system that is all about enjoyment, as opposed to one that is about analysis. The two can be the same, but often aren't.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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CnoEvil said:
davedotco said:
It is not required to drive big wideband speakers to any great level but within it's capabilities and driving my small 2 ways with dipole ribbon tweeter it is fabulously enjoyable.

By my usual standards the system is not even hi-fi as it lacks both bandwith and scale but as I tried to explain in my earlier post, it has qualities that lift it to a level that is inhabited by very few components or systems.
IMO. That is the difference between a system that is all about enjoyment, as opposed to one that is about analysis. The two can be the same, but often aren't.
Back in the day when I knew all the answers, I was of the opinion that a hi-fi system could be evaluated in two ways.

Firstly by its ability to reproduce, as accurately as possible, whatever was on the recording. This would revolve around matters of low distortion, transparency and dynamic range.

Secondly by its ability to reproduce the essence of the performance, to reproduce the vibrancy of real people playing real music in a real environment.

Clearly both methods have limitations, many of them quite obvious but, strangely, I began to find components and systems that actually appeared to fulfill both criteria, systems that, while clearly accurate to the recording, did not over emphasise the faults and managed to convey the music with a sense of reality that was beyond the simple electo mechanical process of reroducing the data (digital or analogue) of the original recording.

One of the first components that I recall stepping up to this level was the Koetsu Red phono cartriges, then the early Electrocompaniet amplifiers, mid 90s Sonus Faber speakers and a few others. These components appeared to have an almost magical effect on systems lifting them to new levels. Such components and systems became, for me, the 'gold standard' and I considered pretty much everything else to be just mid-fi.

My own proper system has this capability, though by my usual standards has too many limitations on large scale music to be considered real hi-fi. Fortunately, or not, I am one of those people who find that I am uncomfortable listeming to large scale music in a small domestic environment, so the limitations of my sytstem are, for me, easy to live with.
 

altruistic.lemon

New member
Jul 25, 2011
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I'd go NAD. Not bright and analytical, but well balanced and erring on the rich. Also much cheaper than the other options mentioned.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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altruistic.lemon said:
I'd go NAD. Not bright and analytical, but well balanced and erring on the rich. Also much cheaper than the other options mentioned.
I am not that familiar with their current range but if it is anything like there older models this is a decent call.
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
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davedotco said:
Back in the day when I knew all the answers, I was of the opinion that a hi-fi system could be evaluated in two ways.

Firstly by its ability to reproduce, as accurately as possible, whatever was on the recording. This would revolve around matters of low distortion, transparency and dynamic range.

Secondly by its ability to reproduce the essence of the performance, to reproduce the vibrancy of real people playing real music in a real environment.

Clearly both methods have limitations, many of them quite obvious but, strangely, I began to find components and systems that actually appeared to fulfill both criteria, systems that, while clearly accurate to the recording, did not over emphasise the faults and managed to convey the music with a sense of reality that was beyond the simple electo mechanical process of reroducing the data (digital or analogue) of the original recording.

One of the first components that I recall stepping up to this level was the Koetsu Red phono cartriges, then the early Electrocompaniet amplifiers, mid 90s Sonus Faber speakers and a few others. These components appeared to have an almost magical effect on systems lifting them to new levels. Such components and systems became, for me, the 'gold standard' and I considered pretty much everything else to be just mid-fi.

My own proper system has this capability, though by my usual standards has too many limitations on large scale music to be considered real hi-fi. Fortunately, or not, I am one of those people who find that I am uncomfortable listeming to large scale music in a small domestic environment, so the limitations of my sytstem are, for me, easy to live with.
Dave,

what else is in the davedotco Hall of Fame?

Matt
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
2
18,545
davedotco said:
Back in the day when I knew all the answers, I was of the opinion that a hi-fi system could be evaluated in two ways.

Firstly by its ability to reproduce, as accurately as possible, whatever was on the recording. This would revolve around matters of low distortion, transparency and dynamic range.

Secondly by its ability to reproduce the essence of the performance, to reproduce the vibrancy of real people playing real music in a real environment.

Clearly both methods have limitations, many of them quite obvious but, strangely, I began to find components and systems that actually appeared to fulfill both criteria, systems that, while clearly accurate to the recording, did not over emphasise the faults and managed to convey the music with a sense of reality that was beyond the simple electo mechanical process of reroducing the data (digital or analogue) of the original recording.

One of the first components that I recall stepping up to this level was the Koetsu Red phono cartriges, then the early Electrocompaniet amplifiers, mid 90s Sonus Faber speakers and a few others. These components appeared to have an almost magical effect on systems lifting them to new levels. Such components and systems became, for me, the 'gold standard' and I considered pretty much everything else to be just mid-fi.

My own proper system has this capability, though by my usual standards has too many limitations on large scale music to be considered real hi-fi. Fortunately, or not, I am one of those people who find that I am uncomfortable listeming to large scale music in a small domestic environment, so the limitations of my sytstem are, for me, easy to live with.
Your post really rings true for me especially where you say ,

" Secondly by its ability to reproduce the essence of the performance, to reproduce the vibrancy of real people playing real music in a real environment. "

This is a wonderful description and has always been my aim when building my HiFi system.

Probably with more luck than judgement I think I have achieved it with my present system and it makes me very happy indeed , it captures the essence of the music better than any system I have ever heard and puts real sounding performances with convincing scale and dynamics in front of me .

Words cannot describe how happy this makes me ! :)
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Bear in mind that some items might be quite specific to their era, but I could add ARC Reference Series, full range Martim Logan panals, Quad 57s, Naim 12s/160 (fabricated case), Roksan TMS turntable, Harbeth 30.1, Epos ES14 speakers and in more recent times Electrocompaniet and Devialet amplifiers.

My own playback system falls into this category, with the limitations mentioned above, and I do miss it. It is pretty expensive, at retail anyway, and there is no way that I could afford a system at that level these days. If i was looking for a decent system in todays marketplace I would stat looking at Devialet 170 and Harbeths.

Not exhaustive by any means and not that many recent examples either as I no longer have access to the range of equipment that was open to me as a dealer.
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
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davedotco said:
If i was looking for a decent system in todays marketplace I would stat looking at Devialet 170 and Harbeths.
I heard the D-Premier through the Super HL5s a couple of weeks back (the Devialet 170 hadn't arrived in the UK yet). A superb-sounding system. Wonderfully clean, spacious and dynamic. Part of me is still tempted by the Devialet 170, but I'm going to live with the MF AMS35i for a while, as it was such a great deal second hand. It'sarriving after lunch today, and I'm picking up a pair of Super HL5s on loan later this afternoon. Should be up and running this evening.

Matt
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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I have a serious antipathy to MF products so yours is not a route I would consider taking, were I looking to spend a little less than the Devialet/Harbeth combination then one of the Electrocompaniet integrateds with PMC Twenty.22 would be a starting point.

The PMCs have a substantial sensitivity advantage over the Harbeths so should be more suited to the lower power outputs of the Electros. Never heard the combination though, so these thoughts are entirely speculative.
 

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