by Anthony Kershaw
I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time this week in the company of audiophiles I respect while visiting Toronto’s newest high end audio store, Angie’s Audio Corner [full disclosure -- owner Angie Lisi is a long time Audiophilia advertiser - Ed]. Over a fabulous lunch, we discussed the state of high end, ‘where do we go from here’, the wonderful qualities of the equipment on show, music, and a myriad of other topics. All the while, something was catching my eye. The fabulous looking Aida speaker from Italian manufacturer, Sonus Faber.
After excusing myself from the delicious food and expert company, I sat down for an extended listen in the company of the spectacular speakers. I thought I’d share a mini review with you. As they are the only pair in Canada, I felt quite honoured to be in their company. They were driven by Audio Research Reference amps and preamp, Transparent cabling and an Esoteric digital front end (review forthcoming).
Not wishing to hog the sweet spot (which, I guess I did!), I listened straight through three CDs. Buena Vista Social Club, which you all know inside and out (as do I, or, so I thought), Mozart’s Haffner Symphony on a Sony re release (Kubelik/BRSO), and finally the magnificent JVC reissue of Lovro von Matacic’s Bruckner 7 with the Czech PO.
The speakers do things that I have not heard previously from Sonus Faber products. At 120K, they should sound wonderful. But, the depth, space and air these speakers throw at you is pretty amazing. Each CD’s recorded space was faithful to my ear and instruments’ timbre rang true. Of course, hundreds of top quality speakers do that, but these were so coherent and, because of the size, images were appropriate to performance.
I took many, but here are a few mental notes: drum knocks and guitar placement in Buena Vista so placement specific, the (in)famous audition bass part from finale of Haffner brilliantly defined, and the spectacular solo horn entrance (blended beautifully with cellos, yet completely distinct and separate, if that makes sense?) after the opening violin tremolo in the Bruckner 7 opening movement. These three mental notes and many more made me adore these speakers instantly. Scary good.
The Aidas are in the JM Labs Focal price stratosphere (the new price for the Grande Utopias is $190,000, making the Aida a bargain!). And, I would suggest that even after such a short audition, in the same league sound wise. If you’ve heard the JM Labs and love them, try to hear the Aidas. They differ from the slightly ‘in your face’ presentation of the French speakers (’you spent 190K on me, I’m fabulous, now, pay attention to me when I sound as good as this’!) to a slightly more relaxed presentation. Not loose, not flabby, just different. And easily as musically enjoyable.
Try to organize an audition. The typical Sonus Faber finish? Bloody awesome. None better. End of. And, do read the website where it’ll explain how the speaker can accommodate rooms of different sizes and taste in sound delivery.
Angie’s Audio Corner
12261 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, ON, L4E 3M7