Artistic impression The latest generation of the Guarneri is as beautiful as ever, but Ed Selley thinks that it’s so much more than just a pretty face. Read our Sonus faber Guarneri G5 Review.
2-way standmount loudspeaker
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 239 x 377 x 375mm
- 28mm silk dome tweeter
- 150mm pulped paper mid/bass driver
- Claimed sensitivity: 86dB/1W/1M(4ohm)
Fine Sounds UK
WEBSITE sonusfaber.com/en/ finesounds.uk
Of Sonus faber’s longest running models, the Guarneri has established a reputation for also being one of the most attractive. The G5 is, as the name suggests, the fifth iteration which remains a relatively compact, two-way standmount. The tweeter is a 28mm soft dome unit featuring the ‘DAD’ (Damped Apex Dome) structure over the top in order to assist with phase.
This crosses over at 2.2kHz to a 150mm cellulose pulp mid/bass driver designed to give many of the characteristics of paper with greater overall rigidity. A purpose-built neodymium motor system combined with a new tuning frequency allows for deeper extension without distortion.
The Guarneri G5 is remarkably dynamic once it gets some air moving
As well as beefing up the motor, Sonus faber has worked to reduce the mass of the entire driver assembly to improve responsiveness. The crossover allows for bi-wiring in the classic Sonus faber tradition.
The cabinet keeps the lute shape profile when viewed from above, but the whole assembly is now more heavily braced than before. The most noticeable difference for this latest version is the aluminium sections at the top and bottom of the cabinet. Called Dampshelves, they help to quell resonance. Around the back is a metal ‘spine’ that runs the full height of the cabinet – called Stealth Ultraflex. This system of aluminium fins directs the air that leaves the cabinet and increases rigidity at the same time.
The visible metal sections and the darker ‘Wenge’ finish are more contemporary than some of the older iterations (a more traditional red wood and very smart graphite finish are also available), but the quality of build and finish is immaculate too. Our review sample comes with the matching stand – £ a pair.
The changes Sonus faber has made to the way it builds the Guarneri have not altered many of the things we ‘expect’ one of its speakers to do. The way it handles Leila Moss and Gary
Numan’s duet on Vanishing Shadows is rich, sonorous and utterly convincing. The interplay between them – two organic sounds in a sea of electronic noise – is wonderfully tangible. The larger scale instrumental of Olympian by The Neptunes is no less assured. Instruments have definition and character without losing any sense of the wider performance.
There is also no shortage of low-end extension. So long as you have the power to drive it satisfactorily the Guarneri G5 is capable of remarkable heft for a relatively slender cabinet. This is tied to a level of control and definition that ensures even the huge but complex low notes of Grimes’ So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth are reproduced with the correct combination of articulation and impact.
The only quirk to this is that, as well as needing a reasonable amount of power, the G5 is somewhat restrained at quieter listening levels. Some of the scale and three-dimensionality is less apparent at low volumes and can lack a little excitement. Wind the volume on, however, and it is capable of genuine drive. Much of the reputation that Sonus faber has amassed over the years for being a bit pipe-and-slippers is unfair anyway, but this latest loudspeaker is remarkably dynamic once it gets some air moving. The only catch is that these levels might be a little high for some listening spaces, so some care will need to be taken.
If you do have the scope to run it at its preferred level, the Guarneri G5 is a delight. You can reasonably argue that £ (plus the extra £ for the stands) is a very large sum for such a small speaker, but the overall combination of engineering, sound quality and those movie star good looks are impossible to ignore. The result is one of the very best standmounts on sale today •
LIKE: Impressive scale and impact for size; tonality; exquisite build
DISLIKE: Not cheap; subdued at low levels
WE SAY: So long as you can give it the level it requires, the Guarneri G5 is a truly wonderful standmount speaker
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