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World of McIntosh: Listening to the Sonus Faber Amati Tradition

wom-manhattan-03472-2

The McIntosh Group had set up representatives of the new Homage Tradition loudspeaker line in different listening rooms, scattered throughout the WoM Townhouse, and then invited their dealers, distributors and the local press to wander about, to see, touch and taste.

The Amati is the largest in the Homage Tradition lineup, and yes, it’s big. Interestingly, it doesn’t consume as much physical in-room space as I’d have thought, which is part of the reason for the straight-up cabinet design. Toed-in and set rather back from the couch, the speakers could easily have filled with sound a room twice the size as this “master bedroom” sized room at the Townhouse. Here, they were driven by Audio Research electronics, including the new Reference Phono 3 preamplifier (lashed to a Pro-Ject Signature 12 turntable), a Reference CD9, a Reference Phono 3, Audio Research Reference 6 preamplifier, and a pair of Reference 250 amplifiers.

Transparent Audio provided all the cabling, including the following:

  • 2m Reference Balanced Interconnect: $5,940
  • 15’ Premium USB Cable: $950
  • 12’ Reference Speaker Cable: $8,340
  • Premium Bi-wire adapters: $265
  • Reference Power Cords: $1,100
  • PowerIsolator Reference Power Conditioner: $3,995

In the spirit of confession, I’ll offer that this room was quite toasty; the two amps were kicking out enough heat to make this setup untenable for all but the largest or most well-ventilated of rooms. Sonically, I thought that there was plenty of tonal color and general power; I just wish I was able to settle in without having to get naked. Don’t get me wrong, this was move I was heading toward, but alas and alack, the TONEAudio crew was in attendance, and I kinda got the feeling that the new Sonus Faber Brand-Manager Will Kline might be less inclined to send me some of his gorgeous speakers if I ended the day on his sweating into his couch in my fancy socks and neon-green knit boxers. Ah, well. We’re probably all better off because of it.

It’s worth noting that I’m unfamiliar with the speakers, which are new, or the electronics, which are a mix of new and not-quite-new-but-not-old; please forgive me if I beg off on attributing this or that sonic feature to any particular element in the chain. That said, my notes said “powerful”, which usually translates as “great bass”; the limiting factor was clearly the room, not the system. I’ll add that the scale of presentation was fascinating — I wanted to grab my copy of The Planets and see what was what, but that was not to be (because I didn’t bring that piece of music … sigh).  If it helps, I can add that “nothing stuck out”, and no, that’s not weak tea. If they’re designing for coherence, and they are, I can believe it, listening to their 3.5-way speaker and that’s a real neat trick, there.

I think almost all of my listening time was spent on the digital end, so I can’t comment on the new Pro-Ject or the new Reference Phono 3, but the digital playback was silky and lovely, bearing all the hallmarks I usually look for, including air, space, charm and slam. This system was very convincing.

My initial, and final, reaction happened to be the same — I wanted to hear more of it. Until I can pull the system apart, I can’t and won’t render judgments on components, but I’ll say that the whole here is the set of some very interesting parts, so that deconstruction would be cheerfully welcomed.

If it came down to a vote, I think the Guarneri system was the more compelling demo, but it is probable that this was entirely due to how well the system fit the room. But, even given room-based trade-offs, the Amati is a whole different animal, more tiger than leopard. It’ll play big, and by big, I mean huge. Plan accordingly.

Specifications

System

3.5 way, full para-aperiodic vented box “Stealth Ultraflex” system and “Zero Vibration Transmission” technology, decoupled from the floor, staggered low-frequency floor standing loudspeaker system.

Tweeter

H28 XTR-04. Sonus faber silk dome 28 mm “Arrow Point” DAD, implemented with a natural wood acoustic labyrinth rear chamber.

Midrange

M15 XTR-04. Sonus faber designed 150 mm neodymium magnet system ultra dynamic linearity midrange.

Woofer

2 x W22XTR-08. Sonus faber designed 220 mm lightweight “sandwich” cone structure (high-tech syntactic foam core and two external surface skins of cellulose pulp) woofers.

Cross-over

Non-resonant design, optimized amplitude/phase response for optimal space/time performance. “Paracross topology”. The impedance at low-frequencies is controlled for a clear and friendly amplifier performance. Double staggered transfer function low-frequency/room interface optimized filter. Highest quality is used in terms of the components: last generation Mundorf “Evo” Oil and Silver/Gold/Oil capacitors, Jantzen inductors. Cross-over point: 80Hz – 250 Hz – 2.500Hz

Frequency Response

28 Hz – 35.000 Hz, Stealth reflex included.

Sensitivity

90 db SPL (2.83V/1 m).

Nominal Impedance

4Ω.

Suggested Amplifier Power Output

100W – 500W , without clipping.

Dimensions (HxWxD) / Weight

1176 x 411 x 512mm / 463 x 162 x 201.5″

61 Kg / 134,5 lb

Price

$ 29,900

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7 Comments on World of McIntosh: Listening to the Sonus Faber Amati Tradition

  1. The stands look like the Italian Bassocontinuo (www.bassocontinuo.biz), maybe there’s an ownership link between the brands?

  2. Are you sure the heat was coming from the Audio Research amps, and not from that old-school NYC radiator right next to them, under the window? Those industrial-age beasts can turn any room into a sauna.

  3. Where can I purchase the fantastic stands
    And this equipment sat on? Thanks up front.

  4. Tracy Harbur // February 6, 2017 at 11:38 AM // Reply

    The title says “listening”. And what did you hear?

  5. Did you by chance get the makes of the room treatments? Esp. the freestanding screens in the corner and off to the side?

    Thanks,

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