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World of McIntosh: Listening to the Sonus Faber Serafino Tradition

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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 top floor of the Townhouse was my personal favorite, and it had only a little to do with the two Eames loungers they had available for us to loll about in. I have a great listening chair at home, but the Eames is something else entirely. That leather is ohmigoodness and the overall comfort is end-scene-time-to-nap. I am extremely envious of those with this chair in their listening rooms, even knowing full-well that this chair would add absolutely nothing to my ability to get shit done. Zippo. Zilch. Nada. Nuh uh.

Transparent Audio provided all of the cables for this demo, too. Including:

  • 2m Super Balanced Interconnect: $1,640
  • 10’ Super Balanced Interconnect: $1,880
  • 1m Super Phono Interconnect: $,800
  • 1.5m Premium USB: $650
  • 12’ Super Speaker Cable: $2,200
  • Premium Bi-wire Adapters: $265
  • High Performance Power Cords: $320
  • Powerwave 10 Power Conditioner: $1895

In sharp variance with the other rooms, this setup featured McIntosh Labs electronics. A lot of McIntosh electronics, actually, but I’m not entirely sure what was actually being used. I saw the lovely MT5 Turntable, a pair of McIntosh MC75 amplifiers, an MB50 streamer, but also another suite of McIntosh gear “down below”, including a pair of MC2301 amplifiers that I think had to do with a multi-channel system already installed in the room. Sadly, I didn’t think to ask what was being used. I just basked.

Visually, this was the most arresting of the setups and by far the most inviting. Seriously — the urge to “just be” in this room was nearly overwhelming. The ceilings were way above, the side-walls way to the side, the light was as soft and gentle as a kiss, and on this day in mid-winter, this was the place to be. Of course, the wet bar and big copper tub didn’t hurt, either. The light in this “penthouse” area is due to the enormous windows spilling out onto the adjacent terrace, which while visually stunning, was not exactly friendly for acoustics. In fact, this room had no room treatments at all (understandably, as they would likely encroach on the riveting decor), which pretty much eliminated the ability to render judgment on the sound of the gear being shown, even with the extreme toe-in on the speakers. It was a pity, as I have a hunch that these are the real jewel in the line. Vocals were excellent, however, and given that the McIntosh gear has a reputation (or so I’m told) of being a bit sweet or dark or mellow, I can tell you that this is not what I heard in the room. The rest will have to wait — in the meantime, please enjoy the photos. Hopefully, they’ll give you a sense of what we got to see and hear.

I’ll close by saying that the Serafino is a lovely speaker and it’s beauty is simply undeniable. Again, I prefer the Wengè finish to the Traditional Red, myself, as the sharp color-contrasts between the wood and aluminum trim are both modern and lux in a most refined sort of way, but I fully expect YMMV. I want to say that the MC75 monos would be marvelous amps to pair with these speakers, and if someone would just kindly wrap all this up and send it on over (yes, the room too), that would be just spectacular.

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Photo by Doug Schneider of SoundStage Network

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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 W18XTR-08. Sonus faber designed 180 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

30 Hz – 35.000 Hz, Stealth reflex included.

Sensitivity

90 db SPL (2.83V/1 m).

Nominal Impedance

4Ω.

Suggested Amplifier Power Output

80W – 350W , without clipping.

Dimensions (HxWxD) /Weight

1091 x 396 x 485mm / 430 x 156 x 191″

52 Kg / 115 lb

Price

$ 21,900/pair

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About Scot Hull (979 Articles)

Founder, Editor and Publisher at Part-Time Audiophile and The Occasional Magazine.

2 Comments on World of McIntosh: Listening to the Sonus Faber Serafino Tradition

  1. Bram de Gruijter // February 19, 2017 at 10:55 AM //

    Looking at the amount of bulky amps one would at least suspect a Genesis Dragon 1 system and not these compact 3 way floorstanders :p Or is this a McIntosh dealership lol.

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