Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Sonus Faber Production

Whenever I tour a company, I try to cover all facets of production, but I also try to figure out what makes their products unique and focus some attention there. At Sonus Faber, it wasn’t all that hard to find a few things, but one thing really stood out: leather. It’s synonymous with the brand, and when I took a moment to think about it, I couldn’t come up with another other company that’s implemented the material so successfully and consistently in their speaker designs. As a result, it’s no surprise to find a large area of their factory’s production area just for that.

Leather production

Of course, not all of Sonus Faber’s speakers have leather now -- the Venere line doesn’t. But Venere is Sonus’s lowest-priced line ever, and it’s not made in Italy; instead, to keep costs low, all the Venere models are made in the Far East under strict supervision of Sonus Faber staff. Venere aside, every other current speaker model does have leather and is made in their factory in Italy. In addition to leather processing, the crossover building, assembly, QC testing, and final packaging all take place in-house. What’s not done in the factory is done nearby -- their stunning-looking cabinets, for example, are made not by them, but by a subcontractor in Italy that only does work for Sonus Faber.

One interesting thing I learned about Sonus’s leather is that most of what they use is synthetic, which, according to Enrico Fiore, their marketing manager, isn’t done for cost savings, but because synthetic leather has better consistency (e.g., appearance, thickness, functionality, color, etc.) than the real stuff, which translates to better speaker quality. I believe him because some of Sonus Faber’s speakers are very expensive, so the margins are certainly there, meaning they could afford to use pretty much anything they wanted. Plus, they don’t cut any costs insofar as woodworking goes -- the level of craftsmanship is out-of-this-world good -- or for things like binding posts, footers, and various cosmetic embellishments, which are top quality and obviously quite expensive to implement.

Olympica leather

The one series that does have real leather, mind you, is Olympica, which is their newest and what they were mostly building when I toured the production floor on July 22 and shot the photos in the gallery below. The real leather comes from bulls, which Enrico says is the best. It is cut, stamped with Sonus Faber’s logo, and adhered to the cabinets on the factory floor. Right now the Olympica series has three models: I, a two-way stand-mounted design; II, a three-way, single-woofer floorstander; and III, a three-way, dual-woofer floorstander. They’re all built to the same high standard and exude a high level of quality and styling that is rare at their price points, but typical of Sonus Faber designs.

But Olympicas aren’t the only models they’re building these days. I also saw a pair of Aidas, as well as a smattering of Amati Futuras being built. As Enrico said to me as we walked around, “What you see on the production floor varies by the day, so you never know what will be there.”

Doug Schneider
Publisher, The SoundStage! Network

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