Sonus faber Homage Amati G5 Loudspeaker Page 2

Incidentally, Sonus faber's recognition of perhaps the best-known violin maker of all continues. In 2004 it launched its first Stradivari Homage model [HFN Apr '04], and at the recent Munich High End show it marked the company's 40th anniversary with a second-generation version of the design, yours for £45,000 a pair.

sqnote Strings On Song
Set up for listening in PM's main room, a number of aspects of the Amati G5 speakers make themselves apparent in pretty short order. The first is that these artisan-crafted towers have an imposing, if not dominating, presence in the room. On the other hand, the unusual porting strategies make them a lot less sensitive about their position in the room, even if PM's findings about the load they present means some care must be taken about the partnering amplification. In our case, a pair of Constellation Inspiration monoblocks [HFN Oct '19], driven via a dCS Vivaldi One APEX and Aurender W20SE [HFN Mar '23] streamer, proved more than adequate!

Our listening took us through some familiar landscapes, the eponymous Dire Straits debut album [MFSL UDSACD 2184] perfectly illustrating the Amati G5's penchant for very direct communication while also retaining a balance that's ever so easy to enjoy. The same was equally clear with Rick Wakeman's 'Henry Suite' from 'Six Wives Of Henry VIII', here on his The Other Side Of… solo piano album [Classic Media Group DVD5037X], which combines both a great sense of the scale and tone of the piano blended together with the intimacy of the live event.


The Amati's iconic 'lute shaped' cabinet is supported on a stabilising 'ZVT' (Zero Vibration Transmission) base that combines steel and elastomer layers

This balance of smoothness and openness, allied to the weight delivered by those dual bass drivers, is also heard in John Challenger's excellent, atmospheric Salisbury Meditation [AJM; 96kHz/24-bit download]. The Amati G5s ensured a stunning sense of the instrument in the cathedral space, both with the notes hanging in the air and the ability of the larger pipes to pressurise the volume within the walls. All this was aided by the speakers' combination of fluidity and a wide-open treble, delivering all the ambience we could want.

Yes, you can also use these speakers to turn on a big, powerful bass, as with Bonobo's 'Otomo' from his Fragments album [Ninja Tune ZENDNL 279; 44.1kHz/24-bit download], where they sound fast and clean while revealing all the layers going on above the driving rhythm section. But this is really a design all about the timbres of real instruments, while everything else, from weight and space to effortless soundstaging and focus, is just the supporting cast. The Amati G5s are predictably fine with strings – as you might expect given their heritage – but also agreeably toothsome with brass, for example on the Tredegar Town Band's Vaughan Williams On Brass [Albian Records ALBCD052], whether with the folk song arrangements, or the stately music for 'Henry V', with its dramatically martial flourishes.


Hand-selected Jantzen inductors, custom spec. Clarity Caps, plus Mundorf capacitors and resistors are hand-soldered onto Sonus faber's custom crossover PCB

Mind Your Manners
The speakers also deliver a superb sense of orchestral scale on the Eiji Oue/Minnesota Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances [from Reference Recordings' RR-96CD]. Here the focus is always on what's being played rather than 'hi-fi-ness', with solo instruments treated to gorgeously realised tonality while the rest of the orchestra carries the slow-building and occasionally faltering waltz rhythm. And provided you have an amplifier with the (well-mannered) grunt and confidence to drive these speakers properly, as we did with the Constellation monoblocks, there's never any sense of dynamic congestion or restraint. For all that addictive bass warmth, combined as it is with taut control, things just get more exciting as the levels increase and dynamics open up.

That combination of sweetness, openness and expression also serves well Joyce DiDonato's Eden [Erato 0190296465154], with its beautifully balanced voice and accompaniment on the premiere recording of Rachel Portman's 'The First Morning Of The World'. The effect is simply magical, aided no end by the sheer purity with which JDD's voice is presented. But then these are speakers also able to sound both balanced and revealing with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' Council Skies [Sour Mash Records; 44.1kHz/24-bit download], with a nostalgic quality that could place it sometime in the mid-late 70s.

The rich instrumentation, dense production and big singalong choruses are faithfully served by these speakers, even if they're not quite in what might be construed as their 'zone'. The album sets its stall out with opener 'I'm Not Giving Up Tonight', peaks on the lovely 'Dead To The World' with its lush strings, and really gets into its crowd-pleasing stride with 'Easy Now', which must be the next big live audience participation track here.

Firmly back into that string-driven universe that's always been a Sonus faber forte, the Quartet San Francisco's 'Federico II', from A QSF Journey [Reference Recordings RR-143], delights with the mix of crisp, clean strings and driving rhythms. Indeed, spending a full afternoon simply going from Bach to Shostakovich with small-scale string ensembles showed just how well these speakers live up to their luthier-inspired construction.


The split 200Hz/270Hz crossover allows for separate bass and mid/treble 4mm input terminals. The mid and treble drivers crossover at 2.2kHz while the woofers are reflex-loaded via long 'slots' in the rear alloy spine of the cabinet

A Polished Pounding
That's not to say they don't do all kinds of music very well indeed, for they are as 'universal' a speaker as we've heard at this price point. The Amati G5s certainly give a glowingly close-up view of Sophie Ellis-Bextor's voice on 'Tokyo' [Hana; Cooking Vinyl download], her (slightly overlong) romantic/bittersweet paean to Japan, written after an early 2020 trip just before the pandemic struck.

So too, they are light and sprightly with Bill Charlap's 'Not A Care In The World' [Notes From New York, Impulse!; 96kHz/24-bit], while big and thunderous with the pulsing bass and synths from Alison Goldfrapp's 'Fever (Special Request Club Mix)' from her gorgeous The Love Invention solo set [Skint/BMG BRASSIC128CD]. Indeed, from Bach Brandenburgs to Armin van Buuren's chilled yet mighty A State Of Trance 2023 mix [Armada ARMA482], complete with suitably pounding club bass, these fifth-generation Amatis came up shining. Now all you have to do is find an amp capable of keeping them under control...

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Big, rich, powerful, and oh-so-refined, the new flagship of the Homage lineup sounds glorious with everything from small-scale string ensembles to full symphony orchestras. They've so much to give: connect the Amati G5s to amps boasting plenty of current and grip and they will thunder out room-shaking bass while still maintaining excellent insight into the rest of the mix. And that ability is really rather magical.

Sonus faber SpA (Fine Sounds Group)
Supplied by: Fine Sounds UK
07714 232033