Sonus faber Maxima Amator Loudspeaker Page 2

At least you are able to admire it while unpacking the speaker upside-down to insert the spikes, which are exceptionally well-finished and come complete with disc-shaped floor protectors should you have wooden flooring as costly as the speakers. You'll also discover small, magnetically-attached grilles in the packaging – these are of a vestigial 'inverted shield' shape, and just cover the drivers, rather than the whole length of the speakers.

sqnote Sweet Dreams
To understand the strengths of the Maxima Amators, you really have to ask yourself who would buy a product like this. You see, while for much of the time they sound pretty gorgeous, they are not the one-stop solution for rockers looking to raise the rooftops! So let's deal with this caveat swiftly and with Supertramp's 'Rudy' [Crime Of The Century; A&M 192kHz/

24-bit download] by way of example. Via the Maxima Amators, the opening sounds suitably distant, the instruments and vocals snapping into focus as the track grows, but as the momentum builds this clarity and sharpness is suppressed. There is, it seems, a dynamic 'sweet spot' for this speaker…

Snap To It
What the Maxima Amators do, however, is sound just as refined and classy as they look, provided you realise the limits of what is essentially a standmount design writ large, and your musical tastes play to their strengths. So, with the live recording of the 2019 Vienna New Year's Day Concert [Sony 19075902822] – a PM favourite as he was present in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein at the time – the speakers offer a lovely sense of smoothness and warmth, the soundstaging wide and the percussion crisp or as fragile as the occasion demands.

You might almost describe its sound as 'respectful' as evidenced, again, in the slightly reserved but dutifully controlled sound experienced with the Barenboim/Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra recording of Elgar's First Symphony [Decca 4789353].

These speakers deliver the stately third movement with fine depth and weight, with a beautifully-textured string tone on the slow theme. Though it's still important not to get too exuberant with the volume.


Switch to a simpler recording, such as the Andrew Manze/Rachel Podger set of Bach Single & Double Violin Concertos [Harmonia Mundi HMU907155], and the speakers revel in the closely observed solo instruments, while presenting the accompanying forces of The Academy of Ancient Music with a wonderfully light and delicate touch. All the performers are clearly delineated, and the music is driven along with fine snap and speed, and impressive instrumental texture.

Similarly, the sound is all about focus on a couple of crystal-clear piano recordings: with Murray Perahia's set of Chopin Études [Sony SK61885] every note is revealed in striking detail, without losing sight of the scale of the instruments while Monty Alexander's take on 'Sex Machine', from his My America set [Telarc Jazz SACD-63552], has real weight and boogie in the rhythm section behind the piano, and excellent imaging. This is a super-clean recording that, along with the Maxima Amators themselves, really benefits from being partnered with very capable amplifiers – the Constellation Inspiration Monos [HFN Oct '19] in this instance.

Whipcrack Taps
And that seems to be the story with these speakers: playing the McGarrigles' Dancer With Bruised Knees [Warner 7599-25958-2] the harmonies on, for example, 'Perrine Était Servante' are wonderfully delicate and breathy, with great body to the accompanying instruments. The same goes for folk group The Unthanks' 'Hawthorn' from their Mount The Air album [Rabble Rouser Music RRM013] where the Maxima Amators ensure these voices just hang in space in an entirely captivating manner.

Then, turning to a real demo warhorse, Antonio Forcione and Sabina Sciubba's Meet Me In London [Naim CD021], sees the duo's take on 'Why Can't We Live Together?' revealed here as notable not only for the power and scope of the voice as for Forcione's guitar stylings and whipcrack fretboard taps. You'd almost think it was an Italian thing!

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Looks are not deceiving – these are elegant, classically-styled and designed loudspeakers for lovers of equally refined, classically-themed recordings. Think of them more as compact standmounts built into a floorstanding frame and you will not go far wrong. So when the Maxima Amators are in their happy place, with crisply-recorded vocals and instrumentation, they do sound every bit as gorgeous as they look.

Sonus faber SpA (Fine Sounds Group)
Supplied by: Fine Sounds UK
01592 744710