Sonus faber Olympica Nova V Loudspeaker Page 2

The in-house drive units are topped off by a 28mm silk dome tweeter that includes an aluminium bridge carrying a tiny damper, which is in contact with the dome to apply what Sonus faber calls 'local damping to the apex typically responsible for anti-phase behaviour of soft-dome diaphragms'. The 15cm midrange driver, meanwhile, uses a rough-textured cone of fibres including Kapok and Kenaf, reducing resonance. There's a trio of 18cm bass drivers, each using a sandwich cone design combining two layers of cellulose material and a syntactic foam core, designed for low mass and high rigidity. Apart from the size of the speakers, that bass driver is the main point of difference between the three floorstanders in the range: the Nova II has one bass driver, and the III has two.

sqnote A Substantial Sound
The tagline for the Olympica Nova V is 'Pure and pristine sound', also expanded to 'A concentration of power and quality that allows complete enjoyment of our natural sound, with no compromise', and while the speaker certainly sounds big and impressive as soon as you listen, audiophiles will always have different ideas about what constitutes a 'pure and pristine' sound. Whether used on the end of mighty Constellation Inspiration Monos [HFN Oct '19], or the Simaudio Moon 860A v2 [HFN Feb '20], in each case fed from a dCS Vivaldi One digital player/preamp [HFN Feb '18] taking music from a Melco music library, the Nova V fairly rapidly formed a strong impression in my mind.

Yes, it is definitely big and rich-sounding, with masses of orchestral scale and very sonorous solo piano, and for those who judge the success of a big speaker on its ability to deliver warmth and a room-filling sound, there'll be little to complain about here. After some experimentation, the speakers were set up with their Stealth Ultraflex vents facing inwards, this giving the best low-end control, but even with that done they're never bass-shy – far from it as the Nova Vs deliver a deeper and more extended low-end than might be anticipated from the list of specifications.

In tandem with this weight and smoothness, the Nova V prefers to paint a broad and colourful canvas of sound rather than deliver a surgically penetrating insight into the depths of a musical mix. Yes, that balance is certainly preferable to a forward, brittle sound, but care must be taken not to partner these floorstanders with a laid-back source or amplification if too polite a sound is to be avoided.

Spoonful Of Sugar
For example, with Iiro Rantala's take on Gershwin's 'Liza', from his My History Of Jazz set [ACT 9531-2], the music was presented as a very well-integrated but slightly smoothed whole with, arguably, more emphasis on the weight of the piano and drums than the sparkle of the cymbals. The same effect also sweetens the vocals of the McGarrigle sisters on their French Record [Hannibal HNCD 1302], their characteristic fragility traded here for a performance that actually sounded bolder and more confident.


With moderately sparkling recordings like Ravel's 'La Valse', played by the NYPO on the Boulez Conducts Ravel set [Sony Classical SS89121; DSD64], the slightly eerie and ominous feel of the opening section sounds as grand as it does dramatic, this huge wash of sound rolling out across the room with an emphasis on raw scale. Once again, these are speakers that wrap you in the music, nice and cosy, rather than invite you over for an evening of technical introspection.

Mix 'N' Match
More often than not, the ability to suspend disbelief has as much to do with your choice of music as partnering ancillaries. With a change of pace to 'Mercy', from Muse's Drones [Warner Bros download; 96kHz/24-bit] the dense and full-on mix is delivered up with real impact, driven in particular by the bass and drums but with no abrasive top-end forcing you to back off on the volume to save your ears. Similarly, playing Sam Cook's 'Bring It On Home To Me', from his 2003 Portrait Of A Legend [ABKO 060249807446] the sound, which can easily appear bright and hard, is gently massaged here into something less fragmented and unforgiving.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
As if to match their luxurious build and finish, the Olympica Nova 5s deliver a very cultured, almost velvety view of the music, likely to impress with their sheer scale and lack of any obvious sonic nasties. In so doing they may relinquish a little of the sparkle and character that some listeners might seek, but these big Novas will never offend. For a grand sound without tears, make an appointment with the Nova Vs.

Sonus faber SpA (Fine Sounds Group)
Supplied by: Absolute Sounds Ltd
0208 971 3909