Sonus faber Olympica Nova V Loudspeaker

hfncommendedSix years after the birth of the first lute-shaped Olympica speakers, Sonus faber announces the second generation

Several factors set the 2013 launch of the Sonus faber Olympica range apart: not only was this one of the first complete lineups from a company previously better known for individual models, but it also marked the brand's debut as a manufacturer of drive units, built in-house [HFN May '14 and Mar '15]. The new Olympica Nova range represents a next logical step, comprising no fewer than seven models. The series kicks off with the compact Nova I standmount but is headed by the £14,900 Nova V floorstander featured here, available in a choice or walnut or wenge finishes, standing some 117.5cm tall and weighing a not insubstantial 44kg each.

With more than a nod to those running a multichannel/AV system, there's also a choice of CI and CII centre channel speakers in addition to its 'W' model, which at first glance appears to be a surround speaker. Well, you could use it as such, but this most affordable model in the range, at £3500 a pair, is designed as a more general-purpose wallmount speaker, just over 56cm tall and less than 23.5cm deep complete with its wall-bracket.

Domestic Bliss
That's an acknowledgement that consumers increasingly want domestically acceptable loudspeaker solutions – even the big Nova V is clearly designed with a positive view on domestic harmony. Imposing it may be, but the finish here goes beyond what many a manufacturer would describe as 'furniture grade'. Our pictures hardly do it justice, but with its combination of real wood, high-quality metal and Italian leather (of course), the Olympica Nova V is constructed to a standard likely to put most other domestic items to shame. But then Sonus faber has long been known for speakers as easy on the eye as they are on the ear.


Like the original Olympica, the Nova range features the company's 'Lute' cabinet design, with an asymmetric cross-section reminiscent of that instrument. And it's built not in the more common way of a workmanlike carcass covered in a high-quality veneer, but with cabinets formed from eight layers of real wood, laminated and shaped together under pressure. Whether it's walnut or wenge wood, what you see is what you get.

Voice Of Italy
Whereas the original Olympica models followed Sonus faber's tradition of using a leather wrap across the top panel, for the Nova line that's been replaced with a cast aluminium piece into which is set wood to match the main enclosure. But the leather's still there, hand-applied in the company's Vicenza facility to create the finish of what it calls 'The Voice of Sonus faber': the tweeter and midrange assembly.

Within the enclosure, structural ribs are used to increase rigidity, and the whole enterprise sits on an outrigger base formed from solid aluminium into which screw substantial steel spikes with chunky knurled fixings. Arguably, the real standout feature of the Olympica Nova range is its metal 'Stealth Ultraflex' vent that supplements bass output. Set to the side of the twin pairs of speaker terminals to the rear of the enclosure, and running the full height of the speaker, these narrow vents are offset to one side of that asymmetrical cabinet. A development from the company's Homage Tradition series [HFN Oct '17, Feb '18 and Aug '18], the system is said – somewhat lyrically – to emulate the action of waves in the sea, allowing a free flow of air while controlling both its speed and reducing turbulence.

The speakers are 'handed', with the vents set on their opposite sides, so it's possible to indulge in a spot of tuning to the room by positioning the speakers with their vents inward or outward. The former should give tighter bass, especially when the speakers have to be used relatively close to side walls; the latter promises greater bass weight.

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