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I don't remember having moved around such heavy monitor speakers at home before. With stand each weighs about 55kg. That makes the combined ship weight 130kg for the pair! The French distributor helped me to install the Guarneri. I think it quite mandatory to be assisted to move these three boxes and peel out the stands and speakers. The profile, in perfect continuity with the stand, doesn't make it easy to manhandle the speaker/stand assemblage by oneself. In comparison with previous versions, the new Guarneri’s overall appearance adds a further touch of modernity whilst preserving the distinctive elegance and refinement of the Cremonese shape. The Memento’s burgundy stone plinth is replaced with a more solid and discrete granite block. The enclosure has been completely revisited, redefining proportions and making use of new solutions linked to combining different materials. My loaner pair had the famous red violin gloss contrasting with the black stands and nickel-plated shiny parts. This all conferred a strong timeless identity. I think the Evolution stand mounts can take their place in any home, be it decorated vintage or contemporary.

The Guarneri Evolution is a compact two-way bass reflex speaker. Its enclosure is made of multi-layer cross-grained African Okoumé wood applied with the utmost care. The finish is simply gorgeous, oozing with the meticulous application of seven coats of hand-polished varnish. This application of constrained-layer damping not only serves aesthetic choices but optimizes the acoustic environment of the mid/woofer. The elegant design of Arcugnano’s product is also the sum of many technical refinements. Let’s pursue the cabinet description on the technical side.

Strategically placed sub-structural ribs within the enclosure add further strength. The S.M.D. surface mass damper—a kind of special isolating material inside the acoustic chamber—reduces 'cabinet coloration'. The famous exo-skeleton clamp inherited from the flagship model is implemented with two CNC-machined Avional* nickel-plated end caps on top and bottom of the cabinet. Their role is to control and constrain residual resonances of the enclosure walls. Two rear wings of the same Avional* function as high-speed mechanical interface to channel spurious vibrations to the base of the cabinet by linking the end caps into a unified structure. A tuned mass damper covering multiple frequencies like those used for skyscrapers and F1 cars converts residual vibrations into heat. This shock absorber consists of three non-magnetic stainless steel sections separated from each other by a rubber layer. Dissipation of vibrations occurs when the various sections move against one another. Sonus faber's engineers describe it as a veritable 'heart' in motion which oscillates in counter phase and succeeds in eliminating unwanted vibrations by dissipating kinetic energy via conversion to innocuous heat.

* Avional is a high-strength aluminum alloy of copper, magnesium and silicon.

The stealth reflex port is Sonus faber's patented solution for a para-aperiodic vent. Its behavioral properties allow for deeper more extended bass from the same or smaller enclosure. In addition it has all the advantages of conventional ports but completely eliminates chuffing. Here Sonus faber uses an insulating material to reduce the transmission of vibrations. Thanks to this solution the sound requires less resonant assistance from the cabinet which translates into lower displacement through the port. Because its tube is lined with a fibrous porous material, the low frequencies cover a larger spectrum previously possible only by either increasing the size of the overall loudspeaker or the vented chamber.

The imposing stand too is more than plain pedestal. It could be defined as symbiotic extension of the Guarneri Evolution. It reflects fundamental elements of Sonus faber’s L.V.T. low-vibration transmission concept or mechanical floor decoupling via a perfectly weight-matched elastomeric suspension.This is said to substantially reduce spurious vibrations into the listening environment and inhibit the production of sound-damaging acoustic feedback. Anima Legata, another anti-resonant technology derived from prior Sonus faber models, is made up of two surfaces fitted orthogonally into a concentric compressed traction bar within the stand. The volume and variable thickness of the bar eliminates resonance within the stand cavity via more thermo-kinetic dissipation.
The drivers are designed by Sonus faber then custom made in Scandinavia. Final quality control, measurements and pair matching are performed in Arcugnano. The mid/woofer is a 7" ScanSpeak that represents a noticeable improvement of dynamic capabilities over the Memento’s former 5’’ driver. Its diaphragm is an amalgamation of non-pressed cellulose pulp and natural fibers like papyrus, kapok and kenaf which are slowly stabilized during natural air drying. The benefit previously obtained in the The Sonus faber flagship by adding such natural fibers to cellulose was a substantial reduction of typical colorations. The robust magnet system with 1.7” voice-coil and triple Kellog/Goeller copper rings free this unit from all eddy currents. This driver is viscoelastically decoupled from the front baffle and crossed over at 2.8kHz.

The tweeter is a 1" soft-dome designed by Sonus faber and Ragnar Lian. It too is viscoelastically decoupled from the front baffle. It incorporates a plastic loading chamber of its own. This custom tweeter was designed to optimize extremely high frequencies by minimizing anti-phase behavior of the dome center. Apart from the traditional coating the silk membrane benefits from a further modification to the back of the diaphragm. A layer of viscose coating adds damping and progressively increases it towards the membrane apex.

The crossover uses progressive slopes with great attention paid to amplitude and phase. Sonus faber counts primarily on driver quality for relative simplicity in filtering. Hence the Guarneri Evolution employs no more than five big Mundorf M-Cap capacitors and four imposing Jantzen inductors. This network is said to result from a special in-house high-pass filter method called para-cross topology that's then fine-tuned during critical listening tests. Before being installed, each circuit is treated with a viscous bituminous layer to eliminate spurious microphony.

The two pairs of biding posts can be used for biwiring or bi-amping. I personally did not explore these options and remained with classic dual-mono amplification and single wiring. Turning now to less technical considerations, I must confess upfront that the Guarneri Evolution was undoubtedly the most beautiful piece of audio furniture I've ever had the pleasure of hosting at my home. In my opinion that makes it the most attractive stand-mounted speaker available today. By comparison the Magico Mini, Tidal Amea and Triangle Duetto are all a notch below.

This stunning aesthetic is the result of both highly skilled craftsmanship and advanced technical applications. The Avional elements of the exo-skeleton have undergone an exclusive high-tech chemical nickel coating process. The surface finish is over 30 microns thick, extremely tough, homogeneous and highly resistive to corrosion. It is applied in a multi-phase process with first a mirror-polishing/coating step monitored by skilled workers. Following the first coating are two successive rounds of hand polishing, each one spaced out with additional chemical coating applications of different timing requirements. The finished parts are so immaculately groomed as to represent a truly exclusive level of manufacturing prowess in the loudspeaker industry rarely attained before.

The Guarneri claims 40Hz – 30kHz bandwidth (including stealth reflex support) with comfortable power handling of 25-200 watts and a standard low 86dB sensitivity for its size. this will require healthy amplification. Nominal impedance is 4 ohms.