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In the bass too the Quadral threw a child hand’s more weight on the scale. Or perhaps was it speed? No matter, slapped bass had just a bit more impact. The Sonus faber countered with soundstaging. Where the Rondo’s dimensionality and image focus are excellent for the price, the Venere 1.5 had the ‘fluffier’ disconnect between music and membranes.

Plenty of praises for the testers. Any weaknesses then? Not per se but only as genre-specific limitations of compact boxes. Two weeks ago I’d added the perhaps yet darkest manifesto to my library by way of Swans’ newest twofer The Seer. Good lawd! What these 120 minutes dish out on repetition, immersion, brutalisation and bone-dry assault is likely unique. Listening means opening the doors to hell and entering acoustics that'd turn Lord Voldemort’s chamber of horrors into a cosmetic salon here in Charlottenburg. The title track welcomes the frightened visitor into an irritating echo chamber of bagpipes, medieval plucked instruments, brutal basses, doomsday guitars, looped percussion figures, vocal growling, plenty of beat changes and in general a dull ruckus of endless textures. This monster track alone extends over 32:14 minutes. It’s meant to be heard loud and cause pain in the gut. Such outer-limit exploits are necessarily beyond the Venere 1.5 which simply can’t plumb the nether regions at the required SPL.

By comparison my thrice-priced work horses of Neat Momentum 4i floorstanders turn this into a cochlea massage which shoves me straight into the fire oven’s belly whereas—metaphorically speaking—the Sonus faber deposited me outside, nose pressed against a heat-proof window. At the other extreme the Neat was more informative as well. Its treble range is exquisitely dense and well lit. Where the Venere 1.5 had the XX vocals appear from black nothing, the Neat Momentum 4i accompanied them with all manner of coincidental noises. Micro details like inhalations were clearer. This had the Brits more accurate and energetic in this range but also the more agitated. The Italians were more casual and relaxed if less precise. Which reading is preferable should depend on taste.

On soundstaging again—by now you won’t be surprised—the Sonus fabers clearly didn’t play second fiddle to the Neat Acoustics. Rather I thought they did noticeably better. Whilst the Neat is very capable, it relies on exacting setup (slightly toed out to fire beyond the listener) and a very narrow sweet spot. The Venere meanwhile erected an at least equal-sized perfectly believable space well outside and above the boxes but without any fuss. This also meant sufficient dimensionality even beyond the sweet spot which I for one found terrifically relaxing.

Conclusion. Did I just say... you know, relaxing? Sure did. And this condenses my conclusion. The Sonus faber Venere 1.5 is a speaker which within mere minutes managed to induce in me very relaxed satisfaction even at the end of a stressful work day. For me these boxes proved to be small butlers which presented the music with a respectful bow, then stepped discretely into the background. Due to their mellow treble the Venere 1.5 had a friendly tonal balance. This in particular served acoustic instruments and room volumes where it added a gentle upper-bass contour to render bigger tower speakers mostly irrelevant. Obviously there was no escaping base Physics. Particularly higher SPL exposed typical limitations of the monitor genre. Soundstaging was copious but not sloppy, dynamics were involving. For the asking price this is an absolutely fantastic speaker which had me very reluctant to return this loaner pair to its maker.

Psych profile of the Venere 1.5…
  • A silky and cleanly resolved treble that's more akin to traditional yellow-gold light bulbs than penetrating halogen equivalents. The focus is on long-term friendliness over ultimate resolution.
  • A highly differentiated color-rich vocal band that's seamlessly integrated with the upper registers.
  • Relative to price and size there's surprising bass albeit with a minor upper-bass emphasis. Only quite elevated SPL and/or deliberately bass-heavy fare expose typical monitor limits.
  • Soundstaging which in matters of width, depth and precision well exceeds the sticker and expectations.
  • Poster-child microdynamics and good macrodynamic action minus of course extreme level capabilities.
  • Quality cosmetics and first-rate workmanship.


  • Concept: 2-way bass-reflex compact speaker
  • Dimensions and weight: 394 x 206 x 300mm, 6kg
  • Finish: High-gloss black or white
  • Sensitivity: 85dB/W/m
  • Impedance: 6 ohms
  • Other: Biwire terminals and optional stand
  • Warranty: 5 years
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