This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

To learn a bit more about the Venere project, I contacted R&D manager Paolo Tezzon:

First off about those slot ports. These are more customary as the mouths of transmission lines where they don't use any port tubes. What is the case for these slot ports of the Venere models? What type of specific loading is this and at what rate does response drop below the tuning's self resonance?

"Even though the slot ports do look slightly like a transmission-line terminus, they are basically conventional reflex ports. Everything here began with a concept we had at the very beginning about a more versatile range of speakers which, positioned at this attractive price point, should feature reflex ports placed usefully on the front rather than back. This might help a little to place the speaker closer to the front wall than usual wherever required. Of course once you place a reflex port on the front of a speaker you face certain design issues. It simply ended up that a slot looked best. But from a technical perspective the behavior of all Venere ports is basically that of a typical QB=7 bass reflex design."

What about the asymmetrical 'micro wave-guide' loading around all the drivers? Are the reasons behind it primarily cosmetic or acoustic?

"The 'asymmetrical micro wave-guide' loading around the drivers help a bit to properly shape their response particularly for the tweeter where it supports the 'live' feeling of the sound which helps to give the Venere performance the immediacy we were looking for."

What type of crossover slopes are used?

"The most common filter slope in the Venere range is the 1st-order slope. Only the 3.0 woofers use a 3rd-order filter. The tweeter's resonant frequency is always damped with a parallel RLC network and the inductive behavior of the midrange or mid/woofers is compensated as well."  

Relative to a new series at new price points for the company, what were some of the design parameters? Specifically what were the sonic aims on their own merit and relative to the legacy Sonus faber tradition?

"The first key point to be considered is that the Venere range aims to address both the music lover's and cinema lover's desires and needs with an 'audiophile attitude', a strong design concept, a natural and 'easy' sonic performance and the absolute best possible value for the money. This is how in its earliest development stages we actually interpreted the Venere range - to place these values at a specific price point which was new for Sonus faber."

"Actually most of those targets themselves aren’t at all new to us and already are strongly embedded in our brand identity. Let’s mention the high-quality materials and finishes visible anywhere on these speakers. There is glass, aluminium, lacquer and wood in a classic Sonus faber attitude. Let's next mention the curved design concept reminiscent of our top-of-the-line Aida and how it blends with the engineering needs for a stiff resonance-free cabinet. This demand was solved in the most traditional of Sonus faber ways - by using curved side panels which are well known to be stronger and stiffer than straight boards like most of the Venere competitors are using. Additionally we use the proper amount of structural braces and internal ribs to further stiffen and reinforce the entire hull structure."

"Then let's consider the choice of drive units which pursued a natural and easy but detailed and controlled sound strongly linked to our tradition. Silk for the tweeter was a natural choice simply because it sounds the way we wanted whilst also being embedded in our legacy. Though we are talking about an 'affordable' line of speakers, the silk diaphragm is of truly top-notch quality and produced by the very best European moving-parts manufacturer."

"Finally there's the care we committed to the choice of cone materials. This reflects our traditional attention to details which pool into final sonics. Here that choice was for a curv material—specifically a thermo-molded polypropylene textile—which is more reliable and performs at far higher resolution than a standard injected PP cone with a paper-coated dust cap would. This choice added a touch of natural warmth to our transducers."

Displaying the Japanese Stereo Sound Grand Prix 2012 award for their Aida model, here we see production manager Simone Farinello, chief of the industrial design department Livio Cucuzza, chief of R&D and the technical department Paolo Tezzon and marketing manager Enrico Fiore. Prior to Sonus and Wadia, Livio contributed industrial design work for Audia flight, Norma, Jakob Ludwig, M2Tech (Young & Vaughan) and Emme Speakers (Gamma & Beta).

If we pay attention to subtext, we won't fail to acknowledge that the change at Sonus faber, from solitary chief architect Franco Serblin to multi-disciplinarian team, is at the bottom of the brand's current renaissance. No matter how gifted, a single man's vision will never be as comprehensive as a collective of like-minded experts who each bring a very specific focus to bear on a given project. We've seen a similar approach with the newer American luxury brand Constellation Audio. Perhaps the days of benign hifi dictatorships are over?