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Old 08-02-2012, 02:41 PM
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Default Cremona M + PrimaLuna - Opinions?

Folks, I would really appreciate your input on this one.

For quite a few months now, and as some of you know, I have been contemplating upgrading my Sonus faber Toy Towers to the Cremona M floorstander. Yes, big upgrade indeed. The Cremona is part of the "Classic" line and a speaker I have desired (and loved) for what feels like an eternity (ever since the original Cremona was introduced in 1994, in fact). I was never able to afford them, however, until now.

Did I mention that I consider them one of the most beautiful speakers I've seen, regardless of price?

The reason why I keep procrastinating when it comes to actually biting the bullet? Actually, there is more than one:

- I am pretty happy with the Toy Towers. I think they are phenomenal for the price, even though I always yearned for more of the upper-end Sonus faber sound (and looks...).

- Now that Bill dialed-in the Toys in my home, I am EVEN MORE happy with the them.

- I wanted to wait and hear more details about the new "Aida mini" model, now revealed to be the Venere, an entire new line, in fact, but made in China (that detail basically ruled them out for me... but that is another story and the reasons belong in a different thread).

- I also wanted to be sure that there wouldn't be a Cremona M "SE" (similar to the Elipsa SE), announced immediately after I sign the check for the regular Cremona M's (I'm sure we have all been there...). Answer: there won't be one.

- More importantly, in this economy/job market, $10K speakers are not a priority. And I am very much the frugal/conservative/"be-happy-with-what-you-have"/live-way-below-my-means type, with early retirement ambitions.

- I also don't want to climb a ladder that will eventually lead me to audiophilia nervosa and away from plain-ol' musical enjoyment. If I do bite the bullet, I want these to be my last speakers, or at least I do not want to feel like I "need" an upgrade for at least a decade or more.

BUT, also, I have been procrastinating because I am unsure about how well my beloved Prima Luna DiaLogue One would be able to drive the Cremona Ms.

These are 4 ohm and 91db/2.83V.

The Prima Luna is outfitted with KT88 tubes and outputs around 40 wpc, but anybody who has experience with these amps will tell you that they sound at least twice as powerful, and, as we know, numbers are not everything. The DiaLogue series has one of the beefiest transformers/power supplies I have seen (weight is close to 75 pounds), and currently I never raise the volume past the 45% mark. If I did, my neighbors/wife would be breathing down my neck.

I spoke to Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio, among other people with experience when it comes to both Sonus faber and Prima Luna (including Bill), and everybody seems to agree that the combination should not be a problem. Some have reservations, but seem to be ok when I mention that my room (see image here and here) is small (second bedroom in a 1500 sq/feet condo). My listening preferences include classical/jazz (mostly orchestral, but also violin/string concertos) and lots of soundtracks (big Ennio Morricone fan), but I also love hard/progressive rock (anything from Deep Purple/Yes to Iron Maiden and contemporary doom metal and things like Mogwai). In other words: eclectic.

Do you think it'd be wise of me to upgrade? I love the Prima Luna and would not really like to "upgrade" that as well. Not to mention, I do not want to incur in an additional cost if I end up spending thousands for the Cremonas... At least, not right away.

Some people even mentioned that the Cremonas should be easier to drive than the Toy Towers, but I do not fully understand the reasoning behind this.

Any users with a similar combination of speaker/amp? Any advice and feedback is appreciated.
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2-CH AUDIO: Speakers: Sonus Faber Toy Towers Amplification: Prima Luna DiaLogue One (with Gold Lion KT88's) Digital: Oppo BDP-95 Streaming: Squeezebox Touch Analog: Pro-Ject RM-5.1 + Sumiko BPII Cables: Audioquest Type 4 (speakers) / Nordost Red Dawn LS (interconnects) / Nordost Brahma + Vishnu (power cords) Conditioning: PS Audio Duet (digital only) // HOME-THEATER: TV: Panasonic 65V10 (ISF calibrated) A/V Receiver: Marantz SR-5005 + Shunyata Venom3 power cord Multi-Region DVD: Oppo DV-980H Speakers Polk Audio TSi

Last edited by esteban; 08-02-2012 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:26 PM
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Hi Esteban,

I have been using Cremona M’s for the last year or so and I am really happy with them. For amplification I have an Audio Research LS26 and a VS 115 which is a fanstic combination but I am not normally using anywhere near the 120 watts that VS 115 can produce. I would think that your Prima Luna Dialogue One would be sufficient as long as you don’t need mind bending volume. In the Netherlands Prima Luna amps are well regarded and regularly get good reviews so 40 watts or so should be enough if the Dialogue has good control over the speakers. Going form the Toy Towers to the Cremona M,s will be a big step up and the Cremona’s seam to need a bit of air around them to give of their best, but I see that you are using your present speakers well out into your room so they should be OK. As always it is best to try the combination before you buy.

I am due to retire soon and I bought my Cremona M speakers for more or less the same reason that you will, “a speaker for life” and I have no regrets.

Regards,
Fred.
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Old 08-02-2012, 06:08 PM
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Old 08-02-2012, 06:13 PM
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Old 08-02-2012, 07:53 PM
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If you like the look of the Cremona M's I would buy them and 40 watts should be enough power as long as you dont want to play them too loud. I was thinking about suggesting a pair of used Guarneri Memento's but their sensitivity is lower than the Cremona's.....

Have you listened to the Liutos? You might be surprised on how good they sound.....
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastFreddy View Post
Hi Esteban,

I have been using Cremona M’s for the last year or so and I am really happy with them. For amplification I have an Audio Research LS26 and a VS 115 which is a fanstic combination but I am not normally using anywhere near the 120 watts that VS 115 can produce. I would think that your Prima Luna Dialogue One would be sufficient as long as you don’t need mind bending volume. In the Netherlands Prima Luna amps are well regarded and regularly get good reviews so 40 watts or so should be enough if the Dialogue has good control over the speakers. Going form the Toy Towers to the Cremona M,s will be a big step up and the Cremona’s seam to need a bit of air around them to give of their best, but I see that you are using your present speakers well out into your room so they should be OK. As always it is best to try the combination before you buy.

I am due to retire soon and I bought my Cremona M speakers for more or less the same reason that you will, “a speaker for life” and I have no regrets.

Regards,
Fred.
Hi Fred. Appreciate the feedback. 120 watts is indeed quite a bit more than what my current amp has to offer, but it's rewarding and refreshing to hear that Prima Luna is well regarded in your country. I do believe they are terrific little amps, specially for the price. Thank you for your input, and welcome!
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2-CH AUDIO: Speakers: Sonus Faber Toy Towers Amplification: Prima Luna DiaLogue One (with Gold Lion KT88's) Digital: Oppo BDP-95 Streaming: Squeezebox Touch Analog: Pro-Ject RM-5.1 + Sumiko BPII Cables: Audioquest Type 4 (speakers) / Nordost Red Dawn LS (interconnects) / Nordost Brahma + Vishnu (power cords) Conditioning: PS Audio Duet (digital only) // HOME-THEATER: TV: Panasonic 65V10 (ISF calibrated) A/V Receiver: Marantz SR-5005 + Shunyata Venom3 power cord Multi-Region DVD: Oppo DV-980H Speakers Polk Audio TSi
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfray View Post
Have you listened to the Liutos? You might be surprised on how good they sound.....
I have considered the Liutos, even before buying the Toy Towers, but, I have to be honest here, I simply can not look past the looks in that case. The Liutos really do not look like Sonus faber (at all) to me. They are simply... plain and uninspiring (to my eyes).

Funny you mention the Guarneris! My dealer has a used pair in graphite currently for sale. The price would be similar to brand new Cremona Ms, I believe. But, like you, I do not think my amp would do them justice, and I would also be concerned about the lack of deep bass, even though SF states that they extend down to 39hz. I do have to say, though, that the Guarneris are also ravishing beauties and true works of art.
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2-CH AUDIO: Speakers: Sonus Faber Toy Towers Amplification: Prima Luna DiaLogue One (with Gold Lion KT88's) Digital: Oppo BDP-95 Streaming: Squeezebox Touch Analog: Pro-Ject RM-5.1 + Sumiko BPII Cables: Audioquest Type 4 (speakers) / Nordost Red Dawn LS (interconnects) / Nordost Brahma + Vishnu (power cords) Conditioning: PS Audio Duet (digital only) // HOME-THEATER: TV: Panasonic 65V10 (ISF calibrated) A/V Receiver: Marantz SR-5005 + Shunyata Venom3 power cord Multi-Region DVD: Oppo DV-980H Speakers Polk Audio TSi
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteban View Post
I have considered the Liutos, even before buying the Toy Towers, but, I have to be honest here, I simply can not look past the looks in that case. The Liutos really do not look like Sonus faber (at all) to me. They are simply... plain and uninspiring (to my eyes).

Funny you mention the Guarneris! My dealer has a used pair in graphite currently for sale. The price would be similar to brand new Cremona Ms, I believe. But, like you, I do not think my amp would do them justice, and I would also be concerned about the lack of deep bass, even though SF states that they extend down to 39hz. I do have to say, though, that the Guarneris are also ravishing beauties and true works of art.
I agree the Liutos don't look as nice as the Cremona's..... Oh man he has a pair of used graphite GUARNERI MEMENTO's! Could you bring the amp to the dealer and try it out??? Might be worth a shot!

You could always add a Rel sub in the future....
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:18 PM
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Vs.

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Old 08-02-2012, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfray View Post


Vs.

Tell me about it! VERY difficult to choose between those two. This has been in my head all week, trust me... Ultimately, I think going with a new pair (and the associated warranty, Sumiko support, etc.), plus something more dynamic and sensitive would be the sensible and logical thing to do... But then again, this hobby is anything BUT!
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2-CH AUDIO: Speakers: Sonus Faber Toy Towers Amplification: Prima Luna DiaLogue One (with Gold Lion KT88's) Digital: Oppo BDP-95 Streaming: Squeezebox Touch Analog: Pro-Ject RM-5.1 + Sumiko BPII Cables: Audioquest Type 4 (speakers) / Nordost Red Dawn LS (interconnects) / Nordost Brahma + Vishnu (power cords) Conditioning: PS Audio Duet (digital only) // HOME-THEATER: TV: Panasonic 65V10 (ISF calibrated) A/V Receiver: Marantz SR-5005 + Shunyata Venom3 power cord Multi-Region DVD: Oppo DV-980H Speakers Polk Audio TSi
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