Sonneto 3 vs Serafino vs Sabrina x

Sonneto 3 vs Serafino vs Sabrina x

Got a chance to demo the SF Sonneto 3 vs the Serafino vs the Wilson Audio Sabrina X at the end of a Naim Uniti Nova.

I did have a previous listening session with the sonnetos and was familiar with their sound but started the demo with them to have a base line. I really can’t fault them. They sound pleasant and pair very well with the Nova. They don’t possess that big punch and the bass does not power the room in a grand way and I suspect that the Sonneto 5 or even 8 would perform better in that regards. But imaging, soundstage, timber and tonality were all very nice.

Then came the Serafinos and from the first bar of music I stopped and looked at the dealer and said wow! The initial “wow” came from the additional depth and body that was immediately clear with the musical piece I was listening to. I went on to listen to various music from Chantale Chamberlin to Calvin Harris and Classic Arabic to Andre Riu orchestrals. The best way to describe the Serafino vs the Sonneto is that with the Sonneto 3 I hear a violin. It is a beautiful warm violin sound. With the Serafino that same violin has such complexity where I hear the scratching of the bow on the surface of the string, I hear the body of the string. I hear the violin body resonate. Lastly, I hear the decay of that violin’s note through the space where the recording took place. Rest assured the 4 elements I described are all coherent as one organic sound and the additional detail is laid out in front of the listener in a delicate way that is never harsh or analytical. It is just a marvelous midrange that talks to the soul.

As for soundstaging the speakers are non existent in the room. The soundstage is wide and deep with beautiful center image where I can’t tell there is sound coming from the speaker cabinet.

Now for the downside. Although there was obviously more bass that had more body and extension I felt that the quality of bass was a touch gritty and occasionally – very occasionally – uncontrolled. This led me to the idea that the uniti Nova is being outclassed by the speaker.

Then I was taken to another room where the Nova was connected to the Wilson Audio Sabrina X. The room was a little bit smaller ( 3.5 x 5 m vs 3.5 x 6 m for the previous room approximately). The Sabrina and the Serafino sounded so similar yet so different. The bass was tighter for sure with a bit more fullness or lift in the upper bass. The trebble was a bit more emphasized but not in an unpleasant way. The mids were still sweet but with a bit less emotional connectedness compared to the Serafinos.

The big difference I would say was in the soundstage. The Sabrina creates a “wall of sound” which can sound a bit fuller than the SF house sound and I personally like it especially with pop/rock music. The Serafinos on the other hand lay the music on a stage behind the actual cabinets which is sublime when listening to jazz, classical or acoustic rock. The Serafinos also sound wider and deeper in terms of soundstage which I suspect for the larger physical size of the cabinets, is to be expected.

Way forward for me? The Sonnetos are not enough of an upgrade to my current speakers so are out of consideration. The Serafinos are great but more than what I want to pay. The Sabrina X is very nice in its own right but I want a bit more scale. So maybe the Olympica nova 3 or 5 can give the needed scale at a more budget friendly price point? Or should I listen to the Wilson Audio Yvette? These might be available for demo next month so I will surely have a listen.






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Sonus faber do make some exceedingly beautiful speakers :fire:

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I brought the wife in to them demo expecting her to push me into buying the Serafinos based on looks alone. She walked into the rooms and said “No No No. I don’t like them. Hate the color!” That was the first shock of the day.

The second shock was when she said all the speakers we heard sound so much alike she can’t hear any significant difference between them and that the dealer was just “ripping me off”. Even the Sonus Faber Lumina 2 sounded near perfect to her ears!

Go figure…

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Maybe (I guess) I missed something but… You are auditioning (roughly) 11K and 24K speakers driven by the 5K Nova all-in-one? :flushed:

Serafino’s are available in different colours btw.

If you like the way SF are finished and for what you appear to be looking for, consider Wharfdale Elysium 4. I heard a pair recently and was quite impressed. Nothing like Wharfdale of old and they punch well above their price point.

Hi flame rose, I have to agree with RvL above, using a £4.5k all in one integrated amp into potentially a £25 K speaker will only give you a slight hint of what that speaker is capable of. To me that is complete system imbalance and will only prove unfruitful in the long run. You will simply never get said speakers to open up and out with an Atom, well it won’t even control them I suspect. To get the best out of them you would need something like a 552/500 combo at £40K +
Just my 2 pence worth, good luck Peter

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I have the Yvettes - be aware that Wilson speakers have lowest impedance below 3 Ohm, need high current amplification…

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I am using Serafino with NDS/555/552/300 (all DR) and Superlumina full loom. Much more adequate source and amp than a Nova. Serafino are wonderful speakers, the system is just magic for classical, voices, but also for all kind of music

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unfortunately the Uniti Nova is the only naim amp available for demo at the dealer. Although much lesser than my gear at home I felt it would be closer to what the speakers might sound with my gear as apposed to a very expensive Mcintosh or Accuphase amp.

Hi Peter,

I agree with you as well but the dealer did not have better Naim amps for the demo. my final system at home will be the NDX2/XPSDR/NAC282/Hi-CAPDR/NAP 300 DR so not an unreasonable system for the speakers auditioned.

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That is an amazing system you have. I did feel the Nova struggle with the serafino. Can you tell me what other speakers did you consider/audition before buying the serafinos? How do they play with Rock/pop music?

The Sonus Fabers drop to 2.1 Ohms at certain frequencies so they are as challenging as the Wilsons in that regard. Tell me more about the Yvette please.

Although I love these speakers I would probably not go for the Yvettes right now, being a bit dated between the Sabrina X and the Sasha DAW. The Yvettes are big speakers and I love the house sound. They need space to breath like all Wilsons. IMHO the Sabrina X seems very compelling. I have only heard the original Sabrina and I never felt it lacked weight, the new model is (from the -all enthusiastic- posts I have come across) is acknowledged to be better.

Hi FR, your room will play a big role, at least for Wilsons. I hope you can do a home demo, if not possible then at least why not take your NAP 300 at the dealer’s and demo speakers with the amp that is supposed to drive them after all?

I just could compare with Magico A3, very good also, with a different sound, more neutral, but didn’t find a good deal for them

Dealer is 2000 km away and I visit him during business trips. No airline would allow a NAP 300 and its power supply as carry on baggage :rofl:

As for the room, my room although large is quite beging. It is at least 3 times bigger than the demo room at the dealer and reinforces bass quite well as the house is a full concrete structure. No obvious modes in the bass region that I can call out at the moment but with bigger speakers and stronger amps one could only guess.

LOL… I see your point! If your room is big enough and you have freedom to place speakers then all of the suggestions here would work (the Serafinos are big speakers too). Magicos or YGs are sealed and thus easier to position. If you don’t have placement restrictions go for the “house sound” you prefer. I like the liveness of the Wilson’s - if I had the room I would go for the Sasha DAWs or Rockport Avior right now.

Hi flame rose, sorry about my RA RA, now of course that’s a much better proposition! :+1:t3: God speed Peter

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