This Lumina II is my first listen to a Sonus faber speaker and first impressions are key, and they look gorgeous; a good start. The Lumina II is the slightly larger bookshelf/standmount speaker to the Lumina I in the full Lumina range which extends to three-way floorstanding speakers and a centre speaker for an AV set up (The Lumina I was previously reviewed at HF&MS here).
The Lumina range sits alongside the Sonetto range and the iconic Homage range which is the image I have in my mind when I think of Sonus faber (like the Serafino). It all looks very attractive in my view.
The Sonus faber Lumina II is a two-way standmount style speaker featuring their 29 mm Damped Apex Dome driver that is used across the Lumina range, including in the flagship three-way floorstanding Limina V. The tweeter has a 12 o’clock to half-past assembly with a silver cap over the soft silk dome which reduces distortion and improves dispersion. The underside of the silver cap appears to have a thread holding the silk dome in place which is an interesting design detail.
There is a 150mm paper cone ‘midwoofer’ set into the multi-layered wood front baffle, it is this wood finish that sets the speaker apart from others in this highly competitive price bracket. The pinstriped wenge finish with inlaid maple being the most iconic look for Sonus faber.
The Sonus faber Lumina II does not appear to be ported, but on closer inspection, the speaker offers a downward fired reflex port to push the sound to the lower frequencies. The outlet port is forward facing making placement less of a problem in tighter spaces. The rear of the speaker has bi wired terminals.
Technically, the Sonus faber Lumina II has a declared frequency response at 55 Hz -24.000 Hz, they are 4 Ohms nominal and have a sensitivity of 86dB SPL (2.83V/1m), this sensitivity is pretty standard at this size. The frequency response hints at a less than bass heavy speaker so you may want to think about subwoofer support if bass is your thing. The tweeter/midwoofer crossover is set to 1800 Hz which is relatively low, meaning the tweeter is doing a little more work.
As I think is clear the speakers are delicious to look at. They are wrapped on the sides and top in leather which gives the speaker the look of quality and they are easier to move about and position with the softer feel. The base of the speaker has a soft spongey layer to ensure a solid footing is made on either stands or bookshelves. The grilles over the drivers are light and magnetic and fit on the front with a satisfying snap. The binding posts offer bi-wire capabilities.
The speakers are available in gloss black (with no inlay), wenge and walnut, which have the maple inlay. I have the gloss black finish in the pictures.
The speakers are 304 x 180 x 263mm (HxWxD) and they each weight in at 5.8 kg. They are retailing in the UK at £999. You can find retailers on the Sonus faber site.
There are already lots of reviews of these Lumina IIs and you will have already looked at these, for my part I can offer my thoughts through several different electronic sources as a useful additional assessment of these terrific speakers.
I have a Bluesound Powernode 2i, the amplified streamer, which is a terrific partner at this sort of budget. There is the new Gen 3 Powernode out now, but I have the 2i, I’ll be reviewing the streaming Node Gen 3 next week so watch this space for that.
I have also used some T+A electronics in the form of the PA 2000 R integrated amplifier. Finally, I have a Naim Uniti Star which may serve as a proxy for the Atom, which feels like it might be a decent pairing price and look wise, since they are both very good looking.
The speakers are easy to manage, move about and position as they are light, there are no fingerprint issues anywhere, though I’m usually wearing fabric gloves in these instances.
I have broadly had the Luminas toed in a fraction at 2.5m apart and I’m about 3m away, they’re a meter from the rear wall.
In most cases, I’m using a REL T/5i to support the speakers because really, that is my preference. I’m using the high-level input from the Lumina II speaker binding posts for ease of swapping amplifiers in and out. Thankfully the binding posts, though a little cramped, are spaced enough for me to do this.
Since I have not heard Sonus faber before I go to the familiar (my reference) T+A PA 2000 R integrated amplifier with its 200W into the 4 Ohms impedance noted on the spec. It is a bit oversized and I’m mindful of the suggested amplifier range from Sonus faber but it can serve to highlight where the Lumina IIs are for me. I am Tellurium Q’d up too so I’m really good. I immediately appreciate the pedigree on offer from the Lumina speakers, they are detailed and the familiar vocal of Amos Lee’s Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight (Qobuz 16bit, 44.1kHz) makes me look up and pay attention, I’ve got something here, though the vocal tone is lighter than I am used to. All the detail is here, though. Particularly in the guitar strings.
With Coldplay’s Everglow (Qobuz 24bit, 192kHz) Chris Martin’s vocal and piano deliver an excellent soundstage with plenty of depth to the image and there is the width I’m looking for with the amplifier’s power delivery.
Turning off the sub, the speakers reach down quite nicely with the same track and that deep bass introduction but I’m always going to prefer REL T/5i on. Overall, first impressions sonically are favourable and the T+A resolution is well translated with familiar tracks. I find the speakers in the first instance to be fairly laid back in the sound stage and easy to listen to.
Naim Uniti Star
Moving the speakers to the 70W/channel Naim Uniti Star, in a different room with no subwoofer but bi-wired I get an altogether more substantial deep and warm sound. There is no sense of any loss of resolution in Amos Lee’s guitar strings, for example. I get a much deeper reach from the Sonus fabers with Coldplay’s Everglow (Qobuz 24bit, 196kHz) and it is bordering on satisfying. I realise I have the speakers bi-wired by Atlas at this point and, being in a different room, the Luminas are in the corner more. Nevertheless, the output is controlled, and again has that laid back presentation.
I felt the Luminas may partner nicely with the Uniti Atom, given the price points involved and the velvet texture of the Uniti range. Sure, enough my ideas are borne out with a Uniti Star though I note the Naim Uniti Atom is 40W/channel.
I have the Powernode 2i here and it is a fine performer with most bookshelf arrangements, and it complements these speakers well both in terms of minimalist look and budget, the Powernode 2i is just £700 or so these days. I am simply using a few meters of the Kudos KS-1, and I have a terrific set-up.
I turn to Miles Kane’s fantastic track Don’t Forget Who You Are (Tidal MQA, 44.1kHz) and the output is punchy, dynamic, lively, and great fun. The Lumina IIs are comfortable, though they understandably find trouble at volume.
I have to say a listen to Newton Faulkner’s version of Teardrop (Tidal MQA, 44.1kHz) at the bass drop (about 1’35”) is acceptable at volume and with no subwoofer in support. When I’m done with the critical listening, I turn to the new War on Drugs tracks to relax. Here the Lumina IIs are a pleasure to ease back to and I Don’t Live Here Anymore (Qobuz 24bit, 48kHz) has great heft in the soundstage and depth with the guitars rolling along. These are very easy speakers to listen to.
Most of these speakers at this price range are going to be decent, some will have more to offer than others, of course. If this is your budget it really boils down to your preference on sound (tone, electronics etc.), functionality (spaces, positioning, porting) and aesthetics. You need to listen to a few options like Fyne Audio’s 500s and the AE500s with your chosen electronics. Inevitably you will be drawn to the KEF LS50s with the pristine Uni-Q driver. Whatever you’re thinking about, these Sonus faber Lumina II speakers need to be on your shortlist.
This is my first experience of Sonus faber and it makes me want to look up the range towards the III and V and I am sure I’m going to like it. I really like the Lumina II and the laid back relaxed sound which, when paired with the right electronics, can give a full and satisfying sound.
Finding the right pair of speakers is hard. You’re going to have to listen and choose well, these Sonus faber Lumina II speakers must be on your shortlist. They are a quality option and offer very long listening. As well as that there are few speakers as good looking as these.
Laid back listening
Binding posts were more accessible
Full details are on the company’s site.