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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Jeff Fritz,

I just read your review of the Sonus faber Amati Futura and noticed that you failed to criticize them in terms of sound compared to the Magico Q3. After having spent around $25,000 too much last year on dinners and dates, I thought this year I would invest instead in some new loudspeakers. The following are contenders:

  • Sanders Sound Systems Model 11 with Magtech amps and digital crossover: sensible design, solid specifications!
  • Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond: heard with Classé CA-M600 in an all-Classé-based system; solid look and almost powered-subwoofer-like bass, but grainy mids and highs.
  • Focal Scala Utopia: heard with Bryston 28B SST2 in an all-Bryston system; gorgeous architectural look and decent piano reproduction in the midrange.
  • Sonus faber Amati Futura: unheard, gorgeous thing-of-luxury beauty; looks like an impulse purchase for the home.
  • Magico Q5: unheard, pricey and weighty. Is the Q3 as good?

Speaker-wise, in this Honda Fit-to-BMW 3-series price category, what would you recommend? Can the 802 Diamond sound as good as the rest?

John

The Sonus faber Amati Futura leaves little to criticize, even up against the Magico Q3. The Sonus has a very specific sound, as does the Magico, and I tried to describe both accurately in my article. Which speaker you'll prefer will depend, as I said in the review, on your tastes in sonics and aesthetics. I've not heard the Sanders Sound Systems speakers or the Focals, but I do not believe the Bowers & Wilkins would be competitive with either the Sonus or Magico, based on living with the 803 Diamonds for a number of months. The Diamonds are good speakers but just not as refined as the Sonus fabers or Magicos. The Magico Q5 is, of course, much more expensive than the Q3 or the Amati Futura and requires an extremely powerful amplifier but should outperform any other speaker on your list. If you can make the investment in electronics and have the space, I'm sure you'd be thrilled with them.

Ultimately, your choice of speakers should come down to what makes you super excited and musically satisfied, based on personal auditioning in a good room. With the type of investment you are considering, I'd start looking for dealers where you can audition these products and plan a road trip (or some short flights, hopefully). The last thing you want to have happen is to purchase something that you regret. I've been down that road and it's no fun. Good luck with your search. . . . Jeff Fritz