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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Jeff Fritz,

I read your review of the Sonus Faber Venere 3.0 and will be auditioning them in three weeks (I have to travel a couple of hundred miles to the nearest retailer). I have a question about room placement with them. I am limited in how far from the front wall I can place the speaker -- 12” to 14" maximum. How sensitive are the Veneres to this? The room is 15'2" x 17' 6" with an 8' ceiling and the speakers are on the 17' 6" wall. Seating position is about 9' 6" from the speakers. I currently have a Cambridge Audio Azur 651R A/V receiver driving an older pair of Paradigm Monitor 9s and want to upgrade the Paradigms. I listen to 75% music, 25% movies.

A friend has a pair of KEF R700s but he has found that they really need to be 36" minimum from the wall -- I assume the R900s react in a similar manner? The only speaker that I have recently read about that states placement close to the front wall has minimal impact is the Salk SongTowers, but I have no ability to audition them and that worries me.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

Bob Daly

The truth of the matter is that any speaker that produces appreciable low bass will interact more with room boundaries than speakers that are low-frequency limited. Boundaries will reinforce the low frequencies; therefore, moving a speaker further into the room will limit this phenomena. Speakers like the KEF R900 and R700, as well as the Sonus Faber Venere 3.0, all produce fairly low bass for their size and price. Therefore, in many rooms these speakers will need a bit more distance from the front wall in order to sound properly balanced in the bass.

Specifically regarding the 3.0, the one technical characteristic that does play in your favor is the fact that the speaker is front-ported. This design element gives the speaker a touch more flexibility when placed close to a wall, and therefore makes your preferred setup quite possible. There are so many factors that will determine bass performance with large speakers in real rooms in addition to simply the dimensions of the space, however. The construction materials used in the room, the absorption rate of the furnishings in the room, etc., not to mention the type of music that is most often played and at what volume, will all impact on what you hear. All this is to say that I would not feel comfortable hazarding a guess as to whether the Venere 3.0 would work in your room with the placement you are limited to. You could certainly give it a try, and I would not be surprised at all if you were thrilled with the sound. Please let me know how it turns out. . . . Jeff Fritz