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This review first appeared in the November 2010 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read this review of the Sonus Faber Minima Vintage in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Sonus Faber - Ed.

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacuła
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air 
Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, Miyajima Laboratory Waza
Preamp: Ayon Audio Polaris III with ReGenerator II power supply
Power amp: Tenor Audio 175S and Soulution 710
Integrated amp: Leben CS300XS custom
Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann
Headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600 Ω
Interconnects: CD-preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp-power amp Wireworld Platinum Eclipse, speaker cable Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cords: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300 (all equipment)
Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip
audio stand: Base under all components, Pro Audio Bono under CD
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD, turntables change continuously
Review component retail: $2.499/pr

It's not easy to establish when exactly Sonus Faber was founded. If you check the company's website you will learn that they’ve existed since 1983. In his Stereophile review of the FM2 Minima Larry Greenhill mentions 1981 but some online posters think it really was 1980. The only help founder Franco Serblin gives on the subject is thinking that he created his first design in 1980. By 1990 he was joined by Cesare Bevilacqua who took over company finances. Another important date in the company's history became 1993 when the most famous Sonus Faber model Guarnieri launched. But the first Sonus Faber product was actually called Snail – two small satellite speakers mounted on long extension arms with a subwoofer placed in the middle all made of wood. Soon after that the stand-mounted Parva followed. Serblin was sure already then that small loudspeakers sounded best and he has favored them for the longest time (taken from Franco Serblin: speaker builder or Zen master?, a conversation with L. Greenhill, Stereophile, April 1993).

By 2007 Franco Serblin sold his company to private Italian holding firm Quadrivio SGR and focused on his new project Ktêma loudspeakers [upper right]. These are huge floorstanders so it looks as though he changed his mind about small speakers being best. The Minima Vintage speakers were created after the company changed ownership. Also interesting is that the same holding firm on Jan 25th 2008 acquired another famous audio manufacturer, American Audio Research Corp.

I guess it's no big risk to claim that the Minima model is an important element of the Sonus Faber image. It's been manufactured almost from the very beginning of their existence. After 8 years of being on the market Sonus Faber decided to prepare the new FM2 version and present it during the 1992 CES in Las Vegas. Then there were a few years during which the Minima was not available and finally this year it returned to the portfolio. In fact nowadays you find only one model in the Vintage Collection - Minima Vintage.

It is a quite small two-way speaker. Its 120mm mid/woofer with cellulose acrylate cone is a vented basket design. The tweeter is a 28mm ultra-dynamic silk dome with ferrofluid cooling. The crossover point sits at 2kHz with first-order slopes (6dB/octave). Sensitivity at 84dB is quite low which brings to mind the Harbeth P3ESR and perhaps also the BBC's LS3/5a. The nominal impedance reads 8Ω but I think it’s not that linear and occasionally drops lower. This Vintage reissue is almost identical to its predecessor. Just a few details changed. The woofer's basket is now round and the back of the speaker is finished in leather where previously it was wood.

Sound: Discs used for this review - Die perfekte Räumlichkeit, Stereoplay 10/10, sampler, CD; Anja Garbarek, Briefly Shaking, EMI, 8608022, Copy Control Disc; Clifford Brown, Clifford Brown With Strings, Verve, 558 078-2, Verve Master Edition, CD; Clifford Brown, Clifford Brown With Strings, Verve/Universal Music Japan, UCCU-9525, gold CD; e.s.t., Leucocyte, ACT Music+Vision, ACT 9018-1, 2 x 180 g LP; Eva Cassidy, Imagine, Hot Records, G2-10075, CD; Jean Michel Jarré, Oxygene, Dreyfus Disques/Mobile Fidelity, UDCD 613, gold CD; Kings of Leon, Only By The Night, RCA/BMJ Japan, BVCP-40058, CD; Kraftwerk, Minimum-Maximum, EMI, 334 996 2, 2 x SACD/CD; Laurie Anderson, Homeland, Nonesuch, 524055-2, CD+DVD; Lisa Ekdahl, Give Me That Slow Knowing Smile, RCA/Sony Music, 46663-2, Opendisc; Lisa Ekdahl, When Did You Leave Heaven, BMG Sweden AB, 43175 2, CD; Paula Cole, Courage, Decca, B0008292-02, CD; Peter Gabriel, So, Virgin, SAPGCD5, SACD/CD.