Magico V2 vs. Sonus Faber Cremona M

Hi, I'm pretty new to high end hifi and this is my first posting here. So this question might sound silly but I hope the gurus can help me out here.

I'm seriously considering the Magico V2 or the Sonus Faber Cremona M. Can anyone share on the different characterictics of these 2 floorstanders in terms of soundstaging, imaging, bass, transparency, airiness, clarity, musicality?

Also what amp would best match these 2 speakers? I favour integrated amps.

Personal audition is very difficult and inconvenient for me as I would have to drive 200km to do it. So I depend very much on reviews and forums. Your response would be greatly appreciated and welcomed.
Trust me, 200 km is nothing...nothing like having a chance to audition yourself, especially speakers that are not cheap either. Go for a ride...
I agree with Branislav...make a day out of it and enjoy the auditions. Take some music you are familiar with so you can formulate accurate impressions about each speaker. As for the comparison, I have heard both, and to me, the Magico V2 is a much more accurate and tonally balanced speaker. The Cremonas are warmer but less resolving and to my ears not as extended in the highs. The V2s are the more accurate and balanced speaker. The Cremona Ms are the more romantic lush speaker. I also find the V2s to be the faster more rythmically engaging speaker vs the Cremonas. Also keep in mind there is a big price difference between the 2 speakers (V2: ~$18Kish vs. Cremona: ~$12Kish). Also there seems to be a lot more Cremonas for sale on Agon either brand new or in good condition used for a considerable discount). Keep in mind you can add a little warmth/texture to the V2s with the type of amplification you use while similarly you can tighten up things with the Cremona a bit with the type of amplification. What do you plan on using with either speaker in terms of the rest of your system. That should be a major consideration in terms of which speaker you chose as well. Good luck.
Once is a while I have to say kudos for a response--Cmalak !
I think I would call ahead if I were going to do this drive. Find out which equipment and cabling would be driving each speaker---then; are each broken in.?
In my case my Sophias had twice as much bass after 6 months of use---as an example.
From your checklist of seven, I would have to give the first six in favor of V2. As for 'musicality', it being more subjective--perception, bias, taste, preference come into larger play here--you will have to decide that for yourself. And to add to Cmalak's already excellent comparative notes, I will just add that being more honest and transparent of the two, V2 does demand that extra care/attention to the choices of equipments and cabling used. In comparison, Cremona is way less fussy and easier to make sing. Imo, it is better to get the more transparent, neutrally balanced speaker first, then tailor that musicality aspect to your liking later with your choices/preferred gears. And yes I fully agree--still it is best to make time, go for that joy ride and form your own opinions.
I have heard the V2 and a few Sonus Fabers, but not the Cremona M. I agree with the general impressions that Cmalak posted and the importance of hearing them for yourself. Personally, I very much prefer the V2 but would caution you that they need a lot of good clean power. They are so transparent that whatever is in the rest of the system will be heard clearly. So they will cost you more initially and probably encourage you to spend wisely on the rest of your gear, but the rewards will be fantastic. I'd also call the dealers ahead of time and request gear that is the same or similar to what you have.
Hi guys, many thanks for your responses. It's a great feeling to have when one gets such prompt responses :o)

I do intend to listen to them personally. Just wanted some feedback in case I can't make up my mind between the two. Then there's the Thiel CS3.7 to consider as well.

It seems that most are in favour of the Magico V2, which I am also more inclined towards.

My current set-up consists of Primare I30 amp + CD31 cdp combo and PMC FB1i floorstanders. I intend to lug my Primares, i/c and speaker cables along to audition the speakers. After I got the speakers, then I'll change the amp and finally the source. Is this the correct route to take?

Speaking of amps, which amp would bring out the best from the Magico V2? That said, I favour integrated amps. I know integrated amps are looked upon with disdain by some audiophiles but I just love the convenience of a one-boxer. I also get to save on interconnects and power cords. I have a few in mind - Plinius 9200 (200W into 8 ohms), Pass Labs INT-150 (150W into 8 ohms), Boulder 865.

What do you guys think?
I don't know about the Magico, but you can forget about the Primare being able to decently drive the Cremona's. In fact, the Cremona's are much harder to drive than is thought. And no, I'm not talking about the old Cremona's, that are even more a pain in the butt to make them sing. I'm refering to the Cremona M, which I've heard on many amplifiers and it never sounded bad, but it never sounded great either. Until I heard them on a Naim combo NAC252/NAP300/Supercap. That was the first and only time I truely heard them excell in all areas. Forget your Primare. It's not half good enough. I even doubt the rest of your suggested amps have it in them to create magic with the Cremona M.
Jtein, where do you live and what are the costs of those speakers. I ask because factors such as currency conversion and import costs can go in favor or against you.

How did you decide upon those 2 speakers? There are many to consider within that price range. Those speakers are almost at opposite ends of the spectrum. Maybe you should be auditioning more. I would think at least 5 should be considered for serious auditioning. I have nothing against those choices, but it is good to make an informed decision.
With regards to Rtn1's suggestion to expand your auditioning beyond the Magico V2s and the Cremona Ms (and the Thiel 3.7s I guess), I would like to suggest you add the Rockport Mira (~$16.5K in the US) to your list because I think it ticks off every single sonic attribute you listed. I currently have the Thiel 2.4s and have heard the 3.7s which are excellent (and I really do like the Thiel house sound unlike some others) but when my finances allow, my next speaker is going to be the Rockport Miras. If you are able to audition them, i would strongly recommend it. As for Hulskof's comments about the amp-speaker match, I totally agree that for all the speakers listed (certainly the Miras, V2s and the 3.7s but I guess also the Cremona Ms) you will need an abundance of clean high quality power and finding it in an integrated package is hard. Your Primare is not up to the task but I would think some of the ones you listed at least are a good starting point (I have not heard any of them). I would look at models that are more in the 200+wpc into 8ohms and that truly double as impedance halves. Good luck.
No need to make an "excuse" for prefering an integrated amp as there are many fine choices out there, I also like their convenience and simplicity. Consider Luxman as well, they make excellent integrated amps.
The DeVore Fidelity Reference Silverbacks (at $16.8K) should be on anyone's audition list for speakers retailing under $25K. They excel in all of the OP's sonic goals and they are a relatively easy speaker to drive. They also excel in the very important "you are there" category. The only speaker that I have heard that beats them in the "you are there" category, the Shindo Latour's, cost $48K. John DeVore is a musical genius. You hear the proof every time you listen to the Silverbacks.

Here's another interesting observation re the Silverbacks. I have never seen a used pair for sale, here or elsewhere. Think about that and draw your own conclusion! ;->

Enjoy the ride!
Hulskof, I know my Primares won't be up to the task. That's why I mentioned I intend to upgrade the amp and source after getting the speakers. I'm only using the Primares to audition them since I'm familiar with the sound. This way I can tell which speakers I prefer. Not a good way? Should I get my amp first then?

Rtn1 and Cmalak, I live in Malaysia. Most, if not all, hifi stuff are sold in KL, the capital city. I live in another city which is 200km away. The reason I'm narrowing down to 2 choices is it's very inconvenient and tiring to audition equipment in my country because different brands are sold by different dealers. I will have to visit 2 different dealers to listen to the Magico V2 and SF Cremona M. Another dealer yet again if I want to listen to Thiel as well. I will probably need to take a week off and stay in KL to properly audition all of them.

I arrived at these 2 choices based on what is said in reviews that I think might give me the sound I'm looking for.

I think Rockport and Devore Fidelity are not available in Malaysia.
Jtein...good luck auditioning and enjoy the hunt. Let us know how you make out. Take care
Jtein, Your situation is complicated but not uncommon. I recommend you pick the speaker before the amp. Not sure if bringing the Primares along to audition is good or bad. Sure, you may know the sound of your amp well enough, but then are you really hearing the speaker with the proper synergy? If you cannot upgrade the amp for another 1-2 years, then go ahead and bring it.

Do take off some time to audition. You need to be very goal-focused. For example, I absolutely had to have a speaker that reproduced the scale of a large performance. I would not upgrade without that condition being met. All speakers have strengths and weaknesses. Musical priorities will help make decisions.

Call each place and make an appointment. Inquire as to what they carry, and ask them to set-up before you arrive. Be sure the equipment is on for several hours before you arrive. That way, you could spend 1-2 hours at each place. Listen to music you like, not sounds or highlights that impress. Some speakers need 5 minutes of auditioning to exclude. If you stay overnight, go back and listen to your top 2 for several hours straight. Tell the dealer what you are doing and get your prices. Come back home, do research, ask Audiogon again, and pull the trigger. Have fun.
Being that by your own admission you are new to high end audio, why are you trying to "upgrade" from what seems to be a high quality, well put together system?
I've had the Primare I30 and the Plinius 9200 on the SF Cremonas. The Plinius 9200 is clearly superior, but it's not the end of the line. Personally, I'd look at a Mcintosh integrated for the SF, the highest powered one you can afford. The bigger Plinius integrated is an option, comparable to the Boulder's price, but offers more power. There's synergy with McIntosh and SF, but some find the combo too warm.

While I'd recommend bring your gear to the auditions, I'd also recommend asking the dealer to pair up the Cremonas and the V2s with what he/she thinks is the absolute best match (speaker/amp/pre/source) in the store. This will give you a better sense of what the speaker is really capable of. No need to pick a speaker that suits the Primare best if you're only going to change out the Primares later. Go with whatever you like best.

Personally, I like the V2s, but you should be able to pick out which you like when you audition. The V2s will be more transparent, but lack a bit of bass compared to the Cremonas if you don't power them adequately. Get the best and highest powered integrated for the V2s, preferably something on the warm/neutral side.

If you can go used, the old cremonas offer exeptional value and you could go separates. Getting away from an integrated opens so many doors, but the main benefit I hear is a lower noise floor, and a sense of freedom and effortlessness to the sound that really makes the extra cost worth it (especially with the inefficient speakers we're talking about here).

Avalon might be another choice. Good luck!
spend the money on travel and wild women, and in a few years, check back on this exciting hobby.
Thanks guys for the invaluable advice. Will keep them in mind when auditioning.

In reply to Onhwy61, yes, my current system is a decent one but it's just not putting a big wide silly grin on my face. I find that I'm trying very hard to enjoy it instead of just enjoying it.

Here's the kind of sound I'm looking for: big-open-airy-holographic-3D soundstage, natural and palpable vocals (which Class A amps are good for), jaw-dropping transparency and clarity, sweet highs and deep and well-defined bass, very low noise-floor and distortion and crisp, coherent and precise timing and rhythm.
Jtein, like others have said: as long as you don't make your choice based on what you hear with your Primare gear, you'll be fine. I mean, I take it you want to hear the best out of the speakers before you decide you like them or not. Not much sense if you'd base your opinion on gear that just pushes them halfway...

If you want transparency and holographic-3D, think Avalon, Thiel, Volent, but not Sonus Faber.
The drawback however is that those kind of speakers do reveal more, but they also reveal all the bad parts of a recording. I don't know what kind of music you listen to, but I'd that 50% of my cd's contain a crappy recording/production. With higly revealing speakers it would be impossible to enjoy them.
That is why I love the Cremona M so much. Like Living Voice they are pretty detailed, without becoming overly revealing and transparent. Almost any recording will sound great on them. But where the Living voice is easy to drive, the Cremona's aren't.
I also think the speakers you mentioned are not likely to fulfill your criteria. Look into some high efficiency speakers (mid 90s db, impedence preferrably above 4). Then buy matching tubed amp and pre-amp. I think tubes will put that grin on your face. It will take a little research to get a tubed amp that is quiet and with good bass, but there are plenty.
Jtein, I sincerely wish you luck with your search, but your description of what you're looking for sounds to me as if you've been reading too much about audio and not listening enough to music. I've never met a component that put a wide silly grin on my face. There have been countless musical moments that have done it, but never a component. Go to a live concert (unamplified) and see if the highs are silky or the vocals palpable.
Sonus Faber Cremona M for sure.

2 major problems with the Magico IMO

1.Midrange -something not quite right about it,no match for the Sonus.The Cremona midrange is to die for.....

2.You have to use the very best electronics available{Soulution,FM A,etc]to make them can forget about an intergrated amp here with the Magico..

I do not know about your budget,but the ASR Emitter V2_Sonus Faber Cremona could easily send you to musical heaven.
Hang on...I almost forgot to ask the most important question - would the Cremona Ms or the Magico V2 give me a significant sonic improvement over my PMC FB1i?

Someone (whom I respect in the hifi circle) told me that it ain't gonna get much better than my current system due to the law of diminishing returns. If this is true, I might as well not waste my time driving 200km to audition.
This is all relative and/or subjective. Most of the time it's a few percent improvement for twice or three times the amount spent. It's your choice. ;-) Hulskof said. It is a very personal thing. Some people will pay up big for a 5% improvement and others will only pay up for a metrial improvement. The only way to find out is to hear for yourself and decide whether the upgrade is worth your while. I am not familiar with the PMC speakers so I cannot advise you there. It could be that you could squeeze out a lot more from your PMC's if you upgrade the amplification and/or source. I would take a day or two and go to KL and listen to the speakers you were originally considering. If you don't think it's a big improvement, you can ask the dealers for suggestions as to how to fine tune enhance your system with your PMCs. I am sure in that scenario they will allow you to audition at home better amps/source/cabling etc...Just a thought. Good luck.
Hey guys, yesterday I dropped by a local dealer in my town and listened to a pair of Avantgarde-Acoustic Uno G2 horn speakers. It was driven by Audionote Meishu valve amp (9wpc) and the source was an Esoteric SA-60. The Uno G2's sensitivity is 104dB and has active woofers so the amp's 9watts of pure Class A was enough to drive them.

After listening for 30 mins, it was enough to make me want to take my whole CD collection to the dealer's place and listen to them one by one. It gave me the kind of sound I'm looking for except that the soundstage seems rather narrow.

The MRSP for the speakers is $27,800.00. Has anyone heard these speakers before? If you have, I'd like to know what you think. I should now audition a pair of Magico V3 which retails for $27k.
Interesting choice. One needs almost no power, the other needs lots. You've got to put in the time to audition. There are a lot of good speakers in the $25-30K range. Sounds like fun.
Have you heard any big planars or stats? Quad 2905, Maggie 20.1, Martin Logan CLX, Sound Lab? They give you everything you want except maybe deepest bass, but they are all incredible for stage, image, holographic 3D and palpable voices. If you occasionally need deepest bass, you can always add sub, but you may find you don't need it. Just a thought. The ML Summit X has built in subs, so no need for major power either. Good luck.
But in case of planars or stats you have to disregard their looks. ;-) I mean, with Sonus Faber you also have a piece of art in your living room (assuming that's where they'll end up).
In the 20K range there is the Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation, and at half that price the Verity Audio Rienzi. They both work well with Luxman integrateds (509u or 590Aii). I really liked the Cremona M until I heard the Parsifals - they simply took my breath away!

I don"t know if there is a Verity Audio dealer in KL, but I know that there is one in Singapore.

Selamat malam!

Verity Audio dealer in KL? Not that I know of. And that goes for Quad, Maggies, Martin Logan and Soundlab. So you choices are pretty limited :(
i would drive 200km+ to just audition these speakers.
I have heard both and they are great.
Its a matter of preference: accurate or beauty.
Either one would be awesome systems & I can live with.
Its more of a personal preference.
good luck! great choices
For an excellent integrated amp look at what Gryphon has to offer. If your voltage is 220-240v, you'll find used ones on Europe as Gryphon is more common there. They are also popular in the orient.