Need help choosing Sonus Faber Sonetto V or VIII, what amp?

We are putting together a new system and are not hi-fi experts. We have narrowed down speakers to the Sonus Faber Sonetto line, V or VII. We auditioned and ruled out Focal, B&W, Dynaudio due to them being too bright (that was with tube amps). Our room is 16’ by 24, listening area 16’ by 16’, we are aimed into the corner with a corner tv and stereo set up. The room is open design, LR, DR, then kitchen jutting off from DR into L shape. 8’ ceilings. Speakers would be about 10’ apart facing long side wall, not the back of the room. So angled in the room.

We listen to orchestra rock (S. Brightman, Moody Blues), big band (Buble, vintage and current big band), Jazz (Methany, Weather Report), Blues (Beth Hart, Room full of Blues, etc), and some easy stuff, like female vocalists (Julia Fordham). We like robust, orchestrated music with complexity, and then simple stuff.

Is the Sonetto V sufficient, or do we need the VIII? We do not want a subwoofer.

And then what amp? We are being advised McIntosh MA252 or the Rogue Audio Sphinx or Cronus Mag III - the dealers seem to really like these. They are all in our budget, which is somewhere around 10k +/-.

Then there is the cables, how much should we really spend here?

(PS: my ears cannot take the brightness of many speakers we heard, my wife has too many parrots I guess, which are now in a different room).

Appreciate the input and experience, thanks.


If not using a sub, I would go with the Sonetto VIII.  SF doesn't rate bass extension that much deeper with the VIII than the V, but I would want that extra woofer without a sub being in use.  I heard the VIII and they should be better able to fill a large space like yours.

There are some other highly-regarded integrateds out there well within your budget.  I’ll mention the Octave v70SE and Audio Hungary Qualition, neither of which will likely trigger any brightness issues but will bring your SFs into full song with lots of tube goodness.  Personally I’d take either of these over the Mac or Rogue in a heartbeat, but that’s me. Best of luck. 

The MA252 is a solid state amp with a tube preamp.  I believe that may end up being a little less maintenance over the long term vs an all tube setup.  I mention this because you stated you are new to this.  
As for cables you should be looking at entry level cables from maybe Kimber, Audioquest or even Blue Jeans.  Nothing crazy needed for those pieces.   What’s your source? 

Had a 252 in my old system and sold it and went Pathos Classic One MK3.

AH Qualiton is on a whole other level. I have the X200 and it is delightful. 

Mtbiker29 We are being advised to get a Bluesound Node. And that was another question, is the DAC enough in that component? We are streaming Tidal or another of those low loss. The 252 does not take many inputs and has no additional input for another amp, if we upgraded to say the Olympic Novas, or IIIs. Thank you. 

Go with the MAC amp and use Kimber cables, or Morrow Audio cables as these will work best at not being BRIGHT. Also, The Sonus farbers are easy to drive ,you dont need anything exotic to drive them and the McIntosh will last forever.


Matt M

I have the Sonetto V’s, but accompanied by 2 REL subs.  I’m partial to Chord components and use the Dave DAC, Prima preamp, and Etude amp (150 watts), and I think the exceptional detail of the Chord products pairs very well with the warmth of the SF’s.  My point being that using a brighter amp/preamp created the best of both worlds in terms of detail and warmth.  I disagree about entry level cables.  When I switched from Audio Art speaker cables, which were very good, to Shunyata sigmas (used) the level of improvement was incredible.  Almost a different system. Wide, deep, and refined soundstage.  I plan ultimately to upgrade to a better pair of SF’s, but I’m not in a hurry.  But if you’re not getting subs I’d definitely go with the Sonetto VIII’s.

Thanks. We cannot afford $20,000 plus in stereo components. I am sure the Chords are nice...but wayyyyy out of our budget. Any other suggestions for amp that is more in the under 5k or even lower budget that would do these justice? We bump up to the VIII, but not sure if that would take a diff amp? 

No, I don't think the VIII would require any different amp than the V, as the sensitivity of those speakers is about the same for both of them.

Just on my personal experience if you want to keep it simple I'd go for a quality integrated. My favorite for a budget would be a Schiit Raganok 2 at $1500,  but for another grand a Unico Primo integrated is a great sounding special amp. The build quality is outstanding.  It has a tube in the preamp section. Replace that factory tube with a Red Lion Genelex, PS Vane or a new old stock RCA black plate 12ax7 and the sound will be amazing. And you get to keep the team all Italian. 

Well we took the leap, we are now looking at the Olympica Nova III, MA352, Heimdall 2 3m speaker cable. Anyone have thoughts on this combo? We loved the sound. Did not have many options in amps, unless we bought from somewhere else. Is the Heimdall worth it? Thanks

Nice choices with the Nova and MA352. The Heimdahl will give detailed sound.  I had their power cable using it with a Primaluna integrated. While I appreciated what it did I ultimately sold it because it was too detailed and overall did not care for its tonal character. Not sure the speaker cables will mimic the power cable but my guess is yes because that is the nature of Nordost. 

samzx12 This is what we are concerned about. The 352 already does not have the warm tone of the McIntosh sound, though the tubes help. We compared with the MA7200, which made the SF's sound muted. We went back and forth LOL, our dealer was quite patient. We also compared these cables to a purple set which notably dropped the higher frequencies down and dulled them. But these were the only cables. The 352 brings out a lot of detail and a really good range of frequencies. But I love the SF because I do NOT want brightness, at least not to fatigue. We knocked several well-reputed speakers off our list for this reason alone.