SONUS FABER Olympica Nova V

TR15.11.2019

Floorstanding loudspeakers

The Olympica Nova V, as a descendant of the Sonus Faber’s Olympica line, takes most construction elements from the previous models. Sonus Faber is synonymous with luxurious speaker design where ultimate craftsmanship meets exquisite materials like leather and wood. The Olympica Nova V’s leave a bit of the opulence behind and are stylistically very clean. So is their sound.

100% reference

Function and form

98%
Ease of use
70%
Sound
100%
Appearance

All that Audiodrom wrote about the design of the Sonus Faber Olympica III holds true here too – so I encourage the reader to check the review.

Like with other SF’s speakers the Olympica Nova V features no parallel cabinet walls, an asymmetrical shape and an asymmetrically firing bassreflex slots in the rear. This leaves a lot of room for optimizing the speakers in the listening room because by swapping left and right speaker the way the bass excites the room changes.

Sonus Faber keeps using the 28mm silk dome tweeter (redesigned for the Olympica Nova V) and cellulose drivers (1x 150mm midrange driver and 3x 180mm woofers). The cellulose pulp is not pressed which gives a slightly rough surface with varying density to reduce the cone resonances, says manufacturer. The cellulose is further reinforced by hollow lightweight fibers like tropical Kapok and Kenaf.

Like with Sonus Faber’s Homage Tradition line the Olympica Nova V uses eight layers of pressure bended plywood to create its rigid cabinet. Inside an array of ribs is used to prevent the cabinet resonances.

The Olympica Nova V is rated 32Hz-35KHz, 4 ohms and 90dB, all that makes them quite easy-to-drive speakers.

Bass management

Weight
82
Slam
73
Articulation
73

Unlike the Magico S1 speakers that I drove into limitation with the same electronics recently, the Olympica Nova V stayed composed at the same listening levels in a fairly big room. I was very surprised, however, that the Sonus Faber was closer to the overall Magico´s voicing than expected. Not only was the bass of the Olympica Nova V deep but it was beautifully contoured and punchy too. Gone was the soft structure of the previous Olympica, the bass of the Nova V is crisp and clear down to the declared 30 Hz. A duel of cellos and bowed double-bass got alive in the listening room, with substantial weight and resonant mass of the instruments – actually it was so good that it kept me nailed into the listening chair for over 30 minutes in a repeat mode. The improvements on the bass reflex duct are audible as if any remaining compression caused by bass cones moving has been removed.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
90
Air
82
Transparency
81

I expected the Sonus Faber´s house style – a kind presentation full of forgiving warmth, smoothness and creaminess. Not here, the Olympica Nova V was like listening to Bowers & Wilkins new 800 D3 series. The sound was fast, open, dynamic and transparent with only a hint of silkiness that could be heard on drumstick hitting a cymbal, for example. This Sonus Faber follows completely different sonic philosophy than its siblings, yet with the typical Italian flair.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
70
Dynamics
75
Temporal resolution
70

Every time I thought I detected the warm signature I heard the speakers saying It’s not a signature what you hear, it’s harmonics. Indeed, the Olympica Nova V unmistakably showed the difference between Steinway and Fazioli grand pianos, across their whole keyboards. The sound was colourful but not coloured, rich and less romantic than I used to hear from SF’s speakers. The pianos were not metallic, glassy or thin, it was clear that it is a wooden instrument of substantial size. Voices were similarly saturated, like the duets of Dieter Meier and Malia on Yello’s Toy.

Spatial resolution

Holography
79
Soundstage width
72
Soundstage depth
75

Ramirez‘s Missa Criolla was presented with a huge soundstage through the Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V. The massive choirs stretched far outside the room’s boundaries but it was not achieved by relegating the choral plane to far beyond the speakers. There was clear 3D perspective and the scene was actually very present with singing right in front of me, it was the perspective of 6th row in the audience. At the same time the recording’s ambience was immersive, as if the Olympica Nova V created its own microcosm with music and ambient noises that were close to real.

The Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V became a surprise for me. I expected ‘another’ Sonus Faber and got new generation sound. Yes, the Nova V is 30% more expensive than the old model, but it is at least 30% better than it. Highly recommended.

Price as reviewed:379 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Jasyko, Brno, +420 541 210 108

Associated components

  • Sources: Audio Research CD6
  • Amplifiers: Audio Research LS28 preamplifier and VT80 SE mono power amplfiers
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: InAkustik LS2404
  • Loudspeakers:  Magico S1

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