Sonus Faber goes hi-res wireless with its SF16 all-in-one system

Wireless multi-room systems aren’t exactly new these days, but we bet you’ve never seen one quite like this, the Sonus Faber SF16.

The concept is derived from the original Sonus Faber ‘snail’ speaker system and wraps one front- and one rear-firing 5in bass driver in a wooden/aluminium cabinet, while the two extending satellite speakers house the tweeters and midrange drivers in a bipole/dipole arrangement.

Aluminium/magnesium alloy cones are used for the long-throw bass drivers, while the two extending satellites each incorporate four 5cm ceramic midrange units (two facing forward, two at the back) and four 1cm silk dome tweeters (two front/two back).

Power is provided by Class D amplification, delivering a claimed 1400W in total.

Sources can be connected using the optical or coaxial digital inputs, or the analogue RCA ones. But most users will probably want to stream music from their laptop, smartphone or tablet, so for that there’s DTS Play-Fi which works over any wi-fi network. DLNA compatibility is included too.

Supported file formats are MP3, M4A, AAC, FLAC and WAV, and the system can handle hi-res audio up to 24-bit/192kHz. Up to eight Sonus Faber SF16s can be connected to create a wireless multi-room system.

Tidal, Deezer, Spotify and Amazon Music are all on board. Qobuz and Napster support is expected to follow later.

The original Sonus Faber 'snail' which inspired the design of the SF16

The original Sonus Faber 'snail' which inspired the design of the SF16

Paolo Tazzon, Sonus Faber’s head of R&D, says: “It was a huge challenge to create this crazy concept, as initially I saw a lot of technical problems we had to solve. The real challenge was to keep all the basic qualities of traditional hi-fi, but reduce the complexity for the consumer.”

Great design had to be combined with great sound, says Tazzon, and yet the SF16 had to be a simple ‘plug and play’ system.

To connect wirelessly to the SF16, owners simply download the iOS or Android Play-Fi app, which is coming to Windows soon.

Sonus Faber says it will only make 200 SF16s per year, with the first ones being available in September, priced around £9900.

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.