Sonus Faber unveils high-end limited edition Il Cremonese ex3me floorstanders

Sonus Faber unveils high-end limited edition Il Cremonese ex3me floorstanders
(Image credit: Sonus faber)

Want a set of high-end, slanted, five-edged floorstanding speakers that look every inch as if they're fashioned from the traditional Il Cremonese Italian violin that they're named after? Meet the Sonus Faber Il Cremonese ex3me, a tech-rich floorstander limited to just 50 pairs. Its makers say it builds on the original 2015 model, thanks to a range of innovative new speaker technologies.

Before we get into those, a quick bit of background: the inaugural Sonus Faber Il Cremonese was introduced five years ago with the intention of completing the company’s Homage Collection. Instead (and apparently owing to its performance), the model actually joined Sonus Faber's flagship Reference collection.

Sonus Faber says that the Il Cremonese developed into a vital internal tool within the Vicenza factory, becoming a reference for the development of several new technologies. Enter then, the new Il Cremonese ex3me, which combines elements from the original project – including the midrange and bass drivers – but with several upgrades.

The Il Cremonese ex3me will have a limited production run of just 50 pairs. Visually, it marks the return of Sonus Faber's classic Red Violin finish – let's not forget, it was named after the most famous violin among master Antonio Stradivari’s creations. 

Il Cremonese ex3me features a new Beryllium DLC tweeter, rather than the firm's much-hyped DAD system. Here, a layer of DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) is deposited on the diaphragm surface using chemical vapour deposition – a process that changes the colour to black and gives the beryllium an "amorphous nature" with "diamond-like" strength. The aim, of course, is increased rigidity, speed and accuracy through those high frequencies. 

Sonus Faber Il Cremonese ex3me

(Image credit: Sonus faber)

The two side-firing ‘infra-woofers’ featured in each loudspeaker are bespoke for the Il Cremonese ex3me. The diaphragms are made from nanocarbon fibre, taken from the midrange driver in the ex3ma (the project that gave the name and inspiration for the Il Cremonese ex3me). The tri-laminated sandwich cone diaphragm features a Nomex honeycomb core that manages the driver’s excursion.

The Beryllium DLC tweeter and midrange units are governed by a totally redesigned mid/high crossover network, using non-inductive resistors and air-core inductors plus Mundorf Evo Silver Oil and Evo Gold Oil capacitors.

Each speaker's dedicated midrange driver remains similar to the original; the 180mm unit features a proprietary cone manufactured according to Sonus Faber's recipe: an air-dried, non-pressed blend of cellulose pulp, Kapok, Kenaf, and other natural materials. The drive unit’s neodymium magnet motor system promises "completely eddy-current-free" performance, thanks to a copper Faraday ring strategically placed in the gap. A 1.5-inch (38 mm) voice coil made from copper-clad aluminium completes the configuration.

Like the original, the Il Cremonese ex3me includes two 180mm bass drivers placed in an independent acoustic chamber, fitted with downward-firing ducts.

The five-sided cabinet is inspired by Sonus Faber’s Lilium collection, with clean lines and an edgy design aesthetic. The absence of parallel walls (yes, the speaker slants) promises "acoustic characteristics that are not compromised by standing waves or internal reflections".

Spurious micro-vibration is tackled using the company's Zero Vibration Transmission system, which mechanically decouples the entire loudspeaker from the floor via a combination of metal and elastomer isolation components, inside a multi-part coaxial spike assembly, called 'Silent Spikes'. 

Pricing and availability? Of course. The Il Cremonese ex3me will be available globally from October, priced at £48,500 from Fine Sounds in the UK and AU$84995 in Australia. When pricing for the US is known, we'll update this page, just don't expect a budget-friendly asking fee. But with all this tech, you can't say Sonus Faber isn't doing its best to justify the price.


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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.