Ever wanted a pair of speakers that can change colour? Then you're in luck, because that's exactly what Sonus faber has accomplished with the aptly named Chameleon Bs. It's a feat made possible by some rather clever engineering.
The speakers are shipped without their side panels. Packaged separately, they are available in a choice of six colours: black, white, blue, grey, orange and red.
Once you get the speakers out of the box, simply push the panels in place. It takes seconds to change the look. If you repaint your room, or simply fancy a change, just pay £145 for a different coloured set.
Aside from the ability to change colour there’s much to admire here. We like the classy leather finish used on the rest of the cabinet, and the smart metal trims around the drive units that give the speakers’ such a clean look.
The cabinet feels immensely rigid and has an angled front baffle that puts us in mind of some of Sonus faber’s classic products.
Typically for this price, the Chameleon B is a two-way design. It features a 29mm fabric dome tweeter in combination with a 15cm polypropylene mid/bass unit. A downward firing port tunes the low frequency output. There’s a small plinth on the base to ensure enough clearance for the port to work properly.
This configuration helps to make these speakers easy to position. They’ll work well out into the room but lose very little of that balance close to a wall. Yes, there’s a bit more prominence to the lows but they’re still kept under strict control.
Give these standmounters a day or two to run and they turn in a likeable performance. These Sonus Fabers aren’t the most insightful or analytical speakers we’ve heard at this price, but they’re appealing all the same.
We like their smooth, slightly rich balance. It makes them very easy to listen to over long sessions, as well as allowing less-than-perfect recordings such as Bruce Springsteen’s Radio Nowhere to shine.
There are no hard edges and certainly no tendency towards aggression, even when provoked. If you have an unruly system you need to tame, it’s well worth giving these a listen.
The good thing is all that smoothness is nicely judged. Enough of the song’s drive remains intact to keep the listener interested. There’s good bite to the guitars and drums, and a pleasingly surefooted sense of rhythm.
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We try a range of music from Nick Cave’s Push The Sky Away and Kate Bush’s Aerial all the way to Biffy Clyro’s Infinity Land, and the Bs take it all in their stride. The integration between the drivers is seamless, allowing the speakers to do a fine job with vocals.
Voices are clear, articulate and nicely projected and there’s also a decent sense of organisation and pleasing composure when the music becomes complicated.
The Chameleons are relatively compact – standing at 32cm high – so really deep bass shouldn’t be expected. What they do produce is pretty solid and tuneful, though a little on the full side.
Play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and they display good stereo imaging with a pleasing scale and decent precision to the placement of instruments. These speakers also communicate larger scale dynamic shifts with confidence, refusing to crumble during crescendos. It’s here that we’re reminded of their grace under pressure and fine refinement.
These Sonus fabers aren’t the most insightful performers we’ve heard at this price, and don’t match the sonic muscularity of class leaders like B&W’s 685 S2s, but there’s still much to like here.
If you’re after some well-built, flexible speakers that just sound nice, almost regardless of what you play, give these a go.
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