Sonus Faber Omnia
Premium Smart Wireless Speaker System w/ Built-in Phono Stage, HDMI-ARC, & Bluetooth
The new Sonus Faber Omnia all-in-one wireless speaker system will enhance your home with high-quality Italian design, connect your music with a diverse suite of groundbreaking features, and allow you to discover natural sound with cutting-edge acoustic technology.
The Ultimate Smart Speaker
Of all the smart speakers we have tested over the years, the Omnia stands out as the best one yet. Not only does it have every input you could imagine, but it also sounds the best of any we have listened to. Plus it looks like an Italian sculpture sitting on your table!
Wonderful Italian Audio Heritage Shines Through
Sonus Faber is known for making beautiful speakers that can cost more than a luxury car. Their dedication to warm and neutral sound comes through in the Omina. Your ears will tell you it comes from a company dedicated to delivering music that sounds completely natural.
We have never seen a smart speaker with so many options of how to get music into it. From streaming to Bluetooth, to HDMI, to even a phono input! The Omnia has everything covered!
Company & Product Overview
The Omnia is an all-in-one system designed to introduce people to the beauty and sound quality of Sonus Faber speakers. Sonus Faber is an Italian company that makes some of the world’s best-sounding speakers reaching up to $250,000 a pair. There is no question, their gorgeous physical appearance is second to none. Their ability to deliver a high performance speaker that compliments the design of a residential environment is what has made them famous. If you have ever seen a pair in person, you know exactly what we mean.
When Sonus Faber told us about the Omnia we hoped they had taken what they learned with their totally outrageous SF16 they released in 2017 and found a way to bring their Italian design and great tech into something much more reasonably priced. If you ever saw the SF16, it was made of a curved block of a 3d molded multi-ply wood enclosure with motorized speaker wings. The remote was even carved from a solid block of aluminum. It was an amazing piece of gear that also had a price tag to match.
We are happy to say the Omnia is an incredible all-in-one system that for its beautiful design and sound is very fairly priced.
Design & Build Quality
Coming from their 40-year history of building some of the most beautiful speakers in the world, we were not surprised to see the Omnia is just gorgeous. Our sample had the walnut top, but there is also a graphite option coming later in 2022. As you can see from the pictures, it is curvy just like an Italian sports car. As a matter of fact, the side grills for the Crescendo speakers remind us of the grill on a fancy sports car. Everything about the fit and finish is just first class and it is one heck of a cool and unique shape. The Omnia is definitely not something you want to hide away, but have proudly on display. Even the supplied remote control with the Omnia has a curvy appearance that matches the Italian lines of the unit.
Sonus Faber has what they call their Senso system on the top of the Omnia. It is a tactile touch-sensitive surface with thin bars of light that serves several purposes. First, they just add a neat look (although if you want, they can be turned off), but they also indicate the current source selection and volume level. You can also pause the music and raise or lower the volume using the lights on top. The way they are laid out is you have 3 long slender light bars. The bottom one will change its look as you adjust the volume, but once you are done, return to fully lit. Then there is a smaller bar with two lighted dots on either side. This smaller bar is where you can play/pause and it changes color based upon the source selection. The two outer dots are how you raise and lower the volume. And we discovered another use we go over later.
Features & Technology
We think the Omnia has about the best connectivity package we have seen on an all-in-one speaker like this. The first thing that sets it apart is the moving magnet phono input. There is a separate small dongle you can connect a turntable up with or if your turntable has a built-in phono preamp, you can change the input to be line level with a small switch next to the dongle connector. This could also be used for something like a CD player as well.
We are seeing more units like the Omnia come with HDMI ARC these days, which is especially great with the shape of the Omnia. HDMI ARC allows your TV to send an audio signal down to the unit, but another benefit is your TV remote control then takes over the volume for the Omnia when the TV is the source. All units like this also automatically turn on and select the right input when you turn on the TV. As a tip for Omnia buyers, since the Omnia is a two-channel unit, you will want to set your TV to output PCM, not surround sound.
Since the Omina is only about 5” tall, it will look great under most TV’s as a music player that can also be your soundbar!
You’ll have no trouble streaming your favorite music service to the Omnia as it supports Airplay2, Chromecast, and Bluetooth. And the Bluetooth is AptX HD for the best performance. Tidal connect and Spotify Connect are also on board and it even has Roon. And for those of you who love to tell your smart speaker what to play, it supports both Siri and Google Assistant.
All of these inputs will auto select except for the phono input. We were a little worried about the fact the only way to change to the phono input is by way of the handheld remote and what might happen if you lost it. We discovered you can do a two-finger swipe on the Senso volume control and it will change inputs, pretty neat.
With Sonus Faber’s speaker heritage, we expected the Omnia to have a great speaker design and it certainly does with 7 drivers and discrete amps for each one. The sealed cabinet houses a 6 ⅕” downward-firing aluminum cone woofer which launches the bass wave into a curved part of the cabinet designed to improve how the bass sounds in your room. In addition on each side of the 26” long cabinet there is a.75” silk dome tweeter with a Neodymium motor system and a 3” paper pulp cone midrange driver.
There are two more drivers on each side behind the cool looking grills that are part of the Crescendo system developed by Sonus Faber. These are 1.75” wide range inverted dome cellulose pulp membrane drivers with a Neodymium motor system. Sonus Faber uses some special DSP for these; you can turn these on to add a bigger sense of space.
When you enter the IP address of your Omnia into a web browser, you get access to even more features. This is where you can turn Crescendo on or off. You can also select if your Omnia is near a wall or not. As you will see from our testing, we really like the fact they give you the option of activating their Crescendo system. Also on the interface is something they call Loudness Maximizer which is similar to a loudness button on a vintage piece of audio gear.
Performance and Testing
Like all smart speakers, the Omnia needs to be set up to work with your network. Sonus Faber made this really easy. Apple users can use the Apple Home app and add it as an accessory and Android users can add it using Google Home.
We tried both ways on our iPhone 13 and do have a tip here. The Apple method is easier since you do not have to enter any network credentials in and is super fast. The Google Home app will show the Omnia at the top of the screen with a small “setup” button. This takes about 2 minutes compared to the 30 seconds of the Apple method but does have one pretty big advantage. The Google Home app will show you the IP address of the Omnia which you will need to get into the advanced settings. If you use the Apple way, you will need to scan your network to find it. We found you can set it up using both methods so it will work with either voice assistant.
The advanced network setup is something you will only need to access once unless you want to get really into changing the Crescendo setting based on the type of music playing.
We have seen some high-end smart speakers be a little glitchy at playing some streaming sources so we actually tried every single type of streaming source connection and it worked flawlessly every time!
We found the room placement settings to work great. It is probably the best we have experienced so far. We used three very different types of placements to check it out. Our first test was done in a very large, open room with the Omnia about 3 feet from any wall. Here, the bass was much better with the unit set up with the Room Placement option set to “Away from the wall”. We then tried a much smaller room with it about 2’ from the back wall but 1’ from a sidewall and preferred the bass with it when positioned closer to the wall. Finally, we tried it in a medium-size room about 12” off the back wall. In this setup, it was very obvious the bass was far tighter and well defined with it set to “Near the wall”. Kudos to Sonus Faber for the way they set up the eq for these two settings. You change these using the web browser and suspect most people will never change this once they have done a little listening to find out the best setting for their room.
Crescendo was a mixed bag for us, and it could be because we tested this with our biased audiophile ears. On all but some very funky electronic music, we preferred it turned off. With it on, the sound is clearly bigger and more room-filling, but it changed the tonal quality of the midrange and sounded a bit phasy to our ears. Performers' voices and instruments just sounded more natural and real to us with it defeated. We suspect this is due to adding in the smaller side drivers which have a different sonic character than the main midrange ones.
If you are way off-axis or move around your room a lot, you might like it on as when you get to about 160-180 degrees off-axis, the midrange seems clearer with it on, but for most listening positions, we think you will want to defeat it. We did not have time to test Crescendo using the Omnia as a soundbar, and in that situation, it might be the preferred way.
Our one criticism is, while it is just a click to go to the app to turn Crescendo on or off, it would have been nice to have had a button on either the remote or the unit that served this purpose and even cooler if they let you assign it to an input.
The Loudness Optimizer circuit works well too and we really like the way Sonus Faber implemented it. In the early days of audio, most gear had a loudness button that boosted the deep bass. The idea was that our ears do not sense bass as well at low volume levels and the loudness circuit makes the bass richer at lower levels. The catch is, if you crank it up, you really do not want it on as then the bass becomes overpowering. With the Omnia, you get 3dB of bass boost until you get to 25% of the volume setting, then it gradually reduces until you get to 50% where it switches off. This is just a great way to do it as you get that nice added richness when it is turned down really low, but no extra boost as you play it louder. The 50% level on the Omnia is not that loud either. We felt this worked just great.
We tried a variety of our favorite test tracks, mostly streaming them to the Omnia using Roon. The Omnia came across to us as very pleasant to listen to but with outstanding dynamics and bass, plus nothing is muddled together like many smart speakers. We had it playing for several hours at different volume levels and never felt the urge to turn it down due to any harshness.
The overall sound of the Omnia is quite special. Sonus Faber speakers are known for being very natural with a relaxed and easy to listen to presentation and the Omnia follows that great heritage. It has some of the best and most tuneful bass we have heard from a smart speaker. The only other one that comes even close is the Naim Mu-So 2. The specs claim it is only 6dB down at 30 Hz and we believe it! We are talking about the ability to hear the pluck and harmonics of a bass guitar string or the strike of a kick drum, it is that good! It is also very tuneful with a great sense of rhythm and pacing as it really had our toes tapping on a few involving cuts.
And speaking of turning things up or down, if you want to crank things up, it will do so with a lot of gusto. The Sonus Faber specs claim it can produce levels of 108dB which is incredibly loud. We were able to turn it up to uncomfortably loud levels with no sense of breakup, although we would never recommend you listen at that level if you want to keep your ears in good shape.
On a very good stereo system with great electronics and speakers, you can hear the tiny volume changes that let you sense the expression in the performer's voice. We did not expect to hear these kinds of details from a speaker like this, but the more tracks we played, we heard some of these same characteristics. It truly lets you hear deep into the music.
Obviously, the one thing missing from any speaker like this is the ability to paint a 3-dimensional sound stage in front of you. That takes a pair of stereo speakers and a set of electronics. But from a tonal and dynamics perspective, the Omnia is very very good!
The smart speaker category encompasses a pretty wide range of prices. It is up to the buyer to decide the right budget that fits their needs. If you are in the market for better and more involving sound but do not want to get into a system made up of separate components and can afford the Omnia, we feel like you can not go wrong with it. The sound it creates is just awesome. We have to say it is the best sounding speaker like this we have heard to date.
Add in the fact it is almost like having a work of Italian sculpture sitting in your room as an extra bonus!
- System: Stereo 4-way; DSP-optimized closed box system
- 2 x Soft Dome Tweeter
- 2 x Cone Midrange
- 2 x Extended Range Side Drivers
- 1 x Woofer
- Power Rating: 490 W
- Mains Supply: 100-120V, 220-240V, 50/60Hz
- Power Consumption:
- Typical use: 18W
- Standby mode: 3.5W
- Deep sleep (No-network standby mode): 0.5W
- Maximum Sound Level: 108dB SPL at 1 meter
- Frequency Response:
- Bandwidth: 30Hz to 25kHz (@-6dB)
- Accuracy in frequency response: ± 2dB from 20Hz to 20kHz
- Audio Inputs:
- HDMI-ARC 2 channel
- Analog input: MM Phono/line-in
- Network connectivity:
- Ethernet (10/100 Mbps)
- Wi-Fi dual band 2x2 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5.2GHz)
- Apple AirPlay 2
- Chromecast Built-in
- Spotify® Connect
- TIDAL connect
- Roon Ready
- Bluetooth AptX HD, SRC
- Weight: 16.75 lbs (7.6 Kg)
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 5.12 x 25.59 x 11.02" (130 x 650 x 280mm)
- Included in the box:
- Dust cover
- Remote control
- Power cables
- Phono cable