Sonus Faber Lumina Luxury Speaker Series Overview
Sonus Faber Lumina Speaker Series Overview
Company & Product Overview
If you have ever seen a Sonus Faber luxury speaker in person, you probably thought, “wow, that is like a work of art!” Sonus Faber, an Italian speaker company formed in 1983, makes some of the most natural-sounding and beautiful speakers in the world.
They want their speakers to not only sound the best, but give people who purchase them a piece of Italian culture, tradition, and craftsmanship they can be proud of for decades.
Most high-performance speaker companies strive for the recreation of live music in your home, which Sonus Faber does as well, but with their speakers, you get far more.
Over the years, they have developed a natural sound they call the “Voice of Sonus Faber” which they strive to attain in all of their designs. The sound signature is very neutral, but for us, what pulls us in is the way they are able to reveal all of the subtle emotions in a recording. You can truly hear the expressions in individual voices and instruments. When you listen to a Sonus Faber speaker and compare the sound against a larger or smaller one, you can instantly tell they were derived from the same DNA as they all portray those tiny dynamic changes that draw you into the music.
Sonus Faber owners enjoy that distinctly made-in Italy experience as natural-sounding music flows from the most beautiful speaker you have ever seen.
Up until recently, Sonus Faber speakers started at prices above many popular mainstream speakers. With the introduction of the Lumina series in 2020, this all changed. And the beauty is, a lot of the same technology and craftsmanship you find in their $100,000+ speakers is in the Lumina line.
The name Lumina is actually an acronym for Luxury Experience, Minimal Design, and Natural Sound.
In this overview, we will go over some of the craftsmanship and technology the Lumina models share, then go over each one in more detail to help you determine which Lumina might be best for your home. We think once you have an understanding of everything that goes into these speakers, you will see they really do live up to their name!
The Lumina series consists of two bookshelf speakers, two floor-standing speakers, and a center channel. The tweeters are identical in all of them with similar tech for the midrange and bass drivers which means you can use any combination for a perfectly matched home theater system.
What is somewhat interesting is the fact that initially the Lumina series consisted of the I, III, and center channel. All of these were voiced to be super simple to position in a room and work well near walls for very easy placement. These models sounded so good, that Sonus Faber decided to add the Lumina II and V which are voiced more conventionally to allow people to really dial them in for the best sound.
Design & Build Quality
When you touch the finish of their beautiful cabinets, you can see the Italian violin-making tradition their artisans use in the design and assembly. Their skilled craftsmen put them together just like a fine musical instrument.
Beautiful Cabinet Construction
The Lumina series is available in three unique finish options. All of the well braced and solid cabinets are wrapped in the iconic black leather Sonus Faber uses in their more expensive speakers. The speaker drivers themselves are mounted to a multilayer baffle. The wenge and walnut options both have small maple inlays running horizontally. There is also a piano black finish with no inlays. These cabinets are beautiful and functional, but we just love the way the leather contrasts with the wood front.
Features & Technology
Damped Apex Dome Tweeter
All of the models share the same tweeter. This is actually identical to the tweeter in their more expensive Sonetto series. If you look closely at the soft silk diaphragm you will see a small vertical assembly that barely touches the very apex of the tweeter. At the point of contact it is cone-shaped. Fabric dome tweeters have phase anomalies that occur right at the apex of the dome. Silk dome tweeters have always had a great sound but this cancellation caused some high-frequency roll-off. Many speaker companies have moved to metal dome tweeters to get more extension, but there is something magical about the sound of a silk dome. By ever so slightly pressing in on the dome at the very apex, these cancellations do not happen and you get far more extension. This is a very creative idea the engineers at Sonus Faber came up with that you will see in all of the speakers. Their innovative technology allows for a more extended yet very smooth and natural high-frequency presentation, which has become part of the legendary Voice of Sonus Faber.
Stealth Reflex Port
Another part of all of the Lumina also comes from their more expensive models. Having a port on the rear of a speaker is very simple from a design standpoint. You see this on a lot of speakers. However, a rear firing port limits your placement options as it will interact with the wall behind it. Sonus Faber came up with a very unique type of port called their Stealth Reflex Port. The bookshelf and center models sit on top of this special port which as an added bonus gives them a pretty cool look compared to a typical bookshelf speaker. The port for those is front firing — meaning you can put them in a bookcase or close to a rear wall and still get great sound. The floorstanding speakers have the same type of port but it fires down which also frees up far more placement options.
Custom Made Crossover Components
The crossover is the invisible but very important part of every speaker. It essentially directs what sounds go where and if corners are cut in its design, even the best speaker drivers will never produce the sound they are capable of. Crossovers are made up of many components but the capacitors that do the filtering are by far the most important. The Lumina speakers, like all Sonus Faber models, have custom made capacitors designed specifically for Sonus Faber. That is pretty rare in the world of speakers and to see it at this price point shows incredible dedication to producing the best sound possible.
All of the Lumina models have dual nickel-plated heavy-duty binding posts that allow for bi-wiring or passive bi-amping. While the benefits of this are a topic of a big debate among audio enthusiasts, you can use them either with biwire or standard wire connections which is another nice touch in this price range.
Sonus Faber Lumina Collection
Now let’s take a look at each model and talk about where and how you might use them.
Lumina I 5" Bookshelf Speaker
The smallest model in the series couples the DAD tweeter with a 4’’ mid woofer that was specially developed for the Lumina series. The diaphragm is made of a blend of cellulose pulp and natural fibers.
But, do not let its small size make you think it cannot produce a big sound. We find them to be pretty flexible with placement with a natural sound in just about any position. They are voiced to be closer to room boundaries so they work great on bookcases, on a credenza top, or anywhere near a wall. Sonus Faber essentially designed the Lumina I to work in easy-to-place positions. As a matter of fact, if you put them on stands out in a room, they will be lacking in bass, but close to a room boundary, they sound great. Plus, if you can set each one up equidistant from your primary listening spot, they produce a beautiful three-dimensional sound with the speakers just totally disappearing.
We do find they need an amplifier with some current capabilities, so for stereo listening, we like something from Rotel, Cambridge, NAD, Rega, or Arcam, but in average-sized rooms, an honest power rating of 50-75 watts a channel is plenty.
These make a great first speaker for music lovers wanting a natural sound and a truly beautiful Italian work of art. Or, they work wonderfully well as surround speakers for the bigger models in a home theater system.
Lumina II 6" Bookshelf Speaker
The Lumina II is the best-selling speaker in the Lumina line and for good reason. This compact little wonder puts out a huge amount of sound and just looks gorgeous with its proportions.
These move up to a larger 5” midbass driver that produces a great deal of bass for its size. This is assisted with a much larger cabinet than the Lumina I. The Lumina II is different from the Lumina I in that these are made offset from your room walls and will perform best on a good speaker stand a bit out from the rear and sidewalls. They are more of an audiophile-grade speaker in that with a careful and precise setup, the sound they produce will amaze you.
Once you get them set up properly, they have great dynamics, very fast bass, and that Sonus Faber signature sweet and open sound.
They need a similar type of power as the Lumina I so make sure the amplifier you choose has good current capabilities.
For home theater, we would probably say you should stick with the Lumina I for surround unless you have a situation where your surround channels would be away from the wall on a stand, then we would prefer the Lumina II over the I.
Lumina III Dual 6” Floorstanding Speaker
The Lumina III is the smaller of the two floorstanding speaker models. This model has the same DAD tweeter as the others in a three-way design. You get a 5” midrange driver that is also used in the next step up Sonetto series, coupled with 2-5” bass drivers. Both use a special blend of fiber and pulp just like the drivers in the other series. The 5” bass drivers were custom-developed for this series as well.
The Lumina III also steps up the crossover to their Paracross Topology™. This is a design Sonus Faber originally developed for their reference models and it has filtered down into almost all of the higher performance models. They place some of the reactive components like the capacitors and inductors on the negative rail of the circuit making it more like a semi-balanced design. This reduces any radio frequencies these components might pick up, providing cleaner sound definition.
The Lumina III is similar to the Lumina I in how you want to place it. We find it works better closer to walls, which makes it really easy to position in most rooms. Like the Lumina I, they get a little light in the bass if you move them too far out into the room. But boy, do these have fast tight bass with a super sweet midrange and top end.
You will need to use the included spike kit which raises the speaker off the floor since it has the downward-firing Stealth Port. Cups for hard floors are included.
We can not think of an easier-to-place speaker in this price range that sounds so good.
Lumina V Dual 6.5” Floorstanding Speaker
As you might have guessed by now, the Lumina V is more like the Lumina II in that it is designed for maximum performance over ease of placement. Plus, it has some even better tech than the Lumina III.
It is also a 3-way system with dual bass drivers, but you step up to 6.5” bass drivers made from the same fiber and pulp blend. The crossover is improved to their Hybrid IFF version of the Paracross Topology™ used in the Lumina III. This tech was first released in their $15,000 Maxima Amator and goes even further reducing the effect of back EMF along with the rejection of radio frequencies. The result is even more midrange definition.
But midrange improvements do not stop there. With the larger internal cabinet, Sonus Faber was able to build another cabinet inside the main cabinet to house the midrange driver. This cabinet is in the shape of a lute to reduce internal diffraction.
The Lumina V requires more time setting up to get the best performance, but it is worth every minute you will spend. You will want to try slightly different positions off the walls, then make sure they are symmetrical. Once you do this, you will be rewarded with a sound that goes way beyond what you would think for this price range. The midrange sounds more open and spacious with far more bass impact and slam than the Lumina III.
We recommend an amplifier with good current capabilities just like the other models, but this speaker, like the Lumina II, if you are willing to spend a little setup time, is something quite special. The Lumina V gives you a good taste of what the much more expensive Sonus Faber models can do for sound, which in a note is amazing.
Lumina CI Center Channel Speaker
The final model in this overview is the matching center channel. It uses two of the special 4” drivers with the DAD tweeter. It looks super cool sitting on top of the Stealth Reflex port.
What is really neat about this one is how they voiced it. We have written several articles on how to optimize your center channel, how center channel speakers react with cabinets, and how to tweak the crossover settings to reduce the resonance sitting in a cabinet usually creates.
Sonus Faber voiced the Lumina CI for being either on top of a cabinet or inside one, rather than sitting on a free-standing center channel stand. This means that the resonance we usually hear in this type of position is gone, which makes it so flexible in placement.
It is a perfect match for the Lumina models and it is so good we have seen some people use it with the more expensive Sonus Faber models because they needed to position the center inside a cabinet and this one sounded better due to its voicing.
We hope this overview of the Lumina series has given you a great idea of which model might best fit your audio goals and match well with your environment. Whichever Lumina model you wind up with, we know you will treasure not only its sound quality — but also the Italian design and craftsmanship that went into producing such a wonderful product. Listening to this series was simply extremely “gratifying” - and dare we say “revealing” or even “illuminating” - there really are no better words to describe the experience. Being able to hear the subtle nuances like the emotions in human voices is a big part of what makes music such an emotional and blissful experience - and these speakers reveal these subtle details. We think you just cannot go wrong when you choose this series.
If you have any questions, call 888.899.8776, chat with us, or stop by our award-winning showrooms. At Audio Advice, we've been designing and installing high-performance home theaters & smart home systems for our customers in North Carolina and the surrounding areas for decades. In fact, we've delivered more custom theaters than anyone in the Southeast! We are now offering Home Theater Design no matter where you live in the United States! If you are interested in a custom home theater or upgrading your current system, give us a call at 888.899.8776, chat with us, or stop by our award-winning showrooms.