Sonus faber is an Italian company and with that comes a certain set of expectations. The company’s range of speakers – and a very large range it is too – is expected to combine engineering with art. With its more expensive models, the budget is there to achieve this but with more affordable ranges, such as the entry level Lumina models, it is not as easy. Nevertheless, Sonus faber has done an impressive job.
The Lumina II is the larger of two standmount speakers in the range and is a scaled up version of the very compact Lumina I. It makes use of a 29mm soft dome tweeter that, in common with a number of its models, includes a feature called ‘Damped Apex Dome’, where a frame runs across the tweeter, helping to control its output. This is partnered with a 150mm mid/bass driver made from natural cellulose. Like most small speakers, the Lumina II has a bass port but instead of being a hole on the back or front of the cabinet, it is built into an integrated plinth at the base. This makes the speaker very forgiving about where it is placed and provides the Lumina II with a surprising amount of low end heft.
The Lumina range is the first from Sonus faber not to feature curved sides to the cabinet but the manner in which this has been addressed is very effective. The Lumina II limits its use of wood to the front panel. The sides and rear are coated with faux leather in a way that manages to reduce the perceived size of the speaker (not that it is terribly large to begin with) and draws attention to the beautifully worked wooden front. It’s a speaker that looks good in a variety of settings and the build quality is excellent too.
It does not take long in the company of the Lumina II to appreciate that this is more than an attractive and well finished piece of furniture and it has attributes not always as present in other models. The most impressive feature is something of a company trademark in the form of a truly fabulous midrange. Give the Lumina II a voice to recreate and it is absolutely outstanding; combining detail, tonal realism and a wonderful three dimensionality. The relationship between the two drivers is beautifully realised and the handover between them is completely seamless.
Where the Lumina II builds on this, though, is what happens below that midrange. The bass response is not seismic – even judged at the price there are standmounts that can go deeper than the Lumina II – but there is always enough bass to be convincing and the quality of low end on offer is excellent. There’s nothing in the way of unwanted ‘chuff’ or noise from that clever port, even when you are pushing the speakers hard. This results in a fast and agile speaker that has a level of rhythmic engagement that some previous Sonus faber designs could not always manage.
There’s more. Without ever sounding as though it is smoothing off higher quality recordings, the Lumina II is able to work with poorer and more congested material and keep it sounding good. For people who have music they love that might not necessarily be the most ‘hi-fi’ of recordings, the Sonus fabers ensure that no part of your collection is ever off-limits.
The Lumina II looks attractive, it is particularly easy to place since it is not particularly affected by proximity to walls and it is sensitive and easy to drive. Throw in the forgiving presentation and you have a speaker that is extremely easy to live with.
The Lumina II is an exceptional loudspeaker that delivers an endlessly engaging performance. It is simply a brilliant all-rounder.
Seasick Steve; Sonic Soul Surfer
The Lumina II is the perfect foil for Steve and his makeshift collection of instruments to shine. There’s a genuine ‘there in the room’ quality to these simple but engaging songs.
The newfound pace and articulation of the Lumina II means that these dynamic slices of jazz electronica have a vibrancy and engagement that draws you into the performance.
Sarah Jarosz World on the Ground
The midrange of the Sonus faber ensures that the astoundingly talented Jarosz has never sounded better. Her distinctive voice and intriguing musical arrangements are beautifully captured.
If you want a handsome, well made, easy to drive speaker that sounds great with your best recordings but still lets the rougher ones shine too, the Lumina II is exceptionally hard to beat at the price.