To say Sonus faber is passionate about music is an understatement. Any speaker company of note obsesses over the sound of their lineup. These Italian audiophiles pay equal scrutiny to design, going so far as to hand-craft curved cabinets that echo the acoustic design of classic string instruments. Even the roof of their Vicenza factory contains the curves of a violin. They hand lacquer the wood seven times over, use Louis Vitton-level leather, and tune the whole thing by ear. The result is something of a work of art, but for many a cost prohibitive one. What about those who want the meticulous engineering, but don’t want to sell their first born to get it?
With Chameleon, Sonus faber opens their brand to the masses. Trading the labor intensive curves for a clean trapezoidal shape with rounded corners, they were able to lower the cost without compromising standards. Going with a contemporary look, Chameleon feels more at home in the modern décor sensibility so popular today. The new line of powerhouses includes bookshelf, floor standing and center speaker models. With interchangeable side panels (currently in six colors, many more to come), they accent without distracting from a room’s overall feel.
It’s a departure in style, but not in materials. The entire cabinet is wrapped tightly in a piece of hand-cut leather, the drivers are embellished with aluminum trim, and the side panels pop with a boldness that can’t quite be captured through a computer screen. It’s the type of look that doesn’t scream for attention from across the room, but upon close inspection reveals its immaculate build quality.
Most importantly, they sound incredible. We were lucky enough to attend last week’s press event for Chameleon, and watching Sonus faber optimize acoustical placement beforehand was at once educational and inspiring. When a speaker’s booming clarity immediately impresses you, only to be elevated drastically by a slight change in placement and angle, it reminds you of how build quality and room acoustics can come together to create a truly remarkable sound.