An all-in-one high end wireless speaker system by Sonus faber, a company that defines both luxury audio and the high end of loudspeaker design. We’ll explain all it does, how it sounds and why it is an expression of decades of refinement in sound reproduction.
Sonus faber Omnia NZ$3995 from Totally Wired Ltd
Eisa all-in-one Loudspeaker 2022-2023
Sonus faber pull out the stops with their aesthetic; the Omnia is evocative of a James Bond lifestyle, curvaceous and sleek with a beautiful walnut top panel inlaid with a series of illuminated strips that also serve as control and display. The dash panel of a high performance car, the deck of a bespoke Italian speedboat.
The first Sonus faber model ever was a wildly unconventional speaker system in 1980 dubbed ‘the snail’ which probably loses something in the translation from the original Italian. In 2016 this concept was revisited with their first all in one system – the SF16 – which was extravagantly engineered and had the end price to reflect this. These provided the groundwork for the much more affordable Omnia. Read more about these here.
Sonus faber are known for being deeply dedicated to their Italian roots in Europe yet they recognise the unarguable advantages of Chinese manufacture to keep their systems both affordable and consistent in quality. In fact they gained valuable experience with their Venere range which informs the Omnia. Underneath the physical, is the controlling software which is at the heart of any streaming experience. In the recent past many companies attempted their own controlling Apps but this has proved to be a massively difficult challenge for all but a few, so Sonus faber concentrate on broad compatibility. Apple AirPlay 2, Google, direct connection to Spotify and Tidal, Bluetooth AptX, and it is turntable ready 😃.
While ‘Bluetooth speaker’ has become shorthand for a plethora of devices there is a world of difference between those and Omnia. We've examined both the Omnia and the Tivoli Music System Home Gen2 what we have iare viable alternatives to the traditional component systems. I’ll go further – it’s difficult if not impossible to construct an equivalently priced conventional two speaker and amp system that matches either the sound quality or capabilities of these options. While we have undeniably higher performance options in separates, they can and do cost significantly more. Flick over here for that review if you would like to look consider these two options.
Omnia's curves hide 7 separate speakers – a frontal array of four midrange and treble drivers, two side firing units and a down facing subwoofer all driven by a total of 490 watts of Class D amplifier. You can see this on Sonus faber's Omnia page. The Omnia is described as a Stereo 4 way DSP optimised closed box system and Sonus faber give us both the above power rating and a frequency response of 30 Hz to 25kHz. This is right in the territory of their larger floor standing loudspeakers!
While plug-in and play gets you up and running you can vastly improve the sound quality and get the most out of Omnia by making the effort to set it up properly. To do this you really do need to read the on-line manual. There are several options in the webpage based menu – loudness compensation, the Crescendo DSP (see more on this below), and free or near wall positioning that all have a significant effect on the sound. Once tweaked your Omnia will deliver an expansive, spacious sound. Like most serious audio components it also has a pronounced run in period as both electronics and drivers settle in and being to move as they should. It is then you'll fully hear the experience that has been poured into this Sonus faber system. The bass control is set to the higher level as the default and can be reset via its setup webpage and a QR code, and we’d recommend that you do this at the outset or if listening. For more information on this the FAQ section on Sonus fabers Ominia page is excellent. As is the set up video. Look upon the process as a journey of joyful discovery.
Detailing the sound – ‘Crescendo’ processing
Sonus faber has gone through a process of renewal since the passing of founder Franco Serblin. Without giving up on their heritage of craftsmanship and a devotion to an organic and emotionally involving sound, the influence of a new younger generation of designers and their more modern musical tastes is undeniable and made obvious in new ranges such as the Lumina series. The Omnia system is part of this new ecosystem and brings the values of Sonus faber to a whole new audience. And enables existing Sonus faber owners to have a simple streaming system you can enjoy and recommend to your friends and family.
The Sonus faber Omnia is, as the name suggests (Omnia is lation for 'all'), aspiring to be the best of all worlds. The speaker array and use of plywood may be an inadvertent echo of the Shahinian designs – Omnia is effectively omni-directional. So rather than relying on a pair of separated speakers to produce a stern image between them, Omnia projects outwards and applies some DSP – Digital Signal Processing – given the more musical name of ‘Crescendo’. And this works remarkably well – the Omnia creates a sense of space and scale with a credible soundstage that’s apparent not just from a frontal listing position but all through the room. In an open plan environment the Sonus faber sound carries and remains coherent and balanced in a way that considerably more costly forward firing conventional speakers often fall short of. In technical terms the off axis performance is remarkable. This is something we aim for in our best systems but to have a delivery at this level is something else.ap
You can easily hear the difference the Crescendo processing makes as it can be switched off in the webpage menu – personally I’d never want to be without it now I’ve tried this. It’s positively cinematic and funnily enough does wonderful things with soundtracks. Extending this theme, the light show from the top panel display plus the downlight highlighting the subwoofer is quite spectacular in a darkened room and makes Omnia a real centre of attention (and you can opt for a power down mode which keeps things civilised when you’ve gone to bed).
Of course Omnia can do background music perfectly, but give it an orchestra in full flight or something a whole lot modern and challenging, the Sonus faber Omnia will quickly show you why it’s next level. Tonally, the Omnia is agile and alive in the same way as the Sonus faber’s new Lumina speakers. Give Omnia great signal via the likes of Tidal connect and it can really open out yet never breaks into harshness, there's a power and authority that is directly comparable with serious larger speakers.
Feature rich and turntable ready
There are two other significant features that the Sonus faber has; The Omnia is Roon ready which is important for many with a stored digital music library. And it comes with a phono stage (which can be switched to line level). This input offers very good sound quality which more than justifies a quality turntable such as the similarly priced Well Tempered Simplex 2 which just happens to share the Omnia’s plywood accents. And, as previously mentioned: Apple AirPlay 2, Google, direct connection to Spotify and Tidal, Bluetooth AptX.
Omnia has won me over
With the move to the uncluttered lifestyle of streaming services, for many, the idea of an elegant and simple system as a substitute for the traditional collection of components, makes sense. Omnia is an all-in-one system that can be taken seriously. The aim is to fill your room with quality music and in terms of performance it has enough adjustment to allow you to get the sound you want in any environment and placement. Not to mention it is the most affordable way to get into Sonus faber. The rapidly improving sound quality associated with streaming services and almost infinite choice of music, combined with software and firmware for the actual units mean you can look forward enjoying it more over time. It could be the perfect office or bedroom system but has the talents to be your primary music listening system. Omnia has won me over – it generates a remarkable sense of space, a very real soundstage, and I absolutely love the look. If this is a reinterpretation of how a modern music system should be, count me in.