Suprema sound

The new Sonus faber Suprema. Fully integrated with IsoAcoustics GAIA-Capsules

In January, Sonus faber has introduced its new flagship speaker system Suprema. Coming in at US$750,000, this high-end speaker system delivers absolutely perfect sound reproduction – and trusts in specially designed IsoAcoustics solutions to decouple the speakers from the ground.

We spoke with Livio Cucuzza, Chief Design Officer at Sonus faber, about the brilliant new system and the cooperation with IsoAcoustics.

Sonus faber Suprema with IsoAcoustics GAIA-Capsules integrated





Full integration for the first time

Suprema marks the first time IsoAcoustics products are fully integrated in a Sonus faber loudspeaker design.

The previous flagship speaker from Sonus faber already contained an inhouse solution to decouple the speakers from the floor, but the Sonus faber team was sure they could find an even better solution.

“So we met with IsoAcoustics,” explains Livio Cucuzza. “We had the opportunity to test their products and quickly understood that they were thinking along the same lines we did, so we decided to join forces and design something unique together.”

"We decided to join forces and design something unique together."

Hidden isolation technology

One unique aspect of the integrated isolators in the Suprema system is the fact that they are invisible.

“We used to have a decoupling system outside of the main body,” Livio elaborates, “but that solution was always a compromise for us, because those springs and elastomers are always exposed. With Suprema, we wanted to integrate the solution for a cleaner design.”

So the engineers at Sonus faber and IsoAcoustics worked together to adapt the patented decoupling technology for the internal use in the new Sonus faber flagship model.

The newly developed system is part of the speaker’s main structure. “That way, we were able to isolate all the electronic components, like the circuit board, and the connections, just everything.”

The Sonos faber Suprema loudspeaker system with IsoAcoustics

The shape of perfection

Suprema is outstanding in many ways, one of which is its striking shape.

That exterior is more than just a nice look, as Livio elaborates. “At Sonus faber, we believe that the mid-high frequencies and the represented soundscape are of utmost importance. The best way to reach this perfect soundstage is to have speakers that are able to ‘disappear’. A very slim front baffle helps to create the illusion of disappearing.”

And yet, a speaker requires volume to perform in other areas – a challenge that Sonus faber has overcome with its very recognizable design. “We use the lute shape that Franco Serblin invented back in the nineties. Apart from creating the illusion of disappearing, the shape also helps to control the resonance inside the cabinet.”

Keen observers will quickly point out that the lute shape only applies to the main speakers, while the subwoofers do not resemble that shape at all. “For the subwoofers, we wanted the exact opposite,” Livio clarifies the difference in design. “The bass needs to be impactful, so we used the Stradivari shape, which we appreciate for its big sound, such as a big orchestra or a big drum ensemble.”

The Sonus faber Suprema combines the two shapes, each for its own application: the lute shape for the main column and the Stradivari shape for the bass.

A world of materials

With that much thought going into the shape, the choice of materials is not left to chance, either.

“We used wood and carbon fiber to have the best of both worlds”, Livio explains. “We always prefer a mix of different materials. If you use just one material, you may take advantage of its strengths, but you also amplify its downsides.”

For Suprema, Sonus faber wanted to incorporate the rigidity and the strength of carbon fiber. The new flagship system also introduces a material the company had not worked with before: cork. “Cork is a natural material with amazing acoustic properties, and with cork we could create the perfect shape for the enclosure of the midrange.

For us, the perfect shape is not a symmetrical or polygonal, but an organic shape. And to obtain this shape with wood was almost impossible, but cork was perfect. First, it’s natural; and second, we could mold it into our preferred shape.”

"To obtain this shape with wood was almost impossible, but cork was perfect."

The beginning of our collaboration

When Sonus faber and IsoAcoustics met at a trade show, both were familiar with the other’s work, but Livio Cucuzza had never been able to properly test the isolators from Canada.

“After the show, they shipped us two lines of their feet directly to Vicenza, so we could test them with our existing loudspeakers,” Livio remembers. “We were very excited about their performance!”

The two companies started discussing possibilities, and at first, the plan was to create customized isolator feet for the Sonus faber speakers.

“But soon we had the opportunity to create something new and so we started from scratch: to integrate IsoAcoustics technology in our loudspeakers.”

Fine-tuning the decoupling

A high-end system is not designed over night, and so the process took a while – as things tend to do when you want to do them properly.

“We had a few meetings with IsoAcoustics to understand the properties of their technology,” Livio reminisces. “When we understood how the technology works, we did several simulations to figure out the best placement of the isolators in our product.”

There was a number of variables that required testing, adjusting and fine-tuning. “For example, we needed to know how much weight we could put onto the feet. When we achieved the results we were looking for in the simulation, we ordered samples from IsoAcoustics.”

Then the practical tuning began. “IsoAcoustics visited us a couple of times for listening tests. Together we managed stress tests and mechanical tests, we figured out if the amount of decoupling was appropriate and whether the feet were too soft or too hard. It was a back-and-forth, trial-and-error process until we had the results we wanted.”

Improving speaker performance with acoustic isolation

Decoupling a speaker system from the ground is a matter that must not be taken lightly.

It can improve a speaker’s performance by a lot – if done properly, as Livio explains. “When you decouple speakers from the ground without calculating or designing the system appropriately, you are canceling some information of the speaker, especially in the bass spectrum. If the decoupling system is too aggressive, you probably get some unnatural bass response, as you are losing energy in the isolation system. The beautiful thing about IsoAcoustics is that they achieve this nice performance in the mid-high frequencies, everything becomes cleaner and clearer in the soundstage, but without losing dynamics in the bass.”

The secret, according to Livio, lies in the patented IsoAcoustics technology. “It really works. We did some tests with standard elastomers compared to the IsoAcoustics solution and we immediately understood that the standard elastomers were affecting the sound in a more aggressive way. The IsoAcoustics solutions were more precise, more refined, everything in the soundstage was more clearly localized and more defined. We were very happy with the results.”

The future

With such astonishing results, it seems logical that the cooperation between IsoAcoustics and Sonus faber does not end with Suprema.

“We have some plans to cooperate on more projects in the future. Of course, we need to understand how to integrate the systems in our designs, in our processes and at different price points. But we definitively want to expand our cooperation to other products.”


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