Author: NickolayYefremov http://salonav.com/
March 2020

 

Sonus Victor Mezzaluna acoustic systems

These speakers are only called bookshelf speakers. In fact they are much heavier and larger than typical Hi-Fi speakers. Sonus Victor does not compromise. This compact by the manufactures standards model weighs 50 kg and is a 3-way system with a massive 10-inch bass driver. Now all we have to do is to figure out whether sound quality benefits from this solidity.

Moonlight Sonata

As a rule acoustic systems are designed by a team of specialists where each one specializes in a particular field. Where as Sonus Victor is a one-man project of Viktor Porkalov former Belarus resident. He moved to Italy and founded a company in Verona where he acts as an engineer, designer, cabinetmaker and sales manager. It is no mass production so there is enough time to launch new models and bring them to various audio trade shows. Sonus Victor has been taking part in Moscow trade shows since 2013. That is when we first got to listen to these speakers. We tested SV400 in 2016 and SV350S in 2017.

Before listening to the recently launched Mezzaluna speakers we met Viktor Porkalov once again to talk about his ideas.

— Viktor, you had a successful business, why did you decide to look elsewhere and switch to manufacturing audio speakers?

It all started in 2011. I was not planning to build acoustic systems though I had some experience. When I lived in Belarus, I was looking for speakers, but I did not like anything on the market. I was trying to make something decent with KINAP loud speakers. It took me a long time but it turned out pretty good.

And when I came to Italy I found out that they have plenty of wood and good loud speakers. And you can do whatever you want with all of that.

I once had Boston A-400 speakers and I really enjoyed the sound. But still I have decided to make something special for myself. There is a really good expert in Verona, an excellent listener — Valentino. He is a well-known acoustic systems repairman in Italy. He looked at my masterpiece, checked out the design, listened to it and said: "I listened to a 100-thouthand-euro acoustic system last week and I cannot tell which one sounds better — that one or yours». That’s how it all started. First came the basic model SV-300, and then I started making bigger and smaller models.

— What loud speakers do you use?

I make them myself. I buy baskets at one place, and magnets at another. I wind coils myself, calculate and make magnetic circuit. I manufacture loud speakers and crossovers at home. I have a small laboratory. I check the crossovers and cast them with compound for stability so that they have a lifetime warranty.

Do you rent or have your own production assembly facility?

There is no reason to have your own production assembly facility for a low volume product. I design the boxes and go to elite furniture factory in Vicenza. We make the first pair of boxes together. When everything is well-established the production process runs automatically. They cut, stain and finish the wood themselves.

What filters do you prefer?

I don’t want to say that I have special filers that no one has. Each time I choose the scheme experimentally. The main thing is that there is a result and you can hear it.

Is it a matter of principle tomake a sealed box?

All my acoustic systems are sealed. I don’t like phase inverters. You can hear them right away. The bass should be fast otherwise you wouldn’t get a good sound.

Do you have good sales in Italy?

Well, there is economic crisis in Europe. And as for Italy, there is a tendency to buy cheaply something that was previously expensive. You can buy Accuphase, Mark Levinson, Boulder for 5000 euro, and they used to cost 20 000. It is hard to sell new equipment.

Do you plan to make a subwoofer?

I think that my speaker play bass sufficiently. But since it is a must to have subwoofer in 5.1 system, I think, I am going to make it. I have an idea to build a cinema system using smaller speakers and Dolby Atmos in-ceiling speakers.

And what about active speakers?

No, I don’t want to make them. I believe that you should not dictate to the customer what amplifier to choose. If you make one yourself, that's another matter. If the customer likes it, he will buy it. But I don’t like the idea of a built-in amplifier.

I have been thinking about making an amplifier for two years already. The production is almost on the way. I am planning to enter the market next year.

I will start with a EL34 tube one though I might make one top model, a transistorised one. People should always have a choice.

* * *

Now then, Sonus Victor Mezzaluna. A 330 x 680 x 400 mm cabinet is made from HDF (High Density Fiberboard) that is much more sturdier that MDF. The plates are layered and glued together to achieve the right thickness of the walls. They are covered with nutwood veneer, finished with a gloss varnish and mirror polished.

Each one weights 50 kg with a stand. And there were only two of us to place them. The shape of the cabinet is elaborate. The side walls are concave. That helps to get rid of parallel surfaces and eliminate the formation of internal reflection and standing waves. The horizontal section of the walls resembles half moon that is where the name for the speakers came from — Mezzaluna means half moon in Italian.

The loud speakers are hand-made — one-inch tweeter with a fabric dome, 16-centimeter mid-range speaker and a 25-centimeter low frequency driver. The cones are made from impregnated cellulose. That is why they are light-weight and have no internal resonance that gives colouring to the sound.

Check out massive dust-proof caps that besides their main purpose also increase the membranes rigidity allowing them to work in a piston-like way within full frequency range.

Crossovers built with Mundorf capacitor and coils do not allow separate connection of the bands. Viktor believes that there is more harm than good in this case. He himself designed the gold-played binding post terminals with a massive second locking nut. The speaker grills are made from acoustically transparent cloth.

The manufacturer offers a seven-year warranty across the range as well as a trade-in program. When you buy any Sonus Victor model from the official dealer the program lets you trade in your device for credit towards upgrading to a new model.

* * *

We connected Mezzaluna to a three-piece modular amplifier consisting of a preamplifier and amplifier with external power supply and2 х 200 Watt amplifier withfield transistors.

 

The first thing you notice when you listen to Mezzaluna is the transmission of the onset. I always play a CD with drums first to estimate the speed of the acoustic system. Mezzaluna sound like real drums — sharp and vibrant with membranes vibration and distinctive reverberations. The speakers have good sense of rhythm: fast series of drum beats don’t merge, you can easily follow the complicated structure, percussions beautifully divide into tones. Apart from the enormous energy there is plenty of harmony in each beat of the bass head. And for this we should give credit to light paper cones and the sealed box. The motion of the cones at low frequencies is not as great as in phase inverter systems. And the sound pressure is generated by a large surface of radiation. However nonlinear distortions are minimal therefore the voices and musical instruments sound authentic. Microdynamics — low-level sound resolution — are especially appealing.

 

If you play a CD that was recorded from AAD original you can hear a soft hiss of the magnetic tape. The music itself sounds consonant with that era — without sharp upper tones or any out-of-place bass tones. But this does not mean that Mezzaluna will have difficulties with modern music. On the contrary you will hear everything that was recorded without any sound colouring, scale distortion or compression. The speakers are able to catch the spirit of the music piece with almost uncanny accuracy. And that's what matters to me. In this case the music is no longer a background, it sinks deep into your heart, evokes associations…

 

Speaker coverage pattern plays a big role in this engagement. The speakers don’t seem this massive when you listen to them, sometimes you feel that they are non-existent at all. As if the sound images live their own lives unattached to the speakers, and some of them move almost one meter away from the front line.

 

Mezzaluna speakers are both sensible and feisty enough. They are smooth and not pushy. And you easily get used to this. I played different kinds of music — jazz, classical, progressive metal and even rap — and you disconnect from the outside world in a matter of seconds. Isn’t that what we are looking for when we choose acoustic system?

 

     

 

MUSIC

  • Dali, «In Admiration of Music. Volume 4». Dali CD, 2015
  • Dream Theater, «Falling Into Infinity». EastWest Records, 1997.
  • BMG/RCA, 1998
  • Jean Sibelius «Violin Concerto». Anne-Sophie Mutter &Staatskapelle Dresden. Deutsche Grammophon, 1995
  • Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, «Porgy & Bess». Verve, 1958

 

SYSTEM

  • Linn Ikemi CD-player
  • PraecisaAcustica A/3 Gold preamplifier
  • PraecisaAcustica NS A/3 Gold amplifier
  • Cables:
    • Interconnecting: Accuphase Super Refined Cable ASLC-10
    • Acoustic: Musical Wire Cadence Signature Speaker Banana 2.5m

 

Sonus Victor Mezzaluna 

Manufacturer: Sonus Victor (Italy)

www.sonusvictor.it

 

System type: 3-driver, 3-way || Acoustical load: sealed box || Frequency response: 31 — 25 000 Hz || Sensitivity: 89 dB (2,83 V/1 m) || Nominal impedance: 8 Ohms || Band splitting frequencies: n/a || Recommended Power: 2 х (20 – 200 Watts)|| Enclosure: fine wood veneer, custom RAL code on special order || Dimensions: 330 x 680 x 400 mm || Weight: 34 kg plus 16 kg stand || Price per pair: €17 000