I will start this review out by saying that I am a little biased towards Rosso Fiorentino Acoustics as I own their Volterra loudspeakers from their reference series. (see my review of the Volterra’s ). As such, when Audiothesis offered me the opportunity to listen to their lower-priced, Rosso Fiorentino Elba II loudspeakers, I eagerly accepted the opportunity in my endless search for that “ideal” sound which most audio enthusiasts are always reaching for. No apologies here!
When I heard the original Elba’s I thought they were good sounding speakers but not enough to unseat my reference speakers at the time. Let’s give credit where credit is due. Francesco Rubenni, the chief bottle washer at Rosso has designed an improved version of the Elba; one that I would gladly place on my final list of candidates in this price range.
All Rosso Fiorentino speakers are designed and hand-built in Florence Italy. The company is headquartered in a castle with a dedicated sound performance theater where live music is performed.
The Elba II from Rosso’s classic series looks a lot like many basic rectangular boxed speakers. It is 42.8” tall by 10.6” wide by12.6” deep– all measurements include the plinth. The speakers weigh in at about 59 pounds each.
The Elba is a 2 ½ way rear-ported speaker consisting of one 1” hand treated textile diaphragm with a wide surround and two 6 1/2” coated fiberglass cone woofers. Sensitivity: 88 dB spl (2.83v, 1m)
Setting up the speakers in my room was straight forward and easy as all I had to do was sit back and let the USA distributor, Derek Skipworth of Audiothesis do the work. For this endeavor, a large array of different types of music was engaged; mostly all-digital CD sources.
While the Elba II have a great foundation incorporated for its bass response, these are not speakers that will pound away at your chest and push you back into your chair. On the other hand, the Elba’s are neither quite like the somewhat “polite” British sound either. Generally speaking, they are a bit more nuanced in detail with great textures and multi-note harmonics.
Two tracks I used to test bass are Chris Jones’s “No Sanctuary Here” and “Hey Now” by London Grammar. From the outset, the Elbas more than filled my room with tight, clean, and fast bass, no complaints here. They also made a good honest attempt at chest-pounding bass along with a tight mid-bass response when playing “AwolNation’s Sail”, so I did not feel that they were shortchanging me at all in this area of their performance attributes. In this respect, The Rosso Elba’s passed the bass test with flying colors.
The mid-range is where I came to fall in love with the Elbas, as they superbly displayed a richness of sound along with fine depth and ambiance. Crisp, punchy guitar sounds and clean chesty male voices as witnessed by Chris Jones “Thank You” which were in abundance as well. “The Last Fallen Leaf” by the same artist gave the soundstage stage a surreal three-dimensional image. You could hear each string being plucked and the echo of the overtones. Instrumental tonality was spot on with a true to life naturalness; indeed, the hallmark of an extremely accurate design.
Female vocals were just as natural and lifelike as the voice of Alison Krauss was so sweet sounding with that bluegrass country accent was projected right there front and center. Her voice was as polished and distinct as a fresh clear spring morning.
The songs “Sight” and “Strong” by London Grammar have a haunting reverb where sounds are clean and refreshing. The singer and natural tones of the accompaniment instruments were displayed with a spaciousness that was airy as the music just ‘hung’ in their individual spaces in the soundstage. Another plus for the wonderful Elba II’s while giving extra points for Jerry Douglas playing the ‘dobro’ on the Krauss CD.
Female vocals from Alison Krauss and London Grammar were clear, distinct, airy and extended–no ear bleed here. The tweeter is so smooth and relaxing that I would think it would need a very HOT recording for the tweeters to bring attention to themselves.
Another test was violins for the upper register was Shannon Lee on the Telarc label. Violins can make or break a lot of tweeters but the Elbas II had the violins dancing across the upper regions with ease and grace with sublime elegance and silky naturalness. Ace, ace, ace; another stellar performance for the Elba
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
As I said at the beginning of this review, I am quite partial to the Rosso sound and the Elba II’s did not disappoint. Sweet airy highs, natural clean mids, tight tuneful bass with just the right amount of chest thump.
Anyone, I say anyone looking in this price range could not go wrong by choosing Rosso Fiorentino and I say this in all honesty, you could live with them for a very long time.
Loudspeaker Sensitivity: 88 dB SPL (2.83v, 1m)
Nominal impedance: 6ohm (4ohm min.)
Frequency response: 40hz – 30khz (typical in-room bass resp. -6dB@35hz)
Crossover frequencies: 60hz – 2.2khz
Recommended amplifier power: 30w – 150w into 8ohm un-clipped sound signal.
Cabinet: solid HDF fiberboard, internal damping elements, 3 different absorbent materials, several finishes available.
PRICE ~ $4,500/pair
Review System: Amplifier: MasterSound Compact 845 Cd Transport: Jay’s Audio cdt2-mk2 Dac: L.K.S. Digital Audio mh-da004 Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra Speaker cables: Argento Organic II Interconnects: Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval, Wireworld Starlight 6 HDMI Power cables by Cullen Cables
Source CD’s used: Roadhouses & Automobiles – Chris Jones ~ Alison Krauss +Union Station Live – If You Wait – London Grammar ~ Random Access –Memories ~ Mothership – Led Zeppelin ~ Megalithic Symphony – Awol nation Metallica – Metallica ~ Introducing Shannon Lee – Shannon Lee
U.S. Distributor ~ Audiothesis WEB: www.audiothesis.com
I would like to thank Derek Skipworth of Audiothesis for providing the review sample
Please check out the entire range of Rosso Fiorentino speakers and finish options at https://rossofiorentino.com/elba/.
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