|Review: Sonor Audio Lyra speakers|
Thursday, 16 February 2012 14:50
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to start this review by admitting that I already have some bias towards the brand. I like Sonor loudspeakers. I have owned some for many years.
I've also recommended the brand to quite a few friends and those who have listened to my advice all seem to be happy with their purchases.
But product aside, it needs to be said that I also get along well with the company’s chief cook and bottle washer. However, during my first real conversation with company founder Roy Witelson, I cursed him out.
Mr. W had delivered some speakers to the magazine I was working at for me to review. I listened to the speakers, liked what I heard and called Sonor.
Once the phone had been answered and I knew that I was speaking to the right person, the conversation went something like this:
Me: You ba***rd!
Roy W: Thank you for the compliment, but who are you?
Me: I'm Joel from ….. magazine and I've been listening to your speakers.
Roy W: That’s nice.
Me: Not really, I've been saving up to turbo charge my car, but now I want to buy your speakers instead. How much?
After that conversation, my car’s engine remained untouched, because I ended up buying the speakers instead. Although I'll never admit this to Mr. Witelson, I think I made the right decision.
Fast forward a good few years to one day in December 2011, when my phone rings. It is Mr. Witelson calling to tell me that he has the latest version of his Lyra loudspeakers set up. He thinks they sound pretty good, but he would like to hear my opinion. Would I like to pop around to the factory and have a listen, he asks.
Sonor Audio is a local, Germiston-based company, situated well within my (self-imposed) driving distance. This distance is usually determined by the price of petrol. Upon arrival at the company, I have a cup of tea and a chat with Mr. W, and a few minutes later I found myself sitting in his almost complete listening room.
About 30 seconds into the first track, I realised that I had made a terrible mistake in going there. The Lyras were singing and I was rapidly falling in love with their ability to deliver sound in such detail and with a sheer musicality that belie their asking price.
While not being the biggest speakers around - my Sonor Capellas are considerably larger - the Lyra still manages to play low frequency notes with enough oomph (how's that for an audiophile term?), making me feel as much as hear the organ music I'm listening to.
The Lyra’s mid range deliver vocals with clarity. These speakers are also capable of extracting the texture to voices – a capability usually only found in bigger ticket speakers. Having recently listened to and reviewed speakers that sell for around R199 000.00, I'm surprised at how well these far more affordable speakers compare to the pricier models.
I spent the entire time over Christmas and New Year dreaming about the Lyra speakers and thinking about how good they are, but managed to convince myself that I don't need them after all.
That is until a few weeks ago, when I spoke to Mr. W again. He told me that he had finished building his demo room and asked me if I would like to come over and hear the Lyra with the Valve Audio Predator amplifier, another locally manufactured product.
With the listening room completed, and driven by the Predator, the Lyras had definitely gained an additional component. While I had definitely been won over by the Lyra speakers and their many virtues, the nitpicking reviewer in me has found just slight glitches in their impressive resumé. For example, even though they are extremely solidly made, I have seen speakers with better finishes. The Lyra’s looks certainly won’t appeal to everyone.
All that aside, all I can say is that I am once again left swearing at Roy Witelson. I hadn’t intended to buy new speakers this year, but my Lyras should be arriving in about a week’s time.
Good: Good enough for me to have ordered a pair.
Bad: The fact that they have not been delivered to me yet.
Price: R 22 180
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