AT A GLANCE
Feature-packed (DSP, HDMI ARC, phono)
Lacks multi-room capability
Placement requires care
The Omnia’s large and well-defined soundscape, striking industrial design, full feature package, and connective versatility make it one of the most desirable wireless speakers available.
Due in no small part to its propensity to produce exquisite wooden cabinets, Italy-based Sonus faber has for many years created some of the sexiest speakers around. Of course, for a country that claims Ferrari, Prada, and LaPerla, sexy seems to be easy. Still, Sonus’ sexy factor seems to be the result of several things other than just the country of origin. There’s the addition by the company of keen-eyed Chief Design Officer Livio Cucuzza in 2010. Also, in 2021 the company purchased the masterly De Santi woodworking factory, with which it began working with back in 1986.
Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that with its clean lines, elegant, multi-layer wood top, and touch-sensitive, illuminated interface, Sonus faber’s new Omnia is one very sexy wireless speaker. However, sex appeal can be fleeting and my job is to find out whether anyone would want to live with it long-term.
The Omnia’s top panel is made from Finnish birch wood. Available finishes are walnut veneer and graphite. Sonus faber calls the panel’s user interface Senso. It consists of a series of three long Feedback Stripes, one short touch-sensitive Control Line, and two touch-sensitive Dots, all of which illuminate in white at startup. Through the Control Line, the Omnia can be turned on and off and the music can be paused and restarted. That line also shows input selection by changing to blue for Bluetooth, orange for HDMI, pink for phono, and white for any of the Omnia’s supported music streaming services. Once a streaming service is activated, the Control Line either stays white if Airplay 2 is used or changes to one of five colors, one for each service (e.g., light blue/turquoise for Tidal and purple for Roon). The Dots permit volume adjustment, during which time one of the Feedback Stripes shows the changing volume level before returning to full illumination.
Alternatively, the Omnia’s small and attractive physical remote control can handle the functions covered by Senso. It can also do things like select the input. While the remote isn’t particularly powerful and doesn’t offer tactile confirmation of completed commands, I still liked it.
Inside, the Omnia is a four-way, closed-box speaker system that contains seven drivers. Up front are two .75-inch silk dome tweeters with neodymium motor systems and two 3-inch paper pulp cone midrange drivers. On each of the Omnia’s sides is an outward firing, wide-range, inverted cellulose pulp, 1.75-inch membrane driver. Low frequencies are provided via a downward firing 6.5-inch long-throw aluminum cone woofer that’s mounted to the Omnia’s base, the bottom of which contains a dome-shaped waveguide. During music playback, white light shines through the woofer’s cone and illuminates the speaker’s base.
The Omnia’s power is provided courtesy of a series of class-D amplifiers capable of providing a total of 490 watts. Two of the amplifiers, which are bridged, power the woofer.
Wireless connectivity options are AirPlay 2, Chromecast built-in (for use with Tidal, Deezer, YouTube Music, Apple Music, and Amazon Music for Android devices), Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, and Wi-Fi. Though, Atmos and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) files, both featured on Tidal, are not supported. The Omnia is Roon Ready, which means that it has been certified by Roon Labs to be fully functional within Roon’s ecosystem and take advantage of all of its features. Using Roon, or alternatively, a third-party DLNA app, allows Omnia users to access a NAS (network attached storage device).
Although the Omnia can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet, it has no mobile app. Instead, to do things such as adjust settings the user accesses a Sonus faber website via a QR Code located on the Omnia’s warranty card. This allows the user to stick with his favorite streaming service’s app, which likely works well and is familiar to him.
The website can be used to view network data, update the Omnia’s firmware, cap startup volume, turn on and off a sleep timer, the Crescendo DSP, and a Loudness Maximizer, and optimize the speaker for placement either “Near the wall” or “Away from a wall.” The Loudness Maximizer increases the bass by 3dB until 25% of the maximum volume is reached. Thereafter, its effect gradually decreases until it’s fully defeated at 50% of such volume.
The Omnia’s built-in phono stage accommodates a moving magnet (MM) cartridge. Sonus faber calls its DSP (digital signal processing) feature Crescendo. It uses the speaker’s side-mounted drivers to generate room reflections, which create a dimensional and immersive sound that’s a lot like listening to a live performance.
One last peek at the Omnia’s exterior brings us to the rear of its base, which contains a stereo HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) port to connect a compatible television, an Ethernet (RJ45) port, and a mini-DIN connector that permits the connection of a turntable or line-level analog device such as a DAC or CD player via an included mini-DIN to RCA adapter. With these few connectors, the Omnia can be wired to many home audio devices. Also on the rear of the Omnia’s base is an IEC C7 power connector, a unit reset button, and a switch that activates either the phono or line-level connection.
My walnut-veneered Omnia sample was an exemplar of quality workmanship. I couldn’t identify even a minor assembly or materials flaw. Included in the box with the speaker was the mini-DIN to RCA adapter, the remote control, European and North American power cords, a Quick Start Guide, and a warranty card with QR Code.