A quick rundown then. The Omnia – Latin for ‘prepared in all things’ – is Sonus Faber’s big, all-in-one loudspeaker system that connects wirelessly to whatever digital player you have to hand, whether that’s your in-home streaming set-up or your phone. These types of things are designed more for ease of use than pinnacle clarity, but it’s hard to find just where that supposedly inevitable compromise is within the Omnia.
Stopwatch (or in our case chronograph) set, it took under a minute to get music playing on the Omnia. It took longer to slide it out of the box. You just plug it in, hit start and connect. There’s no downloading some proprietary app, no dodgy Bluetooth, just seamless, instant connectivity. Even your Amazon Echo needs more effort put into it.
Fortunately, there’s no lack of effort from Sonus Faber themselves. Obviously, the Omnia is a beauty, channelling the Italian audio specialist’s signature Stradivarius-adjacent design ethos into a broader, flatter construction than their standing speakers. Granted, it looks a little like a high-end balance board or a set of scales you’d find at a modern five star hotel, but it’s still handsome in the extreme, especially when compared to its competition.
That’s not all that’s typically Sonus Faber about it either. The combination of seven different speakers – two of which are on the sides – and an in- house signal processing tech fittingly dubbed Crescendo make for startlingly natural sound. It’s not up there with what you can do in a fully kitted out listening room, but it has no business offering this kind of clarity in this small a package. The soundstage is also punching above its weight.
The Omnia promises 360-degree sound and while that’s a bit of a stretch, it’s certainly broad enough that there’s no perfect spot to listen from. You definitely get the best experience with plenty of breathing space around the speaker, though there is a ‘near the wall’ option, if one that’s a bit awkward to get to. Volume-wise, even turned up to its raucous highest, there was, at least to our relatively untrained ears, no distortion. It’s basically everything we love about the maker distilled into a much more accessible piece of equipment. It’s the perfect Sonus Faber for a studio flat.
The three lines of light on the top of the Sonus Faber Omnia have two functions. Firstly, the panel is used to control all the settings in a minimal, tactile way. I can’t say I ever really used it though – the remote felt distinctly un-luxury, but I just found it more convenient – so the second function was simply an easy-to- understand visualisation of what’s going on. It’s a hell of a lot nicer to look at than a load of numbers. It even changes colour according to input, with the shortest line at the front indicating input, with orange for HDMI, green for Spotify, et al. As the various functions suggest, it’s a seriously versatile piece of kit. Not only is there an MM input so you can connect a turntable, but it can sit under a TV and double as a soundbar.
We got hands-on with the graphite version of the Ominia, which although housing the exact same technology as the walnut option, has a completely different aesthetic. It’s less classically Sonus Faber sans luxury wood, but the cleaner, high contrast look is a lot more minimally modern, and the curvaceous shape still more than holds up. It perhaps wasn’t best suited to our converted barn of an office, but for a glossy apartment there would be nothing better.
Honestly, we didn’t have nearly enough time with the Omnia. And we probably wouldn’t unless one of us took it home and blamed it on the postal strikes. So, we only really trialled it on Spotify, Amazon Music, and Air Play, but it supports pretty much everything other than Tidal’s Masters or Atmos. All of them are used through their own apps, without some custom, third-party Sonus Faber mess getting in the way. I love this. God knows my phone has enough random apps on it without another, and it means there’s no need to get used to yet another interface.
Prepared for all things is right. Even in a market increasingly dominated by all-in-one systems from some of the biggest names in audio, the Sonus Faber Omnia is a seriously impressive contender. Less than a minute to one of the best wireless listening experiences around makes it all the harder to go back to the usual tangle of cables. I’d say its inspiration to zen my life a bit, but I know better than that.
More details at Sonus Faber.