On Penaudio’s website you can read the story of the company (click here). I suggest doing it because it is very interesting and can give you an idea of what the founder is made of.
Sami Penttilä, this is his name, is self taught in making speakers and he has always tried to reach perfection in his products. During the years he has always looked for the best drivers and for making a good sounding object: the speaker that he considers the perfect one. Only after several tests, Sami Penttilä has got to the conclusion that it was time to create Penaudio.
The Penaudio Sara S loudspeaker has a slender shape with a height of 1.030 millimetres. On its front baffle the three SEAS drivers have been chosen and optimized to offer the best linearity and the best listening fulfilling.
At a closer look, I can see the valuable finish of these very good SEAS drivers of the Excel series. The metallic coned woofers can guarantee the getting of high frequencies even if the component is considerable inclined with respect to the listening point.
The crossover is not easily reachable. First you have to remove four big screws and the wooden plinth that serves as a front foot. The components of the crossover are of good quality; being air wired, they follow the designing choices of the company which tends to achieve the best sound outcome.
The wires of the internal connection are twisted in order to give more protection from the interferences and the best transport of the audio signal up to the drivers.
As you van see in the specs below, the specialties of this 2,5-way speaker are Jorma Design wiring, Seas drivers, WBT 0730.12 (Signature platinum) pole screws, SCR polypropylene capacitors, Graditech air-core inductors, aluminum reflex pipe, custom made finish birch plywood veneer 22mm /16mm solid plywood cabinet. Besides it features a ¾” ferrofluid cooled textile dome tweeter, the 2 x 160mm (6,5”) magnesium coned midrange/woofer and the copper rings above and below the T-shaped pole piece.
The rubber suspension has some small radial alterations which aim to reinforce the downfall when there are high workloads and spurious resonances. The manufacturer specifies a sensitivity of 86db/1m/2,83V with a frequency response from +/-3db 45-28.000Hz.
The nominal impedance of the speaker is 4 ohms and the crossover has a crossing at 300 and 4.500Hz. Considering the Sara S features, the recommended amplifiers are of 40 watts upwardly and they have to deliver lots of current. The dimensions of the speakers are 6,6W × 40,6H ×11,4D inches, with a weight of 25 Kg each. The cabinet is available in birch, walnut, oak, black ash, zebrano and cherry. There's something to suit everybody's fancy! Also available are the spike receptacles.
In the Penaudio’s catalogue, besides the Sara S line, there are the top speakers Sinfonia followed by the Serenade, while at the base we can find the Sara and the Sara S.
You can also find interesting home theatre speakers mounting SEAS components.
I start my listening test of the Penaudio Sara S speaker system and I positioning the speakers at a distance of about one meter and a half from the back wall and one meter from the side walls, slightly turned towards the listening point set at about four meters.
The audio chain is composed of Schiavon DIY tube preamp and 211 Oblivion DIY dual mono power amps, Sony XA50ES CD player connected to an external DAC: the Musical Fidelity X24, Ramm Audio DIY signal cables and Xindak power cable in flatline silver.
Knowing pretty well my audio chain and its sound, I start with the first CD: an acoustic guitar disc by Don Ross, a great fingerstyle. This because I want to verify how the Penaudio behave with the strings harmonious build up. Suddenly, I am enshroud by an almost intimist loudness effect. The strings of the acoustic guitar melt in a musical liquid while Mr. Ross’ fingers move quickly all along the fingerboard. The Finnish Sara S flavour the musical note with a warm and oily balsamic essence. I have a doubt: wasn’t I listening to a speaker system coming from a cold country, was I? Instead they give warmth generated by the low frequencies that go deep but never too deep, and the high range is defined but never harsh.
Let’s try out the dynamic skills of these Penaudio with a good blues. I choose Tom Principato, great bluesman and a great live recording. I am really surprised of how dynamic are the notes that unfold inside these speakers. And now Patricia Barber, Cafè blue: the best test is of course with the voices. I sit down, I close my eyes and start with the first track.
Barber’s voice is so deep and clear that you can read the words on her lips with your eyes closed. I mean, it is like seeing the singer physically on the musical stage.
Nevertheless, there is something I am not convinced of. The voice is too rearward. It is like catching a hole around 400/800 Hz. Maybe it is just an unreal effect. I try therefore to improve the acoustic scene hoping to find a remedy to the roll-off I hear. I move the loudspeakers, I change set-up and I hand to solid state. Let’s see what happens.
Krell KSA 250s power amp matched to an Audio Research SP10 preamplifier, same cables. It gives the skin a good dose of vitality and wellbeing. So I increase the volume level.
This time the voice is more present, the soundstage is set properly and Barber’s voice has again the verve I recognize also in my reference system, but the mid-range is always a bit behind.
I move again the speakers, back, near…nothing. With the voices the vote is 7+. Sara S like instruments, so I play some classical music.
Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky ploughs through the skies of my room. In front of me there is an imposing stage. The bass of the bass drum make vibrate the skins of the instruments and of the listener too. The bows make resonate the sounding board of the violins which give back their wooden nature with spontaneity.
Effectively, the classical and soloist music are perfect for the Sara S, less the voices, but I invite you to listen with attention to these Penaudio because I read in them the possibility of suiting any subjective tastes.
The last test is with a vintage McIntosh C28 solid state preamp and Mc2505 power amp. The good, dense and smoky jazz of Charlie Parker and his sax. Charlie is in front of me, at about three meters, winking. I would like to slap him on the back…
I realize I am not listening to the Sara S anymore, but to the music coming out from the overworked cones.
It is late now and it is time for bed. I have really enjoyed this evening with the Sara S.
How beautiful is music. How beautiful is music when it is reproduced in the best conditions. Penaudio does it with grace, without vehemence, with a delicacy and a substance that only the best devices can do.
The smell of the wood, the smell of the music that carries us together with these two companions, means that nothing is by accident. Do not forget, however, that they need to be rightly supplied and a lot of air around them. They also need a long burning-in.
A well made loudspeaker – it is known – is not ambiguous. Go and listen to it. It is worth doing it. Penaudio: enjoy the listening and stay tuned.
Official technical specifications:
Type: 2,5-way, floorstander, reflex loaded
Drive units: ¾” ferrofluid cooled textile dome tweeter (Seas), 2 x 160mm (6,5”) magnesium coned midrange/woofer, copper rings above and below T-shaped pole piece, radial reinforced rubber surround (Seas Excel)
Cross-over: 300, 4500Hz
Frequency range: anechoic response +-3dB 45-28000Hz, in room 32-25000Hz
Nominal impedance: 4ohms
Recommended amplifier: 40+W
Dimensions (WxHxD): (165x1030x290) mm, (6,6×40,6×11,4) inches
Weight: 25kg (52 lbs)
Specialties: Jorma Design wiring, Seas drivers, WBT 0730.12 (Signature platinum) pole screws, SCR polypropylene capacitors, Graditech air-core inductors, aluminum reflex pipe, custom made finish birch plywood veneer 22mm / 16mm solid plywood cabinet
Official Italian dealer: to the DPtrade website
Official current price in Italy : 5.995,00 EUR