Rosso Fiorentino Elba Series 2 is Floorstanding Loudspeakers are improved Elba which is a great all-round speaker which combines power with grace for an exciting audiophile listening experience.
This time we bring to our page some loudspeakers of Italian origin, as seems evident from their name. Rosso Fiorentino is a relatively new manufacturer whose products are distributed in Spain by Audio Gallery, the well-known company (and store) located in the northwest of Madrid: they provided us with this pair of the Elba model, after shooting and testing them in their wonderful facilities. , where we had already had a brief opportunity to listen to them. Let’s get to know the brand, the product and… how it sounds better.
“Rosso Fiorentino” is how the artist Giovan Battista di Jacopo, a 16th century Florentine painter, became known, whose red hair and style freer than his contemporaries (even somewhat abstract) earned him his fame. Francesco Rubenni, a musician by training and later an acoustic engineer, was inspired by this artist to found the brand. He decided to undertake the design and manufacture of boxes on his own after gaining experience in different European manufacturers and that is how the Tuscan Rosso Fiorentino was born. Their priorities are to offer a certain Italian elegance combined with the electro-acoustic technique that they hide behind: the boxes combine highly technological elements, such as the individually machined aluminum front panels, with other more traditional ones, such as the artisan manufacture of the rest of the box and Its finish is also handcrafted based on multiple layers of finish that require weeks of manual work. At their headquarters they have an audition room (the «Sala del Rosso») which they also use for concerts: so they can compare their boxes with the competitors and with live music.
Its catalog includes four families of loudspeakers, from the top of the range with two models each (six in total) to the “classic” range that for now only includes the Elba columns that precisely star in our test. The Elba, now in its second iteration after small improvements to the first series, is a fairly compact and slender column at a meter high, 23 centimeters wide and 29 cm deep, with a slightly trapezoidal base (narrower behind). The box, made of woods of different densities (uses HDF and not MDF) to be as inert as possible overall, has a leather finish on the front with a pattern that simulates a carbon fabric, while the sides can be finished in real wood (like our units), in black (the most economical finish) or in other finishes including leather (check prices or options). Ours looked discreet and elegant … but no one doubted their origin (Italy) among those who saw them, curiously, and there was unanimity in finding them discreet, elegant and attractive.
As for the speakers themselves, the tweeter is a model made to measure by ScanSpeak with a 26 mm diameter silk dome and double magnetic motor. The filter makes it work from 2.2 kHz and its extension reaches 40 kHz without resonances, with good off-axis dispersion. The cabinet is a “two and a half way” with three speakers, and the two mid-woofers are identical, with 6.5-inch diameter fiberglass cones and a relatively small diameter voice coil (also custom ScanSpeak sourced) ). The lower cone is cut at 60 Hz while the center cone covers the soundtrack up to that 2.2 kHz cut with the tweeter. Both have rear bass-reflex outputs located precisely behind each speaker, depending on the brand, to minimize their temporal response. Precisely the tuning of these ducts and new speaker motors is what has changed in this second version of the Elba, to improve the extension and especially the bass control.
In addition to taking care of the (inert) enclosure and the loudspeakers in Rosso Fiorentino Elba Series 2, Rosso Fiorentino emphasizes his work with the filters: their adjustment, far beyond what the computer and measurements “command”, is developed after numerous listens. And they also use top-quality components: ClarityCap origin capacitors made to measure for them, their own inductors made in Italy and precision resistors. They seek that the box does not have a great variation in the impedance with which the amplifier loads, and that it has good dispersion both vertically and horizontally.
Our entry experience was perfect: the boxes are packed in sturdy, well-protected boxes, and once outside we put the spikes on the base to which they are attached. The protective grille is held in place with magnets and is therefore easy to leave out for listening. And a good detail is that the rear terminals are self-made, beautiful and practical; It is a couple, that is, it does not allow bi-wiring or bi-amping, although given its perfectionism with the filter it makes sense.
I tried the Rosso Fiorentino Elba Series 2 in my living room, which is the closest thing to a domestic room, with little acoustic “preparation” and certain aesthetic-family constraints. Although they declare a relatively high sensitivity (88 dB) I never trust that official data, I do trust the impedance that according to them is very stable with an average of 6 ohms and a minimum of 4: it was good for me to start testing them with my amplifier tube while pulling up some transistor alternatives that I thought might better drive those two woofers. This is how the first days I had them sounding with the Great Philharmonic (four EL34s per channel for about 60 watts in Class A) without paying too much attention to them beyond appreciating that they sounded “pretty” … and that the declared sensitivity is indeed optimistic ( I bet for at least 3 dB short) because they need more level on the volume knob.
Placing them was quite easy, equidistant of course (this is vital, always, measure it to the millimeter) from the listening point, and just over eight feet between them. I left them somewhat separated from the rear wall (a good meter) because it is my favorite position for the monitors that I usually have in that room, and seeing their rear bass-reflex outputs I preferred to be conservative with this. In the end they ended up there and oriented towards a point behind the listening point in terms of «toe-in», that is to say slightly open: I could see the inside of the panel of each box well. I had already tried all this with a couple of transistor amplifiers, and the boxes confirmed their sound profile: benevolent and pleasant above all, it was clear to me from the outset that the Rosso Fiorentino are not boxes that go beyond analytical but, on the contrary, one does not tire of listening to them.
In addition, it is also immediately clear that they have a bass between shy and controlled: this is refreshing and confirms the trend that gradually separates the boxes of manufacturers, let’s say, more “general public” from those dedicated to music lovers and audiophiles. The former usually have reflex ports with obvious peaks at certain frequencies: after a few moments of listening to them it is clear that they have a “powerful bass” that draws attention and promises emotions with modern music or movie soundtracks (not in vain are they usually directed to a shared use in stereo-music and multichannel-cinema). The latter, boxes more designed for demanding amateurs, do not stand out for such an obvious bass and even at first listen they may seem weak in that sense. But once at home, things will be different and the first ones will cause headaches, literal if they are exaggerated, or figurative by how to place them without fighting with the room … As I say, I have already tried several “audiophile” boxes that seem shy at low frequencies and are actually linear, more tame.
And so are the Rosso Elba, with a declared bass down to 40 Hz but still delivering 35 Hz power to slightly excite the main resonant mode in my living room. There is clearly extension, the notes “are” without any highlighting (there is no swollen bass) and we just miss a little more impact with rock music. We had stayed with the solid state amplification and the sound of these boxes: very in particular with voices or stringed instruments, I was hearing with the Hypex stages a beauty of timbre that is rare with them … So after several more tests I decided to return, already with everything adjusted and the ear more made to the boxes, to the vacuum tubes. And the synergy of these Italian boxes with the valves is impressive.
The combination of the Rosso Fiorentino with my Ars Sonum tube amp was a revelation. Sometimes, testing devices, one forgets the material that he has his own and why he stayed at home in his day … The Great Philharmonic makes an incredible pair with the Merlin TSM monitors that I also have and they usually occupy that place, but I did not expect such a good harmony with the Italian boxes in my living room: if possible, even better synergy than with the monitors of the sadly disappeared Bobby Palkovic, and that after many years of testing is saying a lot. But not only with the powerful (60 watts) built-in it was delightful to listen to the Italian boxes, I was also encouraged at the end of the test with something much more modest in every way to check how friendly these boxes are: a Chinese integrated (but good ) “Single End” with a single KT90 per channel. How those 15 watts spread with the Elba … again, a delight and without palliative.
The best I remember was how the voices focused, delicious and exciting. That beauty of timbre was maintained with chamber music but also with whatever it was: flamenco, jazz trios, also a great orchestra. The projected scene is wide and deep and that they sound “pretty” is not at the cost of transparency or extension, because the “air” and the details in treble are clearly perceived. Except for that relative lack of punch with pop or rock music, although for that I understand that there are several older sisters in the catalog, these boxes are very universal and above all a real pleasure to listen to them for hours without any fatigue.
Rosso Fiorentino Elba Series 2 Conclusion
Honestly: the market and the fans need boxes like these, which bring tears to our eyes listening to them but do not make us cry when we see their price. I had not had time to look for information on the boxes when I had been with them for a while, and as things have been, I expected a figure more than twice above what I found when looking for their price … It was a very pleasant It is a surprise to discover that these Rosso Fiorentino Elba are around three thousand euros, when they have a manufacture and finish worthy of higher-end boxes, and above all a sound that – frankly – falls in love, in addition to being objectively also of a high level. Any fan thinking of this range (or higher) should listen to them, ideally in an environment as similar to that of their living room or living room, and if we already put valves into the equation, we are sure to love them.
+ Delicious sound in all senses of this word
+ Natural stamps and good transparency, they do not “cut out” at the top
+ Very three-dimensional, wide and deep sound scene
+ They are not complicated for domestic rooms or less than optimal positions
– Somewhat fair in bass although that makes them kind to the room