YG Acoustics Sonja Series Two, 2.2 Loudspeakers
It was on a crisp December day following weekend of light snow that three audio adventures piled into a car to travel to Bill Parish's GTT Audio & Video. Onboard were yours truly and John Hébert joining CP for this hour long trip away from home base. Along the way, CP entertained us with music from his days as a DJ, extolling the virtues of MFSB’s Philly Soul influence on the world of R&B soul music throughout the 70s. Fueled by delectables from Dunkin’ Donuts, we arrived satiated and ready for a listen.
GTT Audio & Video is housed in a spacious residence in Long Valley, NJ, and always a pleasure to visit. Its owner, Bill Parish, greeted us at the door with a warm friendly welcome as is his norm. Dick Diamond (above left), director of sales and marketing at YG Acoustics was also in attendance, offering a hearty handshake of his own for each of us as we entered. Our quest this day was to hear a new model of YG Acoustics Sonja flagship series of floorstanding speakers, which happened to be set up in the studio listening room and office space where we first entered.
The YG Acoustics Sonja Series Two 2.2 floorstanders appear modest in comparison to the YG Acoustics Anniversary model we heard earlier in the year, at their easily manageable 50” x 13” x 25” (H x W x D) size. Though a smaller system, this 3-way passive and biwired floorstander contains the same developments at a $76,800 price than its bigger brother’s far greater investment – included are both the BilletDome™ and ViceCoil™ technology developed for the Anniversary model.
The BilletDome™ tweeter, handmade in the USA, is unique and quite complex, created by the intricate process of reducing a solid billet of aluminum via CNC machining into a delicate needle-thin skeletal structure for the tweeter’s center (photo above). The resulting high frequency response is nothing short of stunning.
The YG Acoustics interlocking modular design allows for expansion through the addition of lower woofer modules. The upper monitor containing their new tweeter and two midrange drivers is considered the model 2.1. Add the interlocking lower woofer cabinet and the model becomes the 2.2. The addition of the lower bottom woofer unit brings you to the 2.3. Though the Sonja 2.2 is fully-passive (as we heard it), a semi-active version is available for acoustically problematic rooms.
A London Blueback vinyl reissue of Emmanuel Falla’s “The Three Cornered Hat” conducted by Ernest Ansermet, was first up on the Kronos Pro dual-plattered turntable, with the Sonja’s powered by the Audionet Stern preamplifier and Heisenberg power amplifiers as designed by Hartmut Esslinger of Cupertino fame, the 1050 watts provided for the Sonja 2.2’s 4 Ohm nominal load was very generous for their 88dB sensitivity. The Sonia 2.2 presented an audio picture that was compelling, captivating and powerful, with tack sharp imaging on a soundstage of impressive depth and width.
Duke Ellington‘s 1951 “Masterpieces by Ellington” (Columbia) was next, played here as a 45 RPM reissue. “Masterpieces,” Ellington’s first effort recording to tape at the dawn of the long play record, has such beautiful playing and fantastic musical content that one easy to forget it’s a monophonic recording. This Sonja 2.2’s rendered this true masterpiece masterfully, Ellington’s bandmates captured for posterity at the peak of their powers here. Rarely have I heard such passion in playing, oh so fully realized in composition and execution with side 1’s “Mood Indigo.” The singer, credited as Yvonne, delivered a lovely vocal that was sweet and warm. At the end of the first side, Bill said it best, “That’s a hell of a recording, isn’t it? – You can’t sit there and notice it’s a mono recording,” When re-released, this is the very recording that prompted me to get a mono cartridge, it wasn’t the Beatles mono box for me.
Dexter Gordon’s “One Flight Up” (Blue Note 1962) with Donald Byrd and Kenny Drew was tuneful in its wonderful slow boil. “Tanya,” a favorite of CP’s, sounded fabulous through the Sonja 2.2’s, with John Hébert adding “There was a nice sense of imaging.” Next up was a track from a personal favorite, Cecile McLorin Salvant’s “Womanchild,” (Mack Avenue 2013) presented once again beautifully by this YG Acoustics/Audionet combo. The track, “John Henry,” emanated from the Sonja 2.2’s, CP uttered “There’s your girl” in my direction (yep, I am a big fan). The Series Two, 2.2’s presented Salvant’s expressive and playful vocal with vitality and drive. Savant’s instrument has such range and nuance – her textural palette is quite wide and that it takes quite a speaker to illuminate the depth of her abilities. The Sonja 2.2’s managed this with aplomb.
The YG Acoustics Sonja Series Two 2.2’s are impressive floorstanding speakers that will fit in smaller spaces and yield very impressive results. The Sonja 2.2's performance and price are right in the pocket with GTT's better gear. Make an appointment and come give 'em a listen.