Fi­nal Au­dio Sonorous III

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

Sonorous (adj): ca­pable of pro­duc­ing a deep, full, ring­ing sound. If ‘sonorous’ is a word with good con­no­ta­tions when it comes to hi-fi, why are we so am­biva­lent about it? Is it be­cause it sounds a bit like ‘snor­ing’? It didn’t bother us when we re­viewed the Sonorous X head­phones last year, but they cost over ten times the price of these Sonorous IIIS, so we’re not ex­pect­ing to draw many com­par­isons.

The IIIS are big and stur­dily con­structed but, de­spite weigh­ing in at a rel­a­tively heavy 410g, these are com­fort­able head­phones that aren’t tir­ing to wear. Both earcups are wired, us­ing a tan­gle-re­sis­tant cable with sat­is­fy­ingly chunky chrome twist ’n’ lock con­nec­tions. The cups them­selves are of tex­tured cam­era lens-grade plas­tic, with the pads be­ing a pro­saic mix­ture of sponge and syn­thetic leather. The earcups are con­nected by a stain­less steel/syn­thetic leather adjustable head­band.

“The Sonorous IIIS are among the best pound-for-pound head­phones cur­rently avail­able”

Iron grip

The Sonorous IIIS prove to be a tal­ented, widescreen lis­ten. No mat­ter how gen­er­ous or con­fined the sound­stage of the mu­sic – as ex­pan­sive as Gersh­win’s Rhap­sody in Blue (CSR Sym­phony Orches­tra un­der Richard Hay­man), or as tight-knit as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ (Are You) The One That I’ve Been Wait­ing For? – the IIIS de­scribe ev­ery last inch of it. In­stru­ments are locked into po­si­tion with com­plete au­thor­ity and the space around them is given equal billing. In terms of fo­cus and sep­a­ra­tion, the Sonorous IIIS are among the best pound-for-pound head­phones cur­rently avail­able.

The Sonorous IIIS’ case starts to look less wa­ter­tight in the way they man­age rhythms and tem­pos. Low-fre­quency stuff is tex­tured and ag­ile, but they don’t have the iron grip re­quired to han­dle Mas­sive At­tack’s An­gel – a lack of rhyth­mic or­gan­i­sa­tion more ap­par­ent with bass-heavy mu­sic.

We’re not sold on the idea of nam­ing your range ‘sonorous’, but the IIIS are far from snooze-in­duc­ing. In fact, if you pri­ori­tise spa­cious­ness and midrange fidelity, they’re an en­gross­ing lis­ten.

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