Final Audio Sonorous III
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”
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.