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Sonus Faber SF 16: The weirdest speaker ever?

The crazy, high-end Sonus Faber SF 16 is a wireless speaker with a unique pair of motorized arms

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Ty Pendlebury
1 of 10 Ty Pendlebury/CNET

We want to bet you've never seen a speaker like this before...

The Sonus Faber SF 16 is a three-way wireless speaker which comprises a unique retractable design. The "wings" are constructed of two "strong" aluminum/carbon fiber arms which are activated by brushless motors. Each arm houses a point driver which consists of 2-inch midrange drivers and 1/2-inch tweeters.

The main unit houses two long-throw subwoofers onboard and the company claims these "optimize low frequency extension."

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If you need to ask, you can't afford it....

Depending on who you talk to -- European currency is so molten hot right now -- the Sonus Faber SF 16 is anywhere between $9,600 and $14,000 (or £9,900 and roughly converted to AU$12,940). In either event this eye-catcher is definitely in the upper stratosphere when it comes to wireless speakers. The company will only manufacture a couple of hundred of these speakers each year.

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An overhead view of the "wings" at full extension.

The main unit is constructed from solid walnut bent into shape.

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The control panel also includes buttons to expand or retract the "wings."

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The wings have a certain degree of Mr. Spock to them. If he was still alive, Gene Roddenberry should sue.

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The speaker is designed to be a wireless speaker first and foremost. It is based on DTS Play-Fi and will now stream 24-bit/192kHz files over Wi-Fi as well as act as part of a multiroom system. Play-Fi supports many different streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and Amazon Music.

If you want to use it as a traditional stereo the inputs also include analog, optical and coaxial digital plus USB.

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The speaker is lit by a constant light from below. The Sonus Faber representative told me the company is considering making it dimmable.

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Here you can see the wings at full extension

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The remote control is carved out of a single piece of aluminum

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The wings aren't just an aesthetic, they work to widen the sound stage of your music. We listened to the speaker with and without the wings extended. At full extension the speaker gives you a soundstage and clarity you won't hear from any other one-box speaker.

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