Sonor Audio Claro 8.2 Review by Andreas Eichelsdörfer

"Sonor Audio is one of the lesser-known loudspeaker manufactures. Nevertheless, is worth taking a look at this brand from South Africa. The Claro 8.2 marks the upper end of the Sonor Claro series. It’s surprisingly heavy and good."
When you think of South Africa, you might have the huge National Parks or the Cape region in mind with the wonderful wineries. Surely no one thinks of loudspeakers here. But there are also hi-fi manufactures here that deserve our attention. One of them is Sonor Audio. The relation by name to the well-known drum manufacturer is purely coincidental. Sonor Audio is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Gerhard Stiglmayer, owner of ProWorld, is based in the northern hemisphere, in the Bavarian town of Pfaffenhofen. He imports speakers and other hi-fi equipment from South Africa for distribution in Germany. The range of models is clear. There are four floor-standing speakers, all fall under the Claro designation, and two compact stand mount speakers designated as Clario. Done, enoough models, and that’s all they need. The Claro 8.2 is currently the largest floor standing speaker in their lineup. At 53 Kg each, they are quite heavy, which suggests solid workmanship. An initial knock test on the cabinet confirms the assumption.
The real wood veneer is perfectly finished and looks classy. The surfaces are flat, the lines straight. The front baffles and base plinths with their cut radii are elegant counterpoints to the rectangular design plan. The speaker comes with elegant black grill covers. The outline of the grills follows the shape of the baffle so nothing is lost from aesthetics when the proud owner sets up his Claro 8.2 with the grills on. There are typical less elegant looking plastic grill clips which hold the covers securely in place.

Invisible magnetic holders would be less old-fashioned, although the black receiving grill clips on the baffle are less annoying than if they were located on the wood veneer.

Without the covers, the Claro 8.2 has a bold face, emphasized by the array of four bass reflex ports which are front firing towards the listener. Above that are two mid-bass drivers flanking a tweeter in a D’appolito arrangement. The tweeter is a double ring ‘ring radiator’ with a striking phase plug in the middle. The connoisseur may recognize that this tweeter comes from Scan-Speak. The 22 cm bass drivers also come from the Danish chassis manufacturer. The tweeters are mounted in a tractrix horn.


Cross-over frequency is 2800 Hz. Below that there are no further divisions on the baffle. Both bass drivers receive the same midrange and bass input signal. A classic 2-way bass reflex design.

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LIKE FLIPPING A SWITCH 

We set up the speakers in the listening room. Despite the massive weight of over 50 Kg’s per box, the cabinets were surprisingly easy to maneuver when looking for the best position. The rubber feet were an aid whilst maneuvering the speakers around, although the rubber feet are only available on this demonstration model. The Sonor’s will normally stand on their spikes

Relatively listlessly we played around with our playlist. Rock, pop mixed but there was nothing that ignited the spark. But then, as if someone had flipped a switch, the magic moment came. Ironically, the less ‘audiophile’ of the recording of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ by singer / songwriter legends Simon & Garfunkel cast a spell over us. It was as if the loudspeaker was remastering the recording again, the recording was finely revealed and the voices were positioned perfectly in the room.

We’ve heard this song what feels like 1000 times, but to be honest: we’ve never perceived the beauty and magic of this song so clearly.

Why did this not happen from the beginning? Did the speakers need to be run in? Hardly, the projection was already perfectly attuned. So, did we have to warm up first? The solution to the puzzle was provided by the amplifier, an RG 10 MK5 Reference 5 from Symphonic Line, which takes a few minutes to warm up to full potential.

We switched to our large T+A set. Musically we stayed with Paul Simon. The song ‘HOMELESS’ from the perfectly staged and masterfully recorded 1986 album GRACELAND was the “Perfect Match” for this speaker. The voices detached themselves from the drivers in fine pearls, the different vocal tones of the singers were very finely graded. The song was performed by the South African male choir known as Ladysmith Black Mambazo. So we came full circle with a song by a South African, played on a loudspeaker from South Africa.

This test couldn’t have run any better.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for speakers outside of the mainstream that stand out from the crowd both visually and acoustically, you should take a closer look at the speakers from Sonor Audio from South Africa. The CLARO 8.2 is an extremely musical and sophisticated contender with a massive but perfectly tailored suite. The price of 6800 euros seems almost a bargain.
Andreas Eichelsdörfer
Audio Reviewer

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