Sonus Faber's Elipsa
The top of the Italian speaker manufacturer's line is the Stradivari homage, which Michael Fremer reviewed for Stereophile in January 2005 and which was one of that year's "Products of the Year." At $40,000/pair, that impressive speaker will be out of reach of many audiophiles' pockets, however, so the Elipsa attempts to offer much of the Strad's performance at a relatively more affordable price ($20,000/pair). The top of Sonus Faber's Cremona line, which dispenses with the homage series' piano-lacquer finish in favor of a still-elegant polished veneer, the three-way Elipsa is smaller than the Strad and has one fewer woofers, but shares its unique elliptically curved cabinet profile.
I reviewed the original Cremona in March 2004, and from what I heard at CES, the Elipsa builds on the older speaker's strengths, particularly regarding the solidity of its soundstaging and the natural quality of its midrange. A must for review, I feel.