A while ago a Stereophile reviewer called the tiny Trenner & Friedl Sun the finest stand-mounted speakers he had ever heard. This appears to have led to a considerable amount of bafflement, and earned some ridicule online, too.

After owning the Suns for about months, I can confidently say that these are
not the best stand-mounters on earth. They must be, however, among the best bookshelf
speakers available. They make high-end listening possible under conditions which would seem to rule it out.

Here’s the short version:

After moving to a new home, I had to give up my designated listening room along with stand-mounted Dynaudio C1s with 3m (10ft) Goertz Alphacore Ag 2 cables. That’s 7500,- euro speakers with over 1000,- euro cables and very good listening space.

What I had to settle for, is speakers which would actually fit on a bookshelf (admittedly a massive construction), on the side of our new living room. I chose the Trenner & Friedl Suns. That’s 2500,- speakers with a ridiculous 10 m (30 ft) of very affordable Chord Clearway cabling and the kind of listening space I had hoped to have left behind forever.

In other words, I should be sitting on my sofa, ashen skin, hair turned white, empty gaze fixed on infinity, trying to imply the music that wasn’t really there anymore. Only, I don’t. Instead, I still enjoy listening to all of my favorite music, played at quite reasonable volumes, too. What I have lost (matters of soundstage aside), is for the most part a loss in size, not in quality, of music reproduction. At one third the price.

Here’s the not so short version:

Dynaudio use the term “bookshelf speakers” on their website. So do many magazines, reviewers and hi-fi-enthusiasts, but it is misleading. Most so called bookshelf-speakers wouldn’t even fit on a bookshelf, because of their depth, and even if you forced them onto a particularly deep shelf, they wouldn’t sound good, because they need to be placed a meter or so away from the wall in all directions. Such speakers are really
speakers. Between stand-mounters and floor-standers, it’s a matter of philosophy, and of purpose as well as listening habits, which one prefers.

speakers are a thing apart. They are usually designed for professionals to allow monitoring wherever it might be needed. The Suns are such speakers.

If you have the space for floor-standers or stand-mounters, buy them. Why compromise? If, however, you don’t have the space, don’t want your room to be dominated by audio gear, don’t care to listen at party volume, or take your speakers with you on occasion, bookshelf-speakers like the Suns are phenomenal.

Here is what they don’t do:
- kick you where it hurts with the deepest bass
- fill a large room with music from floor to roof
- produce party volumes.

Here is what they do:
- produce beautiful, natural sounding music, with truthful timbre to voices and instruments
- line up instruments next to one another, clearly distinguishable, without any one instrument costing the others clarity, deep basslines along full midrange and finest treble
- reproduce snappy, resonant bass you wouldn’t believe (though, as I said, bass you will hear, not bass you will feel)
- make me feel I am listening to
music – not reproduced
music – which, to me, defines high-end.

As far as comparisons with stand-mounters go: I have the Suns on a level within reach of the Dynaudio Contour. And those cost over twice as much. Again: this is not to say you wouldn’t notice the difference. It is saying there would be a distance in size, not in musicality.

This, of course, is saying a lot about the cables, too. I once spent a considerable sum to escape the boxed-in sound I associated with budget cabling. Though I never heard the Suns through anything but the seemingly overlong, extremely affordable Chord Clearway, there simply is nothing in the way of range, immediacy or timbre missing. The Clearway offers an almost incomprehensible price-performance-ratio.

Here’s the background info:


The Suns sounded quite nice right out of the box. Still, there was some edginess in the midrange, and a lack of deep bass. I decided to run them in for about 50 hours, which turned into something like 75, in the end. Next to the music I actually listen to (classical piano and chamber music, small band jazz and folk-rock-blues), I played bass-heavy, wide-spectrum stuff, particularly Trentemoller’s Last Resort, Kano’s London Town and the 8 Mile soundtrack, at high volumes when out of the house. The Suns deep bass extended considerably, to a point I wouldn’t have thought possible in such small speakers. The initial edginess in the upper mid-range was lost, and the musical picture integrated better.

Though already happy with the Suns, I later tweaked them by putting each one on three Soundcare Spiked Feet (for components, not for speakers), two in front, and one in the back. This produced a more velvety treble, and a more clearly defined upper bass range. Quite an improvement to already great speakers, at very little expense (and they still fit on the same shelf).

Electronics used:

Pathos Acoustics Classic One mk2 hybrid amp, Pathos acoustics Digit CD-player. Goertz Alphacore silver interconnects.