Sonance Virtuoso 831DR – Review

Submission by Rob Mouser – Just down at our workshops spraying the grills to my latest speaker addition. So while the first coat dries I thought I would post my findings.

These units are the Sonance Virtuoso 831DR’s. I’ve already got a barn full of Sonance units and have to say that I am really impressed by the quality. These units were destined for my office but when I saw the size of them ‘in the flesh’ I decided to move my Sonance Symphony 622TR’s from the lounge to my office and put these new ones in their place.

The first thing that will strike you about these units is their size. 12″ wide with a 10″ cut out. In-side you’ve got THREE drive units an 8″ Woofer and then pivoted in the middle of that a 4″ midrange and 3/4″ tweeter. The midrange and tweeter are pivotable, the idea being that you can direct the sound stage at the listening area. In practice the amount of movement is fairy limited but having said that the end is result IS that as promised.

Now to fit these devils is nearly a two handed job, their not light! My one gripe is that I would have liked to have seen some nice screw down speaker terminals rather than those springy clip thingies. With the QED 79 strand the barn is wired with they just don’t feel secure enough. Having said that the same exist on all the other Sonance units I have and nothing has ever moved, just me being fussy I guess.

OK, so hole enlarged with a pad saw (The existing units were only 10″ diameter.), cables attached. Pop the units into the ceiling and tighten up the screws . I don’t know what other ceiling speakers have but Sonance units are a dream to fit, they have something called Rotolock which are little arms that automatically move outwards gripping the plasterboard surround as you do up the screws. They work fantastically well and clamp the speaker down darn hard to the plasterboard and even at VERY high volumes you get no resonance. One tip I do have here is that if you’ve got access its well worth adding some grip fill adhesive (AKA No-nails, or Gripfill) to the seem between the plasterboard and the ceiling joist. It helps cut down on any resonance caused by movement between the board and joist.

When I originally put the 6.1 in the living room I built enclosures in the roof space between the ceiling joists and then filled them with Rockwool, this I found helps with base response and stops the sound from leaking to the rooms upstairs (Well a little anyway.). Sonance actually do their own product called Sonafill which are sealed bags of sound insulation which are designed to be pushed into the cavity, I can’t believe they are any better.

The speakers come in a white finish but I’ve found that the white is quite ‘dirty’ in colour and certainly doesn’t match the brilliant white of most ceiling emulsion. Not to worry though as the surrounds can easily be painted with emulsion and Sonance supply a ‘paint plug’ which fit in place of the grills to protect the drivers while painting. The grills themselves are a little trickier to paint as the mesh grill holes are quite small. Painting with emulsion and a brush will just lead to clogged holes. Your best bet is to spray them, normal emulsion paints can be sprayed but you’ll have to thin it considerably with water and be prepared for a good number of coats to get the required coverage. My preferred method is to use cellulose paint in a matt finish. I use a full spray set up but you should get the same results with an aerosol can if you keep the coats light.

OK so units fitted, painted grills pushed into place. So what do they sound like? Quite simply…..stunning! OK, they’re not to the standard of a good quality set of floor standers BUT for a set of in-ceiling units they are the highest quality I’ve ever come across. They are rich, detailed and how they achieve a bass response in the way they do defies belief. They actually make ALL the walls of the lounge resonate if you turn them RIGHT UP. But there’s not a hint of distortion.

So if you want audiophile quality sound from a set of ceiling speakers then go for it, its the best I’ve heard yet.

As with all things though quality comes at a price. They’ve got a RRP of £820.00. Ouch……

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Oh well first coat will be dry on to the second…..



Last update on 2024-04-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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