There's probably less than 30 people on the planet that have heard it; it won't be in showrooms until late September from what I understand.
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Alright, just watched the Focal promo video on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9Z8zLztSIg. That's some very good marketing btw, getting customers excited about the launch. At 5:25min there is a small 3-way floorstander. Would anybody know what that speaker is? It's not the replacement to the Alto Utopia is it? Looks very interesting. From what I've heard from a Focal dealer, the prices have basically doubled from the past generation though. It seems like they're going to be out of reach for many people.
Yea the new Focals look nice but it they don't knock the old models out of the water they will be WAY over price. I though the Alto (at the time 18,000) was about $8,000 over priced. $25,000 for a pair of Altos is a joke. I could name at least 5 speakers that are BETTER for half the price.
As for highend audio pricing them themselves into extinction..... I don't know. It if all the big brand's prices keep going up unjustified (no real increase in manufacturing cost, etc.) it will leave a lot of play for smaller lesser know brands to step in and under cut them.
As much as I like the idea of Focals (they look great! and are efficient). I don't think I would every buy a pair. The sound was just not there for me. I thought they (Alto, 1037) lack driver integration and the bass need to be smoother. For small scale music like Jazz the driver integration was not an issue. But for big flowing music like classical and large scale rock it was an issue.
I am not sure in what type of setups you have hear dthe Utopias but comparing it to the usual suspects made them shine as the clear winner for me and i listen to mostly classical music. Real and complete dynamics without exageration of the lower octaves or fatiguing top end. Real staging, trasnsparency, and just plain enjpyable. The prices do seem to be going up. For example, the W/P 8 is now $30k. I think it makes the purchase of everything in life has gone up and european product seem to have suffered from the currency situation. But then, why has Wilson raised their price? The bottom line is we all are buying toys for our hobbies and the monies spent is not going to put us in the poor house or we would put the entire hobby aside permanently.
James63- "here, here"
The Wilson Sophia was 12.5k when the Alto was released. Revel Studio same price.
Even Dynaudios competing C4 is 18k, 25% less then the current Focal---for a european speaker with just as good cabinets and drivers. SophiaII and StudioII are 16k now to put their recent reiterations in perspective.
Bar81 may not think 31k for Focals' lowest 3-way is expensive, but i find a basic 3 way costing as much as a 3-series appalling and terrible for this hobby.
ps. i have Focal car audio speakers which are a bargain but if they double in price, they would never sell
"I am not sure in what type of setups you have hear dthe Utopias but comparing it to the usual suspects made them shine as the clear winner for me and i listen to mostly classical music."
I heard them in a good but nothing special set up. I heard the 1037s on Arcam mono blocks and CD player, 15X22X10 room, speakers were 3 feet off the rear wall and 3 feet off the side walls. Most of my auditioning of Focal speakers were of the 1037s (three, 2+ hour auditions of the 1037) because they were local. I made a trip one time to go hear the Alto (one, 1 hour audition). Room was about 15X25X8 I was unfamiliar with equipment used other than the amp was a pricey Krell amp (WAY out of my budget... so I did not get the details).
Now I am not knocking anyones choice and Focals are very good speakers. The things I did not like about them are minor but at their asking price I felt the need to nitpick (if they were $5000 less I might own a pair...).
There was one time during the audition (of 1037s) that the lack of driver integration stuck out for me.I was listening to Nora Jones' album "Its not too late" I believe the song was "Im not your friend". While she was singing a part of the song her voice came straight out of the tweeter. It was very directional and I could pinpoint the source of the sound coming from the speakers. In other parts of the song her voice shifted from the midrange back to the tweeter (the sound stage shifted).
I believe the problems I heard were caused by overly steep/low crossovers (third order at 2kHz). I did not hear this problem on the two other speakers I auditioned the same week (B&W 802D, Thiel 3.7). Both the 802D and 3.7s have first order crossover for the tweeter. The 802D's mids would cover the upper part of Nora Jones voice anyway (crossover=first order at 4kHz). I did not spend a lot of time with the Alto because it sounded like a pair of 1037s with better bass...
Anyway I really love the look of the new Focal line. I hope they sound as good as they look! At a rumored 130,000 euros ($191,000 @ 1:1.47 conversion rate) for the Grande Utopia EM they are fare beyond my reach (or desire...).
Does anyone know what the official price for the Grand Utipia EM is?
After all of this, I have been intrigued about the new Focals and visited my dealer. I saw the actual print material and photos for the new lineup and wow,, it is just plain sexy! they ae available in painted finishes and so are even more flexible in matching your room and decor. My Focal dealer had seen and heard the Grandes and Escalas as well as their new bookshelf, the Diablo. He does not speak with much excitement about many produts and this is the first time that saw him almost salivate during the explanation of the new product. Between this and the Burmester electronics, he said, you'd have a match made in heaven. granted that i already have purchased the Burmester gear, I am eager to hear and experience the new products.
I just spoke to the Focal dealer in Orange County that is the largest Utopia dealer I have seen in my travels in the U.S. they have Grande Utopias, Nova Utopias, Altos Utopias, Diva Utopias, and even the Micro+Sub. They are going to have the Grande EM's as well as the new Altos(Escalas?), and new Micros (Diablos?) Anyhow, they are talking of dong a release event that I signed up for. I am not sure when it is going to be but I am eager to hear them.
Monday morning Focal delivered the Grand Utopia EM's to my house to replace the Alexandria's that I have been using. If anyone is interested in buying the Alexandrias please let me know. Bob Hodas, a good friend and wonderful acoustician will be setting them up shortly. Currently we have them facing each other, wrapped up in blankets, and set out of phase in a corner of my listening room while they break. The folks at Focal, who I might add are really nice people, recommend breaking them in like this for a few weeks i.e. for 500-1000 hours. I am being uncharacteristically patient and disciplined while this happens. I decided to get them to settle down before tuning them to the room. If anyone would like for me to report on my experience with the new speakers just post any questions you might have and I will do my best to report back.
Thank you guys. I bought them to celebrate my 60th birthday. For the last few years I have been using the Halcro dm68s which I have always really enjoyed. Everything is still running through the Alexandrias which are for the time being adequate at best. I also replaced my aging dCS stack with the Scarlatti which I think is just a spectacular digital front end. The Utopias are all wrapped up with blankets, pillows, bed spreads, and everything else I could find to silence them while they breaking. Its a strange site.
For the past 5 years I have been using the Halcro dm68's. I love these amps. As a matter of fact, I am toying with the thought of replacing them with the dm88's. I would not expect more than a slight difference but for my taste the Halcro's are just about perfect. I also use the Halcro preamp with phono stage.
The other day Alectiong asked if I was unhappy with the Alexandria's and yes I am not satisfied with the Wilson speakers in general. The reasoning is kind of complicated so I will respond with my opinion about this when there is a little more time to do this thoughtfully.
Lastly, Congrats Seos. You pointed out the Grand Utopia's need a good 300 hours to break in. I knew it was going to take a chunk of time and the folks a Focal actually said they would like me to run them in for 1000 hours. I'm just passing their advice along to the group. I'm not sure if I can be that patient but so far I am staying with the program! :-)
Yes Cajunpepe, I never forget that I am lucky to be able to enjoy this type of equipment. I have used the dCS going back to the earliest Verdi and Elgar and now listen with the newer Scarlatti stack. Finally digital has come of age and is giving my vinyl a real run for the money. I have not yet put the Grand Utopia's into the system but as they flex their mussels in the corner of my listening room I can start to hear the base and highs start to sound very intoxicating.
We have not yet replaced the Alexandria's. The new EM's are still breaking in but that is coming along very well. The EM's are connected to an arcam amp and transport and can hear them playing in a different area of my music studio. They have been running 24/7 for roughly three weeks and are clearly settled in. This coming Wednesday Bob Hodus, a good friend and well know acoustician, and I will set them up and begin to turn them to my room. When we swap the speakers we will be able to see how the Utopias sound with the Halcro amps and the Scarlatti stack. Some time ago I discovered that the dSC DAC sound far better when bypassing the preamp and connected directly into the amps. It is like a different piece of equipment. It is however already clear to me that the Utopia's are in an entirely different leaguing that the Alexandria's. I don't think anything I have heard to date will compare favorably to the EM's but I will know better by the end of next week and start to report back to this forum. I have done absolutely no critical listening yet while they are breaking in but I can hear that these speakers are extremely musical.