Anyone receive Focal Utopia speakers with defects?

I recently took delivery on a pair of Focal Utopia Scala speakers. I bought these new from a authorized dealer and have been waiting years to be able to get the chance to own these.

I have had a few pair of speakers from Focal before, mostly Electra line and have been very pleased with the quality, fit and finish. So I figured moving from a $11,000 a pair to a $30,000 a pair of speakers I could only expect that quality to be even better.

the day I received them I had my brother drive a two hours to help me along with my fiancée help unpack. I took every precaution so that these speakers would come out of the boxes as they when in. Luckily everything went as planed and they were unpack without incident.

First off I noticed that they only had a white sock coving then. Now when I looked up pictures I've noticed a clear plastic wrap on the Utpoia line, mine didn't have this. Also noticed I didn't have a blue foam surround on the plinth. This could be that the Scala doesn't come with these as do the higher end models, or that they maybe and early production run? I only say this because of the low serial number. Being that just over 300 (15B0003xx)

Next thing I noticed that they speakers had a white dry powdery substance in the joints and around the speaker input and even on the tweeter metal cross section.

I've since then have gone over the paint and have noticed a lot of blemishes, even chips around the lower speaker input/level control. So far I have four what look to be 2" lines where it looks to me like something rubbed against the speakers. These looked like they can be buffed out and shouldn't be a problem. Also around the speaker input/level control I found three chips in the paint where it looked like it was forced in to it position along with plastic coming up from under this piece as well. Two areas in the metallic flake coat of paint where it was smeared and has no metallic look to it. Then was touched up with black paint and then lacquered. Lastly I have hazy spots where the white sock cover rubbed the lacquer and looks like the speaker has acne. I'm guessing this is why they have the plastic wrap on them now?????

I'm not try to imply anything by this, to my belief they were unopened and were sold to me under truthful means. I really do like these speakers, but just expected so much more from a $30,000 pair of speakers. I am still cleaning what I think is wax out of the joints in the speakers and just unhappy with the over quality. I have contacted Focal and am hoping for a solution to the hazy spots. Maybe they can be buffed out. I'm just waiting to hear from them because I would hate to make them worse.

I am very happy with the sound. I can say they are better than my last pair of 1037be electras as far a sound quality. I am by no means a rich man and it took me a long hard time to aquire these. I am reaching out to see if any other Focal Utopia owner(s) has noticed any of these issues?

Thank you for any information, Jon

Showing 14 responses by yamahafirth

I wanted to apologize for the late night post. Now that I have had a good nights rest I see a several things I would change, lol.

I did get a quick response back from Focal and they went over how to polish out the hazy marks. This being the only thing I brought up with them because I know the paint defects can't be fixed without having them painted again.

Again this is not a thread bashing on Focal, I love their products. I have never received a product from them with blemishes before and wanted to see if anyone else has had an issue like this.

I can say the speakers make beautiful sounding music. I am running them with an old 50 watt class A Forté amp and a iPad. I know it's bad, but even with these I can tell they a truly great sounding speakers. I did end up pulling out my Oppo 105 to hear what a mid level unit would sound like and was very surprised how much better they sounded over the iPad with the Oppo unit and a well known SACD. They were already better than my last Focal Electras with powerful amp and tons of other gear. I did incorpate my Oppo 105 into my last system and it sounded very lean and was a little too digital sounding. I can say it sounds much fuller and more even through out the bandwidth with the Utopia speakers.

I am now on the hunt for an full system to accompany my Focals. At first I was leaning towards my typical big monos, Pass Labs or Rogue Audio Apollos. Along with a pre and a SACD player. Now I'm thinking to run Devialet 400 units and an Aurender X100L music server and my normal go to cabling and power distribution, Synergistic Research.

With the Devialet I use less than half as many cables, just four power (one supplied with the Synergistic power cell) cables, a set of speaker cables and a USB cable.
Thank you for the responses. They did make a long journey to get to me. They went from the east coast to me on the west coast. I should have listed this before but I ended up paying a good amount less because the Scala V2 were released and these being the V1 they wanted to sell them quickly.
I guess it doesn't change the fact they were new and retail for the $30,000. The dealer has been very nice and I will give them a call to bring up the blemishes. I know they didn't make much on them. I was thinking dealing straight with Focal.
I'm really have been looking at either Devialet 400 mono units or Pass Labs XA100.5 monos and the XP20 pre.

The Devialet I can try from my local dealer. The Pass Labs I have yet to go see some in person.

They are so different but both look like great choices.
The dealer has been very nice. I am calling them to let them know. Unfortunately they are across the country and can't pop in. :(

I did contact Focal and they walked me through how to get the hazy areas off. Just for anyone else have issues with lacquered speakers here is what I did by the advise of the manufacturer.

First I dusted them well, making sure the areas I was going to buff were clean. Next I took a very light 3M rubbing compound and lightly but throughly hand buffed it with a very soft cloth. I let it dry and then buffed off any compound remaining.

Next I took Meguiar's cleaning wax and again applied with a little more pressure with a round application pad. Again waiting for it to dry and buffing it off with a special buffing towel.

I must say the speakers are 95% better. All the hazy areas are now gone. Overall the speaker looks wet also having much more depth. I'm guessing this something I'll never have to do again as long as I take care to not make any marks of my own.

The only thing left I can do is use a glaze wax. I have some high end glaze I used for my classic car from years ago. It's made to be used with dark paints so it should work fine. I'm not sure I want to use it considering the speakers already look much better.

I am very happy with the service I received from the dealer. They bent over backwards to make it possible for me to own these. I think the guy doing to quality control, one G. Cesa is to blame. I own a small business and it's hard having people representing you that are only there for a pay check. That's why I still do most of the work myself. Lol

I'm going to see if I can get some touch up paint for the areas that are chipped. I'm hoping Focal can help. :)
I called the dealer and they told me they were NOS Focal had and sold to them, I'm guessing at a discount. The box was unopened because it's stapled shut and it's very easy to tell if they were opened once before.

The dealer is helping me by contacting Focal on my behalf.
I'm sending some links to show what I'm talking about.

This is the orange peel:

This is the chip and paint imperfection:

What's worse than a conspiracy theorist?

Thanks for that.

I'm starting over from scratch. All I have are the speakers and Forté amp, this was used only for break-in of the speakers. The only thing I know I'll be using and have as well are Synergistic Research cables.
Thanks for the response.

I think these days you have to spend $50,000 to get your speakers delivered in wooden vampire boxes. Lol.

I know Focal do sell "demo" units that have been on display and used for either show purposes or sent out to be reveiwed. I know this because I had a pair of Focal Electras I bought used that were in Stereophile. They listed the serial numbers in the review and matched the pair I had. So it does happen, Focal does sell "open" speakers.

I DID SAY THIS EARLIER, I DID RECEIVE A BIG DISCOUNT on these speakers, not because of them being opened but from being an out going model do to the V2. I guess it didn't charge that the fact they do have defects.
It's more frustrating for me because I like Focal products. I don't know how this happened. Was it a slip up from the team at Focal and just didn't see the blemishes? Maybe we're actually demos. Not knowing is frustrating. It's like your neighbor scratching your car by accident it and not telling you. You don't want to blame him/her but you would always wonder.

I was unaware Focal made speakers with the same serial numbers, one for consumers and other for reviews. This could be the case though. Funny they would use the same number twice. I even have pictures of them with serial numbers in my listening room. I was curious and looked it up and found them. :) the serial numbers do match the review.

Anyway, I don't feel I would have paid as much as I did for demo pair. I past up a pair on Audiogon that I found that were $7,000 cheaper than what I paid for mine. Given they were used, but $7,000 I would have saved would have bought me cables, amp, ect.

I would be happy with some touch up paint and maybe an extra tweeter. The tweeters are exposed and all it take is a slip dusting and it would be nice to replace a dented tweeter.

As far as the front end, I would like to get a turn table, nothing fancy. My CD collection is much larger so that would be the first step. I am really looking in hi res content on a solid state hard drive or even an Aurender unit.

I would like to thank all who have had positive input to this tread. This would be my first one ever on any web site. It's nice to get other people opinions.

Anyone out there have Focal Utopias? I'm curious on anyone liking or disliking gear used with them. I'm looking to get amps first, then a pre and last a source. I'm doing the source last because I'm not sure which way I want to go. So far I'm looking at:

Audio Research Ref 75
Devialet 200/400
Pass labs (same pricing)
Rogue Audio Apollo monos

Thanks all again.
Yes, this was a previous pair I owned, not the pair I have now. I talked to the Focal dealer and he did confirm Focal do infact sell units put on display or sent out for reveiws. They sell them for a discounted price and make the dealer aware that they were used as show or review pieces.

I bought those used, private party. The guy said he bought them new but obviously that wasn't true.

The ones I have new were sold as new old stock, never opened. I do have a receipt for the Utopia speakers I have now.
I wanted to give an update on the status. It took some time but I was able to find out what the real status of these speakers were.

I contacted the importer for the speakers and they were very helpful and got me all the information I needed. They were in fact demo units for Focal. I'm guessing they were used for display purposes. The driver units sounded very different when I first hooked them up. The bass was very boomy and midrange wasn't a good as I've heard in the past. After leaving them on for a week at lower levels they really started sounding good, some of the best speakers I've herd. I'm very happy with the sound and believe they were not used review units because all the drivers needed breaking in.

I in turn told the dealer the news I received and they sounded surprised and wanted to let me know they had no idea. Before everyone tells me I'm a fool for believing them, it doesn't really matter to me because they are trying their best to resolve the issue. I won't go into details, but they gave me a few offers, one being a 100% refund. I wasn't too impressed with the other two and returning the speakers is going to just waist thousands of dollars in shipping for them and I'm left with nothing. I just gave a counter offer and they are thinking it over. The last offer is, I think very fair for all parties.

I'm not sure how it will turn out but at this point returning them or if they accept my offer I think they do want to make me happy with out taking a huge hit on them which I can understand. Who's every fault this was if I'm happy in the end I think that's all that matters.

One more note, I would love to have a new pair, what I paid for in the first place. I understand this would be tons of money in shipping and me being a small business owner this really hurts the business. I have had product I've sold get a little crack in transit, I not only replace the until but I let them keep the still usable cracked unit. This is only about $60 in shipping though. It hurts me and I lose money on the sale, but I want the customer to be happy. Word of mouth is huge for me and have nothing but positive reviews online. In turn potential customers see this and feel safe buying for me. In the case of these speakers I think they would lose thousands and I'm not ready to do that to anyone trying to make a living.
I think we worked out a deal that makes everyone happy. We are working out the details and should have it wrapped up soon. So far I must say the dealer has been on it as far as trying to make me happy. This was something I offered, not them and they accepted. Must say that's very cool of them.

They are going to see about compensation from the importer after I'm taken care of. I am very excited to get the system completed. Focal makes a amazining speakers and I can't wait to have components that will make these speaker really sign.

Something new to update, I can't believe this but the dealer has offered me a pair of Scala V2 for just a little more, this amount I'm guessing is mostly to cover shipping. Giving the price jump from the V1 to V2 it's more than reasonable.

I must say this dealer has treated me with so much care even with what little if any money they made on me. I really do feel like I'm getting a great deal. I'm a so excited for the V2 speakers, I can't wait!