Focal 1038 be VS B&W 802D : mid-range

Hello there,
If you were to choose one fine loudspeaker based on its sweet mid-range, Focal 1038 be VS B&W 802D, which one would you choose?

In the past I owned B&W 804n, its sweet mid-range very much impressed me. I am in love with B&W mid-range Kevlar unit.
However the 804n is getting old (almost 11 years). it's time to upgrade.

"W" cone is what Focal names it mid-range driver
while B&W uses Kevlar-based driver. Any one with personal experience with these two speakers? Real world comments are very much welcome.
I recently auditioned both speakers specifically against each other. The Focal 1038 be was $12500 and the 802D $15000. The Focal to my and my friends ear was the superior speaker. I really could not believe it so I went back another day and listened to them both back to back a few times and again came away choosing the Focal.

This was a huge surprise to me as I am a current B&W owner looking to upgrade.

Good luck in your search.
Pkelly, was that the new 802 Diamond you heard? what made the Focal better?

Yes it was the new 802D. The 802 went a little deeper however the bass in the focal was tighter. The mids and highs we thought the focal was cleaner, crisper.

They are both great speakers however to our ears the focal simply sounded better. We listened to them cranked up a bit and I couldn't believe that I preferred the focals. That is coming from someone that owned B&W 803's for 16 years. I was looking to stay with B&W. Again the 802D is a great speaker.

We also felt the focal Electra 1028 be was superior to the 804 Diamonds. I really didn't care for the 804's. They did not have the 803D's to audition.

All that being said I purchased the Sonus Faber Cremona M's
Hi Narut,

It is not clear to me wheather you refer to the current, i.e. diamond, or previous, i.e. D, lines of B&W, but nonetheless, if I were you I would chose between:

1) either the 800D (previous model) or 800 diamond (current model) in the case of B&W speakers. (The 800 models are significantly better than the 802 models; 800D is much better than 802 diamond.)

2) Focal speakers from the Utopia 2 or 3 lines. Again, the Utopia speakers are much better than the Electra ones, viz. the Utopia models have a much fuller midrange (and this is especially the case when comparing old Utopias to new Electras). Here I would recommend Alto, Diablo with a sub or Micro Be with a sub.

Another speaker you might want to consider in this price range is Wilson Sophia 2.

Regarding Pkelly1504 experience, it is important to know what amp he used for the comparison. The Focals do not require that much power to open up, while in order to hear what the 802D can do one really needs to use either very powerful amp or high current amps, e.g. Accuphase class A models. My opinion is that with the right amp the B&W 802s (D or diamond) will easily outperform the Electras 1038 Be, but I can imagine the 1038s mopping the floors with the 802s when using the wrong amp.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Happy new year to everyone!
've had B&W CM7's setup mostly for 2ch, but they also served well connected to a HT system. For years, I used both a 2ch stereo amp, then switched speaker wires and used a HT receiver while watching movies.

It was time for an upgrade so the choices in my budget were 800 series B&W, Focal, Golden Ear, Joseph Audio and Legacy. Some were great, but I ended up getting Focal 1028be2's. Recently they dropped the price by almost $1K by using a less sophisticated finish on the wood, otherwise they are exactly the same.

The Focal's are great, and handily beat the B&W804d2. They have deep tight bass, a very "you are there" sound, stunning high's and a smooth midrange. They never sound "bright" or harsh, they just bring the music into your living room. They need some air behind the speakers, so don't place them too close to the wall or directly to the sides of your TV...give them breathing room.

Focal is very specific about setup procedures so if you read the manual, do the math for distances, and toe-in the speakers slightly so the the tweeter axis crosses behind your ears. I'd say in my room, I've got about 15degrees toe-in.

Other than a few megabuck speakers I've heard at shows or dealers, these speakers rank among the best sound I've ever heard other than live acoustic music or even amplified rock music provided you don't play them at 120db. Their dynamic range is incredible....they sound great playing with 90-98db peaks but mostly I listen in the 80-90db range.

Great Speakers!!!
I wish I lived near a Focal dealer, the times I have heard them they sound VERY clear.
"I wish I lived near a Focal dealer, the times I have heard them they sound VERY clear."

That's because they are VERY clean/clear sounding. Its that French sound, similar but not the same as Triangle. Its in protest to the old classic British/BBC monitor sound, which is much heavier. That old French/British competition thing I suppose.

Most popular US made/designed speakers are more over the place and in the middle but tend more towards that clean, crisp French sound as a whole I think.
It's funny, but a couple of people I conversed privately
with about other speakers that received a lot of buzz
mentioned out of nowhere that they really loved the 1038s in
auditions or at home.
I have a soft spot in my heart for the orignal JMLab Utopias,
which I loved at shows and never found fatiguing or bright
despite the Focal titanium tweeter? Are the 1038s like this
My 1028BE2's are broken in now and I've changed my CD Player to a new Moon Neo260D.

I couldn't be happier and I'm so glad I auditioned the B&W's, Triton and Focals using several amps. The 804D required a lot of power to sound good and had to be played much louder than the Focal. I like the French sound, it's detailed and polite and sounds great from background level to quite loud.