Focal Maestro Utopia , need advice for AMP/PRE

i bought Maestro Utopia , i should get them next week

this is my current setup:
acoustic zen silver reference ii XLR interconnect
Cardas Clear speaker cable
wireworld platinum usb cable
Focal Electra 1038 be II
Pass labs X350.5
Pass labs Xp10 pre
Oppo BDP-105
PC computer

my setup can drive the new speakers well or i should consider more powerful Amp?
i red review , using Clasee 600 Amp to drive it
they said that this speakers need a lot of power.

one more thing:
this model come with Spikes
i guess it will ruin the woodfloor (116KG)

there is a solution for that?

for example:
Your Pass amps have plenty of power and should be a wonderful match for your speakers. I have always liked the liquid sound of Pass amps (I used to own the XA160). Before buying anything make sure you listen and live with the Pass gear for a while them decide what you like or don't like. I also highly advise sorting out your room treatments before swapping equipment. Until you can accurately hear what your system is doing it will be hard to pinpoint what you need. As for the spikes, I advise to either use pennies under them or buy some nice disks from Starsound, I use these.
Pelo..., congratulations on your new Focals. Although I don't know much about the Focal line, you may want to reach out to Albert Porter. His system is always attracting comments in Virtual Systems. Albert's rig includes Focal Maestro Utopias.

Btw, the Focal 1038 - Be II are on my short list of speakers that I'm eyeing -- or better, "earing"??. Can you share any thoughts about the 1038s? Are they high current power hogs? My amp is an ARC Ref 150 tube amp which is rated at 150 wpc and has relatively low output impedance. Any thoughts about compatibility?
Focal Dealers told me that the Maestro is the most demanding speakers of Focal , even more then Stella and Grande
because of the magnetically damped woofers.

they told me also My Pass X350.5 not even close to getting the best from the Maestro.

one dealer recommend the Aesthetix Atlas Mono Amps and TARA 0.8 EX interconnect and speakers cables.

what do you think?
I can only dream of owning speakers such as those Focals. But to answer your question, the Pass amp should easily drive them. Focal Maestro Utopia has high sensitivity and your X350.5 puts out 700 wpc into 4 ohms. The Focals are rated at 4 ohms, but can drop as low as 2 ohms and IMO the high current of the Pass amp would not have a problem.

I see that owners report a long burn-in period for the Focals, so give them some break-in time before you judge them.
And unless you make some changes to your room acoustics, you will never get the most out of your system. There were many suggestions in your other thread.
Reading the specs on your speakers the X350.5 is more than enough power. They are 93db with a 4ohm nominal impedance and dropping to a minimum of 3ohm; a fairly easy load for the 350.5 in my opinion.

I've had the opportunity to hear most of the Focal Utopia speakers at one time or another, but I'm not 100% sure if I've heard the model you have. I know I have heard the Diablo, Stella, Grande, and one of the ones in the middle of the range.

My experience is fairly limited, but I've never left the store impressed when Aesthetix amplification was being used. Every time that I'm blown away it has always been Krell amplification being used.

What's crazy, I was blown away the last time I stopped at the store and the setup was a pair of Focal 807v speakers with the Krell S-300i and I came home more "unhappy" with my system that day that I had on previous trips with the Stella and Grande speakers hooked up to Asthetix gear.

My point is that you should hear any Asthetix gear (really any gear) before making the investment. The people at the store are obviously happy with the combination, but it's never been my cup of tea.

Streophile Review:

they wrote that this speaker need powerfull AMP
"However, it demands to be used with amplifiers unfazed by its wicked load impedance in the upper bass."

...From the review: your Pass qualifies.
Don't be influenced by your dealer that you need a new amp.
Meljo's post suggests that the Focal Maestros will sound their best with a solid state power beast. Another heavy duty power beast is Bryston. I surmise that tube amps may not bring out the Focal's best.
Focal Maestro Utopia - wow, that's an incredible upgrade. I hope you can get the most out of those speakers in your room. I'm guessing you will have to move things around a bit. Stick with your current electronics.


"on paper" the 1038 are easy to drive
but in order to get full bass control and wide soundstage you need power.
the Electra 1038 it's amazing speakers , if you want to buy my 10 month old pair they are for sale now :)

Thanks Pelo ..., but I gotta pass for now. If one more new piece of gear comes into the house, it'll be like death on a cracker for me. Still tryin' to figure out how I managed to keep my head when getting the "new" ARC Ref 150 into the house and the "old" ARC VS-115 out. :-(

But as I said, I'll be keepin an eye out for the Focals and Revlon Studio 2. My biggest concern is whether the Ref 150 has the ooohhmmph to drive them to their best.

Btw, I read Atkinson's review of the Maestros. Quite impressive. But he cautioned that one needs a lot of power to get them to sound their best.

JA made special note of the Focal's beryllium tweeter. I know Focal, Revel, Usher and Paradigm use beryllium dome tweeters. Could be others too. As I have mentioned, I have Paradigm Signature 8 v3 speakers, which have the "be" tweeters. Very impressive high end.
I would listen to the speakers prior to any amp replacement and then if you feel it is necessary you may want to look at the Pass X600.5's or move to the XA series say the 160 or 200 .5's or if you really want to drop some coin try the XS series.


XS have crazy price.
XA 160 or 200 , those are sweet Class A
but they have the power to push that king of speakers ?

I received your message via Audiogon system, thank you for asking my opinion on Focal.

I'm not sure my experience precisely applies to your system, I'm pretty much a tube guy all the way and our speaker are not identical although both are from Focal.

I do agree with other comments in this thread, having just read them. The Pass Labs amp should be more than enough power and I also agree with comments that it would be a better choice than the Aesthetix.

I used Aesthetix IO and Callisto for more than a decade and always speak highly of them, but I'm not a fan of their solid state sound, especially compared to Pass and Gryphon (two of my favorite).

I very much agree with Czbbcl, go for more powerful Pass if you must use solid state. If I were going to solid state that's exactly where I would be looking.

You're getting a lot of good advice here already. The most important thing beyond your equipment choice is BREAK IN.

My Focal Grande Utopia EM have almost 1400 hours on them and each week the sound improves. I've been communicating with Focal for months on the topic of break in and the general consensus is 1500 hours is required before one can truly judge what their design is capable of.

I think most speaker companies would not be this forthcoming for fear of losing customers looking for instant gratification.

Audiogon shows we are only a few hours apart by car. If you wish, you're welcome to come listen with us. Even better, a Tuesday night puts you with our whole group of music lovers.

Last comment on break in, I will warn you. My Focal Grande sounded absolutely terrible for the first 200 hours. I pretty much had to leave the room and let them play. Between 300 and 500 hours the sound got good enough to have hope but nothing like they are showing now.

I'm reminded of the story about the ugly duckling that grew to be a beautiful swan. My Focal have changed so much it's beyond belief. Be patient with your new speakers before you spend more money.
Thanks Albertporter

what about DAC?
do you think it's the weak link in my system?
or you see any other weak link?
You are using the same DAC as me, the Oppo BDP-105. For the money it's unbeatable but in my system it's third choice quality for playback source.

If I had digital only I would absolutely upgrade but I cannot tell you what would work because I have not found it myself. I had a couple of the hot cheap DACs here this last month and they were better and worse than the Oppo depending on listening preference.

You will likely have to spend some serious money to get a super quality DAC. This seems to be an area where the best is in great dispute and there are countless "good to great" DACs in the race with no clear winner. At least not that I'm aware of.

You ask about other weak links. Looking at your listening room it may be your only choice but it's not ideal. Putting the system on a short wall and listening at greater distance and some room treatments would be a completely different world.

After that address cable or whatever else.

I hear you concerning crazy money for the XS amps. By the way you purchased a fantastic pair of speakers.

In my opinion either the 160.5 or 200.5's would provide plenty of power to drive your Focals. You can always contact Mark at Reno HiFi and audition them in your system and if they don't work out simply send them back, your only cost is shipping to and fro; truly a great person to work with.
more and more Focal owner recommend me to use Accuphase
they said it's on different class then almost anything with Utopia models.

anybody here think the same?
what model have enough power to drive the Maestro at their best?
To follow up, I can't say that the Focals require a solid state power beast to perform their best, only that the Krell gears was far superior to my ear compared to Asthetix.

I did hear one of the mid level Utopia speakers with a Pathos Logos and has no objections, but it was in a much less controlled environment and a much shorter experience.

My speakers are Focal 836v and I have heard them on the Krell amplifiers and was equally impressed and am currently blown away with the sound of my Yaqin tube amplifier and would put it on par with the Krell S-300i. I wouldn't exclude tubes from potentially sounding fantastic with any Focal speaker, but if I had the funds to get into the Utopia line I would go Krell and never look back.
someone here know about any Focal Maestro owner that i can ask what he chose for AMP/PRE/DAC ?
I have the focal Utopia Diva Be speakers and ran them with the McCormack DNA 225 and the DNA 500. I am presently using a VTL Stereo 90 Deluxe Ultra-Linear Tube Amp designed by David Manley with a restored Harman Kardon Citation 1 Pre.I prefer the all tube system.

I would listen to the speakers prior to any amp replacement and then if you feel it is necessary you may want to look at the Pass X600.5's"

Not a bad idea; move up to the Pass X600.5 Monoblocks.
Vitus or Accuphase.

11-25-13: Pelo911
someone here know about any Focal Maestro owner that i can ask what he chose for AMP/PRE/DAC ?
<< Look up member Ciro71. I think he uses Vitus with his Maestro.
I have a buddy who runs older Grand Utopias with Accuphase.. Sublime combo.
*Becareful, with wrong amps those Be tweeters could sound a mite hot and little tipped up.
Pelo911, X350.5 should be more than enough. I use Burmester 032 (I haven't updated my page yet). Though 032 is being strained at times (it is only 170W into 4ohms). If I were you, I would first break in the speakers with your current amp and consider upgrade later.
few focal dealers that know the Maestro
told me that the Pass Labs not the best choice for the Maestro.
the sound is "dull" and not warm.
Virut might be the best AMP but it's cost around $40K , it's over my budget.
One possible candidate I saw listed.
Right voltage, right price if you are from Europe.
300w into 8ohm should be plenty good.

Simplification of system i.e..less cabling, less rack space etc could also be a welcome thing in your situation.

Disclaimer : No affiliation to seller.
"few focal dealers that know the Maestro
told me that the Pass Labs not the best choice for the Maestro."

Who cares what the dealers say? They aren't the one who are going to listen to your system in your home. YOU are.

So what do YOU think? Is there anything you dislike about the sound of the new speakers with your current Pass amp and pre-amp? Is there anything you think should sound better?

Until you can answer those questions - and you won't be able to until you allow time for the speakers to break in - you are just setting yourself up to spend money for no good reason.
i have Focal Maestro with Mc Intosh C50 and mono 601.
Cables all Mit Matrix.
The sound is fantastic with very good bass.
My speakers were Wilson 5, Canton Reference1, Focal La Scala,
Magico V3 and Magico Q5.
I 'm happy with my current system,
Greetings from Switzerland.
Final pudding is always in the listening.. But I do believe by gathering opinions from
fellow owners, experienced Agoners, knowledgable Dealers, as well magazine reviews,
will aid form a good baseline to streamline one's choices.

It is not logistically practical to bring every conceivable candidates for home audition -
Do it (by all means) when down to your final two or three. Likewise, in the instance
products we desire not readily stocked locally (pre-order only), those collective insights
could also be particularly useful towards our decision making.

But yes, best to start auditioning only after things have properly settled and bedded-in
in order to avoid unnecessary/costly mistake on your part.
Seos1: you like the Maestro more the Magico Q5 ?!

Bvdiman: i need Vitus SS101 (i'm from USA)
Pelo, keep watch here. I've seen from time to time Vitus monos (SM?) listed below 30k, and stereo (SS) less than 20k ~ Good buy.
finally connect the new speakers

they are in another league compare to my Electra 1038
the sound now have "weight"
i feel that the Pass are slightly "dull"
i'm looking for more dynamic and aggressive

someone can advice?
You've been getting good advice on amps so far, but you'll never know the true sound of your system until you break-in the speakers.
the speakers are 6 month old
already broke in
i feel that the Pass are slightly "dull"
i'm looking for more dynamic and aggressive

someone can advice?
Pelo911 (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

<< You don't want Vitus then. Maybe look for used Soulution710 @20k'ish here.
I'd describe them to be dynamic and lively - whether 'aggressive' or not depends largely on 'what feed them' (choose your flavor using cd/preamp/cabling). One of the most colorless and revealing amp I've owned.
the speakers are 6 month old already broke in
I've been keeping track of progress on my Focal Grande EM since the day they arrived. Weekdays they play from 7:15 AM until 6:30 and several hours with movies on the weekend it's taken seven months to accumulate 1487 hours.

Focal suggest break in is 1500 hours or more. My speakers have continued to improve, mostly at first but important changes to deep bass and driver integration occurred as recently as a few weeks ago.

Unless you keep a written record day by day, it's easy to think you are done.
11-27-13: Pelo911
Seos1: you like the Maestro more the Magico Q5 ?!

Those are absolutely diferent speakers, I heard both extensively, and Seos1 in not the one- Maestro is better speaker. The only real thing what I liked about Q5 was bass quality(better than Maestro), but in midrange and hights ( same records in same room) Maestro is clear winner. With exception on organ works, where tilted up hights was more impressive. For any other music Maestro is better speaker.

Goood luck to thread strater- its not an easy task- I have never heard any other speakers which are so dependable on amplifer. From cheap amplification I liked Mola Mola amplifiers.
Thanks for your response
i'm happy to hear you think the Maestro better then Q5.

it's very hard to match system for the Maestro
specially for me since i'm new to High-End.

i'm trying to find out what other Maestro owner using
so far those are the Amp i found that the owners using:
Aesthetix Atlas Mono
Accuphase A-200 and M6000
Karan acoustic , i'm not sure what was the model KAS600 or KAM900
Krell 402E or 600e
AVM Audio MA8
Audionet Max ,
McIntosh MC601

i guess the weakpoint at my system:
Oppo 105
maybe one of the Cables?
i should buy a Reference DAC and CD player , do you have recommendation to test?
maybe also to get Apple computer instead PC?
Pelo, I can't say that Focal Maestro is a better speaker than the
Magico Q5. They are very different and it also depend on what
kind of music you listen to.
Magico are more transparent and for classic, some kind of jazz are
fantastic. Maestro are more dinamyc and give weight to the music.
For rock,blues ,reggae are better.
The bass in the Magico is more accurate but In the Maestro has more
punch. Focal Maestro are also more forgiving in amplifier (therefore you
can also save some money). I find my Maestro with MC Intosh very good.
Greetings Sergio