Focal Scala Utopia vs Wilson Sasha?


Just wondering if anyone has directly compared the Focal Scala to the Wilson Sasha? I have recently auditioned the Focal Scala a couple of times and whilst at first I was not quite satisfied , upon a second and more thorough listening I must say, I am seduced. Problem is, I have also loved Wilson speakers but, living in Australia- no one is getting the Sashas for another 2-3 months. Any suggestions?? Do I go with the Scalas now, or wait to audition the Wilson Sashas? Any thoughts would be helpful, thanks.
I have spent time with the Wilson WP7 and 8 and have listened to the Sasha. The Sasha sounded very different, less dynamic at the extremes and more balanced overall. I prefer a speaker that doesn't Wow me at first listen but overtime seduces me with realism. I think that the sasha does that better than the WP 7 or 8. I have not heard the Scala, sorry.
theese two are very diferent speakers. sasha smoother somewhat rounded in low midrange and "in your face" and bright and rough in higher midrange lower treble(not so bright like watt puppy but still quite bright) bass is punchy.

Scala have more dark presentation in higher midrange , high frequencies more crystal clear , not so spizzy, also less coloration in bass/mids than sasha. overal lower midrange higher bass is endlessly neutral by itseld with most natural intruments (like lower wind instruments which sounds amazingly clear and true) . bass goes deeper than sasha but not so strong , but it does not atrack atention to itself. sasha's soundtage is big but thin, scala soundstage have more "real bodyweight"

bad records sound much better on Scala than Sasha. on very low volumes sasha more lively.

overall I would call Scala conservative inspite it lively and crystal clear in hights. but still- comparing to Sashas Scala doesnt have very impressive first demo. its speaker -keeper which does everyhting very well and only after while we notice how right it does music. I would choose sashas if i play mostly energetic music with slamming bass and I wouldnt pick Scala as a home theater speakers..

pick up your poisions carefuly.

I would have to say that between those two, the Wilson's would probably play louder and cleaner. The Scala's are great at lowish volumes, but they fall apart with aggresive music. The Sasha's have more dynamic range, particularly in the bass with twin drivers. Having said all that, I'm not a huge fan of either of their tweeters, both made by Focal. It's pretty shrill either way. But if you value "transparency", I guess either can deliver the goods. But both speakers are kind of hi-fi to my ears.
Focal Utopia speakers exhibit the kind of clarity, transparency and finesse that grows on you after several listening sessions. Some of the most realistic sounds I've heard came out of Utopia Be speakers over the years, but somehow it took me a long time to realize how right they were. It's like refocussing your attention on what really matters. When I go see a concert, things feels natural and beautiful, not necessarily "impressive". We tend to get used to certain colorations in the way some speakers reproduce music.

Not a comment on the Sashas, which I haven't heard. But at this price level, you might want to wait a couple more months and listen for yourself.
Thanks guys...Maybe I'll try and here the Scalas again and if they cast their spell this time I'll just go for it... Jbcortes, my feelings are the same with how I have felt with the Focal Utopia range, when I listened again to the Scalas after not 'feeling' it the first time, I walked away thinking that it really feels like you have to adjust your attention to them, 'cause after an hour or so I was 'getting' it. They seem to draw no attention to any area to wow you...
I have a different experience as to the comments above. The focal Scala speaker is truly a great speaker but I do not feel that it has the emotional involvement that the Sasha produces. Both speakers were well represented at the recent CES show. The new Sasha's are much better than Wilson's earlier models (WP's). In comparison too the Scala's, I feel that both speakers have beautiful highs, mids, and base. But the different with the Sasha's is the soulful intense stimulation it produces. Another speaker with even more excitement is the Acapella High Violoncello II speaker. However, the Sasha speaker is more cohesive and better for more types of music. The BAT new reference mono block amps sounded great with them. I never heard them with a Pass amp. I did not like it with Lamm hybrids.
So wait!

Thanks for the comments. Maybe I will wait after all. It seems that its quite an intersting comparison with all the comments so far presented. I have heard Acapellas but they were only the La Campanella's...I was interested in hearing the High Violin II's but haven't been able to find them anywhere and the problem is, Acapellas are really expensive here...Not to say that Focals arent either but I mean ridiculously so. I could always go back to my previous option of flying to the YG Acoustics factory and auditioning the kipod/anat studio but I think I'll keep it as a Sasha/Scala decision now...
Thanks again.

You'll get as many answers as there are speakers so as I said, you have to listen for yourself. Nobody is right or wrong. The only time I heard Wilsons I was unimpressed but that was a long time ago and they must've changed a lot. Likewise, I've heard some Focals sound really bad due to bad partnering.

So take your time, you're going to have to live with the speakers you'll end up buying, unless you don't made reselling and taking a loss.

Another thing I really enjoy with Focal is the fact that you know where your money goes. Drivers and cabinets are made by them and not bought from others. Of course that's not a guarantee of good sound!

Make sure the Scala get plenty of power when they're demoed, and avoid clinical sounded digital. They'll show you what's behind them, that's their strength!!!

Good luck and keep us posted when you've made your choice.

Well, I wasnt expecting to hear them so soon, but I heard the 'Sashas' today. Amp was a Gryphon Diablo which I have heard previously with the Watt/puppy 8's sound really great so the following surprised me...
I wasn't really that over the moon honestly...I really wanted to like them more but I feel that they are more 'different' than 'better' than the older Wilson sound. On classical orchestral music I think they were superb and if I primarily listened to classical I might have bought them ,but it seems in making some refinements (top to bottom coherency eg), it seems to have come at a price, noticebly in the excitement factor. I listen to heavy rock a lot as well as classical, jazz, blues etc and they just lacked some impact for me. I really feel that the Focal Scalas took me further into the music more with everything except orchestral works. Trust me, I thought it would be the opposite way around, and whilst the Sashas appear to play deeper on paper, I feel that the Scalas had more energy and impact with things like kick drums etc. Overall, I'm sure some others will think the opposite, but I went away from the Sashas really wishing they were better. I actually also got to hear the Gryphon Atlantis speakers which I think were fantastic and a little better overall-at a considerable cost (but I will save those comments for another thread) With the Scalas, the longer I spent with them the more I understood what they were doing, and not doing. I didnt expect to have it be this way- but the Scalas have my pick now.

I think you really need to give the Rockport Ankaa a listen. It retails for about the same price as those two speakers and I would say without a doubt outperforms both. I have listened to all those speakers you mentioned plus much more.

To be honest I even prefer the Ankaa's over the Wilson Maxx 3's, despite Maxx3's having a slightly bigger soundstage and more "holographic" imaging. The Ankaas in my opinion has the sheer musical naturabeads, beauty, timber etc that not many speakers can match at this price. It swings way bigger than it's price tag which I cannot say for most speakers out there.

"sheer musical naturabeads"

Ok guys. This is a new one for me. Can someone please tell me what naturabeads are? Can I buy them off the shelf, or are they custom made for each audiophile?


Sorry I was typing from my iPhone and the spell checker sometimes does really funny things. Naturalness is of course what I meant.

That was funny though!

Thanks. I'll check them out...
I had to chime in on this thread as I have just wrapped up an eight day in-home demo of the Sasha against the Scalas.
I have to ask Dfw, what electronics were you playing the Scalas on?? I played them on all three sets of my electronics and they never sounded shrill. Unless you are playing on edgy electronics, the Scalas played with incredible balance and made evrything I played through them just turn into music. The Sashas had wholes in the sound reproduction and presented some harshness on a variety of media. Rock, bad recordings, and inflated bass track hated the Sashas where as te Focals stayed composed. The Berylium tweeter in the Focal is amazing and the legacy Focal tweeter in the Sashas were sharp to say the least.
Btw, my electronics ranged in combo from EMM, Pass, Levinson, Mcintosh, Burmester, Esoteric, and BAT.
Interested to hear back. Thanks
I agree with Pkancel, the Be tweeter is everything but shrill. It is incredibly airy, smooth and transparent, and probably one of the best in the world.

Yes Focals CAN sound shrill contrary to a lot of speakers which will impose their colorations on music and make everything sound more or less the same. But with proper matching (which is not difficult at all to achieve), they sound amazingly sweet and delicate. And if the music sound shrill (strings at full blast can do sometimes), then I want my speakers to be able to reproduce it.

I've noticed a lot of people are actually looking, consciously or unconsciously, for an interpretation of what live music sounds like, as opposed to the (sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes sublime) truth. And that's perfectly fine, it's all about enjoying the music after all.

But if neutrality and transparency (in other words, high fidelity) is what one is after, then the Utopia 3 series is the closest thing to live music I've heard. I have not heard everything out there but they are very, very special and fundamentaly different from what others do.

I won't comment on Wilson, which I haven't heard in a long time, except to say the beryllium tweeter is technically much more advanced than the titanium one.
I like the Focal sound but doesn't that kind of droop- looking leaning-over cabinet profile turns me off. That doesn't bother you?
I like the Focal sound but doesn't that kind of droop- looking leaning-over cabinet profile turns me off.
It's an attempt to time-align the drivers. Admittedly, it's not the most beautiful of designs -- useful, though.
Actually when you see it for real, it's quite of compelling. Didn't use to like it a first but the more I see it, the more I like it! And it's made like a Bentley too. :)

So what was your overall verdict on the Sasha's? Sounds like your pick goes to the Scala...
I am definitely going with the Scalas. Even though they are a bit more expensive, they are better in every way. One point that bears mentioning is that the placement of the Sashas had to be several feet into the room and needed hours of tinkering while the Scalas were easing to place. I don't thunk the Wilson dealer could ever quite the right spot fo them after three and a half hours for tweaking but the Scalas locked in within minutes. That attribute can't be overlooked.
I second that. Beautiful sound, and great look. Best Focal I have heard
My Scalas are in-bound. Got an amazing deal and I can't wait to break them into my study.

I too settled on the Scalas! And will have them in a couple of weeks.
just curious...what finish did you order for the Scalas??

Well done Cameron, you're in for a treat. Report when you get them. Remember to give them a lot of break-in.

Well...its been a while, and I'd like to say that I have had the Focal Scalas for a few weeks now and have broken them in quite a bit during this time...
I am discovering more of my collection daily...classical orchestral, jazz particularily...The best way I can describe them are, superb dynamic control but with no over-analytical annoyances that some high-end speakers have. I simply enjoy all that is displayed on them. Rock to jazz to pop all sounds musical and lifelike. Yes, they should at this price level but other speakers at this level dont all produce such listenable results. I wont be searching for an alternative anytime soon...
Hands down, Scala is the winner!
Why is Scala the winner? What are the pros of the Scala that make you say that? What type of music do you listen to and what attributes of speakers do you value?

In my opinion it's all about tradeoffs; I've yet to hear a speaker that does everything (that I value) well.
Bstefano, do tell us, you own Scala's maybe?
How are you guys going with your Scala? I am considering a pair. Would be interested to hear from anyone who has auditioned Scala. Thanks.
Actualy, I do own Scala for two weeks, I replaced my Wilson Sophia 2 with it. Before having sold ARC REF 3, I had a few listening sessions and I would say it sounded more accomplished and potent speaker. However, I replaced my ARC REF 3 with Esoteric C-03 preamp. Plus I am changing some of cables as well. I will be 100 percent sure what Scala all about by next week. (still waiting cables from Robert, Cable Company)

So have you formed a definitive view about scalas yet?

Others, what is your latest view?


As far as every critical aspects of concerned, I have to say that Focal made a very good speaker indeed. Simply better than not just Sophia, SF Amati..., old Nova Utopia as well. Generaly speaking, if we say Focal Grand Utopia(latest) one of the best speaker that money can buy, few will argue and majority will accept this claim.
Scala is the Utopia Grand for us who don't have a large living room or dedicated listening room.
If you give me idea about your setup, I may make more specific comments concerning Focal Scala Utopia.

Thanks, that's encouraging. I heard Scala only once and immediately thought it was ahead of every other speakers I had heard up to that point. (I only listen to speakers generally below US$40K. I have heard a few around 100K+ but didn't think there was anything particularly special about them.)

My set up is Cremona M + Marantz SA7-S1 + Naim amps (power amp 250.2 at 80w).

I could afford to upgrade to Scala and my budget would be burnt. I hope the amps are ok for a year while I save for
next upgrade.

My current room is 4m x 6.5m.

I will be able to audition Scala again soon in a similarly sized room. I will bring my amps.

But I will not be able to hear Maestro, which a few people here say is the sweet spot in the line. While undoubtedly superior (given price), I can't imagine that it would be much better. But of course I want to make the right decision. If Scala is most of Maestro but with smaller footprint I would be ok to live with Scala. For example, Amati is significantly "more" than Cremona M, and I would not settle for Cremona M. I would like to be able to settle with Scala for many years (if not a "last" pair).
If you go with Scala, you need to spend 2.5 times more what you did in past. Naims is not everybody's taste and not the amp for every speaker. If you like Naim sound , maybe new Naim Ova.speaker will please you.
Regarding Scala-Maestro comparison, consider new Utopia floorstanders as whole. The size of the room is matter. For example, Wilson Max 3 is very good speaker but too much for my small living room. Sasha will play equally good in my room. Same rule applies to Utopia range. Very very good speakers demand not just best gear available but space as well.
As far as Amati Aniver. concerned, I choose Wilson Sophia 2 or 3 over Amati. I have tested Amati Ani. very objectively and couldn't make it sing despite various very good equipment.
I hope this helps...
I wouldnt call Scala just "less of grande em" or let say less of Maestro(which is realy diferent from Scala- in both smoothness and ability to play loud without stress,and without loosing soundstage. )

IMHO Scala is quite diferent from either Diablo, Maestro and Sella EM. the only similarity to other utopia II is technical performance of speaker drivers, but Scala have slight diferent signature than other models- its litle bit more agressive/hot in higher midrange(thought by no means its not yelling in face-its just when compare side by side with Maestro or Grande EM) , and more leaner in midbass- its perfect in small or problematic rooms with resonanse modes at 50-60hz or to "ligt music listeners" (small jazz groups, vocals, opera)

Yes eventually amp budget will have to follow speakers. But one step at a time. :). Also will take my amp to check and make sure they could make something out of scala. I will not get scala without proof they r agreeable with 80w of naim power.


How many times have u compared scala and maestro head to head? You seem to have formed a form view scala is not quite there. Would b interested in learning more. I spent only around 30min with scala with my wife. She liked it a lot too and admitted they were special but does not fully fancy them. She prefers Tidal.
The thing is not buy a loudspeaker and accept how it sounds.
The thing is buy a loudspeaker and direct how it will sound.
There are variable factors that you may affect by choosing gear, powerconditioning, cables which will decide the character of overall sound.
When we talk about speakers around 30k usd range, simply we talk about a few exceptional designs available to end users. Most of them are well above certain level and capable 90-95 percent what Hi-End all about. Rest of the job is finding electronics and cables according to own taste.

How many times have u compared scala and maestro head to head? You seem to have formed a form view scala is not quite there. Would b interested in learning more."""

around 4-5times, also had them in my studio for a week with my equipment where i listened them,did comparision and also measured them. I have ability to test speakers before instaling them. by no means Scala is "not there" its very carefyly balanced speaker with tons of audiophile details. Just I am not a fan of of recessed midrange "tunel" and more prefer presence "tunel" where sound is also liquid and not anoying or shouty but also have feeling of intruments presence and palpability. for my taste its the most critical aspect- balance- to have ENOUGHT stage deepness (most sonus faber speaker does that trick) perspective but at the same do not lack midrange presence (wilson audio wat puppy, sasha speakers for example). in this respect i found Maestro superior to Scala and Grande EM. I had Diablo in bedroom but replaced with Sonus faber auditor M,- Diablo is speakers which also have some signs of big brother Maestro(trying to achive that presence) and it is not good for evening listenings- its just sounds too atracting and require atention-in another words - its not for background listening.

""""""07-06-10: Mert
The thing is not buy a loudspeaker and accept how it sounds.
The thing is buy a loudspeaker and direct how it will sound.
There are variable factors that you may affect by choosing gear, powerconditioning, cables which will decide the character of overall sound.
When we talk about speakers around 30k usd range, simply we talk about a few exceptional designs available to end users. Most of them are well above certain level and capable 90-95 percent what Hi-End all about. Rest of the job is finding electronics and cables according to own taste.""""""""""

Mert, good point. however from my expierence nothing (except some changes- room acoustic) at whooping level will change speaker primary nature. yes hights can be smoothed out, or bass gripped up and so on. but some things is just against nature and physical laws. I myself for example prefer big orchestra and especialy wind bands -very few speakers on the market can reproduce scale ,presence and detail of wind instrumets(walthorn for example) focal has stuning ability to reproduce lower tone wind instruments in clear, non discorted or muddy aspect. for example when compared Scala and Maestro I listened listening Dallas wind orchestra "Strictly Sousa" and "Marches I've missed" albums- Scala does it clear and "audiophile" way-none detail is missing, while Maestro have the same, but also frigtnening presence of performance- I can feel wind instruments the energizing and vibrating air , and feel moments of dynamic outtakes when orchestra swings from fortissimo to pianissimo(not the backward-its the most enjoyable dynamic swing for me-when i hear "silence" in pause) I listen live performance one or two times in 2 weeks and would be silly to claim any speaker reproduce windband life like at all aspects but theese dynamic outtakes are damn close and this single aspect is enought for me to "take me there" - convince in musical performance.
I recently heard a pair at a PA dealer and I have to say I was pretty bored with the are talking about speakers that retail for the price of a mid size sedan!

I am astounded with the market for these...

Thanks, that is a lot of air time you've had with these speakers. Sounds like you work in the industry to have priviliged with so many fine speakers. While I see what you mean, I don't quite agree. Personally when I listen to music I want to engage. For background listening I could use a radio or alarm clock. I have my SF Cremona M. I do like these speakers a great deal, but they are a little polite and do not pull me into the music as much as scala. But I know what you mean very well, since my wife similar taste to your night time preference.

Did you say that Maestro is superior to Grande in soundstage/mid-range balance?


I am constantly astounded as this hobby grows... :) I hope to end the upgrading bit for many years with next upgrade. Depends entireley where you spend your time and what you enjoy. Car is important and i wouldn't spend more on hi-fi but priority could be very different for other people. I think enough said already on this sliperry topic!
Kw13> actualy my preference is also to have exciting expierence when listening to music, but in the evening time i like to read a book or do some other activity where music should be as background- not to draw atention to it. And Auditor M does this (except for the top octave - where its too "fresh" and too airy - i use tone control to atenuate high frequencies a bit)

as for maestro and grande EM-i sent email.
In this country, not just mid size sedans sold for speaker money but there are speaker cables and interconnects sold for sedan price ticket. Sad but it is very likely to be true!
"actualy my preference is also to have exciting expierence when listening to music, but in the evening time i like to read a book or do some other activity where music should be as background- not to draw atention to it."

Lol... Does this strike you as being even a little bit like asking a beautiful woman to look appealing only during romantic activities and not when you're trying to watch the news. I do see your point of view: too much of a good thing and all that; but really...
Well Phaelon, I do not see anything wrong(assuming they both know about each other) having good looking chick for fun, and good cooking wife for resting after the first :-)

same goes for the speakers (except fact that they do not nessesary need to know about each other, as i didnt find speakers very curiuos or jelous, just honest ones and liar ones)
"I do not see anything wrong(assuming they both know about each other) having good looking chick for fun, and good cooking wife for resting after the first :-)"

I don't see anything wrong with that either. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that's pretty much the dream for many of us. All I can say brother, is that if you can finesse a couple of ladies to go along with that knowingly, coaxing whatever sound that turns you on out of a stereo system should be a slight challenge.
I would wait to hear the sashas. My one time listen to them i found them to be on the bright side.