Check out the focal website if you haevnt already. I have found that it has usefull information. And just go and listen to them let your ear guide you. I have heard the 906, 907, and Utopia's in addition to the 900 and 901 center ch's. They are all excellent speakers its just a matter of how amazing they can be lol.
yeah thanks for that post. I have been reading the tech info at the Focal site and it's quite interesting. But I'm not sure what the Utopia series adds specifically from the Electra. For example, how do the different crossover points affect the sound between the two series? I'm really new to all of this, but I want to make a good investment--one to which my ears can also eventually catch up as they get more discerning. Another issue is the location of the drivers. The bass drivers on the Diva are located low and in the back of the speaker, whereas the Electra 937s go straight at you. I'm going to have to locate the speakers in front of a concrete half partition which splits my small studio apt into a 8 1/2 x 11 foot listening space, but one chock full of books, shelves speakers and wall adornments, so plenty to deaden out the sound if it becomes too boomy. I also want to buy in the eventuality of moving to a larger space in a couple of years or sooner, so I don't mind going with a floorstander.
the info on the focal website suggests that a lot of the technologies used on the Utopia series are duplicated with the Electra Be. namely, the gamma structure, focus time, OPC, W cone, and of course the Beryllium. The main difference seems to be with the Focus Ring and Power Flower magnet technologies and perhaps degrees of the other commonalities. I was only wondering how these might translate sonically. Other issues include cabinet structure and quality and the WBT vs. Focal binding posts. If anyone has any thoughts about all of this it will help in my decision. I do trust my ears, but more than my ears, I trust where my future ears might be in audio space/time and what they might be hearing that I don't right now. I'd like to plan for that eventuality, which is why I'm inquiring with sophisticated ears reading here. Thanks in advance.
I had many of the same questions comparing the pre-BE Electra 906, 926, and 936 with the 907 BE, the 927 BE, and the Micro Utopia BE and Diva. I had several at home, and fair listens in the shop for others. Only the quickest of listens to the 937 BE however, because it was way too big for my short list.
In absolute terms, I had no doubt of the superior sound of the Utopia BE models I heard, for their seamless coherence and high treble refinement,compared to their respective Electra Be counterparts. However, I say that as someone who doesn't look for a great deal of bass weight. How superior? Well, I'd call the difference substantial, even striking, yet subtle, if that's not totally inconsistent.
I wouldn't argue with someone who felt the 937 BE, or even the 927, was richer and more satisfying than the Micro Utopia Be for example, for given music in a given room, though my personal choice would be the latter.
If you want to talk about value for the dollar, diminishing returns and such, well that's another matter.
i have a pair of divas. it takes a lot of trial & error with cables to achieve coherence. Resolution is truly amazing but very sensitive to changes in the chain.
As an owner of 926s, I agree with Glai that these speakers are particularly sensitive to associated equipment. I have been very surprised at how I hear every change I make, even a single cable in the chain.
I feel certain that in some cases, people haven't liked JM Labs because the rest of the chain didn't jive with them. You do have to tweak and experiment some to get what you want. Having said that, you can tailor the sound to your likings very nicely. Just something to keep in mind. Arthur
Hi Panderso, Bill here. We talked before. I was all set to get the Micros in November, and then I had a change of heart after one last audition. I decided to go for more bass extension. I pondered it over and realized if I had more patience, I'd have the Divas or the Altos used, so I thought it a better option than just buying the Micros at that time. Tough decision, though I'm happy with it. Then I heard the 937 and was shocked at how good it was, especially when compared with the 927, which I hadn't liked if you recall. I think I agree with you though. the cabinet construction and build quality of the Utopia series is pretty unbelievable. I think I'll stick with my original plan and patiently save up for one of the other two.
Glai and Arthur, what cables did you settle on and which did you eliminate in your setups? Where are you at now in terms of your listening and which matches do you think don't work at all with these speakers? thanks for following up.
Washline you summed it up the cabinet`s on all the product`s in the Utopia series far surpass the 900 series. I am a JM Lab`s fan and have lived with the Mezzo`s for a couple of years. The old Utopia`s cabinet`s are lead lined for dampening purpose`s the new BE serie`s have been redesigned with stronger braceing and the lead has been taken out. Is it better? I have listened to all of them excludeing the Grand`s. Do the new BE`s sound better? My ears say no but they do sound a little different. I don`t fall into the hype of every (new and improved)product is better although it most certainly more costy 2to3 K more. Go with the Mezzo`s and save yourself some money, on the used market I`ve seen them as low as $4500. Just my 2 cent`s David
Cardas Golden Ref ICs & Ridge St. Audio SCs. (Speak cables i tried: kimber ks3033, audience au24, synergistic 10x.) IC too many to list.
Hovland HP100 to Pass Lab x150.5. Preious amp (bryston 4bsst, ARC VS110, rowland201)
thanks for that reply David. I agree that the Mezzos are a pretty great speaker too. But I don't think the beryllium tweeter is only hype. I think JM Labs went to a lot of work on that one and produced a very clear, very dynamic tweeter. I'm still going to consider the Mezzos. They are indeed very well-priced. Thanks for the reply.
I started with MIT T2 biwires and still have them. I tried Nordost Flatline MkII, Audioquest Granite, and Kimber 4pr.
As for system components, you can see my "system" link.
Keep in mind in the 70`s Yamaha made the ns-1000 speaker`s which were the first to use beryllium in the cone`s the process proved to be quite a diffacult and costly process for them. Selling off there manufacturing equ. to TAD. So this is nothing new, allthought it most certainly does have great benefit`s for stength and wieght issue`s on the tweeter cone`s at higher hrz 50K.All I was saying JM Lab`s has redesigned the Utopia line saying it`s new and improved and BETTER raising the price 2to 3K. I feel JM Lab already made a very fine product. David
David, I certainly appreciate what you are saying. I'm sure the Mezzos are a dynamite speaker for your system and certainly one that I'm strongly considering as well. Yes, the prices are good on that one. I wasn't aware of Yamaha's experiments previously with beryllium.
Glai and Aball, thanks for posting your associated equipment. Glai, I'm guessing you found the Cardas and Ridge St. had the best synergy with your Divas. And Aball, you found the MITs more satisfying. thanks for the info and I'll keep it in mind.
It is true that Yamaha experimented with Beryllium in the late 70's. The difference between the Yamaha drivers and that of the Utopia and the Electra Be's is not the material however the application of the material. Yamaha used vapor deposition which is a poor use (or process) of the material. Vapor deposition is the spraying of Beryllium (in this case) onto a copper backing. This tends to make the drivers very heavy which defeats the purpose. JMlabs was the first manufacturer to develop a pure Beryllium diaphram. the fact that it is pure or solid is what makes the difference. I would disagree with David on the one fact of "this is nothing new" is way off base.
Usually when I hear people say you have to experiment to get what you want out of them - it's a good sign meaning they are transparent. When I hear people say they sounded right in their system they were looking for a house sound. Usually I'm more impressed with the former than the latter, as long as it's not b/c the former is just an unresponsive turd of a speaker. I believe the JM's to be very well made - mainly I have heard they hooked up to singled-ended Mastersound amps. Not an easy load, but they handled it making the music sound live.
I agree with your point. Thanks for adding in so late on this topic. I ended up buying the Alto Utopia Be's used. I'm as happy as a clam with these speakers. The others were great as well, but the Altos are really fabulous speakers. The only drawback to the Altos is that they are beasts in terms of size and difficult to move. :-)