Personally I think the older models were more musical than the newer ones. The tweeter could be a little hard sounding though so pairing with the right amp is critical.
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Am I nuts, but back around 1998-2002 I always felt the original JMLabs Utopias were awesome (I heard the plain Utopias and the Mezzos several times at dealers and the Stereophile NYC shows).
Since then, when I heard the Be models and forward, something was always off, like too much forward bass or some piercing high frequencies or a bit of metallic sound, reminding me a bit of Wilson or B&W. Does anyone else have this impression?
I still own a pair of the original Utopias. Some complained that the tweeter could be a little bright. Wrong. The tweeter is extremely transparent and revealing of inferior sources, cabling, etc. If anything in your system is bright, the tweeter will tell you so in no uncertain terms.
I heard the follow-up BE model and did not like the beryllium tweeter at all. It had a rising HF characteristic around 10k, then dropped like a stone afterwards. No thanks.
Im still using the original Mini Utopias but listened to the line quite a bit since my friend was a dealer. I consider the originals to be great bargains at the current prices I see them being offered. You cant outclass these with upstream component. They will reward you for using the best and likely be a disappointment if you dont match them carefully - IMO.
Yeah it's funny that I also felt the old Focal titanium tweeter was natural and extended and invisible in the original Utopia line but metallic and a little buzzy in vocals and strident in strings in Wilson speakers (I had Watt Puppy 6s).
I also thought this tweeter was too piercing in the Kharma 3.2s.