Review: JMLab Mezzo Utopia Speaker

Category: Speakers

I've been searching a long time for a loudspeaker that really floats my boat, and finally found it in the JMLab Mezzo Utopias. I stumbled on the brand almost by accident (by listening to the Electra 906 model), and couldn't believe the goosebumps I got even with that mini-monitor. For nearly any type of music, the realism and timbre of the Mezzos is fantastic--almost spooky.

I've had them for a month now, and they seem to be getting even sweeter and smoother. Their strengths are realism, musicality, and authority, with the most listenable high end I've ever heard. Female vocals are also remarkable, and the low end can reproduce subtleties that blow me away (the speaker is rated down to 30Hz).

The weaknesses for me include finicky speaker placement--the imaging, bass presence, and soundstage all change radically with minor position adjustments--and an extremely difficult load (4 ohms) for my aging 100 wpc amp. I didn't think my next purchase would be a modern, high current amp, but I find myself looking at Krells and Mark Levinsons every chance I get.

The best part of the Utopia line right now is their price. This speaker listed for $14,000/pair just a month ago, and now JMlab posts it at $10,000--with further discounts available at the dealer. I paid only $7,000 for the pair, brand new from an authorized dealer. I couldn't resist! However, if cost were no object, I would have gone for the Utopias since they listed for $30,000 a month ago, are now listed at $19,000, and so probably could be obtained now for $15,000 or so new. Now THAT is a deal, but not one I could stretch to. Even so, I am incredibly happy with the Mezzo Utopias.

Associated gear
Basis turntable, Benz ACE cartridge, Rega 250 arm, Analysis Plus Oval 9 speaker cables

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