the focal may be more 'transparent', but the usher has a lot of 'weight' for a speaker its size. i think this is a sideways move at best.
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My friend has the Focal 1007 BE in her living room; hooked up to a modest Arcam receiver and a Velodyne sub, so I'm very familiar with the sound.
It sounds good, and transparent, but lean in her system, without that much flesh on the bones of the singers if you know what I mean (she's not that much of an audiophile so she doesn't really care). I actually preferred the sound of my old Sonus Faber Concerto's with my REL sub better, and they were half the price, of course I had much better equipment at the time, than she does. The sound of the Sonus Faber/Rel Combo was warmer, more real, and palpable. By the way, I'm not recommending the Sonus Faber to you either, because I think that would be a lateral move as well.
I think you may be better off keeping what you have, because I agree with the above poster that this sounds like a lateral move at best, and possibly a step backwards at worst.
How big is your room? ...maybe you want to step-up to floor-standers?
If you got the upgrade bug, how about a nice new DAC? That's always good for a year or two.
Jaybo, Pkancel & Richlane... You guys were all right on with your posts. My audition today of the Focal BE 1007's confirms what Jaybo says about the Focal's being more transparent, and Pkancel is right about the Focal's being more accurate. The Usher's do have that "weight" that makes them very interesting. I did hear more detail with the Focal's, but that may be attributed to the mega money Esoteric CD player my dealer used for the audition... and the room itself. Pkancel... I'd go for the Diablo Utopias in a heart beat if I could afford them. Now I'm wondering if a used pair of the Focal BE Mini Utopias might be the ticket. I'm going to bring the Focal 1007's home to audition sometime over the next two weeks. I'll keep you posted on my findings.
Pitted one against the other I have not done (a direct, A-B comparison in the same room with the same system song by song). However, from what I have heard, systems and rooms varying greatly from dealership to dealership, the Focal's (brand in general and overall) have more drive, punch, robustness, liveliness, and are more efficient. The Usher Be-718's (having listened to them on numerous systems with SS or tube gear or mixed) and a variety of brands and quality levels of gear, is a speaker that after hearing them against other Focal speakers of similar cost and size, and some even bigger and costlier Focals, I immediately missed the characteristics I mentioned above, but forgot about them soon and easily when I noticed that the sound of the Be-718's, albeit having to be turned up higher to get the same output level, had me so emotionally and mentally engaged and involved in the music. They also had much more depth and detail and nth degree more revealing as they also recreated the same songs as the Focals that much more like I was at that concert again (Kenny G, third row, center, orchestra pit, Merrium Theater in Phila, PA) watching it all over again. It reminded me, so vividly and so excitingly, of the event moment by moment. They recreate the audbile illusion of the musicians moving here and there, the space between them, and the blackness of the silence when the music stopped for a few now and then. The Focal tweeter and sound is more up front whereas the Usher Be-718 is much more subdued but so engaging and draws you into the music or where you listened to it live as it did for my wife and I. It is magical in that sense. Couple it with noticeable and articulate deeper bass and midbass, and you have a speaker that is very rewarding to invest in and enjoy hour after hour, CD or album one after the next. It takes you into the performance that much deeper and way more intimately. If you want more liveliness, get the Focals or at least get the Ushers with a powerful SS amp to really bring out what they can do as so many of the professional reviewers have suggested (as with any speaker though in most cases). If you want soothing and relaxing evenings filled with sonorous music ... Usher Be-718's are an easy, easy choice. With either brand though, high quality damped stands that put the tweeter at your ear's listening height are mandatory. (as with any stand mount)
Tef8568... I'm in complete agreement with everything you so eliquently say about the Usher BE 718’s.
Being a little crazy, I sold my Usher’s and purchased a pair of Focal BE Micro Utopia’s. Its taken me about 3 months of fiddling around with them, but the rewards are great. In the interim, with the exception of my subwoofer cable, all my IC’s, SC’s, and PC’s are now “a loom” from the same manufacturer… Kubala-Sosna. I also up-graded my sub to a JL Audio f112, and went with a Synergistic subwoofer cable.
The Usher’s left me with the impression that “this is about as good as it’s going to get”… but the Focal’s gave me the sense that there was more to be had if I addressed system weak links. I could be wrong here, but that might be a attribute of $6,000 speakers compared against $3,500 speakers (MSRP).