It's Scala Utopia fyi. I'm interested as well although I'll be listening for myself at some point.
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I'm just trying to see what I want to do to the system I am buildingI can already see what: you're going to throw money at it:)
Back to the question. Scala vs Mezzo Utopia, correct? If so, Scala without doubt. The sonic homogeneity is far superior, especially in the mid-bass, lower mids region. The Scala's tweet is also good (for what it is).
No idea what your electronics will sound like, though.
yes. its like night and day. I have compared both and older TBU was very good tweeter but compared to new is harsh, spizzy , and annopying. and the main advantage - new one is efortless and are more imediatly sounding . i will not go deep in to technical data or measurements-its intelectual propertie of jmlab , but this tweter is litle miracle in high end audio,both fo my ears and my measuring equipment.I did not heard better dynamic tweeter tweeter . and what I want to ad to this- diablo, scala, maestro, nova EM and grand EM is completely new xover, and its very diferent from previuos. also they for the first time use real high end components in xover parts. i didnt heard grand and nova,but they should have similar character.and I think with 2009years jmlab for the first time really will be real concurent for real high end manufacturers like wilson audio, kharma. and other speakers brands , why? because its drivers(tweeter, EM woofers and particulary ferit woofers and midrange an-midrange and ferit woofers is still weakest link comparing to tweeter and EM woofer)to my opinion ) are head higher than any other and its xover topology now will let hear theese drivers ability. I wasnt jm lab sound fan for previuosly mentioned reasons but now they are(will be ) on top. and here is tip - Diablo or Nova EM is golden egg of whole line :-)
and by the way experimenting with 2002 year utopia Be line I find that there is one litle and absolutely no cost require upgrade which will make treble sound more efortlessy without stress on trasients or badly recorded male vocals. it will do a revolution but it will be noticeable I woud say many times more than any cable influence.
I didn't think that there is a Nova EM or Maestro EM. Currently, there are only three speakers in the new Utopia III line (as listed on Focal's website): Diablo, Scala and Grande EM. Do you have information to the contrary? I do agree that the Diablo is extraordinary having heard it at Audio Unlimited.
Thanks for the information. It will be interesting to compare the Alto to the Scala to hear what Focal have been able to do when comparing apples to apples; it's particularly interesting to hear that the new line has a more intimate presentation. However, I'm even more interested to hear how the Nova replacement compares against the Isis as the pricing I'm hearing on the Nova EM is a little bit crazy imo (although one would hope that given the euro's decline against the dollar, Focal would adjust their prices accordingly).
for customers Maestro will come out in a two three month or so , Nova Em litle bit later. It passed some time when I last heard alto, it was with top ayre and esoteric gear, valhala cables line.(much more expensive than speakers)but i remeber it has nice ,accurate and traditionaly to focal -warm sound(midrange bloom) Scala is much more dynamic sounding in midrange and treble and more three dimensional with better sense of space and most important is does not sacrife "easy flow of music".. the same wartmth is still here.
as for diablo- diablo comparing with scala not so dynamic=lively but its calm and smooth all the way no matter what record.
as for Isis, I DID NOT heard it , but i perfectly know the drivers and litle bit their enginiers xover implementation. isis should be more imediacy sounding and very good on audiophile female voices, on clasical works, other material it likely WILL be(unless isis will do revolution) be somewhat hard , cold sounding ,unless you using tube amps-they will round a litle bit that c173n midrange. if you like very trasparent and very dynamic,fast and lively but somewhat cold/sterile studio sound like midrange -isis may be a solution, if you like litle bit(still very good) slower smoother midrange .
as fow lows there wil be oposite- nova will be bullet fast real life like performance and way better in that respect than iris. if you in a clasical music nova will show what EM are capable of. iris in bass would be better on rock and electronic. I am prety sure, but to clear myself i DID NOT heard iris.
Could you elaborate a bit on your statement about Diablo being the golden egg of the line. Am I to assume that you think it represents the best value in the Utopia III line? Any thoughts on comparisons to other stand mounted monitors? Specifically, two other European models: Raidho Ayra C1.0 and Tidal Amea.
Diablo is 100% like grand EM in higher midrange and hights, the only diference to my ear is dynamic, because it has atenuated tweeter by 9db. Actualy I have ablity in home on my equipmnet to compare Diablo,Scala, Maestro(which is unreleased to public yet ) and yep.. - grand EM(Grand EM without 16' inch Em woofer just top 11 inch woofer ) side by side. If i would be customer i would buy Diablo(because it cheap for what it offers) or Nova EM, nothing worong with scala ,its very good sounding just no major diference in bass comparing with Alto , if talking about Maestro its just for bigger or bass hungry rooms, but its not Scala with aded woofer - sounds diferent from Scala in midrange, its more like grand EM, but still nothing revoliutonary change in bass from Scala just more extended and punchy . Nova is EM is another major improovement and step . however in that price range there lot of other fine speakers. Grand EM is for big boys with big rooms.. as for my opinion if there were released not Scala but Scala with EM it would be very sucesfull speaker and offer one of the best sound and technology for the money. I still think diablo is very good value for the money I tested Sonus faber audiotor M and even big cremona M against the diablo and it was clearly that diablo is better speaker it has the same musicality as sonus faber even more, but it does it on high end way-not coloured . One negative thing for the diablo is that it no very sensitive(arround 84-85db/w/m which is not bad as for monitor) and needs at least 30wats an shines with 100w amps
As for raidho and Tidal I can not say anything as I do not familiar sonicaly with theese brand (at least Tidal) so you need to hear them by yourself and compare.
Thanks for your insightful comments on the Diablo. However, both Sonus Faber models are lower priced than the Diablo and SF does have a reputation for being colored although in a very pleasing way. Have you read Chris Thomas' review in HiFi+ (there is a link to it on Focal's website) and if so, do you concur with his observations?
saying coloured i ment not only by tonal balance,its also for fundamental discortions. I do not read too much rewiews while I find them very enjoyable to read i still better trust my own ears.. I drop quick look at that rewiew now- its prety accurate and they are also right about new speakers sounds mad. Diablos woofer have special asymetric spider which is very hard/stiff when new.when I first time hooked it on generator it sounded muddy and hard, I even was able to hear swisting mechanical noises from spider and surround . I hope dealers run them on generators before showing to public, if the burning them by listening music it can took 500-800 hours at least.
Maybe it was just me, but when I heard the last generation Nova Utopias BEs at the NYC show, the bass seem to pummel me,
a real pounding sound.
Whenever I read about JMLabs,
I never seem to read many comments about the bass, with
most discussion centered on the tweeter.
But I always liked the JMLabs on vocals, especially female ones, and thought the 1st generation Mezzos were sweet.
So I would be curious about the bass on the new generation
I know I am reviving an old thread but the original question was never answered and I finally had the chance to compare the Scala head to head with the Alto the other day.
What Focal has done with the Scala is pretty impressive and something I am still having a hard time comprehending given what I thought were the similarities between the designs of the Alto and the Scala. While the Alto remains a great speaker, the Scala improves upon it in every way top to bottom and most impressively, makes the Alto seem slightly veiled in comparison (which is pretty shocking considering how veiled most other speakers sound in comparison to the Alto ime).
Were the prices the same, it would be the Scala hands down, but given the marked price differentials between the Alto on the used market and the Scala new, it's a decision that will be personal to each buyer.
Scala- more bright, briliant tonality hights with a little bit sibilanse, litle bit more agressive in mids. Shy in midbass.
Maestro-punchy,dynamyc and efortless at higher levels. transparent and more open in midrange, good soundstage and overal coherence. Inspite mids are more pronounced they are not agressive or forward but very smooth all the way.
From a very short comparison listening session, the things that stood out between the Maestro and the Scala are: (i) punchier, tauter bass of the Maestro, (ii) more transparent midrange of the Maestro and (iii) removal of the last semblance of warmth by the Maestro.
If you have the space, the Maestro is clearly the superior speaker to the Scala; unfortunately, I don't currently have the space or I would probably own the Maestro.
Diablo+Sub combination (and in that respect most other similar 6.5"+1" monitors i have heard) sounds diferent from fulrange. with monitor+sub you will not be able to enjoy fullrange orchestra or lets say feel uper bass percusion intrument hits physicaly- its imposible task. or to play loud without any hint strain or compression.
however if you afer small jazz/clasical works or female/male voice (inspite bigger clasical works and opera voices) and need to save space- Diablo +sub would be option. at least to theese points Diablo+ utopia III sub would be more or less similar to Scala, (and from personal expierence) diablo being more open in midrange than Scala as well as much heavier midbass- good and elegant solution in big roms. but no way this combo will compete head to head with Maestro.
I heard Diablo and Scala in the same room. I also heard many other speakers during similar time (but different setup) such as Cremona M, Amati, Vienna Kiss, Sophia, etc.
Scala was by far the most memorable speakers. I liked Diablo too and thought (before hearing Scala) that they had the best clarity by some margin. However Scala blew everything away. Have not listend to Mastro - and better that I didn't...
What minimum amp do you think would be required for Scala?
How do you think Scala compares with other speakers at its price range? I liked Scala's ability to paint a very wide musical picture with pinpoint imaging + exterme intimacy and substance in vocal, particularly female vocal, really won me over more than anything else I've heard.
Kw13,nice description, you almost bough me on review :) ( thought i wouldnt say that there SO MUCH diference between Scala and Diablo in upper range and overal presentation)
do yourself a favour and give a chance to Maestro. you may reconsider meaning of soundstage, presentation, imediacy and smoothness at the same time.
Elviukai, thanks, Scala did leave quite an impression. However Scala is just about the limit of my budget! Maestro is best left unheard... :)
What amplifier do you think would be needed for Scala? I may not be able to get immediately - allow some time to save up and see what bonuses might be paid end of year...
I have tried some and best works smooth amps, with softer highest frequencies (pass labs xa and ayre for example) thees two both features reduce minor flaws of theese speakers(IMHO) - a litle bit hint excessive freshness as well some of brightness and siblance with female voices as well as higher strings. its not good idea to mach them with agressive amp in midrange either. theese two factors can be adjusted by careful system selection. as for bass- its on the shy side- no amp we tried did miracle. its just not for punchy larger scale records.
it wont hurt smoother wires like VDH, i would avoid most upper Nordost line for example - theese speakers do not need setup that strenghteen transparency or resoliution or liveness in midrange and hights. in such combination its just throw too much details dictracting from enjoyement of recording performance. they reveal other sytem components much more than other speakers which is flaw I tthink - needs expensive equipment to setup. some others may consider its a bonus.
no plans as such at the moment I believe. scala would work in all(25-35m2) but very bass lean rooms IMHO, if you have expierence that some speakers sounds not so weighty in midbass in your room as in others places better arrange audition before purchuase.
scala falls to 3 ohm maestro fals to 1.6ohms. so this is not issue. we tried most amp which can deliver current to 1ohm - no significant changes in qty (in quality yes)
its not that Scala lack bass -its just too polite in acoustical well designed rooms. when comparing wilson wat puppy or sasha to scala there is significant diferent amount of low frequency energy, thought i must admit scalas bass note are clearer and better separated.but so is Maestro. so its just speakers nature- in less than perfect rooms with room mode in 60hz for example its will melt perfectly without any issues.