Why so many used focals?


I look on the forums to read and learn about owners reactions about focals and compared to many brands there's little action which would make me think it's a small company... til I search on AG for used focal speakers and pages of used speakers come up! Are they the type of speakers that offer a clear upgrade path OR are they short term speakers that wow the listener early and fatigue in the long term?

I couldn't be in the same room with focal's from the 90's, but the recent speakers have been very pleasing to the ear in auditions. Experienced reply's would be appreciated and please no hating on the brand. Tks
steve59
It’s simply because Focal sells a LOT of speakers.  Also, many of the Focal owners I know end up upgrading to higher end Focals.  They are a worldwide brand that is even more popular outside of America (from what I know).

Just as you will find dramatically more Apple products for sale vs Android.  
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Inaccurate information, as always with focal discussion.

They stopped selling their drivers long ago.
I think they make some of the best looking speakers out there.
I agree, even though I’m extremely disappointed with the simple refresh of the utopia line. I was really hoping they’d have an all new design and sound.

However... the Sopra 3 in blue. Or red. Or Orange. Or chameleon.... I can go on and on.

The Kantas actually look incredible in the matte front and wood side finishes, which you wouldn’t expect. Very forward thinking design.

Either way I genuinely think the Sopras are absolutely one of the very best looking speaker ever designed — and the Kantas are no slouch.


I also think Rockports, Paradigm Personas, and some other brands have some incredible looking speakers as well.
Yes they look great and are easy to get. 
I think they hit a sweet spot. I think it is an easy conclusion that a large group of people, including me, think they sound good to superb. Go listen to some. They are very affordable so that encourages one to upgrade.
I just looked... Excluding all the head gear, there's less than a page of actually Focal speakers listed (viewing mobile). About a third are older generation models and many newer ones are sold by dealers. 
I have electra 920.1 for 17 years . I would love to upgrade since all Audioholics look for that nirvana sound. But when I visit my local dealers it seems that i am already there. There are better sounding speakers out there but the cost is not worth it. Law of diminishing returns. And since my local focal dealer went out of business I cannot vouch for the new lines. Only imagine and again how $$ 
I haven't heard the higher end Focals but the entry level Focals did not impress me. I listened side by side to: Focal Aria 936, Dali Opticon 8 (ugly brutalist looks), Dalia Fazon F5, Monitor Audio Gold 300, and Golden Ear (can't remember which). The dealer was using a Marantz  PM15S2 amp and a Marantz HD-DAC1 to drive them. To my mind the Marantz set-up was cold and lean compared to my Rega Amp/DAC.  The Focals had a very coloured boxy sound, the Monitor Audios were painfully bright. The Fazon F5 was by the best and most expensive of this list.
I ended up getting Spendor A4s from a different dealer.
Na... You didn't actually listen to 936's. They sound nothing like that and nobody who's ever listened to them would say that. 
I heard the 1028 be 2 playing beautifully thru a bunch of dealers chosen tracks only to fall apart when I asked for some old supertramp. The Kanta’s didn’t lose their musicality under the same test. So are we dealing with a more forgiving tweeter? Will the Kanta sound as good on pristine recordings if they’re more forgiving of lesser ones?
Kanta is a far superior speaker to the Electras.  Better on good recordings, and much better on bad recordings.
@kosst_amojan1 I listened to both the 926 and 936 and have photos from that session to remember what I did. My test CD was burnt with tracks ranging from Missa Papae Marcelli, through Jennifer Warnes, Adele, Bob Dylan, Kings of Leon, and Pearl Jam. They sound highly coloured in a negative way to me ears. This was early summer 2018 with the flax drivers. To _my_ears their claim that the new flax drivers are uncoloured is ridiculous, YMMV.
I agree that the Kanta's sound better than any previous Focal's that I have heard in that price range; plus, they have the WAF. While they look good in photos, they look much better in person.

I realize the Kanta's have not been out very long; but, I don't recall seeing any of them on the used market
10:28am@kosst_amojan1 I listened to both the 926 and 936 and have photos from that session to remember what I did. My test CD was burnt with tracks ranging from Missa Papae Marcelli, through Jennifer Warnes, Adele, Bob Dylan, Kings of Leon, and Pearl Jam. They sound highly coloured in a negative way to me ears. This was early summer 2018 with the flax drivers. To _my_ears their claim that the new flax drivers are uncoloured is ridiculous, YMMV.

I suppose we have to consider how poor they can sound improperly set up. On rock recordings drums sounded live with excellent pitch definition and speed, but I thought I could hear the woofers working It was all very exciting and made me want them even more, Type A living on the edge in my listening room, lol. The review in tone of the K2 mentioned hearing the woofers working and I had no idea what he meant but I think I heard what he was referring to in my K3 demo.
I just looked at the Focal’s for sale and it just mostly looks like dealers trying to sell their inventory. Some manufacturers won’t allow prices to be displayed online by their dealers...not the case with Focal. 
wqgq_641,

You're ears either do not function correctly, or you simply don't know what uncolored sound sounds like. Every single professional review of every F cone speaker I've ever read or watched points out their neutrality and transparency. Making your kind of statement about a speaker renowned for it's neutrality really hurts your credibility. 
I really like my Focal Sopra 2's !

ozzy
Focals sound like crap, thus many owners are looking to offload theirs and recover what they can.
"I suppose we have to consider how poor they can sound improperly set up. On rock recordings drums sounded live with excellent pitch definition and speed, but I thought I could hear the woofers working It was all very exciting and made me want them even more, Type A living on the edge in my listening room, lol. The review in tone of the K2 mentioned hearing the woofers working and I had no idea what he meant but I think I heard what he was referring to in my K3 demo."

....what?  You heard the woofers working?  I hope so.  

I don't see a single thing in the tone audio review that mentions what you just said.  
The Focals I've auditioned were far overpriced for the sound they produced. Music Direct is closing out a few models at prices closer to where they should've been priced to begin with. 
The day came... After 50 years of serious Audio addiction, I recently moved to a smaller residence and downgraded my Stereo System. I had to sell my Wilson Sasha's, Krell EVO 302 but kept the Cardas Golden Reference speaker cables, the VPI turntable, Grey's Power Company AC Conditioner and the Oppo.
This new place is too small for the Wilsons and Kell. So what gear does an old Audiophile replace it with. A new McIntosh MA 5200 and the Focal (used) 1008BE's. I hooked em up to what audio gear I had left and liked what I heard. The Focal 1008BE's  delivered, no disappointment. My first CD was 'Electric Light Orchestra', I've been listening to them for decades. 
I will be hooking up the VPI tomorrow and I'll report back on my vinyl experience. Great way to start the new year, used is good too.
Music Direct has the Electra’s?  If so, you’re listening to a speaker that has zero in common with any of the newer designs. Also, the listening rooms at MD are not good.  
I have Sopra 2’s and to me what really stands out is how balanced they are, a true “all rounder”.  They don’t throw the largest soundstage but they’re still spacious.  They have tons of air in the treble but never get harsh.  They have good drive and dynamics for rock music whereas many “audiophile” speakers sound weak.  They don’t dig super deep but the bottom end is very weighty with good definition.

You truly can enjoy every music genre and not be disappointed and that is not easy to achieve!
I agree with emcade. Don't sell the Electras short either. The 1028be and 1038be can sound spectacular. The 1028 be are my wife's favorite speakers in our home. She loves the way they look and sound (she has very good ears). I had to promise that I would not sell them.The drivers are similar to the Sopras (trickle down technology from the Utopia line). At their current close-out prices they are a true audio bargain! Our local dealer cannot sell the Sopras while Electra stock remains. Sadly, this won't be a problem for long! 
I have the Focal Utopia Diablo III's paired with a highly upgraded Plinius SA100mkIII power amp. Not only do the Focal's have an extremely good WAF, but with my system, they sound clear, detailed, non-fatiguing.  I have also paired them with a PrimaLuna Dialogue premium HP and they sounded fantastic.
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I have a smaller listening room and recently purchased a pair of Sopra No. 1 monitors. I drive them with a pair of Cary Audio V12i tube monoblocs. They sound wonderful to my ears; more transparent than any speaker I have heard, with tight and full bass. I think they deliver in spades exactly what’s coming from your front end components. They are beautiful to look at and are unique in their design; there is no mistaking them for any thing else. BTW, I don’t see many Sopra(s) on the used market for sale. And I won’t be selling mine anytime soon, if ever. They are that good in my opinion. 
How many used speakers mean absolutely nothing whats the difference.?
How many used speakers mean absolutely nothing whats the difference.?
I agree! There are a bunch of Wilson’s for sale as well, and it means nothing. I was turned on to Focal by a friend of mine who is a composer with very good ears and someone I trust immensely. Based on his recommendation, I purchased the Electra 1028Be’s and recently upgraded to the Sopra 2’s and couldn’t be happier. With the closeout prices, the Electra’s are a really good value now.
Just enjoying new aria 936’s. I audition a fair no of speakers in the price range and several quite a bit more. The Focals have, IMO, the most balanced and uncolored sound anywhere near their price point. They are very sensitive to good amplification, though, maybe that’s where the criticism comes from.  
Pretty too.  Though I’d stay away from the vinyl  clad ones. 

That’s because they are horrible speakers.

Their company moto should be, “where’s the gas’s.”
Being a obvious troll is horrible. If you don’t like the sound that’s fine but a company that’s been around for over 40 years, designs and manufactures all of the cabinets and drivers in there own factory in France and have plenty of positive reviews from people and trade reviews is not a horrible speaker.

There’s a lot of companies I’m not a fan of but I wouldn’t call then horrible. The companies I’m not a fan of are ones that are small making speakers out of their garage with off the shelf drivers bought from Parts express.

You never know how long they will be around and what if any testing equipment they have.

If you wanted to be helpful say what model you listened to and why or what you didn't like about it. 
A couple years ago, I was enamored with the idea of the Electra 1038Be's for ~$10k, after hearing them at a show.  Then I heard them at a local dealer and A/B'd them with the Aria 948's (only $5k).  I actually preferred the liveliness and transient response of the Aria over the overly refined and constrained sound of the Electra.  However, the Electra was better on top, thanks to the Be tweeter.  The HF was the Aria's weakness.  Both were driven by the same Mac amp.    

Now, with the Kanta's merging the Flax drivers with the Be tweeter... that just might be the sweet spot.... too bad the price is way up there.  I refuse to deal with less than 8" drivers.   I don't care what the specs say; small woofers just don't satisfy me over the long haul.   Maybe THAT's why so many people are selling their tall narrow tower speakers with tiny woofers.  (but what are they switching to??)   My last offload was a pair of Dynaudio Focus 480's with dual 8" woofers.....  An amazing and beautiful speaker in many areas, but alas.... it left me unsatisfied.   
That is why the Kanta no. 3 exists.
its the B&W of France 
 that has to be embarrassing  
So far as I can tell, 8" drivers make virtually no difference at all over 6.5" drivers in Focal speakers. The 948 has a -6dB 1Hz lower than the 936 and the Kanta No. 3 only offers 3Hz lower response over the No. 2. Insignificant. 

Hey Steve,

I’ve been an audio enthusiast for close to 45 years now, and for the time being have settled into a pair of 946 Focal Electra for a few years.

Pertaining to your question, "are Focals a clear upgrade path OR are they short term speakers that wow the listener early, and fatigue in the long term"?

Ans: Focals can certainly be a clear upgrade path. To what extent depends on what’s infront of them, and to a huge extent the room they’re are being played in. I use an Oracle Delphi table, with a highly modified RB300 arm and a Dynavector 20X2 cartridge. It’s fed into a Audion Premiere 2 box Silver Night, pure classe A, single-ended pre-amp, using Siemens E88CC tubes. My amp is a stock Classe' Audio DR9.

Are there more esoteric systems? You bet. Could the room be more optimal? Yes. But all in all an excellent platform for any reference system.

If you’re auditioning them, or use them with high volume, mass produced, big box store electronics, the clear upgrade path becomes opaque.

"Are they a they short term speakers that WOW the listener early"?

Ans: Hardly. If anything I find Focals mundane. The reason being is that they’ve been engineered to be linear. Nothing jumps out at you, they’re not an in your face speaker. They are subtle, laid back, smooth, even, transparent, with a defined sound stage and good timbre; yet when the music calls for it they’re dynamic (if you have a good amp).

This why the 946 Electra is a long term speaker, they do everything right, they predominately sell ya steak along with the sizzle, not the other way around.

Why so many used focals? That calls for speculation, but 1 reason is that with audio buffs the grass is always greener. We are an incessant breed.

Cost no object would I trade my system? You bet!!! The Muraudio px1 speakers are the nicest set-up I’ve ever heard. Drive them with by a pair of Pass Labs xs300 amps, with a new Wheaton Tri-planar mk8 tonearm on my Oracle with a new set of Telefunken 6922 tubes in my Pre-amp, being played in a 20ft wide x 36ft long room with a 16ft ceiling and I’d be a happy camper. - - - Which leaves us with .... when is enough, enough?



For the most part the conversation was helpful with only a few cheap shots. I have a room that made a pair of salon2's sound lean with 250 wpc so i'm opting for the kanta'3 with the bigger box and drivers, not for the deeper bass since most of what I listen to doesn't have much if any energy below 40 hz and I want spl! My question was legit because I was so impressed with the speakers at the store, but it usually takes me a bit more time than a typical dealer's going to want a pair of speakers out of his shop. I've been buying and selling used hoping the next one will be the last, but it's a slow process and even with reselling it costs money, not thousands but hundreds and it add's up. I have to sell the salons b4 I buy the kanta's and my dealer will let me take home his floor demos first, but since i'm going to work him on the price I want to do as much of my own leg work as i can first, and if i'm buying new i have to get it right.
There's an old saying in engineering Steve, "If it looks right -  it usually is".The Kanta 3's look right. I don't know why, but rear ported speakers are a game breaker for me. The Kanta 3's are front ported, and look at these numbers. Sensitivity 91dBFrequency Response (+/-3dB) 33Hz - 40kHzLow Frequency Point 26HzNominal Impedance 8 Ohms26Hz pretty much gets any job done, 91db with a nominal Impedance of 8 Ohms .... so they're not that hard to drive, two 8" drivers give them good weight, an inert cabinet, and they're decoupled from the room because of the speaker stands; I'd say you have the foundations of a speaker here that should give you many a year of listening nervana - - - at least on paper. (Mind you the proof in the pudding is in the actual listening).You're right to take your time .... they'll be making them for awhile.
I'll check but I think they're ported front and back. I couldn't pass on a pair of Usher BE-20 DMD Dancers that came up locally and am really having fun with them. It never ceases to amaze me how much impact a room can have on sound. I had a pair of R 107/2's down here, the ones with 2 10" woofers inside the box eq'd to be flat to 20 hz and vented out the top, even those speakers loaded my room with decent bass tho' overall the tweeters turned out to be a little bright for my taste. I have no engineering background or prejudice to speaker design just what works in my room. 
^ Good find. Rest assured you chose well - much better speakers than what Focal produces at that price point.

There's an old saying in engineering Steve, "If it looks right - it usually is".The Kanta 3's look right. I don't know why, but rear ported speakers are a game breaker for me.
Any speaker engineer worth his/her salt knows that a front port is more likely to produce audible port noise when playing near its limits. 
Thanks helomech, the seller said his inbox exploded when he listed them and I was the first to offer pick up with cash in hand, after last nights listening session I believe him. I still want to hear the dyn C60 and Kanta 3 down here but i'm not in such a hurry now. Thanks for everyone's contributions.
The old engineering saying that if it looks right it usually is, is usually wrong. That thinking produced lousy aerodynamics on cars. It produced a lot of lousy speakers, especially in the 60's and 70's. It's produced plenty of architectural and structural failures. Good engineering hardly ever produces things of fine esthetic beauty. 
Focal gets sold sometimes because owners can't find a good system match (amp, dac) - they can sound ok, or amazing, depending on the rest of the system.

Also, focals have open but not bright (fatiguing) sound. 
Are there some speaker cable brands and models that are proven to work well with Focals, specially ones with Be tweeter?  
With manufacturer warranty, you can buy Focal speakers at 20% - 30% discount. Without warranty, you can buy them at 40% discount. For good like new speakers, they're sold at 50% of the retail price. I have a pair of Electra 1038 Be, CC1008 center speaker, 3 SR 1000 Be, and 4 IC1002 ceiling speakers. In my office, the little Naim Unitilite is powering a pair of 1008 Be bookshelf and the Dome Pack 2.1. When I don't want to disturb my wife, I wear the Clear Pro or sometimes the new Elegia. There are many great speakers out there as you have listed them, I like Focal better than the B&W.
I was fortune enough to get a pair of Sopra No2's just after they were available in the U.S., over three years ago, and in my setup (to me) they sound fantastic!

In my search for speakers I auditioned the Sopra's driven by some modestly powerful amps, one's that didn't sound "smooth" and didn't like what I heard.

In my search I also auditioned the Sopra's in a small room and didn't like what I heard.

But in my 24x26' room, and a 450 wpc McIntosh amp behind them, they sound awesome!  The bass that they have is very good, but I decided to add a pair of very capable sub woofers.

As for why so many Focal's seem to be for sale, I think you'll find that to be true of a number of brands that sell well.  With this hobby, I find a lot of us audiophiles try new equipment and move on to try something different.
philkoan: What body part do you pull those numbers out of? Even 20% off Focal speakers would be pushing it. I don’t know of a speaker line with a smaller margin. They sell through a distributor and do NOT have the same margin as other speakers . Seeing some discontinued models or finishes at Music Direct etc at 30% off doesn't count.  ANY manufacturer presents scenarios like that at times and that is in no way unique to Focal.

I could see 20%~ off some of the higher end Utopias as there is more to play with, but otherwise, you are just spreading hilariously false information. I have seen the price sheets.

This place....