Quintessence Shows off the Focal Grand Utopia EMs

The mighty Focal Grand Utopia EM loudspeakers ($190,000/pair), which use field-coil energized woofers, took pride of place in one of the two big rooms on the Doubletree's ground floor sponsored by Chicagoland dealer Quintessence. Driven by two-chassis Pass Labs Xs300 monoblocks with Kubala-Sosna cabling throughout the system, both the 1950s Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges collaboration "Back to Back" and the Reference Recordings Rutter Requiem were reproduced with a stunning combination of vocal purity and instrumental majesty. Source was a file fed by USB to a Playback Designs player/DAC.

Though I didn't listen to vinyl in this room, LP playback was from Musical Surroundings: Clearaudio turntable, Graham Phantom tonearm, and a Benz cartridge

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Comments
Elvis1's picture
vinyl

J.A,

It's a shame you did not make it back to the room, vinyl was sounding pretty special on the Grands. Also the cartridge was a Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement ($15k). We are delighted you joined us in our rooms and hope you liked what our little store could set up in some truly difficult hotel conference rooms. Please feel free to join us at the store any time you are in town.

Sincerest Regards,

Dave W.

...and the rest of us at Quintessence Audio

Elvis1's picture
vinyl

J.A,

It's a shame you did not make it back to the room, vinyl was sounding pretty special on the Grands. Also the cartridge was a Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement ($15k). We are delighted you joined us in our rooms and hope you liked what our little store could set up in some truly difficult hotel conference rooms. Please feel free to join us at the store any time you are in town.

Sincerest Regards,

Dave W.

...and the rest of us at Quintessence Audio

MVBC's picture
Utopia EM

Following my comment on the Focal drivers used in the Wilson versus let's say professional JBL drivers, the EM version is in fact attempting to boost the strength of the motors in order to move a heavy mass and avoid Cadillac styled bass. As commented before, this is quite an expensive way to achieve great sound compared to pro gear.

greekAUDIOPHILE's picture
I was at the show...

I much rather prefer the CES and back in the day it was truly a spectacular...I met the genius Henry Kloss and went to the Velodyne room and watched the furniture move around and then there were the SPECTACULAR COST IS NO OBJECT SPEAKERS...the ones I remember were the IRS SERIES V and BETA (both equally great by the way) from Infinity and the Martin Logan Statements.  I was in the room when the drums attacked and pounded your chest and you could hear Sinatra breathe into the microphone and people in the audience coughing with the slightest detail...but I digress.

 

It is SO FUNNY I found this section because I was at least year's AXPONA and remember seeing these speakers...I stayed in the room ten minutes and left UNIMPRESSED with the idea that these should have been four pieces and that they were far more accurate than musical and certainly did not bring the emotion of music into my life.  And then I see here they are $190,000 (?) (!)   OK, I still have my Infinity Reference Standard with a set of Betas in the basement...I feel like renting a room at APXONA this year and bringing my system...not for sale...just to show the GLORIOUS ROSEWOOD and the towers and the sleek glorious design and the MUSIC that brings tears to your eyes and a lump in your throat (in a good way).  I didn't actually "feel" true musical bass in ANY of the rooms in the show and I also missed any hint of electrostatic transparency that might have created a moment of musical magic...  Sorry Utopia, I did not feel it or hear it at all...it could have been the source, yeah many of the amateur consumers there were shuffling around and talking and making noise...but know that I left thinking these were PERHAPS overpriced ten thousand dollar speakers...compare true cost versus the Infinity speakers over twenty years ago...  I miss the dreamers...Henry KLOSS and your NOVABEAM thirty years ahead of its time...the dreamers who made the biggest and the best not because it fit in the living room but because the music made everything else take second stage.

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