Focal, Naim, IsoAcoustics, Kimber Kable in the Kennedy Hi-Fi Room

Focal Powered by Naim is a newish initiative taken by French company Focal in conjunction with English company Naim designed to offer consumers all-in-one, high-performance audio systems assembled synergistically by two of the biggest, most enduring manufacturers in the audio biz.

The speakers on display in the Kennedy room included two pairs of Focal 926s, one of which, standing higher than the other, were threaded with IsoAcoustics Gaia ll feet, the other with the stock feet. Electronics included a Naim ND5 SS2 streamer ($5540 US), which comes with four 24/192 digital inputs, and a 70Wpc Naim Nait SX 3 integrated amp ($5540 US), while cabling consisted of Kimber Kable's Carbon series.

This was the second time I took part in an IsoAcoustics A/B listening test between speakers with Gaias and those without, and although there's a light that turns on to notify us of each time the Gaia-equipped speakers are switched in, again, as with the first time I didn't need no stinkin' light to hear the difference—it was immediate and obvious. While the Focals sounded good without the IsoAcoustic feet, when the Gaia-equipped ones were switched in, the soundstage blew up expansively, adorned with clearer highs and more detail. When the other pair was switched in, the presentation seemed to shrink and darken in comparison.

IsoAcoustics has a database of 5000 speakers that can tell you which model of their isolation feet will work best with your speakers. Price is $700 for two boxes of 4.