The Best Speaker in the World

Could be. I saved my visit to the Audio Unlimited room almost for last on Sunday afternoon at RMAF. There was the pair of Focal Grande Utopia EMs that apparently had NY retailer Andy Singer dancing at their launch in France last spring. driven by a pair of Boulder 2050 monoblocks. Front-end was either Boulder's new 1021 disc player/music server or the Clearaudio Statement turntable. Cabling was all Tara Labs, including Mikey Fremer's reference The Zero interconnects. Musical Surroundings' Garth Leerer played me just two LPs for me to become awed by the 580 lb Focals: the Gary Karr transcription for double bass and organ of the Albinoni Adagio, which showed how effortlessly the speakers handled not just the spl but also the scale of the organ's sound, and Iona Brown's performance of Vaughan Williams' A Lark Ascending, which showed how well the speakers did delicacy.

A hand crank on the speaker's rear adjusts the vertical toe-in angle of the drive-unit array, and multiple adjustments can be made to the crossover to match the speaker to the room in which it is used. But check out the small power supply to the speaker'sleft—this supplies current to the field coils of the woofer's magnet. Yes, the Grand Utopia EM's 16" woofer uses an electromagnet to achieve its 94dB sensitivity.

Oh, the price, you ask? $180,000, but you do get two speakers for that.

DUP's picture

What a deal!!!!! there are too many ZEROS, $18K would put it on this planet. No amount of advertising justifies the price, nor any documents about hand rubbed this or that, or special made screws or wood from some far off galaxy, high end audio is out of whack, it's no longer about sound reproduction, it's about who can out do the next in absurd stuff no one uses or needs. Stope the insanity.

Jonathan Derda's picture

Like JA, I saved this room for my next to last visit. I almost forgot all about it but John Bevier from Audio Plus saw me in the hall and asked, "ever heard a half million dollar system?"Somehow I got the center chair in the first row.I sat there for awhile. Like half an hour.Going from CD to LP, my mouth never closed. It was the best sounding system I had ever heard. Effortless, real, and visceral are the only words that come to mind when describing the sound. You could argue that it was better than the real thing. You could, but that would be sacrilegious.

Tim K's picture

Yes, it was an impressive room. But six figures more so than the MBLs or even the Scaenas? I think not.

suits_me's picture

Who has been to one of these shows and not heard a half million dollar system?If only the Mormon Church would instead turn its attention to funding Roy Kimber's next extravaganza then CA's Proposition 8 would surely fail.

Linn's picture

I wonder how this Grande Utopia EM compares to the cheaper Wilson X2. The difference in prices can buy a pair of Wilson Thor's Hammer super sub.

Jim Pierce's picture

Please, don't "stope" the insanity, keep it coming! This stuff is like NASA - we all benefit from pushing the envelope. Think about it - where would we be without Teflon, Velcro and ballpoint pens that write in upside-down? The first one that still complains when, say, Kimber's Zero technology becomes affordable gets a big noogie!

Et Voila's picture

Anyone surprised that the French build the best speaker on earth? C'mon Ca va, comme-ci comme-ci comme-ca :-)

AlexO's picture

Well, if Andy Singer says it, then it MUST be good. After all, Andy Singer wouldn't lie. He's such an honest, stand up type of guy.

ariaaudiocraft's picture

push it to the limit of the sky, find out what's in between. einstein himself takes fifty years to see the proof one of his theory, is right.

s04gm's picture

I see this very good speakers. seen from quality materials also look strong. it is not wrong to select it.