The word 'scale' pops up in several different contexts when discussing music; the wall of sound from an orchestra in full flight, or the delicate series of notes picked out in series by a beginner learning to play. Focal's Scala Utopia V2 really does do scale...
When James and Henry dropped my new pair round last week, my first encounter with these wonderful speakers left me breathless - in laughter - as I saw the huge boxes in the back of the van! Over 80Kg each! Watching the Tom Tom team manhandle these up the path with he aid of a couple of 'skate board' trollies needed to be witnessed - shame I didn't think of recording the event at the time.
Once in the room, it took around 2 hours to unpack and set up the Scalas, and along the way another little surprise awaits - the box of spikes. Most manufactures might bother to pop these into a cardboard tube, but Focal have really gone to town with a beautiful box, including exactly the right tools needed to fit them. It's just a little thing, but it does begin to demonstrate the attention that goes into making these very fine speakers:
The Scalas themselves are incredibly well engineered and finished, and look like serious bits of kit... Proper man's loudspeakers! The lacquer finish is flawless and flows seamlessly around the luxurious curves. The brushed metal housing that holds the beryllium tweeter is a nice contrasting touch, as well as giving the tweeter a very firm foundation. The style may not be to everyones taste, but as a lover of fine abstract sculpture and industrial engineering they definitely work for me, especially in the vicinity of a nice bit of Fraim:
Round the back, they are equally impressive with the possibility to fine tune the bass and treble response for perfect room matching. The binding posts are very solid and can accept ether plugs or spades. My Super Lumina plugs were a nice tight solid feeling fit.
So, enough about how they look, the important bit is how they sound...
Words failed me the first time I heard them, as cold out of the box they were just wonderful. After a little fine tuning of position, and a touch more toe in the image snapped into place more firmly and we began to listen more intently. The Scalas certainly live up to their name as the big 11" woofers can really shift some air, but they never sounded over-blown, just loads of welly. The midrange clarity is breathtakingly fine, bringing female vocals to life with ease. The beryllium tweeters are also rather special, giving a top end sparkle that could really get the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention. The most impressive feature is that the sum is really greater than the parts; Focal engineer all the drivers in-house, giving class-leading synergy which just lets the music flow.
A week into ownership, and the gradual improvements are still being delivered as the drivers loosen up and relax. These are very capable speakers able to convey the full impact of any music I have thrown at them so far, but also able to distil the finest nuance from the deep detail within each track.
True musical scale.
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