High end Focal or high end B&W - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-30-2008, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I am really new into high end speakers. I have had a pair of Grado SR 325i headphones for a while, but am finally moving into getting high end speakers. At a local Hifi store I was offered a pair of Focal Micro Utopia Be with stands for $6500. Or I can pick up a pair of B&W 804s for $4500. I haven't heard the B&W's, but tomorrow I might drive an hour to check them out in Seattle.

I am not too worried about bass, I just love the music playback from the Focal. I live in an apartment, so bass isn't that big of a deal as I can't turn it up that loud anyway. I didn't want to spend more than $6000 on 2 speakers and an amp or receiver, but after listening to the Focals it might be worth it. I am in the Navy right now and have enough money to buy the focals and a nice amp. In a couple years I will be getting out and going to college, so I won't have the money to upgrade and need to get it right this time with gear that will last.

I am thinking about using a 2 channel integrated amp. I am looking at the Primare I21 or the Cambridge 840A.

If you have any advice on other speakers to look at or advice on the ones I am looking at please let me know.

Thanks a lot.
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-30-2008, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waffles732 View Post

I am really new into high end speakers. I have had a pair of Grado SR 325i headphones for a while, but am finally moving into getting high end speakers. At a local Hifi store I was offered a pair of Focal Micro Utopia Be with stands for $6500. Or I can pick up a pair of B&W 804s for $4500. I haven't heard the B&W's, but tomorrow I might drive an hour to check them out in Seattle.

I am not too worried about bass, I just love the music playback from the Focal. I live in an apartment, so bass isn't that big of a deal as I can't turn it up that loud anyway. I didn't want to spend more than $6000 on 2 speakers and an amp or receiver, but after listening to the Focals it might be worth it. I am in the Navy right now and have enough money to buy the focals and a nice amp. In a couple years I will be getting out and going to college, so I won't have the money to upgrade and need to get it right this time with gear that will last.

I am thinking about using a 2 channel integrated amp. I am looking at the Primare I21 or the Cambridge 840A.

If you have any advice on other speakers to look at or advice on the ones I am looking at please let me know.

Thanks a lot.

I purchased the 804S (with HTM3S center) back in June. I didn't try any of the Focals since I wanted to stay with B&W as my previouse spkeakers were B&Ws as well. Out of all the B&W models I tried udner $5000, the 804S had the best balanced and quality sound. They will also sound their best when using a dedicated amp instead of an intergrated receiver.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-01-2008, 08:40 AM
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To me the Utopias sound way better than the 804 especially with their highly revered beryllium tweeters. But part of it's probably because I never liked B&W's character. Why don't you try the Usher Be-718 that also has Be tweeters at $2600 in the US ($1700 elsewhere). That one's been compared to $8000 Dynaudios and frankly after owning it I truly believe it doesn't get any better (just different sounding) at any price. Plus it's a true high end piece, feels and looks like expensive stuff. Anyway, it might be better for your wallet since you're not a business owner or a doctor. But if you have the dough, the Utopias are great but you must also remember the resale value later. Actually I take that back, at $6K don't take the Utopias and get an Usher Dancer floorstander instead. Then you won't have to upgrade again though you won't be able to take them in your car when you move.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-01-2008, 08:45 AM
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At that price no one is going to be able to tell you what speaker is the best for the money because there are so many good ones. If you have the time you owe it to yourself to audition:

B&W 804S
Usher Be-718
Revel F32
Salk Sound SongTowers, V3's or HT3's since the budget is this high already (pretty sure there is an owner in Kent, WA as this is an internet direct seller)

I know I'm leaving some out, but these are ones that come to mind right away in your price point.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-01-2008, 09:02 AM
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^^^ Actually yea, I forgot to say that in this hobby $ doesn't necessarily gets you better stuff, just different sounding components. Internet direct brands like Salk has been getting a lot of attention lately so I would look into them before making your purchase. Don't get sucked into the branding thing but knowing what you want is important. So if Be tweeter is your thing, look for that. If sparkling highs are important, check out Newform Research ribbons, etc etc...
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-01-2008, 09:21 AM
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Frankly, if you are looking at that level of stand-mount speakers, I'd check out the Revel Ultima Gem2. Its a bit more expensive, but it does have some nice features.

If you don't care stand-mount or floorstanding, the Paradigm S6v2 is another speaker to look at in addition to the B&W 804s
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-01-2008, 09:27 AM
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Btw, as for the integrated are you sure you won't try any of the Class D variants such as the Trio from PS Audio or an Onkyo A-9555 (A9755 if possible)?
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