Just bought a pair of JM Lab Focal Alto Utopia - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 80 Old 03-12-2020, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Just bought a pair of JM Lab Focal Alto Utopia

Just bought a used pair of Used JM Lab Focal Alto Utopia for $5500. I am stoked and can't wait for them to arrive. I think my amps are out doing my Spectral 913.1, I need a much better pair. I'll show pictures when they arrive.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #2 of 80 Old 03-12-2020, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are pictures I copy from the listing of my speakers from Audiogon.
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Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #3 of 80 Old 03-12-2020, 02:17 PM
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Happy to learn your long-time desire to upgrade to a higher end Focal loudspeaker took place. Let us know how they work out. Enjoy!
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post #4 of 80 Old 03-12-2020, 02:21 PM
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alan, they are gorgeous speakers. seeing focal raised the price of sopra 2's to 19,000 dollars...cough/hack...I will probably have to wait for 20yr old speakers before i ever upgrade.
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post #5 of 80 Old 03-12-2020, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Guys.


It's been a long time since I upgrade the speakers. It's time. I would have been happy with the 913.1 if not for designing my amps. I am crossing my fingers that it's going to be better than the 913.1. Problem of buying an old used speakers is there's no way to listen to it, it's all based on faith that I was...and still am so happy with the 913.1.



I lost a chance to buy another pair of Alto Utopia over a month ago on ebay. I was too "smart" and arguing on the last $200. The seller offered me $5400 and I had to stupidly insist on $5200 and was SOLD!!!! I was heart broken. When I haggled this time and the selling insisted on $5500, I gave in. I don't want to lose another deal.
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Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #6 of 80 Old 03-13-2020, 03:31 PM
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That is a dang nice looking set of speakers for $5500! I've been pining lately for a set of Focals along the lines of Sopra2, Kanta3, and Electra 938Be. But all of those would cost more than you paid. Maybe I'll have to check out some Alto Utopias! Please follow up with your impressions after you get them set up and listen for a while.
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post #7 of 80 Old 03-13-2020, 04:36 PM
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Buying speakers on the used market is a great path for stretching ones dollar. Congrats on the great score.
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post #8 of 80 Old 03-13-2020, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivaji View Post
Buying speakers on the used market is a great path for stretching ones dollar. Congrats on the great score.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
That is a dang nice looking set of speakers for $5500! I've been pining lately for a set of Focals along the lines of Sopra2, Kanta3, and Electra 938Be. But all of those would cost more than you paid. Maybe I'll have to check out some Alto Utopias! Please follow up with your impressions after you get them set up and listen for a while.
This is just my opinion, no proof, no experience, just my guessing.

I feel there are a lot of "fashion" sense in speakers, that people like the latest and greatest one. I tend to look at what's behind the technology. I know Be tweeter is an improvement from my 913.1 that use titanium reverse dome tweeter. But I have not heard of other improvements on the mid and bass drivers in the newer models like the Sopra2 or 3. To the best of my knowledge, it's still Be tweeters. I don't know of any stunning improvement on Mid and Bass drivers, so what left me to think is I would get the oldest ones with Be tweeters.

I do believe to buy the top models of Focal, Alto Utopia definitely is in the top series of JM Lab Focal, my guess it's going to be better than the next model down even if it is newer. Again, this is my wild guess.

I saw the Sopra 3 new is about $17K and used is $11K in Audiogon. Used ones are more expensive as it's newer model. Then I look at the MSRP of Alto was $18K in 2000s. So it's a more expensive model. I am superficial, I know more expensive doesn't imply higher quality. But high quality always more expensive...This is just me, I have no proof or anything.

I am born cheap, if there is a pair of same high quality speakers for 1/2 price just because it's made out of pine box, I would not think twice to get the pine box........although my big boss will have something to say about that!!! The newer Focals just look very fancy, I don't know how much money is spent on cosmetic and how much is on the quality of the sound..................

For the longest time, I had my eyes on a pair of Focal Diva Utopia, I even bought and backed out on a pair for $3400. Problem is I have to drive 600miles one way to pick it up. Also, the Divas are a low model of Utopia line, My 913.1 was one line below Utopia line at the time ( they don't have that many models in the 90s, just the 700s, 800s, 900s and Utopia, mine was the top of 900s). So it's not going to be a big jump.

Well, I talk too much for not an expert on speakers, $5500 is all I am willing to spend. I am very very happy with my 913.1, I just want a better pair to use for my amp design and good to have a second pair to compare with. So I took the chance. I am biting my fingers waiting for it to come.


Alan

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #9 of 80 Old 03-14-2020, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow, what am I getting myself into??!!!


Seller just sent me the picture of the crate, looks like I need a folk lift!!! I hope I can even get it through door!!! I have a double door, but......it's so huge!!!!
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Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #10 of 80 Old 03-14-2020, 11:31 AM
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that crate might have been arranged by your wife...
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Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300 LG oled c9 77
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post #11 of 80 Old 03-14-2020, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
that crate might have been arranged by your wife...
Yes, Alan had better be careful. His wife might have in mind an alternative use for that crate.

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post #12 of 80 Old 03-14-2020, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
His wife might have in mind an alternative use for that crate.
There are less expensive alternatives to $5k.



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #13 of 80 Old 03-14-2020, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
Yes, Alan had better be careful. His wife might have in mind an alternative use for that crate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
that crate might have been arranged by your wife...

Cold!!!

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #14 of 80 Old 03-14-2020, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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For anyone that are interested in an old used pair of Focal Utopia. I was looking at this pair as backup. I would have offered $3500+shipping. I think if one can get that price, it might be a good deal:


https://www.audiogon.com/listings/li...-be-full-range


I asked the seller ( same as the seller of mine), it's a pair, in good condition and come with two stands. It's a 3 way with side fired 10" woofer( I think). He said the price is firm......BUT........
It's Utopia line.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

Last edited by alan0354; 03-14-2020 at 06:53 PM.
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post #15 of 80 Old 03-15-2020, 07:04 PM
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Just bought a pair of JM Lab Focal Alto Utopia

Love them! You should add this to the JM Labs Focal thread.


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post #16 of 80 Old 03-16-2020, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Love them! You should add this to the JM Labs Focal thread.


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Yes, I did, nobody respond.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #17 of 80 Old 03-16-2020, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I even got rid of the big hutch. The first picture is the original setup with the hutch, the second picture is the new setup, waiting for the Alto Utopia.


Funny the speakers sound best at exactly the original position with the hutch. It's as though the hutch has no influence to the sound. The speaker position is so so critical, if I move 3" on one speaker, the sound change. Hell, even if I move the TV towards the right, it degrade the sound a little.


Problem is where am I going to put the new speakers as the 913.1 is at the sweet spot!!!?


When I first have the speakers positioned as in the second picture, it sounded awful, it sounded small, no bottom. I have to move back and fore and finally back to the original position as in the first picture and it sounds right. This speakers placement is so critical. I bet if my old Kef Uni-Q is put in the sweet spot, it will sound as good as the 913.1 in the wrong position!!! It's that big a difference, just a few inches.
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Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #18 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a problem. The speakers are shipped from Canada, the shipping company ask me information of a broker to enter into this country!!! What is that?


I bought stuffs from other countries like China, never have I have to deal with this!!!

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #19 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 05:38 PM
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they are usually required for large items entering the country. maybe this will help. https://www.livingstonintl.com/custo...ge-calculator/


brokers can be expensive, shop around. also you might be able to not use a broker if figure out how to diy. w/out doing anything it will just sit at customs and fines may accrue.
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Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300 LG oled c9 77
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5, Magnepan LRS, Audioengine A2+
Subs: Rythmik FV25HP, Rythmik FV15HP, Velodyne HGS 12, Velodyne VA1512

Last edited by torii; 03-18-2020 at 05:48 PM.
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post #20 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 06:07 PM
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the positive for a broker is getting it delivered to your door and no paperwork...should cost 500-1000 dollars Im guessing.
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Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300 LG oled c9 77
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5, Magnepan LRS, Audioengine A2+
Subs: Rythmik FV25HP, Rythmik FV15HP, Velodyne HGS 12, Velodyne VA1512
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post #21 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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My god, what am I getting myself into?!! I should not have bought the speakers from Canada!!! I thought it's like buying from China or other countries.
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Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #22 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
My god, what am I getting myself into?!! I should not have bought the speakers from Canada!!! I thought it's like buying from China or other countries.

I just last week bought a breville food processor from canada and no issues off ebay. I also bought a chinese dac from singapore no issues....however they small tiny items.



you bought a freight train from doesnt matter country...you gonna deal with customs.

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300 LG oled c9 77
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5, Magnepan LRS, Audioengine A2+
Subs: Rythmik FV25HP, Rythmik FV15HP, Velodyne HGS 12, Velodyne VA1512
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post #23 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:08 PM
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focal just jumped prices many thousands of dollars....you got a deal....sopra 2 now 20k....pfft.

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300 LG oled c9 77
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5, Magnepan LRS, Audioengine A2+
Subs: Rythmik FV25HP, Rythmik FV15HP, Velodyne HGS 12, Velodyne VA1512
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post #24 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
focal just jumped prices many thousands of dollars....you got a deal....sopra 2 now 20k....pfft.
Thanks


Now I have to find out what mode of transportation.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #25 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
Thanks


Now I have to find out what mode of transportation.

well I guess you want it delivered to home. but I have done rail to a warehouse where I picked up. just keep in mind all prices negotiable if you compare shop.

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300 LG oled c9 77
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5, Magnepan LRS, Audioengine A2+
Subs: Rythmik FV25HP, Rythmik FV15HP, Velodyne HGS 12, Velodyne VA1512
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post #26 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I use your brokerage calculator, I put in either by rail or by truck, the price is about $140. That's not too bad. What other bad news am I going to expect?




I should kick myself, Like I said, I was too "smart" bargaining a month or so ago, I could have got a pair for $5400 from US!!!! Did I screw this up now!!!

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #27 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
I use your brokerage calculator, I put in either by rail or by truck, the price is about $140. That's not too bad. What other bad news am I going to expect?




I should kick myself, Like I said, I was too "smart" bargaining a month or so ago, I could have got a pair for $5400 from US!!!! Did I screw this up now!!!

that seems ok for my money. you got a great deal alan. sorry name misspell.

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post #28 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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well I guess you want it delivered to home. but I have done rail to a warehouse where I picked up. just keep in mind all prices negotiable if you compare shop.

Nah, I'm too old to deal with picking up in a warehouse, I don't have a truck ( I mean a real truck) to pick it up. I am sure my SUV is not going to do it. And besides, look at the size and weight!!! I have to have them unload on my front porch and break the crate up right there.



How do you search brokerage on line? What am I looking for? Import brokerage or what?

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post #29 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:44 PM
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Nah, I'm too old to deal with picking up in a warehouse, I don't have a truck ( I mean a real truck) to pick it up. I am sure my SUV is not going to do it. And besides, look at the size and weight!!! I have to have them unload on my front porch and break the crate up right there.



How do you search brokerage on line? What am I looking for? Import brokerage or what?

I would call on phone a couple places....use online stuff as knowledge.

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300 LG oled c9 77
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post #30 of 80 Old 03-18-2020, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I would call on phone a couple places....use online stuff as knowledge.
I think I found some, I just type in "custom brokerage import from Canada"


BTW, where do you live? any chance from Bay Area?

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

Last edited by alan0354; 03-18-2020 at 10:03 PM.
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