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Marco Esquandolas
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2013
9616 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
Well, as they sometimes say...all good things must come to an end.

In a strange mis-hap Friday afternoon , I somehow blew both Beryllium tweeters in the Focal Utopias.

There was nothing audible playing, but I believe I know what happened—without going into too great detail, there was a feedback loop coming off the tape head from the TEAC machine in extreme high frequencies—like over 15,000 Hz—so I couldn’t hear it—and since the tweeters run up to 40,000 Hz, they were way overdriven by an inaudible feedback loop (think of a microphone on a live stage that gets too close to a stage monitor and makes a loud screeching noise, but so high that you can’t hear it.

OK, so not the end of the world...just a costly mistake, right? (The tweets are around $1500 each to replace). Well, not the case.

I reached out Friday afternoon to Audio Plus Services, the North American importer for Focal, to see about ordering a new pair of tweeters. The tech informed me that the tweeters for my speaker were no longer available......WTF??...really?

The speaker is 10 years old—in high end world, that isn’t ancient, not to mention that it was a $25k loudspeaker. What’s more, the Focal Grand Utopia Be, the $85,000 big brother of mine, uses the exact same Beryllium tweeter. So if someone has a pair of 10 year old Grand Utopias and they blow the tweeters, they now have $85k boat anchors??

After placing me on hold, he then informed me that I MAY be able to send them back to France and have them rebuilt, which could take 4 months and a crapload of tarrifs going from me to Canada first, then to France, then back to Canada, then to me.

At this point, I am pissed...I am to the point of leaving them (I really love their sound, but not having replacement tweeters, which are the most replaced part on any speaker, is unforgivable—especially at this price point).

When in Houston a few weeks ago dealing with the Pioneer reel deck, we hung out with the fella that owns a high end audio store in downtown Houston. He had a pair of speakers on the main showroom floor that he recently started carrying. It is a company out of Lithuania called Audio Solutions, and the speaker was the Figaro XL

This thing sounded fantastic. It is a BIG speaker—almost 6’ tall, 2’ deep and 15” wide, weighing in at 231 lbs. each (for reference, my Focal is 167 lbs.). It has (4) 9” woofers, (2) 6.5” mids, and a silk-dome horn tweeter. They are very efficient (92 dB), and can play pretty darn loud if asked too.

So, I am going to pull the trigger this week and order a pair—just need to decide on a finish. They are drop shipped direct from Lithuania and take 2-3 weeks to arrive.

I am not going to replace my Utopia with the new version because, frankly, I just don’t think it is a $40,000 speaker (that is how much the price of mine has increased!).

Now, Kevin at Upscale Audio has a tempting offer...the Focal Stella Utopia rev. 2 on blowout...$42k...normally $99k. They recently updated all to rev. 3 (small changes internally and some new automotive paint samples) and hiked the price again to $119k...Focal is getting out of hand. But even with that, I just don’t want to go back for their lack of making replacement parts for a reference level speaker that is only 10 years old.

So, here is the Audio Solutions Figaro XL...

Figaro XL




Marco Esquandolas
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2013
9616 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
A few more images and color pallette...









PhilipMarlowe
Texas A&M Fan
Member since Mar 2013
11630 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
Damn. Sorry to hear about the focals, but those audio solution speakers look great! Would love to hear that wall of sound.


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VABuckeye
Ohio State Fan
Oak Hill, VA
Member since Dec 2007
23465 posts
 Online 

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
The detail in a high end large format pair of speakers like those is amazing. I work in a Hifi shop when the Dynaudio Evidence Temptations first came out. I was blown away by the level of detail in the speakers and the huge, yet pinpoint soundstage they produced.


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BooneTrails
Member since Jan 2013
1005 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.


Electric Eel Sunday vibez


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HebertFest08
LSU Fan
The Coast
Member since Aug 2008
5861 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
Man... that sucks! Crazy that they cant replace those tweeters! Those audio solutions look good though!

Great excuse to have another audiophile get together at the house!

This post was edited on 4/15 at 7:15 am


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NewIberiaHaircut
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since May 2013
8345 posts
 Online 

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
Damn Marco, that sucks. I can’t believe they don’t make replacement tweeters. That’s just plane ridiculous! Will you be able to get any sort of trade on the Focals with busted tweeters?


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dunkelman
LSU Fan
shreveport
Member since Oct 2005
1270 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
I would fix the Focals. Why would the whole speaker have to be sent back. I would think you pull the Tweeters and just send those. I’ve had some Bang & Olufsons rebuilt and was very happy with the result.

BTW, my Vanessa Fernandez SACDs showed up today. Sound great. I can see why it would be used at a high end audio show.


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Mizooag94
Texas A&M Fan
Hillbillyville, MO
Member since Sep 2018
56 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
I have used Madisound to rebuild many speakers. I trust them as they always try to talk me into the cheaper component. The outdoor speakers I built with their guidance sound fantastic.

Madisound


Marco Esquandolas
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2013
9616 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
Focal makes their own drivers. Beryllium is a very toxic metal—only a few places are set up to work with it. If i eventually have it rebuilt, it can only go back to Focal.

The speaker comes with a haz-mat kit incase of a diaphragm puncture—totally seals the driver and then goes into a tight wooden box for shipment to France.


dunkelman
LSU Fan
shreveport
Member since Oct 2005
1270 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
I didn’t realize it, but my new ATS4-HEs also have BE tweeters. They are Scan Speak so should be replaceable for a long time.
If you know the T/S parameters of the Focal BE tweeter, I bet there is another BE tweeter out there that is virtually identical. Maybe a little crossover tinkering would be needed. I think Troels takes on such projects on occasion. I did a little search on line and didn’t like what I saw about Focal’s customer service when this issue comes up.


Marco Esquandolas
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2013
9616 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
I’m gonna call Focal in France tomorrow...I’m probably gonna pull out the tweets and send them to Focal and have rebuilt after I speak with them. After they get them good as new, I may sell them as I don’t need another pair of large speakers in here—running out of room.

No rush now—I ordered the Audio Solutions Figaro XL today.



dunkelman
LSU Fan
shreveport
Member since Oct 2005
1270 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
Those speakers look like they are at a very reasonable price point. Reviews look awesome. They are big. Pretty sure that I could never earn enough WAF credits for something that large. I’m in the dog house as things now stand. As we’ve listened, she’s coming around, but the double secret probation still continues.


Marco Esquandolas
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2013
9616 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
Yeah—when we were in Houston a few weeks ago, we stopped into 3mA Audio—Houston’s Audio Research, McIntosh, Sonus Fabre dealership. I had been in there a couple months earlier and he had a pair of Sonus Faber Lillium on the floor ($75k). This time, he had an even larger speaker next to the Lillium...we listened to it and it was really, really good. I got reverse sticker shock when he told me how much it cost!

This speaker can hold its own next to the likes of The SF Lillium, at 1/5 the cost. It is probably the best “large” speaker I’ve heard under $50k...but then again, there aren’t many really big speakers anymore in the high end that are below $50k. When I first saw their size and heard them, I figured “well, these sure look nice, but I’m afraid to ask!”

If these things perform in my room like they did in the store, it may be the best bang for the buck hifi purchase I’ve made yet....like I said earlier, it is a BIG speaker, and can handle big power as well.


HebertFest08
LSU Fan
The Coast
Member since Aug 2008
5861 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
Appreciate you getting me to read reviews and stare at the Figaro S’s and M’s for at least 4-5 hrs over the last 2 days!

Good looking speakers and great reviews on all of them. The M and S models are closer to my style (aka within the wife’s parameters). Seem like an option for the next move up in speakers. Although it’s a tad difficult to find prices, it seems as though they would be a little less than making an upgrade in the Vandy line to the Treo. Maybe closer to the 3A cost... but GSP hairs and full length cloth speaker covers don’t go well together.
Plus they all seem to be very efficient.

That being said... Marco, I’ll be getting with you soon on the TT. Letting the Vaseline dry up after being violated by Uncle Sam. Like you always say, it’s always something


Marco Esquandolas
Alabama Fan
Member since Jul 2013
9616 posts

re: Audiophile/Vinyl Thread - Post Pics, Advice, Questions, Setups, etc.
quote:

HerbertFest08


Below are the MSRPs...I can also get you 20% off MSRP from that dealer...

The Figaro S is $5750 less 20% = $4600

The Figaro M is $7500 less 20% = $6000


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