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Focal Speakers The Spirit of Sound

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  #1  
Old 01-20-2018, 11:48 AM
joey_v joey_v is online now
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Default Focal Kanta 2 - a quick and dirty review

I did not get to spend a ton of time with the Kanta 2, but I thought I was able to get a sense of what it did.

Last week, DFWAC met for another rowdy get-together, on the menu this week was the Focal Kanta 2.

The Focal Kanta 2 is a new speaker from the french manufacturer. More details can be found online, it was just debut'd last RMAF with great reception and rave reviews.

But basically, the Kanta learns from the Sopra and takes drivers from the Aria speaker line. It has a beryllium tweeter with boron surround and into a infinite horn loading rear module, a 6.5" flax midrange, and a dual 6.5" woofer. The Kanta 2 has dual ports, one in the front and one in the back.

The cabinet has no parallel walls. The baffle is made of a thick polymer, no longer MDF.

SOUND:
Most might find that the Focals are synonymous with hyper-detailed sound, some might find it bright, some might revel in the detail produced.

But this Kanta 2 seemed a bit different. It still has that Focal trademark, but it was definitely leaning warmer than my experience with prior. Perhaps it was the flax drivers making it sound more natural like paper.... or perhaps it was the way the tweeter is voiced in this new speaker line. The detail was all there, I did not detect anything was particularly amiss with this sound aspect. And it didn't require a particularly bright treble to make those details known.

The midrange sounded natural but with detail and the voices sounded smooth and believable. The bass was fantastic, could not believe this was coming from only 2x 6.5" woofers, it was really loading the 14x18 room without trouble, off an integrated amplifier.

I guess what most people would wonder remains the real question, was it bright?

That answer is it depends.

It depends on the source.

But no, it was not bright in a sense was it a klipsch.... it's not bright in general because the midrange-on-down seemed natural. The only trouble would be in the highest of frequencies. When we had the Kanta 2 connected to bluesound node 2 streamer with Tidal, the group didn't really sit down to listen, everyone was talking and drinking wine.

When we switched the source to an Esoteric K03x, people started to take notice and sit down and listen. The edge of frequency brightness was lessened, and things started to sound more balanced.

When we switched to another source and used the Esoteric K03x as transport into the Emm Labs DAC2x DAC, then it really came to life and it seemed most began to enjoy the speakers.

Conclusion:
What really did it for me with the Kanta 2 was how it was a facsimile of the sound I try to have at home (not as nuanced or balanced). I like the vocalist to be dead center, standing infront of the rack and with some energy directed towards me, I want the singer's and the soundstage height to be just right at approx 4-6 feet (I believe part of this is the fact the tweeter is mid/upper baffle in location with a midrange woofer just above it which controls the vertical dispersion/lobing)... aren't you guys tired of having a sound stage or singer that is 7 or 8 feet tall to the point where you're looking up and you have this VOID of sound from the midhalf of the speaker's vertical plane on down? The speakers did not disappear as well as my system at home does, but this was a minimally tweaked system. I have spent tons of time to control the vertical dispersion from the ceiling to the listening position, to control the lateral first reflections, to control the bass with bass traps... but this speaker in this room with no ceiling traps (though has first reflections and front wall covered with 2" traps) did so much right and so little wrong.

It's particularly a good feeling when the singer's voice feels like the energy is coming from the ground on up... it's pretty cool on some cuts.

No, it's not the speaker for everyone. Some may still prefer a less bright speaker in general. Some may prefer something even warmer.

Don't get me wrong, there were still moments where you can tell the tweeter still called to itself, but I did note that it was not as prominent with the better sources (Emm mostly).

But to me, I thought the Focal Kanta 2 was a winner at the price point. Take the time to pair it with the best upstreams, perhaps a tube preamp, and a great amp... and a great source, and cables.... and this can definitely be enough to your last speaker if the sound is to your liking.

For me, I think it is a special speaker. It had just enough warmth, the tweeter was less in your face than previous Focals, the bass was very good and clean and articulate.

The best part? It was resolute enough to discern between all 3 sources.

But THAT'S for another day...

SYSTEM:
Focal Kanta 2 speakers
Audioquest OAK speaker wire
Audioquest Wind RCA
Mark Levinson No 585 Integrated
Sources were Bluesound node 2 vs Esoteric K03x vs Emm Labs Dac2x
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System 1: PS Audio P5 -> Emm Labs Dac2X DAC + TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP05 Pre -> Boulder 2060 Amp -> BW 802D3 ->
System 2: Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3 ->
System 3: Rotel RC1570 Pre -> Rotel RB1582 Amp -> Focal Kanta 2 ->
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  #2  
Old 01-20-2018, 12:02 PM
joey_v joey_v is online now
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Bottomline:

Not as warm as Sonus Faber Olympica 3.
More slam and more accurate bass than Sonus Faber Olympica 3.
Treble still called to itself at times. With lesser sources, it was bright.
Easier to place in a room than 802D3.
Vertical dispersion is controlled, no need to treat ceilings.
Midrange was quite natural.
Revealing of upstreams.
Can sound thin, but I wonder if this is a baseline sound or a function of upstreams.
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System 1: PS Audio P5 -> Emm Labs Dac2X DAC + TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP05 Pre -> Boulder 2060 Amp -> BW 802D3 ->
System 2: Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3 ->
System 3: Rotel RC1570 Pre -> Rotel RB1582 Amp -> Focal Kanta 2 ->

Last edited by joey_v; 01-20-2018 at 12:42 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-22-2018, 01:06 AM
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ChrisMag ChrisMag is offline
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I went by my dealer to have a listen but they didn't have them set up when I arrived, and being that I already bought pair Sopra 2s, I'm not "in the market" and didn't want to to ask them to move everything around.

One thing about my Focals, they are very revealing to the equipment connected. Something as simple as a interconnect swap, power cable change, or even swapping between glass-fiber Toslink and a DH Labs D-750 coax digital cable between my Bluesound Node 2 and Parasound DAC is immediately apparent.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the internal DAC on the Node 2. It's not terrible, but in my system the Parasound ZDAC v2 outperforms it.
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:04 PM
joey_v joey_v is online now
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I think I was wrong, it wasn’t the internal dac of the bluesound but rather the internal dac of the levinson integrated
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System 1: PS Audio P5 -> Emm Labs Dac2X DAC + TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP05 Pre -> Boulder 2060 Amp -> BW 802D3 ->
System 2: Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3 ->
System 3: Rotel RC1570 Pre -> Rotel RB1582 Amp -> Focal Kanta 2 ->
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2018, 08:25 PM
dvir dvir is offline
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Default Rumors of Kanta no3?

So i've been hearing rumors about Kanta no.3 to be announced very soon.. anyone with some more information?
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  #6  
Old 08-17-2018, 01:15 AM
joey_v joey_v is online now
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Not heard of that yet...
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System 1: PS Audio P5 -> Emm Labs Dac2X DAC + TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP05 Pre -> Boulder 2060 Amp -> BW 802D3 ->
System 2: Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3 ->
System 3: Rotel RC1570 Pre -> Rotel RB1582 Amp -> Focal Kanta 2 ->
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:08 AM
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dvir... Welcome to AA!
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  #8  
Old 08-17-2018, 07:05 PM
dvir dvir is offline
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Thank you
I couldn't create a new topic because of newcomer restrictions :/
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