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    Focal Powered By Naim Store Opens In AZ

    Tonight was a big night for Focal, Naim and LMC Home Entertainment of Scottsdale, AZ. It was the grand opening of the Focal Powered By Naim store. This isn't just a corner of a store dedicated to the brands or even a store within a store, it's a complete Focal and Naim experience. The store has its own entrance, separate from LMC's main store and was designed by the team at Focal Naim. 

     

    Tonight's event, from 5 to 10 PM, was packed with people, music, and video. I spent much of my time in the main two channel room that featured three different Focal Naim systems. The big system was playing the entire night. The Grande Utopia EM speakers with walnut finish were powered by the Naim Statement pre/amps and fed digital audio from the Naim ND 555, with 555 PS power supplies for each channel in true Naim fashion. 

     

    Most other Focal and Naim products were either on static display or in active systems throughout the store. I spent time listening to my favorite headphones, the Focal Utopia, even though the ambient noise in the store was at least 80 dB. I couldn't hear any details from the beryllium Utopia drivers, but it was still a blast to listen to these headphones, given that I don't have a pair at home. When I get the chance to listen, I take it. 

     

    The headphones were being driven by the Focal Arche headphone amp / DAC combo. The Arche was fed from an iPad mini streaming Tidal via the Tidal iOS app. The Arche is unique in that is features presets for the Utopia, Stellia, Clear, Elegia, and Clear headphones from Focal. I'd say it's an advantage that's not unfair but rather smart on Focal's part. 

     

    I unexpectedly spent a good amount of time in the Focal Naim home theater room. Using Focal in-wall speakers, and a pair of subwoofers, powered by Naim electronics and surprise, a Focal theater processor. The processor was impressive with its built-in full Dirac license and ATMOS capability. I watched a few clips of new movies (in 4K) and one of my favorites, North by Northwest in HD (not 4K). 

     

    The most captivating demonstration was when we watched the Roger Waters concert with Dolby ATMOS sound at 96 kHz. I'd never seen this concert or heard the audio from it, so I was truly surprised at how immersive the presentation was and how much I watched. I was scheming in my head about how to install a full theater in my house, so I could bring this level of enjoyment to my family. However, I think my enthusiasm for it is a little more than my wife's. If I had another room in my house I'd get a theater like the one that enthralled me at the Focal Powered By Naim store. 

     

    I'm happy I flew down from Minneapolis for this grand opening. I spent some time talking to the Focal team from France, to understand their thinking behind the store and to learn more about the company since its acquisition of Audio Plus Services, the former Focal and Naim distributor in the US. It's great to see true high end manufacturers opening brick and mortar stores like Bose and B&O have done for many years. 

     

    Good things are in store for Focal and Naim and the many fans of these brands around the world. 

     

     

    Focal Headphones and Arche Amp DAC Focal Kanta Focal Kanta Focal Grande Utopia EM, Naim Statement, ND 555 Naim Statement Focal Grande Utopia EM Beryllium Focal Tweeter Naim Naim Focal Woofer Focal Arche Amp DAC Vicoustic Diffusor Focal Naim Theater Focal Powered By Naim Store

     

     

    Here are some rough videos I shot tonight. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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    I was at the event last night and I'd be really interested to hear your opinion of the sound in the big room with the huge focal speakers. For me they were quite harsh and edgy and not at all pleasant listen to but if you felt that they sounded good then it must be my ears and I will realize that. (I felt the same way about the smaller system playing Eric Clapton).

    Thanks very much for your thoughts. 

     

    Frank

     

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    14 hours ago, Franko said:

    I was at the event last night and I'd be really interested to hear your opinion of the sound in the big room with the huge focal speakers. For me they were quite harsh and edgy and not at all pleasant listen to but if you felt that they sounded good then it must be my ears and I will realize that. (I felt the same way about the smaller system playing Eric Clapton).

    Thanks very much for your thoughts. 

     

    Frank

     

    Hi Frank - The big room needs some serious work to get the sound right. It's my understanding it was all put together that afternoon. 

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    Not sure how representative the video sound is of the actual in-person sound, but that is not my cup of tea.  Kind of brittle.  Have never heard these two brands, so perhaps worth a drive once they dial in the sound.  However, my experience with high-end stores has not been positive.   I've been shocked when they demo speakers that aren't broken in or are poorly set up (for example, speakers I own and that sound terrific at home), sometimes with equipment that isn't well-suited for the speaker (but, being brands they sell, they use).  

     

    Thanks for the overview and videos.  Cool concept for that part of their store.  

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    I'll be in Phoenix this weekend through next week.  This store among a few others are on my list to visit. Are the Grande Utopia EM speakers considered carry ons?😉

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