T+A elektroakustik joins Upscale
We're proud to welcome the German electronics and speaker manufacturer
The T+A PA 3100 HV integrated amp impressed our team with its dead silent backgrounds and dynamic ability even at low volumes.
With nearly all its products designed and manufactured in Germany, T+A spells quality, top to bottom.
We said "top to bottom," so let's get this out of the way. Yes, the brand name reads like "T and A," and it's a joke/comment every T+A dealer or owner has heard. Every. Single. Time.
You say it "T plus A," with the 'T' standing for 'theory,' and the 'A' for 'application.' If that's the sort of name you'd imagine a bunch of scientists coming up with, you'd be exactly right. T+A was formed in Germany by scientists, but—and this is really important—scientists who write about their products like this: "We don't build mass products, we build acoustic treasures, we build heartbeats, goosebumps, and enthusiasm."
Though T+A is known in the US as mainly an electronics manufacturer, it began as a loudspeaker company and is well known as one across Europe. It's no accident that the electronics have been so well received in America, as T+A makes big, powerful amps housed in chassis so massively built that they might literally be "bombproof."
Plus, the T+A DAC 8 was hugely popular around 2016 and cemented T+A's stateside reputation as a digital-to-analog-conversion house of genius.
The T+A Talis range is built from aluminum, allowing for a much larger internal volume—and bass performance—than the dimensions would have you believe.
Upscale's T+A People
Even before our evaluation gear landed, we had a few longtime T+A fans at Upscale (yeah, yeah, go on, say it.)
Ken Davis, our sales manager, used to own the DAC 8 and loved its versatility, build quality, and sound. "It has a wonderful way with digital music. It can present detail, depth, and a wonderful soundstage without ever being fatiguing."
Kat Ourlian, Upscale's analog manager, used to rep T+A and loved the DAC 8. "I always felt T+A gave a clean, zippy tight sound. The DAC 8 had purity... more sparkle than a Chord, as tight as a Naim, but less forward in the mids, punchier than an Aurender."
Gautam Raja, our content manager, first encountered T+A at a previous job. Though that showroom was filled with ultra-high-end speakers from Wilson and Meridian, every time the owner fired up T+A speakers, even the smaller standmounts, Gautam would be inexorably drawn in by their sound. He eventually bought a pair of big T+A floorstanders, which still play daily in his main system.
Our retail manager, Ash Nashraf, also has fond memories of the brand from a previous job. He loves the "great warm sound of T+A coupled with great dynamics that are never ruthless and never get in the way of musicality."
Bill Rudolph, the analog sales specialist, once sold T+A and loved the "great build quality," especially that "they are leaders, not followers, a real engineering based company... not the copycat stuff."
Another shoutout for T+A's, frankly legendary, build quality comes from Steve Nakashima, sales and support associate, who added, "T+A always sounded much bigger than the specs would indicate—warmish but not too 'tubey.'"
If all this talk of warmth makes you nervous, Gautam explains exactly what he loves about his T+A speakers. "Just 'warmth' by itself is coloration: either a roll-off of the top or an unhealthy obsession with the midrange. But the warmth that comes with an increase in detail and bandwidth... that's the true harmonic texture of instruments, the weight of the sound they produce. This is what T+A delivers."
Says Ken, "T+A amps and DACs are where it is at for me."
"The best expression of the term 'German Engineering' in audio," adds Alex Brinkman, marketing manager, who used to sell the brand.
So you can see we have a lot of people who love and respect this audio legend from Herford, Germany, but what about new listeners? Chris Landfield, sales associate, spent some time in the demo room with the T+A PA 3100 HV integrated amp driving a pair of Focal Sopra No2, and he was genuinely impressed by the effortlessness of the presentation, exclaiming, "It's so dynamic and deep even at low volumes."
Focal Kanta: The Two-Toned Wonder
The Focal Kanta is one of our favorite speaker lines, and we have all three models in various finishes in stock. Shown above is the No1 in the Walnut/Dark Grey option.
Take the sparkle and sizzle of a beryllium tweeter and combine it with the textured slam and gentle warmth of flax drivers, and you get one of the most exciting speakers on our demo room floor. Combine this unique sonic signature with startling good looks, and it's no wonder that Kanta is sold out everywhere.
At Upscale Audio, we flex our huge warehouse space and load up on products that we love and that you will want. We have a little Kanta corner in our warehouse, with all three Kantas, No1, No3, and No3, ready to ship out to their new homes.
The contrast front panel isn't there to offer two-toned finish options. It is 70% denser than MDF, 15% stiffer, and provides a full 25% more damping. Notice how it is angled, giving the drivers some physical time alignment and allowing for a more straightforward, direct crossover.
Kanta No1: Dream Bookshelf
What's on your dream bookshelf? First editions? Rows of classics? Complete graphic novel series? Anything but the Kanta No1, we hope, because a good "bookshelf" speaker does not belong on a bookshelf.
Consider the dedicated stands a non-optional purchase because they allow standmount speakers (our preferred term) to fulfill their incredible potential. You get bass extension, speed, and imaging that will make your friends look around for the subwoofer in the corner and floorstanders behind the curtains. There's a magic to high-end standmounts that bring even the most dedicated floorstander owner back again and again.
Available finishes (Body/Front panel): Walnut/Dark Grey, Walnut/Warm Taupe, Gloss White
Focal Kanta No1 (each)
Focal Kanta No1 Stands (pair)
Kanta No2: Prepare to be Floored
A three-way with two active 6.5" woofers, the Kanta No2 is our best-selling speaker format. This class of speaker goes deep enough for all but the biggest rooms and has tremendous speed and agility. The flax drivers preserve tube texture and soften transistor edginess without losing propulsive force and sheer danceability. Use the two-toned finishes in both classic and contemporary rooms to complement or blend in. Or, make a statement with all gloss white or gloss black.
Available finishes (Body/Front panel): Walnut/Ivory, Walnut/Dark Grey, Walnut/Deep Black, Walnut/Warm Taupe, Gloss White, Gloss Black
|Focal Kanta No2 (each)|
Kanta No3: The Floor is Yours
This three-way ups the woofer size to 8", creating a big, weighty bass wave that pressurizes the largest rooms in a way that seriously heightens realism. The No3 is when Kanta gets properly authoritative, a high-end speaker who sets aside audiophile frippery, digs in, and gets work done while never forgetting to have fun. This could be your endgame speaker, and it's well under $20,000.
Available finishes (Body/Front panel): Walnut/Ivory, Walnut/Dark Grey, Walnut/Gloss Black, Gloss White, Gloss Black
Focal Kanta No3 (each)
New Video: Grover and Kat Review the Focal Utopia 2022 Headphones
Focal waited eight years to incorporate feedback from the community and tweak the much-loved Utopia to offer the 2022 edition at a price that tracks inflation. Hold onto and love your OG Utopia, but if you're in the market for a new pair of airy, transparent, beautifully built headphones, the Focal Utopia 2022 look, feel, and sound every bit as expensive as you'd expect a $4,999 set of headphones to be.