Bring the Grandeur Of La Scala Home
Singing the praises of the Focal Scala Utopia EVO
Hear us out; this might be your chance to go ultra-high-end.
Focal loudspeakers are a big hit with customers and all of us here at Upscale. The Vestia range sets a very high opening bar with its Al/Mg (Aluminum/Magnesium) tweeter and Slatefiber cone. Aria brings in flax cones to add a ton of character and desirable warmth. Then you move into Sopra and higher with beryllium tweeters and Focal's famed W cone material.
Focal's Be and W
Though Focal's beryllium tweeter gives you massive top-end extension, it's still got a twinkle in its eye, i.e., will never speak to you harshly. The W cone mids reach right into the heart of the performance but with no artificial sweetening. Those fast woofers fairly dance out the bass with a speed and lightness of foot that you hear only in concert venues. Once you fall in love with a Focal speaker with this driver combination, you can be assured that you'll fall even harder for the higher-end models. The only thing stopping you will be the size of your room and your discretionary spending budget.
Three Speakers in One
Scala Utopia is the first in the line-up that completely separates the upper, mid, and bass drivers, giving them their own little speakers within the speaker, eliminating diffraction and other resonance issues. The chambers can be carefully calculated to perfectly support the driver, allowing for fewer notches and other adjustments in the crossover.
The Utopia Evo offers bi-amplification, giving you a few options to improve the sound.
1) Experiment with high-end jumpers to get the sound you want.
2) Use a speaker cable that runs bass signals along a different set of conductors. These sometimes run the conductors separately, or you will see that they have one pair of connectors on the amp side and two pairs on the speaker side.
3) Use one power amp for the high frequencies and another for the lows. This can get pretty involved, so call and talk to one of our audio nerds about it.
We have the Focal Scala Utopia EVO in Black, High Gloss, Ash Grey, Natural Walnut, and Dark Walnut.
Focal Scala Utopia EVO Loudspeakers (each)
The Day the Sun Stands Still
The Naim Solstice turntable lives up to the brand's rock-steady reputation. This limited edition bundle includes the Naim ARO arm, Naim Equinox MC cartridge, a phonostage, and a power supply.
The Solstice is Naim's first turntable, but the Salisbury legend has always championed vinyl. The ARO unipivot tonearm was first made in 1989. Starting in 1981, Naim made a well-loved onboard phonostage for Linn turntables and, later, a power supply for the Linn Sondek LP12.
Naim was well known through the late 1980s for its rejection of the silver disc's promise of "Pure, Perfect Sound—Forever," refusing to manufacture a CD player until they could get digital reproduction to a level they felt befitted the Naim name. (They did this in 1991, nearly ten years after the launch of the CD.)
In this way, Naim has always been very open about where its strengths lie. Even now, with the Solstice, they have left the actual turntable manufacture to the experts in Germany: Clearaudio. Note, this isn't a re-badge of an existing Clearaudio design but a clear case of two highly exacting audio experts working together to create something different and extraordinary.
Naim's new version of the cult ARO arm, in development for over 30 years, uses a carbon fiber arm tube and magnetic bias mechanism, along with many other improvements. If you're a little worried about Naim's ability to suddenly wind a brilliant MC cartridge, fear not, the Equinox is based on a Clearaudio design but with a special aluminum body, boron cantilever, and Microline stylus. Again, this is more than just a rebadge.
As for the phonostage and power supply, this is where Naim Audio's full might can hammer down, using all the lessons learned in developing the cost-no-object Statement series. Hand-crafted in Salisbury, they both use Naim's Discrete Regulator technology and are built to Naim's fanatical standards.
"Forward, Tight, Stable as Hell."
We asked Kat Ourlian, our analog manager, to give us a run-down on the Naim Solstice turntable system.
The Solstice is a full-on analog system with the Naim sound. It’s forward; it’s tight; it’s stable as hell and clean as a whistle in sound.
As with every other NAIM setup, it is polite on the top end but full everywhere else. The deck is dense and heavy, like their amps and power supplies. The entire deck ships ready to go, just like their streamers. No fuss, no noise floor, no worries.
It comes with the cartridge, phonostage, and power supply, which all have their proprietary DIN connections, as well as single-ended connections. Naim supplies you with the DIN cables needed to run but also allows you that RCA connection, just in case you're new to the Naim crowd.
Since Naim is not a regular turntable manufacturer, they paired with another tried and true brand they know to be one of the best for analog, Clearaudio. Who better than the Germans to design your turntable?
This table is one of 500 in the world, and unlike the biannual event with the sun it's named after, this will come around only once.
Naim Solstice Turntable
Grover's Back! Video Review of the HiFiMan Susvara Planar-Magnetic Headphones
The HiFiMan Susvara is one of Grover's all-time personal favorite headphones and one that's getting the most time in his home studio setup. It offers loads of detail with not a shred of harshness in the treble, slightly warm mids, and a big, wide-open sound with tons of macro- and micro-dynamic detail. Be careful with amp pairings, though! Watch the video to find out more.
East Coast readers, come audition the HiFiMan Susvara at our station at CanJam NYC 2023, February 25 and 26, at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
We're Open Again on Saturday!
The Upscale Audio store at 2058 Wright Avenue in La Verne is partying again on Saturdays from 9 to 5. We will be running with a smaller crew, and there are a couple of important things to note:
1) As with all other days, you'll need to call ahead and set up an appointment for a specific demo. Walk-ins won't be turned away, but your auditions will be limited to our headphone station and only if the rooms are free, whatever systems we already have set up.
2) The warehouse will not be open, so if you need to pick up something, please call ahead, and we'll ensure we bring it over by Friday. If you buy something while you're here, it might be cheaper to ship it! After all, shipping is free above $49, and you'll save a little on La Verne city tax. Unless you live in La Verne...
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, but to repeat, if you want our undivided attention, please call 909.931.9686 and make an appointment first.