How to make the Focal Kanta No. 2 speakers sing?


Hi!

My first post here and I would like to hear your thoughts and tips for "warming up" my Focal Kanta 2 speakers.

 

TLDR

The sound from my Focal Kanta 2 speakers in my room is a bit shouty, bright and thin sounding, clearly lacking level and emotion in the lower mid range. Bass is good, quick and quite deep though.

Any tips for getting more "vocal warmth" into the system? Tube preamp, Dirac, ...? I see that many use old school power hungry amps that can heat your house during winter to drive Focal speakers. Is that really needed or can I get away with a modern amp that doesn’t cost a fortune.

 

More in depth information

In my living room (5.3 x 4.1 x 2.4m) I have a setup with both 2 channel and a multi channel setup. They share the same front speakers and front speaker amp.

2 channel setup:

 

5.2 channel setup:

 

I focus mainly on the two channel setup here. Multichannel is used quite much also for streaming movies, but is ok.

So the main issue for me is that the sound in in the two channel setup is thin sounding with mids clearly lacking in the lower end. It can be fatiguing to listen for a few hours. Bass though is enjoyable, fast and fairly deep.

Earlier I had the Focal Aria 936 speakers as front speakers in the same room (connected to the Yamaha AVR at that time). I liked them but wanted to upgrade to the next level after a few years 😄 The Arias were more forgiving than the Kantas, had more enjoyable warmth in the mids and were a bit rolled off in the top compared to the Kantas. Not fatiguing at all. But everything else the Kantas do better.

I have also had some other speakers, up to half Kanta price range, in the same room where all have had fuller mids and a more forgiving sound: Dynaudio, Totem and Triangle floor standers as well as Buchardt and my really old B&W 602s3 (super full mids but super rolled off in the top) stand speakers. The Kantas are different animals to all these and seem to require the a more delicate and correct chain of components to perform.

I have messed around with speaker positioning quite a lot. It’s mainly the bass region that is affected. Mids not very much.

Options I’m considering:

  • Upgrading the Yamaha AVR to a Marantz Cinema 50 for example to get Dirac room tuning, and run the 2 channel system through this also. The quality of the Marantz might not be the best here to use as a 2 channel pre amp/processor.
  • Use a dedicated pre amp for the 2 channel system. Budget up to 2000€. Not sure what to look for? Used equipment is fine.
  • Tubes? Never really listened to tubes but from what I understand you generally get a more warm sound from them. Tube preamp? Not very modern but might do the trick. Schiit Freya + seems to be within the budget range for example.
  • Other 2 channel amplifier. As mentioned I have tried to avoid the nuclear power plants of amps. I see people recommending amps from manufacturers like Musical Fidelity, Sim Audio, McIntosh, Accuphase etc. But these are really costly and I feel they generally belong in an older age that we are moving away from. But it might be what is needed, I don’t know, haven’t really heard them play.
  • Treat the room more. I have a big sofa, a really big carpet and a few acoustic panels in the room (no real science behind them now). The room in itself is a bit "bright" so here I can make a better effort of course, regardless of other taken measures.
  • Get other speakers. I can also just face it that the Kantas are what they are, sounding thin in the midrange and lacking emotion in voices. Getting other speakers might be the easiest upgrade. But it’s not that easy to find and test speakers in your room either...

 

Long story. Any recommendations?

Thanks!

donald_dac

Well that’s just utter crap. If a mass market prepro incorporated anywhere near the level of parts quality of a good stereo preamp its price would go up several times, which is exactly why the better prepros out there that actually do a decent job as a stereo preamp cost multiples of what mass market units go for.

@soix , Sure, spend 60k on a Trinnov prepro. You will also pay/get a lifetime of free customer support anytime (US labor rates). I highly doubt a dude like you will still get anywhere with it without hiring a system integrator who knows what he is doing.

 

Hey guys, is there any way on this forum to put one clueless barking bozo (who follows me around on threads like a rabid creature)  in a permanent ignore blackhole?

Yep, it’s the speakers. No doubt about it. 
 

Ship them to me and I will dispose of them.

Hey guys, is there any way on this forum to put one clueless barking bozo (who follows me around on threads like a rabid creature) in a permanent ignore blackhole?

Yeah. Stop posting clueless and silly crap like what you’ve been posting here. That’ll work.

I've never owned Focal speakers but have heard them demonstrated at dealers and at shows. These include Kantas and Sopras and what I heard aligns with your experience that they sounded bright and thin and very much in your face. So my conclusion is ditch the speakers and look at something in the Sonus Faber range or Josephs and even electrostatics or planars from the likes of Martin Logan or Magneplanar