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


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



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?



Good tips from everyone. I'm, taking them all in consideration.

@rick_n Yes good, point. The ceiling is the weakest link here, plasterboard... It's a living room so I can't put anything up there for diffusing either.

@mm1tt77 Wise words. Great to hear you experience. Thanks. This is really what it boils down to.

An easy next step as pointed out is to mess around with the Yamaha AVR and see how far EQ:ing takes me. In combination with REW and the Umik perhaps. If that turns out well it might be a path to walk down further. And after a proven concept, perhaps later on getting a better performing device with EQ / room acoustics tools built in.

What about putting a pre amp, be it tube based or not, in front of the Class D amp. Has anyone done that in a case like this to achieve a welcoming warmth to the sound? Some sound tuning possibilities is also good to have.

I have not really planned to invest more than a like 2000€-3000€ on gear at this moment. On what would that money best be spent in this case?

@donald_dac I have Focal Kanta 2s in a quite large room (3m x 5m). And am on the same journey as you. My journey, toward making the Focals sound warmer, and fuller and less fatiguing is ongoing. However, I have learned a few things along the way. The first was that adding REL subs made a big difference. They were hard to position and took quite a long time to break in, but they have made the biggest difference. I have the S/812s. But I over bought and should have bought the 510s.
Second, I moved to a Bryston 14 B3 amp from a Hegel H390. If I did it again, I would have bought the Bryston mono blocks as their input impedance is higher. Mistake!

Right now I have borrowed a tube preamp from my dealer who was exceedingly kind to lend it to me. That, combined with a tube DAC has made a difference. Even before switching from the Hegel integrated H390, the Lab 12 DAC 1 made an enormous difference. This is an inexpensive DAC from Greece that will not break the bank. Read the reviews! They are very positive.

Before my dealer lent me the DAC, I had bought an excellent sounding tube preamp from an Italian company called Synthesis, which totally brought the Focals to life. In a good way! But there was an impedance mismatch between the low input impedance on the Bryston and the slightly elevated output impedance on the Synthesis  but no doubt about it, that was the right preamp for the Focals.

My dealer has now ordered me a Pathos preamp, which I suspect will work well too.

A note on cables. They make a big difference. I upgraded my speaker cables to the DH labs Q 10. And also my amp power cable.

The Focals can sound amazing, but they need to be babied along on their journey to greatness.



As a Focal dealer, PLEASE treat your room first before you do anything else. Your room is more that 50% of what you are hearing. Once your room is treated correctly, you will be able to ascertain the differences between your components. Without treating your room, you haven't heard the Kantas yet.

There is science behind treating your room. Couches, rugs etc. don't treat the room correctly. Companies like Vicoustic will give you a package based on performance and aesthetics required. We do it all the time for our customers.

Drinking a nice wine out of a dixie cup tastes terrible. Put it in a Riedel glass and you are tasting what the wine maker created.


Some of these posts were nothing more than rehearsed diatribe about Focal speakers and the beryllium tweeter. Your speakers are fine, but they sound brand new and they will need some time to work in. In the meantime consider the following:

  1. Your room acoustics have at least 50% to do with your room, treat it properly, it will make the biggest difference!
  2. Try not to pair Focal speakers with Class D amplification, or at least pair them with a tube preamp. This will help with the mids and gentleness of delivery.
  3. Adding 2 subs to your setup will really fill out the sound.

Last thing I will note in defense of the tweeter in your Focal Kantas is that they will deliver superb detail... it seems as though many audiophiles like calling this ’bright’. But I will stand by the sale of my Wilson speakers on my move to Focals for the detail that was never apparent in the former.