Some thoughts on Focal Kanta

These speakers have been out now for quite a while and there are plenty of reviews available. I’m too lazy to write another full (and probably useless) review, but wanted to post a few things about them that surprised me once I got them, that may or may not be captured in some of the comments and reviews out there. I have the Kanta 3s, they’ve been in my system now for about 3 months.

1. Build quality is good, but the cabinet is somewhat resonant/thin (especially at the bottom) using the old knuckle test compared to similarly priced speakers, for example the Revel 228.

2. The front baffle where it fits against the cabinet has some room around it (it is not a super tight fit) and if you shine a flashlight on the space you can see glue in there where the two are joined.

3. Opinion alert. This is an extremely well engineered speaker, given #1 and 2 above, the sound that comes out of this speaker sounds like something from a 200 lb. speaker, not a 100 lb. speaker with only ‘decent’ cabinetry. I believe the baffle, both thickness and composition, and overall design are responsible, and Focal has designed this speaker cutting corners where it doesn’t matter. The integral stands I believe are also contributing to this, especially with iso acoustic Gaia footers, which make a nice difference.

4. I have never heard them sound harsh. I play mostly newer, hi-rez recordings, but even with SS amps from the likes of Bryston they sound smooth. I don’t know what people are hearing there.

5. Best imaging and sound staging I have heard from any speaker. Again, it’s like a mega speaker with super heavy and rigid/inert cabinets.

6. Bass is slightly dry in tone. It matches the rest of the speaker sound so its consistency is a desirable design choice. But as someone who plays the pipe organ, I can say the tonality of the bass is not on par with something like a Magico A3 (which I have also owned, and which did happen to have the best bass I’ve heard from any speaker of those I’ve had in my room).

7. They’re very amp friendly. They sound good with everything I’ve put on them, including Primaluna, Bryston, NAD class D, etc. I do find they work better with 80+ watts though than 40 (I have Primaluna mono blocks so can compare 40 vs 80 w/ch using one stereo amp only).

8. Most revealing speaker I’ve had, even more so than B and W 804 Diamond or Revel F228. Amongst others….

9.  Packaging was surprisingly flimsy.  The Revels come double boxed in comparison, the Kantas come in one light box with minimal packing inside.

Overall, they’re very neutral, dynamic, fun speakers. When they came out I thought they were some kind of fashion statement or gimmick even, and never thought I would own a pair. Over time the design grew on me and now I like that too. One last thing, I believe the magic in these speakers is the tweeter/midrange, and therefore the model 1 is probably a really good value speaker. I say that because with the largest model (my 3s), the aforementioned cabinet thickness at the bottom of the speaker and bass quality work just fine for this speaker when needed in a larger room, and I am completely satisfied with them in this regard - and would even recommend them. But it is this facet that is perhaps the Achilles heel, not quite in line with other speakers at this price point. This is a pretty minor thing though, not huge. The bass, other than the tonality in some cases, is really good in both quality and quantity. I would still easily take the Kanta over the other speakers I’ve heard. Also, its amp friendliness is something you could never get away with, with something like B and W, Revel or Magico. You can get a very high quality, refined sound with not a huge investment in power.


@jimmy2615 I have the twos. They are the first “full range “ speakers that Ive ever owned that are actually full range. Im powering them with a Prima Luna evo 400 and they are just fantastic, my sub sits in the corner unused, might be useful for home theater but not necessary for two channel audio for me anyway. I’ve often wondered what the Sopras sound like but knew better than to audition them when I wascin the market.

I find it fascinating how important room and component matching have to do with final impressions. I liked the Kanta 2 enough to convince my local Focal dealer to order the Kanta 3 which I had home 2 weeks before returning! there was a +10 db bump at 100 hz in my room flat at 90 hz and -10 db by 80 hz! I still really enjoyed the midrange and overall presentation, but not being a fan of subs I returned them due to the lack of bass in my room. To be fair to Kanta owners, most conventional speakers have poor bass response in my room.

Yes, taming bass node anomalies can be a real PITA.  With DSP and peaks you can cut the signal, but the dips/nulls are hard to resolve - turning up the bass at those Freq’s just reinforces the null and exhausts your amplifier.  In these situations sometimes using smaller main speakers combined with subwoofers can work better than two big speakers like these.  Fortunately for me they worked in my room.

I have the Kanta 3s, which I auditioned against Sopra 3s and Revels. I loved how dynamic they are along with the revealing side. They are great and IMO underappreciated speakers.