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Focal or Klipsch?

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#1
Hi all,
I currently have Focal 948 in my living room as part of the main system - fine speakers but not without the week points. They do need - I suspect - more powerful amplifier (more than 50W class A) to really open up and sing. Even bi-polar paradigm's from the 90's do come across as more musical to my ears, albeit harder to place correctly.
So say between Klipsch Cornwall (that I have been looking at for quite a while now) and Focal Kanta 3 - what would be your preference and why? The speakers would be connected to the same FirstWatt F5T amplifier and placed in the very large room.

Very different speakers, I know.

For Klipsh
  • Effortless
  • Musical at low volumes
  • Very live like
For Focal
  • Refined
I listen mostly to Jazz, but also classical and some light rock.

thanks.
 

Helicopter

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#2
If I were going to be replacing my 948s, I would definitely choose the Kanta No. 3 over the Cornwall. If I had the option to keep the 948 then the Cornwall might make a good pairing.

Focal:

Excellent frequency response
Kanta has advanced baffle design
Made in France
Very good sensitivity
Minimum impedance is quite low
Great colors and styles.

Klipsch:

Colored sound. Not up to current engineering standards.
Excellent sensitivity.
Excellent impedance curve is amp friendly.
Sounds like a PA or sound reinforcement.
Made in Arkansas.
Classic hardwood veneer cabinet. Lovely grill cloth.

I run Heresys with my tube amp and run 948 with a chip amp. I will probably get a beast of class D for them later on, but the Loxjie A30 is fine with them. Contrarily, the 25W SET tube amp had major problems, i.e., oscilating plate current with the Arias.

I definitely prefer the Arias for classical and most Jazz. The Heresys are fun with metal, especially low-fi stuff, but mostly just because they play nicely with my tubes and the tubes look really cool. The Focals are better speakers overall. If I were more patient, I probably.would jave saved for Kanta No. 3, but I didn't want to wait.

I doubt there is a huge difference between the Aria and Kanta in sound, though the Kanta will certainly be better. Why don't you try another amp, like one of the 250 or evem 400W Hypex or Purifi amps from Buckeye, March, or Audiofonics? No way amy of those will struggle delivering current to.the Focals, and they are.not too expensive. Or Splurge on a pair of Benchmark AHB2s and be good on amps for the foreseeable future.

I would love a pair of Cornwall IV, but not for my primary speakers. Focals are.way more transparent and well engineered. Simce 948 and Kanta 3 are similar, maybe get the 948s working well in your system and then decide if you want to upgrade to Kantas.
 
OP
A
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Thread Starter #3
If I were going to be replacing my 948s, I would definitely choose the Kanta No. 3 over the Cornwall. If I had the option to keep the 948 then the Cornwall might make a good pairing.

Focal:

Excellent frequency response
Kanta has advanced baffle design
Made in France
Very good sensitivity
Minimum impedance is quite low
Great colors and styles.

Klipsch:

Colored sound. Not up to current engineering standards.
Excellent sensitivity.
Excellent impedance curve is amp friendly.
Sounds like a PA or sound reinforcement.
Made in Arkansas.
Classic hardwood veneer cabinet. Lovely grill cloth.

I run Heresys with my tube amp and run 948 with a chip amp. I will probably get a beast of class D for them later on, but the Loxjie A30 is fine with them. Contrarily, the 25W SET tube amp had major problems, i.e., oscilating plate current with the Arias.

I definitely prefer the Arias for classical and most Jazz. The Heresys are fun with metal, especially low-fi stuff, but mostly just because they play nicely with my tubes and the tubes look really cool. The Focals are better speakers overall. If I were more patient, I probably.would jave saved for Kanta No. 3, but I didn't want to wait.

I doubt there is a huge difference between the Aria and Kanta in sound, though the Kanta will certainly be better. Why don't you try another amp, like one of the 250 or evem 400W Hypex or Purifi amps from Buckeye, March, or Audiofonics? No way amy of those will struggle delivering current to.the Focals, and they are.not too expensive. Or Splurge on a pair of Benchmark AHB2s and be good on amps for the foreseeable future.

I would love a pair of Cornwall IV, but not for my primary speakers. Focals are.way more transparent and well engineered. Simce 948 and Kanta 3 are similar, maybe get the 948s working well in your system and then decide if you want to upgrade to Kantas.
Nice summary, thank you!
 
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Patton04

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#4
FYI, I own the focal Kanta 2's. They work best with an amp comfortable with a 4ohm load. Actually have mine on the 4ohm taps of mc611 monos. Kanta 3's have same frequency response at certain impedances. Stereophile did review of the 2. Another review done on the 3 with similar frequency response.
 

watchnerd

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#5
So say between Klipsch Cornwall (that I have been looking at for quite a while now) and Focal Kanta 3
These speakers are so different I can't imagine cross-shopping them.

It's almost like cross-shopping a pickup truck vs a 2 seat convertible.

The reason to buy the Cornwall is to have "the horn experience"

If you want the horn experience, the Kanta won't give that.

If you don't care about the horn experience, don't even consider the Cornwall.
 
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Thread Starter #6
These speakers are so different I can't imagine cross-shopping them.

It's almost like cross-shopping a pickup truck vs a 2 seat convertible.

The reason to buy the Cornwall is to have "the horn experience"

If you want the horn experience, the Kanta won't give that.

If you don't care about the horn experience, don't even consider the Cornwall.

I heard JBL L300 (Summit) at one of my friend's houses, and really liked that sound. Very unique and present. So I think this is what horns are about. Those L300's, however, are almost impossible to find here in Europe, and I would not want to pay for them without seeing what I am getting first. Klipsch, on the other hand, might be an easier reachable alternative.

Kanta 3 is said to have similar signature (somewhat) to 484's, with some more to it - bigger and deeper bass, albeit very light, and the beryllium tweeters of course. So would not want to buy one and then regret I did not first check the other. Would like to hear/read what others say.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #7
FYI, I own the focal Kanta 2's. They work best with an amp comfortable with a 4ohm load. Actually have mine on the 4ohm taps of mc611 monos. Kanta 3's have same frequency response at certain impedances. Stereophile did review of the 2. Another review done on the 3 with similar frequency response.
Thank you for replying. How do you like the bass, is it somewhat light when compared to other speakers of that size?
 
OP
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Thread Starter #9
Get a more powerful amp.
For the movies I have Marantz SR8001, I switch the cables on the speakers, and they sound very similar. The bass is there, but it is very light. Not like any other speaker I listened to.
 

Helicopter

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#12
My 948s seem to have good bass without EQ. I move them way into the room away from the walls. I keep repositioning them. The Klipsch speakers are right near the wall to boost the bass.

20210130_150113.jpg


Maybe try EQ, with a measurement microphone, and more powerful amp. Rated power is not such a huge deal as long as the amp can deliver decent power around 2.5 ohms, which is what gives amps trouble. However, something like 400W nCore will probably do this really well. A pair of AHB2s or a pair of Vidars would do it too.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #13
My 948s seem to have good bass without EQ. I move them way into the room away from the walls. I keep repositioning them. The Klipsch speakers are right near the wall to boost the bass.



Maybe try EQ, with a measurement microphone, and more powerful amp. Rated power is not such a huge deal as long as the amp can deliver decent power around 2.5 ohms, which is what gives amps trouble. However, something like 400W nCore will probably do this really well. A pair of AHB2s or a pair of Vidars would do it too.
[/QUOTE]

Is it a wooden house/floors?
 

Helicopter

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#14
Is it a wooden house/floors?[/QUOTE]
Concrete slab with cork and carpet floor. 2x6 insulated wood walls on all 4 sides. 12" insulation on ceiling. MDF ship lap over OSB and pine over OSB. 12 foot vaulted ceiling. 540 sq ft / 50 sq m.
 

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Ron Texas

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#15
If I had a pair of 948's I would not be looking to get rid of them. With a bit of effort they could sing, even with 50 WPC. It could be placement, toe in, room treatment, LP distance, EQ or something else, but I truly believe it could be done, and without Mastercard.
 
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Helicopter

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#17
If I had a pair of 948's I would not be looking to get rid of them. With a bit of effort they could sing, even with 50 WPC. It could be placement, toe in, room treatment, LP distance, EQ or something else, but I truly believe it could be done, and without Mastercard.
Mine are great with the Loxjie A30 and the Marantz 4240, but really weak with my Shuguang SG-845-7. The A30 and 4240 are not powerful by any means. Maybe I will try one of the more powerful amps here at some point, but I need to work on cables first so I can take better measurements and play with EQ.

Is this a serious question? Klipsch is the Cerwin Vega successor. Speakers designed for the brainless. Get Klipsch if you're on a tight budget and only like Metal and Rap. Get Focal if you a true music lover.
Klipsch do not have good FR, but they do work with finicky tubes if you like to play with that kind of stuff.
 

VintageFlanker

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#18
For the Aria 948 you need at least 200 W per channel.

What do you think @VintageFlanker ?
I guess It depends of the target SPL you're seeking for. As you know, I like loud (yet clean) listening. The 948 are rated at 93dB 1W/1M but are close to 88dB measured, and are supposed to handle 350W. IMHO they really shine at loud levels and work very well with powerful Ncore modules, such as NC502MP/NC500MP. They will work OK with less power, but this doesn't do them justice that way.
 

watchnerd

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#19
I heard JBL L300 (Summit) at one of my friend's houses, and really liked that sound. Very unique and present. So I think this is what horns are about. Those L300's, however, are almost impossible to find here in Europe, and I would not want to pay for them without seeing what I am getting first. Klipsch, on the other hand, might be an easier reachable alternative.

Kanta 3 is said to have similar signature (somewhat) to 484's, with some more to it - bigger and deeper bass, albeit very light, and the beryllium tweeters of course. So would not want to buy one and then regret I did not first check the other. Would like to hear/read what others say.
If you want to come even close to replicating the L300 experience, for good or ill, the Cornwalls will be kinda-sorta closer than the Kanta.

But if you like the 484, the Kanta is definitely closer to that.

I think you have to decide what you're shopping for.
 
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