Focal and Naim had a big room at the end of the convention center side of the Schaumburg Renaissance this weekend at AXPONA 2022 in Chicago. Always a solid listen, the company’s setup had a more expo-ready feel to it than your usual hotel-room-with-a-system that can be found on the west side of the massive complex. On full display were the numerous brands that make up the Focal Naim America umbrella, including Thorens turntables, Naim’s new Uniti all in ones and Focal’s large range of audiophile approved headphones.
The big demo on active display was from the new line of in-wall speakers, borrowing much of the flagship mojo and aptly named the Utopia 1000 series. One “tower” like 1000 IWLCR Utopia ($7,599 each) was playing much of the weekend but Focal also makes a complementary sub unit called the 1000 IWSUB Utopia ($2,899 each). Sonically the demo had one of my favorite show characteristics which I usually dub simply “big sound”. A very tall and wide soundstage broke through with excellent transparency to source, even in the large space. Of course, along for the ride was also a pair of the “regular” Focal Maestro Utopia Speakers ($37,999 each) powered by Naim Statement separates ($389,997 total, 3 pieces @ $129,999 each). A Naim NDX2 ($8,799) acted as the source.
To the left of the demo was a static display of the Uniti line from Naim. Most recently we have fallen in love with the Star model, which we reviewed here alongside the Kanta No.1 by Focal. Located In the back behind the Maestros there was a bonus 7.2.4 Atmos listening space consisting of the Front L+R – Focal Chora 826D, Chora Center, Side Surround L+R – Chora 826 and Rear Surround L+R – Chora 826D.
Focal is currently pushing the Chora line of speakers with a 20% off sale which kicked off on April 15th. The series represents a more budget entry point to Focal, with speaker products ranging from $399 to $1,199 currently. Given the organization of the room, (both in appearance and demonstrations) the experience in the Focal Naim exhibit was very enlightening. The new products sounded great and the static displays reminded attendees that the company is such a major contributor to the space. They bring such a wide array of favorable audiophile products to market, across almost all categories of listening entertainment – a musical demo well done.