What the Maestro does is hit you right between the ears, but what about the things it doesn’t do? All that presence and immediacy balances the performance towards direct rather than reflected energy. The Maestros deliver a vast acoustic space, with tremendous width, depth, and air, but its boundaries are poorly defined compared to a speaker like the Wilson Alexia 2. You don’t hear the floor of the stage the way you do with really wide bandwidth systems. The focus here is very much on the performers and their performance, rather than the space in which that performance occurred. I suspect that this reflects a trade-off of absolute extension in return for low-frequency speed and impact. There’s certainly no missing the sheer power that the Maestro instils in music as varied as the Shostakovich Leningrad Symphony or the Gravity soundtrack – and I suspect that it’s a power many listeners will be only too happy to take over the alternative acoustic niceties. It also indicates the care and attention that Focal has lavished on the crossover and the all-important mid-bass region where so much musical impact originates.
The Evo suffix on this Maestro Utopia is more than just decoration or marketing speak. The latest version of the Utopia family’s middle member is as powerful, expressive, and emotive as it is ebullient. But it never lets its sheer enthusiasm overpower or obscure musical subtleties or nuance. If the greatest challenge facing any audio system is matching the dynamic range of real-life – great and small – this Maestro has more than a fair stab at it. With all that grace, power, and finesse on tap, when it comes to music the Maestro is a genuinely do it all performer. No matter what you throw at it, it comes back for more. It’s just a little larger than most people would like and greedy when it comes to space: but it’s also a more musically accomplished and dramatic speaker than they thought was possible – or at least accessible. Whichever way you cut it, this Maestro delivers an awful lot of music, excitement and sheer energy for your hard-earned cash – and will do it with a remarkable range of different systems and material, large or small. A powerfully capable all-rounder, it is not so much a musical Jess Ennis as the audio equivalent of Maro Itoje. This Maestro needs fear no comparisons with its competition, offering its own musical strengths and distinct balance of virtues. It has taken a while, but finally Focal has not only tamed its beast but taught it some seriously impressive musical tricks. It might just be the smallest really big loudspeaker out there.
Type: Three-way, reflex-loaded loudspeaker
Driver complement: 1×11” (270mm) ‘W’ woofer with Magnetic Damping System; 1×11” (270mm) ‘W’ woofer; 1×6.5” (165mm) ‘W’ midrange with NIC motor; 1×1” (27mm) inverted Beryllium dome IAL2 tweeter
Bandwidth: 25Hz to 40kHz ±3dB
Impedance: 8 Ohms nominal, 3.1 Ohms minimum
Power Handling: 600 Watts
Finishes: High gloss black, white, grey, British racing green and metallic blue (custom colours to special order)
455 ×1470 ×770mm
Weight: 116kg ea.
Price: £44,999 per pair
Manufacturer: Focal & Co
Tel: 0845 660 2680 (UK only)