The $13,000 Focal Kanta No. 3 speakers are a stunning piece of audio furniture


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When French speaker manufacturer Focal offered to let me review its flagship product, the $230,000, 700-pound Utopias, I despaired a little. Despite my curiosity to audition speakers that cost more than an Ivy League’s four-year tuition, I didn’t know where I’d begin to review something that expensive. I also didn’t know how I’d get them into my apartment.

Instead, I settled for one of the company’s (relatively) more accessible speakers, the Kanta No. 3. Stunning for its modern design as well as sound quality, the Kanta No 3 is the type of speaker you buy as a long-term investment for your home – a piece of audio furniture.

Of course, $12,000 is only ”more accessible” in relation to its vastly more expensive sibling, but at least it’s less than a decade of rent.

This is a price tier of audio gear I’ve consciously avoided so far. I believe comparisons are crucial to audio reviews, and ideally, you’d only compare speakers you’ve heard recently in your own listening room. That’s hard to do with giant, crazy-expensive speakers, and I’ve not done so with anything near the Kanta’s price point.

With those disclaimers clear, I deeply enjoyed my time with the Kanta. They are hardly what I’d call the best bang for your buck, but they are the kind of product where – if you’ve got the dough – function and form come together in a way that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

The Kanta’s design is arresting. Aesthetic preferences are subjective, but to this subject, the Kanta’s two-tone design makes it one of the best looking speakers I’ve seen – real-life or otherwise. Some audiophiles think all decisions should be based on sound quality, but others and I contend that aesthetics have a meaningful impact on your enjoyment of music. No matter the speaker, you’ll always spend more time looking at it than listening to it.