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In the past few months I have upgraded my center channel from the Stage X to the new Focus. Originally I had the new Focus paired with a pair of Summit X’s for a few months. I could tell right away that the new center channel was superior to the Stage X. How could I tell? It was pretty easy to tell that the new Focus just made movies or concerts sound more real and interesting then in the past. The center channel is the most important speaker in a multi-channel system so to get the best sound quality any improvements will be noticed immediately. If you look at the specs the horizontal dispersion is the same for both center channels but to me it’s wider on the new Focus. So sitting off axis works better in my room sitting arrangement – maybe it’s just that it’s longer than the Stage X.
The other thing that I would like to mention is I had the Stage X sitting on top of my electronic cabinet with the back about 3” from the wall. This worked but an older different manufacturer (that I had in the past) had a way to mount the center channel directly to the wall. I always liked that look but even though the Stage X had a bracket that could be used to mount to the wall it would have been sticking out quite a bit more so I never mounted it that way. The new Focus is made to mount to a wall hanging on a very narrow bracket so really it sticks out just slightly deeper than the speaker itself. The Focus has a switch to configure the speaker exactly for direct wall mounting and if preferred not. I really like the look mounted directly to the wall. I also think because of the development work that ML did to make this even possible to wall mount (which probably was quite the trick with an electrostatic speaker) I just think the end result is very good sonically and visually. I also like the longer look of the Focus it kind of looks like the top section of a hybrid speaker on its side. It seems to match the rest of the front channels better visually.
The finishing that I’m all too familiar with continues to be top notch indeed. In fact it looked so good I swapped out my Summit X’s (with stock black ash finish) to a special color 13a’s that match much more closely which I like a lot – both visually and sonically. I would also like to thank Shawn at DaVinci Media for all his help with this media room system upgrades and trade ins over the years!