To Doug Schneider,

I’ve been reading SoundStage! Hi-Fi for over 12 years and very much appreciate the insight that you provide in your reviews. I’m wondering if you have any of the Focal Electra models on your radar for a review? Most specifically: the Focal Electra 1008 Be II? Or potentially the B&W 805 Diamond? Or, if not a review, any thoughts on either speaker? I've had a listen to both, as well as the Dynaudio Confidence C1, but not with the same components. They all had their virtues and vices and I would appreciate any insight.

Thank you,

Wow, heavy hitters -- Focal, B&W, and Dynaudio are three of Europe's biggest and best-known brands. They also all consistently make very good loudspeakers, although I haven't had enough experience with all their current models to comment authoritatively on their sound.

I had the C1s here several years ago and thought that they were wickedly good sounding, although I wasn't too fond of their styling. Still, I could easily live with them, given how they sounded in my room. B&W's 805 Diamond has never intrigued me, so I never thought to review it, but Focal has actually been on my mind for some time, since I've always liked the sound of their speakers -- the original Utopia line was quite something. Their Canadian distributor, Plurison, is excellent about sending out review samples, so I will follow up with them to see what they think about sending out the 1008 Be II, since it does look interesting, or if there's something else that's newer that they might recommend. Stay tuned. . . . Doug Schneider