At 8:30am on Friday, my 2017 RMAF began on a solemn note: a moment of silence for Focal’s Gérard Chrétien, who passed on October 1st. Along with Jacques Mahul, Monsieur Chrétien was an important member of the Focal team since 1990. He was a fan of sound and music who contributed copious style, innovation, and intelligence to the mystique of the French company’s sophisticated international image.

The other reasons for this 8:30am press breakfast were to explain Focal’s 28.5% growth in sales since 2015—and the international unveiling of their new three-way Kanta loudspeaker, which features a new molded, high-density polymer front baffle; new flax-sandwich-cone midrange and woofer, with Tuned Mass Damping (TMD) and reduced-resonance suspensions; and a new beryllium tweeter with an even larger magnet than Focal’s Sopra-series tweeters.

Every time I hang with John Bevier of Focal’s US distributor, Audio Plus Services, and Focal’s own Nicolas Debard—and the handsome, Euro-slender Focal team—I feel this overwhelming need to stand up straight, start ironing my clothes, and upgrade my wardrobe. It looks like 2018 will be another good year for this iconic French company.