NEW FOCAL ARIA 900 SPEAKERS
ABSOLUTE SOUND, May-June / 2014, praises the new Focal Aria 906 - "Terrific; it just gets music right & does so for a song."
At RMAF Gold Sound had the U.S premier of the new Focal 948. STEREOPHILE praised the naturalness of its sound. European magazines awarded the 926 & 948 "Product of the Year". We are the only Colorado dealer stocking Focal's new 906 bookshelf & 926 tower speakers, & the 948. The 900 series has quickly become our most popular, quality speaker. The 906, $1500/pair, the smallest & most affordable Aria speaker, was just called "Terrific" by ABSOLUTE SOUND. The 948, the largest & best Aria speaker, is $5000/pair. The 926, the smallest & most affordable Aria tower, is $3299/pair.
Customers tell us that the new Focal 948 for $5000/pair has far better imaging, bass response & dynamics than other stores' $10,000 speakers. People have traded in late model B&W, Paradigm & Klipsch towers for new Focal bookshelf speakers.
All 900 Focal Aria line feature all new, better sounding drivers with flax-cone woofers & midranges, plus new aluminum-magnesium tweeters, reducing distortion by 50%. Arias are 8 ohms & about 92db efficiency, or four times as efficient as many competitors. You can use solid state amps or tube amps, like our 35W/channel Prima Luna amps. The Arias have sleek, attractive styling with black lacquer or walnut wood veneer.
NEW FOCAL 700 SPEAKERS
"Focal has replaced the popular 700 Chorus speakers with entirely new versions with 5 models from the $550 bookshelf 705 to the $1899 floorstanding 726. Focal developed a new tweeter with a suspension system previously found exclusively in the Utopia series. The drivers are all made in France. We were big fans of the original Chorus series & expect great sound at affordable prices from the new models." ABSOLUTE SOUND 9/13
The new Focal speakers have higher efficiency, plus deeper bass than many competitors. Almost every Focal speaker has 90db or more efficiency. Some new B&W speakers are only 84db efficient. Most Focals are 4 to 5 times more efficient. The $1899 Focal 726 floorstanding speaker has 91.5db efficiency & bass response to 49hz within 3db. A similar-sized $2200 B&W has less than half the efficiency & bass response to only 69hz.
The $1500 Focal 906 bookshelf speaker has higher efficiency, 10hz deeper bass response & is less than half the height of a B&W for $400 more.
The $1500 Focal 906 bookshelf speaker also has 35hz deeper bass response & is smaller than a Klipsch for $1,000 more.
SAVE on FOCAL Electra!.
New low-luster Dark Walnut and Black Ash finishes
Pair Pair Max Freq Eff, Weight,
Originally Now Type Watts Resp Db pounds
l008Be $5500 $3999 Bookshelf 150W 41-40k 89 33
l028Be $9000 $6999 Tower 300W 28-40k 9l.5 73
l038Be $l3000 $9999 Tower 400W 26-40k 93 ll2
CCl008Be $3750 $2999 Center 200W 50-40k 9l 42
SWl008Be $5000 $4299 Subwoofer 750W l8-150 92
Every Electra Be speaker includes a Beryllium inverted dome tweeter, 2" thick cabinet with curved, nonparallel panels, W cones & are 8 ohms. The W cones are far more rigid & flexible than the materials used in competing speakers: Kevlar, paper, polypropylene or aluminum. Beryllium is the lightest metal, so its response extends to 40khz within 3db, the same as the $190,000 Focal Grand Utopias.
"Beryllium is very stiff - five times more rigid than aluminum. The combination of these properties makes it ideal for use as a tweeter." STEREOPHILE
THE FOCAL COMPANY
"Founded in 1979, Focal is one of audio's success stories. The company has expanded to over 250 workers, making products exported to 160+ countries. All Focal products are engineered in France; only a few lower priced multimedia models & headphones are assembled in the Far East." STEREOPHILE 11/14
Today most European speaker brands, including B&W, KEF, Mission & Tannoy, are made in China. Most U.S. brands, including JBL, Infinity, Boston Acoustics & Polk, are made in Asia. Focal is one of the few companies that still makes every part of their speakers, all in Europe.
Focals from $299/pair through $190,000 are highly recommended by ABSOLUTE SOUND & STEREOPHILE for excellent sound & superior
"Two of Europe's most successful high-end audio brands, Focal & Naim, are joining forces. With annual earnings of $82 million & more than 300 employees, Focal will automatically become a European hi-fi leader in terms of sales & resources." STEREOPHILE 11/11.
Focal's comprehensive speaker line includes models for stereo & home theater; bookshelf & tower models, centers, subwoofers; on-wall, in-wall, in-ceiling & outdoor models, plus powered computer speakers. In addition to their superb craftsmanship, Focal speakers are efficient, usually over 90db.
High efficiency gives you more volume & less distortion. Most other speakers are at least 3db less efficient. This 3db is double the power, or the difference between a 100W & 200W amp. A 90db efficient Focal speaker is twice as loud as a 87 db speaker & four times louder than an 84db speaker with the same wattage input. This efficiency saves you money. Less powerful amps can play as loud. Your current amp will sound cleaner, since it will run at a lower power level with less distortion.
Gold Sound is Colorado's only dealer displaying bookshelf & tower models of Focal's new Aria 900 series, all with Focal's patented flax W composite sandwich speaker cones. These cones excel in all three essential speaker cone qualities simultaneously:
1] Low mass, for quicker transient response.
2] High internal damping, to avoid sound coloration.
3] High rigidity, for better bass & less distortion.
Focal invented the W cones for their state of the art $190,000 Grand Utopia, often called the world's best speaker.
The following is from STEREOPHILE, 11/05: "The ideal cone material should be stiff so the cone acts as a piston over a wide frequency range. Piston behavior is especially important for low distortion bass. Low mass allows quick transient acceleration for the best fine detail reproduction. Internal damping quiets any ringing in the cone, which colors the sound. The W cones optimize the balance of stiffness, low mass & self-damping. W drivers are made largely by hand. Every stage of production involves precise, exacting work."
"Today's top-of-the-line Focal tweeters are made of beryllium - one of the rarest & most expensive of metals. Beryllium is 7 times more rigid than titanium or aluminum. [This] tweeter [is] only a few molecules thick & weighs a mere 0.02 gram. Focal is not into being clever or innovative, just for their own sakes. They're into delivering real consumer benefits."
"Every Focal driver is measured & listened to. [By designing & building all their drivers] you can customize drivers for each particular model, adjusting the cone thickness to achieve the desired frequency response without resorting to a complex crossover [which hurts phase response, efficiency, etc.] The result is cleaner, clearer sound & improved efficiency."
"Since it began in 1980, Focal has been a driving force in high-end speaker design, developing many driver technologies, earning 30 patents. Unlike many speakers who use drivers from one supplier & enclosures from another, Focal makes almost all its speaker components from scratch. For most of its 31 years, Focal's primary business was supplying drivers to a Who's Who of the world's great high-end speakers [including Wilson Audio, whose founder, Dave Wilson, praised Focal tweeters' sensitivity, dynamic contrast, transient attack & power handling. ABSOLUTE SOUND 9/12].
"On one tweeter production line, which can build 25,000 tweeters a month, a roll of aluminum-magnesium alloy specially formulated for Focal is cut into squares & the dome structure impressed into the square. The domes are trimmed to a round shape & mounted in a housing that contains a foam compliance. A worker hand glues the voice coil to the dome. Another worker adds the motor assembly. This is high-precision work - the voice coil must be perfectly centered on the inverted dome. The tweeter works correctly only with a precise amount of glue. Focal designed & built the specialized machines to achieve this precision, repeatability. Every driver is individually tested for physical parameters & acoustic performance. Specialized software-controlled imaging technology looks at every driver for tiny physical defects invisible to the naked eye. Focal has refined driver-building for over 30 years. The tweeter builders have 15 years of experience." ABSOLUTE SOUND 1/12
"The R&D lab, housed in a separate building, features Europe's largest anechoic chamber. I'm always interested in the ratio of engineers to sales staff; it gives you an idea if a company is engineering driven or market-driven. In Focal, R&D was far larger than the sales department."
"Driver & cabinet factories are oriented towards high quality. Every worker can stop the line & reject a part. Employees are rewarded for a low failure rate & have profit sharing. Most cabinet factory employees have been building speaker cabinets for most of their lives."
"The Focal is immensely proud that the company designs & builds speaker drivers, cabinets & complete systems in France. Many companies have lost touch with manufacturing due to outsourcing to inexpensive overseas production. They become little more than marketers. Focal stressed that its raison d'etre is innovation & high quality; without these values it could no longer differentiate itself from other speaker manufacturers. Focal intends to be around at least another 30 years & from what l saw & heard, its best days are ahead of it."
FOCAL on DISPLAY
CHORUS 705, 706
POWERED BOOKSHELF SPEAKERS:
CHORUS 714, 716, 726
ARIA 926, 948
HEADPHONES: Spirit One
FOCAL SPEAKER REVIEWS
705V, Bookshelf, now $549, Similar to 706V, below "with a little less bass extension & output," ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/12
706V, Bookshelf, now $749, "Bass power & extension of many small floorstanding units. Very dynamic & visceral, it has a forward perspective that puts vocals right upfront. Shines on rock, blues & orchestral music. Highish sensitivity makes it an easy load for an amp - 50W is plenty in a moderately sized room. More bottom end than similar priced B&W." ABSOLUTE SOUND 11/11; ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/12
906 Bookshelf, $1500/pair "The sonic character is vivid, fast, vibrant & dynamically engaging. Imaging is well focused & the soundstage is broad & unbroken. Commanding prescence; bass was rich & extended ; ideal combination of warmth, articulation & harmonic bloom. The explosive textures & tonal colors were exhilirating. The Aria 906 just gets music right & does so for a song.’ ABSOLUTE SOUND 3/2014
"The 906 is capable of resolving detail that other speakers simply cannot find & manages to do this without losing sight of the performance as a whole." AV FORUMS
926 Tower, now $3299, "The 926s are some of the most direct & communicative speakers I've encountered for a very long time. They’re huge fun to listen to. You just put some music on & you think – that’s how it should be. You turn it up a bit louder than before & it’s even more captivating. There’s punchy, ‘gets you where it matters’ bass here, both fast & well-extended; a seamless transition into the midband & a treble that’s both sweetly controlled & capable of beautifully clean imaging & ambiance. I can’t remember when I listened to so much music. These are gloriously enjoyable. Focal could well have a serious sales success." Words & Music – Andreweverard.com
936 Tower, now $3999/pair
"A big spacious sound, tonally neutral with impressive dynamics & powerful bass. The 936 is more detailed & transparent; highs are particularly clean & extended without sounding forward or clinical [compared to the discontinued 826W.] Soundstages are bigger & images within those soundstages are more precisely defined. The Aria 936 sings with a beautiful voice."
"Smooth. Very smooth. Bells, cymbal, etc., rang out freely with delicacy & without any harshness. The sound came surprisingly close to $33,000 speakers. Extended highs transparent [but] did not add significant brightness. The treble was clean & extended. The use of flax in the sandwich construction of the midrange & bass drivers & judicious internal cabinet bracing must have played major roles in allowing the Aria 936 to be so free of any charecteristic "speaker sound." The soundstage & the precision of the images were first-rate."
"Bass was extended; midrange & treble are extraordinarily smooth & even. Optimal crossover design; its measured performance [is like a far more] expensive speaker. That it costs just $3999 / pair makes it an extraordinary value." STEREOPHILE 11/14
948 Tower, $5000/pair "Their strong bass foundation, along with the high fun factor; the dynamics & the rich timbre make the Aria 988 an audiophile treat. The 948 do it all." STEREOPLAY
"If you want something better, be prepared for a long search & a higher expenditure." STEREO
ELECTRA 1008BE, $5,499, "Bass surprisingly deep, well constructed & well finished, incredibly open window on sound." TOP PICK, HIGH FIDELITY 33/48
ELECTRA 1028BE, Six piece home theater system, $21,480, TOP PICK, HOME THEATER 6/12
ELECTRA 1038BE, $12,495, HOME THEATER 1/12 "I consider it a bargain. If it were my money & I was in search of high-end nirvana & my list included $20,000+ Wilson Sasha W/P or B&W 800 Series Diamond, I'd choose the 1038Be & pocket the difference. All three are fantastic speakers, true benchmarks. I was completely blown away by what Focal managed to pull off with the Electra 1038Be. Unless your budget or desire to spend more allows you to consider speakers in a whole other realm - I'm talking true cost no object stuff - definitely audition the Electra 1038Be before buying a more expensive speaker."
XS Book, list $400, now $299/pair, powered small bookshelf speakers, "Work beautifully; offer a lot of sound, flexibility & functionality," ABSOLUTE SOUND 2013 HIGH END AUDIO BUYER'S GUIDE, MOST AFFORDABLE POWERED SPEAKERS
Bird, list $999/pair, now $599. Powered small bookshelf speakers with sub, "There's perhaps no finer (or more user friendly) starting point for the high end audio experience than the compact, self-powered Focal Bird system. The genius of the system is that it looks disarmingly stylish, simple & small, yet offers an amzingly big, rich, room-filling, focused & three dimensional sound. Very sophisticated." ABSOLUTE SOUND 2013 HIGH END AUDIO BUYER'S GUIDE, MOST AFFORDABLE POWERED SPEAKERS with POWERED SUBWOOFER
FOCAL HEADPHONE REVIEWS
Spirit One, list $280, now only $199 in red & white; 5 STARS Sound & Build Quality, TOP-RATED, "Sound is refined, subtle, expressive, dynamic, detailed & rewardingly communicative. They are transparent & revealing. They never approach sounding brittle, brash or unnaturally bright. It's a very clever design. Excelled in detail; instruments remained distinct & separate. Their finest part is the way it knitted all these elements & qualities together to imbue music with integrity, coherence & credibility. It presented a persuasive & exciting portrayal of music & one that fully engaged the listener. Another vital consideration is that one can enjoy this optimal
engagement without the discomfort of hot, sweaty, ears. The Spirit One receives a definite no-hesitation recommendation." HIFI CHOICE 4/12
STEREOPHILE, "With products like the Spirit One headphones, Focal is making smart moves in the right direction."
"One of my favorite displays: Focal's sleek XS Book multimedia speaker system (list $400, now $299) making big sound, playing music from a laptop (through plain-old iTunes) & connected to Cambridge Audio's smart DacMagic Plus (list $650, now $499). My mind raced, counting all the friends who could use a system like this."
This Page Last Updated: 11/5/2014
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