BIG SOUND FROM SMALL PACKAGES, COURTESY OF FRENCH HI-FI COMPANY FOCAL.
The latest from French hi-fi company Focal.
Founded in 1979 in Paris by engineer, hi-fi aficionado, and tech journalist Jacques Mahul, Focal is a respected name among audiophiles familiar with the company’s loudspeakers for the home, car, and recording studios.
While we’ve seen a rise in the number of people rediscovering the joys of analog recordings, the digital musical world still dominates, leading hi-fi music manufacturers to create systems to take advantage of the digital format with plug-and-play equipment and going wireless. For Focal, that meant adapting the technology developed for its award-winning audiophile speakers for smaller sound systems and headphones, leading to the New Media Collection. And just like the rest of Focal’s other lines, everything is still proudly made in France, something which the French ministry for Economy, Finances and Industry recognized by according the St. Etienne-based company the Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living Heritage Company) status in 2014.
Leading the new French revolution in sound is the Dôme miniature speaker, the foundation for Focal’s home theater systems. Standing at just a tad under seven inches, it delivers big, clear sound in a stylish round enclosure, available in white or black with a choice of polyglass or flax for the speaker cones. Flax, the same material used in the superb Aria 900 speaker, gives the Dôme Flax model a slight edge in performance, offering better clarity and a straighter frequency response. The Dôme speaker works well in a two-speaker stereo configuration for music or in a set of five with the corresponding Dôme subwoofer for 5.1 home theater applications.
If you’d like to simplify things even further, eliminate the need for separate speakers with the Dimension sound bar, which can be positioned just below your screen. With five built-in speakers, it delivers 450 watts of power for a rich home cinema experience. Focal has also given thought on your room aesthetics. If your TV isn’t fixed to a wall, Focal provides a subwoofer which attaches to the sound bar and supports the TV. Capable of providing deep bass all the way down to 30hz, the subwoofer does this without any vibration, ensuring your screen stays perfectly still.
For the times when you want to enjoy your music discreetly, Focal has a full range of headphones to suit all types, from the casual listener to professional sound engineers. In the Sphear, the company’s first-ever in-ear headphones, Focal uses memory foam and silicone for the earpiece so it adapts naturally to the shape of the wearer’s ear. While small, it still delivers a rich mid-range sound with exceptional quality, helping eliminate listening fatigue. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Spirit Professional headphones are Focal’s top of the line offering, with transducers (miniature speakers) made from mylar and titanium alloy, said to ensure faithful sound reproduction across all frequencies, from the bass up to the high treble notes. With a black textured finish, the Spirit is light, stylish, and powerful. focal.com; @FocalAudioPh on Facebook.
MuSIC TO Our EArS From top: Focal Spirit professional headphones; the Sub Air woofer; a 5.1 Dôme Flax system; Listen headphones; the Dimension sound bar and stand.