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Focal Aria 906 Speaker Review

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Well, this speaker is shipped back. I can hack this to happen with a fake microphone calibration maybe. Can someone give me a excel spreadsheet with a handful of sample points for the crossover you want me to try?
I measured with the crossover setting on (80Hz) and off using my AVR and this is what happened to the frequency response.
Measuring distance was 50cm from the center of the Woofer.

80 Hz Crossover.png


I attached the exported measurements and the calculated attenuation between the curves in excel form.

Filter seems to be -12dB/octave.

Filter AVR.png


Perhaps this could be of assistance?
 

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QMuse

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Instead of trying to fill a dip at 3.000 Hz that we can't see on that estimated in-room graph, wouldn't it be better to try to fill with a low Q the broad dip between 1.000 Hz and 4.000 Hz on the basis of that curve?
Getting back to the correction issue that you correctly observed - this is indeed a tough one to correct as flattening the LW won't give you optimal SQ you can get from this speaker, unless of yourse you plan to listen to it from short distance in which case all you would care about would be flat LW..

Up to 4kHz it makes sense to flatten LW and smooth PIR, but after that it is best to tread gently because of directivity errors that spread up to 12kHz or so. This is how I would give it a try, and my bet is this would result in a quite decent listening impressions.

Corrected LW is green, corrected esimted in-room response in blue. This filter requires 1.75 of attenuation.

Capture.JPG
 
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mhardy6647

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and makes up 92% of flax fibers! ;)
well, yeah...

That's why I start my intro glycobiology course by pointing out that humble ol' glucose is the single most abundant organic molecule on Earth

1592324564109.png


1592324676883.png

Admittedly, the scale probably tips to stuff like methane or formaldehyde if one takes the whole Universe into account. :(
 

GelbeMusik

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Could it be related to the inverted dome tweeter design working low and shallow crossovers ... The chora shows a similar distortion around the 1.5khz region.
... very few two-way designs with such wide directivity high up while remaining solid around the crossover horizontally. ...
I personally had the concave tweeter in two different versions, glas fibre and titanium. They widened up in lower treble, as seen in the soundstage measurement too. It is the purpose of this special design. I didn't like them.

Regarding the woofer, such peak in the mids is too typical as to not think of a resonance exaggerating the woofers HD at that frequency.

Upper bass is bad, too bad for me. Looks like chaotic behavior, means totally out of any control.

This might be an ok-ish offer, but really nothing to rave about as kind of a gold standard.

Btw, I don't feel the case of "absorb floor / ceiling bounce" is settled.
 

VintageFlanker

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This might be an ok-ish offer, but really nothing to rave about as kind of a gold standard.
No one claim it is. I think everybody is aware this is not Genelec 8341A SAM performance. These are good "budget" speakers (depending on where you can buy it). A lot of people have a very pleasant subjective listening experience with them.
I stand on this:
I still have no doubt about the R3 being a better performer in most areas (FR, imaging, power handling, lower bass output). But at the end of the day: it comes to personnal preferences and room-dependence. I just enjoyed the 906s more: warmer, smoother, wider. That's about it.
 

napilopez

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I personally had the concave tweeter in two different versions, glas fibre and titanium. They widened up in lower treble, as seen in the soundstage measurement too. It is the purpose of this special design. I didn't like them.

Regarding the woofer, such peak in the mids is too typical as to not think of a resonance exaggerating the woofers HD at that frequency.

Upper bass is bad, too bad for me. Looks like chaotic behavior, means totally out of any control.

This might be an ok-ish offer, but really nothing to rave about as kind of a gold standard.

Btw, I don't feel the case of "absorb floor / ceiling bounce" is settled.
Focal doesn't use glass or fiber with any of its current home speakers (except for the 40th anniversary Spectral, which measures very different from other modern Focals), so I'm not totally sure your experience with those really applies. The 'widening' seems minor and I'm not convinced it's not just a cabinet effect rather than native to the tweeter. From my conversations with focal it always seems the main purpose of the inverted dome is extending directivity control of high frequencies. They claim added rigidity and lower distortion and yadda yadda, but the extended wide directivity control is the only one that to me really stands out as rare compared to other drivers.

You can of course get slightly prettier off-axis measurements with a waveguide, but you usually sacrifice horizontal directivity width for it. Every design has its compromises, of course, but I think Focal's bookshelf speakers, at least, are able to make some choices others rarely do. Again, I struggle to find speakers with similarly wide and fairly controlled horizontal directivity up to 10kHz.

Your comments on the woofer are fair. It is worth noting that focal says right on its page that the speaker is designed for small rooms and a listening distance 'from 2.5m/8 ft,' so I think it's performance at 86 dB is more representative for the intended buyer.

While I do understand your criticisms, I think it's worth noting that at least three people here have preferred the Aria/Chora to the KEF R3, seemingly due to directivity -- and I don't recall hearing anyone saying the opposite. Small sample size, but perhaps notable. Despite the much lower price of the aria and far superior THD and bass extension on the R3. And I think the R3 is fantastic! But I think that suggests there's something to Focal's design goals. It also suggests that, once again, most of speaker preference can be boiled down to frequency response, directivity, and bass extension(which of course largely fixable with a sub).

Do not take offense to this, I mean this only out of curiosity: I've seen you criticize/critique many speakers here, but I'm not sure I've seen you suggest many viable alternatives. Other than going the DIY route, which is not viable for 99 percent of people, what do you suggest as an alternative that is similarly priced, similarly sized, and that maintains wide directivity characteristics? What speakers do you consider to be good? Especially speakers with published, well-executed measurements?

As you wisely noted in another thread, every design choice is a compromise. We each get to pick our own poisons =]
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #209
I measured with the crossover setting on (80Hz) and off using my AVR and this is what happened to the frequency response.
Measuring distance was 50cm from the center of the Woofer.

View attachment 69204

I attached the exported measurements and the calculated attenuation between the curves in excel form.

Filter seems to be -12dB/octave.

View attachment 69209

Perhaps this could be of assistance?
It is. I was just asking for an idealized one but I can also use this one. So thanks!
 

GelbeMusik

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Focal doesn't use glass or fiber with any of its current home speakers ... The 'widening' seems minor and I'm not convinced it's not just a cabinet effect rather than native to the tweeter. From my conversations with focal it always seems the main purpose of the inverted dome is extending directivity control of high frequencies. ... but the extended wide directivity control is the only one that to me really stands out ...
We each get to pick our own poisons =]
As You say, in some conflicting ways, the inverted dome widens directivity on purpose. It can be seen in simulations of the geometry also, it is not phantasy. They started under the pointed brand Focal ( burning mirror? ) in the 80s with the glass fibre dome, then used titanium (sort of), coated with oxide whatever. They only sold the bare, quite special tweeter back then, no completed speakers. But it appeared shrill to my ears at least with the ancient implementations of the concept.

So, You think I'm negative. Yes, because the field needs improvement. With this design the tweeter dictates the high crossover (they had/have tiny voice coils), which makes a sub-optimal vertical dispersion, which makes the "critical listener" sit at a certain height fixed, which is not what I personally like to do. Of course it would be rediculous to ask Focal to change the tweeter to a more versatile modern variant.

O/k, if You take the reviews as a guide for the next purchase for Your already quite populated collection, the criticism is a spoiler. I understand that. You are right, as a humble, just o/k-ish tool for having music around the Focal seems to be a competent choice, despite its flaws.

You asked for alternatives: Adam Audio A7X, which includes the amping, which makes it a plug&play solution for laptop-users, which still supports refinement with e/g EQ-Apo. I had some ( preproduction? ) version of the woofer for measurement. It performed excellent. Genelec 8030CP, same versatility.
 
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thewas

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You asked for alternatives: Adam Audio A7X, which includes the amping, which makes it a plug&play solution for laptop-users, which still supports refinement with e/g EQ-Apo.
As you say its FR problems could be corrected with EQ but its vertical directivity looks worse than of the Focal and it has a even worse distortion at psychoacoustic critical 1,x Khz

1592371176155.png

source: https://www.adam-audio.com/content/...io_a7x_studio_reference_monitor_audio.pdf.pdf

1592371438398.png

source: https://www.music-line.biz/cms/fileadmin/focal/tests/test_aria906_stereoplay.pdf
 

napilopez

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As You say, in some conflicting ways, the inverted dome widens directivity on purpose. It can be seen in simulations of the geometry also, it is not phantasy. They started under the pointed brand Focal ( burning mirror? ) in the 80s with the glass fibre dome, then used titanium (sort of), coated with oxide whatever. They only sold the bare, quite special tweeter back then, no completed speakers. But it appeared shrill to my ears at least with the ancient implementations of the concept.

So, You think I'm negative. Yes, because the field needs improvement. With this design the tweeter dictates the high crossover (they had/have tiny voice coils), which makes a sub-optimal vertical dispersion, which makes the "critical listener" sit at a certain height fixed, which is not what I personally like to do. Of course it would be rediculous to ask Focal to change the tweeter to a more versatile modern variant.

O/k, if You take the reviews as a guide for the next purchase for Your already quite populated collection, the criticism is a spoiler. I understand that. You are right, as a humble, just o/k-ish tool for having music around the Focal seems to be a competent choice, despite its flaws.
As a relatively recent member of speaker audiophilia, I have no idea what the old tweeters sound like =] but I think the wide directivity coupled with a bit of lacking energy in the upper midrange could definitely make these tweeter come off as bright in the past - I suspect that is why all of Focal's current lineup seem to have a slight downward tilt built in already to the on-axis, in order to minimize the chances they'll sound too bright.

As for vertical directivity, Fair enough - imo the worst thing about the chora is they are super sentive within the listening window.

But the Adam A7X... I don't think it shows the qualities we've been discussing. Aside from what @thewas_ said, directivity is not as wide and extended the Focals.

I can't find too much extensive measurements on the A7X but the A3X has a similar/same tweeter and it's direcitivty characteristics are not particularly superior to a decent regular dome, starting to beam after 6k as usual:

adama3xpolar.jpg


Source:http://dtmblabber.blogspot.com/2013/02/adam-a3x.html?m=1

The directivity is very well controlled on this particular model, but again, for the qualities I described, this doesn't quite cut it for me. It's that last bit of wide directivity from 6k to 10k that imo gives Focal's the particular spatial presentation I appreciate, and is quite unusual.

To be clear, this isn't a judgement on what speaker sounds better. I've never heard an Adam speaker, I have no clue. But as the matter of directivity comes up often, this is why I highlight certain designs. It's basically Focals, some narrow ribbons (pretty rare), and some 3 ways with 3/4-inch tweeters (also rare in the price range/form factor) that achieve this wide directivity so high up. There are other designs/brands but they are an exception to the rule.
 

Ilkless

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As you say its FR problems could be corrected with EQ but its vertical directivity looks worse than of the Focal and it has a even worse distortion at psychoacoustic critical 1,x Khz

View attachment 69287
source: https://www.adam-audio.com/content/...io_a7x_studio_reference_monitor_audio.pdf.pdf

View attachment 69288
source: https://www.music-line.biz/cms/fileadmin/focal/tests/test_aria906_stereoplay.pdf
That's some pretty bad driver breakup on the A7X. ADAM really needs to replace it. The T7V has amazing polars especially considering the price (but only good FR), the S2V takes max SPL and FR smoothness to another level. The A7X is getting long in the tooth and it pales in comparison to both it's little and big brother.
 

hyperplanar

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But the Adam A7X... I don't think it shows the qualities we've been discussing. Aside from what @thewas_ said, directivity is not as wide and extended the Focals.

I can't find too much extensive measurements on the A7X but the A3X has a similar/same tweeter and it's direcitivty characteristics are not particularly superior to a decent regular dome, starting to beam after 6k as usual:

View attachment 69296

Source:http://dtmblabber.blogspot.com/2013/02/adam-a3x.html?m=1

The directivity is very well controlled on this particular model, but again, for the qualities I described, this doesn't quite cut it for me. It's that last bit of wide directivity from 6k to 10k that imo gives Focal's the particular spatial presentation I appreciate, and is quite unusual.

To be clear, this isn't a judgement on what speaker sounds better. I've never heard an Adam speaker, I have no clue. But as the matter of directivity comes up often, this is why I highlight certain designs. It's basically Focals, some narrow ribbons (pretty rare), and some 3 ways with 3/4-inch tweeters (also rare in the price range/form factor) that achieve this wide directivity so high up. There are other designs/brands but they are an exception to the rule.
I've never heard a Focal speaker before, but the performance of the speaker reviewed here certainly raised my level of respect for their designs. However, I'll chime in on the A7Xs as I had a few days' worth of experience mixing on them...

Around 2010 to 2012, they were one of, if not the most, hyped up monitors on Gearslutz. Frankly, they're probably one of the worst studio monitors I've ever heard. They had a fatiguing and unnatural scooped sound, and they didn't sound clean either. My buddy moved on to the S2Vs after, which are a night-and-day difference. I'm not sure what redeeming qualities it could have. :confused:

The preceding A7s were apparently even worse, and had an embarrassingly bad port chuffing problem.
 

GelbeMusik

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That's some pretty bad driver breakup on the A7X. ADAM really needs to replace it …
Another tweeter (!) driven company ( namely "AMT" ), ask them to change it :p

Anecdote 17: I have a few of that particular AMT tweets around. They measure exactly as shown. I think it makes the "exciting, sparkling hyper clear" sound the subjective tester @stereowonder raves about :oops:
The woof alone, taken raw measures very good, indeed. It is a very competent design with hidden merits also. From @stereowonder one might learn, that Yamaha has learned, and now delivers usable speakers too.

Regarding me naming alternatives, it was not meant as recommendation for buying. Thanks, that You investigated--there are many others. Remember that with such offers an amp is included which de-complicates the stereo-issue a lot, in case.
 
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Rja4000

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I think the wide directivity coupled with a bit of lacking energy in the upper midrange could definitely make these tweeter come off as bright in the past - I suspect that is why all of Focal's current lineup seem to have a slight downward tilt built in already to the on-axis, in order to minimize the chances they'll sound too bright.
That's pretty possible.
I really like the Aria, both 906 and 948 (although there is quite a difference between those)
But I can't stand the Focal 1038be treble, as an example.
I tried several times, but I always end up with an immediate reject reaction.
(1038be is with Focal's "Beryllium" tweeter)
 
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