• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Focal Dome Flax Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 158 84.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 17 9.1%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 4 2.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 7 3.8%

  • Total voters
    186
Do you have any measurements of these Cabasses @fredoamigo?
Finding measurements This is the big problem with this brand which enjoys a very good rating in France thanks to its glorious past and some fans go so far as to say that Cabasse coaxials are the best in the world or at least the equal of KEF or Genelec but personally I've never seen measurements ... it would be nice if a copy arrived at Amir ... one day maybe?
 
Finding measurements This is the big problem with this brand which enjoys a very good rating in France thanks to its glorious past and some fans go so far as to say that Cabasse coaxials are the best in the world or at least the equal of KEF or Genelec but personally I've never seen measurements ... it would be nice if a copy arrived at Amir ... one day maybe?
I have unprofessionally measured mc170 with my studio calibration mic and rew. Low thd, flat in the midrange but then there's like a +5db high shelf at 13 khz which makes them sound sort of analytical but never harsh I guess that'll compensate for most people hearing loss anyway. Budget killer and a no brainer in France as they are sold 350 a pair on sales (original price was 650 and they are competing more in this segment). But the Atlantic toll seems very expensive if they are 3 times that price in NA it's prob not worth it for our American friends.
I have put them in my bedroom to replace focal arias as they sound good especially at low volumes and don't need a sub that much as they go quite low (I even plugged the ports).

Anyway I completely off topic and the focal dôme review shows us the same brand can do great and trash products.
 
Price of those is typically 2k euros for 5.1 (5 small speakers and 1 subwoofer) and you find it around 1800 (today in CHF).
They are designed to be used with the sub.

Directivity is not too bad so there is hope that with an EQ you can have a good experience close by.

Scores are:
As measured: score is 1.0 and 4.8 with a perfect subwoofer.
With EQ (LW): score is 2.3 and 6.0 with a perfect subwoofer.
With EQ (PIR): score is 4.3 and 7.4 with a perfect subwoofer.

First EQ optimise for a flat listening window which is likely optimal if you are close (1m-2m) to the speakers.
filters_eq.jpg


We can also try to optimise for a bit farther away (and try to get a flat PIR):

filters_eq.jpg



The second EQ gives strange results and I do not think I would use it. It degrades the LW too much (3dB) to flatten the PIR and I do not think that's the correct tradeoff.

Use the first one:
Code:
EQ for Focal Dome Flax computed from ASR data
Preference Score 1.05 with EQ 2.27
Generated from http://github.com/pierreaubert/spinorama/generate_peqs.py v0.24
Dated: 2023-08-30-13:06:54

Preamp: -3.6 dB

Filter  1: ON PK Fc   128 Hz Gain +1.89 dB Q 2.33
Filter  2: ON PK Fc   128 Hz Gain +1.62 dB Q 4.60
Filter  3: ON PK Fc   207 Hz Gain -1.55 dB Q 1.43
Filter  4: ON PK Fc   478 Hz Gain +2.11 dB Q 0.82
Filter  5: ON PK Fc   903 Hz Gain +1.86 dB Q 5.51
Filter  6: ON PK Fc  2014 Hz Gain -4.93 dB Q 1.52
Filter  7: ON PK Fc  2721 Hz Gain +5.95 dB Q 2.42
 
Thank you Amir ! Very bad results...

shame on Focal because these poor performances are not the result of chance but probably of a desire to sound clearer, sharper compared to other small 5.1 speakers presented in auditoriums... because with two good woofer-médium and tweeter placed so close one from the other and a good filtering we could obtain a straighter bandwidth and a more controlled directivity... But the commercial show was privileged... to sound like much improved Bose...
 
@amirm I believe you meant show instead of should - "and was hoping it wouldn't should up in anechoic measurements"

T
hanks for another review showcasing form over function.
 
@amirm would it be possible to show normalized waterfall plots (instead of the unnormalized ones)?
we already know the frequency response from the earlier measurements shown and I think the normalized plots would showcase resonances better (and it would make speakers comparable to each other, between reviews)

index.php
 
I also think these are an ugly solution to LCR wall mount duty as pictured on the Focal website.

images


Dali oberon on-wall are a much less obtrusive solution at a similar price and probably sound a lot better as well although not reviewed here. I wouldn't want these tiny focals as my front 3 at any price based on the sound or the looks but I might accept the sound of the Dali having tried a pair at home. The only place I can see these focals being useful is for ceiling mount to save cutting holes for in-ceiling ones but I'm sure there are better speakers at this price that are made for on-ceiling use.

Edit: As these are made for wall mounting were they measured that way or on a stand like a bookshelf speaker? Wall reinforcement might help the sound some although the output looks somewhat unfixable on the charts.
 
Last edited:
See my comment. These have been independently tested by Erin, my comment has the link.
Pretty big dip/suckout in the 1.5kHz region. That’s gotta negatively affect the sound in an important frequency range. Or maybe not? I’ll watch Erin’s review.
 
Last edited:
I wouldn't get these speakers unless they helped solve a room challenge. I used them in our prior condo as Atmos speakers. We had a concrete ceiling that required surface mount speakers. It was a living room, not a dedicated space, so size and aesthetics mattered. I've attached a picture that I took before we moved—with Sewell Ghost Wire (also available from Monoprice), we had speakers that met our constraints. I hesitate to confess (prior) ownership of a headless panther speaker, but it did what we needed it to do.

The mounting hardware worked well, offering both rotation and tilt. I think I crossed them over at 150 Hz or 200 Hz. I didn't have Amir's excellent measurements, but I figured a small woofer and tiny cabinet meant the bass was a tradeoff. I'm not surprised by the uneven response, that seems par for the course for Focal (not my favorite brand, as others note, why can't they just be decent?). For everything bad about these speakers, they did a nice job giving us 7.2.4 in a living room (rest of that system was Aerial Acoustics 7B & CC3B for LCR, Revel W563 for side/rear surrounds), and Rythmik L22 subs).

I just looked in my email and retail was $400/ea a few years ago, so prices have gone up quite a bit.

IMG_9454.jpeg
 
Last edited:
I don't need a similar speaker right now, but I'm always on the lookout for speakers that solve a problem. How are the Elipson & Cabasse options? Any better than the mediocre performance of the Focal?
 
I wouldn't get these speakers unless they helped solve a room challenge. I used them in our prior condo as Atmos speakers. We had a concrete ceiling that required surface mount speakers. It was a living room, not a dedicated space, so size and aesthetics mattered. I've attached a picture that I took before we moved—with Sewell Ghost Wire (also available from Monoprice), we had speakers that met our constraints. I hesitate to confess (prior) ownership of a headless panther speaker, but it did what we needed it to do.

The mounting hardware worked well, offering both rotation and tilt. I think I crossed them over at 150 Hz or 200 Hz. I didn't have Amir's excellent measurements, but I figured a small woofer and tiny cabinet meant the bass was a tradeoff. I'm not surprised by the uneven response, that seems par for the course for Focal (not my favorite brand, as others note, why can't they just be decent?). For everything bad about these speakers, they did a nice job giving us 7.2.4 in a living room (rest of that system was Aerial Acoustics 7B & CC3B for LCR, Revel W563 for side/rear surrounds), and Rythmik L22 subs).

I just looked in my email and retail was $400/ea a few years ago, so prices have gone up quite a bit.

View attachment 308780
For the little there is up there in usual Atmos mixing they'll do the spacial effects ok. And it looks great !
 
Thanks @amirm for the review!

I use the focal dôme for the rear / surround channel of my home theatre, and once equalised (and low-frequencies sent to the fronts) they are fine for my purpose. I guess that’s in in line to @pierre findings with EQ scores.

Looks, small size and ease of mounting were also very important factors in my choice. I paid CHF550 (around USD550) for a new pair five years ago, which is ok given their build quality and “equalizibility.” Hence, I voted fine ;). At USD680 each, that would be closer to poor.
 
Last edited:
Wow, I considered buying these a couple years ago based on some glowing review. I dodged a bullet.
 
First, thanks for the test Amir.:)
___
Exactly my first thought when I read this test.Why not a set of KEF eggs?
I use 4 of those for surround duty-got them used for a song.
 
Back
Top Bottom