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Focal Solo6 Be Review (Studio Monitor)

YSC

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This measures pretty good, BTW.

I'm sorry Sopra line kinda is... (And yes, I would pay 7K€ for Sopra N°1)
I know a cabinet maker who worked for Focal and used to make Sopra cabinets. That wasn't an easy task at all. They do everything (cabinet, filter, driver) in house for these lines. This do have a cost, then you have to pay French employees and French taxes. Calling these overpriced when you can see Made in China speakers at the same price and above that worse performers, is a joke.

Is there any chance on this forum that people consider not everybody is living in the US ?! 2K for 906s is widely overestimated. I (and many) got a pair for 440€. Some paid 410€. You will get them for about 500 to 800€ anywhere in EU and even in US, Amazon.com sold these at 999$ for a while.

No, they don't compete with R3s, costing 3 times the price in many countries. Or in fact, they do, since I subjectively prefered 906s to R3s.;)
I do appreciate with local made and with good QC quality and willing to pay for the premium, yes I am from Hong Kong so MIC don’t make it lost of jobs for me, but I think companies need to at least have a domestic line to fulfill their own passion of quality and sustainable development.
 

Frgirard

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This measures pretty good, BTW.

I'm sorry Sopra line kinda is... (And yes, I would pay 7K€ for Sopra N°1)
I know a cabinet maker who worked for Focal and used to make Sopra cabinets. That wasn't an easy task at all. They do everything (cabinet, filter, driver) in house for these lines. T
And the sound is better ?

I live in France and i was IT project manager in Industrial Cooling. The cost of labor and taxes is a big excuse.
 

Guenselmann

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Focal in the US is overpriced like Revel is in the EU. I really would have liked to get Revel F35 or something like that, but the prices are too high if you can even find a dealer in the first place. It's a shame because I wanted to support a manufacturer that releases their own measurements. Got new Focal Aria 926 instead for 800€ each, very satisfied.
 

PierreV

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And the sound is better ?

Not necessarily. That is good news since it means that the affordable models measure and sound quite well. Yes, soundwise, the top of the line models probably aren't worth the huge premium. But with six lines (Chorus/Chora/Aria/Kanta/Sopra/Utopia) it is not as if there is a lack of choice. People can really decide what they actually want to pay for and, in Europe at least, since resellers are just around the corner comparative listening remains a possibility.

While I did purchase Utopias, I have to confess that I couldn't really tell the differences between them and the Kantas for example. It could therefore be argued that I overpaid for my experience and I wouldn't even attempt to dispute that statement from a narrow sound quality point of view.

However, there are, imho, other factors to consider (if you are in a position to consider them ofc). The finish of the product is not only outstanding, it is also the product of quite a bit of manual work by skilled people. As a fumbling DIYer I can't help being amazed at what they achieve with what are essentially simple tools. Then, those workers are essentially local to me. Their wages and the success of their employer ends up benefiting economically (at least to some extent, assuming no massive tax evasion scheme) my region of the world. What would have happened to the money I spent purchasing the Utopias if I had decided they were too expensive? Would they have generated more money over time to buy an even higher end Utopia? Would I have spent it on a constant stream of trinkets that do not provide any benefit to my economic region? Would it be wasted in an endless stream of impulse buys that would have sponsored new robots for a fully automated line elsewhere? In audiophile fairy dust or snake oil?
 

Frgirard

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I choose monitor pro to limit costs unrelated to the sound.
 

quattr0

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I'm really curious how Focal floor standers would do in a review, how they would measure. I've recently listened to a Focal Kanta No2 at my local dealer, this and anything lower in price, would be great to see measurements for and of course listening tests. @amirm, any chance that this will happen? And thankyou for this review!

As AudioJester pointed out, some measurements on stereophile

I'm loving my 926 in 12x12x8 room. If you have a decent pair of headphones, this setup, not mine, sounds really good. That's a Marantz 14S1 amp.

Focal Aria 926 and Marantz 14S1
 

Ron Texas

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I found on the Focal site (it might have been the user manual) that the low shelf starts fairly high up. For -6 dB @ 20 hz the curve was -1 dB @ 400 hz. This makes it sub optimal for use as a high pass filter.
 

Grooved

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As AudioJester pointed out, some measurements on stereophile
I'm loving my 926 in 12x12x8 room. If you have a decent pair of headphones, this setup, not mine, sounds really good. That's a Marantz 14S1 amp.

Focal Aria 926 and Marantz 14S1

I would have expected a bit too much highs from this combo, but it's certainly well detailed. Now, the room looks far from perfect
 

quattr0

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Focal in the US is overpriced like Revel is in the EU. I really would have liked to get Revel F35 or something like that, but the prices are too high if you can even find a dealer in the first place. It's a shame because I wanted to support a manufacturer that releases their own measurements. Got new Focal Aria 926 instead for 800€ each, very satisfied.

I got them for $148/each higher here in the US....Full warranty as well.
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napilopez

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I don't really agree, no. The Aria 906 for example are ~$2000 USD, that's same price as the Kef R3 which are 3-ways, can most likely handle more power, etc. Both measure pretty well otherwise. So, high value? No, not really. Not as egregious as some of the higher end stuff, certainly.

As far as them being art... um okay. They look good, but their cabinet work is not as good as say, Salk's, and I can't really get excited about the chunky-segmented look of their higher end stuff. I think Kef's industrial design is better as well.

Anyways, I know they have very strong brand recognition. If you like 'em buy 'em, it's your money and there are definitely far worse choices out there.

Eh, kinda depends how far down the line you want to go. The Chora 806 are arguably just as good if not better than the Aria (seem to have slightly more bass extension, very similar otherwise) and MSRP stateside is about $1000. And I'd pick the Chora over the R3 myself. Until I heard and measured the Polk Reserve R200s I thought they were probably the best passive speaker under $1000. At least for my tastes. Then again I'm pretty focal-biased.

Also something to be said about all their hifi line being made in France.

I think it's an interesting approach. The FR and directivity measurements of the Sopra No. 1 only seem to be a little better than the Chora at 10x the price so then it seems like a terrible value, but I don't mind the expensive stuff being wildly expensive as long as it performs reasonably you deliver with the budget stuff too.
 

Sancus

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And I'd pick the Chora over the R3 myself.

Well, I've heard the R3s but not the Chora. And I have little interest in non-coaxials. So I don't have a strong opinion here. But I do worry about power handling on 2-ways with mid and small sized woofers. The distortion on the Aria already looks quite bad from 100-200hz. Though it is mostly 2nd harmonic, the 3rd harmonic still looks a lot higher than on the R3.

However, this is something I noticed in the Solo6 Be as well. Focal seems to have notably elevated 2nd harmonic distortion in mid/upper bass, in the Solo6 it actually extends up to 500hz even. I wonder a) how audible that is and b) if it contributes to the favorable view some have of these. After all I think people find 2nd harmonic pleasant.
 

VintageFlanker

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But I do worry about power handling on 2-ways with mid and small sized woofers. The distortion on the Aria already looks quite bad from 100-200hz. Though it is mostly 2nd harmonic, the 3rd harmonic still looks a lot higher than on the R3.
I owned both : yes the R3 will handle high SPL much easier, thanks to its 3 way design. The 906s are great, but at high volumes, mids will distort due the the mid/bass woofer excursion (I don't bother sub-100Hz distortion that much). There're other 2 way designs which are still doing fine with high SPL distortion, tho.
 

NYfan2

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I've never heard the KEF R3 but I heard the Focal Chora 826 (with Naim Uniti Atom amplifier) and the Focal Kanta 2 (with NAD M33 amplifier), same afternoon at a dealer and the difference in sound quality was big. The combination Kanta 2/NAD M33 was much better then the Chora 826/Naim Uniti Atom. How much the influence of the amplifier is I cannot tell. Ofcourse the price difference is significant almost 1:3

Will the Focal Sopra be much better then the Kanta? I don't expect them to be much better but I expect some improvement. Will the Focal Utopia be better then the Sopra? Mmm, I don't expect much improvement. Is the price difference between Kanta vs Sopra and Sopra vs Utopia justified? I don't think so but for marketing purpose there has to be a difference and we have to realize that the Utopia is the flagship of Focal built for customers who only want the best and have no issue paying that much money and I'm sure that also is taking into account when they determined the price.
 

YSC

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I've never heard the KEF R3 but I heard the Focal Chora 826 (with Naim Uniti Atom amplifier) and the Focal Kanta 2 (with NAD M33 amplifier), same afternoon at a dealer and the difference in sound quality was big. The combination Kanta 2/NAD M33 was much better then the Chora 826/Naim Uniti Atom. How much the influence of the amplifier is I cannot tell. Ofcourse the price difference is significant almost 1:3

Will the Focal Sopra be much better then the Kanta? I don't expect them to be much better but I expect some improvement. Will the Focal Utopia be better then the Sopra? Mmm, I don't expect much improvement. Is the price difference between Kanta vs Sopra and Sopra vs Utopia justified? I don't think so but for marketing purpose there has to be a difference and we have to realize that the Utopia is the flagship of Focal built for customers who only want the best and have no issue paying that much money and I'm sure that also is taking into account when they determined the price.
Well I somehow remember a real life joke, someone built some top performing speakers and wanted to sell it cheap with low margins to popularise hifi ended up having almost no orders, coz ppl think the price isn’t high end enough to its competitors… next year the brand Re issued a “revision” and mark up 10 times and the speaker sold like hot cakes
 

quattr0

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Will the Focal Sopra be much better then the Kanta? I don't expect them to be much better but I expect some improvement. Will the Focal Utopia be better then the Sopra? Mmm, I don't expect much improvement. Is the price difference between Kanta vs Sopra and Sopra vs Utopia justified? I don't think so but for marketing purpose there has to be a difference and we have to realize that the Utopia is the flagship of Focal built for customers who only want the best and have no issue paying that much money and I'm sure that also is taking into account when they determined the price.

The difference in price is also depending on room size, not just because one could afford the most expensive. I've heard both the 948 and Kanta 2, I would pick the Kanta 2 if my room was bigger than 12x12x8.
 

Pearljam5000

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If they had better reliability than they would be better value, i actually like how they sounded when i auditioned them.
Maybe the newer version is improved but I'm not sure
 

YSC

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If they had better reliability than they would be better value, i actually like how they sounded when i auditioned them.
Maybe the newer version is improved but I'm not sure
Any idea on how unreliable they are? Like the class AB amp fails soon?
 

dfuller

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Any idea on how unreliable they are? Like the class AB amp fails soon?
That's the usual symptom, yes - the BASH amps are less than stellar in reliability. But it's not super common by any stretch either.
 

Pearljam5000

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Any idea on how unreliable they are? Like the class AB amp fails soon?
I've seen on Gearslutz over the years not a few posts about the issue, but i don't know how common/ uncommon it is.
 
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