Older Diablo Utopias were 8k€/pair. Absolutely lovely build and sound. This EVO series is seriously stepping into realm of "just because someone pays".Obviously I'm not saying the Solos will sound as good as the Utopias but they seem pretty similar and price difference is insane
No differently, Genelec speakers are made in Finland under the strictest standards of (1) great wages & working conditions and (3) transparent sustainability manufacturing practices. Engineering and performance is only one factor for their expense the other half is the cost of labor when you employees well. So when buying Genelec speakers, you make a conscious decision to pay more not just for performance but for everything that this company represents as an employer.Again made in France doesn’t mean anything special. The KEF LS50 and R Series are made in china but yet has amazing build quality than many European made speakers.
TrueNo differently, Genelec speakers are made in Finland under the strictest standards of (1) great wages & working conditions and (3) transparent sustainability manufacturing practices. Engineering and performance is only one factor for their expense the other half is the cost of labor when you employees well. So when buying Genelec speakers, you make a conscious decision to pay more not just for performance but for everything that this company represents as an employer.
It's "Special" to the degree that being made in France means higher labor and manfucturing costs - if they were made in China you can cut at least 30% off the price. This is not a judgement on performance but rather Focal's decision to support their national economy. They may also have affordable consumer level speakers that are made in China, just not this one.$3,200.....($1,600 each)..Not sure why, but just see a speaker of this size, be it powered or not, being more in the $800-1000 (EACH) at most range.
I am not sure it is that "Special" to cost this much. Hence no great rating from me.
Agreed, but this company has deliberately avoided the "Golden Handcuffs". Remember that once you move production to China, then suddenly your sales volume increases, then suddenly margins go up, then suddenly you spend all that additional revenue on hiring more sales and middle management (or buy yourself fancy cars and yachts) and then the temptation to move ALL PRODUCTION to China is very compelling because your CFO is mad with success as he stares at the numbers on his spreadsheet.True
But if there was an option for a Genelec made in China for half price some would choose it , not because they're douchbags , but because they can't afford it otherwise
So brands like Kef who has major manufacturing in china - do you think, they do not provide any of these unlike genelec? I do not think so, kef factory in china must be paying good enough according to their brand standards.No differently, Genelec speakers are made in Finland under the strictest standards of (1) great wages & working conditions and (3) transparent sustainability manufacturing practices. Engineering and performance is only one factor for their expense the other half is the cost of labor when you employees well. So when buying Genelec speakers, you make a conscious decision to pay more not just for performance but for everything that this company represents as an employer.
Genelec is transparent with that information, call them, they will tell you.So brands like Kef who has major manufacturing in china - do you think, they do not provide any of these unlike genelec? I do not think so, kef factory in china must be paying good enough according to their brand standards.
When you outsource to a third party manufacturer, you have no control, insight or supervision over their employment activities - that's the whole point of outsourcing. Apple has gotten in trouble many times because its Chinese contract manufacturers utilized abusive employment practices. So if Apple can't control its contract manufacturers, there is very little hope Kef can do any better. However, if Kef owns its manufacturing facilities in China and is the actual employer of record there, then of course it can raise standards but that is very unlikely and would defeat the purpose of "moving manufacturing to China". So to address your assumption that kef provides the same sort of benefits to its Chinese workers as Genelec, I can confidently tell you NO.So brands like Kef who has major manufacturing in china - do you think, they do not provide any of these unlike genelec? I do not think so, kef factory in china must be paying good enough according to their brand standards.
Actually, my original comment is relelvant to the subject of this thread as it was in response to comments about the high cost of the Focal ST6 as a result of its production in France (cost of employment practices in France is higher than China, this is a fact that's salient to the speaker) and my comments had nothing to do with engineering or speaker quality of China made products.Kef is not anymore a british brand, but a chinese one since many years. It is Kef which is owned by a chinese group, and not Kef which outsources to a chinese subcontractor. So the situation is not the same as Apple, it's the contrary.
By the way, the built quality and performances of Kef speakers have not at all been reduced since the chinese takeover, their standard is kept very high, even better than when they were made in England by the original british firm.
So, no generalization should be done as for chinese brands or outsourced products. You can get the better, the worse and everything in between. Kef is obviuosly among the best.
And in the end, please everybody ! let's go back to the only subject of this thread : the Focal ST6. This is not a place for "evening bar or party talks" about chinese factories or the usual "blabla" that can be read on mass market press or the internet.
This is a review, listening tests and detailed measurements of the Focal ST6 SOLO6 powered studio monitor/speaker. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $1,599 each.
View attachment 293907
This generation of SOLO6 looks gorgeous especially in this market where a lot of speakers are utilitarian. It would look just as good in a studio as it would in an executive office! The enclosure is extremely solid and heavy for its size, adding to feeling of value and luxury. Back side shows the controls and connectivity you have:
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Note that the speaker is analog (no DSP). As such, while I attempted to set the EQ controls to center, there can be variations from other samples or from flat response (by small amount at least). Nice set of screw mounts allows easy mounting to ceiling and such for spatial audio/Dolby Atmos applications.
Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.
I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of about 1%. Reference axis is approximately the center of the tweeter.
I have run the measurements you are about to see by the company and there is general agreement around them.
Focal SOLO6 ST6 Measurements
Let's start with our standard anechoic frequency response measurements: [actual measurement level = 86 dBSPL]
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While the response is broadly flat a peak around 60 Hz stands out. There is also extra off-axis energy kicking in from 3 to 8 kHz or so. That extra energy naturally impacts our off-axis measurements:
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Combined the two deviations stand out in the predicted in-room response for far-field listening:
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Near-field, non-anechoic measurement of the radiating components shows excellent control of resonances from the port/cabinet, but there is some from the woofer:
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That may be the reason for the few resonances we see in the waterfall:
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Something I have experienced in other Focal speakers is nice control of distortion which is reflected here as well:
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At 86 dB the level of distortion rivals large tower speakers!
Horizontal directivity plots show the increased off axis response in treble region:
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Due to shallower waveguide, you do benefit from wider beam width which enlarges the sweet spot/region.
Vertical directivity is typical of 2-way non-coaxial response which means it is best to stay at tweeter axis:
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Finally, here is the step response:
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Focal ST6 SOLO6 Listening Tests and Equalization
On first playback, I was impressed by the dynamics and level of bass, in addition to clean sound. I could have lived with the speaker as is but thought I should play with EQ to see if I can improve on it:
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Pulling down the 60 Hz hump resulted in "tighter" bass but then it was a bit light in that department and the highs stood out more. I dialed in the dip for the highs and that helped but still too much of a trade off. So I added the third filter in upper bass to fill that region. With all three there, I liked the sound better. Clarity was improved and vocals came more to the forefront. But I could see someone liking the stock sound as well given the small amount of adjustment here.
I could detect no distortion even after the clipping light came on. On that note, the above EQ postponed the onset of the light by a bit, getting me more volume. I could only detect some muddiness starting to set in as the clipping light was more on than off. Playing music with extreme sub-bass resulted in playback of such with mild amount of distortion. Many speakers either don't play these notes or severely distort them.
With the EQ in there, I could sit there and enjoy the speaker for hours.
The new generation of SOLO6 is gorgeous to look at and sports some nice engineering in the form of very low distortion, likely due to design of drivers in-house. Large port with right absorption internally means that you don't have the usual problem of resonance coming out the front. There is some extra off-axis response which was also there in previous generation but I think exaggerated a bit here. Seems like the company has compensated by allowing more bass enhancement through the port. I can see that as one solution or deploying the EQ as I quickly designed.
I should note that the company reached out to me to test this speaker which speaks volume to their level of transparency and confidence in the design.
Overall, I like the Focal SOLO6 ST6 and I am going to put it on my recommended list.
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.
Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Focal Solo6 ST6 APO EQ LW 96000Hz July172023-175131 Preamp: -0.9 dB Filter 1: ON PK Fc 64.11, -2.75, 2.32 Filter 2: ON PK Fc 159.78, 0.63, 1.23 Filter 3: ON PK Fc 623.26, -1.63, 2.49 Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1191.00, -1.07, 3.10 Filter 5: ON PK Fc 1933.87, -0.90, 3.89 Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3869.21, -0.99, 3.39 Filter 7: ON PK Fc 6043.59, -2.48, 4.03 Filter 8: ON PK Fc 7591.85, -2.46, 4.86 Filter 9: ON PK Fc 10777.67, 1.11, 1.50 Focal Solo6 ST6 APO EQ Score 96000Hz July172023-175131 Preamp: -0.5 dB Filter 1: ON PK Fc 63.72, -2.93, 2.76 Filter 2: ON PK Fc 163.16, 0.54, 1.58 Filter 3: ON PK Fc 588.21, -1.50, 2.00 Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1249.33, -1.09, 2.12 Filter 5: ON PK Fc 2327.18, -0.65, 4.82 Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3909.71, -1.76, 2.64 Filter 7: ON PK Fc 6096.81, -2.90, 2.69 Filter 8: ON PK Fc 7903.43, -2.61, 2.90 Filter 9: ON PK Fc 16259.30, 0.52, 3.23