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Focal SOLO6 ST6 Monitor Review

Rate this monitor speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 40 18.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 144 64.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 36 16.2%

  • Total voters
    222

teashea

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Comparing these to Neumann KH 150's or KH 120 II's is a revelation. Focal is eating Neumann's dust.
 

Bmoze

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Are these speakers suitable for mid-field? Say, at 9ft/3m MLP?
 

Ellebob

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Are these speakers suitable for mid-field? Say, at 9ft/3m MLP?
Depends on the volume desired. Unfortunately, there's a lot of confusion with midfield and near field, etc. Speakers that are stated for nearfield do not all of a sudden sound like crap in the midfield. They still sound the same. Otherwise, almost every bookshelf that's ever made would probably never be used more than 2 meters away. So there is nothing wrong with using a bookshelf speaker/nearfield monitor at 3 meters as long as it plays loud enough for the desired listening level.

Besides larger speakers being able to play louder they often can go lower in bass as well. Whether using a large speaker or a bookshelf size speaker, I would recommend a sub(s). In reality, it doesn't matter how low a speaker can go, the best placement for bass is rarely the same location for the mids and highs. So being able to place the subwoofer separately will help one get better sound regardless of the size of speakers or how low they can go.
 

Bmoze

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Thanks for that info. They're for my study. It's 12x15 with my MLP at 9 feet. Mostly background listening levels, until I hear something I want to focus on- then I turn it up for a bit. Have an RSL 10II sub in that system, crossed at about 70hz. Room is equalized using Focus Fidelity software, whIch I haven't seen much discussion about on ASR, but I like the results and fiind it easier to use than REW for step and impulse.
 

dickiefunk

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I’ve been offered a deal on a secondhand pair Focal Solo6 ST6’s for less than the price of the KH120ii.
Am feeling quite torn as to which option to go for!?
 

teashea

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I’ve been offered a deal on a secondhand pair Focal Solo6 ST6’s for less than the price of the KH120ii.
Am feeling quite torn as to which option to go for!?
To me that is not a difficult decision. Read Amir's review of the KH 120 II's.
 

dfuller

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I’ve been offered a deal on a secondhand pair Focal Solo6 ST6’s for less than the price of the KH120ii.
Am feeling quite torn as to which option to go for!?
I'm going to say go with the Neumanns. I really do not like Focals for anything other than casual listening, they're just so fuzzy and unfocused sounding. My guess is this is a combo of maybe less than amazing stored energy behavior in the drivers or similar as well as the off axis being super wide.
 

Bmoze

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I’ve been offered a deal on a secondhand pair Focal Solo6 ST6’s for less than the price of the KH120ii.
Am feeling quite torn as to which option to go for!?
I just went through the same decision. I ended up buying the Focals, from Sweetwater for about $1100 each. I like them and I've decided to keep them, but I'll probably always wonder how the KH120ii would sound in comparison in my room.

Here's my main reasons for choosing the Focals. I was upgrading from Focal Alpha 65s, which I had for 8 years without issues. My listening position is 9 feet from the speakers. which may be a stretch for the KH120s, but then again, probably not, because this is in my study and I'm not listening at high SPL.

I use DSP. I previously used REW. Now I use Focus Fidelity, which is easier for me and I like the results. The DSP convolution files are loaded into Roon, which is my only source. Without DSP, in my room, I can hear the brightness Amir measured in the 3-8khz range. With DSP, I can adjust that to my taste, and I think it sounds really good. In this room, I think I'm getting mostly direct sound, with some reflections. I've compared DSP full frequency, vs DSP below 500hz, vs no DSP, and I prefer the DSP full frequency in this room. In a different system, in my high-ceiling, highly reflective living room, I prefer DSP below 500hz only. All this is to say, if you're not going to use DSP, the Focals may not be the best choice, depending on your room and listening position.

I use a RSL subwoofer, crossed at 60hz. I have the Focals' HPF at 45hz. The HPF is nice to have to integrate a sub. I'm still measuring and experimenting with different settings. I knew I wouldn't invest in the KH subwoofer or use their DSP, so those features, while great, wouldn't benefit me.

The Focals are connected to a Sabaj DAC via balanced cables. Using balanced cables they turn on almost instantly on receiving a signal. Not much delay at all.

They're not Class D and the rear panel gets warm, but not hot. My Alpha 65s were the same way and ran 8 years without a hitch, so I decided not to worry about that.

I like the way the Focals look, although I wasn't sure I would.

If you get them, use good stands. I bought a set from Monoprice which are just right.
 
Last edited:

IamJF

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I’ve been offered a deal on a secondhand pair Focal Solo6 ST6’s for less than the price of the KH120ii.
Am feeling quite torn as to which option to go for!?
The Focals do some sound, the KH120ii are a tool for neutral listening. What's your goal?
 

TheBatsEar

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I’ve been offered a deal on a secondhand pair Focal Solo6 ST6’s for less than the price of the KH120ii.
Am feeling quite torn as to which option to go for!?
Maybe you should go with the Focal, if you don't use a subwoofer.
It has a 6.5" woofer and i would think it has a bit more SPL or less distortion in the lower registers because of it (i haven't actually looked, maybe this is not the case). The KH120 II has a 5" woofer, but seems to be a better speaker in all other metrics.
 

Tovarich007

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IMO, the Focal Solo6, new or old generation, should rather be compared with the Neumann KH 150, and not the 120 (especially the first version of the latter).

For sheer precision, neutrality and extension in LF compared to size, the Neumann seems obviously better, but this doesn't mean the Focals are bad, they're dynamic, well defined, easy sounding, and they look more like a hifi speaker more than a pro utiliterian monitor. I liked much this speaker (first generation) when i compared it to the Adam S2V and the PMC Result6, which are obviouly not bad speakers at all.

As Bmoze explained, the Focals rather bright character in the treble can be tamed with EQ or room correction software. They're not the absolute best on the market, but I feel always amused reading comments like "X brand model have destroyed Y brand model". This is silly exageration. Of course, there are strong correlations between good measures and good sound, but anyway measures don't tell quite the whole story, no one listens to graphs.

After all you gotta have your own tastes, don't be ashamed to prefer a slightly bright or lush sound if you like it. If, on contrary, you prefer ultra linear sound, that's definitely fine too ! The choice is all yours. No forumer can make your own decision.
 

YSC

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I’ve been offered a deal on a secondhand pair Focal Solo6 ST6’s for less than the price of the KH120ii.
Am feeling quite torn as to which option to go for!?
pure objectively speaking, I would go for the KH120II, it's a better and all round speaker overall, but if you really have some special feeling about focals, go with it then, it will not be too far behind in room, as long as you feel comfortable paying the money
 

thewas

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Maybe you should go with the Focal, if you don't use a subwoofer.
It has a 6.5" woofer and i would think it has a bit more SPL or less distortion in the lower registers because of it (i haven't actually looked, maybe this is not the case). The KH120 II has a 5" woofer, but seems to be a better speaker in all other metrics.
Mind you the KH120 II has really impressive max SPL being only few dBs lower than the KH150. But as others written the Focals are also a nice choice if you prefer a more "hifi sound" (wider and less continuous directivity) and in my opinion also look nicer.
 

Tovarich007

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Do not over interpret what i wrote. The Focal Solo 6 first generation has not, IMO, a "hifi sound", it's good also as a monitor, its brightness in the treble in real conditions is not so "picking", it's not a "hifi brightness". Simply, it's less linear in that frequency region than a Neumann or a PSI, but for some tracking or mixing it can be a quality. It depends on what you want to do as a pro or what you prefer as a music lover.
 

Pearljam5000

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I liked the first Solo6 sound way more than KH120
I'm sure the second Gen is even better
Like it's been said here KH150 is more comparable
 

Tovarich007

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As I wrote before, I'm not sure at all the new generation is overall better and I prefer the simpler look of the older (matter of taste). I never compared the Focal to Neumanns but to Adam and PMC (not bad brands at all).

The Focal is a powerful 6 incher. As good as the KH 120 can be (I don't doubt it's a very good nearfiled monitor), I don't think it can fill the space as much as the Solo 6 or the KH 150 can do. A few dBs more in bass and in SPL can produce a very audible difference in a room. At 0,5 or 1 meter listening distance, the difference will not be huge at the same output level, but at 2 or 2,5 m yes !
 

IamJF

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Thanks guys I will be using them in a studio for mixing a wide range of music.
Then choose the tool. Get into the Neumann speaker system for professional work (you can always add a perfect fitting sub or additional speakers for surround)
Also get MA-1 - it's a steal for the gain of quality and confidence with these speakers!

You will probably get some opinions about Focals - nobody questions a set of Neumanns, we know you can work with these. Resale value also great.


For private use, musician home studio, listening to music - get what you feel good with.
 

TheBatsEar

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Mind you the KH120 II has really impressive max SPL being only few dBs lower than the KH150.
I think they bought that with setting the highpass higher, the louder the speaker plays.
Can't beat physics ;-)
 
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