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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

IamJF

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I think ...
You "think"?
No single measurement shows your thinking and dynamic EQ would be very easy to detect. And of course is unwanted in a monitor.

Have a look at Purify drivers. Speaker technology made a good jump in the last 10 years (thanks to Klippel, DSP and good engineering with fresh thinking, like Purify. Ah, and a LOT of money and research towards small speakers). They build long stroke woofers with extremely low THD in the mids - that's new.

You can't beat physics but these new generation drivers punch a league higher as before.
 

TheBatsEar

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You "think"?
No single measurement shows your thinking
Rude.

dynamic EQ would be very easy to detect. And of course is unwanted in a monitor.
Frequency response starts at 44Hz (-3dB). Max SPL is 116dB. Are you suggesting this 5" driver does 44Hz at 113dB?
1694694751500.png


Have a look at Purify drivers.
I did. Now what?
PXL_20230914_123528739.jpg
 

IamJF

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Yes. Sorry but we are not here to have opinions about signal processing - amirm does great work in showing the facts! That's the special thing about this forum.

Frequency response starts at 44Hz (-3dB). Max SPL is 116dB. Are you suggesting this 5" driver does 44Hz at 113dB?
Don't be silly. Neumann specifies exactly how they measure stuff and are way more precise and open what their speakers can do or not. Look at PMC or Focal ...

"Maximalschalldruck im kalk. Halbraum bei 3% THD in 1 m (gemittelt zwischen 100 Hz und 6 kHz)" - 116,8dBSpl -> which doesn't say any useful things about fullrange use. But this does: https://www.neumann.com/globalassets/digizuite/37709-de-maximum-spl-at-1-m.svg

Excursion Limitter for the lf driver - which is expected for a modern DSP speaker. That's the processing happening.

Then you know. Great!
Compare THD of this Focal and KH120ii from 100-400Hz at 96dBSpl - the Neumann has half of the bigger Focal. And the Focal lf driver is already pretty good, the KH120ii is one dB from clipping and still performing very well.
It doesn't outperform the Focal at low frequencies but comes closer as it should with that size of driver.
 

thewas

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I think they bought that with setting the highpass higher, the louder the speaker plays.
Can't beat physics ;-)
Still the KH 120 II beats most other 5" loudspeakers (also the old KH120) with similar low end, guess quite impressive high tech driver.
 

dfuller

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Still the KH 120 II beats most other 5" loudspeakers (also the old KH120) with similar low end, guess quite impressive high tech driver.
I have to wonder how Neumann does it. Their drivers are on Purifi level at this point or near to it, and those are difficult drivers to make.
 

YSC

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I have to wonder how Neumann does it. Their drivers are on Purifi level at this point or near to it, and those are difficult drivers to make.
same here, and personally at this level of neutrality and distortion I can't think of anything more I would ever dream of
 

Tovarich007

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Still the KH 120 II beats most other 5" loudspeakers (also the old KH120) with similar low end, guess quite impressive high tech driver.
Neumann drivers are pretty good, of course, but not particularly hightech. They don't need to be. Such performances result from a good R&D, good acoustic charge of the driver and good calibration of the DSP, nothing special nor magic here, simply a very good design and built. But if the new KH120II is without a doubt one the best 5 inch speaker, it can't beat larger good ones for DSP and bass extension.
 

TheBatsEar

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IamJF

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Setting a highpass higer is not the same as excursion limiting to prevent damage. The sound influence is different.
Of course you COULD change the highpass but acording to the measurements they don't do so to prevent sound change with level.

You can read the Neumann measurements and understand the meaning of it. As many people here.
"Are you suggesting this 5" driver does 44Hz at 113dB?" is not insulting? You know it's nonsense.
 

dickiefunk

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I'm currently trying out a pair of these and comparing them to my old KH120's that I've had for 12+ years. The Focal's have more presence in the highs that sound slightly un natural compared to the Neumanns? Vocal's really pop out with the KH120's but they sound a little more recessed on the Focals? The Neumann's also have more in the low mids and sound fuller. The Focals sound a little scooped in comparison. This is quite subjective as I'm not measuring these in my room and naturally the room plays a big part in this!
I'm going to experiment with the EQ and see how I get on with that.
 

dfuller

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I'm currently trying out a pair of these and comparing them to my old KH120's that I've had for 12+ years. The Focal's have more presence in the highs that sound slightly un natural compared to the Neumanns? Vocal's really pop out with the KH120's but they sound a little more recessed on the Focals? The Neumann's also have more in the low mids and sound fuller. The Focals sound a little scooped in comparison. This is quite subjective as I'm not measuring these in my room and naturally the room plays a big part in this!
I'm going to experiment with the EQ and see how I get on with that.
They are definitely going to be brighter in a typical reflective room.

But yeah, the Neumanns are better IMO. I've not been a fan of Focals for a long time.
 

Phene

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So, I have those speakers coupled with a Focal Sub One in a ~10m² room (around 2.4m x 4.2m) with high ceiling (part of it is 3m high and part 3.5m). This room has no acoustic treatment at all, is pretty empty appart from my big architect-style/chipboard desk (quite resonant) along a wardrobe sitting in a corner of the room and no carpet on the floor (parquet). You can imagine these type of room tend to excite medium/high frequencies like crazy and have a quite some reverberation due to the high ceiling.

Crossover between the Solo6 ST6 and the Sub One is set at 90Hz, with HPF set at the same frequency on the Solo6 ST6. Here are the Sonarworks measurements taken at the listening position of about 1m from each speaker with an official/calibrated Sonarworks measurement microphone:

Sonarworks Focal Solo6 ST6 + Sub One.png


First thing to note is that there is a strong interaction between the speakers and my desk at ~100Hz to ~200Hz and ~300Hz to ~500Hz as this has always been there even in other room and with other speakers (see next paragraph and graph regarding this).
Secondly, I think we can definitely see some of the predicted tendencies of the in-room response graph in the rest of my measurements, although it doesn't seem to be as bad as predicted since it stays in the +-3dB range in a room that is less than ideal (high ceiling, not much furnitures to absorb or deflect, no carpet and totally untreated).

For the record, here is a past measurement of my previous Focal Alpha 65 EVO + Sub One setup in a totally different room (can't remember the size but it was a big living room, I'd say around 30m², with standard ceiling height of 2.5m) but with the same desk. This can help have an idea of the interaction between my chipwood desk and monitoring speakers in general:
Sonarworks Focal Alpha 65 EVO + Sub One.png
You can also notice the insane comb filtering that was taking place in this room, I'm relieved to have moved to a better room regarding this.


Also to note: The Sub One is going down to 40Hz at -3dB and not 32Hz as it is adverstised now by Focal. They changed the online spec sheets and manual (both PDF and printed ones) to this 32Hz value a few month after the release because they weren't able to sell as many as they would've liked (hard to justify spending 700€ on a sub that doesn't add any sub extension to your Solo6 ST6, Shape 65, Alpha 65/80 EVO).
Since I bought it right after release I still have the first edition of the printed manual with the 40Hz - 120Hz (-3dB) frequency response written:
42566205_1.jpg
 
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IamJF

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Also to note: The Sub One is going down to 40Hz at -3dB and not 32Hz as it is adverstised now by Focal. They changed the online spec sheets and manual (both PDF and printed ones) to this 32Hz value a few month after the release because they weren't able to sell as many as they would've liked (hard to justify spending 700€ on a sub that doesn't add any sub extension to your Solo6 ST6, Shape 65, Alpha 65/80 EVO).
Since I bought it right after release I still have the first edition of the printed manual with the 40Hz - 120Hz (-3dB) frequency response written:
Wow - that's REALLY bad practice ...
 

IamJF

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I know this from lower cost brands, sometimes they even really don't know better. But Focal ... that's not their HiFi department ...

(e.g. Monacor/img stageline controller. Specs are way off, even max output voltage was wrong. Told them, had a conversation - but they didn't even bother to change the spec sheet. Older MiniDSP.)
 

dfuller

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Yes and outright lying on specs of professional product lines is very risky for their reputation in my opinion.
Not even uncommon for Focal. The Shape 65 is advertised as F3 of 40, it's really an F6 of 42, and an F3 of about 45-47. Pretty big difference there.
 

IamJF

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Would love to own a Focal Grand Utopia Evo III next time I win the lottery
They have uneven radiation, esp vertical. Use 6.5" speakers up to 2,3kHz. Still just a reflex woofer (but very low tuning, probably OK).
I'm sure these can produce significant SPL level with low distortion and are probably fun to listen to but for THAT money ... I would stick with pro speakers and get a great system with good room integration.

These can also be expensive if recommended! ;-)
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