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New Focal Chora 806 on and off-axis measurements

napilopez

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As some of you may know, Focal recently introduced the Chora line, the replacement to its entry-level Chorus speakers. I recently got my hands on the bookshelf/standmount model, the 806, for review. It retails for $1000 USD a pair, but Europeans can get it for 600 Euro.

I immediately liked them in my first hours of listening, but was a little wary knowing Focal can sometimes underdeliver in measurements. So I did something unusual and took measurements early in the review process, in part because I was also measuring other speakers today (normally I prefer to listen for a few weeks and then measure). Thought I'd share here while I work on my proper review, as I haven't seen measurements for these yet.

Basically, they are impressively flat within the listening window and seem to have excellent horizontal dispersion, but finicky vertical dispersion may affect timbre and suggests come care needs to be taken with vertical positioning (something of a trend I've noticed with other Focal models). However, the measurements seem to largely balance each other out when accumulated for a pseudo early reflections curve.

Horizontal 0-75 Degrees + Listening Window:

Chora Horizontal.png


Nice! Wide, even dispersion up to 10Khz. Impressively flat, and not just for an entry-level speaker (even if entry-level for Focal is more expensive than some other brands).

(Listening window here is calculated from an average of 0 degrees, ± 15/30 horizontal, and ±10 vertical. Measurements are gated at 6.5ms. Nearfield bass spliced at 270Hz and corrected for baffle step. Microphone is a MiniDSP Umik-1 calibrated by Cross Spectrum Labs.)

Vertical above and below tweeter 0/5/10/30 degrees:
Chora Vertical.png


Here things get quite a bit messier, with notable dips forming around the 3Khz crossover merely a few degrees off-axis. You'll want to get the vertical height just right for the best sound; you'll probably want a stand with adjustable height or angling.

(Note that the '0' graph looks a bit different here because my vertical measurement technique involves putting the speaker on its side. This has an effect on the measured on-axis curve, but my intention here is to show off vertical dispersion.)

I did take measurements all the way to 75 degrees above and below the tweeter too, so I tried making a spinorama-like early reflections curve. I've seen the angles for this curve defined a few different ways (Sausalito, for example, provides a simplified average compared to Toole's book). Since I measure in 15-degree increments, I tried to best approximate the angles in Toole's Book sans the 180 and 90-degree ones, which for some reason my gated measurements have trouble picking up (anyone have an idea why?).

In total, I averaged the on-axis sound, 15/30/45 degrees down, 30/45/60 up, and ±15/30/45/60/75 horizontal:

Chora ER.png


Subjective impressions are quite positive after about eight cumulative hours of listening. Good soundstage, stable stereo presentation, wide sweetspot, decent bass extension, great dynamics. A slight brightness to them, probably from that slightly rise from 2Khz to 9KHz in the reflections curve. Though my 28-year-old ears can hear 19KHz easily, I nevertheless do tend to prefer a touch of 'sizzle' on my speakers, mind you (I'll often turn up the treble knob on my receiver about 1 dB - don't need to do that with these).

Overall, I'm happy to see Focal didn't seem to majorly skimp on performance for its 'entry-level' speakers relative to its other products.
 
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maty

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[ CARACTERÍSTICAS:

Tipo: Altavoz de estantería de 2 vías con reflejo de graves.
Conductores: Midbass de fibra de pizarra de 6 1/2" (16,5 cm), tweeter de cúpula invertida TNF Al/Mg de 1" (25 mm).
Sensibilidad (2,83V/1m): 89 dB.
Respuesta en frecuencia (±3 dB): 58 Hz-28 kHz.
Punto de baja frecuencia (-6 dB): 49 Hz.
Impedancia nominal: 8 ohmios.
Impedancia mínima: 4.6 ohmios.
Potencia recomendada del amplificador: 25/120 W.
Frecuencia de corte: 3000 Hz.
Dimensiones (AnxPrxAl): 8 ¼ x10 ⅝ x16 31/32 " (21x27x43.1cm).
Peso neto (unidad con rejilla): 16.2 libras (7.35 kg).
Dimensiones del embalaje (AnxPrxAl): 23 ¼ x15 ⅜ x20 ⅞ " (59x39x53cm).
Peso neto (con embalaje): 39,6 libras (18 kg). ]

front bass-reflex -> they can be placed closer to the back wall.

Spain: € 598
 
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napilopez

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I believe Focal plans to build a surround system along the chora line, so perhaps it's not surprising they would sell them individually as well.
 
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maty

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https://www.supersonido.es/p/focal-chora-806 598,00 €

galeria32341-006.jpg


https://novomusica.com/tienda/imagen-sonido-profesional/focal-jmlab/focal-chora806-11365-26518
Precio la pareja, dos unidades.

The same price in other Spanish shops, with two loudspeakers, without stands.


https://www.hifishark.com/search?q=Focal+Chora+806 the problem is US, expensive!!! Commercial war?

They are made in France: https://www.focal.com/es/home-audio/bafles-hi-fi/chora/chora-806

My browser goes always to the spanish web. You can try: https://www.focal.com/

https://www.son-video.com/article/enceintes-enceintes-enceintes-compactes/focal/chora-806-noir € 599
 
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napilopez

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Soundstage Network just released their review and measurements for these.

Though I'm confident in my measurements these days, I'm always a little nervous when a speaker I've measured comes out from a more experienced source, in case I screwed something up. :) Luckily my results look quite similar, I think.

The biggest difference is in the listening window - mine looks way better than the NRCs, which has a broad scoop from 2K To 5K. This is probably simply due to the different weightings of the listening window - the NRC window factors in the vertical data much more heavily than the Harman one. I

Perhaps more notable is just how similar the 806's measurements look to the Aria 906's though.

Chora 0/15/30:

fr_on1530.png


Aria 0/15/30:

fr_on1530.gif


Chora 45/60/75:

fr_456075.png


Aria 45/60/75:

fr_456075.gif


The measurements are nearly identical. If I had to nitpick, the Aria seems to have ever so slightly better controlled resonances, and the on-axis graph is cleaner, but from my experience measuring the Chora, that graph cleans up with the tiniest shift off axis.

Heck, the far more expensive Kanta No 1 ($6,000) follows a very similar pattern, and I wouldn't be able to tell from the horizontal FR alone whether it's any better. Deviation from linearity looks similar too.

In each case, we see some very wide horizontal directivity. The level is only down about 5dB at 75 degrees off axis up to 8-9kHz or so. Most dome tweeters start to dip well before that.

It's an interesting design philosophy. It seems you are getting the vast majority of Focal lineup performance at the lower price tiers. The mega-high end stuff might be priced ridiculously but it's nice to see they aren't crippling the cheaper lines for it. Would be really curious to see how these three speakers would compare in a blind test given the very similar measurements in the grand scheme of things.

I just wish they'd come out with a DSP design.
 
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maty

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Focal Chora 806

Total harmonic distortion + noise
Chart A: @ 90dB, 50Hz - 10kHz (measured @ 2m)

thd_90db.png
 

maty

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Focal Kanta No1

Total harmonic distortion + noise
Chart A: @ 90dB, 50Hz - 10kHz (measured @ 2m)

thd_90db.png
 

maty

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To compare with an expensive active loudspeaker, with class D amplification. And with DSP crossover if I am not wrong.

Dutch & Dutch 8c

Total harmonic distortion + noise
Chart A: @ 90dB, 50Hz - 10kHz (measured @ 2m)

thd_90db.png
 

thewas

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To compare with an expensive active loudspeaker, with class D amplification. And with DSP crossover if I am not wrong.
The higher distortion in the 100-200 Hz region of the 8c is not due to its Class D or DSP, but because in this region its its a caridioid midrange driver is is still active as at only under 100 Hz its (sub)woofer takes over.
 

maty

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The higher distortion in the 100-200 Hz region of the 8c is not due to its Class D or DSP, but because in this region its its a caridioid midrange driver is is still active as at only under 100 Hz its (sub)woofer takes over.

I did not mean that. The DSP data was more important, hence the underline.

You know, class D problems are usually at HF. At LF work very well.
 

maty

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To know how good the cheap Focal is we have to compare it with others.

And not only does it matter that the frequency response is more or less flat on axis, other factors that many obviate also matter.
 
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napilopez

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Noticed that Soundstage Network/NRC recently measured the Sopra °1 as well. Looks like the best measuring of the bunch, which one would hope for $9,000 a pair =]

Quite linear on and super wide directivity.

Screenshot_20200314-125956.jpg


Distortion is the best of the bunch too:

thd_90db.png


It's too expensive, but nice to see there seems to be a relative improvement with each price tier.

Curiously, the Sopra No2 which had been measured previously does not measure as well, perhaps due to the choice of axis.
 
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Ilkless

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I'm quite curious about the sources of the small wiggles because Focals seem to be consistently wiggly within a linear trend, and there have been numerous exceptional speakers (eg. KEF and Revel) that don't have these wiggles and are just as linear. Non-pistonic vibration? Bending behaviour?
 
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thewas

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