Thursday night at Rocky Mountain Audiofest held a special surprise for a few select members of the audiophile press. Lucky for us, we were pulled into a off-site meeting to see (and be one of the first to hear) a new range of budget-oriented loudspeakers from hifi favorite Focal.
Even though the line starts at a meager (at least for audiophiles) $800/pair for the Chora 806 standmounts, the loudspeakers are still constructed in facilities in Focal’s home of France. The media presentation we heard emphasized the new driver tech and the tooling, assembling, machining and home grown expertise associated with them. The main woofer is constructed of a sandwich design that Focal is known for. Previous iterations utilized polyglass, but the new line uses a sandwich polymer with unwoven carbon fiber.
The cone and manufacturing process is proprietary to Focal as well, this round sees more polymer use in said sandwiches, allowing for more rigidity and the following sonic benefits contained therein. In lieu of expensive beryllium tweeters, a TNF Aluminum/Magnesium inverted dome rounds out the upper frequency response. Price breakouts for the new products look like this: Chora 806 standmount speakers – $799 per pair, Chora 816 floorstanding speakers – $1,399 per pair, Chora 826 floorstanding speakers – $1,599 per pair and dedicated 806 Stands – $299 per pair. Even though the speakers are vinyl wrapped, aesthetic props go to the fun color scheme and similar industrial design elements to Focal big brothers far further upstream.
As for sound, it was a little difficult to get a handle on things in a hard-surfaced event room we found ourselves in. Product manager Nicholas Debard didn’t gloss over the notion in his presentation when he joked that the party would get a chance to listen in “the world’s greatest recording studio”. Still, from my vantage point the standout bullet point was detail. Gobs and gobs of sonic information from a price point that perhaps shouldn’t own as much. A really good comparison would be to line them up next to Andrew Jone’s budget ELAC speakers, as both his Debut and Uni-Fi wares dance in this same gladiator arena. Only time will tell, but color us intrigued to the maximum.
The new Chora line goes on sale the third week of this month (9/19).
More info: Focal