For over 40 years, Focal has been one of the preeminent speaker brands in the world. They have delivered countless innovations for all different kinds of listening experiences from home audio speakers and headphones to car speaker drivers and studio monitors. Throughout this Buyer's Guide, we'll be covering the history of the brand and taking a look at their product offerings for the recording studio. No matter your set-up, Focal has something that will meet your needs and exceed your expectations.
The History Of Focal
The legacy of Focal started in 1979, as the French precision mechanics company France Filières created a workshop and began manufacturing speaker drivers. By 1982, Focal had set a precedent in the world of bookshelf speakers with the DB13, which used Polyglass and Polykevlar speaker driver cones.
20 years after introducing the DB13, Focal developed and released its first speakers created specifically for the recording studio. The brand has gone on to create a wide range of monitors for studios of all budgets and sizes. Continue below to delve further into Focal's Alpha Series, Shape Series, ST6 Series, SM6 Series, and headphone line.
Focal Alpha Evo Series
The Alpha Evo is the latest addition to the Alpha range of studio monitors and introduces new features, new technologies and a fresh new design for world-class performance and unrivaled versatility. The Alpha 80 Evo, Alpha 65 Evo, Alpha 50 Evo and Alpha Twin Evo all feature an aluminum inverted dome tweeter, along with a new Slate fiber cone manufactured in France to deliver neutral sound, excellent dynamics, and wide dispersion. Additionally, the Sub One subwoofer offers an extended bass response that perfectly compliments the Alpha Evo line of studio monitors.
Focal Alpha 80 Evo
The Alpha 80 Evo features an 8-inch woofer powered by two 50 W class-D amplifiers, along with a 3oW amp for the tweeter. The Alpha 80 Evo offers an impressive frequency response from 38 Hz - 22 kHz and a max SPL of 106 dB.
Focal Alpha Twin Evo
The Alpha Twin Evo features two 6.5-inch woofers powered by an 80 W class-D amplifier, along with a 35W amp for the tweeter. The Alpha Twin Evo offers an extended frequency response from 38 Hz - 22 kHz and a max SPL of 106 dB.
Focal Alpha 65 Evo
The Alpha 65 Evo features a 6.5-inch cone woofer powered by a 55 W class-D amplifier. Along with a 25 W amp for the tweeter, the 65 Evo offers an extended frequency response from 40 Hz - 22 kHz and a max SPL of 104 dB.
Focal Alpha 50 Evo
The Alpha 50 Evo features a 5-inch woofer powered by a 30 W class-D amplifier, along with a 20W amp for the tweeter. The Alpha 50 Evo offers an impressive frequency response from 45 Hz - 22 kHz and a max SPL of 101 dB.
All of the Alpha Evo models feature XLR, TRS, and RCA, making it easy to connect up to three audio sources. A large laminar port enables Alpha Evo studio monitors to maintain the same tonal balance at low and high volumes for complete sonic transparency at all times. Top it all off with a versatile wall mounting system and the new Alpha Evo studio monitors are the perfect fit for any production space.
Focal Sub One
The Sub One subwoofer is equipped with two 8-inch Slate fiber woofers powered by dual 100 W class-D power amps. With a compact, front-ported design, the Sub One fits perfectly along a wall or under a desktop and pumps out powerful low-end all the way down to 32 Hz with a max SPL of 114 dB.
Focal Alpha 80
The largest monitor in the Alpha range, the Alpha 80 has a bigger 8” woofer. The same 1” tweeter as the rest of the line tops off the 80, and you’ll see low end represented down to 35Hz. For music needing more low-end monitoring, this is your answer. At $549 per monitor, the value on this Alpha 80 monitor is unrivaled.
Focal Shape Series
The Focal Shape Series is a nice mid-range option that features a variety of sizes and comes as a two-way speaker with side radiation allocations, instead of porting. It's all housed in a tasteful wood grain-style enclosure.
Focal Shape 40
The Shape 40 is the most compact in all of the Focal Professional line, but don’t count it out. The Shape 40 is a brilliant monitoring solution for small environments needing a near-field monitor. With a frequency range from 60Hz all the way up to 35kHz, the Shape 40 is a small but powerful tool.
Focal Shape 50
Upgrading to the Shape 50 gives you a 5” woofer, allowing for extended low end, while maintaining the same great features of the Shape line. The Shape 50 will reach down to 50Hz, and like the others, all the way up to 35kHz.
Focal Shape 65
The largest driver option of the Shape line, the Shape 65 has a 6.5” woofer, allowing its low end to extend down to 40 Hz. With a rear switch High Pass Filter, you can EQ low end at 45, 60, and 90 Hz. Also featured is a 3 band EQ, allowing for you to dial in exactly what your ears need to hear.
Focal Shape Twin
The top of the Shape line, the Shape Twin features two 5” woofers mounted above and below the tweeter. These monitors will represent low end with great precision and can reach a maximum SPL of 110 dB. For larger monitoring with the same great Focal sound, the Shape Twin is a fantastic choice.
Focal ST6 Series
In 2022, Focal released the ST6 line of studio monitors, including new versions of the best-selling Solo6 and Twin6, as well as a new subwoofer based on the popular Sub6 design. Focal's ST6 studio monitors share the same stylish design as their predecessors but introduce a number of innovative new features, including Focal’s proprietary “W-cone” composite drivers, a new and improved beryllium inverted dome tweeter, plus a new tweeter baffle for lower directionality and better dispersion control, ensuring a generous sweet spot in your studio.
Additionally, the Solo6 and Twin6 both feature Focal’s signature “Focus Mode,” which bypasses the tweeter and sends a full-range signal to just the woofer(s) for a midrange-forward sound that helps you make sure your mixes still sound smooth on less-than-ideal playback systems.
The Focal Solo6 is a two-way active studio monitor featuring a 6.5-inch W-cone composite sandwich woofer and 1.5-inch beryllium inverted dome tweeter. Together, these advanced drivers deliver a frequency range of 45 Hz to 40 kHz with up to 110 dB output level, extremely linear performance, high sensitivity and large dynamic range. A large laminar port on the bottom produces full low-end without the unpleasant “woofing” noise encountered in other designs.
The Focal Twin6 shares almost all of the same design elements and features as its smaller sibling but adds an extra 6.5-inch woofer for even more accurate sound and a slight boost in output. Aside from that difference, the Twin6 and Solo6 share a very similar frequency response, so you can easily use them together in a multichannel setup.
Focal Sub 12
The Focal Sub 12 features a 13-inch driver capable of reproducing frequencies below 30 Hz with excellent detail, consistency and power. The subwoofer’s amplifier section provides up to 600W RMS power (up to 1000W peak), providing output up to 124.5 dB. Additionally, rear-panel switches allow you to adjust polarity, sensitivity and volume, as well as tailor the low-pass and high-pass frequencies to complement your main monitors. With an upper limit of 400 Hz, the Sub 12 fills out the low-end of even the smallest monitors.
Focal SM6 Series
The SM6 line brings together Focal's greatest technological innovations for a stereo image that offers unprecedented neutrality, clarity and precision. Each monitor in this line employs a beryllium inverted dome tweeter that covers five octaves and woofers with W composite sandwich cones. Additionally, "Focus" mode reconfigures the monitors into a two-way mode perfect for checking your mixes.
Focal Solo6 Be
The Solo6 is a phenomenal nearfield monitor with two built-in amplifiers and a 6.5” composite driver. Reaching from 40Hz to 40kHz, the Solo6 is here to transmit accurate detail of the entire frequency spectrum in your mixes. With a state-of-the-art pure Beryllium tweeter and a maximum SPL of 113 dB, this speaker is a fantastic solution for high-end monitoring in the nearfield.
Focal Twin6 BE
This active, three-way speaker is filled out by two 6.5”, with a Beryllium tweeter in the middle. Designed for horizontal mounting, the Twin6 Be will find itself at home right on top of your console and will reveal every nuance of your mix immediately. The dual drivers are designed to both transmit low end, while one of the two is specifically delegated to handle the low-mid's as well. The goal for monitoring is completely transparent listening, and the Twin6 Be nails this- it will impart no coloration on your mixes.
Focal Trio6 Be
Next up in the line is the Trio6, a three-way near-field monitor that caters to the most demanding of engineers. Featuring a 1” tweeter, 5” woofer, and 8” subwoofer, the Trio6 represents each range of the frequency spectrum fantastically. Accurate is an understatement with this speaker, and mixes will find that every corner of their sound is revealed to engineers. Reaching all the way down to 35 Hz, and extending all the way to 40kHz, your ears will be given exactly what they need to hear. Switching to FOCUS mode swaps the speaker over to a two-way setup, allowing you to check your mixes for systems with limited response, such as TVs, cars, and phone speakers. Accuracy and optionality make the Trio6 a powerhouse.
Focal Trio11 Be
A precision midfield and nearfield speaker, the Trio11 can be operated as a two-way or three-way monitor. Featuring the same FOCUS technology as the Trio6, monitoring for different listening situations is a breeze. Carrying a 1” tweeter, 5” woofer, and massive 10” subwoofer, your mixes will be represented extremely accurately with this top-of-the-line speaker from Focal.
The perfect subwoofer option for the Solo6 Be and Twin6 Be monitors, the Sub6 features an 11" woofer and has adjustable phase and level control. Additionally, the Sub6 has a footswitch that enables users to deactivate the subwoofer and high-pass crossover on the outputs that supply the monitors.
Accurate listening is not only done on monitor speakers, so Focal has you covered on excellent choices for reference headphones, allowing you to mix accurately on the go.
Focal Sphear Wireless Earbuds
Focal Sphear Wireless earbuds combine impressive performance with unparalleled portability. Two equalizer odes make it easy to switch from critical monitoring tasks like tracking and mixing to listening to music or watching videos. Neutral mode offers precise sound that faithfully recreates the original work with excellent treble handling, realistic bass, and plenty of dynamics. Loudness mode lets you hear every detail of your music in noisy environments like commuting or working out. With Mylar and Polyurethane drivers, Sphear Wireless earbuds deliver explosive, realistic bass.
Focal Pro Listen Headphones
The Pro Listen studio headphones are closed-back, premium listening at its finest. Representing from 5Hz all the way up to 22kHz, literally every frequency that humans can hear will be represented in these headphones. Incredibly neutral and isolating, these headphones are a superb choice for on-the-go mixing, all at a modest price.
Focal Celestee Headphones
Designed for music-lovers, Focal's Celestee closed-back headphones utilize the latest Focal technologies to deliver outstanding tonal balance with powerful bass, punchy mids and precise treble. Celestee headphones feature 15/8" (40mm) Aluminum/Magnesium ‘M’-shaped dome full-range speaker drivers for an impressive frequency response from 5 Hz - 23 kHz. The earcups are treated with acoustic treatment to prevent resonance and reduce unwanted background noise.
Focal Clear MG Professional
Designed with music creators in mind, the Clear Mg Professional are circum-aural open-back headphones that offer optimized performance for the full frequency spectrum. Focal is reusing the original speaker drivers of the Clear Professionals (15/8" with M-shaped inverted domes), but have constructed them with Magnesium. By using Magnesium, Focal's research and development team has created a speaker driver formula that offers the right mix of lightness, rigidity and damping.
Focal's attention to detail with this new speaker driver, alongside its high copper voice coil and ear cup design, is sure to deliver the brand's best headphone listening experience yet. For the ear cup portion, Focal has created an open grille design that follows the contour of the M-shaped speaker driver. This design element specifically offers more flexibility in the higher frequencies.
Focal Stellia Headphones
Super high-end listening experiences won’t be the same once you introduce the Stellia. Cutting edge technology used in the speaker design allows for incredible articulation, and purity of sound. For those wanting luxury when listening at home or on the go, the Stellia is the headphone equivalent of a Rolls Royce.