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Focal Alpha 65 Review

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Focal Alpha 65 Review

Postby NigelSpiers » Sun May 21, 2017 10:56 pm

My 20 year old Alesis Monitor One passive monitors needed retiring as one of the drivers had blown and I could not find a replacement.

After reading the SOS review of the Focal Alpha 65 monitors last week I decided to buy a pair and wow what a difference!

The first major difference was the stereo field - they are even better than my AKG Studio headphones both in terms of left/right panning and reverb depth.

The second major difference was the amazingly large sweet spot. The sound and tone is now consistent all around my 5 metre by 3 metre studio. Even more importantly the Focals have removed the lower mid and bass nulls I had at both the mixing position and standing in the middle of the room. I had previously treated the studio with a significant quantity of acoustic panels and bass traps but could not get rid of those annoying nulls.

I also had a problem with resonant ringing at 120 Hz which is probably my all-time least favourite sound. While the Focals got rid of the nulls immediately they also emphasized the 120 Hz ringing. So I now knew for certain that the 120 Hz ringing was not in my imagination nor altogether caused by the room. I went through my latest mixes and re-examined the electric and acoustic basses and sure enough there was a problem - fixed with a -3 to -5 dB narrow cut at 120 Hz.

The Focals do produce more bass than I'm used to or like so I rolled off the bass frequency on the monitors by around -3dB and bingo! NB. The bass on the Focals is considerably extended from my old Alesis monitors - great. I know most reviewers recommend you leave the EQ alone until the speakers are "run in" and you are used to them but I'm way too impatient for that.

The mids on the Focal Alpha 65's are clear and detailed but not too forward - perfect!

The highs are also detailed and again very subtle - just right!

I've only had the monitors for 3 days but I honestly can't think of any improvements I could make and recommend you take a listen if you are in the market for small to medium sized studio monitors.
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Re: Focal Alpha 65 Review

Postby Forum Admin » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:51 am

For convenience, here's a link back to Bob Thomas's SOS review of the Alpha 65s from 2015:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focal-alpha-65
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Re: Focal Alpha 65 Review

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:17 pm

NigelSpiers wrote:Even more importantly the Focals have removed the lower mid and bass nulls I had at both the mixing position and standing in the middle of the room.

I'm very pleased that you're enjoying working with your new monitors, but good as the Focals are, they can't magically reinvent the laws of physics!

The bass nulls you experienced previously are caused by physical standing waves within the room, which are related to the dimensions of the room. Changing speakers doesn't change that at all.

However, changing the speaker's position within a room -- and often by as little as a few inches -- can make a big difference to which (and how strongly) the existing standing waves are excited and, consequently, the depth of cancellation nulls within the room.

So, I think you'll find the different low end behaviour is actually to do with the fact that the bass drivers and ports in the new speaker's are at a slightly different height, or are in slightly different positions front-back or left-right, than previously. Another facet with the new speakers that could be influencing this perceived change in low end response is a different radiation pattern at low frequencies, too.

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