Focal’s newest Shape‑series speaker boasts a host of unusual design features — which combine to make an unusually good monitor!
The Focal Shape range of active nearfield monitors seems to have been well received since its introduction around two years ago, and now the existing three Shapes have been joined by the subject of this review: the Shape Twin. The Shape Twin continues the unusual industrial design of the earlier models and continues also the unusual use of twin, side‑mounted auxiliary bass radiators (ABRs). The Shape Twin, however, adds a second bass/mid driver and dedicated amplifier, a more powerful tweeter amplifier, and a significant increase in the height dimension.
On first glance you might expect the Shape Twin’s ‘MTM’ driver arrangement (mid‑tweeter‑mid; a bass/mid unit either side of a tweeter) to be configured in a classic and acoustically symmetrical D’Appolito array, but somewhat surprisingly it’s not. The Shape Twin is in fact what’s known as a 2.5‑way system. One of the bass/mid drivers, the upper one in this case, extends up to 2.5kHz where it hands over to the tweeter, while the other bass/mid driver is slowly attenuated from around 180Hz as bass becomes mid‑range. I’ll describe and discuss in more detail Focal’s nearfield take on the MTM 2.5‑way configuration shortly, but first, a little more general description of the monitor is probably in order.
As somebody who’s spent a long career in and around speaker design, I know just how hard it is to come up with a new aesthetic that doesn’t frighten the horses, is affordable in terms of tooling or material costs, and is workable in terms of manufacturing. So I think Focal are to be congratulated on the look and style of the Shape range. I admired it from the moment I saw the launch pictures, and now I’ve got a pair in front of me, I’ve not changed my mind. Focal are to be congratulated too for manufacturing the Shape range in Europe, where the majority of potential customers are likely to...
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