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Focal Chora 806 bookshelf speaker review: A taste of high-end audio

French audio maker Focal is without doubt one of the storied manufacturers in high-end audio. The corporate’s merchandise vary from loudspeakers costing upwards of $200,000, to headphones, and automobile audio audio system. Focal’s Chora 806 bookshelf audio system ($990 in keeping with pair) is a part of Focal’s newest speaker lineup that appears to merge trendy styling with extra down-to-earth costs.

To that finish, the corporate is becoming a member of its sibling logo—Naim Audio—to supply a chain of package deal offers from November 1 to December 31, 2020 (whilst provides closing). Purchase the Chora 806 at the side of a Naim Uniti Atom built-in amplifier for $three,290 and also you’ll additionally get a Four-meter pair of Naim’s NAC A5 speaker cables and a longer guaranty for 5 years. That’s like getting the audio system, the cables, and the prolonged guaranty without spending a dime.

Excellent Have compatibility and end

The Chora 806 bookshelf speaker is a part of the Chora circle of relatives that comes with two tower speaker fashions, a encompass speaker, a middle channel, and a subwoofer. The Chora line objectives two-channel purists in addition to audiophiles on the lookout for full-blown house theater setups.

focal veneer detail Theo Nicolakis/IDG

A element view of the Chora’s beautiful veneer end.

Unpacking the Chora 806, I couldn’t lend a hand however understand their cast construct high quality and styling. The Chora’s satin end wood-grain veneer is excellent. The Chora 806 is available in 3 finishes to fit your tastes and decor: Mild wooden (a maple-like end), darkish wooden (a walnut-like end), and black. My evaluation pattern got here in darkish wooden. The baffle’s colour varies with each and every veneer.

On my dark-wood evaluation pattern, the speaker’s rather shiny, slate-colored entrance baffle stands proud as a distinguished characteristic. You’d higher love the baffle colour as a result of not like maximum loudspeakers, the Chora 806 grille doesn’t quilt the baffle. As an alternative, Focal takes a special design aesthetic with the Chora 806.

The inverted dome tweeter sits at the back of an uncovered, perforated steel quilt and the front-firing port is visual always. Simplest the 6.Five-inch driving force will get a magnetic grille. The glance a dialog starter that places guests on understand that you simply’re armed with a high-performance loudspeaker you’re itching to blow their own horns.

The round magnetic grille is finicky, then again; it should be precisely dialed in to seize the baffle. With a view to get the grille to take a seat correctly, I needed to rotate it like a steerage wheel till I felt the magnets align.

The Chora 806 is a two-way design. Focal makes use of beryllium—arguably the most efficient tweeter subject material to be had as of late—on its flagship audio system. However that component could be very dear to paintings with, so Focal opted for a less expensive aluminum/magnesium tweeter within the Chora 806. The driving force is a Slatefiber cone. Slatefiber is a composite of recycled, non-woven carbon fibers and thermoplastic polymer. Focal says its the primary audio logo to make use of recycled carbon fibers in drivers, and that the mix of those two fabrics leads to superb acoustic functionality in addition to tension and damping.

Use top quality amplification

Focal advertises the Chora 806 as an Eight-ohm speaker with a sensitivity of 89dB, however the Chora’s impedance can dip right down to Four.6 ohms, presenting a harder load for an amplifier. Whilst the Chora must be simple to power, you must mate them to a top quality A/V receiver or a devoted energy amplifier that may care for low-impedance so much.

chora806 unitiatom Focal/Naim

If you’ll be able to act rapid, you’ll be able to pick out up the Chora 806 audio system, a Naim Uniti Atom built-in amplifer, NAC A5 speaker cables, and a Five-year prolonged guaranty for the cost of the amplifier by myself.

I arrange the Chora 806 in my basement theater and set them on most sensible of 33-inch cast wooden stands. Focal sells a couple of stands in particular designed for the Chora 806 that promote for $290 a couple; alas, Focal didn’t supply me with a evaluation pattern. Focal’s stands are 21 Five/Eight-inches tall and are product of MDF (medium density fiberboard). The stands are rather tilted for time alignment and to direct the tweeters towards your ears. The ground of the Chora 806 include threaded screw holes that connect to the stands’ most sensible plate for safety.

Whilst I like to recommend the usage of stands, Focal contains two units of silicone dots for tabletop placement.

Stunning, however perplexing binding posts

The Focal Chora’s binding posts deserve some reward and a few complaint. The binding posts take a seat in a superbly easy and curvaceous hollow space at the again of the speaker, they usually recreation rounded fins that cause them to extremely simple to tighten and unfasten.

focal binding post Theo Nicolakis/IDG

The Focal’s binding submit design makes it simple to tighten and unfasten.

The binding posts also are perplexing. The instruction guide displays they are able to accommodate spades, naked cord, or banana connectors. However just right success attempting to make use of banana connectors. The binding posts include caps over the normal banana connector channel. For the lifetime of me I couldn’t determine the right way to pop the caps off. I finished quick for concern of destructive the connectors.

Detail view of the Focal’s binding post plugs that wouldn’t allow me to connet banana plugs easily. Theo Nicolakis/IDG

A element view of the Chora 806’s binding submit plugs that wouldn’t permit me to connet banana plugs simply.

Listening

I paired the $990 Focal Chora 806 with a $three,290 Naim Uniti Atom, a high-performance, high-powered community streamer and built-in amplifier in a slick, ultra-compact footprint. It’s a Roon-ready tool, so I served up supply subject material from my Roon Nucleus server consisting of each hi-res audio recordsdata and Tidal streams.

The Chora 806 had been strangely finicky to dial into my room—way more finicky than any speaker in fresh reminiscence. Should you don’t have the wherewithal for this process, have your native Focal broker arrange the audio system for you. You’ll be duly rewarded.

focal tweeter Theo Nicolakis/IDG

The Focal’s inverted dome aluminum/magnesium tweeter

When correctly dialed in, the Chora 806 are magical for audio system on this worth vary; they totally disappeared in my room, making a coherent wall of sound. At the Indigo Ladies’ monitor “Welcome Me,” the Focals painted sonic photographs of Amy Ray’s and Emily Saliers’ guitar strokes and vocals in house and time.

The Focal 806 conjured up a ridiculously huge sound level that persistently prolonged past the audio system edges. A miniature sound level is continuously an obstacle of track audio system—that used to be now not right here.

The Chora 806 did yeoman’s paintings rendering piano notes on Billy Joel’s “Piano Guy” and Lana Del Rey’s “Mariners Rental Complicated.” Despite the fact that if I’m allowed to nitpick, the Chora couldn’t rather earn an ideal rating reproducing the piano’s definition and frame.

focal driver Theo Nicolakis/IDG

A element view of the Chora 806’s Slatefiber cone composite woofer.

Bass reaction used to be superb for the motive force measurement and frequency reaction. Focal’s designers obviously centered at the high quality and now not amount of bass. The Chora’s frequency vary is rated at 58Hz to 28kHz, and it delivered enjoyable bass traces on Lourdes “Royals,” pressurizing my listening house with well-controlled, chest-thumping bass. Bass traces on Ingrid Michaelson’s “That is Struggle” and “Superb Unknown” had been taut, crisp, and effectively managed, despite the fact that audibly curtailed on the lowest frequencies.

On James Blake’s “Restrict for your Love” the Chora 806’s bottom-end limits at the track’s house-shaking bass traces had been abundantly transparent. Should you really need deep bass with the Chora 806, pair them with a top quality subwoofer.

The Chora 806 captivated me now and then on songs reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan’s “Love Come [piano version]” and Diana Krall’s “I Take into accout You,” from her album The Glance of Love.

At the drawback, the Chora 806 can’t rather go beyond a rather boxy sound—that’s the sonic tradeoff with audio system and displays at this worth level. Whilst, sound level, timbre, and dynamics are in point of fact just right, the feel of notes and the tools that play them lack the masterful refinement and finesse that you simply’ll enjoy with regard audio system.

For instance, switching backward and forward between the Focals and my RBH Sound SVTR Signature Tower Audio system (priced at $11,000, that’s an unfair fit to make certain), the RBH SVTR Signatures eradicated the feeling of bloat and smearing on vocals and tools. Natalie Service provider’s vocals on “San Andreas Fault” snapped into speedy center of attention in a solidly built sense of house and time. Put otherwise, it’s the variation between optical and virtual zoom at 5x magnification.

A style of the excessive finish

The Focal’s Chora 806 bookshelf audio system are superbly constructed, cast performers. The Chora’s construct and function obviously conveys their high-end pedigree and are a cast option to someone who desires to commit themselves to a significant audio interest.

With out breaking the financial institution, the Chora 806 serve up a style of what high-performance audio can ship. Simply be sure you pair them with top quality electronics and amplification. If you’ll be able to swing the Focal-Naim promotion operating via December 31, you’ll get a superb-sounding, high-tech bundle in a spouse-friendly footprint for a wonderful worth.

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