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Having spent a couple of days with Focals and Dynaudios
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andrew montreal
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11th February 2008
Old 11th February 2008
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Having spent a couple of days with Focals and Dynaudios

I have been testing a pair of Focal Solo6 Be's against a pair of Dynaudio BM6A's for my mixing room. The experience has been quite .

The BM6A's seem to give an FM radio quality to everything that goes through them. Perhaps a more accurate way to describe the effect would be that they seem to compress the signal, even when playing at medium levels. The lows don't seem accurate to me and the lower-upper-mids are quite strident (oh? the lower-upper-mids? andrew, please.) Compared to the Solo6 Be's, they have more of a colour and don't seem as accurate.

As for the Solo6 Be's, I do appreciate the general detail that I hear across the frequency range, but I find them to be somewhat harsh in the high-high-mids and high frequencies. My ears get tired of them after not too long. And, by the way, I mix at REALLY low levels. Listening to numerous albums on them, I hear tons of telling details (compression types, tails of reverbs, slight desirable distortion), but again, I can't listen to a whole album without wanting to turn the volume down even more. Is there such a thing as accuracy without harshness?

Other models that I've tested in this price range, such as Genelec and Adam (the latter being awful in my opinion), didn't last more than ten minutes in my tests. Any thoughts or advice?

Andrew
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11th February 2008
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Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post
Is there such a thing as accuracy without harshness?
In my opinion Wilson Watt 7's are the best balance of pure accuracy and general listenability, followed closely by B&W 801's.

Watt 7's start at something like $27,000 a pair (and are not powered).
They match well with Krell (discrete) amps.
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given the fact that nearly all mixes are done on a $600 pr of monitors (ns10's) IMHO, the most important aspect of monitoring is how they translate to the outside world. none will be perfect and all will have a learning curve.
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11th February 2008
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one of the things i wish focal would do is burn their monitors in, because the sound of that tweeter changes dramatically after two weeks of good use. it mellows a lot, which is good because it does border on strident when it comes out of the box, especially on the solo's which only have one driver to counterbalance it.

i believe a huge part of that is that the driver is giving your brain a lot of information it isn't ever accustomed to hearing with such detail & presence. the newness of the experience can lend itself to a sort of fatigue that's as much psychoacoustic as it is physical.

if you trim it back using the hf control on the rear, you might find that -2db really puts it into a place your brain can make sense of. once the tweet mellows (and it will), you'll probably want to set it to flat again, and all that detail won't overload your circuits anymore.

between the tweeter burn in and the brain burn in, i've come to love not just the way my twins translate but the way they actually sound, and that's not something i could say with all my heart when i first got them.

i know they're old hat around here and as such don't get as many mentions as the fashionable brands of the day, but you might find the adam s3a to your liking, they have more of the ns10 signature but with a seriously extended range in both direction and an equal amount of detail as the twins, albeit in different parts of the spectrum. very much *not* the extended-top scoopish sound of focal/pmc/atc, more the opposite in fact, very mid-centric.


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andrew montreal
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19th February 2008
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by the way, as i've mentioned in another thread: a focal representative came over to my place. we replaced the volume control that i was using (mackie board) with a much better one. the focals are amazing. lots of detail, not harsh. very happy with them indeed.

andrew
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19th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Empire Prod View Post
In my opinion Wilson Watt 7's are the best balance of pure accuracy and general listenability, followed closely by B&W 801's.
Watt 7's start at something like $27,000 a pair (and are not powered).
They match well with Krell (discrete) amps.
I have the WATT/Puppys with the complete WATCH surround/center and WATCHDog sub driven by Pass Labs XA-160 monoblocs. I too have the Focal Twins/Solos in a 5.1 config, so I have a good reference. The WATT/Puppy actually has a tweeter sourced from Focal. Guess that's why I like them so much.
I have never felt the Focals to be harsh. We can listen to them for hours without any fatigue. We've done mixes on them and I've taken the mix to the Wilson mastering room and they translated very well.

Regards,
Bruce
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19th February 2008
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Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post

volume control = (mackie board) (!!!)

tutt


Where the monitors you were testing "broken-in" yet?

There's no point in testing monitors that aren't broken-in. For instance, Dynaudios will tend to sound "compressed" when brand new, this effects the overall frequency response, etc.

You need to hear this stuff after quite a few hours of use. This presents a problem of course if you receive some brand new ones from a dealer to test.

Try to find a studio or friend etc in your area that owns and uses the stuff you are interested in, hopefully for a small fee or a case of beer etc they'd let you come down and do some auditioning.
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Remember also that everyone room is different and has different treatement which greatly affects what you hear as well. K&H 0300D's .
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19th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post
I have been testing a pair of Focal Solo6 Be's against a pair of Dynaudio BM6A's for my mixing room. The experience has been quite .

The BM6A's seem to give an FM radio quality to everything that goes through them. Perhaps a more accurate way to describe the effect would be that they seem to compress the signal, even when playing at medium levels. The lows don't seem accurate to me and the lower-upper-mids are quite strident (oh? the lower-upper-mids? andrew, please.) Compared to the Solo6 Be's, they have more of a colour and don't seem as accurate.

As for the Solo6 Be's, I do appreciate the general detail that I hear across the frequency range, but I find them to be somewhat harsh in the high-high-mids and high frequencies. My ears get tired of them after not too long. And, by the way, I mix at REALLY low levels. Listening to numerous albums on them, I hear tons of telling details (compression types, tails of reverbs, slight desirable distortion), but again, I can't listen to a whole album without wanting to turn the volume down even more. Is there such a thing as accuracy without harshness?

Other models that I've tested in this price range, such as Genelec and Adam (the latter being awful in my opinion), didn't last more than ten minutes in my tests. Any thoughts or advice?

Andrew
You are a very fussy person?



What signal (d/a ?) are you feeding the monitors with?
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19th February 2008
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Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post
by the way, as i've mentioned in another thread: a focal representative came over to my place. we replaced the volume control that i was using (mackie board) with a much better one. the focals are amazing. lots of detail, not harsh. very happy with them indeed.

andrew
Is it the really cheap Australian volume controller? smpro? It works really well with my focals.

m.
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19th February 2008
Old 19th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post

EDIT--


Other models that I've tested in this price range, such as Genelec and Adam (the latter being awful in my opinion), didn't last more than ten minutes in my tests. Any thoughts or advice?

Andrew


I would suggest looking into Barefoot, Quested, PMC, and ATC. I did the Genelec thing back in the late 1990s and could never get them to translate at all. However, they are great home theater speakers. When I was looking to replace my Tannoys, I did the search and ended with the ATCs. When listening to them, I was floored by the sound and decided to jump in all the way and went much larger than I anticipated with the SCM150ASLs also doing a major gear re-working at the time). Knowing that I could replace my Tannoys with Barefoots as nears gave me both of my prime references for any music. If I had to, it would be tough to choose only one as they are both stunning. If your budget can get there, the Quested VS3208 and the ATC SCM50ASLs would be my choice for an all-in-one monitor.
andrew montreal
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19th February 2008
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Thanks for the responses. I broke the monitors in and used a higher quality volume control and the results were wonderful. I have learnt my lesson: what comes out of your monitors is the sound of every element in the chain. I would be excited to hear the Barefoot and the ATC, but in my budget, the Focals are now amking me smile.
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20th February 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post
Thanks for the responses. I broke the monitors in and used a higher quality volume control and the results were wonderful. I have learnt my lesson: what comes out of your monitors is the sound of every element in the chain. I would be excited to hear the Barefoot and the ATC, but in my budget, the Focals are now amking me smile.
Woah don't be too hasty to part with your money yet fella!

I second the vote of confidence for Questeds as I have been using VS2108's for years now and am very happy with them. I tried every other well known brand of monitors and after the initial honeymoon period wore off then the hyper detailed ones (such as PMC's and Focals) started to grate on me over extended periods.

The quested family has a similar sound across the entire range of monitors from the H108's right up to the main monitors and the midrange and top end are the most natural open and musical sounding to my ears whilst still being able to reveal a decent level of detail within dense mixes.

Everyone hears differently but in the last 10 years everybody who has heard my speakers has commented on how great they think they sound and a few people have even bought them for their studios. Don't believe the hype and try as many models as you can even if they aren't the most cutting edge design..

And stay away from Genelecs ;-)
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