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Focal Shape 65

Focal Shape 65

4.75 4.75 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

Review of Focal Shape 65 Near-field monitors.

19th March 2018

Focal Shape 65 by MaestroBeats

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Focal Shape 65

What to expect from Focal’s Shape 65 Studio Monitors

Focal’s latest near-field monitor offerings comes in a variety of options. The Shape 40 features a 1” aluminum-magnesium inverted dome tweeter and a 4” flax sandwich cone woofer. The Shape 65 also shares the 1” tweeter but with a 6.5” woofer instead. The more recent Shape Twin comes with two 5” woofers (top one 40Hz - 2.5Hz, bottom 40Hz - 180Hz) and the same 1” tweeter. It has a beautiful classic furniture-looking natural walnut veneer cabinet that looks more of a bookshelf speaker than a studio monitor. This series of monitors comes dual passive radiators mounted in both sides of each. The Shape 65 and Shape 40 has both XLR and RCA inputs, a high-pass filter and adjustable bass, treble and crossover controls with two Class A/B amplifiers and the Shape Twin share the same concept except for three Class A/B amplifiers instead of two. There are screw holes for wall and ceiling mounting. There are also 4 rubberized adjustable feet for decoupling from desks and stands alike nearly eliminating the need for optional Auralex Mopads, even though I did place some Isoacoustics Iso-Pucks underneath thanks to Simon Cote of Audio Plus Services with astonishingly noticeable results. These may not be the Focal SM series or the Trio series but these are not entry level monitors by a long shot.

They’re great sounding and the mixes from these translate well. This discredits the old myth that you have to employ a terrible sounding speaker such as the Yamaha NS-10’s to achieve a great mix. The Shape series is a great cost-effective option for bedroom engineers, producers and musicians in need of quality monitoring, mixing and listening. When listening to them fresh out-of-the-box they’re not impressive but once I burned them in for a few days, they really started to shine. My Yamaha’s HS 8’s didn’t stand a chance afterwards. The highs are very crisp, clear and neutral, the mid was very well rounded and present but the low-end from these little speaker are amazing and caught me totally off guard. I believe the fact that they’re not ported but instead uses passive radiators causes the bass to be more accurate, tight, warm and pleasant. Their tweeter and flax cone woofer technology definitely will grab your attention sonically.

I did a few A/B comparisons with the Shape 65 against a few well respected monitors in it’s range like the Yamaha’s HS 8’s and the Genelec 8040’s (both modified by Daniel Feldstein formerly of Black Lion Audio) just to name a few. In a blind listening test session with a few of my comrades (AD McGee engineer at Trap Execs Studios, Daniel Feldstein technician of Danieldialatone Inc. formerly of Black Lion Audio and Dan Tosi producer/engineer of Tosmosis Productions) we all agreed that the Focal’s stood out due to its ability to reveal the imperfections in a mix. The Focal’s however didn’t outshine the modified Yamaha’s and Genelec’s in the stereo imagining department. In the early 90’s when Hip-Hop albums were filled with substandard engineering, the Focal’s revealed what we thought at that time was musical heaven. It revealed where compression was needed especially in the sub/low-end and that the highs were harsh in the mix of these albums (EX: Black Moon - Enter Da Stage, Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu Tang and other early 1990’s Hip-Hop classics). It also brought out the instruments and panning in other great albums from that era (EX:A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders and OutKast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik) that I couldn’t hear in a few other monitors. In my opinion, this is phenomenal for a speaker this size and price range.

One of my complaints were the energy saving cutoff feature that’s automatically enabled when there’s nothing audible through the speakers. It’s a good thought but unnecessary and annoying in my opinion. I have read that there is a way to disable this feature though I haven’t attempted it yet. There’s also no control over the volume of this speaker other than your audio interface. If you’re referencing between two or more pair then you’ll need to match the volume of the other monitors to the fixed volume of the Shape 65’s. My last issue was that the stereo imaging didn’t stand up to the modded set of HS-8’s, KRK Rockit 5’s and Genelec 8040’s but in all fairness the op-amps, capacitors and wire were internally upgraded so this may or may not be a fair assessment.

My conclusion is that you’ll be hard pressed to purchase monitors in this price range ($899 each) with the features, sound and abilities of these monitors. I called Warren of Zen Pro Audio about his opinion of these since he sells a modded Yamaha HS 8 pair that rival some of the best monitors on the market and he even stated that they were better overall than his version of the HS-8. Yamaha HS series are excellent entry level monitors and reference option but won’t hold a candle to Focal’s of any series. If you’re looking for a speaker that translates into great mixes, these are the monitors for you especially in a small studio or home set-up.

Attached Thumbnails
Focal Shape 65-b6ed8a14-0ed5-40b2-a952-f83c03d8c096.jpg   Focal Shape 65-1bde0a28-826c-44b6-9e60-9951c43a835f.jpg  

  • 4
20th March 2018

Focal Shape 65 by donald trump

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Focal Shape 65

They are really robust monitors. They are very well built and look very elegant. I bought these monitors by chance, actually I was not looking for this. In a black friday, its price plummeted and it was when I decided to give them a chance, because my yamaha hs7 caused me fatigue and I was very annoying to mix, even though its sound is transparent, but at the same time too hard .
At first, they did not seem spectacular to me. He had to spend a few weeks. I noticed that the sound was slowly settling down, little by little it was showing his personality and that's when I started to value it.
It does not have the sound pressure of 6 inches. I hate 6 inches. My ears need more openness and more sound pressure. I bought them for a small room and the truth is that it gives very good results.
The sound has some air, I would say that they are sweet and quiet, but if you raise the volume a little, the magic of its lower part is really the key element of this monitor. The bass has surprised me a lot, it does not sound like 6 inches, but it does not sound like an 8. It's something like that, like a 6-inch super vitamin, which offers the listener a sweet and pleasant sound pressure in the ear. I've only had one problem
The focal monitors, all have a system of auto off. At 30 minutes if the monitors do not detect an audio signal, they disconnect themselves. I have a unit that does not turn off.I spoke with Focal, and he told me that it was a manufacturing error but that it is not serious. You just have to open the monitor and turn ON a switch. But if it does not bother you, it's not any drama.In short, I think some good monitors for a small room, where you do not need much volume, but you want a reliable sound.the back, also comes with very useful tools to adapt the sound to your room. Maybe the price is a bit high for this type of range, but really, it's worth it, because it sounds very good.

  • 1
13th March 2019

Focal Shape 65 by blayz2002

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Focal Shape 65

I have had these Focal Shape 65's for a year now, and have to echo the two previous reviews. Great imaging, clarity, non-fatiguing and tight accurate bass. My mix game stepped up! when I started using these. I had previously used Yamaha HS8's and before that, JBL 305's. So these are definitely head and shoulders above those, but they cost around twice as much, so should be expected.

Before I bought them, I did a listening session in my local gear store (not ideal acoustics, but it was the same for all the monitors). I did a rough comparison between the Adam A7X, the Neumann KH120, and the Genelec 8040. The low mids and bass were way tighter and clearer than the A7X and they sounded a little more natural or warmer than the KH120 (although the KH120 were well balanced). The 8040 to me sounded too hyped in the low end, and not a lot of clarity.

I then just for fun, decided to compare them to the Focal Solo 6 BE. The Solo 6 was definitely in a class above the Shape's, but I still felt that the Shape's were slightly tighter in the low end as, some of my reference tracks (some of my own mixes and some commercial classics, mostly Hip Hop) that didn't sound perfect on the Shape's in the low frequencies, still sounded ok on the Solo's. But the Mids and Highs on the Solo's was definitely nicer. So for a minute, I considered 'blowing my budget and getting the Solo's but decided to go home and have a good thing. Once I spent a bit of time reviewing why I was attracted to the Shape's in the first place, it was clear they were the right ones for me, as I'm in a smallish room, and my biggest struggle with mixes was the bass and low mids, but also clarity in the mid frequencies.

But with the Shape's and a couple of supporting elements, such as; adding some more room treatment and Sonarworks (which I was already using with the HS8's), I am getting very consistent and very accurate mixes that translate well, and near enough right first time. I also have a sub and Sennheiser HD600's, and I hardly need these to check the bass and low end before bouncing my mix. It's just great!

Highly reccomend for that 1k-1,700k a pair, range.

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