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FOCAL CMS 50 Warning!!! Studio Monitors
Old 27th August 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

FOCAL CMS 50 Warning!!!

Hi Fellow slutz!
I decided to upgrade my monitors this past spring and my choice fell upon FOCAL CMS 50. I auditioned them in a local music store and thought about it for a while... Unfortenately my budget was a bit restrained at the time so I decided to buy them from musicstore.de
On their website I found a customer returns pair that I bought. When I received them and hooked them up I immediately noticed a buzzing sound from one of the speakers as I played electric or synthbass through them, very annoying. The problem was not really evident when playing a full mix, but recording electric bass drove me insane! Since they where a customer returns pair I figured someone had blown the woofer or something... So I sent them back and ordered a new pair from thomann.de since musicstore.de was out of stock at the time.
When I received the new pair and hooked them up I noticed the same problem in one of the speakers...hhmmmm I thought, maybe somethiong is wrong with my setup or cabling. So I went about and tried every possible combination of cabling and outputs but nothing helped. Since one of the speakers was always fine (always the same of course) and the other one always buzzing, i concluded it could only be the speaker. A simple A/B test when I swapped the speakers place left to right (and vice versa) but left the cables was really enough though, but I tried some other options as well just to be sure.
So I contacted Thomann and sent the speaker back for repair. Thomann then aparentely sent the speaker on to Focal for repair...
So I wait a month and then gets it back with a new bass reflex tube.
However the annoynig buzz still remain! Frustrated and angry I sent it back once again to Thomann. Wait another month and today I just got word from them. They said that Focal claimed the speaker was fine and within normal tolerance!!!
I really think this sucks! How can a speaker that has obvious problems be within normal tolerance?

Just to be clear: I'm a professional drummer and studio owner since ten years, not an amateur. My equippment in the studio is of high quality throughout, exept for the monitors....

Since I've had two pairs of FOCAL CMS 50 speakers and both of them had one faulty speaker my conclusion can only be that FOCALS quality control is sub standard. I'm quite amazed that they, when presented with the problem, still deny that it exists.
This last time sending the speaker back for repair I included a very clear description on how they should audition the speaker to hear the problem.
I even mentioned a specific sound in Logic's EXS24 they could use. ANY person comparing a healthy CMS 50 and my faulty would hear the difference! My mom could even tell the difference!!

So a warning to everyone considering the CMS 50, make sure you can audition them properly before you spend your hard earned cash on faulty speakers! I learned the hard way...

Anyone else had problems with FOCAL products?

P.S. I really like the character of these monitors, I just don't like the extra buzz (like something is loose inside) in one of the speakers. D.S.
Old 1st September 2010
  #2
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

i have some CMS 50 in for review and i have been pushing the shlt out of them and no issues here at all.
i will send a email to our distributor maybe he can some how help?
i have been impressed with these for the most part, and pushing some heavy bass so i think their must be some other issue.

dose both monitor do it or just one?
are you 100% sure its not something in the room?
i only ask as i have seen rattles and buzzs that sometimes sound like they are coming from one location just to track them to another?
Old 1st September 2010
  #3
Gear Head
 

Hi!
Yes it's just one of the monitors that have this annoying sound. I've tried switching their places but the buzz is always in one perticular monitor regardless if it's placed one the left or right at my DAW.
Thank you for contacting the distrubitor, any help is welcome :-)

I also like the sound of these, they're great aside from my little problem....
Old 1st September 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
NYMo's Avatar
 

Hi there,

Don't worry..you're not alone !

I had the same basic thing happen on a pair of Focal Twin 6..as soon as I plugged them in..and using a bass sound.

If you search GS you will find posts of mine that describe this.
I didn;t get much help at the time..but I think it has to do with some cardboard they have on the back of the woofer that is loose.

I don't own Focal Twins anymore

Cheers
John NYMO Nyman
Old 1st September 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
I've been having a few problems with the Focal CMS65's. I had two pairs here which suffered from the transformer hum a one off batch had.
Focal have since sorted out this transformer hum issue which was something extremely minor to fix.

Since then I've had another pair and noticed last week a funny noise port issue when used with deep synth basses on certain notes. Sounds like paper flapping!?
They are now with SCV and hope to get this sorted.

This has been a real shame that I've had issues with three pairs of Focal CMS65's as I adore the sound of these monitors!! Before I bought these I spent a LOT of time trying out others and comparing them and for me the Focals were just amazing!!

If this issue can't get sorted with my current pair then I will sadly have to look for something else
Old 1st September 2010
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Wow this is really off-putting, I've narrowed down my monitor search to solo 6's or cms 65. but not if this is a common issue with focal's in general - which it's starting to sound like it is .. Anyone have any more experience with this problem ? And specifically on the solo 6 ? would have thought they were better made but if the twins have it then that doesn't sound good..
Old 1st September 2010
  #7
Gear Addict
 
Osumosan's Avatar
 

If you really like the sound of the Focals, but are afraid of getting a "dud," why don't you bring in some various source material, including individual tracks to a dealer and audition speakers then insist on taking the ones home that you have listend to.
Old 1st September 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevie w View Post
Wow this is really off-putting, I've narrowed down my monitor search to solo 6's or cms 65. but not if this is a common issue with focal's in general - which it's starting to sound like it is .. Anyone have any more experience with this problem ? And specifically on the solo 6 ? would have thought they were better made but if the twins have it then that doesn't sound good..
I don't think this is an issue with Focal in general. From what I understand from the distributor and dealers over here in the UK there was a one off batch that had some issues which have now been sorted.
Old 1st September 2010
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
FocalPro's Avatar
 

Hi!

I work with Focal North America so I'm obviously not aware of what happened to your monitors, but let's try to see what happened!

Quote:
Originally Posted by P-pangdrums View Post
So I contacted Thomann and sent the speaker back for repair. Thomann then aparentely sent the speaker on to Focal for repair...
Do you know if they were really sent to Focal or to Sound Service (the german distributor) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by P-pangdrums View Post
They said that Focal claimed the speaker was fine and within normal tolerance!!!
I really think this sucks! How can a speaker that has obvious problems be within normal tolerance?
The CMS don't make any weird vibrations, believe me, you can push CMS50s very hard and not have any problems so I don't know who at Focal (or Sound Service) said it was normal but I can tell you that it's not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by P-pangdrums View Post
FOCALS quality control is sub standard.
We litterally sell thousands of CMS50s every year in the US alone and I can attest that the quality control is very good. The CMS series is by far the most reliable and trouble-free products we ever sold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by P-pangdrums View Post
I'm quite amazed that they, when presented with the problem, still deny that it exists.
That amazes me too, send me an email at [email protected] with your serial numbers and I'll try to see if somebody at the Focal factory really looked at them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by P-pangdrums View Post
So a warning to everyone considering the CMS 50, make sure you can audition them properly before you spend your hard earned cash on faulty speakers! I learned the hard way...
I can totally understand your frustration! we'll take care of you!
Old 1st September 2010
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
FocalPro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevie w View Post
Wow this is really off-putting, I've narrowed down my monitor search to solo 6's or cms 65. but not if this is a common issue with focal's in general - which it's starting to sound like it is .. Anyone have any more experience with this problem ? And specifically on the solo 6 ? would have thought they were better made but if the twins have it then that doesn't sound good..
If you search the Internet for people that had trouble with Product "X", you will always find some.

Guy Laliberté (the owner of the Cirque du Soleil) bought a Ferrari Enzo a few years ago. He had to return the doors to Italy twice because the paint job was horrible.

All I'm saying is you often hear more about the people who have problems then when they were happy. (Hey ,I'm the same, I'm way more tempted to post a bad review of a restaurant on Yelp when I have a horrible experience then when it was amazing!)

Check out a pair of Solo6 or Twin6 for yourself and you'll see!

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns!

Cheers,
Old 1st September 2010
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Haha cheers simon,
I know exactly what you mean - although personally I will leave good reviews on a product if I think it's really great- credit where credit is due (I'm old fashioned I know)
In the case of your company's monitors I have heard nothing but good things here on gs and other places, and the fact you guys are straight on any questions / problems like this only helps to put my mind at rest.
But you have to admit that having " a loose bit of cardboard on the back of the woofer" of a £2000 pair of monitors (in the case of nymo's twins) is a tad concerning to hear!

I trust all is sorted now with any issues like this, and as I mentioned, from your reputation here and elsewhere I am happy to go test out some focal's and spread the good word if I end up taking some back to the studio with me.
Cheers
Old 1st September 2010
  #12
Gear Nut
 

One of my rock star clients got a pair of Twin 6's for the overdub room in his house. I work there quite a bit and really liked the monitors. I'm usually an ADAM guy, but these seemed to be pretty spot on for his room.

One day we noticed a buzzing on one of the monitors when we were tracking some bass on a songwriting demo. It only happened on one. It followed the monitor not the cabling etc. Called the place where he bought them to find out how to get it fixed. Turned out they had heard of this problem before and it was probably one of the wires inside the cabinet hitting the cone.

We pulled one of the woofer drivers, found the wires, taped them to the back of the cabinet, problem solved. Trouble shooting took about an hour, 45 minutes, the call took about 5 minutes, the fix took about 15 minutes, getting back into the work flow after the disruption took another 1/2 hour or so but in under 2 hours our problem was solved.

If I hear buzzing on bass from a Focal again, I can skip the first part, pull a woofer and tape the wires. If that doesn't do it then I'll get on the phone, but otherwise the fix is pretty easy
Old 1st September 2010
  #13
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

that fact that Focal and Simon Cote care enough about the product to offer what i can only see as exceptional service mean a lot.
this is one of the most primary thing i personally look for in companies i deal with!
things can and do go wrong, it is how it gets dealt with that separate the men from the boys ( no offense ladies ) .

thanks for chiming in and offer to help Simon!

as for taping the wires up, if that is a issue, i would look at maybe a dap of silicone or something to keep those wires off the cone?

like i say i have been pushing these hard and they are great on this end.
Old 1st September 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYMo View Post
Hi there,

Don't worry..you're not alone !

I had the same basic thing happen on a pair of Focal Twin 6..as soon as I plugged them in..and using a bass sound.

If you search GS you will find posts of mine that describe this.
I didn;t get much help at the time..but I think it has to do with some cardboard they have on the back of the woofer that is loose.

I don't own Focal Twins anymore

Cheers
John NYMO Nyman

Same situation as me. I now own the Opals. I wanted to own the Focals but even after being sent for repair the noise crept back. They were great to deal with, and helped as much as they could but eventually I just had enough back and forth and returned them.

Hope you get yours sorted. I actually just got the studio i work at to buy a pair of twins, and theres seem fine so I guess i just got a bad pair.
Old 2nd September 2010
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevie w View Post
Haha cheers simon,
...
I trust all is sorted now with any issues like this, and as I mentioned, from your reputation here and elsewhere I am happy to go test out some focal's and spread the good word if I end up taking some back to the studio with me.
Cheers

I completely agree with Simon and I love the Ferrari example. In the UK alone, there are now over 2,000 pairs of Focal monitors and the number of faults reported is very small - nothing is perfect everytime. Please be assured, however, that our attention to customer care is paramount - hence our involvement here on GS.

With regard to a trial of Focals, Steve, please message me and I will arrange.

Garry
Old 2nd September 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
 
NYMo's Avatar
 

Hi there,

Just as an aside, I used to manage a store in Australia's largest Musical Instrument retail outlet for nearly 20 years.

I have opened more new boxes than most people on this list and there was hardly anything that came out of the box not working properly (ok ...maybe Ensoniq)

When I spend $4000 au on a pair of speakers...I expect it to work flawlessly !
(this may be to do with QC..which was a lot different when I was in the business nearly 20 years ago)

Cheers
John NYMO Nyman
Old 2nd September 2010
  #17
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
Yeah I have to agree. My CMS65's were £1100 and for this kind of money I expect the best QC and a perfectly working product.
None of the cheaper monitors I had which cost £200 and £400 on had any issues at all!!
Old 2nd September 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Deckdaddy's Avatar
My 65's does not have these issues, I checked the ports for noise with diverse sinus bass tones as soon as they was played in properly. The ports are super quiet, and I'm used to port noise from my last pair of cheap monitors and most other ported speakers.

I'm experiencing some hiss and hum sometimes tho', but it's not constant, it's worst during daytime and less at night, so I think I should get a power conditioner. I'm in an apartment in a city with lots of apartments, stores, trains and other stuff going on. (edit: plus the monitors are one the same line as the fridge, light's with dimmers, most of the apartment actually. Not ideal, I know, but I'm just glad that I at least had an electrician give me earthed sockets just a while ago!)

Last edited by Deckdaddy; 2nd September 2010 at 12:04 PM.. Reason: Extra details
Old 2nd September 2010
  #19
Gear Addict
 
Pollo's Avatar
 

This is my first post. I've been coming here a lot but I never felt the urge to contribute to the discussions, however informative and entertaining many times I found them to be. But now is the time to speak up.

I bought the Focal CMS 50's about half a year ago. I like the sound of them very much and it's a big improvement over my previous monitors. BUT, I had this exact same problem. Initially I didn't notice it but when I was listening to a solo bass part I became aware of a strange buzzing noise in my left speaker. It sounded like the amp was distorting a tiny bit. It was clearly only present in one of the speakers. Swapping them around made sure the problem was with the speaker. I took it back to the store and got a replacement. This was two weeks after I bought them.
The only thing is that now one of the speakers has a stepped volume control and the other one hasn't. Apparently they made some changes to the design?

The point of my story is that, however much I love the monitors, I am starting to belief that Focal indeed has some problem with their quality control. That is a shame and if I were them I would take this seriously and do something about it.

Another thing is this little tool they provide with the monitors to take off the grille in front of the tweeter and the woofer. That is a very dangerous device! Very easy to puncture your tweeter with it. And not a word of warning in the manual! My advice is to keep the grilles in place, even though Focal advise you to take it off for better sound.
Old 2nd September 2010
  #20
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deckdaddy View Post
My 65's does not have these issues, I checked the ports for noise with diverse sinus bass tones as soon as they was played in properly. The ports are super quiet, and I'm used to port noise from my last pair of cheap monitors and most other ported speakers.

I'm experiencing some hiss and hum sometimes tho', but it's not constant, it's worst during daytime and less at night, so I think I should get a power conditioner. I'm in an apartment in a city with lots of apartments, stores, trains and other stuff going on. (edit: plus the monitors are one the same line as the fridge, light's with dimmers, most of the apartment actually. Not ideal, I know, but I'm just glad that I at least had an electrician give me earthed sockets just a while ago!)
Well I sent mine back and heard from them today saying the noise I'm hearing with my CMS65's is normal for them and there is nothing they can do !!!???
Old 3rd September 2010
  #21
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

that don't sound right?
Old 3rd September 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 
NYMo's Avatar
 

Hi there,

There IS a point to the Ferrari analogy...the guy will NEVER buy a Ferrari again

Cheers
John NYMO Nyman
Old 3rd September 2010
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Deckdaddy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickiefunk View Post
Well I sent mine back and heard from them today saying the noise I'm hearing with my CMS65's is normal for them and there is nothing they can do !!!???
Just to be sure I tested the 65s again last night, with bass sinuses. I was able to hear some air from the ports on louder volumes than I normally use. I can see that some of you with bigger rooms may crank the speakers more and get that air when working. That must be annoying. But it's not bothering me at mine levels.

I guess those using a sub with them don't have this problem. I have not tested really expensive ported speakers for this, I have no idea how little port noise there can be. As there are a lot of energy going out of such ports, then there must be some air sounds anyways as air is actually moving? Or is it possible to engineer them so that air flows a lot but it's not audible at all?

Next speakers will be closed cabinet! But that won't be anytime soon. I'm not just swapping gear all the time, and I really like my 65s! thumbsup
Old 5th November 2010
  #24
Gear Head
 

Hello everyone!
Finally my troubles with my CMS-50s have been resolved! Just received a new pair from Thomann and they sound great!
Too bad I had to send the original pair for repair/tests 4 times before I got a new pair though....and...they never found the fault either which is kind of amazing!
Anyhow, I'm happy now!

Thanks all of you who tried to help!

/Jonas
Old 30th November 2010
  #25
Here for the gear
 

Focal CMS 65 tweeter failed after three days

I got a new pair of Focal CMS 65's and after three days use one of the tweeters failed. The good news is that B&H agreed to exchange the monitor for a new one with no hassles.

Focal monitors come with a three year warranty but I don't like how they card needs to be mailed to France. Focal should allow the warranty card to be mailed to a North American representative. Or even better they should have an e-mail option for the warranty.

I will reserve listening judgment until I hear them again in the studio after they are full broken in.
Old 1st December 2010
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
FocalPro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roblee View Post

Focal monitors come with a three year warranty but I don't like how they card needs to be mailed to France. Focal should allow the warranty card to be mailed to a North American representative. Or even better they should have an e-mail option for the warranty.
You actually don't have to mail anything. This is only for Europe. in USA or Canada, the only thing you have to do is to keep your original invoice. that's all. We're in the process of getting the paperwork changed to reflect this. Sorry for the confusion.
Old 1st December 2010
  #27
Lives for gear
 

yep same problem here.. got through one pair of CMS 50's due to this vibration at certain frequencies and another single where the tweeter just popped and blew without any pushing at all.]

I am sure Focal and the Suppliers are aware of these issues.. if these are hand built speakers there is no excuse at the price they charge for them.

Beautiful monitors but I am wondering how long until something else happens and then what?
Old 1st December 2010
  #28
I have had the cms 50 for about 6 months now and use them average of about 2 hours everyday (sometimes up to 10 hours straight lol). I mix metal and real instruments on them and have never heard anything that has made me question the quality of the speakers. Nothing is free of errors, no matter the cost.
Old 2nd December 2010
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Sanchez's Avatar
From a service point of view, what would you think acceptable when a speaker (Adam A7 not Focal) is now suffering a recurring problem for the 3rd or maybe 4th time? I've asked about a new pair but all they can offere is an ex-demo pair...hmmmmmmmmm
Old 2nd December 2010
  #30
Gear Nut
 
Chitown Ray's Avatar
 

I have a pair of 50's for about 8 months now averaging about 5 to 6 hours a day on them no issues at all. This is unfortunate you guys had these problems it is good to see some of you guys are getting it resolved and that focal is backing there product. It's a pain in the ass to go thru this process I feel your pain. But I do Love my 50's.

Ray
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