The Focal CMS series have been very popular options at their respective price points for a few years now, and they certainly offer a well balanced set of specs that we’re always happy to recommend here for smaller budget concerned studios in need of great near fields.
So it’s with great interest that we see the announcement of the new Focal Shape range, coming in around the same price points as the older CMS models.
What’s changed you may ask?
Well, at first glance, quite a lot and not in the least those new side radiators. Yes, multiple!
For those not overly familiar with passive radiator setups, its hardly surprising given they are not the most common of speaker designs, although many studio user will no doubt have come across a pair of the Mackie HR series over the years which made great use of this technique. The Mackie design however is a single rear radiator, so seeing a dual setup in play on the Shapes is something even more unexpected.
The passive radiator design is there to help reinforce the low end, simply by taking the internal noise of the speaker and focusing it into usable sound. Most speakers tend to have some kind of bass port to achieve this reinforcement as smaller speakers can hardly be expected to hit those super low frequencies, although the side effect of more traditional bass ports is added harmonic distortion and the tendency to slew the time domain to some extent.
The passive radiator design removes the cause of the distortion which normally is air being pushed through a tube, and instead offers a more controlled way of handling the bass reinforcement.
The other side effect of this means that thanks to the lack of porting, this also looks be fully sealed box design. Sealed box speakers naturally tend to have a tighter sound with more responsive transients, giving you a more tighter more clinical and detailed sound. The downside however is that without venting it takes a more powerful amp to deliver the same sound pressure levels as ported designs, but the sound that is there should be all the more detailed because of it.
The are 3 models with the range flagship the Shape 65 looking to offer a flat response down to around the 40Hz level with around 109dB SPL @ 1m, looking like it should offer a superb monitoring solution for even the most bass focused artists in a smaller home and project studios.
The simply doesn’t appear to be anything offering this sort of spec at the price points being discussed here. The speaker design in theory looks like it could be very, very interesting, although how that pays off in the real world is ultimately the key question right now and one we won’t know for sure until a pair arrive in the building.
The one thing we can be sure of is that we can’t wait to hear a set of these in our demo room here in Scan.
• Low tweeter directivity for a flexible listening position
• Designed without a port allowing it to be placed near a wall
• Numerous settings for optimal integration
• Accurate control, even in the very high end
• Flax sandwich cone: controlled and articulated bass, natural and detailed lower mid-range and upper mid-range registers
• Fastening mechanisms present on the back and underneath the loudspeaker: for installing on the ceiling or a wall (fastening accessories not supplied)
• Threads for ceilling and wall mounts (fastening accessories not supplied)
The full Focal Shape range specs in full can be found below.
Launch Prices for the range are as follows :
Focal Shape 40 : £349
Focal Shape 50 : £479
Focal Shape 65 : £599