Focal (pronounced Fo-call) has been making loudspeakers for the home, car and professional applications for more than 30 years. The 807V is a new two-way bookshelf speaker, part of Focal’s Chorus series, which includes floorstanding, surround and center channel speakers and a subwoofer.
Real World Performance - Movies and Video Sources
I knew right away that I liked the Focal speakers. They reproduced crystal-clear transparent dialog and a very well balanced sound quality with music. In particular, dialog is a good loudspeaker test because we all know the sound of the natural human voice. It may be difficult to precisely evaluate the sound of a cello or a trumpet (unless you play one), but the sound of the human voice is easy to judge.
Midrange definition and clarity is an obvious strong point of the Focal speakers. Tony Bennett's American Classics (DVD, Sony/BMG Music Entertainment, Dolby Digital) is an enjoyable show with duets featuring many top singers and several great dance routines. "Steppin' Out" with Tony Bennett, Christina Aguilera and a full orchestra is one of the best on the disc and sounded simply awesome. The 807Vs reproduced vocals with outstanding clarity, openness and fine detail, yet never sounded congested.
Real World Performance - Music Sources
Likewise, the Focal speakers have strong bass qualities. The 807Vs are vented speakers with a front firing port. As with any speaker, correct room placement is important and they sound best when placed on speaker stands. The bass in Sting's "St. Agnes and the Burning Train" (CD, A & M Records) had a solid foundation and sounded very full even without a subwoofer. The same was true of Tony Bennett's signature song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" - the bass in the piano reached depths that sounded as if I had a subwoofer in the system, although I did not. (Note: if used in a home theater system, be sure to use a subwoofer for the LFE channel).
They can rock and roll with strong bass when you want, they can reproduce the subtleties and details of a fine classical music performance and sound excellent with video sources. Vocalists in particular have a live presence and transparency that is easy to appreciate.
Bookshelf speakers sound best when placed on stands. Speaker stands place the tweeter at the listener's ear level when seated and help improve bass response. Focal offers the S800V stands for the 807V speakers.
I might be critical of the lack of a bi-wiring or bi-amp option found on many speakers in this price range, but their sound qualities more than compensate for the lack of this feature.
They are moderately efficient with a sensitivity specification of 92 dB so a receiver or amplifier with 75 watts per channel or more is a good match for the 807V speakers. The Focal Chorus 807Vs are distributed by Audio Plus Services and have a suggested retail price of $1,095 per pair.
Focal offers many loudspeakers in different price ranges, up to the Utopia Grande at $180,000 per pair, so the 807V speakers are a real bargain. Check out their website for more information and to find a Focal dealer near you. If you're interested in a home theater speaker system, read my full review of the Focal Dome 5.1 channel speaker system and read more home theater speaker reviews by Robert Silva, About.com guide to home theater. Good listening!