Focal Alpha 80 Evo studio monitor overview: Subsequent-gen professional powerhouse

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Ask recording engineers to call an important gear of their studio, they usually’ll level to their reference displays. It doesn’t matter what type of music you make, or whether or not you’re a professional or a hobbyist, your displays are the lens by which you consider your work. The very best studio displays present an sincere, correct translation of your combine, presenting each nuance with depth and readability.

French producer Focal has been making audiophile loudspeakers {and professional} studio displays (in addition to PopSci‘s finest total headphones) for many years; its audio system are mainstays in most of the world’s main music lounges and mastering studios. High-of-the-line Focals run effectively into the six-figure vary; fortuitously for the price-conscious prosumer, its Alpha Evo line offers an entry level into skilled Focal know-how at a fraction of that value.

With the second-generation Alpha Sequence, Focal introduces a variety of options and upgrades and expands the household with two new fashions. Focal payments the Alpha Evo Sequence as providing a clear sonic profile with deep, highly effective bass; a large candy spot; and constant tonal steadiness at any quantity. I put these qualities to the take a look at within the studio with a pair of the brand new flagship Focal Alpha 80 Evo two-way, bi-amped 8-inch displays.

Exploring the Alpha 80 Evo

Every Alpha 80 Evo (which retail for $1,099 a pair) homes a 1” aluminum inverted dome tweeter with customized dispersion-controlling waveguide and an 8” woofer with composite slate fiber/thermoplastic polymer cones, which Focal says lowers weight and improves velocity, rigidity, and damping. Frequency response is 38 Hz to 22 kHz. The tweeter and woofer are powered by inner 35-watt and 80-watt Class D amplifiers, respectively, delivering a max output of 108 dB SPL. 

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The earlier mannequin’s dual-port design has been changed by an internally fluted laminar port, bettering airflow for extra environment friendly low-end efficiency and ease of integration into small areas.

RCA, TRS, and balanced XLR inputs join nearly any professional sound supply; inputs are level-compensated to make sure constant quantity when switching sources. Excessive and low shelving filters allow you to tailor response to your room and your style; a sensitivity change matches displays to system ranges. A standby mode, selectable through a rear-panel change, turns the speaker off after quarter-hour of inactivity and wakes it again up when sign returns. 

Every little thing’s housed in vinyl-covered 5/8-inch MDF cupboards with diffraction-taming rounded corners; inserts enable audio system to be affixed to partitions or a ceiling.

Alphas in motion

I arrange the Alpha 80 Evos on stands in my 9×10-foot devoted house studio, and I spent three days burning them in earlier than doing any crucial listening. Studio sound sources included commercially launched tracks and mastered and unmastered .WAV recordsdata, performed from Apple Logic by an Antelope Audio Discrete 4 Professional converter. Later, I moved the audio system to my open, wood-paneled 20×14-foot front room, the place I listened to vinyl tracks and streamed TIDAL Grasp High quality Audio high-definition recordsdata (as much as 24-bit/96kHz decision). For comparability, I normally reference mixes at house on KRK passive Rokit 5s and I’ve logged plenty of hours in entrance of Meyer Sound, JBL, Yamaha, and Genelec displays in business rooms.

On the subject of a studio monitor, impartial response is paramount—however the Alpha 80 Evos test all the packing containers. Each completed and unfinished rock, blues, and Americana mixes had been reproduced with correct tonality and imaging, revealing particulars normally uncovered in far more costly audio system. However listening to advance tracks from jazz saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom’s Picturing the Invisible: Focus 1, a luxurious assortment of spare, improvisational duets recorded in ultra-high-resolution 32-bit/384 kHz, was a revelation: The sound presentation was so richly detailed, I felt like I may really feel the air within the room. 

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The Alpha 80 Evo’s sound stage was expansive, dwelling as much as its promise of a large, constant candy spot; and sonic photographs had been introduced with pinpoint precision. Transients had been crisp, with no harshness or breakup; I skilled no fatigue even over lengthy listening classes. These audio system are really linear, delivering a constant sonic presentation at any quantity.

Midrange was deep; bass was large, full and plush but centered and well-articulated. I discovered a subwoofer pointless, however for these mixing bass-heavy genres, recreation soundtracks, and immersive content material, or simply need extra thump and thunder within the room, Focal’s 200-watt Sub One (which retails for $999) pairs properly with Alpha Evo Sequence fashions.

Music is skilled within the context of its medium. From unprocessed guitar results to vinyl albums to SACDs, the Alpha 80 Evos introduced tracks with honesty and readability, precisely as they had been meant.

Focal Alpha 80 Evo studio monitors product image

So, who should purchase the Alpha 80 Evo?

Don’t be fooled by the Focal Alpha 80 Evo’s (comparatively) low value. You may make world-class mixes with these displays. And also you’ll additionally get pleasure from kicking again along with your favourite playlists. They’re not the most cost effective fashions within the combine class however, in my expertise, their efficiency blows away fashions costing twice the worth, they usually may simply as simply occupy the bookshelves of an analytical music client’s listening station. I extremely suggest them for anybody in search of unbelievable worth in true professional-grade studio displays that prioritize accuracy however by no means sacrifice musicality.

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