Focal is known for making some of the best studio monitors around at prices that are very affordable for the home recording market. The new Alpha 65 speakers—which are part of a series that includes the Alpha 50 and Alpha 80—hold up this tradition in a sleek design that offers extended frequency response and a potent bi-amp section that pumps 70 watts into a 6.5" polyglass cone woofer and 35 watts into a 1" aluminum inverted dome tweeter. The Alphas have been designed with several things in mind: low directivity (which enables the sound to remain consistent throughout the room), low sensitivity to wall effects, and the ability to maintain consistent tonal balance at low and high volumes.
The Alpha 65 pair that I tested proved these qualities by delivering 3D sound at whisper volumes, in which every detail in the music was presented with stunning clarity. Impressive too was the stereo imaging, which sounded as breathtaking in environments where the walls were just a few feet apart as it was in larger spaces where you’d expect speakers of this size to be less able to maintain that feeling of intimacy in the music. I left the Shelving controls in their center (flat) settings and kept the Sensitivity switch at 0dB throughout these tests, as nothing in the Alphas performance in the environments they were tested in suggested that any adjustment was needed.
Quite compact at 13.5" high x 10" wide x 11.25" deep, and weighing in at around 20.3 lbs each, the Alpha 65s definitely sound bigger than their footprint suggests, and that’s where the magic lies. Of course, it’s all about a well-integrated system of cabinet design, drivers, and power amps that work in concert to deliver supreme sound, and, once again, Focal delivers a price/performance winner that earns an Editors’ Pick Award.
Price $399 street (each)
Drivers 6.5" polyglass cone woofer; 1" aluminum inverted dome tweeter
Power Class AB amplification: LF stage: 70 watts. HF stage: 35 watts
Frequency response 40Hz-22kHz (+/- 3dB)
Connections XLR and unbalanced phono inputs
Extras LF and HF Shelving controls. Sensitivity switch (0dB/+6 dB). Automatic standby mode cuts power after 30 minutes of inactivity.
Kudos Exceptionally clear sounding.