Review: Focal Chorus 807V Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Speakers for the Budget Minded Audiophile

Focal Chorus 807V Bookshelf Speaker. Focal

When thinking of speaker brands, Focal may not be the first to come to mind, but you will want to hear the Chorus 807V speakers before making a purchase. With speakers as pleasing to the ear as these, Americans will soon realize there are more quality goods coming out of France these days than just fine wine and cheese.

Focal (pronounced Fo-call) has been making loudspeakers for the home, car and professional applications for decades.

The 807V is a new two-way bookshelf speaker, part of Focal’s Chorus series, which includes floor standing, surround and center channel speakers and a subwoofer.

Features

The Chorus 807V has a 7-inch Polyglass mid-bass driver and a 1-inch Magnesium/Aluminum inverted dome tweeter. The inverted dome tweeter is designed for improved imaging and soundstage and is used frequently in Focal's professional speakers. The speaker's enclosures are 1" thick MDF (medium density fiberboard) made with non-parallel inner walls to prevent internal sound reflections and are very solid as demonstrated by a knuckle-rap on the sides of the speaker. They are finished with a gloss black Acrylic baffle and top surface and available in three cabinet side finishes, a light-colored Natural, a black Ebony and a deep brown Moka finish.

Real World Performance - Movies and Video Sources

I started my review of a pair of Focal 807V speakers with season one of 'Mad Men' (DVD, AMC, Dolby Digital) on DVD (in stereo), a fast-paced and very entertaining TV series about the lives of Madison Avenue advertising executives in the early 1960s.

The authentic cars, sets and wardrobes, and especially the period music make this a compelling show.

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

Renee Olsted's dynamic voice is a good test for any speaker and sounded remarkably natural and open on the 807V speakers.

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.

Conclusions

The Focal 807V speakers have earned a spot on my list of top-pick speakers.

They have a very natural, uncolored sound quality and a midrange openness that sets them apart from many speakers I've reviewed. For casual or critical listening, they're easy on the ears and enjoyable for long periods of time, and even better with some good Brie a nice bottle of French wine. In short, the Focal 807V speakers nicely complement a wide range of music genres.

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.

Focal offers many loudspeakers in different price ranges, but 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 more home theater speaker reviews by Robert Silva, Lifewire.com guide to home theater. Good listening!

Specifications

  • 2-way bass reflex design
  • One 7-inch Polyglass mid-bass driver
  • One 1" inverted dome tweeter
  • Frequency response: 50 Hz – 28 kHz
  • Low Frequency point: 41 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 92 dB
  • Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
  • Maximum power handling: 160 watts
  • Crossover frequency: 3 kHz
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 9 1/3" x 17 5/8" x 13 1/8"
  • Weight: 22.2 lbs.
  • www.focal-fr.com