French loudspeaker maker Focal has one of the most extraordinarily wide ranges of loudspeakers on the market, and most of them are marked by an unusual tweeter design. Called an ‘inverted dome’, the sound-radiating surface is concave rather than convex.
Does this make a difference, given that everyone does it the other way around? Not according to my listening over the years.
In this pair of Chorus 726V floorstanding speakers, this tweeter is supplemented by three 165mm drivers. One is a midrange unit and the other two provide the bass. The enclosure is bass-reflex loaded.
The styling was unusual (hey, it’s French), with a shallow V-shape atop the cloth grille, over which peeks the metal-grilled tweeter. Both grilles are removable.
Another point of variation from usual practice is that only one set of terminals are provided for each loudspeaker, not the usual bi-wiring arrangement. I think it makes no difference but fans of bi-wiring should take this into account.
Focal rates the sensitivity of the Chorus 726V speakers at a rather high 91.5dB, and they did prove to deliver higher sound levels than the others for a given amplifier power. Despite their size and solid construction (23.5kg!), the bass end is rated down to a modest 48 hertz (at -3dB).
They certainly didn’t sound like that. I found they produced plenty of deep grunt and the bass drum in an orchestral crescendo was delivered without any sense of limitation.
Despite the large midrange driver, it and the tweeter seemed particularly well-matched, giving a clean and very precise stereo image, although there was not quite so much a sense of air or roundedness in the image as we’ve heard in Tannoy or Cabasse speakers. Still, the result was a very up-front and transparent performance; one that was very revealing of all the musical content of the discs I tried.