There's a strange, unnamed but universal, sensation that accompanies the realisation that you haven't seen those people you consider ‘close' friends in months – years, even.
We got a big dose of that feeling when we took these handsome Focal Chorus 705Vs from their box – there and then we resolved to make more of an effort than sending a Christmas card each year.
This may sound like damning with faint praise, but it's been so long since we got to listen to a Focal loudspeaker that we'd kind of forgotten just what accomplished products the French manufacturer turns out.
Visual and technical highlights are few – the 705Vs are appealingly less-than square boxes, and the company's customary inverted-dome tweeter is to the fore – but the execution is just so.
In terms of show-room and living-room appeal, the Focals are up there with the best.That impression is more or less cemented when they 705Vs start playing music.
More after the break
They move through the testing tempo of Sparks' Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth with alacrity, sweetly expressive through the midrange and with respectable tension and punch in the bass.
There's reasonable scale and dynamic clout on offer, too, and cogent if not class-leading timing. The slightly refined overall tonality is nicely judged, despite a tiny tendency for eagerness at the top end, and the Focals appreciate being positioned close to a back wall, where the lower frequencies can be reinforced to good effect.
Talented – but a little safeSwitching to the less polished Keys To The Highway by Big Bill Broonzy allows the 705Vs to demonstrate their talent for explicit soundstaging, as well as a rather less welcome tendency to play things fractionally safe.
We're the first to acknowledge that it's a fine line between excitement and unruliness, but the Focals have a definite inclination to err on the side of caution.
Nine times out of 10 that's the sensible option, but if material demands that speakers throw caution to the wind, the Focals can end up sounding a touch prim.
That's not to say the Focal Chorus 705Vs don't have plenty to recommend them. These French fancies aren't found wanting