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Focal Chorus 705V review

In terms of show-room and living-room appeal, the Focals are up there with the best. Tested at £290.00

Our Verdict

A grown-up, well-realised listen from a grown-up, well-realised product. But a little more vim wouldn’t go amiss every now and then

For

  • Interesting looks
  • expressive, widescreen sound

Against

  • Can occasionally sound over-cautious

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.

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 safe
Switching 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

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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