Focal Electra Be Speaker System Page 2 | Sound & Vision
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You can use this to reduce deep bass to minimize room issues or, dare I say, the remote possibility of subwoofer overload. The subwoofer also has coaxial digital input and output connections that can link more than one SW Be together. You can save three different setups using variations on the above controls in memory. On one occasion during my tests, the subwoofer refused to respond to the remote. I powered it off, then on again, and that cleared the problem.
Setup I set up the Electras in my usual by I placed the Be speakers about 9 feet apart to the left and right of my projection screen and toed them in toward the main listening position I retract the projection screen for serious music listening. I positioned the center speaker on a low stand below the screen, the surrounds on inch stands behind the listening location, and the subwoofer in the front right corner of the room Focal recommends corner subwoofer placement.
I did all of my music-only listening in two-channel mode with no subwoofer. All of the drivers are covered with grilles or, in the case of the tweeters, transit covers. The thin beryllium domes are extremely fragile—physically, that is, not sonically. Focal has made them easy to remove they attach magnetically. Use extra care when you remove and replace them.
I removed all of the grilles and screens for my auditioning. The speakers sound more open without them, but not dramatically so. Morning Becomes Electra And afternoon and evening, as well. With the Electras at the pointy end of your system, you just might find yourself spending a lot more time listening to music and movies than you have before.
Even located well away from adjoining walls, the unassisted pair of Be speakers served up a surprisingly taut and powerful low end.
This isn't a knock against either the Be or the L LCRS - they just don't sound good together, which is why I would say that anyone considering buying a pair of Be's as part of a larger home theater setup should probably invest in comparable Focal branded side and rear channels as well.
I would have even suggested pairing the Be's with a Focal sub had I not achieved such terrific results with my JL Audio Fathom fs.
Impressed doesn't fully encapsulate how I feel about the Focal Electra Be's following my time spent with them in my home. As I said earlier, they are among the most neutral and engaging speakers I've come across. Top to bottom, the Be manages to check all the appropriate boxes one hopes to tag in an audiophile and home theater loudspeaker.
The Downside Make no mistake: That being said, there are a few items I should point out that potential buyers need to be aware of, starting with the Be's grilles. The Be's grilles are non-magnetic and use a small cloth tab to facilitate their removal, for they sit completely flush with the front baffle when installed. It's not that the grilles aren't functional, or that the tabs are somehow noticeable, it's just a bit wonky compared to some of the competition.
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I chose to leave the grilles on throughout my review period, as I have three dogs in my house, so this design choice was really one that didn't affect me all that much. However, if you're one to remove a speaker's grille for listening and put it back when the speaker is not in use, the Be's grille design may become tedious.
The Be's binding posts rest a little over three inches above the ground, which may or may not provide enough clearance for some thicker reference-grade cables. I used Crystal Cable speaker cables, so this was less of an issue, but when switching over to my regular Transparent Reference speaker cables, the connection became a bit trickier, though still possible.
Those using banana-terminated speaker cables need not be concerned.
Because of all the different materials and facets to the Be's industrial design, be prepared to clean the speaker regularly, for the high-gloss finishes showcase dust almost immediately and the glass top is a landing strip for fingerprints. The wood side panels are less prone to showcase normal day-to-day wear, though I would recommend investing in some light-duty dusting cloths in order to keep them looking their very best. Lastly, for true full-range sound reproduction, the Be is going to require a subwoofer, which adds to the bottom line a bit.
Focal makes a wide range of subwoofers.
The one most optimally paired with the Be is the Electra SW Be, though I did not have one on hand during my review period. Furthermore, the Be is easier to drive than the Studio2, making it more suited for a wider variety of amps and electronics, whereas you need to spend much more on proper amplification in order to get the Studio2 to sing. The Wilson still uses a Focal tweeter, as it always has, but this is an older, non-beryllium model.
On the slightly less expensive side, I suppose you could draw some similarities between the Be and Paradigm's Signature S8 floor-standing loudspeaker. For more on these loudspeakers and other floor-standing loudspeakers like them, please visit Home Theater Review's Floorstanding Loudspeaker page.
For many, or perhaps most, it's even outrageous.
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So why do I consider it to be somewhat of a bargain? All three are fantastic loudspeakers, true benchmarks in their own right, but if given the choice of only one to call my own, I'm not sure I could walk away from the Be.
High praise, for anyone who has followed my reviews over the years knows how much I love my Series Diamonds, but I was completely blown away by what Focal managed to pull off with their Electra Be. Unless your budget or desire to spend more allows you to consider loudspeakers in a whole other realm - I'm talking true cost no object stuff - you should definitely audition the Focal Electra Be before purchasing a more expensive loudspeaker.
In setting their relative cost low, Focal managed to raise the bar with the Electra Be.