The Focal Alpha 80 sounds absolutley amazing! I would put it up against any high-end speaker.
Better than I had thought they would be.
Its been over a year now since I purchased these on Sweetwater's 0% financing deal. I made the purchase of these Alpha 80's for a long range commitment for my Recording Studio. I've been a recording musician since 1988, so I am coming up on my thirtieth year in the recording arts. Over several years ago, I was interested in the CMS 65's but a little hesitant to spend the price for a pair of them, knowing that they were what I really needed to have in my studio. I tend to spread out my budget over a large range of instruments, so anything representing a breakthrough in value gets my attention. After getting frustrated with the mixes I was doing, I began to realize that I needed to spend the money and update the audio interface and monitors I use. I decided to go with the Focal Alpha 80's and the Focusrite 8preX, and I can vouch that they make a world of difference in my recordings. I've been using the Alpha 80's now for well over a year, they are very user friendly and allow you to listen to your mixes for extended periods of time without the fatigue I would normally get with any of the standard brands I used for years. It really is enjoyable to use these monitors, they make your recordings even more detailed without much effort and with greater ease. That's a win, win deal. Anyone of your family and friends that like your music will come to see your studio and listen to your recordings will be impressed with these monitors in your studio, so if your using just the old standard studio monitors consider making the investment in something more substantial. These are a big step up from budget monitors, well worth the extra money.
Untrained Ears Beware
I've owned HS8's, Rokit 8's, JBL LSR sub and mains, Adam AX8's. Amateur mixer for 10 years.
What you should know about why these speakers are different:
They are so accurate that I am truly struggle to mix on them. I consider myself an experienced amateur, and having listened to these, I'm questioning everything I've ever heard for the last 10 years. That is a truly perplexing sensation. A little unpleasant at first. It's like I'm not the first neo.
Expect every previous mix to sound bad, or at least not great on these speakers. That's a blessing and a curse. You'll be remixing a lot, and if you're like me, truly refining your craft as if from square one.
Unbelievable. Pick the frequency band of your focus, and you can hear it perfectly.
It's not an opinion, it's a fact. You don't need a sub. I make EDM, and at moderately loud volumes, these resonate my chest cavity. I'm 5'10'' about 200lbs. I'd say that's enough bass.
They're there, crystal clear. No distortion, no harshness, no dullness. Present, clear, balanced.
Same story as highs. Crystal clear, balanced, represented with spot on accuracy.
It's confusing hearing how clear and dimensional these speakers are. You'll often wonder where the sound is actually happening. Music also feels as if it has height, width, foreground and back ground (depth). The stereo field is perfectly clear 3D and it's yours in which to position any frequency for any voice. I'm a little overwhelmed by this actually.
They will reveal everything. Your EQ's will need to be more precise, your compressor tuned in finer, your balances more precise, your reverbs more precise, your delays more precise. Everything you do, you will be splitting hairs. That's called pro.
This is the first time I've owned truly professional mixing speakers, and I didn't spend significantly more than a few other set ups previously owned.
Buy these if you're serious about mixing, and ready to spend the extra time a professional would spend.
Focal Alpha 80s...Wow!
I'm truly amazed at the sound from these speakers. From keyboard sounds, recorded tracks, mixes.....it's all full, clean, punchy, and balanced. They are about half the price of the better Mackie's, Genlecs, etc....and to my ears, sound much better. It's always a personal taste issue with speakers, but if you are wanting something that sounds like the $l,000 each range, but is actually in the $550 each price range...Focal Alpha 80s should definitely be on your radar.
LOVE THESE MONITORS
these monitors are awesome i have the yamaha hs8 as well but these focal alpha 80 hold more bottom its like the hs8 on super steroids great monitors thanx to my sales rep Dennis for helping with my purchase!!!
Near/Midfield Reference Monitors You Can Trust For Sure!
As with all monitors, you will need to get used to these speakers' sound in your space with your own preferred music styles. But the Focal Alpha monitors make the task easy by offering a sound that is full, even and rich, with simple and effective tone shaping to get the most out of any space, big or little. They offer Focal quality through and through, at the company's lowest price point yet.
Focal Alpha 80 Monitors
I'm very happy with these monitors. They just sound accurate & musical, without High Frequency "grit" or "hardness" (as some metal-domed drivers sound). And the amount & quality of the Bass is impressive for a speaker this size. I am not a Musician, or Recording Engineer (though I used Pro Gear at NYU Film School & trained in Audio Engineering for Films); I am using these as my Main Stereo Speakers (probably will add some more to use these Focals in a 5.1 Surround System). If one "does the Math", it becomes obvious that a conventional pair of Better-Quality"Bookshelf" Speakers, plus a Better Quality Integrated Amp (not some over-featured, under-performing "cheap" Receiver), such as targeted to Retail AV Consumers, will actually both COST MORE & take up MORE SPACE, than these self-powered Monitors. I Recommend both these Focals, & Sweetwater (for their Fast & Excellent Service,Shipping, & Advice).
Now a Focal fan for life.
I've mixed on the Event ASP8's almost since they came out. They were a good choice for my budget at the time. Despite their slight deficiencies in the mid-range and mildly exaggerated bass, I mixed on them so long, I could turn out mixes that translate well. But a couple of weeks ago the amp problem with the series reared its ugly head again. So instead of having them repaired...yet again...I went searching for a replacement in the same price range.
That's when I came upon the Focals. I'm a little obsessive about researching new purchases, and although the Alpha series is relatively new - the reviews certainly caught my attention. As a media composer, I mix many different styles of music. So a monitor that's as balanced and reliable for a hip-hop or rock tune as it is for an orchestral score is a top priority. The Alpha 80's appeared to fill the bill, so I ordered a pair from my sensational Sweetwater rep, David Mikautadze.
I've had them for several days now, listening almost constantly to a variety of music...including my own mixes. To say I'm impressed - and pleased - is an understatement. Certainly I've been aware of Focal's reputation over the years, but this is my first personal experience with their products. I became a fan almost instantly. And as the speakers have been opening up over the past few days, they're only sounding better.
The best way I can describe the Alpha 80's is that nothing sounds exaggerated. They have a natural and open sound that I've already fallen in love with. And the low frequency extension is amazing. I also mix 5.1 using a JBL system that includes their 12" LSR subwoofer, and these Focals almost sound like the sub is active. It's not, of course. But the low end is so effortless, it might fool you.
I don't write many reviews like this. But I'm so impressed with the Alpha 80's that I thought someone considering them might find my impressions useful. Bottom line? I simply don't think there's a better sounding monitor speaker in this price range. If I decide to upgrade in the future, Focals will be at the top of my list. (The SM9's are out of my price range at the moment. But one can dream, can't they?)
Focal Alpha 80
Really Amazing!!!! You Will Never Go Other Way... Tru.....
Focal Alpha 80 - WOW!
This monitor pair has lived up to every review and every recommendation I have encountered. The ability of this monitor to stay true and flat across the spectrum, even at low volume, is uncanny. Some competitors don't perform this well at 3 times the price! I'm going back through old mixes and hearing new details as well as mistakes. I produce EDM, Hip Hop and DnB but also some cinematic material so low end extension is important. Have no fear...the low end is clear! I turned off the sub I was using in my previous setup. This truly is the last pair of monitors I will buy. In fact, I may just buy another pair and put them in storage for later.
Kudos to Jay Frederick for helping me make a great decision and thanks to Christopher Giessler for introducing me to Focal more than a year ago.
Jay has been extremely patient with me over the last 3 months as I deliberated over which monitors to upgrade to. This purchase has been a significant step forward in my evolution from producer to studio owner. The sales engineering team at Sweetwater has come through for me again with great results. Once the acoustic treatments arrive I can finish the new space. I'm certain that my clients will be happy with the upgrades. Once again, thank you Sweetwater for a great experience and thank you Focal for a great product that may just be the best overall value in studio gear!
I needed some new monitors after my previous monitors broke down after 10 years of service. My sales tech Richard suggested I wait a few weeks and get the new Focal Alpha 80's since they had yet to be released. It was well worth the wait!! The sound of the monitors was far better than my previous monitors. And I was blown away with the low end. I no longer need a sub woofer! The monitors gave me plenty of low end detail for me to mix accurately. Plus the mid range, which was severely lacking in my previous monitors, was well represented and allowed me to get a very accurate picture of the entire mix. I am completely satisfied by the quality of these speakers. Especially for the price!
I initially had the FOCAL Alpha 65s and they were beyond outstanding.
However, since 2005, I have always had Monitors with 8-Inch Woofers (along with my trusty Avantone Mix Cubes) and thought it best to move up to the Alpha 80s, so with the help of my friend and Sales Rep, Mark Bruhn, we made it all happen.
Of course, the 80s are also outstanding but have yet to fully break in (time is not always on my side....)
However, with them being new and being connected to my Focusrite Clarett 8 Pre X, I get Good Solid Bass with great mids and highs, they work very well in my room and the Automatic Standby is really cool.
Cons? I wish there was a Volume Control Pot as opposed to the Low-Power, High-Power Switch and I also wish that they had TRS Inputs in place of the Unbalanced RCA Inputs.
Nonetheless, these are the very best sounding Monitors I have owned to date with the ALPHA 65s coming in at a VERY close second.
New Standard in mid price monitors.
Kinda blew me away!!! I was setting up just an extra production setup for a friend and recommended the HS-8 (solid for the price) however my guy Mark Steinert HIGHLY recommended these to me, I have never bought anything purely on recomendation before, I'm quite glad I did! I have used extensively many mid-price ranged monitors including a pair of Yamaha HS-8 with a sub, NS-10s, KRK VXT 8, Genelec M040 and Adams A77x which I used to believe were all fairly interchangeable, depending on preference. These Alpha 80s have completely blow all of those out of the water with high end and mid range clarity and mixablilty. However, it was the low end that kinda freaked me out. My main pair of monitors are Barefoot MM27, they stay as true as possible to the low end on quiet mixing volumes (one of the main reasons I use barefoots) These Focals gave me scarily similar results. Now I'm no saying there are as good as $10,000 speakers, but they have extremely similar characteristics is their sound that allows me to mix on both in the same way, and that makes me very happy. Only gave it 4.5 stars because there is no gain knob on the back, I found Ihad to use my interface on 30% volume cuz these were too loud! There are no better mid priced monitors on the market right now.
Give them a chance
When first trying out these monitors 4 months ago, coming from HS8's, I didn't really like them and almost returned them. I do hiphop music, so the bass is very important. I like the music loud when I'm making beats and more at the mid to lower levels when mixing. The bass was overall better, but something else about the bass wasn't better. I couldn't really hear some of the lower frequencies that I was able to hear on the HS8's, although these same frequencies made the HS8's "fart" at higher volumes. But what I did find that my mixes translated very well with these speakers. Once the Alpha's finally broke in, the bass was better.
However, there are a couple other issues you should be aware off. Maybe it's just my pair, but when the bass really hits, there is a rattling sound from the woofers. I found it to be the tensil lead vibrating against the spider. I popped the woofers out and kinda bent the tensils out of the way a little. It helped a lot, but not 100%. Another issue is that although these speakers don't clip at all, even at really loud volumes, some of the lower bass frequencies make the woofer pop occasionally, like the amp is being overloaded or something. This is why I have to take a star away.
Recently I've done a couple things that made my experience with these speakers a lot better. The first is I positioned them a little closer together. I have an Omnirax Force 36 workstation, so the speaker pedestals are really wide. Bringing these speakers in closer towards a more equilateral triangle position as well as aiming the tweeters slightly behind my ears rather than directly at them really helped improve the mix translation, especially with the low end. The second thing, was adding a sub and calibrating it properly to the monitors. This was probably the biggest change that helped. Running the monitors off of the subs' crossover and cutting below 80Hz from the monitors really helped get rid of the popping at loud volumes and also help hit those really low frequencies that were a bit quiet on the monitors.
So all in all, if you are just a beat maker and don't really mix and don't want a sub, you might not like these as much as the HS8's or Rokit8's. However, if you do mixing, there really isn't anything for this price that beats these Focals in terms of accuracy and mix translations. They may not seem like they have the clarity of an HS8, but I found that a lot of that clarity the HS8's have is just harshness and sibilance that the HS8's make sound good, but does not actually sound good outside the studio. If you're like me and do both production and mixing, these Alpha 80's paired with a nice sub is an excellent combination for both tasks.
focal alpha 80
awesome sound. Very accurate for the price.nice looking, and love the sleep feature
Focal Alpha 80
I run a small mastering studio in Toronto, I have a set of Quested V3110 in my room,which are ruthlessly revealing. i bought the focal alpha 80 for my home studio where i produce techno and whatever else. pretty amazed that these are as accurate as they are at this price point. paid 1300 all taxes in and can say they will rival any monitor at twice the price. my mixes translated pretty well between my rooms which as stated the quested show me everything, i have not really had to go back and make changes to mixes. sonically they have a nice forward midrange, almost 3D, no obvious bump at crossover. while i would never master on the focals they represent seriously the best value in professional monitoring im aware of and have heard. kudos focal, you appear to have a winner
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