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Focal CMS 50 Reviews

5.0 stars based on 18 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Nick LaMendola

    With a simple 1/8"-to-dual RCA cable I was able to turn my monitoring system into a professional stereo system with enough volume to get me evicted from my apartment! They sound stunning! Your next step beyond these speakers is to make improvements to the acoustics in your control room.

  • Dave Brow

    This is absolutely the best speaker I have heard. I could not believe all that sound was coming out of such a compact size. All you hear is the music, as if the band was playing in the room with you. I will be replacing my current monitors very soon.

  • from Twisp, WA September 16, 2013Music Background:
    Home Studio Gear Snob

    Long Time Owner Perspective

    Had 'em for two years and I'm still thrilled with these Focals desktop monitors.

    I get incredibly accurate imaging from these guys. My mixes translate to the car stereo, mp3 player and PA system with ease thanks to the incredible accuracy of the CMS 50.

    A VERY handy feature are the front-mounted mute buttons. Use them all of the time.

    With all of the choices out there, I had to ask for help from Sweetwater. They pointed me to the Focals and I couldn't be more happy with them.

    If you have a project studio and need extremely high quality desktop monitors at a very good price, you'd be hard pressed to do better than the Focals.

  • from Champaign, IL June 25, 2013Music Background:
    Forty-plus years live recording, LP/78/reel-to-reel audio restoration, CD production

    Pricey, but definitely the best!

    Even before finishing breaking them in, I was blown away. Couldn't believe what I'd been missing from the ageing Event Tria system that the CMS 50's replaced.

    They got an early workout on a touchy audio restoration of some forty year old tapes, and on a mix from a multitrack concert recording by a local studio. Everything went ahead with much less fatigue than usual, not to mention the sheer joy of the sound, and with very satisfied clients.

    Much easier than before to get results that transfer well to regular home speakers, which is important for most of what I do.

  • from Arizona January 3, 2013Music Background:
    Musician, recording engineer & Audiophile

    Focal CMS 50 (Update from Nov. 15, 2012)

    Needed break in. I now have 250 hours and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. These are incredible near field speakers, maybe the best ever. I haven't heard anything better in this price range or size. I have been recording and have been an audiophile for 40 years. I do read about the home systems and HT all the time and the Focal line for all applications. Focal always get great reviews, as they should, they are expensive, and exclusive. But you get what you pay for, however, for the price, I think Focal is a better deal than most. I needed to reset my crossover to 45 Hz and the HF shelf to -2 db. Everything else is neutral. Very dialed in now for my room. I suggest a great source, interface and cables. If not, don't spend the money for these speakers. They will not perform the way they should, you will waste your money. After the beak in and fine tuning to your room you will be pleasantly surprised at what you hear coming from these amazing speaking. The sub is highly recommending with the 50's to complete the full range. I changed my 4.5 to a 5 star rating, and the Focal's still have a way to go before full break in. Patience is truly a virtue. Very highly recommended.

  • from Hoschton, GA. August 11, 2012Music Background:
    Artist, Musician, and Home Recording Studio

    Most Accurate Studio Monitors I Have Ever Used!!! FOCAL IS THE BEST FOR ME!!

    AWESOME!! AWESOME!! AWESOME!! I will get to the point and say that I have never owned Genelecs or Dynaudios, so I can't speak for them. But in the last 13 years I have owned Mackie HR824's, KRK V8's, JBL LSR 4328's (The big 8" Ones), ADAM A7's, and my FOCAL CMS 50's. And my FOCALS CSM 50's are the smallest studio monitor speakers that I have ever owned and yet they have given me the very best and most noticeable positive results in all my music in the past 2 years since I've owned them. Please note that they do need to be broken in first to get these results because you can't judge them by the first weeks that you use them although the power and bass coming from the little things will blow you away as soon as you listen to them for the first time. And also note that you need to dial in the right settings on the back to get the best results in your specific room situation concerning acoustics and size. But after you break them in and get your settings right for your room, well, just get ready for it, because my tracks now sound so much better in every way, in big live sound PA systems, home stereo, in the car, in my headphones, in the ipod, etc. etc. etc. So, all I can say is WOW!!!! ...... I Finally Have Mixing Relief!! And because of it from now on I seriously will only buy FOCAL if I decide to get a bigger set of monitors. But I'm still even hesitant about that because I believe that these and the 65's just have very true, flat, honest, and very satisfying mixing results. I don't really rely on very Low Low bass for my mixing my tracks so I'm happy. But if you do need Low Low bass then all you have to do is add the CMS subwoofer and you're set. What more could you need, and I might be doing that myself sometime in the future anyways, or maybe not, because my tracks now sound great, BETTER THAN EVER!!! And by the way I just want to say that TJ Walstrom, my saleperson, is an awesome saleperson and has always been very helpful and patience and has made my SWEETWATER buying experience a very pleasant and confident one. THANK YOU "TJ"..... FOR EVERYTHING!

  • from Cabot, ar August 10, 2012Music Background:
    Student audio engineer

    Love these monitors....! Focal customer for life!!!!

    Most pristine clarity..... All my friends are coming to my studio to do their final mix and mastering!!! Thanks again!

  • from June 3, 2012

    Focal CMS 50

    These monitors are exceptional. The sound quality is accurate and crystal clear.

  • from Texas October 4, 2011Music Background:

    Big sound

    A great recommendation from my Sweetwater rep. Everything he said they would be and more! Thanks Richard

  • from Emerald Coast February 19, 2011Music Background:
    Long time player/Small Studio Mastering

    Focal is the finest.

    Over 100 magazines rated these speakers at the "best" studio monitor..
    Thats right.
    No kidding.
    I just got mine yesterday, hooked them up, and after some positioning and repositioning ive discovered they dont care that much about it.....You can stand them upright, or turn them upside down, or lay them on their side and it all sounds good.
    The info guide recommends that you do whatever you want, regarding postioning, and just remember not to play them too loud as such clarity will allow you to not realize that you are playing them too loud..
    This is not a myth.
    They sound so good, you'll find that you keep wanting to turn them up more and more, so you have to control your enthusiasm:).
    I was so impressed to discover that right out of the box they had nice full warm mids ready to go, instead of the typical bright edgy brittle break in sound...
    And that you can use 4 pegs or 2 pegs and 2 screws for adjustment "front-tilt" control ..is just beyond cool.
    How do they sound?
    They sound like music...
    They sound musical.
    I would describe their sound as sweet in the mids, detailed in the treble, and decently full yet unhyped in the bottom.
    They are not harsh in the treble, they do not have a midrange bump, and they are not boomy or dialed in for bass thump.
    They have a standby switch, front volume controls that feel substantial, and quite a few EQ tweeks on the back, but i dont think you'll use them..
    Turn them on, tune in, smile.
    You will love these..
    Mine sounded great right out of the box, and it'll only get better as they break in the next 2 weeks or so..
    Now THAT is satisfaction......= when excellent becomes even better..!!
    Get a set, you'll see.

  • from Vail, CO February 1, 2011Music Background:
    Avid Listener

    Audiophile Monitors

    I'm really enjoying the difference here. These are something exceptional. Stereo imaging is the BEST, very clear mids, and NO boomy low end "cabinet" sound. The high end is very pleasing, I have discovered some new nuances in music I've been hearing for years (such as reverbs, hi-hat accents and background singers individual voices....). I will be getting a sub at some point as well. Very pleased with these, no reservations that I could have chosen anything better. They are just the right size for my desktop system. Solid bi-amplified sound all the way to the top, no shortages here. The EQ shelving controls are a nice option too. Also had considered purchasing the M-Audio CX5. Obviously Sweetwater.

  • from Central CT July 2, 2010Music Background:
    Pro musician; semi-pro recording engineer

    Tremendous value

    A really nice set of monitors with a surprising amount of range to them. I purchased mine in early May and have taken to using them as my primary mixing/editing monitors. I've been extremely pleased with the consistent response I get on a variety of musical styles. In fact, my beloved JBL LSR 4328s have become my B pair. Highly recommended. (The Focals.) (Well, the JBLs too.)

    On an off-subject note, I got the typical great Sweetwater customer service on this purchase. The demo set I bought had one non-functioning monitor, and after a quick phone call to my sales engineer, I had a new-in-the-box pair of Focals within 2 days. I've had very few issues with anything I've ever bought from Sweetwater, but when problems have come up, they've been resolved quickly and painlessly. If only other companies had the same philosophy…

  • from Tulsa, OK July 1, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer / Producer / Mixer


    Imagine yourself mixing, then you finish the mix, you take it to the car, the stereo, the mp3 player, and it sounds great on all of them. In fact, it sounds better than it ever has. Many struggle to get to this point...not anymore. With these monitors, what you hear is what you get (granted your room is treated and they are decoupled from your console or desk).

    These speakers are INCREDIBLE. Really considered buying some Adam A7s, which do sound great, but you really need a sub for those, their low end is pretty reserved. These speakers are stunning in the entire spectrum. They're beautifully made, well assembled, sturdy, loud, accurate, clear, and a deal at this price. They beat out any 5" monitor I've ever heard in the $200-$1000/each range NO QUESTION. Did a mix on them when they first got here and when it played out of my other systems I realized how poorly my other speakers translated. I could finally just MIX and TRUST my monitors to tell me what is going on!

    SO out of their league. They beat out Mackies, Yamahas, JBL, anything in this range. Out of this world. Could not be happier!

  • from New York June 8, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Musician, Student

    These Monitors Spoiled Me

    I've had these for about 8 months, and they have spoiled me. I can't listen to anything else without thinking "damn, I bet this would sound better on my Focals." I listened to a lot of monitors in the same price range, including the ADAMs, KRKs, and Dynaudios, before I finally decided on these. Absolutely no regrets or second thoughts though. if you can afford Focals, get them. If you can't, wait until you can, and then get them!

  • from New Jersey April 23, 2010Music Background:
    Progressive Trance Producer


    I am completely blown away by the sound quality and soundstage on these speakers. I plugged them in and listened to one of my songs on it and said ok they sound alright...then i listened to professional songs from deadmau5, tiesto, armin and was completely blown away at the clarity and soundstage of these speakers. It just goes to show how much improvement is needed on my songs! These things truly show you the exact sound that you are dealing with! Definitely the best speakers for the price. Better than the comparable Genelec models that I have heard! Pick these up asap!

  • from Kentucky USA February 17, 2010Music Background:
    Music Teacher, Percussionist, Recording,


    What an immediate difference upgrading to Focal CMS 50. Amazing sound for the size. Quality of the sound is a incredible. They are worth every penny when compared to other brands at lower prices. My mixing will now be much more accurate with little to no guess work. My salesman suggested these for my control room and , as always, he was right on target. Thanks TJ and Sweetwater!!!! My only suggestion would be for Focal to include a roll of toilet paper with each set of speakers. Chances are, you'll need it as soon as you hear them.

  • from November 13, 2012

    Focal CMS 50

    Incredible monitor to say the least. If you want full range, you need the sub. A little leans still, but I only have 50 hours on the speakers and I am sure they require 500 hours for full break in. Highly Recommended!!!!!!!!

  • from Chicago February 25, 2012Music Background:
    Recording engineer, Live sound engineer, Voice Actor, Producer, and soon to be Pro Musician.

    Quality tells

    I've never been one to compromise on my audio. My studio has been digital since the 80's. When I worked at CBS, I brought in my own hardware because I just couldn't develop the results I needed with the in-house toys. And I REALLY like German microphones.

    Well, recently,. my studio has been busy, and I've begun recording my narrative vocals in the studio, but editing them in my office so as not to tie up the studio for other projects. And, for that, I need a decent set of nearfields. I looked at, and auditioned, KRK, JBL, Mackie, and several others. And, quite frankly, with money as tight as it is, these days, I needed to stay within a budget. Matt, my sales engineer, recommended two makes, one was Focal. So, I went out locally, found a pair of each of his recommendations, and with my own materials, auditioned them in a room setting similar to my office. (Fairly neutral acoustics, and quiet.) Side by side with other models, I could hear subtle differences, but I couldn't justify the expense. But after many hours of listening, I found that the Focals produced less fatique, and more consistent results in real work projects. So, I bit the bullet and bought a pair of CMS 50's. Once installed, I began burning them in, but I did work with them right away. First project, I got a call from the client asking what I had done differently. The detail was so much more ear pleasing, and when the project hit Radio, the result was not only easier to listen to than my previous work, but the mix was fuller, more balanced, and overall, even a bit louder (eeewwww).

    Subsequent feedback on videos have been equally as rewarding, with accolades like, "smooth," "compelling audio," and "ear candy." One client said I even sounded more relaxed in the read. Well, I don't know about THAT, but I do know that once I reset my audio chain to the sound of the Focal's, I do work faster, and with far less fatigue after a long session. And I smile a lot more when playing the finished result.

    Sonically, CMS 50's clean, and detailed. A sweet, but surprisingly neutral sound. Not Solo or Twin neutral, but so close that it's easy to work around. They're easy to stage, but a bit more complex than some to install and correctly dial in with the existing system. Oh, well....the price of doing it right.... And of all the monitors I've used, auditioned, listened to, or carried up three flights of stairs to a new room, these Focals are the only ones that consistently live up to high expectations every time their turned on. To the degree that I've begun budgeting for a set of Twins in the main studio.

    Quality tells. And, in the no compromise world of audio, today, Focal is quality. Producing quality results.

    Oh, and my bride is a fiddle player...she want's a pair in her music room, now, too.

    CMS 50 is definitely a compromise between performance and price, but if THIS is compromise....I'll take THAT deal all day.

  • from Bogota Colombia March 10, 2010Music Background:
    Music Engineer Student

    Amazing Stereo Image

    Add Mo Pads for both and you will hear the band playing next to you! The construction offers a incredible Stereo Image in the most outstanding clarity and for less than $1,500 for a demanding ear.

  • from Redondo Beach June 14, 2012Music Background:
    Owner of project studio

    Step up to pro level

    They're still breaking in so the rating may go to 5 stars. As everyone says the mids, reverb, and stereo field is the first this you'll notice. Like putting on a new pair of glasses. I'm a bit smitten cause I've been mixing with crappy monitors for years. The downside is now I want to remix everything. I can't comment about KRK's or any of the other popular and less expensive monitors out there. I did the research, made a decision and can not say I'm disappointed.

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