Focal Chorus 826W 30th Anniversary Edition Speaker

November 16, 2010

Robert Deutsch has posted a review of the Focal Chorus 826W 30th Anniversary Edition loudspeaker ($3495/pair) at Stereophile. His conclusions:

When a loudspeaker manufacturer whose top model costs close to $200,000/pair introduces an "Anniversary Edition," my expectation is that the price of the commemorative speaker would be at least some multiple of $10k. Focal has confounded this expectation with their introduction of the 30th Anniversary Edition Chorus 826W at $3495/pair. Why did they make this their Anniversary Edition model, rather than, say, a $60,000 version of the $50,000/pair Maestro Utopia III, which John Atkinson reviewed in the July 2010 issue? When I asked this question of Audio Plus's Ian McArthur, he said, "Focal decided to produce an affordable loudspeaker for the music lover whose support over the years made them the company they are today. Focal considers it a musical 'thank-you' to their customers for the last 30 years of support."

In fact, "loudspeaker for the music lover" strikes me as a pretty accurate description of the Chorus 826W. Although its imaging capability falls a bit short of the pinpoint accuracy valued by some audiophiles, its smooth, well-balanced, easy-on-the-ears sound serves the music, and takes the emphasis away from the equipment used to reproduce it. At $3495/pair, the Chorus 826W is not what I'd call inexpensive, but by the standards of high-end audio it can be considered moderately priced. Focal's accomplishment with their 30th Anniversary Edition speaker is to have included some of the technology—notably the W-sandwich woofers and midrange—responsible for the level of performance of their more expensive speakers, and at a price that's relatively affordable. Merci, Focal!

You can read the full review here.