At NAMM 2018, French audio mogul Focal unveiled its new flagship studio monitor – the Shape Twin – along with two pairs of monitoring headphones, the Listen Professional and Clear Professional. Here’s everything we know about each of the new products.
The Shape Twin is a 2.5-way speaker with two 5-inch woofers handling bass and mid-range. Designed to offer accurate monitoring in tight and acoustically sub-optimal spaces, the Shape Twin boasts curved walnut veneer, dual side-firing passive radiators, and flax sandwich cone woofers. The tweeter is driven by a 50W Class-AB amplifier, while a separate 80W dual-channel Class-AB amp drives the two woofers.
Focal made it so that the lower driver handles the 40 to 180Hz range, while the upper one gets the 40Hz to 2.5kHz range for itself. This makes for a bigger surface area, great pushing the lowest frequencies while allowing better frequency control by virtue of the 5-inch cones. The Shape Twin is kept fairly simple in terms of controls. On its rear, you will find balanced and unbalanced audio inputs, bass & treble controls, a high-pass filter and adjustable crossover.
Sounds great, so how much? Focal is asking for USD 1099 per monitor, which is reasonable, though not exactly affordable. The Shape Twin is scheduled for an April release.
Listen and Clear Professional Headphones
The Listen Professional are closed-back headphones designed for isolation, comfort and durability. Focal describes their sound as neutral, with precise dynamics akin to the company’s hi-end Utopia cans. The Clear Professional headphones are open-backed and implement Focal’s low-mass, 40mm full-range driver. Positioned as reference headphones, they are said to provide a listening experience similar to monitor speakers. Of course, speakers and headphones are acoustically very different, so we assume that the latter sound reasonably flat, without the stereo image and separation a pair of monitors is capable of providing. That is, unless Focal has come up with technology to compensate for the headphones’ natural differences.
Price-wise, it’s USD 299 for the Listen Professional and USD 1699 for the Clear Professional. So that’s both the mid-range and hi-end line covered.