Friday, March 1, 2024

Focal Theva No. 1 Audio system Evaluate: Easy and Creamy


I spent a few weeks with the audio system, swapping them in after the B&W 606 S3. Whereas they didn’t instantly wow me as I targeted on evaluating TVs and different gear, they stepped in fairly seamlessly for my standard KEF LSX 2.1 (9/10, WIRED Recommends) reference system that features SVS’s 3000 Micro subwoofer, which in itself says rather a lot in regards to the Thevas’ sonic expertise. They don’t supply the identical thunderous bass, however the 6.5-inch drivers held their very own down low throughout content material.

I spent most of my listening powering the audio system with a Naim Uniti Atom (8/10, WIRED Recommends) amplifier, which because it occurs is owned by the identical firm as Focal. As chances are you’ll guess, it makes for a superb pairing, although few would name it an reasonably priced one. The Theva nonetheless sounded fairly good with the cheaper Technics SU-GX7 ($2,000), a wonderful community amplifier in its personal proper, although they did lose some dynamism and articulation, and the sound profile was just a little extra ahead and edgy.

That’s hardly ever a difficulty right here, although. All through my listening, I used to be constantly impressed by the Theva No. 1’s penchant for easy articulation in instrumental assaults, with out the sharpness that may typically experience together with it. There’s a nice layer of cream behind the treble frequencies that lets every thing circulate naturally.

The Theva don’t share fairly the identical skills for ultra-definition because the 606 S3, however their extra fluid supply is music to my ears, actually and figuratively. Cymbals don’t simply crash, they puff with powdery expanse. Gritty electrical guitars are lower with agency precision and directionality however completed with a delicate touchdown that assures they’re by no means harsh or sibilant.

My favourite instrument all through my listening periods must be piano, particularly when cueing up Elton John’s fabulous Tumbleweed Connection on vinyl, courtesy of the U-Flip Orbit Principle turntable (9/10, WIRED Recommends). The musical resonance of John’s fluttering arpeggios and folksy inversions glide throughout the soundstage with good extension, matching properly with the album’s lyrical strings and jangly acoustic guitar.

The soundstage isn’t as huge or dimensional because the Vestia’s, nevertheless it’s a strong substitute, carving out a swirling stereo picture that feels each deep and large as devices come out previous the audio system’ edges. After I swapped in Polk’s Legend Collection L100 (additionally $1,000) for some A/B listening, the L100 introduced a extra exact heart picture for vocals and dialog, however the Theva’s extra laid-back sound profile made them a greater hear most often.

Talking of the middle picture, the Theva do a wonderful job with dialog in movies and TV reveals. Auditioning every thing from sitcoms like The Workplace to go-to check movies just like the expertly produced Skyfall, I used to be greater than happy by the nuanced presentation. In Skyfall, I used to be significantly impressed by the Thevas’ dynamics, drawing me in with refined components and thoroughly positioned particulars, then stunning me with wickedly brash explosions, buzzy engines, and punchy gunshots that ramped up the motion.

As a lot as I loved the Theva No. 1, I sometimes wished for some additional readability and definition, particularly up high. The Vestia No. 1 present that, and for those who’ve received the money I feel it’s most likely price spending up for them. However the $200 value distinction isn’t a drop within the bucket.

If you happen to’re on a tighter price range, you might put that towards a subwoofer. This can each deepen the Theva No. 1’s already strong bass response and clear up some area within the decrease midrange. Both approach, you’ll be getting an amazing set of audio system that may be your go-to listening setup for no matter you play, from vinyl to sitcoms, for years to come back.

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