Focal Cobalt 815 Floorstanding Speakers

4.39/5 (18 Reviews) MSRP : $1850.00


Product Description

3-way bass reflex column


Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Daniel Copland a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 27, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Very good finish, when compared to British speakers in the same dollar range. After 6 months of finding the right equipment to match this baby, it is flying smoothly.


Sounded bright and thin at first. Took 16 weeks to run in. Cannot be used with SS, esp Musical Fidelity A300, A3.2 etc.

Sounds better than lots of $4000 speakers when matched with good tube amps: Graaf, VTL, Copland, even some Taiwanese brew.

High is very good, Mid and Bass need valve power. Sounds better when volume is at 11 o'clock.

Current system:
Clearaudio champion turntable(mc)
VTL PR1 preamp
Graaf GM100 poweramp
Silver anniversary bi amp cables

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $1400.00



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Phil Surtees a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 23, 2001

Bottom Line:   
These stood out from the crowd the first time I heard them.
I went straight home and picked up my amp and went back to make sure all was good....needless to say they shined wi th my musical fidelity B200 so I took them home.
Since getting past the wear in stage they have settled nicely and are even smoother and sweeter than when first auditioned. Had to get rid of my cd walkman and replace it with a marantz cd6000 ose which has made all the difference.
Happy tunes !!

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Len Wallis Audio



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Paul Duzick a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 5, 2001

Bottom Line:   
These speakers need several months to break in and mellow out on the high frequencies. They tend to put out a lot of sibilance on vocals at first because their tweeters are very clear and revealing. Removing the grill or lining the internal baffle of the grill with felt is a good idea until they are fully break in. I really would not recommend these speakers with home theater receivers such as Denon or Yamaha because these speakers lack the warm or musicality to compensate for mid fi gears. I had these speakers for about over a year when I bought some used YBA separates and begin to itch for speakers upgrade. I really thought about getting the Totem Forrest. If the Forrest was priced somewhat less I would have bought them because they are really well rounded performers. The midrange was not as clear and open as compared with other $3000 speakers but perhaps I'm being overcritical due to the fact I listen to a lot of vocals and chamber music. I also consider the Newform Research 645 which features a tall ribbon module married to a Scanspeak carbon fiber driver. A friend has these and I was quite impressed with the almost magical soundstage that they produced. The Newform were very funky looking but they sounded exceptionally good for their $1500 price. They gave me the impression that I was at a live symphonic concert because those ribbon tweeters virtually let you see into the music. Their drawbacks were that they were very sweet spot sensitive and you can't slouch back on your couch too much because that will position your ears below the effective vertical range of the tweeters.

Anyway, both the Forrest and Newform were great speakers but I couldn't justify the upgrade since the Cobalt did most these feats relatively well. I decided to stick with them for awhile and instead added a MSB Link 3 D/A to my Pioneer Elite DVD/CD player. This is when I came to realize that these Cobalt speakers were really great speakers in their own right. They definitely don't give you the bass slam of speakers such as the Paradigm Reference 100 or NHT 3.3. They also don't fill up the whole room up with music or make you think that you were in a nightclub or pop concert. Actually they do the opposite of all that. What they do is separate each musical images and pinpoints vocals and instruments very precisely within a 3-D soundstage. The upper midrange glare that was annoying in the beginning disappeared with the proper equipment and eventual tweeter break in. What you do get is a timbre that is very true to the original sound source. Acoustic guitars with metallic strings have that nice tingling razor sharp reverb, piano notes come thru with just the right touch of speed and hardness, very true to the real thing. Bass and percussion have images and position in addition to just sounding like bass and drums. Of course you also need quality source, pre/amp and cables to get all this. Like most speakers, making sure that they are firmly anchored on their spikes and adding weight on top of them will improve the accurize bass performance and timbre of strings and pianos dramatically.

When I first heard the Cobalt playing at the dealer, I thought they were just awesome speakers. After almost 2 years later, I am very glad I stuck with them and allow them to present their exceptional performances over time and after quality equipment matching.

In order to really appreciate these speakers, I encourage you to spend some time and listen to high end speakers such as ProAc, Thiel, Audio Physic, Verity Audio or Revel. Get a good feel and appreciation for the coherence, attack, pinpoint image placement and timbre accuracy that these speakers offer. Remember their perfomances and then go listen to the Paradigms, NHT, PSB, Energy and whatever other bestsellers you can think of. See what you think. After that, go and listen the Cobalt. You can then either curse me or thank me.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1600.00

Purchased At:   soundworld



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Arslan Hussain a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 31, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Overall excellent speakers for the money. I auditioned the B&W 804, Sonus Faber, Martin Logans and considering my budget sound quality these fit right in. Have not heard the 820s. Does anyone know what the main difference is?

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Jim a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2000

Bottom Line:   
It took me at least a year to finally get these speakers to perform the way they're supposed to. The imaging, soundstage and details were pretty much a given. However, the tendency to sound bright and edgy on female vocals were disappointing right off the bat (considering how nice these speakers sounded at the showroom). The bass reproduction is perhaps too accurate and refined that you immediately get a sense that the speakers are weak on bass. However, with materials that have true bass and providing quality amplification, the windows do get rattled. The upside to this is the bass come across as musical notes with image (and in the case of midbass, position) rather than just mere low frequencies. Adding a carefully tuned small sub should accentuate the lower notes. This is only needed if the speakers are positioned 4 feet or more from walls. The sibilance from female vocals took a bit of effort to fix. Unless your room is acoustically ideal, most SS amps (Bryston, Krell, Sim Audio, etc) will result in female vocals sibilance. Tubes and perhaps a few SS models will work better. Cables that match well with these speakers are the MIT, Transparent types that adds a touch of smoothness to the sound. The really detailed cables like Kimber KCAG or Nordost may pose a problem.

In summary, once they are set up properly, these speakers sound magnificent. They can be pit against $3-4K speakers and easily hold their own. But I must say getting to that point will take some effort. I would certainly recommend these speakers to the audiophiles who enjoy the continous process of tweaking and improving their system performance. For the casual audio ethusiasts, there are friendlier speakers out there (but the final result may not be as special).

System:
YBA Integre DT amp, Sony ES CDP, MSB Link D/A, MIT 330 CVTerminator II interconnects, MIT 750 CVTerminator II speaker cables, PSB Subsonic sub (for room correction purpose)

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999




Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating



Magneplanar:



Magneplanar: