Focal Cobalt 816 S Floorstanding Speakers

Focal Cobalt 816 S Floorstanding Speakers 

DESCRIPTION

  • 2-1/2 way bass
  • Two 6-1/2" W cone mid-bass with 1" coil
  • 1" Tioxid 5 inverted dome tweeter with 3/4" coil
  • Frequency Response 43 Hz - 22 kHz
  • Nominal Impedance 8 ohms
  • Dimensions 980 x 220 x 308 mm

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-9 of 9  
[Mar 14, 2016]
Trailrunnerx
Audio Enthusiast

They say never meet your heroes. Well in this case, they are wrong. I got to audition these along with their little brothers the 806s when I was a starving college student that couldn't possibly afford the $1995 the dealer was asking. At the time I had about a $200 budget for speakers. Since then I have had speakers by ProAc, NHT, PSB, B&W, Paradigm etc. I also owned two earlier models from the JM (now Focal) range, the Cobalt 807 bookshelf and Profil-77 floorstander. Both are a generation or two before these, and the difference is audible. The W cone drivers are amazing. Guitar, vocals and other midrange centric frequencies sound absolutely amazing, and the later gen titanium inverted dome tweeters sound tremendous, with more smoothness and spaciousness compared to the earlier models. I'm driving these with a Rotella RA1520 integrated and some JPS Labs Superconductor cables, and the sound is fantastic. I honestly don't see how these could be seen as bass shy as when I play anything electronic with deep bass like Kraftwerk Minimal/Maximal I can feel the bass. These are truly excellent speakers and due to Focal/JM Lab being not as prominent as some of the other manufacturers, these can be had for an absolute bargain. If you have a chance to own these and don't feel as if Beats by Dre have the "balanced" sound you are looking for, I highly recommend giving them a listen.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 06, 2011]
troygarren
Audio Enthusiast

I paid $300.00 on craigslist (like new), so I will not be as critical as some. I agree they are bright, but I like metal tweeters. They are also bass shy, but any speaker without two 8 inch woofers or one 10 inch woofer in my opinion needs a powered sub. I use a powered sub. If you can get a pair for under $600.00 (use a good sub) then I think you will be happy.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jan 04, 2010]
HighTech RedNeck
AudioPhile

A bright articulate and bass shy speaker that desperately needs a good subwoofer like a REL or a good Paradigm model such as the PS1000, which blends with the JMLab easily. I have owned both the 816 and 826 JMLab speakers. The 826 is only slightly better in IMO. It has a better midrange and slightly better bass. If you have bright or harsh electronics, look out! This speaker will make it sound twice as harsh. However, if used with the right equipment it can give good results.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Jun 11, 2007]
stryker
AudioPhile

Strength:

speed, imaging, detail
French "house sound"?

Weakness:

will expose weaknesses of upstream gear
not for bass heads
room treatments needed or at least have a big enuf area where they can breathe

I want to post a review now although these still need some breaking in. According to another audiophile whose opinion I repsect, they need like 300 hours of playing time to really open up and lose some of their brightness. However, their "brighter" presentation is their signature sound and, from what I've heard, common of French-made speakers.

What I haven't seen written about the Focals is how fast these speakers are. They are fast! They give an effortlessness to the flow of sound and give reasonably-powered amplification total control over themn. Although I can see how someone with less than great digital gear would find them too lean. I don't see that. I see them as very revealing due to their speed and ability to reveal the flaws of your amplification or your source. If your digital source is not up to task and has a poor output stage, you will hear the grit. The stock opamps in a lot of players will come through these speakers as sounding too harsh.

I would imagine that a vinyl rig would sound wonderful through these as they will definitely show off the smoothness and musicality of a vinyl rig. The bass is a little lean and room treatment would be critical to getting the most out of them but, then again, room treatment should be something that anyone spending thousands of dollars on a stereo should be doing anyway. Currently, I find the bass accurate and not straining to reproduce anything it cannot.

I will have another review/update when they open up a bit more and I get a higher-end digital source. Right now, they are bi-amped with an Arcam Alpha 10 and an Alpha 8. However, I suspect I will grow to love thier sound and to apprecaite the ability to match them with good ss amplification or tube amplification.

Either way, if you treat these speakers with good equipment, you will be more than satisfied with thier detail, speed, and definitely with their imaging. I do not come from lots of experience with speakers, but I did hear them demo'd at Tweeter against the Polk LSi15 and the JM Lab Profile speakers. I found the Profiles to be too polite for me, and the Polks didn't have nearly the same resolution of the 816S. This was the speaker that came out on top for me against these other two. They had a sound I thought would mate well with rock and jazz. So far, they haven't disappointed.

Similar Products Used:

Polk LSi9
Arcam Alpha 10
sacdmods SAPC-1
modified Ack! dAck! 2.0

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Oct 20, 2006]
shark777
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Sound
Value
Price
Quality
Looks

Weakness:

None

I purchased these speakers as a DEMO special for $800.00 pair in the classic/light cherry style.I am extremely pleased with my purchase.They look as great as they sound.My prior speakers were the JBL E-80 (that i love) and have been moved to my basement system.I read all the reviews on here before I purchased and they were very helpfull.I run a NAD T-753 and it's a great combo.You don't need seperates to run these like others have suggested.The NAD moves these with plenty of gas.I would agree that they may sound bright with a Onkyo/Yammy ect..The Bass is excellent and super clear.Some reported or complained about Bass on these but I had no such issues.The bootom line >grab these speakers at these silly low prices.5 Stars.

Similar Products Used:

JBL E-80

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 21, 2006]
prc
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

good detail and dynamics. Soundstage is great.

Weakness:

Thin bass which can be corrected. Needs to be moved around alot in your listening room to get correctly setup (not really a weakness as they all need some time!).

Just an update to my previous Review:
After a few more month, I've stuck the speakers on 20mm thick granite bases with Clearlight RDC 2 spikes (instead of using supplied spikes).
(original review was with no spikes (rubber feet) on my hardwood floor).

Imaging has becomed much more focused than it was before (not that it was ever bad). The higher frequencies and vocal are much more correctly positioned and alive so to speak. Depth of soundstage much improved. Biggest difference in my opinion was with sharper bass. There's also more of it, but this is most likely due to moving speakers 10cm (4") closer to back wall.
Speakers are positioned about 70cm from back wall (27.5"), 150cm from side walls (60") and just slightly turned in.
IMO it really works great with my Naim CD5/Nait5/flatcap combo.

For those who like quick reviews: :)

Put it on spikes and solid base to make it really show its full potential!

Similar Products Used:

Kefs Various, B&W various, Klipsch chorus II

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 06, 2006]
prc
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Excellent dynamics, rather small footprint

Weakness:

bass might be a bit thin for some.

For those interested in the looks of the speaker, I must say this speaker looks great. The finish is excellent, alot of time taken for a very clean look. The 816 s is a fast and extremely detailed speaker, good imaging and depth. Works great with an all-Naim system

Similar Products Used:

Kef Q series, proac studio 125

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jan 25, 2006]
Andreas63
AudioPhile

Strength:

Very revealing Musical Soundstage

Weakness:

Needs tube gears

This speaker is a very fine piece of equipment. High quality on finishing too. To get the best out of it you should use tube gears…it can sound bright and too light with wrong equipment. They work very well with my Jolida JD502B. The highs and the mids are very good. Bass is there but first listeners may believe that they are bass shy…they have first quality quick and dry bass, nothing else. I have compared then to many others speakers and find them to be the best in their price range…and even for 1 000 USD more. If you listen to jazz, rock or pop give them a chance! They are very nice with reggae too. They blend very well with my SVS PC + 25-31.

Similar Products Used:

Canton, Audiovector, Dynaudio

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 25, 2005]
shoe
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Detail, dynamics

Weakness:

Not alot of deep, deep, bass but the bass is very good on these considering the limits of the size and drivers

First off I was very impressed by the fit and finish of these speakers. They had a very solid feel to them. I could tell that they paid a lot of attention to detail. The perforated metal grills are very cool and will certainly protect the drivers. On the S series there is a clear "window" on the back that shows the crossover parts inside the speaker, also very well done. Each speaker has two 6 1/2" "W" sandwich cone woofers and an inverted dome tweeter. The 816 s is a fast articulate and extremely detailed speaker that will definitely reveal the inner workings in any recording. Imaging is superb and depth of soundstage is unbelievable for a speaker of this size. They do make the music come alive and I found them to be highly dynamic and downright explosive when the music called for it. On well recorded material the 816 S is magical. However put on some poor " hot" recorded music and it's too much, they reveal everything and a bright recording will have you reaching for the volume control.

Similar Products Used:

Vandersteen 2ce sig. Von Schweikert VR 2, Meadowlark Ospreys, Revel F 30 . etc..

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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