Focal Cobalt 820 Floorstanding Speakers

Cobalt 820

3-way floorstanding column, bass reflex, front port

User Reviews (26)

Showing 1-10 of 26  
JMLAB FOCAL COBALT 820   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 15, 2017]

I disagree with a few other reviews. I find this type of box very nice to listen. Together with my Sony 2400STR it sounds just great. Perhaps the tweeter could be more flat, but you can also choose for an equalizer and push down or push up those frequences.

The bass and middle tone sounds great. Without s subwoofer (which idiot will need a subwoofer for listening to real music???) you can hear and feel the beautiful vibrations and sound.

Ok, there are really much better boxes, but on the second hand market you can buy these Focal for a very attractive price. Just look and you will find.

Should i pay about € 2000 - € 2500,- for these boxes, i think so. I have heard a lot of other boxes and there is always better. For me (and i like music from classic to hard rock/techno) it is good.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
weeman   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 19, 2002]
Strength:

Fast, pretty welldefined highs, but not the best resolution

Weakness:

Price, sounds harsh on alot of highend gear, bass is sometimes muddy,

If you have high resolution hifi, you would be better off with alot of other speakers. These work best with dark-sounding stuff. If you use highend stuff then you have to dampen your setup with copper-cables. I gave it a try, but it wasent really great...

Similar Products Used: Wilson, Dynaudio.
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Luicifer 666   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 24, 2002]

Hi Jesus Christ from Heaven must nail by his ears on the cross. Otherwise it´s inexplicable what this guy heard. I would agree with him if he had the speaker just for one week because the first time the JM Labs sounds awful for the money, that´s true. But like the frog after a kiss changed to a prince the cobalts changed to a teriffic and magical 3D soundstage after, and this is a little bit boring, 200 and more hours of listening. I drive them with a AVM Evolution A2 Amplifier and DNM Solid Core speakercable. AVM is a small german manufactory that build this High End Amp for a bargain price. Paid for a demonstration model $ 1.250 and grap also the JM Labs for about 1.300 bugs :-). So Jesus Christ from heaven go to hell or just take a listen before you paid $ 1.400 for something you don´t like!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Luicifer 666   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 24, 2002]

Hi Jesus Christ from Heaven must nail by his ears on the cross. Otherwise it´s inexplicable what this guy heard. I would agree with him if he had the speaker just for one week because the first time the JM Labs sounds awful for the money, that´s true. But like the frog after a kiss changed to a prince the cobalts changed to a teriffic and magical 3D soundstage after, and this is a little bit boring, 200 and more hours of listening. I drive them with a AVM Evolution A2 Amplifier and DNM Solid Core speakercable. AVM is a small german manufactory that build this High End Amp for a bargain price. Paid for a demonstration model $ 1.250 and grap also the JM Labs for about 1.300 bugs :-). So Jesus Christ from heaven go to hell and listen to JBL, Infinity or other boomie suckers

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
MarceloSQ   Audio Enthusiast [May 19, 2002]
Strength:

Excellent detail in mid and high range. Classic wood finish looks superb.

Weakness:

Cilyndrical binding posts only adjustable by hand. Only one pair of binding posts (the low-freq) accepts banana connectors.

I had the lucky opportunity to hear ths model along with the newer (and similarly priced) Cobalt 816. Let me tell you I chose the old 820. They performed wonderful at the store showroom, even when pushed with mid-fi electronics, as the vendor told me. Well, he was right: they sounded perfect when installed in my audio room. This model features the same titanium inverted dome of the higher-class Electra line (which unfortunately does not appear in the curren Cobalt 800 series). They have excellent mid and high response, you can clearly define any instrument in a chamber orchestra, for instance. Bass is authoritative: place the speakers carefully if you don´t want to be unpleased with room boominess. By the way, room acoustics is crucial -of course not only for this model, but to any speaker- since you can get harsh mid and high sounds if you let soundwaves ¨fly free¨ and bounce against your naked walls. Perhaps the reviewer that came down from heaven suffers this glass-room echoic syndrom.

Similar Products Used: Several lo-fi including Akai bookshelves, Infinity Reference 20, Paradigm 11SE MkII.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
richard   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 20, 2000]
Strength:

Natural highs and lows, excellent imaging, Overall comfortable sound

Weakness:

none that I can see

I lived with the Quads for quite some time and for need of space I had to give them up. I started the arduous task of listening to speakers in shops and various friends' houses. With all the money that speakers cost you would think that there would be a little competition in quality but at the same time a tight race. After hearing the Cobalts I was impressed with how close to the Electrotats these speakers sound. Fortunately a friend asked me to house sit and to make use of his Legacy whispers and I will swear that I was listening to the little Silverline Sr12s which are substatially cheaper. In short the Legacys were boomy and sloppy. I was afraid that they would blow up everytime the vocalist belted it out. In comparison the Cobalts were very natural and tight and for the money a far better speaker dollar for dollar.
The Cobalts strength is found in its balance and imaging. The sound is effortless or at least it seems that way and there is never that boom boom sound that many of the other speakers I audited had. Cobalt's handling of the bass is very surprising in that it actually sounds like the instrument (and not some digitally created bass signal) which I feel is usually only evident in electrostatics. The mids I found to ease out at you and sit in front of the listener as if you were in a small night club all alone with the band sitting one table back from them. Finally the tweeter certainly shows its superiority by the clarity which once again is natural and not digital sounding.
I guess I like my sound as lifelike as possible and I am not convinced that fine audio is the art of digital reproduction but I believe it should be able to convince the listener that digital can appear natural. This is a mature speaker which handles Coltrane as well as Hendrix and as well as Itzak Perlman. If you want a treat, audit these speakers with Aaron Neville singing Mona Lisa from the Neville Brother's early album "Fiyo on the Bayo". I brought this CD along with some other favourites on my listening and selecting journey and it really highlights the mid range while challenging a speaker's ability to create natural depth. The string ensemble backing Neville seems to create the sonic illusion of the tember of the instruments and the pleasant texture of the strings while at the same time combining naturally with Neville's voice.
I don't want to turn this into a music review but it is after all the music that counts and the speaker's worth is measured against that. For people who like it boomier and bassier I can only suggest that you spend a little more time listening and I believe you will be surprised as to how beautiful this effortless sound is. Try this speaker with the rockiest music you can find and you will be conviced of the concert hall. If unfortuately you like the sound of a live concert in a football stadium amongst one hundred thousand screaming fans then there is no accounting for taste but on the other hand just buy the live recording and relive the naturalness of the concert instead of the noise. After all who goes to a rock concert to experience HiFi?

Similar Products Used: Quad ESL 57, Angstrom Obligato, Energy Varitas, Legacy Audio Whisper,Klipschorn
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Frank   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 03, 2000]
Strength:

Nice looking tweeter

Weakness:

doesn't worth this price at all

I bought this cobalt 820 in a hurry. I thought JMLAB will not build such a cheap speaker; but, once I took it home I notice that Cobalt 820 's making cost is very very cheap.

"BASE"
The first thing I notice when I listen to it at home is the low ~40hz noise. It sounds so unnature make you wanna jump off the cliff. Oh god for $1666, I really don't deserve this kind of base response. I will be happier if the base frequense doesn't go that "low" rather than having noise.

"MID"
If you are lisitening to someone singing from the 820, you will feel the singers having a such small lung. The mids definetly not filling the room. Its ok if you "only" listen to violin with the highest cord(since the mids are not using that much).

"HIGHS"
ok.

I used to have a pair AR3 loudspeaker, which cost half the price of cobalt 820. It is stereo sound unlike the Cobalt 820.

I bought these speaker only 5 days. Someone told me it will behave a little bit better after ran-in. I hope so! But I think it will never beat AR3.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
e ozkan   Audiophile [May 05, 2000]
Strength:

detailed sound

Weakness:

none

really gooood speaker...very sweet mids and highs..with titanium dioxit tweeter highs became very detailed and clair..bass is tigth and deep..overall soundstage is very good..musical ..sound is like a live perform..and also nice very looking with red cherry(for me)..good built quality...for the money i think this is one of the best speakers..

Similar Products Used: cobalt 815,b&w cdm 7 se,b&w p5
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
george johnson   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 28, 2001]
Strength:

everything

Weakness:

nothing

I have had alot of different speakers, but not any quite like these. 820 is a great speaker regardless of price, it works geat in any system. Therefor I must give it toprating in both price and performance.

Similar Products Used: JBL(Sucks), Audio Vector(OK), Chario(OK)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Tom   Audiophile [Jun 10, 2001]
Strength:

Sounds like music. Can disapear like a mini monitor.

Weakness:

Price.

Lived with these for a while so the bloom is off. However, I still kept them for over 2 years which is more than I can say for too many other "audiophile" prodcuts that have fallen out of favor.

Underwhelming at a casual listen. However there is a wealth of detail in the subtle nature of these speakers.

Treble
Airy, but I lean towards bright and fast electronics of the Mondial family. A bit soft and sweet but overall neutral.

Mid
Good image, very smooth and a bit lean with good definition.

Bass
Deep, tight, quick and well defined.

Not as efficient as you would be lead to beleive from the specs, but I do not need to play them loud to sound best as with products like the NHT's.

Similar Products Used: DQ-10, NHT 2.5, 2.9, AR-9,Snell A, OHM F, Magnapans
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 26  

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