Focal Aria 938 Vs. Focal Electra 1038be II

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Grant.M

Audioholic
Hey guys! I’m looking to upgrade in the coming months and just wanted to see if you guys have heard or owned either or both of the speakers in the title, or their 08/28 counterparts. If you’ve had any experience with these I’d love to hear about it. Thanks everyone! :)
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Hey guys! I’m looking to upgrade in the coming months and just wanted to see if you guys have heard or owned either or both of the speakers in the title, or their 08/28 counterparts. If you’ve had any experience with these I’d love to hear about it. Thanks everyone! :)
Ask @PENG

He has Be tweeter Focals.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Or @KEW actually as well. :)
Actually, I do not have either of those models.
I took advantage of pro-audio's offerings and have a pair of Focal Twin6be's:

I bought mine at $1650 each, but I see they are now getting $2200 each for them. Their success in the recording studio has paid off!

At the time, the pro-audio option was much less expensive than the home audio version (which have avant-garde styling),and having amps specifically chosen for each woofer and tweeter, along with the active crossovers makes them damn near bullet proof. Before the return period ended (I got them from Sweetwater),I cranked them hard and one feel silent, then the other within 3 seconds of the first. I turned them off, turned down the volume and then flipped them on and they just went about their business of making high sound quality!

But, to the OP - you might consider the pro audio offerings, but to answer your question, if you have the money to get the Be tweeter, get it.

That said, I'm sure the Aria (which I have never heard) is a very fine speaker, but recording engineers are in the business of listening critically ... non'stop and the Be option has established itself as something worth having!

Just for the record, DTS Labs uses Focal Twin6Be pro-audio speakers all of the way around for their reference demo room (where they take people to impress them with how good their processing sounds):

I use mine vertically instead of horizontally, but I'm sure DTS gives their guests the sofa in the middle. The chairs at either side of the room are clearly not positioned for fidelity!
 
G

Grant.M

Audioholic
Actually, I do not have either of those models.
I took advantage of pro-audio's offerings and have a pair of Focal Twin6be's:

I bought mine at $1650 each, but I see they are now getting $2200 each for them. Their success in the recording studio has paid off!

At the time, the pro-audio option was much less expensive than the home audio version (which have avant-garde styling),and having amps specifically chosen for each woofer and tweeter, along with the active crossovers makes them damn near bullet proof. Before the return period ended (I got them from Sweetwater),I cranked them hard and one feel silent, then the other within 3 seconds of the first. I turned them off, turned down the volume and then flipped them on and they just went about their business of making high sound quality!

But, to the OP - you might consider the pro audio offerings, but to answer your question, if you have the money to get the Be tweeter, get it.

That said, I'm sure the Aria (which I have never heard) is a very fine speaker, but recording engineers are in the business of listening critically ... non'stop and the Be option has established itself as something worth having!

Just for the record, DTS Labs uses Focal Twin6Be pro-audio speakers all of the way around for their reference demo room (where they take people to impress them with how good their processing sounds):

I use mine vertically instead of horizontally, but I'm sure DTS gives their guests the sofa in the middle. The chairs at either side of the room are clearly not positioned for fidelity!
Thanks for the reply KEW, it definitely gives me something to think about! The beryllium tweeters are what really drew me to 10xxbe line, I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about them.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Actually, I do not have either of those models.
I took advantage of pro-audio's offerings and have a pair of Focal Twin6be's:

I bought mine at $1650 each, but I see they are now getting $2200 each for them. Their success in the recording studio has paid off!

At the time, the pro-audio option was much less expensive than the home audio version (which have avant-garde styling),and having amps specifically chosen for each woofer and tweeter, along with the active crossovers makes them damn near bullet proof. Before the return period ended (I got them from Sweetwater),I cranked them hard and one feel silent, then the other within 3 seconds of the first. I turned them off, turned down the volume and then flipped them on and they just went about their business of making high sound quality!

But, to the OP - you might consider the pro audio offerings, but to answer your question, if you have the money to get the Be tweeter, get it.

That said, I'm sure the Aria (which I have never heard) is a very fine speaker, but recording engineers are in the business of listening critically ... non'stop and the Be option has established itself as something worth having!

Just for the record, DTS Labs uses Focal Twin6Be pro-audio speakers all of the way around for their reference demo room (where they take people to impress them with how good their processing sounds):

I use mine vertically instead of horizontally, but I'm sure DTS gives their guests the sofa in the middle. The chairs at either side of the room are clearly not positioned for fidelity!
Woah, for a sec there thought that was your speaker testing room, Kurt! :)
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
I like to throw out that image of the DTS demo room because there is a certain percentage of people who will start talking about how studio monitors sound too analytical and are not enjoyable to listen to. Certainly, they are not forgiving for crappy recordings, but nor is any neutral speaker that has a high level of detail. IMHO, you have to give up a lot of sound quality to end up with a speaker that glosses over a crappy recording!
Others will say studio monitors are designed for near-field listening. It is true that a near-field speaker needs to integrate the drivers close to the speakers, but I haven't seen anything that would be detrimental to using a near-field speaker as a far-field speaker. I don't know how imaging would fall apart as you back away from them, but there may be truth to this; however, I feel very comfortable that these speakers do not have that problem (and the DTS demo room is not a near-field setup)!
 
G

Grant.M

Audioholic
I like to throw out that image of the DTS demo room because there is a certain percentage of people who will start talking about how studio monitors sound too analytical and are not enjoyable to listen to. Certainly, they are not forgiving for crappy recordings, but nor is any neutral speaker that has a high level of detail. IMHO, you have to give up a lot of sound quality to end up with a speaker that glosses over a crappy recording!
Others will say studio monitors are designed for near-field listening. It is true that a near-field speaker needs to integrate the drivers close to the speakers, but I haven't seen anything that would be detrimental to using a near-field speaker as a far-field speaker. I don't know how imaging would fall apart as you back away from them, but there may be truth to this; however, I feel very comfortable that these speakers do not have that problem (and the DTS demo room is not a near-field setup)!
I agree with you! I’ve heard people say studio monitors are too revealing as well. Frankly that’s what I want in a speaker, I want to be able to hear (as close to anyway) what artist intended us to hear as a listener, not what the coloration of a speaker potentially does to the sound of an artist’s work. And it doesn’t make sense in my head why a speaker that was intended for near field use wouldn’t work either, it’s the same frequencies coming from those drivers either way. And if It didn’t work for DTS in a far field application, I’m sure as heck they wouldn’t use them!
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
@PENG and @KEW I call upon you for your audio wisdom once more! Lol ;)
The 1038 looked too big for my room so I bought the 1028 and have no regrets. They are easy to drive, though I am sure the 1038 would like a little more juice depending on your spl requirement and other factors. Even if I had a larger room I would probably still prefer the 1028 and spend the money saved on subwoofers. I haven't heard better sounding speakers except the KEF blades, but I haven't been out auditioning for a few years now. To me, the 1028's mid/hi seems to sound quite similar to the BMRs, and that's probably the best way I can describe it's tonal characteristics.
 
G

Grant.M

Audioholic
The 1038 looked too big for my room so I bought the 1028 and have no regrets. They are easy to drive, though I am sure the 1038 would like a little more juice depending on your spl requirement and other factors. Even if I had a larger room I would probably still prefer the 1028 and spend the money saved on subwoofers. I haven't heard better sounding speakers except the KEF blades, but I haven't been out auditioning for a few years now. To me, the 1028's mid/hi seems to sound quite similar to the BMRs, and that's probably the best way I can describe it's tonal characteristics.
Thank you for the info PENG! After hearing what you’ve had to say I think I’ll choose the 1028be’s. I don’t have a huge room so I think the 1038be’s will just be overkill and won’t have enough room to do their thing in my case, that and my listening distance is only about 9’ from the speakers so the tweeter might sit too high as well. Even though I haven’t heard either of them yet, I can’t justify the $3,000 price difference between the two for what seems like extra bass. Also I’m sure that the 1028be’s will have no issue running full range, or even crossed over at 60hz so they can still deliver that crisp punch in the bass I’ve heard they deliver. The Twin6be’s are also still on my list to audition! However the fiancé really likes the looks 1028be’s, and WAF is going to play a huge role in an expensive purchase like this. Lol
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Thank you for the info PENG! After hearing what you’ve had to say I think I’ll choose the 1028be’s. I don’t have a huge room so I think the 1038be’s will just be overkill and won’t have enough room to do their thing in my case, that and my listening distance is only about 9’ from the speakers so the tweeter might sit too high as well. Even though I haven’t heard either of them yet, I can’t justify the $3,000 price difference between the two for what seems like extra bass. Also I’m sure that the 1028be’s will have no issue running full range, or even crossed over at 60hz so they can still deliver that crisp punch in the bass I’ve heard they deliver. The Twin6be’s are also still on my list to audition! However the fiancé really likes the looks 1028be’s, and WAF is going to play a huge role in an expensive purchase like this. Lol
Wait a minute, why not audition both. We all hear differently, there are people who claimed the 1038 sounds better even in mids and highs. I didn't find that nor did I believe that's true (not to me anyway), but as they say, ymmv. Those speakers are not super expensive but are not cheap either, so I suggest you really take the time to listen to both before pulling the trigger. By the way, isn't it true that the 10X8 Be have been discontinued and replaced by the kanta that apparently has the newer version Be tweeter, so you may want to audition those too.
 
G

Grant.M

Audioholic
Wait a minute, why not audition both. We all hear differently, there are people who claimed the 1038 sounds better even in mids and highs. I didn't find that nor did I believe that's true (not to me anyway),but as they say, ymmv. Those speakers are not super expensive but are not cheap either, so I suggest you really take the time to listen to both before pulling the trigger. By the way, isn't it true that the 10X8 Be have been discontinued and replaced by the kanta that apparently has the newer version Be tweeter, so you may want to audition those too.
I work full time and also have a side hustle to supplement my income, so I usually don’t have a lot of time on my hands. But I’ll try to audition both and see how that goes. I wasn’t aware the Kanta replaced the 10x8be’s, I’ll have to look into those as well then!
Edit: Looks like they have flax cones instead of the W/glass woven cones, the price of the Kantas also seems to be a little out of my budget. But who knows maybe when I hear them I’ll take the plunge with those over the 1028be’s.
 
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S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
There are folks who buy like 5 brands of speakers before they find that special speaker. Ok some of us are OCD or something. LOL. ;)

On the other hand a heavily discounted 1028 may hold its value for resell. Not 100% sure but likely.
 
G

Grant.M

Audioholic
That’s
There are folks who buy like 5 brands of speakers before they find that special speaker. Ok some of us are OCD or something. LOL. ;)

On the other hand a heavily discounted 1028 may hold its value for resell. Not 100% sure but likely.
True that! And lol gotta make sure we’re getting the best we can right? I’ve seen a quite a few in the $3,500-$4,000 range which is at around my budget of $3,500, and I can’t imagine them getting much cheaper than that. So resell value is a strong selling point to me as well.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
However the fiancé really likes the looks 1028be’s, and WAF is going to play a huge role in an expensive purchase like this. Lol
Smart man!
And also, consider yourself lucky! Usually the WAF concern is something that is essentially out of sight or avoiding spending money on audio. The 1028's are bigger than the Twin6's, so you are lucky that she is more interested in style than being able to hide the system. Honestly, given the situation, I would just cross the Twin6 off your list. She doesn't need to see a pair of speakers that she thinks is ugly every time she walks into the room, especially when there is another speaker so close in sound that she can take partial ownership of (since she helped with the decision). Any opportunity to make it belong to both of you, as opposed to only yours, and she is tolerating it, is worthwhile in maintaining harmony! (see what I did there!:))
 
G

Grant.M

Audioholic
Smart man!
And also, consider yourself lucky! Usually the WAF concern is something that is essentially out of sight or avoiding spending money on audio. The 1028's are bigger than the Twin6's, so you are lucky that she is more interested in style than being able to hide the system. Honestly, given the situation, I would just cross the Twin6 off your list. She doesn't need to see a pair of speakers that she thinks is ugly every time she walks into the room, especially when there is another speaker so close in sound that she can take partial ownership of (since she helped with the decision). Any opportunity to make it belong to both of you, as opposed to only yours, and she is tolerating it, is worthwhile in maintaining harmony! (see what I did there!:))
I got us a house back in December and one of my biggest concerns when we moved in together was whether or not she could live with my floor standers and my audio equipment. Turns out I got lucky with this one, her only gripe with speakers are the ugly yellow things (Kevlar midrange in my 683’s) lol! She was also super excited (at least I think so) when I downloaded the Yamaha AV controller app and showed her how she can control the audio system and play her music from her phone. She loves suspense movies, and the jump scares never startle her unless we got the system on, it’s the funniest thing seeing her jump out her skin during those scenes. Also I agree. I do my best to share my hobby with her in hopes not to annoy her with it and that she can enjoy it with me. And I saw what you did there lol! Thanks for the solid advice like always KEW! ;)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Smart man!
And also, consider yourself lucky! Usually the WAF concern is something that is essentially out of sight or avoiding spending money on audio. The 1028's are bigger than the Twin6's, so you are lucky that she is more interested in style than being able to hide the system. Honestly, given the situation, I would just cross the Twin6 off your list. She doesn't need to see a pair of speakers that she thinks is ugly every time she walks into the room, especially when there is another speaker so close in sound that she can take partial ownership of (since she helped with the decision). Any opportunity to make it belong to both of you, as opposed to only yours, and she is tolerating it, is worthwhile in maintaining harmony! (see what I did there!:))
But the jump in size and weight to the 1038 is even bigger, so unless the room is huge I can see WAF would become an issue. To me, it is hard to justify the gain in size/wt when really the only difference in the design is 3X7" vs 2X6.5" woofers. In theory, depending on the room, the 1028 could sound better in some cases, and should definitely sound better if supplemented with the right subwoofer(s). Yet, there are people who would swear the 1038 sounds better regardless.:rolleyes: But then, to some people, if it cost so much more it has to sound better.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
I got us a house back in December and one of my biggest concerns when we moved in together was whether or not she could live with my floor standers and my audio equipment. Turns out I got lucky with this one, her only gripe with speakers are the ugly yellow things (Kevlar midrange in my 683’s) lol! She was also super excited (at least I think so) when I downloaded the Yamaha AV controller app and showed her how she can control the audio system and play her music from her phone. She loves suspense movies, and the jump scares never startle her unless we got the system on, it’s the funniest thing seeing her jump out her skin during those scenes. Also I agree. I do my best to share my hobby with her in hopes not to annoy her with it and that she can enjoy it with me. And I saw what you did there lol! Thanks for the solid advice like always KEW! ;)
Just keep her away from the Aria series, LOL!
Depending on the decor of your room, she might find those flax cones enticing:


I would love to see how much Focal's sales of the Aria series increased when they switched to these drivers.
By all accounts, they are a good sounding speaker for their cost, and the added allure of looking good cannot be underrated, IMHO! Listening to music is an emotional experience and having speakers that are attractive (beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but I think these are) just adds a bit more joy without our mind discriminating between the audio and visual influence - we just like them better!
 

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