Focal Aria K2 936 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review

S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
900x450c.jpg
Focal’s Aria loudspeaker line has been around for some years now and has received praise from reviewers and owners alike. Sadly, it wasn’t a loudspeaker series that we had close contact with in the form of a review when it was launched. However, when Focal recently revamped the Arias in the limited-edition K2 series, we decided not to miss out on another opportunity to see what Aria speakers could do and asked Focal to send us a pair. Read our full review of Focal's Aria K2 936 speaker to find out what we found!

READ: FOCAL ARIA K2 936 TOWER SPEAKER REVIEW
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
Good write up...
But no link to a measurements page?
*sheds a tear
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
Interesting how restrictive the tweeter dispersion is on the horizontal plot at ±30º starting above 10k. Is this the characteristic of the concave dome or is something else happening there?
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
Interesting how restrictive the tweeter dispersion is on the horizontal plot at ±30º starting above 10k. Is this the characteristic of the concave dome or is something else happening there?
A narrowing of dispersion in high treble is characteristic of all dome tweeters unless something else is acting on them such as certain waveguides. Its possible that the concave dome is actually keeping a broader dispersion at the top than it would otherwise have.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Warlord
A narrowing of dispersion in high treble is characteristic of all dome tweeters unless something else is acting on them such as certain waveguides. Its possible that the concave dome is actually keeping a broader dispersion at the top than it would otherwise have.
I get that the tweeter naturally narrows, this was just a unique shape I hadn't seen before in the horizontal directivity...
I just grabbed this quickly to illustrate what I usually think of in terms of most plots:
1659644608963.png

vs:
1659644911087.png


That ">" shape is much more typical of a dome with no waveguide, isn't it? I was just surprised at how quickly (seemingly) the directivity changes from 10-13k, and then from 13-20k its almost straight, only to flare out again above 20.

More simply put... its an intriguing quality. Not associating any particular value to it. :)
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
The Focal also has a shallow waveguide that is probably doing something at the high treble dispersion, although I don't know how much.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
A narrowing of dispersion in high treble is characteristic of all dome tweeters unless something else is acting on them such as certain waveguides. Its possible that the concave dome is actually keeping a broader dispersion at the top than it would otherwise have.
That is correct. In fact it has to be a very good tweeter not to narrow to around 30 degrees before 10K. A short wave guide will marginally improve dispersion.

Here is a SEAS excel, axis, and 30 and 60 degrees off axis. At 30 degrees there is some drop off before 15K. That is a good result. Those Focal Arias seem to be pretty good speakers. I suspect they traded higher spl. for bass extension. Given the ubiquitous use of subs, that was probably a reasonable trade off these days.
 
M

mtrot

Full Audioholic
That is correct. In fact it has to be a very good tweeter not to narrow to around 30 degrees before 10K. A short wave guide will marginally improve dispersion.

Here is a SEAS excel, axis, and 30 and 60 degrees off axis. At 30 degrees there is some drop off before 15K. That is a good result. Those Focal Arias seem to be pretty good speakers. I suspect they traded higher spl. for bass extension. Given the ubiquitous use of subs, that was probably a reasonable trade off these days.
Yes, it seems a lot of speaker makers are doing that now days, and I suspect it's because home theater setups(that employ subs) are becoming much more common than two-channel setups, especially in this price range. I've read that many of these Focal speakers, even sizable ones, are rolling off to their ports pretty quickly below 100 Hz.

Also, the question has to be asked, does this K2 version offer any significant measurements or sound quality improvement over the original Aria 936? It seems like I remember reading one review that suggested the answer is, no.
 
Last edited:
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Yes, it seems a lot of speaker makers are doing that now days, and I suspect it's because home theater setups(that employ subs) are becoming much more common than two-channel setups, especially in this price range. I've read that many of these Focal speakers, even sizable ones, are rolling off to their ports pretty quickly below 100 Hz.

Also, the question has to be asked, does this K2 version offer any significant measurements or sound quality improvement over the original Aria 936? It seems like I remember reading one review that suggested the answer is, no.
It is that old saw, that you can have high sensitivity or extended bass, but not both. I don't think it is only the sub issue, I think it is higher spl requirements of home theater, coupled with the poor performance of power amps in receivers, which are far too prone to blow up if pushed hard, especially into lower impedance loads. Every 3db drop in speaker sensitivity doubles the power requirement of the amps. More and more speakers are in fact 4 ohm loads, no matter what the manufacturer says. That is to properly compensate for the baffle step. Most receivers are not designed for four ohm loads, and certainly not at power.
 
L

luis1090

Enthusiast
It is that old saw, that you can have high sensitivity or extended bass, but not both. I don't think it is only the sub issue, I think it is higher spl requirements of home theater, coupled with the poor performance of power amps in receivers, which are far too prone to blow up if pushed hard, especially into lower impedance loads. Every 3db drop in speaker sensitivity doubles the power requirement of the amps. More and more speakers are in fact 4 ohm loads, no matter what the manufacturer says. That is to properly compensate for the baffle step. Most receivers are not designed for four ohm loads, and certainly not at power.
I understand what you're saying but it just doesn't make sense to spend $7k on speakers to pair with a receiver. A lot high price tag receivers have 4 ohms power ratings still I wouldn't never use one with speakers like this.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
I understand what you're saying but it just doesn't make sense to spend $7k on speakers to pair with a receiver. A lot high price tag receivers have 4 ohms power ratings still I wouldn't never use one with speakers like this.
I agree, but people do. But the other issue is that most people now want to go to 20 Hz. So if people are bound and determined to roll speakers off at 60 or 80 Hz to cross to a sub, then what's the point of a low F3, might as well make the speaker more efficient, and make sure it has good power handling above 80 Hz or so. The fact is that most of the frequencies people perceive as bass are actually above sub range. In my view, a lot, and probably most speakers, are deficient in actually powerfully delivering that power range between 80 Hz and certainly 1.5KHz and even 3 to 4 KHz. The worst offenders are so often three ways, with totally inadequate mid range speakers in terms of power handling. There are actually few mids that can handle this range as single units, and most should be used in pairs.
 
A

audiogod66

Audiophyte
Focal’s Aria loudspeaker line has been around for some years now and has received praise from reviewers and owners alike. Sadly, it wasn’t a loudspeaker series that we had close contact with in the form of a review when it was launched. However, when Focal recently revamped the Arias in the limited-edition K2 series, we decided not to miss out on another opportunity to see what Aria speakers could do and asked Focal to send us a pair. Read our full review of Focal's Aria K2 936 speaker to find out what we found!

READ: FOCAL ARIA K2 936 TOWER SPEAKER REVIEW
The whole Aria speaker range basically doubled in price in the last 4 years. They were ok value 2016,2017. But these K2 936 are $8250 in Australia .The build quality for that money is dreadful. A Russian guy takes a deep dive at the 936 Aria and the speaker is junk and this shares the
same cabinet, really cheapest grade dust mdf,screws just screwed into flimsy thin mdf. Crossovers made of the cheapest crap and even using different crossover revisions in a pair ! I have taken apart Jamo 606 and the cabinet quality of Aria 936 is about the same. The Focal drivers are excellent in the K2 but the rest for this kind of money just sucks
 
M

mtrot

Full Audioholic
The whole Aria speaker range basically doubled in price in the last 4 years. They were ok value 2016,2017. But these K2 936 are $8250 in Australia .The build quality for that money is dreadful. A Russian guy takes a deep dive at the 936 Aria and the speaker is junk and this shares the
same cabinet, really cheapest grade dust mdf,screws just screwed into flimsy thin mdf. Crossovers made of the cheapest crap and even using different crossover revisions in a pair ! I have taken apart Jamo 606 and the cabinet quality of Aria 936 is about the same. The Focal drivers are excellent in the K2 but the rest for this kind of money just sucks
Yes, right before covid, there were nice used sets of 936 available for $2700 and I saw a set of 926 for around $1800. It's astounding how much people are asking for them now, which I refuse to pay. Just can't do it.
 
A

audiogod66

Audiophyte
Yes, right before covid, there were nice used sets of 936 available for $2700 and I saw a set of 926 for around $1800. It's astounding how much people are asking for them now, which I refuse to pay. Just can't do it.
I can get Focal Aria 926 Gloss Black with Gia11 footers11 for $2k as of the weekend they hadn't been sold. Only trouble for anyone in Australia is the guy through the packaging away ,anyway in Sydney for those keen
 
L

luis1090

Enthusiast
I agree, but people do. But the other issue is that most people now want to go to 20 Hz. So if people are bound and determined to roll speakers off at 60 or 80 Hz to cross to a sub, then what's the point of a low F3, might as well make the speaker more efficient, and make sure it has good power handling above 80 Hz or so. The fact is that most of the frequencies people perceive as bass are actually above sub range. In my view, a lot, and probably most speakers, are deficient in actually powerfully delivering that power range between 80 Hz and certainly 1.5KHz and even 3 to 4 KHz. The worst offenders are so often three ways, with totally inadequate mid range speakers in terms of power handling. There are actually few mids that can handle this range as single units, and most should be used in pairs.
Again, you might be right but I assuming here that the typical customer for these are stereo "audiophiles" with an audio room full of high-end stuff like McIntosh amps, stupid expensive cables(snake oil) and maybe a power conditioner more expensive than a house down payment like one of those Audioquest Niagara. This type of customer will first drop dead before "damaging" their perfect sound with a subwoofer. I believe a typical audiophile will be perfectly happy with his main speaker reaching down to the 40hz range. I seriously doubt that someone will buy these speakers to pair with a fridge size subwoofer to play Jay-Z or Bass Mekanik or...well you get the picture. Regarding efficiency with class D amplifiers becoming mainstream power and I mean big power is available without the need to break the piggy bank. Regarding your perception of inadequate midrange drivers; once again you might be right and maybe you like something like Tekton Design speakers, they use Pro-Audio drivers like Eminence for midrange and mid-bass and are extremely efficient. A friend of mine owns a set of big Teckton tower speakers and I believe he told me those are like 99db/w with two 6" inch midrange drivers each and ironically I remember the voices in particular were very real like a live performance. I listened just a couple of tunes but came away impressed, those are different for sure and probably not for everybody but to me they sounded right.
 

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