Focal-JMLab Aria 936 Floor standing speakers

Its height is more than a meter and its depth is approximately forty centimeters. There are four 17-cm caliber speaker drivers and the tweeter on the frontage. And there is a wide and steady aluminum foundation with adjustable spikes at the bottom. After all the Focal Aria 936 is not even the flagship model in its lineup. There are three-way speakers with bigger size and higher status (Aria 948) which are created for the "great sound" lovers. But as soon as you look at our device, all the questions about the price and class are gone - the system looks rich and stylish. The device has the powerful damped out case with slightly rounded and beveled side panels which are covered with fashionable piano lacquer. If you do not want the specular gloss, you can choose the classic walnut veneer finish that also harmonizes with leather-like faceplate.

Aria 936 does not allow the multi-conductor connection - there is only one pair of screw terminals on the backboard. Nevertheless, it is not a trivial construction. The case has three bass reflexes. There are two trumpets on the faceplate and the third - the large one - is launched into the gap between the bottom and the platform.

The lowercase is replayed with the help of three identical bass drivers with the long-stroke suspensions and diffusers made of new proprietary Flax material. It is a natural linen fabric with the micron glass foil on the external parts. According to the researches gained by the Focal specialists this composite has the small room resonance modes, that is why the possibility of the tonal balance distortion is reduced.

The 17-cm mid-range features the same diffuser and it replays quite wide band from 260 to 3100 Hz. The device has the signature TNF tweeter with the concave dome made of aluminum-magnesium alloy and the suspension made of poron - the material which has the special elasticity and holds its shape well at the same time. Moreover, the tweeter features the oval waveguide flange that broadens the polar pattern. It is worth saying that the whole Focal loudspeaker system, including the speaker drivers and the case, is made in France.

There is no information about the filter type in the product passport. And among the stated parameters one can notice the high sensitivity and the significant impedance undershot (to 2,8 ohm) at the nominal value of 8 ohms. Does it mean that the Aria 936 needs an amplifier capable to control the low-resistance acoustic.

First I made the conclusion that my guess was true. Our Bryston B-100SST, as a rule, has an easy job even with the heaviest load. However it began to alarm after the first switching of the speakers - their bass was softened, too superfluous and even a bit smoothed. But after a while it became clear that it was not a weak damping, simply the acoustic had not got into stride yet. After several hours of continuous work the lowercase sounded quite different. I noticed the quickness and the structural properties. I began to hear the relief of bass overhangs much better. The infralow frequency became more noticeable. In general the working LF-register seemed to be more reasonable and balanced. The lower middle also began to work extremely better. The old hard rock track sounded best of all - the sound was groovy, live and balanced. The speakers also replayed the more difficult genres - for example, jazz-rock with its rich and complex percussion or even the big symphonic compositions.

The most striking advantage of Aria 936 is its capability to reproduce all the nuances of the medium register together with the overall tonal neutrality without any tension. It is always pleasant when the acoustic sounds not only clear and without any touch-up but accurately reproduces all the micro dynamic nuances at the same time. This sound never seems to be boring; it adds the naturalness and never has any "blank spots". The replay stays informative either during the loud fragments or the barely audible ones - this means the great consonance of filters and speaker drivers. This is also confirmed with the spatial characteristics: the accurate focusing, three-dimensionality in the centre of stereo panorama as well as on its flanks, the good division into the sound plans. If there had been something wrong with the filters there would have never been such holographic picture.

I am sure that the best companion for Aria 936 will be the amplifier with the fast bass to the greatest possible extent, strong body images in the middle and a bit softened uppercase. Then the balance of all musical components will be close to the ideal. The electronics should add a bit of dynamics in the lower and middle bands, but should not go too far in the high band at the same time. Despite the little rise the French systems reproduce the high band with extreme clearness and detail. The Focal tweeters do not stop to surprise. One could blame the first inverted domes with its dry and scratchy touch-up - these times had gone. And perhaps now these tweeters are some of the best dynamic speaker drivers. No wonder they are often compared with the advanced membrane emitters. They will nicely reproduce even the subtlest descant nuances.

Focal-JMLab Aria 936 Floor standing speakers photo