French company Focal has established itself as one of the most revered monitor manufacturers in the world, and it’s common to see Focal’s monitoring speakers when visiting professional studios. Focal originally made its reputation as a high-end monitor manufacturer, but thanks to its international distributors that kept asking for cheaper studio speakers, it eventually made its way into the affordable monitor lineup, with the Alpha series as its very first venture. The series comprises of the Alpha 50, 65 and 80, and at Studio-Speakers.com we’ve taken a look at the Alpha 80.
Features of the Focal Alpha 80 studio speakers
The Focal Alpha 80’s cabinet is made of vinyl-covered MDF and features curved plastic side panels, preventing horizontal placement. The speaker features an 8” Polyglass cone woofer with a contoured laminar bass port and a 1” inverted aluminum dome tweeter that is recessed into a molded waveguide. The tweeter, as recommended by Focal, should be situated at ear height. The cabinet may also be oriented upside-down if deemed necessary.
Each monitor uses a bi-amped power configuration with Class AB amplifiers—100W for the low end and 40W for the high end. Its frequency response is an impressive 35Hz – 22 kHz and it has a maximum SPL of 109 dB at one meter. Dual ports are located at the bottom of the front panel, as well as the company logo that also works as a power indicator.
The power switch is on the back, and the Alpha 80 comes with a very useful Auto Standby Mode feature. It turns off the monitor after 30 minutes of no signal, but turns it right back on once a signal is present. This can be very convenient, as you don’t need to go behind the monitor to turn it off and on each time you want to use it. Plus, the monitor uses less than 0.5W in Standby Mode, conserving power.
There is also a room control EQ feature on the rear panel that helps the monitor better fit into your room’s acoustic environment. Its low frequency shelving setting will give you +/- 6dB at a set frequency of 300hz while its high frequency shelving will give you +/- 3dB at a set frequency of 4.5kHz. The Alpha 80 offers balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs, which can be used simultaneously.
For a monitor in this price range, the Alpha 80 provides superb imagery, range and accuracy. It offers an extended and strong low end and the high end is crisp and clear. The midrange is good, although you may notice some coloration at times. While it can get very loud without any obvious distortion, its timbre also maintains consistency at low volumes. Furthermore, it reveals subtle changes in a mix, and even provides excellent separation of instruments and vocal parts.
|Tweeter||1″ inverted aluminum dome|
|Power Output||140W (40W High / 100W Low)|
|Frequency Response||35Hz – 22KHz (+/- 2dB)|
|Max Peak SPL||109dB|
|Input Impedance (Ohms)||10K Ohm|
|Weight||28.2Lbs. (12.8 kg)|
Focal has achieved their goal of creating a mid-price monitoring speaker that provides excellent low-frequency production. Overall it’s a competent studio monitoring speaker and will reveal all the necessary detail in your mix. The Alpha 80’s specs are also impressive, and it’s hard to find other monitors that have as much power and as wide of a frequency as the Alpha 80 at this price point. If you’re looking for a high performing monitor speaker with great bass and plenty of volume at this price point, the Alpha 80 may just be perfect for you.
Do you already have the Focal Alpha 80 monitoring speakers? Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments section!