Focal Trio6 Review: The Music Tool

After being so impressed with the Focal Alpha Evo 80, we also wanted to test the Focal Trio6. The distributor told us that an updated version was coming soon. Now that it’s here, we can say the wait was worth it. – Alexander Rose-Fehling

Focal’s ST6 Series includes three studio monitors and a subwoofer. The Trio6, a three-way speaker, is the largest in the lineup. Priced at €6000, it’s certainly not cheap, but it offers a wealth of high-end technologies that justify its cost.

Focal Trio6 front view
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While other Focal Pro ST6 Series models – Solo6, Twin6, and Sub12 – were updated and released a year ago, the new Trio6 only hit the market this past fall. Like the other speakers, every aspect affecting sound quality has been refined. Remarkably, the price has only increased by €200 compared to the previous Trio6 BE.

Design

Visually, the generational change is immediately noticeable in two areas: the dust cap on the woofer is significantly larger, and the side panels made of dark red real wood veneer are now more elaborately crafted. Focusing on the cabinet, the wall thickness has been increased from 18 to 21 millimeters, with new internal bracing designed to enhance stability. All drivers have been revamped as well.

The 8-inch long-throw woofer now features a more powerful motor, giving it greater excursion. However, the construction of its diaphragm is more intriguing. Focal employs a sandwich design consisting of two layers of glass with a layer of foam in between. This design targets the three crucial parameters of a driver: low weight, stiffness, and internal damping. The result aims to combine clarity, precision, and neutrality.

The weight of the 5-inch midrange driver has been reduced to allow for even quicker response to impulses. This driver incorporates a technology Focal takes great pride in: the Tuned Mass Damper technology. Drawing from experiences in motorsport and the construction of earthquake-resistant skyscrapers, Focal has added two thickened rings to the surround to optimize resonance behavior and prevent membrane break-up, which would otherwise cause audible distortion.

Beryllium Tweeter

The highlight of the speaker is undoubtedly its 1-inch beryllium tweeter. Focal is convinced of the superior qualities of this tweeter. And in its processed form, beryllium is completely safe to use. However, it comes with a hefty price tag. Focal states that beryllium is currently 50 times more expensive than gold, which explains why these luxury tweeters aren’t found in all price ranges. Their other studio series, Alpha Evo and Shape, use aluminum or aluminum-magnesium tweeters instead.

This component ensures dynamic, crystal-clear highs extending beyond 40 kHz.

After two years of research, Focal’s developers succeeded in creating an inverted beryllium dome that covers frequencies from 1,000 to 40,000 Hertz, spanning five octaves. Beryllium holds significant advantages over titanium or aluminum: with domes of the same mass, beryllium is seven times stiffer and has a much higher sound velocity. In short, Focal promises the best possible linearity, transparency, and transient response.

Power at the Back

The drivers are powered by different amplifier designs. The tweeter is driven by a Class A/B amplifier with 50 watts. The midrange and woofer are powered by a Class G amplifier providing 100 watts. This means that at low levels, the Class A/B operation is active, but when more power is needed, the amplifier switches to a higher gear.

The controls on the back of the Focal Trio6 allow for nearly any conceivable setup. Analog signals are exclusively received via XLR cables in the Focal ST6 Trio6.
The controls on the back of the speaker allow for nearly any conceivable setup. Analog signals are exclusively received via XLR cables in the Focal ST6 Trio6.

Focused Design

As seen in the photos, the high/midrange unit of the Trio6 can be rotated 360 degrees in 90-degree steps, allowing the speaker to be used in a horizontal position. This can be particularly useful in a listening room if you don’t have the 53 centimeters of height available, such as when a shelf or TV is mounted above the sideboard.

Adaptability

Additionally, the speaker offers a practical feature for producers: the two-stage Focus mode. With an optional pedal, you can disable the bass or even both the bass and the tweeter, effectively transforming the 3-way system into a 2-way or 1-way system. This allows you to check how a recording will sound on devices with limited bandwidth. However, this only works with pedals that must be connected via a jack cable.

Focal Trio6 Powerful Performance: The improved driver enables greater excursion, delivering bass down to an impressive 35 Hertz (-3dB).
Powerful Performance: The improved driver enables greater excursion, delivering bass down to an impressive 35 Hertz (-3dB).

That’s not all; these speakers can also adapt to their environment. The back panel hosts several switches and dials that allow for various adjustments. You can raise or lower the level by 14 dB and toggle the automatic standby mode. The treble starting at 4.5 kHz can be adjusted in six steps by 3 dB, and the same applies to the lower midrange around 160 Hz and frequencies below 150 Hz. For setups close to walls or corners, there’s a high-pass filter that steeply attenuates the level at 90, 60, or 45 Hz. Enough technical details—now let’s listen to some music.

Listening Test

One final note before the listening test: the Focal Trio6 exclusively features XLR inputs. Make sure you use compatible preamplifiers. Alternatively, you can use adapters or pre-made adapter cables.

Test Focal Trio6

Close Listening

The Focals were designed for near-field listening but can also be enjoyed from a distance of 2 to 2.5 meters.

To cut to the chase: Rarely have I been so entertained by a speaker. You really need to hear how these active speakers reproduce music with such richness and detail. It’s simply world-class. I haven’t encountered a passive speaker that can match this level of detail. The first two minutes of Tool’s “Eulogy” were presented in such completeness, down to the smallest nuances, with a colorful bass I’ve never heard from a speaker before. I thought only headphones could deliver that level of detail. But no, not at all. At the same time, it’s the most pleasant monitor I’ve encountered. Even at high volumes, thanks to the Beryllium tweeter, the reproduction remains clean and free from any distortion.

Vocal reproduction? Absolutely incredible. Listening to “Sleep At Night” by The Chicks, it felt like the speaker had an additional, slightly forward driver dedicated solely to Natalie Maines’ vocals; they were that clear and lifelike within the mix. At low volumes, the speaker is wonderfully complete; it can hardly get any better. But just beyond what’s considered normal listening volume, it elevates you to auditory bliss. With Eminem’s famous “The Real Slim Shady,” the power had me grinning from ear to ear.

I tested the Focals both in my listening room and in my rather challenging living room. It was definitely better in the listening room, but thanks to its adaptability, it delivered a level of sound quality on my sideboard in near-field that I hadn’t experienced before in my own home. Ultra-deep, powerful bass with just 15 centimeters of wall clearance? No problem. You can adjust the sensitivity of the speaker on the rear panel. It seemed to me that in the more sensitive setting, when it outputs more volume, it plays a bit more freely. Fine-tuning the Trio6’s sound settings adds to its allure.

FURNITURE PIECE: The craftsmanship of Focal Trio6 is top-notch, but the weight is also not back-friendly.
FURNITURE PIECE: The craftsmanship of Focal Trio6 is top-notch, but the weight is also not back-friendly.

Focal Trio6 BE

3-Way Active Monitor with Exceptionally Balanced Frequency Response. The Focal Trio6 is a 3-way active monitor renowned for its exceptionally balanced frequency response both on-axis and within the listening window. With a neutral low-shelf setting, it offers a gentle bass boost of 2 dB below 120 Hz. The cutoff frequency (-3/-6 dB) is 35/33 Hz with an extra steep subsonic cut (36 dB/octave).

The input sensitivity for 90 dB SPL is 200 mV in the switch position of +4 dBu. Right channel distortion is extremely low across the mid and upper frequencies, even at levels exceeding 100 dB SPL, with maximum bass level reaching 101 dB SPL. The bass exhibits minimal delayed decay, with no noticeable anomalies in the waterfall measurement. Additionally, there is no measurable delay in the input signal.

Focal Trio6 Frequency Response
Focal Trio6 Level & Distortion Characteristics

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Warranty Period: 2 years
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 28 x 53 x 36 cm
  • Weight: 25 kg
  • Veneer/Foil/Lacquer: N/A
  • Colors: Dark Red/Black
  • Operating Principle: Active
  • Room Adjustment: Yes
  • Special Features: Horizontal/Vertical Operation

Test results for the Focal Trio6

  • Neutrality: 17
  • Resolution: 16
  • Imaging: 15
  • Dynamics: 14
  • Bass: 15

The overall sound rating is 77 out of a maximum of 100.

Labor Analysis: Scored 44 out of a maximum of 50.

Product Quality: Scored 42 out of a maximum of 50.

AUDIO BENCHMARK

Overall Rating: 163 Points

Price/Performance: Outstanding

Verdict

8 Total Score
Focal Trio6 Review

Focal's Trio6 is simply a perfect active speaker. It's astonishing how many details this speaker brings out. And the best part: it always remains incredibly smooth. Sensational.

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PROS
  • Exceptionally clean, dynamic, and musical sound
  • Flexibly adjustable to suit different preferences
  • Can be operated in a horizontal position
  • Impeccable build quality
CONS
  • Relatively high price
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  • 7Review

    Founded in July 2014, 7Review is a free audio resource for beginners, and we're dedicated to helping you create the ultimate movie-watching experience right at home. We pull insights from top audio magazines and trusted industry sources to bring you well-researched, reliable reviews and tips. Whether you're a home cinema pro or just starting out, we aim to give you the info you need to make the best choices for your setup.

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