Focal Alpha 65 Evo: What is it?
Focal’s more affordable Alpha studio monitor range has had an upgrade and been rebadged as Alpha Evo. Currently available with either a 5” or 6.5” woofer, it’s the larger Alpha 65 Evo we are reviewing here.
The first thing to say about these monitors is they look fantastic. The styling has been overhauled, and you now have smoother corners and a single front-facing slotted bass port. The tweeter waveguide now offers a more graded profile for the 1'’-inverted aluminium dome tweeter.
Other improvements include a new woofer which uses Focal’s new ‘Slatefiber’ cone material, Class D rather than Class AB onboard amplification, and a choice of three inputs – RCA, XLR and TRS.
The cabinet styling does give the Alpha 65 Evo quite a wide footprint, however at 7.6kg they’re not as heavy as they look. This makes them ideal for wall or ceiling mounting and on the back you’ll find suitable mounting points. Audio hookup is simple enough and you can connect both the balanced and unbalanced inputs simultaneously, which is handy, although note that the TRS jack does override the XLR.
There’s no level control, which is a shame, however round the back you’ll find a switchable sensitivity (0 or +6dB), providing some flexibility. On the back panel you’ll also find a switch for the auto standby mode (on/off).
Focal Alpha 65 Evo: Performance and verdict
Much like the original Alpha 65, the Evo has good onboard EQ. The two shelving filters offer +/-3dB at 4.5kHz and an impressive +/-6dB at 300Hz, and with smooth rather than notched gain you can get the precise settings you want. They also sound very gentle even at extreme settings, so you can’t go too far wrong, though more surgical EQ is not an option.
Sonically the Alpha 65 Evo sounds bright and open with excellent space and separation, although it’s not particularly forward in the mid range. And the sweet spot is pretty broad both vertically and horizontally, which we like. On initial listening we did find them quite lively in the higher frequencies. Focal does advise modifying the HF EQ to match the room acoustics and although our room is not particularly reverberant we found -1.5dB resolved this issue pretty well. That said, we would conclude that the monitors are most definitely on the brighter side.
In the low end we had no issues at all and the front facing ports gel really well with the LF drivers to deliver solid, cohesive lower frequencies. The low-end extension is also pretty good with frequencies audible down to 40Hz. In fact, the low end is our favourite aspect of their tonality, and EQing kicks and bass sounds we found suitably revealing.
Overall these are classy monitors, though at almost £600 a pair they’re pricier than their predecessors, and no small change. That said, they are very revealing in use, and you’re getting a monitor that is pretty close to considerably more expensive professional designs.
MusicRadar verdict: Not cheap, but it not only sounds great, but offers a substantial uplift over the numerous budget studio monitors on the market.
Focal Alpha 65 Evo: Hands-on demos
Focal Alpha 65 Evo: Specifications
- DRIVERS: 6.5” Slatefiber woofer, 1” aluminium tweeter
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 40Hz to 22kHz
- AMPLIFICATION: Class D, 55W LF and 25W HF
- SHELVING EQ: +/-3dB at 4.5kHz, +/-6dB at 300Hz
- AUTOMATIC STANDBY: user switchable on/off
- DIMENSIONS: 261 x 289 x 339mm
- WEIGHT: 7.6kg
- CONTACT: Focal