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Adikt
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Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Joined: Apr 12 2020 - 5:48pm
Focal Aria 926

Hi All,

I'm new to the forums but a long time lurker. I'm curious if there are any opinions of the Focal Aria 926 out there. Unfortunately, I can't audition them but I have found a couple good used sets for sale and I'm looking for some confidence to nudge me over the edge.

We're at the stage again where we can start to invest in our modest and aging system (Arcam A85, Arcam CD92 HDCD, Rega P3/Elys 2, B&W 603 S2) and not have to worry (too much) about the kids thrashing it. The speakers have seen better days after the kids poked in the tweeters and tipped them over a couple times resulting in cracked plastic face plates and destroying the grills. I was never happy with the speakers but it was all the budget could tolerate at the time....and then kids.

My plan is to start with the speakers and then update the amplifier to a Naim XS 3 or equivalent. Any thoughts the forum might have would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Adikt

Old Audiophile
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Joined: Jun 15 2017 - 7:34pm
Thoughts & Opinions

Let me begin by stating that, comparatively speaking, speaker selection is probably the most personal and difficult choice when it comes to audio equipment. It's like music. Many people and many ears prefer different things. So, with that in mind, this is just 1 opinion of, I'm sure, many.

A fellow audiophile friend and I spent approximately 3.5 hours doing some very critical listening to the Aria 926 and the Monitor Audio Silver 500 & 300 in the same shop, in as close to A/B comparisons as you can get these days. The Aria 926, without a doubt, are fine sounding speakers. However, my friend and I both thought both Monitor Audio speakers bested them in bass response. The 926 were noticeably a little muddier and less accurate in that regard. The MA also, we thought, were just a tad more accurate or more pleasing throughout the audio or frequency range(s). We thought they were tighter, faster and more musical. The one sound I thought the 926 were, curiously, a little better at reproducing more accurately was brushed cymbals. Also, given the design and construction of the Focal (i.e. flax & fiberglass drivers), I think they are a bit overpriced compared to the MA. Regardless, I sincerely doubt most audiophiles would ultimately be unhappy with them, provided they are matched appropriately to their source components and sized appropriately for the listening environment. You really should listen before you buy. Since your ears seemed to have been relatively satisfied, on some level, with your B&W speakers, you may find the MA more to your liking, comparatively speaking. B&W speakers, like virtually all British speakers and Dynaudio speakers, have always left me feeling impressed with what they could deliver but never really feeling ready to pull out the checkbook. Then and now, I always find them a bit too clinical, too accurate and too lacking in the bass department. I always like them but never love them, if you know what I mean. The MA, on the other hand, is the first British speaker I've heard that decidedly does not sound like a British speaker. I was amazed by that. That being said, I still have not made my decision on what to replace my Paradigm speakers with. I'm still in the hunt. Come to think of it, Paradigm might be another fine speaker to listen to, as well.

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