Focal Alpha 65 vs 80 Which is a better choice?

When buying a studio monitor, you should go for the appropriate size for your room. A small to medium-sized studio monitor is enough for most studios. However, you might need a bigger unit to fill the entire room if your studio is big. In this article, we will compare the Focal Alpha 65 and Focal Alpha 80 and give a verdict at the end.

Focal is a reputable brand in the studio monitor industry and even offers affordable units like those above. Both options have unique features such as inverted-dome tweeter and Polyglass cone woofers. This will give you outstanding frequency response, super-linear midrange definition, and deluxe soundstage.

The Focal Alpha 65 with 6.5-inch woofer is at an affordable price point yet on a level far beyond some expensive options. It offers excellent sonic clarity and superb bass response to handle all sound types, from delicate orchestra to crunchy metals. On the other hand, the Focal Alpha 80 with 8-inch woofer has a short settlement time with rapid impulse response and brilliant dumping. It is also highly customizable, allowing you to set the sound according to your room. As a result, you will get a neutral frequency response curve, making it a great choice for studio work.

Sound Quality

Focal Alpha 65:

The upgraded version has a mild sound even at extreme settings. Also, it has a pretty broad sweet spot in both vertical and horizontal views.

The near-perfect low-end aspect produces amazing bass while the extended low end works well with frequencies audible down to 40Hz. In addition, its front-facing ports work really well with LF drivers, thus delivering unified lower frequencies.

The monitors have great adaptability and perform well with instrumental and electronic music. It has low directivity to ensure even sound distribution across the room. Moreover, you will get identical tonal balance at both low and high volumes as well as low sensitivity to wall effects.

Focal Alpha 80:  

The monitors have fantastic sound quality. This can be confirmed by their well-defined low end. Also, lower frequencies are handled with ease while they are full. Again, there is no boominess in a well-spaced room. However, if your studio space is overcrowded, you will need to position it strategically.

Its dual front bass ports ensures clean projection. The bass is sufficient and you may not need to add a subwoofer for most applications. In addition, the mid-tones deliver exceptional crisp clarity. Again, they have sharp vocals and clear instrumental components, allowing very precise monitoring. The top end is exceptionally polished, so the higher frequency sections have satisfying clarity without harshness.

The speakers have low directivity, which ensures uniform sound distribution. This also prevents a dramatic change in the audio profile, caused by the constant movements around your studio. Therefore, this is an excellent feature if your studio space is large enough. Thankfully, the audio is clear and well-executed so you won’t get ear fatigue.

 

 

Build Quality

Focal Alpha 65: 

The monitors look pretty fantastic. The upgraded style now comprises smoother corners and a single front-facing fitted bass port. Also, the development of a new woofer made of new Focal’s slate fiber cone material, categorized in class D instead of class AB. This also offers a three inputs selection, including RCA, XLR, and TRS. Another interesting element is the cabinet styling which gives the monitor a relatively wide footprint.

Focal Alpha 80:

These monitors are expensive, but the good thing is that this equals the quality. First, the cabinet is solid and durable, with its monitors serving various users for many years with not many hiccups. Also, the component quality is high. Finally, focal Alpha 80 studio monitors display great attention to detail. This is unlike other entry-level monitors from well-known manufacturers, which often cut corners and end up substandard products.

Specifications

Focal Alpha 65:

This active studio monitor will come in handy when mixing any music genre. It has a 6.5 –inch woofer with a Polyglass cone and a 1-inch inverted dome tweeter. Also, the woofer has a 70W amplifier while the tweeter has a 35W amplifier, resulting in a frequency of 40Hz to 22kHz.

In addition, it has 2 XLR and RCA inputs, large front ports, and adjustable bass and treble at the back. There is even an automatic standby mode to automatically turn off the speakers if inactive for more than 30 minutes.

Drivers

  • 6.5’’ Woofer
  • 1’’ Tweeter

Frequency Range 

  • 40Hz to 22kHz

Weight

  • 20.7 lbs.

Focal Alpha 80:

Focal Alpha 80 is a big studio monitor with an 8-inch Polyglass cone woofer. This makes it produce accurate mid-range performance better than most of its competitors. On the other end, the low-frequency driver is supported by a 1-inch aluminum inverted dome tweeter that offers accurate reproduction and deep soundstage.  

The combination of the drivers result in a clear sound and the ability to stretch into higher frequencies compared to studio monitors. It has a frequency response of 35Hz in the low end to 22kHz in the high end. Also, it maintains neutrality across the whole spectrum.  

Drivers

  • 8’’ Woofer
  • 1’’ Tweeter

Frequency Range

  • 35Hz to 22kHz

Weight

  • 28.2 lbs. (12.8 kg)

Design

Focal Alpha 65: 

This is one of the most aesthetically pleasing studio monitors on the market. The cabinet is sleek with angled edges on the sides. Also, the woofer cone has a greyish tone that blends well with the black color.

It has LF, HF shelving, sensitivity toggle, and an on/off switch on the rear. In addition, the front is minimalist with only the exposed drivers and bass ports, so it will fit in many studio setups.

Focal Alpha 80: 

The appearance of these studio monitors is not the best. For instance, the cabinet and monitor appear to be plain and bulky. Also, unlike many other attractive speakers, this is a large black box. However, this shouldn’t be a worrying factor since the sound quality is excellent.

Alpha 80 has an interesting auto shut down feature away from the displeasing visual appearance. This feature will automatically detect idleness, thus shutting down automatically after 30 minutes of inactivity. It then re-engages upon detection of an audio source. Therefore, it is a convenient feature that helps to save on power. However, the operation of this feature is also determined by the volume level. For example, when your audio source volume is low, it may assume there is no source, thus turning off. This may cause a few seconds delay when re-engaging after increasing your audio source volume. This might be a bit frustrating for some users, although it’s not such an issue for studio users.  

Tuning Options

Focal Alpha 65:

The studio monitor has two shelving filters that produce +/- 3dB at 4.5kHz and +/- 6dB at 300kHz. This will enable you to get the precise setting with a smooth instead of a notched gain. Moreover, the sound remains subtle even in extreme settings, which is vital when making music.

More importantly, while the mid-range is not particularly forward, the speakers echo brightly and open with perfect space and separation. Furthermore, the sweet spot is wide-ranging both horizontally and vertically. Also, you will be impressed with the performance at higher frequencies. Focal allows you to adjust the HF EQ to align with the room’s acoustics. In our case, 1.5Db solved the issue when testing the speakers.

Focal Alpha 80: 

It offers accurate tuning controls for further output adjustment and is also critical for fine-tuning in different studio outlines. Alpha 80 offers two control options for both low and high-frequency output. These two control options are found on the back of the monitor. The low-frequency control option is ideal if your monitor is placed near a wall. On the other hand, high-frequency shelving reimburses any harshness in the top end. This is more crucial if your studio has a bright sound. In addition, Alpha 80 offers a sensitivity switch that is vital for an output source on its edge. The additional 6dB is a big boost and does not compromise the audio quality.

What we Liked

Focal Alpha 80

  • Excellent performance even at high volumes
  • Various tuning options to adjust the sound
  • Cohesive low end produces perfect bass

Focal Alpha 65

  • Beautiful stereo transparency and separation
  • The large sweet spot for best listening conditions
  • Smooth blend from high to low frequencies and vice versa

What we didn’t like

Focal Alpha 80

  • Slightly heavier

Focal Alpha 65

  • Large footprint

The Verdict

The Focal Alpha 65 and Focal Alpha 80 are formidable speakers with excellent performance. Both studio monitors can function well without a subwoofer, although the Focal Alpha 80 has a slight edge because of the exceptional bass. Generally, the Alpha 80 seems to outdo the Alpha 65 in many aspects, although personal preference and budget will influence your purchasing decision.

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