Mis à jour le 10 March 2023.
The Focal Vestia N°1 bookshelf speaker is the entry ticket to the French brand’s new Focal Vestia line. It takes the foundations of the Focal Chora series and improves them with a new aluminum/magnesium TAM tweeter and a 6.5” midbass driver with a Slatefiber cone. These elements are all mounted inside a more compact cabinet with an exemplary finish that uses leatherette. Available for €889 and made in France, will this speaker truly be “a step closer to emotion” as the brand says?
Focal Vestia: the range
Presented at CES 2023 and unveiled for the first time at the 2022 PAVS, the Focal Vestia range takes its name from the ancient Greek and Roman goddesses Hestia and Vesta. With this celestial-inspired line, the French manufacturer wants to unlock a new musical dimension by surpassing the performance of the Chora range. This goal is embodied in the five models of this new series, which includes the Focal Vestia N°1 bookshelf speaker as well as the Focal Vestia N°2, Focal Vestia N°3 and Focal Vestia N°4 floorstanding speakers. They can be used in a hi-fi system or a home theater installation, accompanied by the new Focal Vestia Center speaker.
Focal Vestia N°1: packaging & accessories
The Focal Vestia N°1 bookshelf speaker is delivered as a pair in the same box. They come with magnetic fabric speaker grilles, a microfiber cloth, pads to stick on the bottom of the speakers and a quick start guide.
Focal Vestia N°1: presentation
Like all the speakers in the Vestia range, the Focal Vestia N°1 bookshelf speaker has a brand-new design. It features clean lines and a more refined finish. There is a very realistic-looking leatherette covering on the cabinet. Already used on the front panel of the Focal Aria speakers, this material is used on the front, top and rear of the Vestia N°1 speakers. It adds texture and a luxurious look to this new model.
The sides of the Focal Vestia N°1 speaker have a wood grain look. The finishes available are light wood (like the model we tested for this review), dark wood (walnut) and high gloss black, the latter of which doesn’t feature the grain texture. The elegant combination of different materials gives this speaker a refined look that combines classicism with modernity.
The magnetic grille that comes with the Focal Vestia N°1 covers the entire front panel. More classic looking than the circular grille of the Focal Chora 806, it makes the speaker seem more discreet by hiding the drivers and the port. It is attached magnetically, freeing the front panel from any notches or screws. This guarantees a sleek and elegant design, with or without a grille.
The acoustic elements that make up the Focal Vestia N°1 speaker have already been tried and tested. The tweeter, in particular, is based on the technologies used in the French manufacturer’s car speakers. The latter is an M-shaped TAM model made from an aluminum/magnesium (Al/Mg) alloy. Exclusive to the brand, it provides a softer and more subtle sound than the Chora models. Here, it is mounted in the center of a waveguide to improve directivity and provide a more realistic acoustic image. The result is a wider dispersion angle and greater definition than with conventional tweeters.
The gray colored midbass driver is a 6.5” Slatefiber model, designed and made in France and previously used in the Chora range. It is made of a thin, light layer of recycled carbon fiber that is inserted in between two layers of thermoplastic polymer.
This design, which is specific to the brand, combines all the criteria that make a good driver: damping, rigidity and lightness. The French manufacturer therefore promises a balanced and rich sound in the mids, with little coloration and a lot of energy.
With this new range of speakers, Focal shows ingenuity by incorporating the Slatefiber driver into a more compact cabinet than that of the Focal Chora 806 speaker. This evolution brings more punch and control to the sound. In order to maximize the response in the lows, the Focal Vestia N°1 speaker has a bass-reflex enclosure with a circular aerodynamic port, allowing a smooth airflow to limit distortion and unwanted noise. Because the port is front-firing, the Focal Vestia N°1 is easy to install, as it can be placed closer to a wall or inside a bookcase.
The Focal Vestia N°1 speaker has a sensitivity of 89.5 dB and an impedance of 8 ohms. The manufacturer recommends an amplification power between 25 and 120 watts. This means it can work harmoniously with a wide range of hi-fi amplifiers and AV receivers. To make it easy to connect, the Focal Vestia N°1 is equipped with a pair of speaker terminals that are compatible with banana plugs, spade connectors and wide gauge cables.
Focal Vestia N°1: key specifications
- 2-way speaker
- Bass-reflex enclosure with front-firing port
- Magnetic fabric grilles
- 1x 6.5” Slatefiber cone midbass driver
- 1x 1” M-shaped TAM tweeter
- Recommended power: 25W to 120W
- Frequency response (+/-3 dB): 56Hz to 30kHz
- Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 219 x 387 x 260mm
- Weight: 7kg per unit
Focal Vestia N°1: listening conditions
We carried out our review of the Focal Vestia N°1 speakers with an Atoll IN200 amplifier, our reference model. We also paired the speakers with the Marantz PM7000N, Magnat MR 780, Rotel A-12 MK2 and Technics SA-C600 amps. Our source was the Bluesound Node network player, which allowed us to listen to Hi-Res tracks on Qobuz and Tidal. For an optimal placement, we installed the speakers on NorStone Stylum 3 stands, as we didn’t have the dedicated Focal Vestia N°1 stands to hand.
Focal Vestia N°1: listening impressions
The Focal Vestia N°1 is a small bookshelf speaker with a lot of energy. The dynamism was striking, with an ability to maintain the rhythm and deliver the tempo at various volume levels. The tweeter was incredibly agile, able to reproduce attacks and transients clearly and with remarkable precision. The attacks of the cymbals, string instruments and percussion instruments were transparent and well-defined.
The new TAM tweeter provided a smoother sound than the tweeter used on the Chora models, while maintaining the transparency and clarity that characterize this brand’s speakers. The details were beautifully highlighted, and every note was precisely delineated. All the information was reproduced with great precision, sometimes revealing so many details that the high frequencies seemed to lack refinement with more complex tracks. At high volume, the sound was still a little bright, but the various nuances remained distinct and natural.
The Focal Vestia N°1 speaker offered an expansive soundstage and an effective three-dimensional effect. The vocals were accurately positioned and reproduced with transparency. They had a certain shine that contributed to a perfect perception of the singers’ different inflections and emotions.
The Vestia N°1 goes very deep for a speaker of this size. The lows were tight, striking a perfect balance between rigidity and intensity. Without being abyssal, the bass brought rhythm to the music with impact, authority and precision. They were always well controlled and there was no bleeding when we turned the volume up. The Slatefiber cone also displayed a great sense of detail in the mids. The various nuances of this frequency range were uniform, natural and precise.
Overall, the tonal balance was respected by the Focal Vestia N°1. The light brought by the tweeter helped to illuminate the audio message, without obscuring the other frequencies. Each range was pronounced and reproduced with naturalness.
Focal Vestia N°1: compared to…
Focal Chora 806: the Focal Chora 806 speaker paved the way for the Vestia N°1, with whom it shares certain technologies, including the midbass driver. However, the Vestia N°1’s new acoustic architecture provides more punch, with leaner bass that is delivered with more ease. Moreover, the New TAM tweeter offers smoother highs.
Focal Aria 906: the Vestia N°2’s direct rival, the Focal Aria 906 speaker offers slightly richer and more textured mids. The bass also seems rounder and deeper. The sound is very dynamic, lively and bright. But once again, the Focal Vestia N°1 stands out with its softer highs.
Focal Vestia N°1: who is it for?
The Focal Vestia N°1 speaker is an excellent alternative to the Focal Chora 806 for any user looking to move up to a higher-end model. It delivers a more sophisticated sound signature that is less prone to excessive brightness. Perfectly suited for those who enjoy a dynamic and bright sound, this Focal speaker will bring both your music and movie soundtracks to life. It will also appeal to design lovers with its finish, which is more luxurious than that of the Choras.
Focal Vestia N°1: conclusion
The Focal Vestia N°1 speaker is the perfect way to discover the performance offered by the Vestia range. It delivers tight and intense lows, rich and natural mids, as well as clear highs that illuminate the soundstage. The dynamics are impressive, and effectively deliver rhythm and tempo. The Focal Vestia N°1 also stands out with its sophisticated leatherette finish, which combines haute couture and high fidelity. This speaker is a perfect illustration of the French brand’s expertise and keeps its promise of being a step closer to musical emotion.
However, one question remains unanswered: is it better to opt for the tried-and-tested Focal Aria 906s, or the Focal Vestia N°1s, which still have to prove themselves in the long run? Right now, the softer sound signature and updated aesthetics of the Focal Vestia N°1 tip the scales in favor of the manufacturer’s newest production.
The design and leatherette finish
The tight and intense lows
We would have liked:
More refined high frequencies at high volume
Was the atoll the best match? Do you recommend the Atoll IN50 signature for the Vestia or de Aria minotor?