Recording - October 2015 - 38

Focal Trio6 Be Monitors

When Focus is engaged, the 8" subwoofer is muted and the Trio6 becomes a
compact 2-way box with a more limited
frequency response. This is great for
checking mixes and hearing how they
might sound on smaller consumer-style systems. I found it fantastic for really checking where the bass and kick sit in the mix,
as well as zooming in on the mids.
This 2-Way/Focus setting on the Trio6 Be
is much fuller and more balanced than a single driver check box, and as such is not even
remotely similar in sound or use to the many
sealed-single-driver speakers like Auratones,
Avantone MixCubes and the like.
Focus mode is activated by plugging in
any simple third-party single button foot
switch into either speaker's Focus Input
and then daisy chaining one speaker to
the other, Output to Input, via an additional instrument cable. (Note that neither is included and there is no way to
turn on Focus mode without them.) You
can visually tell when Focus mode is
activated due to a front-located LED,
which sits below a power/clip LED.
Turn, turn, turn
Big Feature Number Two of the Trio6
Be is that it is specially designed to work
properly in both vertical or horizontal
use. Of course, for better or worse, engineers have been placing verticallydesigned speakers horizontally for
years, and companies like Focal even
offer horizontal-only models. However,
few cabinets on the market are purposely built to excel in both positions.
The positional versatility of the Trio6 Be
is made possible by a 360º rotating baffle.
This section, which holds the tweeter and 5"
driver, is held in place by 4 Allen screws.
Removing the screws allows you to gently lift
out the baffle, rotate it in 90º increments,
reseat it, and screw it back in place.
This choice of positioning allows you to
keep the tweeter above the driver at all
times, regardless of whether you position
the speakers horizontally with the 8" drivers facing out or facing in. Focal recommends placing the tweeter/mid sections
on the inside (nearest to each other) in a
small room, or the reverse in a larger
room, but this choice can also depend on
the imaging you are after.
A practical note about the rotation
process: it is simple and Focal even
includes the Allen wrench, but be careful
and take your time! The speaker and tweeter are attached to wires, and this baffle has
no retaining clips or rotation track. You do
not want to have it fall out or drop it.
38

RECORDING October 2015

Get all of the screws loose (just on the
verge of release), hold the section steady
(note that the two bass ports make great
finger holders), finish unscrewing the
speakers, and then slowly and gently lift
the assembly out by about 1/2", rotate to
its desired position, and tighten the
screws. Remember, do not touch the
tweeter! If you fear tweeter damage or
contamination, the Trio6 Be ships with a
tweeter guard on it. Leave it in place until
after you position the speakers, and save
it for when you need to move the speakers or change their orientation..
On the subject of speaker guards,
Focal also includes a set of stylish snap-on
speaker covers. These give you more protection for the woofer and subwoofer if
needed... if, for example, your room is
likely to contain kids, pets, or drummers.

Sound and use
Unlike many monitor reviews I have
done, where I rarely get to hear them outside my own personal listening environments, it was great to get my first taste of
the Trio6 Be with two pairs set up in both
rooms at the Studio At The Palms. The
Focal crew gave us all a lot of time and
freedom to audition songs ranging from
the stellar soundtrack work of film composer Armand Amar all the way to
AC/DC's classic "Back In Black", with
various EDM, Hip-Hop, Classical, and
Jazz tracks thrown in as well. We also got
to hear them in a simple vocal/acoustic
guitar tracking session when demoing
Lauten's new Eden mics (review forthcoming) with producer Fab Dupont and
singer/songwriter Will Knox.
The monitors easily held their own in
these large, professionally treated
spaces, with fantastic wide imaging, full

and natural low end, and stupid amounts
of headroom and volume. This makes
sense, of course, as the Trio6 Be is a 3way design with a pro-studio build, pedigree, and price tag. It was that volume
and low-end fullness, however, that made
me wonder how they would fare in smaller project rooms, home studios and such.
My mix room at Moss Garden Music
measures 12.5' x 15.5'. It is fully trapped
and treated, but it is still a converted
office space and just a tad larger than
many bedroom studios I have used. I set
up the Trio6 Be, did 48 hours of continuous burn-in, and came back two days
later, fearing that these speakers would
simply pack too much power for my
room, as 3-way monitors often can....
KaBOOM!
The Trio6 Be can and will get loud!
Thanks to their headroom, even without
the clip protection it is quite difficult to
feed these speakers a signal so loud that
they will distort (or worse yet, fart out on
the lows) like so many less expensive
monitors.
One of my mix setups for over seven
years has been a set of 2-way 8" KRK
E8b monitors with the matching 12sHO
subwoofer, so I am used to, and love, a
solid bottom end. Surprisingly the Trio6
Be monitors held their own in every
way-no sub needed or wanted, and
the sound was more focused and direct
than one often gets with a satellite/sub
rig.
Unless you want to level buildings, I
see zero reason why you would need
a sub with the Trio6 Be. It has low end
for days-and that low end is usable
low end. It is a full and gently focused
bass response that sounds impressive
to clients when cranked, but natural
and honest at low levels for mixing.
High yet clear
The tweeters in my older KRK monitors
are also of the inverse dome beryllium
variety. They are clear and open, but they
do have more than a touch of that "things
are brighter in the mirror than they are in
reality" studio monitor sheen to them. I
assumed that I would hear something similar from the Focal tweeters. Well, I was
half right... clear and open, very much
so, but worryingly bright? Not so much.
The Trio6 Be uses the same TB872
tweeter as the more expensive SM9, and
it shows. This tweeter is still clear and
open, but it is noticeably less edgy than
some. I would say these hint at a studio
monitor brightness but are much easier
on the ears, especially for long periods of
mix time. Bright '90s guitar rock, trumpetbased jazz and the like will not take your
head off when played on the Trio6 Be.
If I had to distill the sound of these monitors down to 3 words, it would be powerful,



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - October 2015

Contents
Recording - October 2015 - Intro
Recording - October 2015 - Cover1
Recording - October 2015 - Cover2
Recording - October 2015 - 1
Recording - October 2015 - 2
Recording - October 2015 - 3
Recording - October 2015 - 4
Recording - October 2015 - 5
Recording - October 2015 - Contents
Recording - October 2015 - 7
Recording - October 2015 - 8
Recording - October 2015 - 9
Recording - October 2015 - 10
Recording - October 2015 - 11
Recording - October 2015 - 12
Recording - October 2015 - 13
Recording - October 2015 - 14
Recording - October 2015 - 15
Recording - October 2015 - 16
Recording - October 2015 - 17
Recording - October 2015 - 18
Recording - October 2015 - 19
Recording - October 2015 - 20
Recording - October 2015 - 21
Recording - October 2015 - 22
Recording - October 2015 - 23
Recording - October 2015 - 24
Recording - October 2015 - 25
Recording - October 2015 - 26
Recording - October 2015 - 27
Recording - October 2015 - 28
Recording - October 2015 - 29
Recording - October 2015 - 30
Recording - October 2015 - 31
Recording - October 2015 - 32
Recording - October 2015 - 33
Recording - October 2015 - 34
Recording - October 2015 - 35
Recording - October 2015 - 36
Recording - October 2015 - 37
Recording - October 2015 - 38
Recording - October 2015 - 39
Recording - October 2015 - 40
Recording - October 2015 - 41
Recording - October 2015 - 42
Recording - October 2015 - 43
Recording - October 2015 - 44
Recording - October 2015 - 45
Recording - October 2015 - 46
Recording - October 2015 - 47
Recording - October 2015 - 48
Recording - October 2015 - 49
Recording - October 2015 - 50
Recording - October 2015 - 51
Recording - October 2015 - 52
Recording - October 2015 - 53
Recording - October 2015 - 54
Recording - October 2015 - 55
Recording - October 2015 - 56
Recording - October 2015 - 57
Recording - October 2015 - 58
Recording - October 2015 - 59
Recording - October 2015 - 60
Recording - October 2015 - 61
Recording - October 2015 - 62
Recording - October 2015 - 63
Recording - October 2015 - 64
Recording - October 2015 - 65
Recording - October 2015 - 66
Recording - October 2015 - 67
Recording - October 2015 - 68
Recording - October 2015 - 69
Recording - October 2015 - 70
Recording - October 2015 - 71
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Recording - October 2015 - 73
Recording - October 2015 - 74
Recording - October 2015 - 75
Recording - October 2015 - 76
Recording - October 2015 - 77
Recording - October 2015 - 78
Recording - October 2015 - 79
Recording - October 2015 - 80
Recording - October 2015 - Cover3
Recording - October 2015 - Cover4
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