As a long-time Focal fanatic—my mixing room is equipped with Focal SM9s and I have Twin6 Be monitors in my tracking space—I couldn’t wait to hear the company’s latest release: the three-way Trio6 Be. At a street price of $2,795 each, the Trio 6Be sits midway in price between the SM9 and the Twin6 Be, providing more accurate monitoring than the Twin6 Be and even more volume than the SM9.
Focal Trio6 Be Along with fellow PSN contributor Rob Tavaglione, I and a few other audio types participated in an exclusive preview of the Trio6 Be at Studio at the Palms in Las Vegas earlier this year. I was immediately impressed by the monitor’s ability to accurately reproduce audio in amazing detail, regardless of the volume level.
The 44 lb. Trio6 Be measures 10.9 inches x 20.5 inches x 14.2 inches in size, and its enclosure is constructed of 22 mm MDF, beautifully finished in black and textured grey paint. The enclosure features two 8.5-inch round openings; an 8-inch woofer fills the first opening and the second is filled with a rotatable aluminum baffle incorporating a 5-inch midrange/woofer, a 1-inch inverted dome beryllium tweeter (the same tweeter in Focal’s SM9) and a pair of ports. The rotatable baffle allows the speaker to be accurately oriented in four different positions: vertical with woofers on top, vertical with woofers on bottom, horizontal with woofers outside or horizontal with woofers inside. Changing the orientation requires the removal of four hex bolts (wrench included), gripping the two vents, pulling the baffle forward and rotating it. Changing the orientation takes a few minutes so it isn’t possible to do quick A/B comparisons. However, I found that the actual physical space of the monitors placement is the biggest contributor to which configuration is best for a specific situation.
The speaker’s rear panel includes XLR input switchable between -10 and +4 dBu operation, recessed potentiometers for adjusting the two-band shelving EQ and a variable-depth 160 Hz notch filter. A pair of quarter-inch jacks allows the connection and daisy chaining of a footswitch (not included) that activates Focal’s Focus function. In Focus mode, the bass woofer is disabled and the enclosure switches to two-way operation. This function was first incorporated into the SM9’s design but that speaker requires you to physically push a button on each cabinet to change modes—a bit of a pain. The Trio6 Be has perfected the concept, allowing the modes changed via footswitch, no moving from listening position required. Brilliant!
The monitors I received had already been burned in. I immediately put them to work for several hours auditioning my staple reference material: Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, James Taylor’s JT and Hourglass, The Beatles’ Let It Be, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. “I was impressed” would be an understatement. While I found the speakers to be a pleasure to listen to, it’s their stunning imaging, detail, balance and clarity that’s so impressive, providing extremely precise monitoring.
Next, I spent several days using the monitors while recording overdubs on several projects. I found them to be precise at all volume levels and non-fatiguing over long periods of time. Later, while using them for a mix, I was ecstatic about their performance and my mix translated perfectly between my Trio6 Be and my SM9 pairs. As an SM9 owner, I loved the concept of Focus mode but in practicality, I didn’t use it much; standing to hit a button on each speaker is a bit of a pain. The addition of a footswitch with the Trio6 Be makes switching modes instantaneous and the feature much more useful to prolevel users.