Focal Sib Evo Dolby Atmos Speaker Package Review & Comments

majorusa

Active Member
I recently purchased a 5.1 system Focal Sib Evo with 520 EUR. I have Sony SS CSE Atmos Speakers. These are connected to a Denon AVR-x1600h. My problem is that the Focal system sounds dull with Audyssey room calibration. There is no dynamic to the sound, the voices sound like in an empty hall most of the time. I have re calibrated them 4 times so far with no noticeable improvement. Funny, I played with the audyssey app and reducing the applied filters to 0 by the MultEQ filter they started to sound better while allowing me to use the Audyssey settings of the AV Receiver. I still have the feelings that the system sounds sub par. There is no warmth to the sound. It is very difficult for me to describe in words how dull the sound is. The bass is underwhelming while the highs are missing.
My room is far from ideal. I am attaching some pictures with the setup. I know that the position of the Sony Atmos speakers is bad but all the tests where made using stereo soundtracks and they sound bad.
In Atmos, the movies sounds meh. I tested with Ready Player One and Mad Max: Fury Road. And I speaking about overall sound not Atmos effects. These were good.
After reading all the great reviews for Focal Sib Evo I wonder if I am doing something wrong or just the system does not sound good. I had tested a JBL Cinema 610 and sounded much much better than the Focal Evo. Too bad that the JBL sub had an annoying buzz and I had to return it.
Anyhow, I am returning the Denon x1600h. I have a Denon AVC x3700h on the way. I will redo the calibration with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 to see if there is a change.
But for now, please help me figure what is wrong. Any suggestion is welcome. Thank you.
 

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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I recently purchased a 5.1 system Focal Sib Evo with 520 EUR. I have Sony SS CSE Atmos Speakers. These are connected to a Denon AVR-x1600h. My problem is that the Focal system sounds dull with Audyssey room calibration. There is no dynamic to the sound, the voices sound like in an empty hall most of the time. I have re calibrated them 4 times so far with no noticeable improvement. Funny, I played with the audyssey app and reducing the applied filters to 0 by the MultEQ filter they started to sound better while allowing me to use the Audyssey settings of the AV Receiver. I still have the feelings that the system sounds sub par. There is no warmth to the sound. It is very difficult for me to describe in words how dull the sound is. The bass is underwhelming while the highs are missing.
My room is far from ideal. I am attaching some pictures with the setup. I know that the position of the Sony Atmos speakers is bad but all the tests where made using stereo soundtracks and they sound bad.
In Atmos, the movies sounds meh. I tested with Ready Player One and Mad Max: Fury Road. And I speaking about overall sound not Atmos effects. These were good.
After reading all the great reviews for Focal Sib Evo I wonder if I am doing something wrong or just the system does not sound good. I had tested a JBL Cinema 610 and sounded much much better than the Focal Evo. Too bad that the JBL sub had an annoying buzz and I had to return it.
Anyhow, I am returning the Denon x1600h. I have a Denon AVC x3700h on the way. I will redo the calibration with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 to see if there is a change.
But for now, please help me figure what is wrong. Any suggestion is welcome. Thank you.
If you still have the receiver change the Reference curve to "Flat" as the defaulted one will roll off high frequencies and you said highs are missing. Also check do you have Audussey Dynamic EQ enabled. Dynamic Volume is more for late night or tv shows with commercials.
For the sub you should aim for about 78db via on-screen when it asks you to turn the gain knob (XT32), don`t be alarmed if it goes red and gives warning - proceed, Audussey is known to set the subwoofer quite low so this way you get bit more headroom with the subwoofer level (aim for around -8db to -6db) and you can then tweak it from the menu afterwards. Easiest way is to run 3mic positions the least it allows and press calculate, then check what it gives you. If closer to 0db you can turn the gain knob 1hour higher and run it again.

XT32 is lot better when it comes to subwoofer eq vs. the cheaper XT. The speakers should be good, the sub not so much but we got to start from somewhere!
 

majorusa

Active Member
Thank you for your suggestions. I did a last calibration in a very quiet room, at night, despite the protests of my wife. It improved the sound a bit. I also did an experiment. I hooked up two Focal Sib Speakers to a JVC stereo amplifier from 1995. Played some music. It sounded like the definition of dull. The voices had no color or warmth. I measured the output of the speakers with a calibrated Dayton microphone and the culprit is a loss in volume in the area between 350 and 500 hz and a high gain in the area around 1000 Hz. For this reason the sound is muffled and sounds unnatural.
I watched Hamilton in Dolby Atmos. The people singing on scene had no voice dynamic. It was like I was listening with earmuffs on. I lost close to a week trying to make these speakers sound decent for my ears. I failed.
I had enough of these speakers. They are in the box and going back to the seller. The Denon x1600h is also packed to be sent to amazon.
I am not an audiophile, I listen to music and movies at maximum -20db on Denon volume scale. Normal sound while watching a movie is at 60-65 db.
I fail to understand how this Focal System was the best one in its price class in 2017. I fail to see why it got so many rave reviews. In fact, my personal opinion is that is a bad set of speakers, overpriced not able to deliver quality sound. They sound worse than LG SK9Y soundbar and cost a lot more. I simply do not understand.
I am looking now at a Monitor Audio Mass 5.1 2nd gen. What I need is a system to give me good sound at low volume and great surround in movies at -20 db in an area of 18 sq m.
Thank you again and sorry for the rant.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thank you for your suggestions. I did a last calibration in a very quiet room, at night, despite the protests of my wife. It improved the sound a bit. I also did an experiment. I hooked up two Focal Sib Speakers to a JVC stereo amplifier from 1995. Played some music. It sounded like the definition of dull. The voices had no color or warmth. I measured the output of the speakers with a calibrated Dayton microphone and the culprit is a loss in volume in the area between 350 and 500 hz and a high gain in the area around 1000 Hz. For this reason the sound is muffled and sounds unnatural.
I watched Hamilton in Dolby Atmos. The people singing on scene had no voice dynamic. It was like I was listening with earmuffs on. I lost close to a week trying to make these speakers sound decent for my ears. I failed.
I had enough of these speakers. They are in the box and going back to the seller. The Denon x1600h is also packed to be sent to amazon.
I am not an audiophile, I listen to music and movies at maximum -20db on Denon volume scale. Normal sound while watching a movie is at 60-65 db.
I fail to understand how this Focal System was the best one in its price class in 2017. I fail to see why it got so many rave reviews. In fact, my personal opinion is that is a bad set of speakers, overpriced not able to deliver quality sound. They sound worse than LG SK9Y soundbar and cost a lot more. I simply do not understand.
I am looking now at a Monitor Audio Mass 5.1 2nd gen. What I need is a system to give me good sound at low volume and great surround in movies at -20 db in an area of 18 sq m.
Thank you again and sorry for the rant.
I think you should look something bit larger than the Mass system. If you prefer the lifestyle aspect then perhaps B&W M1, Monitor Audio Radius 90 & 200, KEF Eggs (E301), Q Acoustics 7000i etc.
 

majorusa

Active Member
Yes. I am looking at KEF E305 package who is at 500 EUR at the moment.
It is very difficult though. I am forced to buy without listening. There is no HiFi showroom in the city where I live and because of the pandemic I restricted my travel.
B&W M1 is not available here as a package and if you buy it as single units exceeds 1100 EUR. Q Acoustics 7000i has sub issues - buzzing sound - from what I read. Monitor Audio Radius 90 & 200 is way out of my budget.
I tested Polk TL 1600 and I liked it but the sub was bad - it had a buzzing sound and any volume above 8-9 hour was boomy and Audyssey was placing it at -12db.
Don't laugh but so far Logitech Z906 connected to Denon x1600h sounded better than more expensive systems. The downside is that the voices sounded a bit metallic and the crossover is at 200 Hz.
I will test Kef e305. Thank you again.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Yes. I am looking at KEF E305 package who is at 500 EUR at the moment.
It is very difficult though. I am forced to buy without listening. There is no HiFi showroom in the city where I live and because of the pandemic I restricted my travel.
B&W M1 is not available here as a package and if you buy it as single units exceeds 1100 EUR. Q Acoustics 7000i has sub issues - buzzing sound - from what I read. Monitor Audio Radius 90 & 200 is way out of my budget.
I tested Polk TL 1600 and I liked it but the sub was bad - it had a buzzing sound and any volume above 8-9 hour was boomy and Audyssey was placing it at -12db.
Don't laugh but so far Logitech Z906 connected to Denon x1600h sounded better than more expensive systems. The downside is that the voices sounded a bit metallic and the crossover is at 200 Hz.
I will test Kef e305. Thank you again.
Only nitpick could be that it might not sound best at low volume which was mentioned in review! It was in this or WhatHifi i can´t remember anymore.

Keep in mind that subwoofers are the weak link in these packages. If possible buy the speakers as 5.0 and get the subwoofer from dedicated manufacturer. It can be tricky with limited budget.

Look for Monitor Audio Mass Gen 1 also, cheaper than Radius and larger than the Gen2! Looks like this:


PS. If you get -12db for subwoofer level that means you had the gain knob set too high (out of range) so make sure it comes back around -8db to -4db. IF you buy X3600H receiver it has on-screen setup which tells you to raise gain knob to match the speakers, but most people will try to get bit higher about 78db to get some headroom to tweak it later from menu.
 

majorusa

Active Member
Only nitpick could be that it might not sound best at low volume which was mentioned in review! It was in this or WhatHifi i can´t remember anymore.

Keep in mind that subwoofers are the weak link in these packages. If possible buy the speakers as 5.0 and get the subwoofer from dedicated manufacturer. It can be tricky with limited budget.

Look for Monitor Audio Mass Gen 1 also, cheaper than Radius and larger than the Gen2! Looks like this:


PS. If you get -12db for subwoofer level that means you had the gain knob set too high (out of range) so make sure it comes back around -8db to -4db. IF you buy X3600H receiver it has on-screen setup which tells you to raise gain knob to match the speakers, but most people will try to get bit higher about 78db to get some headroom to tweak it later from menu.
The gain knob was at middle. I lowered it till 8 o'clock and there it was like -8 db. I have ordered a Denon AVC x3700h. It is due to arrive in the next couple of weeks. Thank you for the tip with the sub.

I read the reviews on the Kef E305. Both said that a lover volume loses some of the impact. I will test it though. The store where I bought the Focal has an open box Kef E305 system. I will buy that one and I have 14 days to test it.
 

Bwlmog

Active Member
Hi, I’m currently looking at these to pair with either the new Yamaha RX-V6A or the Denon AVR-2700H. I’ve read that the sub is a little underwhelming on the package and for me the satellite speakers are too big. I was therefore considering getting possibility of buying the Focal Atmos speakers but possibly buying the centre, satellite and sub separately. Is this a good idea and does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Hi, I’m currently looking at these to pair with either the new Yamaha RX-V6A or the Denon AVR-2700H. I’ve read that the sub is a little underwhelming on the package and for me the satellite speakers are too big. I was therefore considering getting possibility of buying the Focal Atmos speakers but possibly buying the centre, satellite and sub separately. Is this a good idea and does anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.
It's always best practice to keep the front three from the same manufacturer and model range. This will help preserve timbre when the audio pans across the front soundstage. Although having surrounds from the same range if preferable it's not a rule that's written in stone.

Subs bundled with speakers are not often the best and there is no need at all to match the manufacturer in this case. Certainly look at units from specialist manufacturers such as BK, REL, etc.
 

Trum

Active Member
Has anyone mounted the front surrounds on different wall brackets than the ones they come with?
Those brackets are pretty weak and my cleaner keeps knocking them off axis ever time...

Can someone recommend better wall brackets?

Thank you.
 

danbeatles78

Active Member
The gain knob was at middle. I lowered it till 8 o'clock and there it was like -8 db. I have ordered a Denon AVC x3700h. It is due to arrive in the next couple of weeks. Thank you for the tip with the sub.

I read the reviews on the Kef E305. Both said that a lover volume loses some of the impact. I will test it though. The store where I bought the Focal has an open box Kef E305 system. I will buy that one and I have 14 days to test it.
Hi

did you get the KEF E305 set? Did you like it?
 

majorusa

Active Member
Hi

did you get the KEF E305 set? Did you like it?
Yes. I did. I paid 462 EUR for the set. I like it. I am using it with a SVS PB1000 sub for extra punch, but the E2 sub was enough for good bass. It will not shake the couch though. The SVS does.
I used the Kef E305 with Denon 3700h and I did not liked it. The sound was flat with lack of dynamic during the fight scenes. I returned the Denon and exchanged it with Sony STR-DN1080 and the Kef's sprung to life. I watched Mad Max Fury Road and Ready Player One and the sound was great. Then at 17.00 minute on A Quiet Place there is a scene where two kids smash a lamp and the effect was great. I literally jumped from the couch.
But the Sony went back to store because the front right channel became tonally unbalanced and made that most of the front sounds to come from the left side, regardless the source.
Starting today, the Kefs are driven by Yamaha RX-V6A. I like the sound so far but the Yamaha has other issues not part of this topic.
In conclusion I have no regrets buying the Kefs for the wide sweet-spot, the sound quality and the design. I have very little place in front of the couch so the system is great for me.
 

GavinC46

Novice Member
Hi all
Interested in these but have a dilemma on wall mounts. My room is 3m wide by 7m long, with me facing the tv width wise (3m) down one endof the room. My couch is up against the back wall.
the right wall is close, so allows me to wall mount on this at 90 degrees and have the speakers point to my right ear.
On the left though it is too far to the left wall.
2 options
1. do the wall mounts allow a 70 degree plus rotation (unlikely) so I could mount on the back wall and turn it a lot towards my ear? Welcome any advice from someone with wall mounts
2. Likely need 1 stand instead. However I cannot see any generic stands that would fit this shape (richer sounds couldn’t recommend one). Loath to buy the bespoke stands for 200 Esp since I only need 2 of them. Any alternatives? Need to be secure as I have 2 bouncy large dogs
Thanks
Gavin
 

Beardy101

Active Member
20201126_131555.jpg
I've got my rears mounted quite high toed in and pointing downwards toward listening position. Sofa is against the wall.
Excuse the wires haven't tidied them up yet.
Pretty imersive like this.

Edit
I went high to getaway from radiator and one side is more open to rest of lounge as pictured so its slightly hidden behind were the beam comes across.
20201126_131332.jpg
 

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