It's amazing how different reviews are. I purchased these speakers last year based upon what they could do for great sound. However, when I brought them home and hooked them up into my system.............
This would not be the review that I would give.
"I was immediately struck, with every recording I tried, by the natural, detailed, organic, and holographic midrange of the Chorus 807V. All vocal recordings were stunning."
Admitted, I was as well. This speaker beat out all of the lineup at the Tweeter I auditioned them at as well as some other shops. The end result beat out speakers that cost upwards of $4K. Holographic? I would dispute this.
"The most captivating aspect of the Chorus 807V was its high-frequency performance. Its resolution of detail, speed, and extension of the highs told me that this speaker has one remarkable tweeter."
Absolutely. Agreed. To a point.
"On certain recordings, however, the extreme high frequencies seemed a bit emphasized. The sibilants of all closely miked female vocalists on familiar recordings—such as "Hey, Sweet Man," from Madeline' Peyroux's Dreamland (CD, Atlantic 82946-2)—seemed a bit more prominent than I remembered hearing them through other speakers. The Focal's tweeter was also very revealing of less than pure high-frequency content. In the title track of Hole's Celebrity Skin (CD, Geffen DGCD-25164), the high frequencies are a bit hashy and trashy. With most speakers I've tried, this has not deterred me from cranking up this tune to live rock-concert levels and dancing around the room. But the Chorus 807V so laid bare the recording's distorted, compressed highs that I ended up uninterested in hearing the rest of the disc."
Revealing. Good synopses. From a year's worth of listening with different sources, amps, wires, cables I believe that it is not the tweeter. I believe that the tweeter is so revealing, that it brings out the best and the worst of recordings. This can be a godsend and it can be a curse.
"But to really appreciate this ruthlessly revealing speaker, I had to trot out the highest-quality recordings I had. Then I was rewarded with staggering realism for the price. Timothy Seelig and the Turtle Creek Chorale's recording of John Rutter's Requiem (CD, Reference RR-57CD) bloomed with richly layered vocals, and a sense of ease and naturalness around the organ. The pedal notes were natural-sounding and seemed quite extended (how low do these puppies go, JA?), but never seemed overpowering or in my face."
IMO, the better the recording, the better these puppies shine. Cymbals, chimes, subtle background noises, especially in the highest of high frequencies sound stellar....provided that they are at a proper listening level. No ear fatigue whatsoever and overall a pleasure to listen to. Violins, horns and simple plucks and slides of a guitar for example are just accurate as can be when comparing it to real sound.
"I've played Kohjiba's Transmigration of the Soul, from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival's Festival (CD, Stereophile STPH007-2), many times, but with the Chorus 807V I was struck by the upper partials of Carol Wincenc's flute—I had never before heard this recording with so much air."
I'm not one that is up to par with definitions of what I hear, but ambiance would be the word I would use to describe what I'm hearing. This, to me is one of the best attributes of this speaker. Sometimes both on-axis and off axis.
The Focal Chorus 807V is an attractive and revealing loudspeaker of very low coloration and high versatility that gave me hours of enjoyment with a wide range of program material. I also feel that, at $995/pair, it is a superb value for the money. However, its tweeter is so extended in range and consequently so revealing that careful matching with other components and recordings is warranted. With the finest associated gear and recordings, the Chorus 807V achieved a level of performance that competed with much more expensive speakers. I commend Focal for trickling down the technology of their more expensive wares to such an affordable realm."
That which is in bold and underlined [in the above passage only] expresses my feelings and observations as well.
Now, to my extended review of these speakers.
The one thing that brought my ear to these speakers was the TNV tweeter. The sweetness and naturalness of the end result as to what hits my ears was a pleasure, to say the least from the very moment I first had my ears on them. When I auditioned them, they were in a less than stellar spot to audition a pair of speakers and with the 14 or so speakers in the lineup [going up to $4.7K in that room], they came out on top for overall end result sound.
I went to more shops, both high end and mid-level shops and I kept going back to these speakers. There was just something about the wholeness, completeness of the sound that made the reproduction a wonderful experience to listen too.
Now to my final evaluation of these speakers when I brought them home and listened to them in my own listening room and got my ears on them with what I had.................
Since I had been using floor standers all my life, this was my first experience with a bookshelf speaker and from what I heard with this speaker stacked up to the other front runners I had recently heard, I felt that I would be pleased. Was I? Absolutely not.
For me, going from a FS to a BS speaker was like taking the midrange and throwing it out the window. I was running the old FS with a sub [PA PSW1000] to augment the lower frequencies and when I hooked up the sub into the mix, the midrange was definitely a strain to listen too. You had to search for it as if it wasn't there. So, I took the sub back out of the loop.
Better sound, but definitely not what I was used to and though the sound was accurate and pleasing, it was as if the end result was to omit the lowest of frequencies to achieve this sound. To me, omitting the lowest of frequencies is not a true representation of what real sound should be like. Real sound is real sound. What I believe made the sound better in the auditioning room was so many speakers side by side creating a "different" sound field and mid-bass and bass response for these speakers.
A little preface.......
Since I knew that these were bookshelves, I purchased a stand that seemed to weigh in at about 170lbs each. I forget now how much they were, but I know that they weren't cheap. Over 5+ bills. Spikes on the bottom, options of spikes on the top and at the time I had plenty of tweaks to make the sound the best that it could be. Nothing I could do could get these speakers to sound like what I had. It seemed that I had treble, and a complete omission of any true bass whatsoever. That is, compared to what I was used to. The bass is refined and under the right amplification can be quite nice.....just not what I was used too.
So, to conclude my evaluation. These speakers are a godsend if you like the highest of upper frequencies broadcast with realism [You have to experience, don't question] and ambiance that is a wonderful experience without ear fatigue at proper listening levels and better than average recordings added with a bookshelf type sound and not a full spectrum loudspeaker, then this speaker should be one that should be on your list of speakers to try out.
My only gripe is that the imaging [which is better than an estimated 80% of speakers out there IMO] is not up to par. Advances with this can be found in other tweeters and technology from what I have heard, but with the expense of the completeness of the entire spectrum of the highest of frequencies.
Overall, a nice bookshelf, well defined, articulate, excellent ambiance, not so critical "sweet spot" and nice reproduction of music if you are not looking to reproduce the full spectrum of frequencies which would be ideal in an apartment or smaller room setting. If you were to purchase a speaker that wasn't a full range speaker, yet didn't want to upgrade the speaker for years to come, this would be the one. If I didn't require a full range sound, I feel that this would be a speaker that would be a keeper for a long, long time.