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The first set was for the music room computer. We needed great sound for listening to our performance recordings and playing with accompaniment software. Wow, fits the bill perfectly. We also connected an Airport Express with Airtunes to add music to that section of the house. There is nothing like wireless and powered speakers for getting an one hundred and fifty year old house rocking.
I was so impressed with the sound from the Focal XS that I replaced the Harman Kardon speakers on the computer in my office. It sounds like I am listening to my music for the very first time. Many speaker manufactures publish specifications; very few deliver them with clarity and presence, like Focal XS.
I would highly recommend the Focal XS to any one looking for great sound on their computer or connect it to an Airport Express and put music in any room of your house.
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There’s not a lot more to say. This system is simply excellent; there is one caveat though: make sure you put enough real estate between the 2 monitors — they need room to breathe. Soundstage width and depth are excellent if they’re given enough room. When you hear it, try to remember this is a $600.00 2.1 system; it will be difficult. BTW: my main system consists of a Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista (tube) DAC, VTL Tiny Triodes, Monitor Audio Silver Series towers, Transparent and Cardas speaker and power cabling, etc. I’ve wasted a lot of money on systems and this definitely ranks as one of the best values in my collection (the Monitor Audios top the list).
I am a bit of an audiophile. And I have an excellent system of components that I have assembled over the years for my core listening pleasure. However, like many people, I spend more time working at my computer than I do relaxing in my leather chair in the living room. So, it is at least as important for me to have a good sound system where I work. To find such a system, I did a lot of research, and I have a bit of a history of trying products as well.
I have at various times used Altec Lansing, Bose, and Bowers speakers on my computer desktop. This time, I wanted more. My close friend has the Utopia Grandes in his home system, and he said that his experience with Focal has been nothing short of fantastic. So, I decided to give their many times removed little cousin, the XS a try (I know, this is like Apples and Oranges, but I figured: “how far can the Apple (or Orange) fall from the tree?”.
Not far it would appear: The sound is phenomenal. Let me be clear, these are in an entirely different realm than the Utopia Grande’s, but there is also no question that Focal really put some thought and care to creating the XS system.
The speakers took a bit of time to break in, but I now have trouble leaving my desk — the sound is that good. These are better than a lot of monitors that I have heard. And they are very compact and nice to look at. A lot of tech packed in as well. Built in DAC. 2-way satellites. They are not cheap, but they are worth every penny. As a 2.1 system, the are not going to produce the midrange of a pair of good towers, but the sound is very, very good.
The only “weak” spot in my opinion is the iPod dock. It works with some, but not all iPod versions, and syncs in some, but not all circumstances. This is not really a criticism of Focal, though, since Apple is always changing and updating their hardware and software, and it seem impossible to find any device in the market that can keep up with all of them. Nevertheless, I would not recommend purchasing this system if you plan to only use it as a docking sound system.
Summary: If you are looking for incredible sound from a relatively compact 2.1 system, and you will connect primarily to your computer, this is the best option in the market.