The Focal Shape 50 is an 85W LF, 25W HF bi-amplified monitor comprising several innovative technologies that provide professional reference monitoring in a compact enclosure.
Optimized for placement in small control rooms or desktop production, the Focal Shape 50 offers exceptional quality, with tight and controlled bass, neutral mid and low-lids, plus extraordinary high-frequency response and spatial localization. The Focal Professional Shape series is a testament to Focal’s ongoing effort to innovate new and better ways to improve sound quality. With an improved tweeter, speaker cone material, and dual passive radiators, the Shape 50 blurs the lines between budget and high-end professional monitors. The precision response of Focal’s M-shaped tweeter reveals all of the subtle details in the high end, including fast transients, reverb tails, plus any unwanted high-frequency noise or hiss that would otherwise be missed by lesser tweeters. The result of several innovative technologies, the Focal Shape 50 reproduces program material with remarkable acoustic transparency, a wide soundstage, and extremely precise stereo imaging. In short, the Shape 50 tells the absolute truth and sounds great doing it.
Focal Shape 50 key features and tech:
- Flax sandwich cone: controlled and well-defined bass, natural and detailed lower mid-range and upper mid-range ranges
- Tweeter with very low directivity for a flexible listening position
- M-shaped inverted dome tweeter reduces distortion and improves off-axis response
- Dual passive radiators allow it to be placed near walls without bass buildup
- Numerous settings for optimal integration
- Accurate control, even at the very high end
- Mounting mechanisms present on the back and underneath the loudspeaker: for installing on a table stand, a microphone stand, the ceiling or a wall (mounting accessories not supplied)
- Variable high-pass for use with subwoofers
- Dual active inputs
Focal Shape 50 — behind the grille
The result of five years of R&D, Focal engineers have surpassed their patented Polyglass cones with the F cone. Made of high-quality flax fibers, the F cone is characterized by its natural sound, low coloration, rich midrange reproduction, and tighter bass. Built on the sandwich technology of Focal’s patented Polyglass cone, flax is twice as light as fiberglass, it also has very low elasticity, making it ideal to increase the rigidity of the cone’s structure. Which enhances the neutral response of the cone. Combining rigidity and low mass, flax fiber has excellent internal damping, which eliminates unwanted resonances. Flax cones are also less expensive to manufacture, which in turn keeps the cost of the monitors down without any compromise to sound quality.
The midrange register is the most difficult to control in a sound system, and ironically, where most of our music lives. On one hand, there must be a smooth transition with bass. On the other, it must be tuned to the tweeter in terms of dispersion and acceleration. This determines the consistency of timbre and spatialization.
For the past 20 years, Focal has been working on mastering the "breakup" (the frequency at which the cone becomes deformed, leading to distortion) of their 3rd generation "W" cones and on drastically reducing the resonance of the tweeter. Thanks to the power of finite element analysis, Focal developed simulation software to visualize the dynamic behaviour of the suspension that connects the cone to the basket, exposing the areas that required attention.
Tuned mass damper
Once the breakup frequency was revealed, Focal had to conceptualize and built the equipment to solve the problem. The answer came from a technology used in earthquake-resistant skyscrapers, which is also used for the suspension of racing cars. This technology is called Tuned Mass Damper, which is an additional mass that oscillates in opposition to the resonant frequency to control it.
The solution consists simply of two tubular rings on the suspension, whose dimensions and position have been meticulously calculated. These tubular rings comprise the Tuned Mass Damper (TMD). They stabilize the dynamic behavior of the surround according to resonance, thus preventing deformation of the cone without afflicting its dynamics.
Stabilizing the magnetic field
The precision and detail of audio reproduction depend on the stability of the speaker’s magnetic field. Instability in the magnetic field is modulated by three factors: the movement of the voice coil (Lenz's law); the current passing through it (Foucault current); and the frequency. Consequently, the voice coil and all the moving parts including the cone are in the magnetic field. Too much variation in the field leads to a loss of precision.
Neutral inductance circuit technology
After three years of research, Focal engineers created an incredibly stable magnetic circuit. The solution, NIC technology, is a Faraday ring whose dimensions, materials, and positioning are optimized so that the magnetic field isn’t affected by the position of the voice coil.
Focal Shape 50—outside the box
The passive radiator works much like the bass reflex in order to increase bass response in a small cabinet. The radiator is a diaphragm used to cover an inconveniently large port, as well as reduce port turbulence, which can interfere with the direct sound of the drivers up through the low midrange. On the Focal Shape 50, the radiator is a speaker mounted on the side of the cabinet and maintains the same low-frequency response regardless of volume.
Cabinet and mounting
The Shape 50’s cabinet is medium density fiberboard (MDF), which provides greater resistance to sympathetic vibration than moulded plastic enclosures that are commonly used on competing budget monitors. Along with a curved cabinet structure that eliminates front-panel reflections there are four height-adjustable decoupling spikes that enable you to significantly reduce the mechanical coupling of the loudspeakers. They also make it possible to adjust the vertical orientation of the loudspeakers. The spacing and left/right orientation of each loudspeaker allows you to control the width, centering, and overall coherence of the soundstage. Additionally, due to the side-panel passive radiators, you can wall- or ceiling-mount the Shape 50. Cabinet finish is vinyl, real walnut, and black paint.
Rear-panel connections and controls include balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA, which are always active, allowing playback of two simultaneous sources, eliminating the need for monitor management, plus variable high-pass filter for use with subwoofers, low-frequency shelving, low-mid EQ, high-frequency shelving, and mains power connector.
The Shape 50 gives home and project studios on a budget the opportunity to step up to Focal’s professional, high-precision monitoring. For more information, call or chat with your PAD Professional today.
Focal Shape 50 specifications:
- Frequency response (+/-3dB): 50Hz - 35kHz
- Maximum SPL (musical signal): 106dB SPL (pic @ 1m)
- Inputs/Impedance: Balanced XLR, 10k ohm; unbalanced RCA, 10k ohms with sensitivity compensation
- Midrange and LF amplifier: 60W, Class AB
- High-Frequency Amplifier: 25W, Class AB
- Automatic standby on: Approx. 30 minutes no signal
- Automatic standby off: Signal detection > 3mV
- PSU: 220-240V (T1AL/250V fuse), or 100-120V (T2AL/250V fuse)
- Power connector: IEC plug and detachable power cord
- High-pass filter: Adjustable full range 45/60/90Hz
- Bass EQ: 0-250Hz, adjustable ±6dB
- Midrange/bass: 160Hz, Q=1, adjustable ±3dB
- High frequency: 4.5kHz - 35kHz, adjustable ±3dB
- Power: on/off switch
- Standby consumption: < 0.5W; displays and controls: LED for power on/off and standby
- Woofer: 5" (16.5cm), membrane flax
- Tweeter: 1" “M” profile aluminum-magnesium
- Cabinet construction: .06" (15mm) MDF
- Finish: Vinyl, real walnut, and black paint
- Dimensions with four rubber feet (HxWxD): 12.3" x 7.5" x 9.5" (312 x 192 x 242mm)
- Weight: 20.7 lb. (6.5kg)