The Focal Vestia in the Dark Wood finish. Note the leather finish front panels, and the beautiful Slatefiber cones.
A little below Aria and above Chora sits an all-new speaker line from Focal: Vestia.
In keeping with high-end audio's tendency to mine classic pantheons for product names, Focal's new series is a portmanteau of Vesta and Hestia, respectively, the Roman and Greek goddesses of the hearth. (If Focal keeps this up, we can look forward to the sea-inspired Focal Postune, and the love-inspired Focal Aphronus or Eropid.)
The Vestia series uses Focal's aluminum-magnesium M-shaped tweeter with its Slatefiber cones, first seen in the Chora line. As you know, Focal started as a speaker driver company and has deep R&D expertise, with a particular skill for creating speaker cones from interesting, and often environmentally low impact, materials such as Kevlar, glass fiber, flax, and recycled carbon fiber.
Slatefiber cones are formed from carbon fibers (for lightness) that are not woven (for better damping) but orientated the same way (for better rigidity) and sealed in a thermoplastic polymer. The result is a cone that offers a dynamic, rich, and balanced sound.
Meet The Range
Like Sopra and Kanta, the Vestia range is numbered, going from a standmount, No1, through three floorstanders, No2 to No4, a center speaker, and finally, two dedicated floor stands, one for the No1 and one for the center. Finish options are nice and straightforward: Black High Gloss, Dark Wood, and Light Wood. The two darker finishes go beautifully with their leather effect front panel.
Regarding drivers, Vestia No1 through No3 use 6.5" mid/bass units, leading up to No3's single mid with three bass drivers. The No4 keeps the 6.5" mid but ups bass driver size to 8.25". Two of those big boys on each speaker offer a room-filling sound down to 40 Hz (34 Hz at 6 dB down.)
Starting at $1,198 a pair for the No1 to $4,398 a pair for the No4, the Vestia line offers a frightening level of performance for the price.
The Focal Vestia No1 in the Light Wood finish, offering beautiful contrast to the Slatefiber cone.
How the Vestia Won Over Kat
Kat Ourlian, our analog manager, has always loved the Chorus/Chora series and is excited that Focal has come out with "another affordable design specific to their core DNA."
Her Focal journey started with the Chorus 726, and while she had some reservations around its excitement factor and bass extension, she said, "For the money, hell ya."
While the Aria certainly gets you that midrange/bass extension, it's also a lot more money. For those who were stuck to a lower budget and who also wanted something not quite as laidback as Aria, the Chora brought more excitement at the cost of refinement. Plus, a more limited bass extension made it harder to fill spaces.
Says Kat, "The Vestia series addresses this with a better tweeter design and by increasing the Slatefiber cone size and damping. This allows it to offer a tighter and more forward sound than the flax and gives you that low bottom end that the Chora didn't."
Kat, who recently visited the Focal factory and headquarters in France, adds, "Now as if it's not enough that Focal is handmaking their top-of-the-line reference series, they also have a dedicated area for the Vestia series, which is 100% in-house designed, measured, and assembled.
Nordost Odin 1 Deal of the Decade
Wait long enough, and you can get some crazy deals in audio. This doesn't work so well when you're in the market for home cinema receivers or streamers (480i, anyone?), but boy, does it work well for cables. Nordost has come out with their amazing new flagship, the Odin 2 Supreme Reference, but that doesn't mean that the original Odin is in any way outdated, especially not at this fantastic price.
Jason Victor Serinus of Stereophile wrote about a system wired with the original Odin, saying, "[It] delivered one of the most breathtakingly realistic depictions of a huge, three-dimensional soundstage I've ever experienced. Its you-are-there transparency was pretty damn amazing."
With this level of cable normally costing about $25,000, this is truly the deal of the decade!
Nordost Odin 1 Supreme Reference Interconnect (pair)
Nordost Odin 1 Supreme Reference Power Cord
New Video: Grover Reviews Pathos Acoustics' InPol Ear Headphone Amp
"A beast of a headphone amplifier," says Grover Neville, our personal audio manager. The Pathos InPol Ear offers a warm, smooth, rich sound that conveys lots of detail and is, therefore, never gooey or syrupy. It puts out a lot of current and maintains its power delivery across high and low impedances, allowing you to, as Grover says, "drive pretty much anything you want to."
As always, Grover offers lots of detailed pairing information to find that perfect headphone match for this Italian beauty.
East Coast readers, come audition the Pathos InPol Ear at our station at CanJam NYC 2023, February 25 and 26, at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.