Focal Aria 948 Floorstanding Speaker in Prime Walnut
The Aria 948 symbolises the return of the 'true' acoustic loudspeaker. A new type of 3-way loudspeaker with 81/4" (21cm) speaker drivers effortlessly providing intense and controlled bass. The intention was a return to the very essence of acoustics for those who are passionate about music.
- New Flax cone
- New TNF tweeter
- Speaker drivers developed and manufactured in France by Focal
FLAX SANDWICH CONE
Made in France but affordable, Flax cones are oriented towards acoustic performance, high-tech and give an original design to the brand's speaker drivers!
After more than five years of research and development, engineers at Focal can now reveal a new cone made of high-quality flax fibers. F cone are characterised by their natural sound, with low coloration, their richness of reproduction in the midrange register and their tighter bass.
THE UNIQUE QUALITIES OF FLAX
F cones are made of high-quality flax fibers core enclosed by two thin layers of glass fiber. They satisfy the key criteria of a high performance diaphragm : high internal damping, high velocity of sound and high flexural rigidity.
All these criteria cannot be met by a mono-material cone. Sandwich technology greatly influences the neutrality of the sound produced by the cone, something, which has always been Focal's hallmark. The expertise gained from the sandwich technology of the Utopia and K2 Power ranges enabled Focal to develop a revolutionary flax-fiber cone conciliating the 3 criteria.
Flax is twice as light as fiberglass, because the fiber is hollow. It also has very low elasticity which makes it ideal to increase the flexural rigidity of a sandwich structure. Moreover, it can be obtained in non-woven bundles of considerable diameter and it can therefore produce the thickness required for a sandwich.
Composite materials have properties suitable for applications where both rigidity and low mass are required. However, their disadvantage is that they lack damping, which leads to very poor control of vibrations. Recent developments in this field combining composites and natural fibers have brought unexpected opportunities. Flax fiber has an excellent internal damping of the same order of magnitude
as the glass or Kevlar fibers or aluminum.
MADE IN FRANCE AND AFFORDABLE
Flax cones are designed and manufactured in France, from french flax fiber. France is the main cultivator in Europe of fiber flax, principally in Flanders, Picardy, Normandy and the Pas-de-Calais region. French flax is considered the best in the world.
Synthetic fibers or foams originating from petrochemical resources are subject to inflation linked to the sharp rise in crude oil prices. Organic or ecological textiles, like flax, are thus becoming more and more pricecompetitive.
Because the "K2" sandwich have to be manufactured by hand, their range of application remains limited for reasons of cost. The industrial process developed to manufacture the "F" cones bring it within reach of very pricecompetitive product ranges
Focal brand's signature product, the inverted dome tweeter has been continually developed ever since it was created. It bears repeating that its main advantage, apart from its very low directivity, lies in its use of a coil of small diameter (hence very light and better accelerating) directly fixed to the rigid dome.
Just as with the cones of its bass and midrange speaker drivers, what makes Focal unique is working directly on the sound output and, therefore, on the mechanical characteristics of materials. When we introduced the pure Beryllium inverted dome tweeter ten or so years ago, we clearly demonstrated the decisive advantage of this exclusive technology.
For the TNF tweeter, we have brought two major evolutions to ouraluminium/magnesium tweeter. The suspension between the dome and its bracket uses Poron, a material with shape memory.
This suspension method is directly derived from the famous Utopia Beryllium tweeter, making it possible to reduce distortion by a factor of three in the 2-3 kHz range, where the human ear has very great sensitivity.
Distortion levels directly affect sound quality. The use of Poron has reduced the distortion by half in the tweeter's. Bandwidth between 2-4 kHz: an area where the sensibility of the ear is very high.
The inverted dome's spatial characteristics and very low directivity already make it greatly superior to the conventional domes used by our competitors and to further improve this a wave guide has been developed. In a horizontal plane, its frequency response has a variance of +/- 0.5 dB. This performance guarantees an incredibly stable sound stage which makes the listening position much less critical.
It is due to more than twenty years dogged work on our manufacturing processes that it is possible to achieve such precision in a component as delicate as a tweeter.
Control over production is the one and only solution for continued innovation when it comes to loudspeakers...
Cross-section of the TNF tweeter. Poron's physical properties provide improved control over the mobile assembly in the magnetic parts.