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Focal Alpha80 vs Focal CMS65
Old 26th April 2017
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Focal Alpha80 vs Focal CMS65

Which is better for EDM,Pop-Dance Music?

Is the CMS65 bass freq low enough? I will use them without a woofer so I need the low freq as I usually work with subs and deep basses.

CMS is reaching 45Hz vs Alpha that goes to 35+/-6db

Please share some thoughts...

Thx
Old 26th April 2017
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
I am using the CMS 65 for trance/progressive house, and have heard the entire Alpha series as well.

Specs don't always tell the whole story, so here's the deal:

- The Alpha 80 has a bigger, but less 'cleaner' LF response
- Low-mid's on the CMS 65 are a little more revealing than the Alpha 80
- Top end response is about the same, perhaps a tad better on the CMS
- Translation of the CMS series is definitely much better, in my opinion

Your room size and planned placement should also factor in the choice of monitor.
An 8" driver is likely to excite more room modes than a 6.5" driver.

Lastly, CMS 65 vs Alpha 80 is not an apple-to-apple comparison.
CMS 65 vs Alpha 65 is a more realistic comparison.

Given that the CMS 65 is going to be phased out and is being sold at a discount now at Thomann / others,
I'd pull on the trigger on them.

Best to take your favorite mix and have a listen on both speakers.
Whichever model depicts a better overall representation of your track (esp. low-end), go for that one
Old 26th April 2017
  #3
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I know it's not a fair comparison cause of the different size of the speakers but, haven't seent a CMS8, don't think there is one and also would be above my price range. Do you think I would b better off with a 5" and subwoofer or a 7" and a woofer? I'm also thinkin of buying the Yamaha HS5 with the Yamaha HS 8S woofer or even the Focal CMS50 or Alpha 50(Probably the Focal will sound better???) with a Yamaha woofer. The only draw back, I once worked a bit with a woofer with a friend of mine and it was awful, the low were covering everything, we couldn't hear the mix...It was bad. Also, I see that people are really scared with having a woofer cause u need a PERFECTLY treated room. I have heard that you could really do some damage to your mix if you are not careful with a subwoofer...Personally I like to have clarity on my speakers and by having a sub, I know I'll have best clarity for mid-high range and also deep and clear bass on the lows. So do you think It would b better to go with this setup? Or is is too dangerous having a woofer and I'm better off with "el clasico" two 8" monitors?
Old 26th April 2017
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
1) What is your room size?
2) Which monitors are you using now?
3) What is your budget?

Generally speaking, better to get a 6.5" - 8" driver, rather than a 5" driver with a sub.
Old 26th April 2017
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I dont have a room yet, Im still searching for a location but it wont be bigger then 15-20 meters.
Budget is round 1000 euros for speakers. I have worked on several speakers in different studios since 2005. Speakers like: Genelec 8050, 8040 1032, KRR VXT8, Mackie, Tanoy, Yamaha, Focal Alpha 80, Dynaudio and so on...

Its a hard choice, cause the ones that I liked the most(Genelec 8050) I cant afford and even if I did, I dont think they are worth it at that price range. I heave heard speakers at 500 euros that do the job and the quality difference compared to more expensive ones is not that extreme like the price.
Old 26th April 2017
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
OK, in that case, I can't recommend you enough to get the CMS 65.

In the current context, you can get a brand new pair for 858 Euros:

https://www.thomann.de/gb/focal_cms_65.htm

Their already excellent price/performance ratio increases even further, at this (reduced) price.

I can assure you -
In this price range, nothing else is close in terms of low-end definition, mid-range clarity, tonal balance and translation.

They should be sufficiently loud for your proposed room size.

The remaining 140 euros of your budget - put it towards some DIY acoustic treatment.
Old 26th April 2017
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Thank you so much Varunbkk... I will probably pair the Focals with a UAD Apollo Twin Duo, or SPL Crimson. My friend that has the UAD and says it's best bung for buck, price range 700 and something Euros... Thank you so much for the advices. I will post later a SPL Crimson vs UAD Apollo Twin to see what people think...Also for mic, I'm thinking of going with the Rode K2 as it a tube mic and the sound seems best at that price range 700 Euros....
Old 27th April 2017
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
No problem
Old 27th April 2017
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I will probably go with the Alpha 80 cause of the lager speaker and deeper bass... I hope I won't regret it...Still a better choice then the Yamaha HS8 I believe
Old 27th April 2017
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
The Alpha 80 is also a very good speaker, no doubt, and should serve you well.
You should allocate the remainder of your speaker budget to room treatment.

An 8" driver maybe an overkill for your proposed room size.
It will excite more room modes, and you don't want to be stuck with boomy bass,
due to an oversized speaker.

Placement and treatment will be especially important in this case.
Old 27th April 2017
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
So true, the room is the most important thing which people tend to skip. . .I mean, don't get me wrong, I would go for the CMS65, I still have yet to decide, I am just scared I wont be able to hear the low end like on the Alphas,cause of the limited freq drop 45 Hz vs he 35(+/-6). Plus, "sound rule" says the bigger the speaker size, the wider and clearer the frequencies are.At least thats how it should be...
Old 27th April 2017
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Make sure to consider the Yamaha HS8 if you haven't yet. The Focal CMS 65 are fantastic monitors, but the HS8 will suprise you in a direct comparison - they are worthy, and 1/2 the $.
Old 27th April 2017
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Im considering them, but I'll have to listen to them side by side to know if they are worth it although I doubt they'll be better then the Focals....Plus the material they are build from is way better on the Focals ...I have heard the yamymys an worked on Alphas separately....Unfortunately none of the locals stores have the Focals to do a side by side comparison....So I'll have to buy them straight from Germany, that is why it is hard to make a decision. Do you think that, the extra 200 euros im payin for the Alphas are worth it over the Yammys?

So it's like this:

Focal Alpha80 - 700 Euros
Focal CMS65 - 800 Euros
Yamaha HS8 - 500 Euros

Are the Focals worth the extra?
Old 27th April 2017 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zadkhiel ➑️
So it's like this:

Focal Alpha80 - 700 Euros
Focal CSM65 - 800 Euros
Yamaha HS8 - 500 Euros

Are the Focals worth the extra?
Yes.

Taking everything into consideration,
I stress that the CMS 65 will still offer you the best bang for your buck.

Due to their price reduction / phasing out, nothing else comes close in the <1000 euro range.

The HS8 is horribly boxy in comparison the CMS 65,
and will be much more sensitive to room placement,
due to a passive/sealed design.
Old 27th April 2017
  #15
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I agree that the Yammys are far from the Focals...Focal is a different league...I am still having a hard time deciding...it's so crazy cause I never heard the CMS65. I'm in a blind spot here. . . plus I'm worried with the low freq which are pretty limited - 45Hz ...I am leaning towards the Alpha for the crazy lows of 35hz(+/-6).

Is the sound so different on the CMS? I mean I worked a bit on the Alphas and liked them...I would buy the CMS, but Im so frustrated that I cant listen to them...
Old 28th April 2017
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
The Alpha 80 is 35 Hz (+/- 3 dB) not (+/- 6 dB)

If you have worked on the Alpha's and liked them / get along with their character,
then you should just pull the trigger on them.

Anyhow, see if you track down a dealer with the CMS 65 to have a listen.
That is the only way out of your conundrum I think.
Old 28th April 2017
  #17
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Says on thomann that it's +/-6 and I know this, cause I have a friend, which I worked with on the Alpha 80. He switched the +6 and the sub was going like crazy...


LF shelving EQ: (0 - 300 Hz): +/- 6 dB
HF is +/-3

https://www.thomann.de/de/focal_alph...f=search_prv_4


I sure would like to hear the CMS...I am so curious now...But even then, if not side-by-side comparison, I probably couldn't tell . . .

But most of the people I know, would not buy anything bellow 8" speaker for a proper studio...I think if you go for home studios, then the speaker size could be smaller...
Old 28th April 2017
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
You are mixing up two entirely separate concepts - Loudspeaker Frequency Response and rear-panel User Controls

First of all, always refer to the manufacturer's website for technical specifications, not a third-party website:
https://www.focal.com/sites/www.foca...tion-sheet.pdf

The frequency response of the Alpha 80 is 35Hz - 22Khz at (+/- 3 dB)
For LF purposes, this means the loudspeaker can reproduce audio (having content down to 35 Hz) within 3 dB's above or below unity.

Practically, this means that if you have a track with a sub bass occupying the 35 Hz - 80 Hz region,
you will be able to hear the sub bass fairly clearly in order to make EQ, compression and level judgements.

If the track has content below 35 Hz (super-low sub sine wave with 30 Hz content),
it will also be reproduced but at a lower level (possibly 6 dB's below unity)

So, you'll still hear the 30Hz content, but not as audible as the content above 35 Hz.

The user controls are meant to compensate for issues that you hear at the listening position,
depending on loudspeaker placement and it's interaction with the room.

Are the high's sounding too harsh to you? Reduce the high-shelving control by 1 notch (-3 dB)
Is the subjective level of bass too low? Boost the low shelf by 1 notch (+3 dB)
Bass too boomy due to the speaker being in a corner? Cut the low shelf by 1 notch (-3 dB) or 2 notches (-6 dB)
Old 28th April 2017
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Clear enough I usually leave the eq on zero...But depending in the room...

What is your take on the "dont buy a speaker smaller then 8 inch" advice? And it is a fact too...Some of the biggest studios in my country(Romania) have 8" or plus speakers...Even those with small rooms...
Old 28th April 2017
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
For EDM i Would choose Alpha 65, in comparison the CMS 65 are lacking low-end and on Alpha 80 it is not clean, tight enough for that, they will suit better "quiter/slower" music like jazz, orchestral, acoustic music and they need a larger room too.

If you can get the APS Klasik in Romania , they are even better than Alpha's
Old 28th April 2017
  #21
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Hmm...never heard of APS....
Old 28th April 2017 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zadkhiel ➑️
What is your take on the "dont buy a speaker smaller then 8 inch" advice? And it is a fact too...Some of the biggest studios in my country(Romania) have 8" or plus speakers...Even those with small rooms...
That's a lazy answer to a fairly complex question.

They're so many variables other than just woofer size.
Cabinet design, amp design, tweeter design, port tuning, quality of the crossover...the room

If the room is heavily treated, then a 8" woofer can sound quite balanced,
even in a 15-20 sq. m room, but easier said than done.

I've mixed on 8" monitors with great results, but this was in room sizes of about 28-30 sq. with ceiling height of around 4m & basic treatment.

An 8" woofer is creeping into mid-field territory,
so I'm skeptical of their performance in 'small' rooms - based on my experience
Old 28th April 2017
  #23
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Funny enough the Alpha 80 I worked on was in a small room, treated poorly but still soounded ok, a bit too much basa but nothjng to wory about...But yes, I agree, although I was tempted to buy a woofer, I still feel that clarity is most important.
Forgot to mention, I will be using the speakers for production mainly but also mix and masterin, so I probably have to lean towards a balanced sound, but with enough ammount of lows, so that I can hear them and mix them...
I listened to the JBL 308, as I heard a lot of fuzz about it, but I was disappointed when I listen to it at the store....It sounded really cheap and unclear...fuzzy and lifeless ....Such a shame...maybe it was the room too, but the Yammys HS8 sounded better then the JBL. I was hoping for a clear sound from JBL as they should be best for mixing and mastering at that price range...
Old 28th April 2017
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
About the APS Klasik, there is a "search" box on the Home page of Gearlutz.
You'll be able to read about how they outperform more expensive monitors.
Old 28th April 2017
  #25
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I dont trust brands I never heard of or never listened or worked on....
Old 28th April 2017 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mirka ➑️
For EDM i Would choose Alpha 65, in comparison the CMS 65 are lacking low-end Alpha's
Please ignore comments like this that usually have no basis.

To give you context for dance music, here's one of my previous releases I mixed entirely on the CMS 65:



I started the mix on KRK RP8 G2's and when I upgraded to the the Focal's and heard it, it sounded horrible.

I re-did the whole mix with the Focal's and then sent the demo out.

Do not assume for a second that the CMS 65 are not a suitable candidate for dance music - they are very neutral, open and revealing!
Old 28th April 2017
  #27
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks mate. Nice demo by the way. Do you recon I could also use the CMS 65 for Trap, Hip-Hop Music? Using lot of woofer basses in those styles....
Old 28th April 2017
  #28
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
P.S - Though I worked on KRK,they suck big time
Old 28th April 2017 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
ohmicide's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zadkhiel ➑️
Thanks mate. Nice demo by the way. Do you recon I could also use the CMS 65 for Trap, Hip-Hop Music? Using lot of woofer basses in those styles....
You can produce in them but I don't think you can really mix and/or master Trap without being able to hear down to 32hz at least. Just take a trap track and highpass it at 45hz and tell me what you think.

Trap usually ranges from C (32hz) to F (44hz) so not being able to hear below 45hz pretty much gets rid of the fundamental sub frequency of most Trap.

This is why I'm on headphones (LCD-X and HD 650). I have Focal 2.1XS too which include a sub that goes down to 39hz so I'm kinda meh about getting anything that wont even go down that low. I also had BM5A MKIIs in the past which went down to 48hz I believe and they were not very useable for EDM without headphones.

Honestly in your situation I would suggest getting the best monitors you can regardless of the frequency range for producing and some mixing but finalizing your mixes in headphones. HD 650 have a very detailed low end response so I definitely recommend those.
Old 28th April 2017
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by mirka View Post
For EDM i Would choose Alpha 65, in comparison the CMS 65 are lacking low-end Alpha's
Please ignore comments like this that usually have no basis.
Basis is experience. Among other monitors i have the Alpha 65 and a friend of mine has the CMS65 in his studio.

We play (rnb, funk, soul electric bass for me, so i know what i am talking about regarding low-end) and record music together on nearly daily basis so we had plenty of opportunity to compare them, (which obviously you have not), recording in both locations, and the Alpha's are much more efficient (tighter, punchier) in the low-end department (the CMS do have a little more detail and refinement in the mid and high frequencies).
And we are not the only ones in our fairly experimented musicians entourage to have noticed that.

All this obviously shows that long posts, numbers, specs and demos still doesn't prevent one from providing bull**** infos.

Last edited by mirka; 28th April 2017 at 05:51 PM..
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