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Focal cms 50 + sub or cms 65 (with or without) sub
Old 12th February 2010
  #1
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Focal cms 50 + sub or cms 65 (with or without) sub

First I'd like to say, great forum. And I'd also like to apologize if this has already been answered a million times. I did do a few searches and didn't see anything really nailing this question. If this is a re-ask, please link me to the relevant post.

With that said...

I've narrowed down my choices for upgrades from Alesis Monitor Ones (yes, first edition) to either Focal CMS 50 plus the CMS Sub -or- the CMS 65 with or without the CMS Sub. The cost isn't an issue. I'm thinking the CMS 65 + Sub might be overkill for the space...but I'm not sure.

My listening space is 12'L x 9'W x 9.75'H. The room is decently treated with bass traps in abundance, diffusors above and behind on the back wall and absorbers on the side walls. Heavy curtains in the front of the room and carpeting on the floor. It's not a million dollar treatment, but it is a thousand.

I mix and monitor in the 83-87 dB range and the style of music is mostly dance/house oriented. I'm not able to really pump it up because of neighbors so my concerns are a) not being too much speaker for the space, and b) still have a full range - especially low end without being too boomy - at moderate listening levels.

I'm not looking for suggestion outside of these 2 choices - but I know that won't stop anyone from adding their additional 2Β’ either.

Thanks for the great advice in advance.
Old 13th February 2010
  #2
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
No thoughts? Darn :(
Old 13th February 2010 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
fantomen's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi Dr. Brooks! And feel welcome to GS, it's indeed a very nice place.

I have the CMS65 (I love them!!!) in a very well treated room (+/- 3db) and I do the same kind of music as you. I would say the bass response is a little bit at the borderline... if you have a very well treated room, you might want to get some more.

What I recommend is the following: use the free program called RoomEQ Wizard to really see how the response of your room is and try to see if you have any huge peaks / valleys in your room. If you have them, putting a sub will just make your music unlistenable and you will suffer from severe headaches when working at 85db!

If you're room has a somewhat "good/flat" response in basses you might want to get some additional 10-15Hz down with a sub, even if you will be able to do great mixes with just the CMS65. If your room response is good, have you also considered the Focal Twin? They are more expensive but they might be exactly what you're looking for.

P.S.-> I've tried the CMS65 without treatment and even if it doesn't go more than 45Hz, it was already a nightmare due to the huge peaks in the bass zone.
Old 14th February 2010 | Show parent
  #4
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks. This is just the kind of advice I'm looking for. Will start working on RoomEQ Wizard shorty. I just moved into a new apt - identical to that last, except now on the top floor and now able to treat the room even better due to the loss of a heating pipe.)

I'll have to think about the Focal Twin6 Be again. I was thinking they'd just be too much monitor for what I'd be able to use them for.

Lots of decisions to make...

(more opinions are very welcomed as well )
Old 14th February 2010 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Addict
 
gransonik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fantomen ➑️
P.S.-> I've tried the CMS65 without treatment and even if it doesn't go more than 45Hz, it was already a nightmare due to the huge peaks in the bass zone.
I have the CMS50 and can agree with that point. If the CMS50 would go a tad deeper you would def. need bass trapping for them if your room has problems. I bought them for my editing/fades/iso-creation workstation in my mastering studio and these sound wonderful. They work really well in my desktop setup next to 2x 23" screens. They are approx 1.6m apart and i sit 80-90cm away from them, basically inside the stereo triangle. However they still sound great with an easy to pinpoint soundstage. Ofcourse there's some coloration in that kind of setup but for editing it doesnt matter.
Old 18th February 2010 | Show parent
  #6
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Focal CMS 65

I've ordered the Focal CMS 65's. They will be here in 6-21 days. What a window of time! I'll go crazy waiting.
Old 19th February 2010 | Show parent
  #7
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
...arrived

Well what a nice present. I wasn't expecting these so soon...Now to burn them in. But for now, already these things are amazing. WOW!
Old 23rd February 2010 | Show parent
  #8
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Amazing speakers indeed, after 2 weeks of testing both 50s and 65s I decided, however, to get 50s and a sub later. I have an impression that 50s have better soundstage/depth and greater sence of details. It appears I'm not the first one with such impressions but this are still just impressions, maybe 65's would work better in a different space. Have fun with your new focals!
Old 23rd February 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Focal CMS 65

I'm still getting a feel for the 65's. The sound amazing! But I haven't had time to get my listening space's treatment back up again (I very recently moved). But even in this untreated space that are leaps and bounds an improvement. I have the feeling that I'll add the sub though, since my listening levels won't/cant be too loud but I'm feeling the sub will help out with the Fletcher-Munson curve experienced at the lower volumes. But so far - these things are just great.

I've read reviews that say they make you work harder and I can believe it. I've relistened to some previous mixes and I can hear definite things that's I'd want to adjust. Things that were probably causing the translation problems with the old monitors. This is a great this to hear so clearly. I can't wait to start on a new project.

Also they are just a pleasure to listen to. I never understood 'fatigue' from a monitor, but now I do.
Old 25th February 2010 | Show parent
  #10
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I'm on the fence as well about the 50's and 65's.

b4rtosz did you feel the need to add the sub to the 50's right away or do they have enough bass to work without the subs for most mixing?

I was thinking that I wanted to get the 65's and avoid adding the sub but it looks like the 50's with the sub would be the way to go.

I listened to the Adam A7's last weekend but I didn't have the focal's to compare too. It seemed that the adams lacked a little in the bass range and could have used a sub to compliment it.

d
Old 25th February 2010 | Show parent
  #11
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Dr. Brooks, I have been using the Gray Monitor one's for years, what stands out in the CMS 65's over the Monitor Ones? I sometimes feel like I'm listening to the Monitor Ones with a blanket over them.
Old 25th February 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gimmeshelter67 ➑️
I'm on the fence as well about the 50's and 65's.

b4rtosz did you feel the need to add the sub to the 50's right away or do they have enough bass to work without the subs for most mixing?

I was thinking that I wanted to get the 65's and avoid adding the sub but it looks like the 50's with the sub would be the way to go.

I listened to the Adam A7's last weekend but I didn't have the focal's to compare too. It seemed that the adams lacked a little in the bass range and could have used a sub to compliment it.

d
They are better for most mixing tasks because of (imo!) better midrange clarity then 65's. I just find them more revealing, but if you wan't to mix music which is supposed to shake walls in clubs then a sub is a necessity, I guess.. As I said, however, it can be so that each model may beat the other in a different room/setup.
Old 26th February 2010
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Can I bother any of you Focal owners to answer my question re: voltage setting on these babies?

Question about Focal CMS 65 voltage setting

Thanks in advance.
Old 26th February 2010 | Show parent
  #14
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
gimmeshelter: It's all very hard to describe, since I've only owned the grey Alesis and now these Focals. I can't listen to speakers in the store and make any decisions. I got these based on the non-stop, fantastic reviews they've been getting.

But what I can say about the 2 is: I've been using the Alesis since they were released (yes that long ago) and I have just gotten used to them. I like them, but never LOVED them. And I had to really make a lot of compensations over the years to makeup for the monitors. Again, I've just gotten used to them.

But now that I'm studying sound more (Berkleemusic online) and learning new things (and unlearning bad habits), I knew it might be time to try different speakers.

First thing I learned was that my untreated room was killing my mixes. I knew my mixes were suffering, but I blamed the monitors (like most people). After treating the room, the mixes got vastly better, but there were still some issues when I took sound measurements in the listen space. I knew that the monitors were most likely the culprit. And decided on the Focals. One selling point, besides the great reviews, was the ability to adjust so typical problem ranges.

Since getting the Focals, I've moved into another place (completely identical to the old space, except one floor higher - no more kids above my head!) But I haven't retreated my room yet. What I can say is that even in this untreated room, the Focals sound amazing! I'm hearing issues in my old mixes and things in commercial recordings I'd never heard before and I had heard the songs 100's of times.

And they are just pleasant to listen to. They don't wear out your ears like the Alesis. They just sound - pure. Nothing sounds exaggerated or forced. In retrospect, I'd say the Alesis does something weird in the high end, is a little honky in the mids and the bass is either lacking or forced depending on where they are in the room.

Another thing to like about the Focals is the soundstage. The sweet spot is huge. I can lean forward, back, side to side is a huge area and still get tremendous stereo separation and full range. That was impossible with the Alesis. I had to sit in one spot and dare not move.

I don't know if I'll get the sub or not, I don't have any projects pending right now so I haven't been doing anything new. But the main reason I'd want to get the sub is mostly, as mentioned, to relieve some of the Fletcher-Munson curve, since I'll never listen at loud volumes. I'll always listen between 83-87 dB. Even at 87, the bass is deep and clean and registers very well, I'd still think I want just a tad more oopmh. This is all being said without my room being treated and with all the setting on zero on the monitor. I might be perfectly happy once I'm actually all correctly setup.

If the Focal CMS 50's sound as god as the 65's (I can't imagine that they wouldn't) you'll be very happy with either. Just looking at the specs though, personally I think the 50's would have to be with a sub regardless.
Old 27th February 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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gransonik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
After some weeks owning the 50s.. I enjoy their sound, but I'm not really satisfied with the build quality of these.

I do have some minor issues with the fit and finish on both speakers, but the biggest issue is the power transformer hum. This is not related to ground loops etc, it's clearly the power transformer. I can still hear it from 1.5m distance, but if you have the CMS50 closer to you (on your desk) the hum becomes really annoying, especially since it's still there in standby mode, which again makes it clear it's the power-transformer.

Both speaker suffer from this so i'm sure this is withhin specs and not a defect. I can't really recommend these if you sit close to them. Might be ok if you have a noisy enviroment anyway (PC etc) but it's extremly silent in my studio so this becomes very obvious and annoying being the only source of noise.
Old 1st March 2010 | Show parent
  #16
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Chris did you check with Focal to see if there was a problem? I know someone from focal posts on this board occasionally.

What's wrong with the finish?
Old 1st March 2010 | Show parent
  #17
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I heard the Cms at the musikmess last year and they do really sound great. I'm also about to order a CM sub to go with my Focal Twins. They translate very well but in hip Hop and RnB a bit more bass can never hurt
Old 3rd March 2010 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
hugol's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well I received my Focal CMS65's today. They are replacing my JBL LSR4326 which I was never that happy with.

I can't comment on the sub. However I can say I'm in a small room and the Focals are just resting on my desk (on the mat provided) and the bass response is pretty damn impressive for a 6.5" speaker. Much much better than the JBL in this room despite its room correction EQ. Probably the front port helps enormously here and I've set the notch filter to -2dB to compensate for the desk.

Obviously I'm still getting used to them - and they haven't been burnt in at all. However they're already sounding much better after about 5 hours playback today - starting to open up a lot. These are a significant upgrade from the JBL IMO.

Actually FYI I'm also into electronic/house styles and these speakers definitely sound great with this genre. Very punchy and clear. I'm definitely not feeling the need for a sub at all at this point. Been blasting out some tracks today at various volumes and they sound wonderful even in this small untreated room. There is definitely enough going on in the bass to tell me what I need to know - and they sound very clean and controlled. Not boomy at all.

The only other thing to mention is they are quite forward in the mids (e.g. around 1KHz) and I believe a slight dip in the highs somewhere. Something to get used to. But they are certainly extremely detailed and with the right track they sound great.

I was really wondering whether I should have paid the extra for the Solo 6 earlier, but now they're opening up a bit I think I'm very happy.
Old 3rd March 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Addict
 
gransonik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gimmeshelter67 ➑️
Chris did you check with Focal to see if there was a problem? I know someone from focal posts on this board occasionally.

What's wrong with the finish?
Good news, the hum is gone when not using the metal "spikes" to lift the front of the speakers up. If you avoid that you have to get your ears around 50cm close to hear any hum, that's not really perfect either (however every power transformer hums more or less) but absolutely fine for me, no more complaints from my side as it's not noticeable even in a very close nearfield setup.
Still a bit strange that this little detail amplified the whole issue so much.
Old 10th March 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Dr. Brooks, how are those focals?

I have a set of 50's on order.
Old 23rd April 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Im deciding exactly between this two options, simply don't know what to get.

Pair of CMS 65 1300€

Pair of CMS 50 900€ + CMS Sub 600€ = 1500€

200€ difference, now what's better and worth more for a room with no treatment in size 4.5m x 4.8m x 2.8m.

Im producing various sytles from orchestra, trance, ambient, something similar to classical pop and sometimes also using heavy break beats.
Old 23rd April 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Hey Skyform...I was in the same boat as you. I bought the CMS 50s yesterday (delivering today!) and going to pick up the CMS sub later.

For your music, I would go with the 50s and Sub. You'll get that lower end you'll need for the electronic stuff.

The boards helped me tremendously to make this decision.

Chris
Old 23rd April 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I haven't heard the 50's but, I'm totally in love with the 65's. I was a little worried that I might need a sub, but at this point, I've have no need. I'm getting all the low end I could ever need.

So without even hearing them, I'd say this:

If you have a more limited budget go with the 50's plus the sub, I imagine that sounds WONDERFUL...just because the 65's are amazing.

If you are able to really pump them and have a larger budget - start with the 65's and then decide if you really need the sub later. At this point I'm not needing the sub - I'm getting all the low end I can handle in my situation.

If I were to do it again, maybe I'd go with the 50's plus sub, since I'd have a little more control over the low end at lower listening levels, but even though I'm listening at around 84-89 db, I'm getting all the low end and full range I could ever need. (My room is finally treated completely as well - that tightened everything - but they sounded amazing with treatments - the treatments just took them the extra mile.)

Basically, it seems like you won't go wrong with either setup. These are some nice sounding speakers.
Old 23rd April 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
What about CMS 65 + CMS sub, is this a better combo then CMS 50 and CMS sub, im asking this because i might buy CMS 65 now and later the sub if i will need it, but could be that CMS 65 would get messy with the sub and sound worse then 50 with the sub.
Old 23rd April 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I seriously doubt that 65's would sound messy with the sub. They have a high pass filter that cuts the low end to leave the room for the sub - so that's not an issue.

I can only speak of my situation, but I love my 65's and don't feel the need to a sub woofer at this time. I'm getting plenty of low end and the entire range sounds just right. If you can afford to get 65's now and add the sub later, I would go with that option. The 65's are great on their own and you might save money in the long run.
Old 24th April 2010 | Show parent
  #26
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gransonik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The biggest reason torwards the CMS50 is budget. In my opinion the CMS 50 is technically very advanced and offers a quality that was unreachable in that price-region before, (i havent heard the new A7x yet though). The extremly precise imaging is something i only know from more expensive speakers and honestly, in that regard, they even outclass my K+H O300 (however imaging is not O300s strongest point to begin with)

Now if you have the room to properly fit the CMS50, you will almost always have the room for the CMS65 aswell. So imho it comes down to budget. Physics make it obvious that 6,5" translates better than 5". Both are absolutely great speakers at their pricepoints. I would like to move up to the CMS65 but i will keep my CMS50, don't like loosing money on selling gear i only used for a few months. If Focal was offering a trade in i'd jump at the 65 immediately :D
Old 24th April 2010 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Im willing to pay 400€ more for the 65's if they are really worth this much over 50's.

Im affraid to buy the 50's because i feel that they won't have any more bass then my Adam A7 and i would be stucked again with similar weak monitors, i really want something stronger that sounds wider.

I will also be siting around 80-90cm away from the monitors so i guess 65's really are a better solution.
Old 24th April 2010 | Show parent
  #28
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Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyform ➑️
Im willing to pay 400€ more for the 65's if they are really worth this much over 50's.

Im affraid to buy the 50's because i feel that they won't have any more bass then my Adam A7 and i would be stucked again with similar weak monitors, i really want something stronger that sounds wider.

I will also be siting around 80-90cm away from the monitors so i guess 65's really are a better solution.
I hear a fuller, and more natural bass response on the CMS 50's, when compared to the A7. They are flatter sounding, and more revealing in the bottom by a fair measure. I much prefer them to the previous A7 incarnate. I've heard them side by side numerous times in our control room. Of course, listening to them in our control room, with our equipment has nothing to do with your control room, and your equipment, but.....

It took me several months to really start appreciating the CMS50's for their highly impressive lower octave response [considering their size and power] and I really warmed up to using the monitors, once I was able to understand them better through working with them for an entire project. The results I feel have been excellent. I just really like them and I can't view them as compromised options at all. The CMS65's offer the similar depth and flatness thing but with more go-go juice, so the bottom is more solid and perhaps more forward/higher outputting.

The CMS sub is a pretty slamming design, as it brings extremely LOW coloration, and precise PRESENCE of low info. It is not a "bang bang" sub. When using it correctly it enables the feeling and presence of sub harmonic without obscuring anything. For me, and in our control room, the reason I use these small near fields is for translation to other similarly sized speakers, and I don't find it a complete necessity to use a sub, but I don't look at it the same I suppose. Certainly, the application at hand should be discussed, because there many other specific reasons to use a sub than just because the printed specification of small speakers is lacking extreme bottom octave resolution.

The great thing about a three piece speaker system like this, is you can start anywhere and see where it lands you.
Old 4th May 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Ok, i really have to decide now, im already thinking too long, lol.

So if i will buy the Sub now or in the future then i guess it's better to buy CMS 50 instead of 65 right?

It wouldn't matter if i use CMS 50 or 65 with Sub because i would have to set the high-pass on the CMS 50 or 65 to 90hz and the sub to 90hz so they would probably play the same, is that right?
Old 4th May 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
OT.

Adam have you compared the Focals with The Event: Opals?
πŸ“ Reply

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