Audioengine A2 Speakers VS. Focal CMS 40 Speakers - COMPETITION

Discussion in 'Audio/Video & Home Theater' started by cheez, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    Wuhahahahahahaha


    $200 Audioengine A2 speakers Vs. $1000 Focal CMS 40 studio monitors

    Who wins????

    Don't know yet.


    I received the Focal CMS 40 speakers several days ago and received the Wireworld Terra-6 RCA-to-RCA cable a few days ago. Hooked em up and started playing music. I fiddled with the settings to get it working right.

    The source is PC with Xonar DX7.1 sound card.
    The previous setup was Audioengine A2 speakers w/ $1200 Audioquest Angel cable (mini-to-mini 3.5mm) and $200 Audioquest Sydney cable to subwoofer (SVS SB12-NSD).

    The new setup is $200 Sydney cable going from PC to subwoofer and then to the Focal CMS40 speakers via $25 Wireworld Terra-6 RCA cables.

    The Focal speakers weigh a ton. I had trouble getting them out of the box cause they are so heavy (didn't expect they were going to be heavy considering their size). The cabin is a complete full metal construction and designed for acoustics. Two amps built in to each speaker, one for the tweeter and one for the mid woofer.

    The speakers are brand new out of the box so they require break-in.

    Audioengine A2 sounds wonderful and has very tight / hard bass, in other words, the upper bass sound very articulated. Plus you get *lower* bass from the subwoofer. The bass department is just uber impressive. Nice mid range too as this is common for the A2 speakers. Detail and transparency is impressive, thanks to the $1200 solid silver conductor and FEP air tubing insulation construction in the cable. When you play TV music performance you hear the details and good air. It gives you live sound. Very good sounding component.


    Now to the Focal CMS 40, play the same TV music performance, it sounds different than the A2 speakers. It sounds like you are almost actually there in *front* of the actual stage live. I can hear the drum beats more real and more powerful. You can really hear the drums in the far background nice and clear. It does have wider soundstage and each instrument is more articulated and transparent.

    So right out of the box, the wide soundstage is immediately noticed with the CMS 40. It is better in the treble department too. The tweeter is rated at 25 khz (Magnesium Aluminum inverted dome). It handled the vocals really well, easily outpacing the A2's (A2's run out of breath pretty quick in the vocals especially in the highs). The big difference with the Focal however is the mid range, it has much more room for *stereo imaging* and fills up my living room really quickly. The A2's had trouble filling up my living room due to it's size and limited power output. The Focal has more neutral / natural sound. The A2's are pretty neutral too, but not when compared to the Focals.:eek:


    Played some music. Surprisingly, a few songs (from artists Amy Grant and July) so far sounded better with the A2 speakers. Some elements in the music were very *transitional* in the mids, almost like metallic-like (hard to explain) that I could not hear with the other speakers. It sounds so good you would poop your pants. The CMS 40 wasn't as good with these songs for some reason.

    I played about 30 other songs and they sounded better with the CMS40 (especially the soundstage and enhanced background instruments). I have plenty more songs to play.

    Holly crap is the CMS 40 loud. It fills up the room easily. They seem to handle music with highs effortlessly without even trying.

    Again, this is my first impression, Focal speakers right out of the box.

    Giving more time for them to settle... The full performance of the Focal speakers have yet to be unleashed as right now they are going through many connections (soundcard to subwoofer, subwoofer to the speakers via cheap RCA cable). I need a dedicated external DAC and high-end XLR cables which I planned to get but it's not going to happen anytime soon... it'll be sometime next year. The A2 speakers still sound a bit tighter, more direct, and the detail is about the same as the Focal.
     
    #1 cheez, Nov 4, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
  2. LikeLinus

    LikeLinus Diamond Member

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    Pics of speakers and test environment?
     
  3. uhohs

    uhohs Diamond Member

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    $1200 mini to mini cable. lol.

    patrick82, is that you?
     
  4. Anubis

    Anubis No Lifer

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    here we go again
     
  5. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    Well is it a male-to-male?
     
  6. SyndromeOCZ

    SyndromeOCZ Senior member

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    lol its been a while since I was reminded of ol' patrick. Good times.
     
  7. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

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  8. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    Test location is the fairly small living room but has a vaulted ceiling. The speakers are set on the wooden cabinet, with subwoofer set next to it. I will post the pics tonight. :)

    We go where? There's nowhere to go. :rolleyes:

    Yes the Angel mini cable is the male to male.


    Hey guys you should be thankful I posted the review of my own about these two sets of speakers. This is an informative thread, not trolling. And I am not Patrick82. I have never met him before. I'm the cheez. D:
     
    #8 cheez, Nov 6, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  9. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    LOL

    I'm going to have to post the link here when I get back home.
     
  10. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    As promised, here are the pics!

    Focal CMS40


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Left is the power cord and Wireworld Terra-6 RCA-to-RCA cable
    [​IMG]
    $1200 Angel cable and $200 Sydney cable and Etymotic Research HF-5 - Kept the boxes and going wax them to enhance glazing effect. Great addition to my collection. ;)
    [​IMG]
     
    #10 cheez, Nov 6, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  11. SyndromeOCZ

    SyndromeOCZ Senior member

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    I really like how they design them so you can place them right next to a wall. I wish my KRK Rockit's were like that, instead I have to invest in expensive connectors that are right angle.
     
  12. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    Yeah I like it too the way they designed, makes them easy to be installed. I've read a lot of reviews on this speaker and it sold me for sound performance too. :)
     
  13. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    Maybe they're not supposed to be put next to a wall.
     
  14. SyndromeOCZ

    SyndromeOCZ Senior member

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    They're front ported just as the Focals. Which is really the big deciding factor when it comes to the distance from the wall. I've got them as close as I can go the wall and they sound great(KRK 6's Ferrari grey and KRK 8's). I think its just something that is thought about when it comes to a higher end speaker... It isn't really something that your decision hinges upon(usually) but its a very nice addition.
     
  15. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

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    It's better for the cables as well. More uniform stress compared to plugging it in horizontally.
     
  16. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    No, no it's not. It is a factor but not the only one.

    http://www.trueaudio.com/st_diff1.htm

    I ask you, is your monitor optimized for half-space or perhaps something in between half-space and eighth-space? Some monitors have adjustable baffle-step settings.
     
  17. SyndromeOCZ

    SyndromeOCZ Senior member

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    Sadly I don't have the space to build my entire room around my speakers, so instead I get something decent and place them in a position that will work. I'm not into it enough to know all the technicalities of it but I do know that a front ported speaker can be placed much closer to a wall than a rear ported speaker. I've noticed differences in my front ported speakers when it comes to distance from seating position to driver. Never had any issues with how close they are to the walls behind them.
     
  18. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    Guys, I had to toss the other thread because the other members trolled my thread. Since it is related with Focal speakers I'm going to post here. Let's keep this thread clean guys, no trolling / thread-crapping will be tolerated. :colbert:

    UPS got moody and decided to deliver my Benchmark DAC-1 USB DAC today.

    Pics:

    It came in a nice quality box.
    [​IMG]
    And the manual..
    [​IMG]
    Benchmark DAC-1 USB
    [​IMG]
    Very solid product.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    High quality connectors and craftsmanship.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    [​IMG]
    Starquad Canare XLR cable (purchased from Benchmark) connected to the XLR input of the speakers. The Wireworld Terra-6 RCA cables have been connected from Benchmark DAC RCA Out to the SVS SB12-NSD subwoofer.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Set the output to Benchmark 1.0 under audio tab in the sound properties in Windows. It is connected via USB since it was the simplest setup. USB cable is the one supplied by the Benchmark manufacturer.

    Was able to fire up the music at very first attempt! Leaving the music running as it needs a break-in (settle-in).

    First Impression:

    It sounds different already, compared to the previous setup. The music is warmer and more inviting and with increased detail. The mid range tone and detail is impressive. It sounds musical and focused. Also the bass is more powerful and has more resolutions, something I didn't get before. The bass is definitely louder than before, so I turned the knob (gain) on the sub two notches down. Leaving the music running for the next many many hours...

    :p
     
    #19 cheez, Nov 23, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  20. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    Next step - even better speakers
     
  21. cheez

    cheez Golden Member

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    No, the speakers stay. I like this speaker set a lot. I like the way these provide in sounds. Going big in size and volume output doesn't necessarily mean it's better.
     
  22. Number1

    Number1 Diamond Member

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    You're right, just moving your power bar around should provide all the improvements you could ever dream of. Is your music happier with the new dac?

    Have you ordered some tweaks and power cords from Patrick yet?
     
  23. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    Depending on your main/sub crossover frequency (I hope you have a crossover), you're either a) running your sub up too high, hurting your imaging in the midbass due to localization, or b) lacking in clean dynamics in the midbass by running the 4" driver too low. There's no way you can appropriately match a 4" mid to a 12" sub unless the mid is ultra-long-excursion. Even inside of a floorstander it's difficult to do.
     
  24. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

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    You are still trying to bring physics to an emotional issue :cool:
     
  25. Number1

    Number1 Diamond Member

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    Quote from another thread:

    "As a matter of fact I just returned both my Focal CMS40 speakers and Benchmark DAC-1 for a refund because they are not any better than my A2 setup."
    I guess this settles his "COMPETITION"

    Wow. He can't use his expensive cable with the new speakers.


    And quess what I found at the AVS forrum!!!!!!!!

    Audioengine A2 speakers + SVS SB12-NSD Sub + $200 copper & $1200 silver cable - PICS

    In the thread it turns out this hole thing was an update to replace his Bose system. There are even pictures of his Bose set up. Apparently, he liked to wax his Panasonic TVs.

    The first response in that thread: A picture of a troll.

    I just looked up the specs on his A2s. They are ridiculously small computer speakers. Reading his superlative comments, you'd think they would be some of the highest quality speaker ever produced. Well they replaced his Bose so yes, there would have been a significant improvement in sound.

    Has anybody noticed his new sig......

    I am not making any of this up.