New Focal SM9 Powered Studio Monitors

Focal Professional announced the worldwide launch of its new flagship powered monitor system at the San Francisco 2010 AES Convention. The “SM9 Monitoring System” is born from a simple idea: create the most dynamic, sonically transparent and accurate monitoring system ever built.

One of the many innovations within the SM9 are the two independent monitoring systems housed within the same speaker cabinet: a 3-way monitor equipped with a 1″ pure Beryllium inverted dome tweeter, a 6.5″ midrange driver, 8″ bass driver and an 11″ passive radiator; and the same cabinet includes a 2-way monitor utilizing the same inverted dome tweeter and a 6.5″ midbass driver.

By engaging the “FOCUS” mode switch on the side panel of each speaker, the 3-way system becomes a 2-way monitor with different crossover electronics. Nicolas Debard, Focal Product Manager for the SM9 notes, “Focal decided to do something very different with the SM9 by offering both a full-range professional studio monitor and a 2-way basic monitor in the same cabinet, allowing engineers to verify mixes on a bass-limited speaker simulating televisions, computer systems, car audio, iPod speakers and other multimedia speakers. The SM9 is the result of over three years of R&D where every component and function was designed from scratch utilizing over 30-years of Focal design experience.”


Listening with the SM9 in its native 3-way mode will strike listeners with unprecedented realism and transparency, startling tonal accuracy and dynamic range,” adds Debard. “The Focus 2-way mode of the SM9 will possibly save many mixes. While in Focus mode, the limited bass response will reveal imperfections on midrange and mid-bass level or EQ choices. We feel that engineers will quickly become addicted to using the Focus mode.” Three buttons on the SM9 side panel offer direct access to the different modes of operations: Stand By, Direct, and Focus.

‘Focus’ mode (a Focal exclusive) activates the 2-way monitoring system, which engages a separate crossover and other circuitry creating a truly alternate 2-way speaker from the 3-way full-range monitor. The ‘Direct’ mode allows the engineer who is not using the rear EQ section, to entirely bypass it for an even cleaner and direct signal path. This feature is also perfect for acousticians willing to use an external room EQ. ‘Stand By’ simply mutes the monitor and puts it in a low-power mode.

The all-new, all-analog amplifiers developed specifically for the SM9 offer no compromise: 600 watts of class-AB amplification drives the SM9 on three separate channels, respectively 400 W (woofer), 100 W (midrange) and 100 W (tweeter). These new amplifiers have a bias current between class-A and class-AB. The low-noise input stage is equipped with various adjustments allowing the engineer or acoustician to compensate for any room anomalies and optimize the monitor’s response in the studio. Six detented knobs on the back panel offer low and high shelving filters, variable EQ filters for bass and midbass, (which also serves as a desktop notch filter to tame unwanted console reflections), midrange EQ, and a flexible high-pass filter.

The SM9 studio monitor system is set for release in Q1 2011, independent left and right speakers are offered at a suggested retail price of $3995. US each, (estimated street price $3595. each). Each speaker weighs 77 pounds.



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