Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Focal Dome 5.1 Speaker System

ARTICLE INDEX

Design and Setup

The first thing that impressed me about the Focal Domes was that the entire system came in a box roughly big enough to hold one average-size tower speaker; and that includes the sub!  The sub and five accompanying satellites are packed in styrofoam and include wall-mounting hardware and rubber bases if you’re putting them on a shelf or entertainment center.  It’s obvious just looking at the speakers that they are designed, engineered and manufactured with the same care and quality as Focal’s more expensive models.

The satellites enclosure is sealed and made from light-weight aluminum with a high-gloss black lacquer finish.  They are protected by fabric bags in the packaging.  The five-inch mid-bass driver is made from polyglass and is the same one used in Focal’s upscale Chorus series.  The tweeter is an aluminum/magnesium alloy inverted-dome design similar to the one used in the more expensive Profile and Electra S models.  The base rotates through nearly 90 degrees to allow adjustment of the speakers’ vertical angle.  The grill is made from perforated and fabric-covered plastic and is easily removed with a small twist.  When I set them up in my theater I simply placed them on top of my Axiom towers and center channel stand with a small amount of toe-in for the mains.  The center was angled upward slightly to fire directly at my seat.  The surrounds were wall mounted using the included brackets.  Thanks to the available angle adjustment I was able to aim the surrounds at the listening position easily.

Wiring was a somewhat unique experience.  The Domes don’t have traditional binding posts or spring clips.  Instead there are small screw terminals in the base that allow the wire to stay flush or hidden.  I was able to get 12-gauge bare wire into them.  If your speaker cable is 10-gauge or larger it won’t fit.  The wire is held in place with small set screws.  In a brilliant touch, Focal includes the necessary allen wrench in the rubber base of each speaker.

The sub is a down-firing ported design with an eight-inch polyglass driver.  The port is right next to the driver so it is not visible when the sub is installed.  My wife couldn’t resist a Star Wars reference when she first saw it.  It does look a bit like a small black R2D2.  Amplification is provided by a 100-watt Bash unit with a gain control, crossover range of 50 to 200 Hz, phase switch (0 & 180 degrees) and auto power-on.  The only input is an RCA line-level LFE.  I placed the sub between my right main and center channel positions near the wall but not near a corner.