Hey there Gear Mortals, the Focal Alpha 80 studio monitors have presented themselves before me to be judged. Never heard of Focal you say? They are a French company that have been making monitors and headphones for around 30 years. One of the unique things about this company is that they manufacture every part they use for their monitors. So let’s get right into it, shall we?

Focal made their reputation as high end monitor makers. Some of the best (and most expensive) monitors money can buy is what they have long been known for. The Alpha series is their first foray into a more affordable monitor line up. The Alpha 80’ s are the flagship of the Alpha series. With a price tag of around $550 a piece, they are much more affordable to project studios and the like.

Lets take a look at the specs:

These are powered monitors using a bi-amped power configuration. As the 80 in the name suggests, the low frequency driver size is an 8” cone which is made from polyglass. Its power amp section is 100w. The high frequency driver is a 1” inverted dome made from aluminum. The HF driver’s power amp section is 40w. The frequency range is an impressive 35hz-25khz. It has a max peak SPL of 103db. It’s a ported enclosure type, has RCA and XLR input types and weights about 28lbs.

For a $550 monitor the specs are indeed impressive. Usually in this price range a company might try to keep things more affordable by cutting corners on the power amp section and the drivers used. I can’t think of any other monitors out there that have this much power and this wide of a frequency range at this price point.

A feature on the Alpha 80’s that I feel worth mentioning is its automatic standby mode. It turns off the monitors after 30 minutes of no signal passing through them, and once a signal does pass through they turn right back on. Maybe that doesn’t sound like it might be a big deal, but for me it was. Most monitors have their power switches in the back, and having to constantly go behind each one to turn it off and on multiple times in a day just gets tedious. Having it turn off and on automatically is so much more convenient. That being said, I do have to mention that I found that if the signal going into the monitors was really weak or low that the auto stand by would not detect it and therefore not turn the monitors back on. I noticed this when I had my keyboard plugged in and tried turning it on with a piano sound. It’s not really a big deal at all, in fact I am pretty much nitpicking at this point but I figured I would mention it none the less.

Another feature on the Alpha 80’s is a room control EQ to better help the monitors fit in your room’s acoustic environment. It has a low frequency shelving setting that gives you + or – 6db at set frequency of 250hz. And it has a high frequency shelving setting that gives you + or – 3db at a set frequency of 4500khz. At least in my room, I found these controls to be good enough to work with what I had.

Last but not least, what do I think about these monitors? For $550 I can’t think of much that I could recommend above the Alpha 80’s, especially if you are looking for monitors that have a deep low end. The low end on these monitors are good enough where honestly you probably don’t need a subwoofer in a lot of cases. That being said the Alpha 80’s are still pretty flat across the spectrum, rivaled mostly by Focal’s higher end line of monitors. I mixed a few of Trey’s gear reviews using the Alpha 80s if you are curious as to what kind of end result was achieved using them as opposed to my usual Adam A7Xs. The results with the Alpha 80 I think are quite impressive. Let us know what you think? Like my mixes more then they were done on the Alpha 80s or the A7Xs? You can tell in the videos by which monitors are in the background.

Written by

Alex Nasla is a keyboardist, producer and mixing engineer. He keeps busy making audio plugins for Rosen Digital, is audio director at multimedia company Toxic Creativity and is involved in 3 different musical endeavors. 

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