Featuring a distinguished design that is both stylish and contemporary, the Chora 826 is a three-way loudspeaker that includes the French manufacturer’s exclusive Slatefiber cones to deliver detailed midrange and solid bass performance.
Focal’s Chora line delivers accessible high-fidelity sound at a very competitive price point. Featuring a distinguished design that is both stylish and high tech, the Chora 826 is a three-way floor-standing loudspeaker that includes the French manufacturer’s exclusive Slatefiber cones to deliver detailed midrange and solid bass performance. It has a front-firing port, so placement close to a front wall will not be a problem. Included in the package is a unique tilted plinth that angles the drivers slightly upwards, which should improve overall imaging by improving time alignment. The Chora 826 also comes in three colors, black, light wood, and dark wood. For this review, I was able to select the dark wood option, mainly because the front baffle came in a bluish tone that complimented my music room.
Focal Chora 826 Speaker
- Contemporary finishes
- Slatefiber cones are lightweight and stiff with low distortion
- Tilted stand (plinth) aides in time alignment and improves imaging
- Suitable for a two-channel audiophile or home theater enthusiast
- Excellent, detailed and balanced sound in a medium to large room
Focal is a French company that has been in the audio business for over 40 years. They make ultra-high-end speakers (Utopia), home theater speakers, professional studio monitors, car audio, headphones, subwoofers, and even a 16 channel A/V processor/amplifier. The Chora line is their entry-level, but that does not mean it is somehow less worthy of the Focal name.
The Chora 826 is the flagship speaker of the line and it has some nice trickle-down technology that makes it perform as good as it looks. My sample pair shipped to me from Canada and it was the first speaker box I’d ever seen that opened from the side. This made pulling them out of the packaging so much easier than trying to slide them out of the top or bottom of the cardboard box.
3-way bass-reflex floor standing loudspeaker
2x 6.5″ (16.5cm) Slatefiber Woofer, 6.5″ (16.5cm) Slatefiber Midrange, 1″ (25mm) TNF Al/Mg inverted dome tweeter
Low frequency point:
Recommended amplifier power:
270Hz – 2.7kHz
(WxDxH) 11.9” x 15.3” x 41.5” (30.3 x 38.8 x 105.3cm)
Focal Chora 826 Speaker Price:
Available online at:
Crutchfield and Amazon
focal, chora, 826, loudspeaker, speaker, tower speaker, speaker review, Speaker Review 2020
The Chora 826 is a three-way, bass-reflex design. The tweeter is a TNF aluminum/magnesium inverted dome with a memory foam surround called Poron, which is also used for the beryllium tweeters in the Utopia models. The inverted tweeter reduces beaming resulting in a wider sweet spot for the listener.
Slatefiber is a Focal exclusive that uses recycled, non-woven carbon fibers applied as a sandwich between two layers of thermoplastic polymer. The fibers all point in the same direction, giving the cones rigidity and strength. I might add, it also gives the cones a unique look that I found visually appealing. There are two 6.5-inch woofers and a 6.5-inch midrange which are made from Slatefiber.
Unique as well are the included plinths that attach to the cabinets. They provide a slight upward tilt which creates the illusion that the front baffle is floating above the floor. An Allen wrench is included and attaching them only took a few minutes.
A magnetic grille is included, and the speakers look good with or without it. I preferred them naked, myself. The front baffle is made from a polycarbonate material that was mildly shiny and clean looking. It really made the speakers look modern. On the back, the binding posts had nice finger grips to assist in getting a good tight fit on the speaker wire.
One minor quibble, if you want to use banana connectors, the plugs in the posts are difficult to remove so in the end, I used spade lugs. The wood veneer also was seamless, clean, and realistic looking. My overall impression was that the speakers looked handsome and, well, European. I like the fact that you have some choices in colors and wish more American speaker manufacturers offered something other than black or occasionally white finishes. As I mentioned earlier, I picked the dark wood finish to compliment my room décor, and it did.
I placed the Focal Chora 826s in the same location I had my Revel F36 towers, which is to say about 2.5 feet out from my front wall and 8 feet apart in my 14’x17’ listening room. I toed them in, so the tweeters were aimed to cross about a foot behind my head. I powered them with Emotiva UPA-1 monoblock amps and connected them to an Emotiva UMC-200 pre/pro with some 12AWG speaker cables from my collection; namely generic Monster cables from my disco years.
Because the plinth tilted the speakers at a pre-determined angle, I felt they shot over my head by several inches at 8.5 feet away. That said, I never felt that the tweeters lost focus, likely due to their wide dispersion and lack of beaming. I kept the grilles off for most of my listening, but this choice was based on aesthetics, not sound quality. I really liked their looks sans grilles. After about 30 hours of break-in, I began my more critical listening.
The key performance elements of any good speaker usually break down into tonality (or naturalness), soundstage (imaging), and dynamics (do they stay composed when pushed hard?). Though I used these for watching movies, it is music that really exposes flaws in a design. I ran these with a subwoofer at times, but my comments are based on playing two-channel, full-range music through the Chora 826s.
James Taylor “Greatest Hits”
JT has a great voice that is both mellow and expressive. Most of his songs include acoustic instruments with folksy tunes, but some venture into the electric arena. The Choras have a rich open sound that works well with this style of music. The soundstage is open, both from side-to-side and front-to-back. The inverted dome tweeter projected a large sweet spot that followed me well as I walked across the front of the room. Treble was crisp and detailed, but never fatiguing.
The midrange was smooth and displayed JT’s voice in between the speakers. The occasional rasp of a finger on a guitar string or an intake of breath could be heard. All the expected details were there.
The only thing that I could put my finger on that made these a bit different from my Revels was the bass extension. My F36s can go a bit lower with a little more punch. In fairness, the Revels have more cabinet volume. If I did not compare them side by side, I wouldn’t have noticed this at all. With dual drivers, the 826s can fill in the bottom octave of the music just fine. The bass was tight and never overemphasized. And if you want more bass, they integrate well with a sub.
William Steinberg and the Boston Symphony Orchestra “Gustav Holst: The Planets”
Re-mastered in 24/192 (Blu-ray Audio) and perhaps a challenge to obtain, this recording is one of my favorite versions of this old chestnut. Originally a quadraphonic recording, it sounds stupendous in stereo as well. From tympani to triangle, Boston’s Symphony Hall brings out every detail from this score. Included is Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra with a gorgeous Einleitung for brass, tympani, and organ.
You’ll recall this theme made more famous by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey when the black obelisk is revealed. The Choras reproduced the sense of space and dynamics with startling realism, and even when played loudly, and never sounded compressed or strained.
Loreena McKennitt “The Visit”
With the voice of a Celtic angel and backed by some exotic acoustic instruments, this recording sports some impressive dynamic range. From her harp playing to the beating of deep drums, the 826s sounded great. I really enjoyed the details that they revealed in the excellent recording. I could loop her version of The Lady of Shalott all day… though it is somewhat depressing when you think about it (blame Tennyson), but it does promote social distancing.
The Bach Variations “A Windham Hill Sampler”
Bach’s music is so transcendental, that it can be played on literally any instrument and still sound good. This sampler has music arranged for harmonica, steel drums, mandolins, and more. All of it is captured in a natural acoustic space with an intimate feel. The Chora 826s made this recording more enjoyable with its neutral sound and excellent imaging qualities.
Treble, midrange, and bass melded without any emphasis on some frequencies over others. They have a nice open and organic sound that is quite pleasing to the ear. I can only imagine what the upper echelon Focal speakers must sound like if the Choras represent trickle-down technology.
The FOCAL CHORA 826 SPEAKERS are a reasonably-priced avenue into the Focal family. With a high-end finish and sound, they punch well above their weight class.
- Contemporary color selection
- Superb imaging and dynamic, neutral sound
- That plinth is so cool
- Competitive price for this technology and quality
- Banana connector caps are hard to remove
I enjoyed my several weeks with the Focal Chora 826 speakers. I like the fact that this European audio gear is as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as it is to the ears. These speakers have some pretty slick technology in them, and it shows when you put the music on. You can build a great stereo system around the Chora 826s or pursue a killer home theater based on all Focal Chora speakers. The build quality is so good, these could be the last speakers you’ll ever buy. And all of this comes at a price that puts you in the Focal family.
The Focal Chora 826 speakers have a natural, open sound that presents the music with a wide dynamic range with an impressive soundstage. These speakers are detailed enough for the audiophile and dynamic enough for the cinephile. The fact that they look gorgeous too, is but the icing on the proverbial cake. The Focal Chora 826s are where style and performance meet.