The Tom Tom Club

Join the Owners Club for Naim Users & Share Your Stories

A day or so after James’ visit to Focal it was the turn of the press to be shown the facilities and technologies that this impressive company has at its disposal. We started our tour at the cabinet factory in the small town of Bourbon Lancy, this is where Focal builds and finishes the woodwork for its Utopia and Electra ranges, the top end stuff with the complicated shapes and fancy finishes. It’s not a huge place but there’s an awful lot of precision machined MDF in it and the quality of cabinets it produces is stunning.

Zebrano veneered panel

Focal has benefited from hiring a lacquer expert whose previous job was to restore furniture for the King of Morocco, apparently the political situation got a bit too unstable for his liking in recent times and he returned to his native soil. The company offers custom finishing of its top ranges and colours like Lamborghini orange and Hot Chocolat from BMW Mini are distinct favourites, I preferred the slate grey and mahogany combination on a pair of Diablos but I none of my peers agreed, pearls before swine etc!


Left: Grande Utopia in the new dem room. Right: MD Gerrard Chretien with mahogany Diablo

At the main factory in Saint Etienne Focal builds the drivers for pretty much its entire range, models that span the in-car, professional audio and domestic audio world. The company specialises in foam cored sandwich drivers which it is able to custom build by varying the amount of polyglas skins on differing thicknesses of foam. This means that speakers are not balanced by electrical changes to the crossover as is usually the case but by making a driver to suit the cabinet size and application.

Cabinets for Electra 1028Be

Focal makes exclusively metal tweeters, inverted dome types in either mag-alloy or beryllium. The latter is said to be 100x the price of gold so I was surprised to see so many in production, however things are obviously going well for the company and there are Be tweeters on Electra as well as Utopia models. It was hard not to notice how many attractive workers they have on the production line down there, there’s either something in the Evian or all the less charming employees had another holiday on that day, they are French after all.

Glueing lead out wires in style

Having paid our dues we were rewarded with a visit to the jazz festival in nearby Vienne. This has the advantage of a large Roman amphitheatre where the sound is spectacular because the natural amplification works so well. We saw Larry Carlton and Al Di Meola, the latter making a superb sound with his New World Orchestra. If you’re ever in that neck of the woods in early July make sure you get tickets, whoever is playing.

A fistful of beryllium


Views: 1285

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of The Tom Tom Club to add comments!

Join The Tom Tom Club


Welcome to the Tom Tom Club

About the Tom Tom Club

2 discussions

The Naim Archive

8 discussions

Your Naim Story

The place to post details of your Naim systems

44 discussions


  • Add Photos
  • View All

Latest Activity

Tom Tom Audio posted blog posts
Apr 25
Paul stephenson is now a member of The Tom Tom Club
Apr 25
Tom Tom Audio posted a blog post

Super Lumina Home Demonstrations

Contact us to experience these extraordinary cables in your own systemSee More
Apr 20
Tom Tom Audio posted blog posts
Mar 29
Rich Lewis is now a member of The Tom Tom Club
Mar 29
Profile IconAlan Chow and Greg joined The Tom Tom Club
Mar 28
Tom Tom Audio posted a blog post

A Free Naim Powerline Lite Mains Lead Worth £95 When You Purchase a Pre-Loved Naim Item in March*

See our Latest Pre-Loved Stock Here  Latest Items Include:Naim NAC 552 DRNaim NAC 52Naim NAP 300 DRNaim Nait XS 2Naim XPS 2 DRNaim Supercap DR See More
Mar 10
Tom Tom Audio posted a blog post

Coming Soon! The New Kudos Titan 707 on Demonstration

Developed from the ground breaking Titan 808, the new Kudos Titan 707 delivers the same breath-taking performance in a more compact and affordable package. We got our order in early and have managed to secure one of the first pairs which will be available for demonstration in May. Please form an orderly queue for a…See More
Feb 28

© 2017   Created by Tom Tom Audio.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service