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Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos Home Theater System Preview

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Summary

  • Product Name: Sib Evo Speaker System
  • Manufacturer: Focal
  • Review Date: August 03, 2017 00:00
  • MSRP: $1,299 for a 5.1.2 setup
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

 


Sib Evo Sib Evo Dolby Atmos (front) Sib Evo Dolby Atmos (top)
Type Two-way bass reflex loudpeaker Two-way bass reflex loudpeaker Fullrange sealed loudspeaker
Speakers 5" Polyflex woofer 5" Polyflex woofer 3" full-range speaker

3/4" soft dome tweeter 3/4" soft dome tweeter
Frequency Response (+/- 3 dB) 70Hz to 25KHz 65Hz to 25KHz 90Hz to 20KHz
Low frequency point -6 dB 66Hz 60Hz 75Hz
Sensitivity (2.83V/1m) 90dB 90dB 90dB
Nominal impedance 6 Ohms 6 Ohms 6 Ohms
Crossover Frequency 3.5kHz 3.5kHz
Recomended Amplifier Power 25-200W 25-200W
Dimensions (HxWxD) 10"x6 3/8"x6 3/8" 11 5/8" x 7 11/16" x 7 1/2" 
Weight (lb) 4lb 7lb

 

Cub Evo Subwoofer

Type Active bass-reflex subwoofer
Speaker 8 1/4" Polyflex woofer
Frequency response
35Hz - 150Hz
Cutoff frequency (-6dB)     
30Hz
Cut-off frequency
3.5kHz
Amplifier power
200W Class D amplifier
Dimensions (HxWxD)
12" x 11 1/8" x 11 3/4"
Weight 17.5 lb

 

 

Executive Overview

In the last five years since Dolby Atmos made its debut we’ve heard some pretty amazing demo rooms.  Planes flying overhead, whispering voices, church organs, all surrounding you three dimensionally in rooms filled with 20+ speakers and at least 4 giant subwoofers. Since then, audio manufacturers have tried to get 3D sound without relying on such a multitude of speakers and have smacked the Atmos label on them in the process. Some companies came up with pretty ingenious products that get close to 3D sound without a multi-channel speaker placement and have really impressed us in blind listening tests in their demo rooms. But by now most Audioholics readers know how we really feel about Dolby Atmos enabled speakers and how they are a compromise to discretely placed speaker systems. An Atmos enabled loudspeaker feature front-firing and vertical-firing speaker drivers that are fully-integrated into one housing. This new-generation 'enabled loudspeaker' was designed to reproduce both horizontal and vertical waves (towards the ceiling). The major innovation of this technology lies in the so called "Atmos Effect", the reflection of sound waves off the ceiling towards the listener using an extra speaker driver. Although they can generate some interesting effects in areas where ceiling speakers cannot be installed, we've found there really is no comparison or substitute to a physical speaker being installed above your head. But, that doesn't stop companies from producing these speakers in hopes to provide a simple solution that also captures the buzz surrounding immersive audio.

This year, Focal, a French speaker and headphone manufacturer unveiled the company’s new generation of Sib loudspeakers with their Sib Evo line featuring Dolby Atmos technology.  Visually, the system is nicely designed but very low profile — it's part of an effort by Focal to allow the system to blend in with just about any home entertainment system. Size-wise, this is no Bose system, but it certainly won't be obstructing views and it shouldn't offend the sensibilities of interior designers or picky spouses. As for color, you've got just one choice: matte black. The Sib Evo Dolby Atmos system look to be easy to install and use compared to a traditional Dolby Atmos or DTS:X immersive sound system, and the company promises to “submerge you in a 3D universe, making you feel like you’re at the heart of the action.”  

Focal offers several options for setting up a Sib Evo system and individual pieces can be added to an existing Evo system or a non Evo system as well. There are three key components to the Sib Evo system: The Sib Evo, Sib Evo Dolby Atmos, and the Cub Evo Subwoofer.

Sib Evo

Sib_Evo_34_Couple02.jpg     Sib_Evo_Centrale.jpg     Sib_Evo_Dessous.jpg

“The Sib Evo Dolby Atmos loudspeaker is the second generation of Focal’s iconic Sib range that launched in 2002 and keeps in line with the design codes of the range with a style that is futurist, but timeless.  Our Sib range of compact loudspeakers has been a reference in the home cinema universe since its launch in 2002. It became the go-to system in the 5.1 Home Cinema sector with its timeless design which has set the trend for nearly two decades.”

Ben Jensen, president of Focal North America.

The new Sib Evo is based on Focal's Sib & Co range that are now over 15 years old!.  This iteration of the speaker is a two-way bass-reflex satellite loudspeaker equipped with a 5" Polyflex woofer and a 1" silk dome tweeter. The interior components are encased in an ABS shell with a matte and lacquered finish. From looking at the specs, building materials, and overall composition of the Sib Evo, we would have expected more from the $299/pr price point. But, aesthetics may play a big role in price here for those that don't want a boxy looking speaker.  The minimal bracing and use of ABS plastics gives us pause. Although not as streamlined as the Sib Evo, for $229 you could buy yourself a pair of Elac B5 Bookshelf speakers that we reviewed last year and have an excellent pair of speakers if you don't mind their more boxy aesthetics.

Sib Evo Dolby Atmos

Sib_Evo _Atmos_34_D.jpg Sib_Evo_Atmos_Dos.jpg

The Sib Evo Dolby Atmos speaker is where it gets interesting, take the standard Sib Evo speaker described above (5-inch driver and 1-inch tweeter). Then add an additional upward firing 3-inch full-range driver that Focal says is specially built to direct sound off the walls granting full Dolby Atmos compatibility with a tiny footprint. In addition, the Sib Evo Dolby Atmos was designed with more rear volume than the Sib Evo to give it even more extended frequency response. In the past, we've found severe limitations with first generation Atmos-enabled speakers like the Definitive Technology A60 employing a single 3" or 4" cone woofer for the upfiring driver and we don''t expect this design to be any different. It's important to keep things into perspective when going with an integrated solution for Atmos like this.

All Sib Evo and Sib Evo Dolby Atmos loudspeakers are equipped with a connector system with push buttons to hook them up to an amplifier. There are also double connectors instead of single connectors for the power supply.

Sib_Evo_Atmos_compare.jpgSib_Evo_Support.jpg

Each satellite speaker is pre-mounted to its base. You can still adjust the inclination by +/-5 degrees, bearing in mind that the loudspeakers are delivered with the degree of inclination recommended by Dolby. In 5.1 and 5.1.2 Home Cinema systems, the loudspeaker can also be used horizontally, turning the satellite into a center loudspeaker. We've gotta give props to Focal for conjuring up such a clever mounting base.

Cub Evo Subwoofer

Evo_Cub_Cutout.jpg  Evo_Cub_Detail_Dos.jpg  Evo_Cub_sub.jpg

The Cub Evo Subwoofer is equipped with an 8” Polyflex speaker driver and a 200W Class D amplifier, it’s enclosed by an MDF structure and comes in a Black Matte finish. Focal claims the Cub Evo can deliver controlled bass with a frequency response that extends as low as 35Hz. Which is possible from a sub of this size and caliber, but don't expect anything more than a Small Bassaholic rating from such a design.

Pricing and Availability

We do like the fact the Focal took the time to give the consumer several buying options. Just want 2 Dolby Atmos enabled speakers added to you existing system? Focal's got a price for that. Focal’s Sib Evo products will be available August 2017, and are made up of five different packages as outlined below.

Sib Evo Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 system Black - $1,299 USD

SIBEVOATMOS512.jpg

The Sib Evo Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 system comes with 3 Sib Evo Bookshelf Speakers, a Sib Evo Powered Subwoofer, and 2 Sib Evo Dolby Atmos Enabled Speakers. One of the standard Sib Evos would be turned sideways and used as your center channel.

One interesting note - The Focal logo can rotate so it stays upright even if you use one of their speakers as a center channel

Sib Evo 5.1 Black - $999 USD

Sib_Evo_main.jpg

This package is Focal's standard 5.1 system.  It comes with 5 Sib Evo Bookshelf Speakers plus a Sib Evo Powered Subwoofer.  At this price point, there are some strong competitors to consider like the RSL CG3 system with Speedwoofer 10S, especially since the Speedwoofer 10S would be a significant upgrade to the Focal Cub.

Other Optionsstand.jpg

Sib Evo Dolby Atmos 2.0 system Black - $599 USD - 2 Bookshelf Dolby Atmos Speakers with Ceiling Directed Speakers

These speakers can be added to any 5.1 Theatre system to turn into Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 or these speakers can be added to 3 2.0 plus a SUB to make up a Dolby Atmos 5.1.2

Sib Evo 2.0 Black (2 Bookshelf Speakers) - $299 USD

Cub Evo Subwoofer Black (Powered Subwoofer) - $379 USD

We feel that for $20 more you can get the RSL Speedwoofer 10S which is one of the best subwoofers we have reviewed for its price point. If you're heart is set on the Focal speakers, go with them but take a look at subs from SVS, HSU or RSL as you will get a lot more boom for your buck.

Pack of 2 Hip Evo stands - $199 USD -  The 2.0 packs are supplied with a soft base. The 5.1 and 5.1.2 packs are supplied with a soft base and two wall-mounts.

Conclusion

As with its recently unveiled headphones, it's clear Focal is trying to access the mainstream market with the rather affordable Sib Evo Dolby Atmos system. Further evidence of that can be seen in the company's effort to make the system easy to install, thereby making it more appealing to consumers who love quality audio but don't want to spend hours or even days fine-tuning their new system. For example, the speakers' connector system features push buttons designed to make linking up with an amplifier easier than ever before. At the same time, each of the satellite speakers is already mounted to its base, meaning they're pretty much ready to go out of the box.

It's nice to see Focal giving consumers a variety of buying options depending on their needs, but given our nature as bassaholics, we would have liked to have seen more robust subwoofer options available. If you want to get into a Dolby Atmos enabled system for under $2,000 (with the receiver) and you don't want to do the research on individual components than this might be the way to go. We on the other hand are Audioholics who are dedicated to finding the best sound available at any price point even if it's cheaper than what you would expect.

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About the author:

Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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Recent Forum Posts:

gene posts on August 04, 2017 00:18
MandM, post: 1202038, member: 36148
Sensibility rating of 90db seems pretty sensible.
LOL good catch. thanks.
MandM posts on August 03, 2017 21:31
Sensibility rating of 90db seems pretty sensible.
gene posts on August 03, 2017 01:26
With every speaker company vying to get their product into the 3D immersive sound arena, will Focal's new Sib Evo 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos enabled system stand out? You know how We feel about Dolby Atmos enabled speakers, but with cheap plastic housings and a minimalistic 8" sub will Focal be able to compete? They've made some outstanding speakers in the past. Read our in depth preview of the Focal Sib Evo to find out.


Read: Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos Home Theater System Preview
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