Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker
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Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker Review

Focal has introduced a new series of high-fidelity speakers, bringing you captivating sound quality. Whether for stereo or home theater, the Vestia series allows you to experience new emotions.

The inspiration behind the Vestia series name comes from the hearth goddesses Vesta and Hestia, reflecting the purity of Focal’s sound. This series includes five newly crafted products made in France:

  1. Vestia N°1: A compact bookshelf speaker.
  2. Vestia N°2: An exceptional 3-way floor-standing speaker.
  3. Vestia N°3: A 3-way floor-standing speaker with three woofers for powerful bass.
  4. Vestia N°4: A 3-way floor-standing speaker delivering precise, neutral, and powerful sound.
  5. Vestia Center: A 2-way center speaker enhancing dialogue in movies.
Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker

Vestia N°1 offers an attractive and well-thought-out presentation, embodying our expectations for Focal speakers. If these advantages appeal to you, few other products can likely match them. It’s a charming and powerful device that should find many new friends.

Focal Vestia N°1 is a 2-way bookshelf speaker and the smallest member of the new Focal series. The company has been busy expanding its more affordable offerings in recent years and carefully expanding its technological expertise for this task.

As we’re about to discuss, the Vestias represent a combination of ideas and improvements that have shaped Focal’s design philosophy in recent years, not just in the realm of home spaces.

Expanding on this philosophy is worth expanding because Focal holds some of the most advanced design principles among any mainstream speaker brand. The company is committed to long-lasting ideas and concepts—principles that have changed very little in my time in the industry—but they approach these principles in a highly adaptable manner.

Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker

This flexibility is particularly useful in more affordable segments, as over time, certain processes and materials have become more expensive, and Focal is willing to roll up its sleeves to find alternatives.

Vestia is part of a two-stage upgrade in the Focal product line, with the upcoming Theva series replacing the Chora models and opening up more space between them regarding design and functionality. This allows the Vestia series to compete freely at the most competitive price. Does Vestia N°1 give you a compelling reason to beat some formidable competitors at this price? Let’s find out.

Design

Vestia No.1 combines a composite material mid-low driver and a metal tweeter. This configuration can be traced back to Focal speakers at the turn of the century. So far, so good. Though the nature of these driver units has evolved over the years, Vestia No.1 employs the latest versions of both. The most notable is the mid-low driver, made from a material Focal called “Slatefiber,” which first appeared in the Chora series.

Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker

From the outset, it’s important to clarify that no stone material enters the speaker. Slatefiber is recycled, compressing non-woven carbon fibers (and when I say “compressed,” I mean compressed – I’ve been to Focal’s factory, and the unit compression fixture looks like it could reduce the thickness of a T-800 to 50p if it wanted to) between two layers of polymer.

The result indeed resembles cut and polished slate but is overall lighter. It also adheres to Focal’s philosophy of being extremely lightweight and rigid. As per Focal’s usual practice, the decorative ring on the Vestia bears the label “Slatefiber Technology,” which, to be fair, is more straightforward for the casual observer to grasp than “F Sandwich Technology” on the Kantas.

Additionally, the Vestia series introduces a new tweeter, but it’s only partially new for Focal. To stay in line with the company’s broader spirit, the tweeter’s basic principles remain the same as they have been for some time.

The tweeter is an aluminum/magnesium inverted dome. Still, it incorporates engineering developments from Focal’s automotive division (Focal and several other companies have been in a technological race to capture a lucrative market share). The result is a recognizable Focal inverted dome but noticeably different and positioned further forward on the cabinet.

Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker

Surrounding it is a polyurethane tweeter waveguide, not particularly deep but offering a different surface to help disperse high-frequency information. Having the driver positioned forward makes it more vulnerable than some major competitors, especially with toddlers around.

As the smallest stereo model in this series, Vestia N°1 features a front-firing port, a characteristic consistent with other 2-way Focal floor-standing speakers.

However, a dual-port arrangement is used in floor-standing speakers, with the front port tuned to produce a perceptible punch while the rear port enhances low-frequency response. This relatively larger speaker – with a 6.5-inch driver in a 38.7 cm cabinet – doesn’t claim to be particularly earthquake-resistant, rolling off at 56Hz at a demanding +/- 3dB and hitting -6dB at 48Hz.

Another long-standing Focal tradition is retained with a single set of speaker terminals; Focal has never minded this, even during the heyday of bi-wiring, and there’s no sign of any change.

Aesthetically, Vestia also refines some Focal traditions. It’s unmistakably Focal in design – the separate baffle material and decorative ring have been part of the design language for over a decade – but it also opts for a slight twist.

Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker

Perhaps the most noteworthy part is the finish in which the review sample appeared, which Focal calls “Light Wood.” Technically, it’s not untrue because Vestia N°1 does have wood grain accents on its sides, but it conveniently overlooks the detail that “light,” in this case, means “white.”

This is a bold move, even if I set aside my general (but not inevitable) disdain for white speakers. “Off-white” hasn’t been seen for a while, and the results could potentially be disastrous… but that’s not the case here. Vestia N°1 looks quite appealing in this finish, and the key is enough contrast detail on the speaker to make it appear crisp and interesting.

If it were up to me, I’d opt for a more traditional wood finish because I’m quite a traditional person. I believe Focal has bravely executed this light-colored finish and made it work. However, I would reserve judgment on the larger cabinets until I see them.

Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker


The craftsmanship of Vestia N°1 is excellent, but I can’t recall any Focal speaker that isn’t. One thing to consider is that this is a speaker manufactured in the EU, which has practical limitations compared to speakers manufactured in the Far East at similar price points (though this is no longer a clear-cut boundary). At its core, Focal feels like a worthwhile choice.

Sound Performance

Vestia N°1 manages to do some recognized (and beneficial) Focal-style things right from the start. With a nominal 89.5dB/W sensitivity and the usual 8-ohm impedance (commonly 4-ohm), it creates a speaker that’s easy to drive in most situations.

It may not be my first choice with single-ended tube amplifiers, but you don’t need several hundred watts of high current to get it to do anything useful. The absence of rear ports also means it can be placed close to a wall, which might save you from reaching for foam plugs in many competitor cases.

Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker

I also find Focal’s low-frequency response requirements to be conservative. In a 4m x 3m main listening room, Vestia 1 only exceeds the +/- 3dB threshold at 47Hz and maintains reasonable low-end output down to 40Hz. It’s not a bass monster. There are a few Focal bookshelf speakers, but it also doesn’t sound lightweight.

Another point that still holds (though less than before) is that Vestia does require some attention to its positioning. Focal has never truly been a “plug-and-play brand; you must be careful with all their speakers to get them dialed in. Vestia N°1 is more forgiving than older models, but, as mentioned earlier, you still need to consider where you place them.

However, the effort pays off, and the result is worth it. The consistency of Focal’s engineering principles yields impressive performance consistency. You can place a pair of Kanta N°1s side by side on the same stands and alternate running them from an Edge A amplifier, which will show you more.

Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker

The key here is detail retrieval. Peter Gabriel’s B-side, “Quiet Steam” from the “Steam” album, is full of splendor and texture, and Vestia 1 is equipped with admirable gear to pry it open and showcase its excellence.

This, combined with tonality, which must be considered the most important aspect for speakers in this price range, is spot on. Gabriel’s vocal style is direct and distinct, and Focal ensures he sounds right. Shifting gears entirely, enjoy Stanley Jordan’s unique (and quite spectacular) interpretation of “Eleanor Rigby,” Focal is there for it. T

he texture, decay, and placement of the guitar are convincing. Jordan’s unique approach to playing the instrument (he plays two melodies simultaneously on the same neck) is evident, thanks to the information retrieval Focal provides. As long as you pay attention to positioning, the soundstage is spacious and consistently three-dimensional.

Of course, when it sounds like its sibling models, you have to accept that some things Kanta didn’t like here are no longer an issue. This is a speaker with resolution and detail, and if you ask it to dive into a less-than-stellar recording, it really can only help tell you what’s wrong.

Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker

White Lies’ “Ritual” thin and edgy lead vocals are not a happy place for Focal. On the wrong electronics, it can easily sound a bit harsh (though it never went there on all test electronics), and it’s considered less forgiving compared to the more balanced Concept 30.

Like any other product I’ve tested in this price range, Focal does everything with effortless speed. Give it a reasonable, rhythmic recording, like Red Rum Club’s “Ballerino,” Vestia N°1 has genuine, exhilarating entertainment value. Focal Vestia N°1 doesn’t lose any impressive driving dynamics.

The ability to tweak the formula without changing the overall philosophy has more benefits than simply allowing material flexibility; it creates speakers that can strike more emotional chords without losing any of the professionalism the company possesses.

Focal Vestia N°1 Bookshelf Speaker

Conclusion


The result is indeed a highly convincing product. Vestia performs exceptionally well, and in its price range, it can effectively compete with any speaker I think of. Equally important, Focal’s early products prepare you for your upgrade journey because many of the qualities Vestia N°1 possesses still exist and are done right in Focal’s designs. At this price point, it’s an affordable newcomer that comes highly recommended!


Specifications

  • Type: 2-way bass-reflex bookshelf loudspeaker
  • Midbass Driver: 6.5″ (16.5cm) Slatefiber Midbass
  • Tweeter: 1″ (25mm) AI/Mg inverted dome TAM tweeter
  • Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 89.5dB
  • Frequency Response (+/-3dB): 56Hz-30kHz
  • Low-Frequency Point (-6dB): 48Hz
  • Nominal Impedance: 8Ω
  • Minimum Impedance: 4.5Ω
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 25-120W
  • Crossover Frequency: 2,800Hz
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 8 5/8 x 10 1/4 x 15 1/4 inches (21.9 x 26 x 38.7 cm)
  • Net Weight (with grille): 15.4 lbs (7 kg)
  • Packaging Dimensions (WxDxH): 22 7/8 x 15 x 18 7/8 inches (58 x 38 x 48 cm)
  • Net Weight (with packaging, 2 pieces): 38.6 lbs (17.5 kg)