France is known not only for automobiles, excellent cuisine, high fashion and jammed streets of Paris. It is also one of the most important countries on the audiophile map of the world. It's the birthplace of brands such as Triangle, Lavardin, Lecontoure, Atoll, Devialet, Cabasse, Micromega, YBA, Fadel Art or Jadis. However, one of the most meaningful companies in the area of the speakers and accessories is Focal. And we are not talking only about the French, but worldwide market. Now this company, which a few years ago was known as JMLab, has several production centres. Collectively they occupy an area comparable to small refinery.
Not so long ago the French took a number of important decisions, which stabilized the brand and turned out to be absolutely right. First of all, they backtracked from the sale of their drivers. Thereby, it cut off home-grown designers and serious competitors from access to Focal's technology. The extension of the offer - so that not only audiophiles, but also the average consumers also were pleased - was the second important step. Home theater speakers, docking stations, computer speakers, soundbars and various other products appeared in the catalogue, next to flagship sets. A series of headphones has been expanded into several new models.
Also in the wireless floorstanding speakers called Easya we can notice the impact of modern solutions on traditional constructions. The Easya looks quite inconspicuous from the outside, but has built-in amplifiers and Bluetooth connectivity so you can almost forget about cables, additional amps or receivers. It promises to be very interesting. But was the functionality achieved at the cost of weaker performance? We decided to check it out.
Design and functionality
Easya speakers look elegant and very modern. Theoretically, this is a classical, floorstanding model, with a height of less than one meter. Vertical edges of enclosure are slightly rounded, and the base is surrounded by an aluminium insert. The owners of soft floors will be satisfied with the possibility of screwing the supplied silver spikes. The front wall is decorated with three drivers - aluminium dome tweeter TNV2, and two 13-cm mid-range drivers with polyglass membranes. A sizeable port, which colour matches speakers' baskets, is mounted below. At the bottom we can see a kind of a seal in the form of Focal's logo.
The set also contains the HUB - a wireless transmitter and receiver in one, and it allows the speakers to communicate with the source. The set of jacks on its rear panel is ultramodern and probably doesn't look like a equipment of a typical amplifier. If the user wants to connect a TV, a CD-player, a video game console, computer or other digital source, they shouldn't have any problems with it. The receiver works quickly and without any problems. Reportedly HUBs didn't work properly in the early copies of Easya, but here everything was perfectly fine. Transceiver's display informs us which source is currently active. You can change it using the remote control or pressing two small buttons placed above the display. However, the device doesn't provide any buttons to adjust the volume. Only remote control lets the user to do it, so it's better not to lose it.
And then, like all audiophile brand products, described speakers are wireless, but nothing can interfere with the wireless signal transmission. The apt-X Bluetooth technology enables lossless data transfer. Each speaker is equipped with its own power amplifier mounted on the rear wall just above the floor. Focal declares that it's a very efficient configuration which gives up to 85 W at low distortion. To switch on the speakers, you have to connect them to the power, press the button and wait until the signal from the transmitter is detected. At first, three red LEDs light up. Their colour changes to white after locating the source. It looks very impressive, especially at night, when each speaker is surrounded by its own glow. Some users may be upset about additional blue LEDs indicating amplifiers' work. Fortunately, the manufacturer provided the switch, which allows to shut them off. I must admit that the Easya speakers look beautiful in a modern interiors, even without backlight. But what about the sound?
Focal once again didn't disappoint me. We get fair sound, in addition to the well-made enclosures and small details increasing their aesthetic value. Which models could these speakers compete with? If we subtract the cost of the amplifiers, it would be reasonable to compare them to the speakers for €1200. On the other hand if we buy Easyas, we get not only the speakers, but a full stereo system - we need only additional source. In my opinion, wireless active loudspeakers should be seen as a completely new category of products, because it makes no sense to compare them with passive models or with more complex systems of traditional speakers and amplifier. This offer of the French company is actually one of the first in the audio world, thus it's too early for a comparison with the competitors. However, in the end it only matters how we perceive sound in terms of the price and functionality. And do I like this performance? Definitely yes.
Easya puts our attention on transparency and clarity. Interestingly, the sound is relatively smooth and pleasantly gentle. We can feel that this effect wasn't achieved by force. In addition, the highs are delightedly light, sweet and airy. The treble has an undeniable charm. As you can see, the change of the tweeter was a good move by the manufacturer. Easya is one of the first constructions with this tweeter, and I wouldn't mind if the French used it even in the more expensive speakers. In combination with fast and direct midrange, the quality of the treble makes the vocals exceptionally good. I could expect this level of neutrality and transparency from the set of passive speakers and amplifier twice as expensive as Easyas. But here we get everything in one package.
Two 13-cm woofers isn't a world record, but in practice, this diameter proved to be quite enough to fill a room of 18 square meters with bass. I think that it wouldn't be a problem to stretch the intensity of the lows, even in the case of 25-30 square meters. The nature of this range blends perfectly with the rest. The bass is rather quick and energetic. It perfectly dictates the rhythm to the recordings, emphasizing their saturation. Here low frequencies are very diverse. This is why the music never turns into a homogeneous mass, and we can always keep track of the different instruments over the entire bandwidth. Moreover, Easya speakers like to play loud without compression. If you like to feel incisive emotion, you can get to really high levels of decibels without the impression of overloading and mess.
In summary, Easya showed a master class. I expected that putting two amplifiers and HUB into speakers can make the sound worse. In practice the performance of this model is much, much better than the performance of speakers at the same price level. Apparently the engineers could perfectly match the speakers and the amplifiers, making the sound balanced and versatile.
Build quality and technical parameters
Easya model is the set of 2.5-way floorstanding speakers. The new variant of the inverted aluminum-magnesium dome, labelled as TNV2, was used as a tweeter. Suspension of this driver is made of poron - the type of foam used often for cushioning and absorbing vibrations. A pair of 13cm midbass drivers work below. Their membranes are made of polyglass that consists of cellulose with molten glass microballs. Focal patented this technology more than twenty years ago, but nowadays customers still enjoy it. The port was painted in the same color as the drivers baskets. The enclosures were made of 25mm MDF. It's quite a lot. The side walls are gently rounded, thus helping to suppress disadvantageous resonance. One piece weighs 17 kg (37 lbs). Each speaker has build-in amplifier which delivers 85 watts into 4 ohms. Frequency response begins at 50 Hz and extends to 28 kHz. The manufacturer hasn't forgotten about the orthodox audiophiles, allowing them to change the power cables for the better, thicker and more rhodium-plated ones. Before connecting you should pay attention to the switches to determine a channel. It's the best to follow the information on the yellow stickers. This will ensure optimum performance and the correct sound stage.
A laptop with Foobar 2000, Audioquest NRG-2 power cables, iPhone 5s, Avcon Grand 6 acoustic diffusers.
Easya is a combination of modern design, excellent functionality and audiophile sound. At the start of this review I wondered if these speakers would be more similar to cheaper, passive speakers or perhaps to the full stereo system with loudspeakers at Easya's price. Definitely the latter version is closer to reality. The French speakers would deserve for high marks even if they didn't have build-in amps and wireless features. But this functionality means that Easya can be a full stereo system, ready to play music from the sources used by every user.
Speakers type: floorstanding, active, wireless
Amplifier power: 85 W/4 Ω
Frequency response: 50 Hz - 28 kHz
Dimensions (H/W/D): 90,5/17,2/24 cm
Weight: 17 kg (one piece)