Advice on best way to run 2 pairs of Focal Chora 826's

Mark1970

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Mar 8, 2021
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Hi All

I recently bought a pair of Focal Chora 826s and have been running them in on my old Audiolab 8000A. With a CD they sound excellent sometimes and disappointing at other times depending on the CD, I have tried them with a Topping DAC combined with the CD payer and also with an Ifi Zen blue streaming in LDAC and again it sometimes sounds absolutely brilliant, at other times very compressed. A week ago they had another offer on the Choras so I now have 2 pairs ( the wife loved the look of the Dark wood ones we had and we both agreed a matching pair in the light wood would look great in the adjoining room) The two pairs cost £1200 (we are in France) they will be in adjoining rooms and can sit about (set 1) 4m away from the amp/streamer and (set 2) 2m from the Amp streamer (i can drill through the wall to pass the cables!!).

At first, it seemed a no-brainer, Powernode with a switch to change between speakers (I think mostly it would be one set at a time but it would be nice to listen to both) but after looking into it I am not sure if this is the way to go? Would you stick with a simple amp that is designed to run 2 sets of speakers and a separate streamer?

I am worried about buying a streaming amp that will become outdated. I don't think the Audiolab is right for the Focals, I am going to put it back with my B&W CDM 1's. The power node seemed a good idea (even if I have to keep swapping the banana plugs) at about £800 out here but I have heard that a lot of people then spend another 5-600 on a DAC (even though the power node has one built in?) I want to move to mainly streaming and would prefer to spend the 1k or so I had hoped to but could stretch it to double that for something that will sound really decent. I am not against trying out unknown brands or an outside-the-box way of thinking about how to do it.

Many thanks in advance.
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
really the best option for you would been to have 2 sets of streaming speakers.... sonos play 5's or similar (would have been well within budget) then you could have networked both pairs and used your smart device to control and stream.

The best option in my mind if you're willing to drill holes would be a surround amp as they're easier to set up into multiroom room config's. If you don't need the surround capabilities really good deals can be had on eBay for some very fine-sounding AV amps, that have been retired purely because the HDMI pecs have left them behind. then you can find an apple tv or chromecast audio (super cheap if you can find one) for your streaming duties.

The next best option is to find an amp with dual speaker terminals. But most can't be used at the same time all that well. AV amp can drive separate rooms at the same time as they have separate amps inside for channels (at least the good ones)

BUT id be unwilling to do that ie drill holes into walls. So id just buy 2 power nodes or similar. The dac's are more than fine especially if you're streaming you're just adding unnecessary boxes and clutter.

Sure there is an element of planned obsolescence but these are "cheap" enough that if that day does come, they can be easily replaced and you haven't spent to much.

hope that helps a little!
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
1 Sonos play 5 v pair Focal Chora 826? are you sure?!!!

Didn’t say there better I said there a better solution for what your trying to achieve. And why not have you listened to them and compared them?

Any how you’re looking to pair them the focals with a blusound amp hardly an amp thats going to get the best out of them. So you have already accepted a level of compromise because of what your trying to do.

I’d rather have a set of speakers designed from the ground up to push all the components to what’s possible with them. Mix that with a level of room correction and dsp they make a completing argument for themselves.

I gave other options and your hung on the sonos solution. But ok.
 
I’d hesitate to say I know what I’m talking about, but a few thoughts come to mind:-

1. I’m sure the speakers deserve better than a Powernode or an old Audiolab.
2. I don’t know what amplifier brands are available to you locally, but the days when most amps had A, B or A+B speakers switches seems a long time ago now.
3. Switch boxes exist to add A+B etc function to any amp but I’ve not experienced them in decades and instinctively they seem like a bad idea - adding stuff in the signal path isn’t very Hi-Fi.
4. AV amps may well offer lots of switching but I hate them with a vengeance!
5. For $2000 I’m sure there’s a decent amp with two pairs of speaker connections, possibly including a streamer.
6. Finding one will need a bit of research that I’m not inclined to do right now. I suggest asking the Focal dealer.

I’ll pop back if some inspiration strikes me.

Bon chance.
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
you say "the best option for you" so please go to bed. Let someone who knows what they are talking about advise me. Thank you.

“really the best option for you would have been to have 2 sets of streaming speakers.... sonos play 5's or similar”

Is what I said, so that could be kef. similar no? It could have been klipsch, dynaudio all have products similar in function to Sonos though some options more expensive, so I’ll stand by my advice, Streaming speakers would have been best in this situation. But you saw that dirty little word Sonos and got hung up on it, you and the moderator.

You’re the one that bought 2pairs of passive speakers because you thought you got a “deal” and the only solution now open to you is to punch a gl@&y hole in the wall because you only want/can afford one amp/streaming solution and you came here looking for a solution. I gave you several and very good ones including ones that include your holes in the wall, take or leave those solutions .

Im guessing you’ll leave them lol.
 
Not sure if you can get Cambridge without a trip to Blighty, but the CXA81 amp and matching CXN V2 streamer are highly regarded by WHF. I don’t recall hearing either, but there is A, B and A+B switching, good power output into 4 ohms and modern look.

About £1800 for the pair, but plenty of offers here, so you can probably bag them for less. Can’t say if you’d find the sound to your taste with your speakers, but its a good place to begin.

 

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