They’re good for the price
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I haven't heard the 926 but have had extensive auditions of the 936. IMO, they were not even "good for the price." Their MSRP is $4K and on balance, they sounded no better than $2K competition from Revel, Magnepan, B&W and Monitor Audio.
I think much of what you're paying for in that product line is the svelte cabinet finish - leather, wood, and glass. If you like the Focal sonic signature, you be better off getting the stand-mount Electra 1008s currently on closeout. You'll get less bass quantity but that can be substituted with subs down the road. The superior top end of the Be tweeter is well worth foregoing some bass quantity.
Let YOUR OWN EARS be the judge.
Naturally, if your sources aren't decent, the expectation can't be met. I've always thought the Aria series were nice sounding speakers in their price point.
The entire Focal line is solid.
Setup/room of course, is paramount for any speaker.
It's all subjective regardless. Try to demo, or buy from a dealer with a return policy.
Asking if it's a "Hi-Fi speaker" seems inappropriate. I personally don't own Focals, but have heard countless setups from the lower to Utopia line. Some ears like them, some don't.
Well I mean they’re sort of a lower series for Focal but that’s ok. In contrast to the other poster I thought they sound much better than Bowers &Wikins at the price point.
Everyone has different tastes but I found Focal Aria to be strong under 5k. I’d personally choose Spendor but that’s just personal preference
if they sound good to you that’s all that matters
"hifi" is, of course, in the ears of the beholder--to me it means a speaker which is coherent reproduces timbre naturally and is free from colorations. form that perspective, imo the aria qualifies as hi-fi notwithstanding that it's on a middle tier pricewise. as a related aside, i've found many of focal's and b&w's lower priced models better-sounding than some of the megabuck pieces.
I've owned a pair of 926 speakers for about five years. All sorts of music played, from Reich, Bach, Stravinsky, Keith Jarrett, AC/DC, Crue, Wutang, about anything except gospel, country, or big band. At the pricepoint, they are among the most well rounded. I owned Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers before the Arias, then BW 804s before that, then inherited Empire Royal Grenadier 9000s before that. I've auditioned Magnepans, Tritons, and PSB speakers in the same price range, and have not been inclined to change.
Now, here's the gripe on the 926 speakers. The bass is really bloomy and it colors the lower midrange. You think the bass is prodigious, but it's not as clean as it could be, and the lower midrange gets muddy at higher listening levels. I know this due to hooking up a Gallo TR3 subwoofer with a filter that limits frequency going to speakers. Very audible difference, and my wife, who knows nothing about speakers was able to clearly identify the difference w/o any pre coaching or explanation why I'm asking her to listen to something twice. At 80 Hz and up the Focals are superb. The Gallo handles everything below and the crossover frequency is tunable.
That said, I'm strongly considering selling the Focals and buying a pair of Cornwall IVs, or Tekton double impact speakers. I think that will be the end of the line for me.
I auditioned them a couple of years ago, along with probably a dozen other contenders. They were in fact my front-runners going into the search, given the reviews. But when I heard them I thought they were just ok - a little too bright for my tastes, and not as musical as others I’ve heard. But it’s all what you like.
I ended up buying Egglestonworks Emma speakers which blew away everything else in that price range.