Power for Focal Aria 936

Hi all,
Just ordered a pair of Focal Aria 936s. Focal reports a sensitivity of 92dB, but a minimum impedance of 2.8 ohms is reported:

So how much power do I really need to optimize these speakers (large room)?
Current budget for power is only $1K, either integrated or pre + power. I'm certainly open to something 2-4 years old used.

Thanks for any suggestions/thoughts.
Man, I wish I could see their crossover. Focal has a habit of deliberately putting out low impedance designs.

It's not about the power so much as low impedance capability. I would strongly recommend a used Parasound Halo A21 or A23 as being very capable with this type of speaker, and quite affordable and easy to find used.


I drove some Aria 936s during a lengthy audition with the Parasound integrated. The top panel was quite warm, bordering on hot. Even though those speakers have good sensitivity, they should be used with an amp that can handle tough loads. For a little over $1K, you can get a Schiit Vidar amp and Saga Preamp. The Vidar can double its power as the impedance halves. Not many amps in this price range can do that. I doubt you'd do better for your budget if you want new gear. 

I've got the same speakers. I'm using a modified FW F5. You can drive them with as little as 25 watts with the right amp, but in a large room you're going to want more like 100. That's a lot of power for what you're looking to spend. You really want something that's not going to hiccup at 2 ohm to get the best out of them. 
Thanks for the comments so far: Parasound A23, as well as older HCA-2200 are in the price range. Obviously a bit concerned about helomech's comments about heat (though the HCA-2200 pushes 750 WPC at 4 Ohms...
Not familiar with Schmitt's. Good reviews, very intriguing. Anyone with experience out there with these? Sound quality?
I'm always nervous about "audiophile quality at mid-fi prices. Emotiva is in that category as well. Locally I found a Parasound HCA1000a and Emotiva USP-1 for $300 apiece.
Thoughts on those and the above??
I also see an Adcom GFA-555se for $650 (purchased in 2015), and a pair of Emotiva XPA-1L mono blocks for $700 on Audiogon right now.
Any experience with those?
If I were you I'd be sniffing out some Schitt and I wouldn't be put off by the price. A LOT of what you're buying with more expensive amps is a very expensive case. My F5 is in a very plain-jane chassis and it was over a third of the cost of the things. The 5U chassis would have been half. The Vidar is a decently built amp optimized to drive very reactive loads. Plus, you'll get a warranty with it. Had I not decided to build something I probably would have bought a few. 
So I've done some homework on the Schiit Vidar. One review mentions that low impedance at higher volume (which I do enjoy, especially as the ears age...) may trip the protection circuit.  http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/schiit-vidar-power-amplifier
That makes me nervous, even though sure seems like you get a lot for your money. Anyone out there using the Vidar to drive the 936s?
Any thoughts on the Adcom or Emotive options above, or other suggestions?

Is your budget $1K for just the amp or you need an amp and preamp, or an integrated amplifier for that budget? If the latter, I'd suggest looking into Vincent and they have a couple of models that should fit your budget. Or maybe a Parasound Halo integrated. If the former, I think you'll have to be patient and see if something comes up for sale in the used market, probably a vintage amplifier, that can handle a 2 ohm load on a sustained high volume scenario. I picked up a McIntosh MC2200 - later bought a second one, for around $1K and really like how it sounds with my Martin Logan speakers. Many newer moderately priced high powered amplifiers tend to get a bit grainy when they see higher loads (lower impedance) at high listening levels. Your speakers are really good and they can shine when fed properly. Good luck.

Hoping to stay as close to $1K total as possible. Looks like I can get a new Parasound P5 and 2 year old A23 for around $1400. Erik recommended that above.
I see a McIntosh MC7100 listed for $800. 
Older Mac vs newer Parasound...thoughts?


do you know the mods for your FW F5 ?

Whom performed the mods?

Happy Listening!

Oh... I know the guy who modified it well. It was the same guy who built it; me. Instead of 24V rails it's got 32V. It's also biased at 1.42 amp instead of the usual 1.3. I also deleted the current limiting BJT's. I'm very happy with it. 
Thanks for all the comments. After a lot of homework, I opted to push the price range a bit (ahh, don't we always?), and went for a slightly used Hegel H160. Can't wait for it to arrive!
Curious about combination of Hegel H160 and Focal 936.

I have the predecessor to the 936 - The Focal Chorus 836V.  Similar impedance dip.  I currently drive these with a Marantz PM11S3 which doubles from [email protected] to [email protected]  These sound amazing together.  I bought my amp used for $2,400.

Prior to the 11S3, I used a Marantz PM8005 with good results ( and can usually be found used for under $800).  I would not hesitate to look for the middle sibling in this range, the Marantz PM14S1 which you can usually find used for $1,200-$1,400.  Its predecessor, the PM15S2 (same specs as the 14S1) is often available for under $1,000.

Im running Chrous 807’s and yes, they are sensitive but also tough to drive. I ordered an Odyssey Khartago (stereo) to drive them. Khartagos are stable to 2 ohms and this was important to me as mine hit 4 ohms in the midbass frequencies. Despite a thread full of people telling me otherwise I KNOW this is why I struggle.

You definitely want something stable to 2ohms.

Much Thanks! kosst_amojan

Happy Listening!


Bryston is a sonic match for Focal speakers.

Happy Listening!

I recently bought a pair of 936, amp budget is also 1k+. Here's my short list:

1, Vincent SP 331, 150w 8 ohm/300w 4 ohm, 2 ohm stable
2, Odyssey Khartago, 110w 8 ohm, 2 ohm stable. Not sure if I should be getting the Plus or Extreme mod.
3, Parasound A23, 125w 8 ohm/200w 4 ohm, can do 2 ohm, but will clip at certain level according to a test report I found online.
4, Parasound 2250 v2, 275w 8 ohm/400w 4 ohm /400w 2 ohm
I should have added that I found 4 Pioneer Elite M91 stereo amplifier in the storage closet from the house i bought. Currently I’m testing the 936 with those. They are doing the job surprisingly well.

Since I will be running a 5.1.4 setup, I need to buy one more channel or one stereo amplifier while keeping the 4 M91. The other option is to sell 3 M91s, buy one good stereo amplifier for LR, a 7 channel for the rest speakers, or a 2+1 or 3 channel (cheap ones from Outlaw/Emotiva) for C+SR/SL, another 5 channel (cheap ones from Outlaw/Emotiva) for the atmos speakers.

What do you guys suggest?