Although I was familiar with the Bird from hearing it at Focal’s factory 18 months earlier and from reading Chris Martens’ review in Issue 218, you don’t really get to know a product until you’ve had the kind of hands-on involvement I’ve just described. I learned that the Bird is not only capable of real musicality, but that it is also superbly engineered in every way. The way the parts fit together, the flexibility in mounting and swiveling the satellite speakers, and even details like the ability to run the speaker cable invisibly inside the satellite mounts were all carefully considered.
My experience with Focal’s Bird shows that high-performance audio comes in all shapes, sizes, and price points. Daryl asked incredulously how such a modestly priced system could sound so good. I explained that, unlike mass-market systems that are designed by engineers with no experience with true high-performance audio, the Bird was created by guys who also design some very-high-end loudspeakers. They have engineering chops, of course, but just as importantly they bring a different, high-end aesthetic to the table. Their approach centers on high performance—and not on creating products cynically designed for maximum profit with little regard for the way the purchaser enjoys music.
If you have a friend, neighbor, or relative who wants a good-sounding, unobtrusive, lifestyle-friendly, and affordable music system, Focal’s Bird is hard to beat. But do them a favor and add your own set-up expertise so that the Bird can really soar.