It would be a serious mistake to consider the 1027S as simply a ‘budget’ 1027Be. That demeans the quite remarkable performance achievable from the new model. The two speakers both perform impressively at their respective prices and I can see the market for the 1027S coming equally from somebody moving up from a £2k loudspeaker as from providing a solution for somebody whose budget won’t stretch to the £4k 1027Be. Having heard both, the beryllium betweetered version offers not only an elegant and silken top-end but, counterintuitively, the tweeter (and revised crossover) elevates bass performance beyond that available in the S, a performance as unobtrusive as it is effective. The S’s bass doesn’t exactly draw attention to itself, although in a bass-heavy or largescale piece the Be is a little more circumspect, as befits its seniority. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t argue with anybody who said they preferred the former over the latter.
Apart from the sophisticated tweeter technology, Focal designs also feature phase-linear crossovers, something I have come to properly appreciate while also using the Electras with the Accuphase 213 integrated amp. Accuphase (name, clue, ok?) also expound the benefits of phase linearity and the results, manifested most obviously in superior imaging and soundstaging qualities, bear out this viewpoint handsomely. If you already like what the Electras do, try to hear them working with a phase-linear amplifier if you can; the 1027S will repay the effort with interest, proving that as easy going as this speaker is, it definitely rewards audiophile ambitions. When Focal introduced the 1027Be they brought genuinely high-end musical performance down in price; with the 1027S (Berylium tweeter or not) they’ve done it again.