The Focal Aria 948 has that presence where you know it means business when it comes to sonic performance. The sheer size of the speaker cabinet alone already tells us that the Aria 948 can move a lot of air and easily fill a large room with music. This pair of floor-standing speakers are highly rated and will likely require equally impressive amplifiers with sufficient power to drive them.
Just by looking at the size of the speaker cabinet and drivers are not enough, we need to find out more about their sonic characteristics. Learn about their strengths and realizing any limitations that the Focal Aria 948 might have. Only when we have the required data, we will then be able to find the best matching amplifier to partner with these majestic floorstanders.
Sonic Characteristics and Strengths of Focal Aria 948
The Focal Aria 948 is been built and designed for large listening rooms where you need to be about 12 feet (3.5 meters) away from the speakers (recommended listening distance). The front-firing bass port may be located at the front of the speaker cabinet but you will still need ample breathing space for them. As there are two 8.25 inch (210mm) Flax bass drivers to account for. Above the bass drivers, it will be the 6.5 inch (165mm) Flax midrange driver and right above it, will be a 1 inch (25mm) aluminum/magnesium TNF inverted dome tweeter. The impressive frequency response of 37Hz-28kHz (+/- 3dB) with an astonishing low-frequency point of 31Hz (-6dB). The Focal Aria 948 is capable of producing very deep bass, and if placed too near to walls, they may reinforce the bass too much.
They may be a large pair of floor-standing speakers but there is still grace and elegance to their overall design. Especially the Flax cones, which provide that natural and unique look. The Focal Aria 948 leather effect finish gives off that premium feel. Their overall aesthetics makes them easy to match with most amplifiers’ design and they will be the center of attractions in any home. The speaker sensitivity is 92.5 dB which is great for a floorstander. The nominal impedance is 8 Ohms but does go down to a minimum of 2.5 Ohms. The recommended amplifier power is between 40-350W. The Aria 948 can still sound quite loud using low power output but high-quality amplifiers. This floor-standing speaker will most likely do not need any subwoofer support.
The control of the bass reproduction is top-notch, it is tight and punchy, never trying to over impress its audiences. The low-end frequency of the Focal Aria 948 is rich with details as well, able to merge with the rest of the higher frequencies and create natural sound reproduction. In short, these are detailed musical bass that complements really well with the rest of the frequency range. There is weight and authority, it doesn’t have the aggressive thunderous rumbles of a subwoofer though which is okay in our books. The midrange frequency is actually more impressive, it is very engaging with plenty of details been revealed that make it even more enchanting.
The midrange driver works hand-in-hand with the tweeter, creating a very natural sound quality. The accuracy of the vocals and instruments is incredible as well. The cohesion of the highs, mids, and lows is precise, producing a smooth and powerful music delivery. The resolution of the Focal Aria 948 is high, the treble doesn’t sound harsh even at high volumes, and the bass provides that presence, putting weight to the music when it needs to. As expected, the Aria 948 put up a large and spacious soundstage. The stereo imaging of these speakers weaves a three-dimensional sonic presentation of our favorite tunes which doesn’t get muddle at busy passages.
The low ends of the Focal Aria 948 are still powerful, and they are more than enough to satisfy most genres of music even movie scores with very deep bass. It is just not as prominent as the ones produced by high-quality large subwoofers, so having a subwoofer is entirely up to your preference. In order for Focal Aria 948 to handle all the music transients at such a wide frequency range, it is wise to use high power output amplifiers. We will be sharing with you now, the list of the best amplifiers that match well with your Focal Aria 948 floor-standing speakers.
Focal Aria 948 Specifications
- Speaker Type: 3-way front-firing bass port
- Drive Units: 1 inch (25mm) aluminum/magnesium TNF inverted dome tweeter, 6.5 inch (165mm) Flax midrange driver and two 8.25 inch (210mm) Flax bass drivers
- Frequency Response (±3dB): 37Hz-28kHz
- Low frequency point (-6dB): 31Hz
- Recommended amplifier power: 40-350 Watts
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms (min. 2.5 Ohms)
- Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 92.5dB
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 1150mm x 371mm x 420mm | 45.3″ x 14.6″ x 16.5″
- Weight: 35kg (77lbs)
Best Amplifiers to match with Focal Aria 948
The Naim amplifiers are some of the very best to match with Focal speakers, as for your Aria 948, you might want to consider a preamp and power amp combo. For the preamplifier, you can go with the high-end Naim NAC 282, it is a musical preamp that has transparent and very detailed sound quality. The music delivery of the NAC 282 is very engaging and immersive. Coupled with the Naim power amplifiers, and you will have a very well-matched pre/power amp which is very suitable for your Focal Aria 948 speakers. If the budget is tight, you might want to check out other brand’s power amps.
For a warmer-sounding system, you might want to go with the Marantz PM-KI Ruby integrated amplifier. It is the current top musical amp of Marantz that is tuned by the sound master Ken Ishiwata and his team. The Marantz PM-KI Ruby is revealing and digs out plenty of details but never sounds harsh or bright. The sonic characteristics are smooth and sweet-sounding, the bass is fuller as well. The midrange reproduction is rich, detailed, and warmish, easy on the ears. Pairing the Marantz PM-KI Ruby with your Focal Aria 948 may tone down the harshness during loud volume playbacks by a little. Have a listen to see if you like what you hear.
Another amazing preamp and power amp combo will be from Parasound, they are famous for their high-performance amplifiers which are sanely priced. You can start with the Parasound P 6, which is a preamplifier that comes with a plethora of features such as a DAC and a subwoofer output (with crossover frequency selection) if you are planning to get an active sub for the very deep thunderous bass. Coupled with the high bias Class A/AB operation Parasound A 21+ two-channel power amplifier which can easily drive your Focal Aria 948 floorstanders. The Parasound is a musical and warm-sounding amplifier, if you are not used to such sonic characteristics, you might want to check out the next one.
The Yamaha A-S3200 has that neutral with a tad of warmth sounding quality but it is very detailed and transparent. The high-resolution sound reproduction is accompanied by crisp highs and taut textured lows. The Focal Aria 948 complements the Yamaha A-S3200 with its engaging and detailed midrange prowess, which the amp in return provides more articulation in the music delivery. The A-S3200 does especially well in the analog department which is great for turntable users. We recommend a listen first and hear if the combined clarity is what you really want.
For more modern usage, such as music streaming and high-resolution audio files playbacks, we will recommend the talented Cambridge Audio Edge NQ as the preamplifier. It has built-in streaming, built-in DAC with digital inputs like TV ARC, Bluetooth aptX HD, and more. The bold and lively music presentation will provide you with an exhilarating music listening experience no matter the source. Coupled with a matching power amplifier such as the Cambridge Audio Edge W, you will have a sound system ready to drive your Focal Aria 948 floor-standing speakers and handle all sorts of digital sources, not to mention the wealth of connections.
If you have found the preamplifier which you want and love the sound quality but your budget doesn’t allow you to get the power amplifiers of the same brand. Do not worry, they are other branded power amps with solid performances without needing to break your wallet. The Wyred 4 Sound mAMP Monoblock power amplifier is an amazing Class D utilizing the latest generation (ASX2) ICEpower audio technology. This affordable Monoblock power amp has garnered quite a lot of awards over the years. For Class AB power amplifiers, you might want to check out Emotiva, they have plenty of choices to suit most budgets and in terms of price-vs-performance, they are bang for one’s buck. You can also interchange the already mentioned power amplifiers in this article and matched them with your current/chosen preamps.
If you are planning to get a subwoofer into the mix, you should go for either JL Audio, SVS, Rythmik Audio or Ken Kriesel as they make very high-quality subwoofers. A sealed cabinet subwoofer will be more suitable for your Focal Aria 948 speakers, for instance, SVS SB-3000 powered sub. The recommended amplifiers are well suited to partner with your Aria 948 and worth your time for an audition. Hear them out and see if this is the sound quality that you want.