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Focal vs Pioneer – Detailed Comparison

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Focal and Pioneer are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry and produce high quality speakers, soundbars, headphones and subwoofers.
In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price and so on.
Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

Focal Quick History

Focal is a renowned French speaker brand that is well known for its quality and performance. Focal has been creating and manufacturing home audio loudspeakers, automobile audio speaker drivers and amplifiers, recording monitoring loudspeakers, and headphones since 1979. The Focal brand, based in Saint-Étienne, France, has earned its place among the audio industry’s leaders by producing constant innovative technology.

Every new generation combines existing advancements and inventions, allowing them to continually add new products to their collections. The Focal goal is to create a faithful replica of its original work while preserving its reputation.

Pioneer Quick History

Pioneer is a Japanese company whose full name is actually Paionia Kabushiki-gaisha. It was started in 1938 by Bozomu Matsumoto. The company started as a speaker, radio, and other audio equipment repair shop.

Since the company started, it has been a big part of making sound systems for homes, businesses, and other personal uses, like car stereos. Pioneer was the first company to develop a dynamic speaker (named Pioneer A-8) made of original parts for domestic use.

The Pioneer brand is the manufacturer of some of the major audio equipment today. This includes the first dynamic speaker for the home, which was also the first Hi-Fi speaker. Another example includes the first professional LD player, which also became the foundation of today’s Blu-ray disc and DVD players.

Sound Quality

Focal Sound Quality

The Focal brand has been working on producing high-quality sound that is rich and precise in order to set itself apart from other companies. When you listen to music on low-quality equipment, you lose the richness of the sound.

The final presentation is heavily influenced by the sound production equipment type and quality of the initial recording and the file type (MP3, CD, etc.). Focal acoustic professionals specialize in sound precision and know how to bring out the richness of recorded sound samples.

Focal sound qualities include good dynamics (the contrast between bass and treble) and sound neutrality (the absence of coloration or frills which lead to distortion).

Pioneer Sound Quality

To be fair, Pioneer home sound systems are only good as entry-level audio equipment. Although they provide a decent listening experience, they are best for non-demanding listeners.

However, in terms of car speakers, Pioneer speakers offer a quality that is convincingly worth every penny. The sound calibration on most Pioneer receivers (like the one on the Pioneer VSX-932) makes the sound more personalized.

The Technical Audio Devices (TAD) from Pioneer were produced in 1975 with the view of delivering high-end professional audio delivery. But, it has continued to deliver quality sound and can be found in most professional speaker brands

Pioneer has also partnered with the amazing Gary Stewart Audio to deliver some of the best sounding club speakers that keep the party going.

Features

Focal Features

Focal designs every component to work together to deliver the highest possible musical quality. Some of the features of the Focal brand that make them one of the best are listed below:

  • Magnetic grille for woofers
  • Aluminum/magnesium inverted dome tweeter
  • Slatefiber midrange
  • Bass reflex design (front-firing port)
  • Lean-back design ensures precise sound at the listening position
  • Bluetooth, HEOS, Wi-Fi, and AirPlay 2 streaming support.
  • Multiple input and output ports
  • Up to 5 years warranty on their product
  • Innovative technology
  • Sensitivity 92.5 dB
  • High power handling
  • Low distortion
  • Bi-amp system
  • Accurate and natural sound output
  • Reliable construction material

Pioneer Features

For many good reasons, the Pioneer brand has been more popular in ‌car stereos and entertainment. This is because of the continued research, development, and improvement of its features. Some of the major features of the Pioneer car audio system include:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Streaming features
  • Touch screen
  • Built-in navigation
  • Real-time traffic

But most of these features are also found on other Pioneer devices, with only minor changes to make them work better for this one.

The other features that are common to other Pioneer devices include Dynamic leveling, digital inputs, HDMI with ARC, Dolby Atmos, and DTS: X for a rich and immersive audio experience, and other features for ease of use.

Build Quality

Focal Build Quality

Most Focal products you buy will have a solid build. Focal has maintained a consistent level of product build quality over the years. If you desire a high level of build quality in your devices, Focal is among the best you can get out there.

Focal Sopra SW 1000 BE Subwoofer

Their products are often compared to more reputable brands such as Yamaha and lots more.

Pioneer Build Quality

Pioneer products have a good build quality. This includes the use of aluminum panels and an excellent finish to protect them for a long time. Even beyond the physical build, Pioneer audio devices have improved a lot on the components, which has improved their reliability over the years.

However, the fact that Pioneer makes different devices is a factor that cannot go without mentioning. While Pioneer AV receivers and car stereos are known for their powerful build quality, some of the other products from the brand are not so durable.

Ease Of Use

Focal Ease of Use

Focal products are very simple to use and come with a guidebook that explains how to set up and use the equipment.

You’ll love the Focal brand speaker base because it makes speaker positioning and alignment (and, if necessary, re-positioning) very easy.

Unlike most other speaker designs, which require reaching beneath a cabinet with one or more spanners to adjust the spikes fitted to the base, the focal speaker base lets you simply reach below and make changes quickly, easily, and without the use of any equipment.

Pioneer Ease of Use

One of the major features that make most Pioneer devices easy to use is the ability to connect to other devices easily.

This is clear in the car audio system, where they offer different levels of the device without making it hard to use. This includes everything from the touch screen on more expensive car stereos to the easy-to-use menu button on cheaper ones.

Beyond the car stereos by Pioneer, their home theaters are extremely easy to use. It offers different setting options and sound changes that give it a more customized output. But you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to use these because everything is marked and there are manuals to help.

Cost

Focal Cost

Focal products are significantly less expensive than some of the other audio system manufacturers in the same league.

This does not imply that they are inferior to other brands, and, of course, some other manufacturers’ products are less expensive, while some are more expensive than Focal.

The price range for different focal devices is listed below:

Home speakers: $150 – $1500

Headphones: $50 – $300

subwoofers: $150 – $2000

Car speaker: $100 – $500

Focal produces sound systems that include a variety of high-quality characteristics, such as a durable design and a powerful sound, and they are all reasonably priced. No matter how inexpensive a focal product is, it will still provide an adequate output for the purpose for which it was created.

Pioneer Cost

Denon products are distributed between low-cost, average-cost, and high-cost devices. They have some of the best products at a low price as well as elite high-end devices.

However, when the chips are down and we compare the device with an equal device from other popular brands, you might realize you get the best value for your money.

Here are some price ranges for different devices from Pioneer:

Stereos: $100 – $500

AV Receivers: $250 – $1500

Soundbars: $250 – $800

Speakers: $100 – $800

Headphones: $50 – $400

Space Requirements

Focal Space Requirements

Focal offers numerous products that are ideal for use practically anywhere and offer excellent portability. These include loudspeakers, soundbars, car audio, Bluetooth speakers, and lots more.

However, it’s important to remember that the size of these products isn’t the only aspect to consider when deciding where to put them; ventilation requirements are also to be considered.

Insufficient space may cause the device to overheat, resulting in a sudden shutdown. It is ideal to leave a few inches of free space around a Focal device, especially those that must be installed in a confined space.

Pioneer Space Requirements

Pioneer audio devices vary from size to size, but Pioneer AV Receivers are known for having a bulky build. This factor makes space consideration a serious business when considering a Pioneer AV receiver. AV receivers are made to last for a long time, but if they get too hot often, they may break down sooner than expected.

Different devices will always require different amounts of space to function properly. This is because the space will depend not only on the size of the device but also on the amount of ventilation it can provide.

The home theater is another Pioneer product that might need special attention when it comes to space. Pioneer home theaters are quite tall and require as much space as possible.

Remote Controls

Focal Remote Control

Focal provides easy access to their devices as well as the ability to control them. With the use of remote control, users can listen to music on the gadget from any room. The FSP-8 remote control is an example of this. This LCD remote control enhances the DSP FSP-8 user experience.

You may simply make a change in the primary settings, and also significantly, remember up to four saved presets thanks to the easy control.

Pioneer Remote Control

Most Pioneer devices come with a remote control that makes it easier to operate across the room. This remote can also be easily replaced by getting another one from the popular audio store in case of damage or loss.

Pioneer also has a digital remote control app that can be downloaded from your app store. However, to use the remote control app, the device must be compatible with it and they have to be connected to the same wireless network.

Power Range

Focal Power Range

The amount of power consumed by Focal devices differs from one gadget to the next. For example, an entry-level Focal receiver’s power range is roughly 120 watts for one channel and 60 watts for two channels. However, the average soundbar’s power range/consumption is around 74 watts.

It is advisable to look through the user manuals to understand the power range of your focal device in order to get the most out of it.

Pioneer Power Range

Most Pioneer products are power efficient, i.e., they deliver the best audio quality with minimum power consumption. For example, the mid-range Pioneer elite VSX-LX303 AV receiver is rated at 100 watts per channel.

Frequency Response

Focal Frequency Response

We will make a few comparisons to give an overall idea. Focal Chora 826-D floor-standing loudspeaker has a frequency response of about 48Hz-28kHz while Focal Sopra SW 1000 BE Subwoofer has a frequency response of about (+/- 3dB) 20 Hz–150 Hz.

You can do your research on Focal Audio products to know about each device’s frequency response when you need to get one.

Pioneer Frequency Response

Most Pioneer sound systems have smooth frequency responses and a rich sound output that lets them send out sound in a wide area. For example, the frequency response for Pioneer TS series speakers is something around 34Hz to 42Hz. However, the frequency response differs according to each device, which means you might have to check the user manual for each device to understand its frequency response.

Conclusion

If you need a good sound system in the future, you can put your faith in Focal. Decades of experience have made the organization into a market-leading brand. Try Focal for your next sound upgrade if you’re looking for great sound quality and high-fidelity sound. Pioneer products cut across audio equipment for home, professional, and car use. However, they are more popular for the production of car stereos that are affordable, easy to use, and meet industry standards. If you need an audio device that’s well-affordable and with good build quality, you might consider Pioneer devices. However, you might have to overlook the sound quality a little bit.

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