Why do I love CES 2023 so much? Because it’s the perfect stage for the big reveal. Take the French specialist, Focal. This high-end and elegant audiophile chose the Las Vegas mega-show to launch Vestia, a new series of speakers available in a range of finishes, geared towards setting both music and movies.
Launched at the massive Consumer Electronics Show, the name of the new range is inspired by the goddesses of hearth and home: Vesta and Hestia — and just look at them!
Given Focal’s track record of lovely options (see Frozen-esque Littora, Oysters and Chocolate Sopra 2, or Focal Bathys for a delicious Amuse Bush) I shouldn’t be surprised at the aesthetics, but still, the intrinsic beauty and elegant finishes of these boxes and towers full of drivers (the main one being Vestia N°3, probably the one I’d choose) and the music quality they promise is quite something.
A neat fit between Focal’s entry-level choir and popular Aria range, the Vestia range includes four stereo speaker options plus a center channel. It also upgrades Focal’s unique Slatefiber tweeter driver technology – featuring recycled carbon fiber – along with a new aluminum/magnesium M-shaped tweeter, another exclusive and drawn from Focal’s in-car audio expertise.
These passive speakers (dare I say old school? I just did that!) have a cool design, with classic touches designed to fit into any living space. The headboards feature a fine-grain leather-effect finish, with the side panels available in gloss or wood tones. Basically, they will be a conversation piece And The centerpiece of your living room – not to mention the star of your sound system or home cinema setup.
The Focal Vestia range is now available in Black, Dark Wood and Light Wood (White). Suggested retail prices? Of course. Pricing in the US and Australia hasn’t been finalized yet, but the Vestia N°1 (a wonderfully compact bookshelf model) is £799 a pair, which is about $960, or AU$1,400.
Priced at £1,799 per pair (about $2,160 or AU$3,160), the Vestia N° 3 (three-way ‘first step’ floor-standing model) comes in at £1,799 per pair. Vibrant listening) is £2,399 per pair, the Vestia N° 4 (3-way floor-standing model adds two 21cm tweeters, deep bass with impact) is £2,599 per pair, and the Vestia CC (both models Center Way Channel Surround Sound Setup) retails for £449. Optional mounts for Vestia N°1 are £299 per pair.
Opinion: Focal isn’t alone in keeping analog at CES in 2023, and I wholeheartedly agree with it
So far, CES has been a classic hi-fi fan’s dream, thanks to Naim’s glorious three-box amplification solution — but you should check out our best-of-sound-tech CES roundup if you’re looking for the latest in digital and/or wireless options around town.
I hope there will always be a place for such speakers – they are probably some of the best stereo speakers out there. That said, you’ll need separate wires and amplification for them (every product in a traditional hi-fi system has a specific function) and since these drivers fire forward (though reasonably forward-firing in the case of floor pairs) you need to set them up properly to get on the best sound.
But look, this is all part and parcel of investing in (and loving) your hi-fi system; There are variables such as placement and compatibility issues that you will need to consider and possibly upgrade over time. And you don’t get that even with the best one-box wireless speaker solutions.
Change one side (even the stands or cables!) and you’ll hear a difference—which makes me love my Harmony System even more. Today’s CES no longer features monolithic passive speaker towers and powerful hi-fi splitters custom made to match will be a sad day. I personally hope it never comes.