The elegant-looking Profile range represents the mainstream middle-ranking family in posh French maker Focal's (formerly Focal.JMlab) extensive lineup.

As is the way with such product hierarchies, the range benefits from the 'trickle down' effect, wherein components and technologies are derived from the top of the line models - in this case the renowned Utopia Be range, and the Electra lineup too, for which these are partial replacements. But of course, there are trade-offs when compared to the company's flagship products.

While the Profile range is reasonably well-constructed, it lacks the tank-like solidity of the senior models, and predictably the pricing doesn't allow the use of the Utopia's signature beryllium dome tweeter.

The bass and midrange units of the satellite speakers reviewed here all use Focal's proprietary W-cone sandwich drivers - which are stiff, light and prevent much of the sound from inside the enclosures making its way to the outside world.

The Profile 908s used in the four corners of this system are by no means large - clearly a great deal of work has gone into making them easy to live with, while avoiding unnecessary compromise. The satellites are all big enough to fully cover the range above 80Hz, with the remote-controllable subwoofer filling the gap below.

The mildly sloping front panels of the satellites allow them to be placed slightly lower, using shorter stands, than flat-fronted speakers, which gives them a high WAF (wife acceptance factor!). Of course, this won't be much help if you want to place the centre speaker above the TV screen, where this advantage could become a liability.

There are some aspects of the range that aren't user friendly. While the sub is a fairly chunky animal, its depth is limited, so in principal its footprint is quite small. But the reflex port is on the back and must be left unobstructed, which immediately negates the footprint saving. A few inches grace is usually enough.

Placement, then, is crucial. While Focal's design team has gone to great lengths to produce an enclosure that is as near non-resonant as can be reasonably contrived (the front and rear boxes sport a near teardrop crosssection with a flattened front face to accommodate the drivers), I noted a trace of nasal midband colouration, which seems considerably worse if the speakers have not been fully run in properly and carefully.