A satisfying performance from a system that has improved in all the right areas
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The Sib & Cub became the Sib & Co when someone changed the tub in the Cub Sub. Perhaps they were down the pub when this happened. The Sib satellites have stayed the same, but are now joined by bigger Sibs, the XL and the XXL.
This is the cheapest Focal sub/sat system, comprising five identical Sibs and a single Cub2 subwoofer, all for £750. The Sibs all sit on their Hip stands, but these can be supplanted with a pair of Hop floorstands, for £130 a pair. The Sibs are ported satellites, featuring a 19mm tweeter underneath the 125mm midrange unit. It's claimed to deliver sound from 75Hz to 20kHz, with a 90dB sensitivity and a rated minimum impedance of 4Ohm.
The look is unconventional - not unattractive, but different from the curvy norm. The norm doesn't come with built-in Allen keys in the stand to allow for manoeuvrability, though. The new Cub2 is more conventional looking, with a downward firing 210mm bass unit, a front port and a 150W BASH amplifier. BASH designs are low-heat, Class D designs but with a sound that is suggested to approach Class AB sweetness.
It's full of useful options - like both stereo and mono phono connectors and a front-firing aerodynamic port. Ultimately, the sub needs some corner reinforcement, but properly used can fill out a surprisingly large room. It's also a doddle to set-up, as is the rest of the Sib & Co system. If you use the LFE setting, all you adjust is the volume control - the roll-off is handled in the amplifier.
This is an intelligent design, especially the subwoofer. The Cub2 helps fill out the sound of the Sibs perfectly, making them sound less tinny and brash but does not slow down the sound of the system in the process. Vocal articulation is particularly well-handled with the Sib/Cub set-up. It has the reinforcement needed to add resonance to male voices.
The system has a dry, detailed balance ideal for all types of home cinema. It doesn't emphasise the explosions end of the market, nor is it so civilised that it makes Die Hard seem like Amelie. This comes from a sense of precision in the sound produced by each speaker. As a package, the sound is even and accurate, yet manages to keep a sense of fun... a balance few systems successfully achieve.
Given that the five Sibs are identical, good speaker matching is a given. However, this doesn't mean the sound is seamless; the Sibs make a sound that stays close to the box; very detailed and fast, but not exceptionally open. This is not necessarily a stumbling block; it just means the soundstaging is more wallhugging than room-filling. This does make the speaker system less handy with music, especially stereo music on CD. Here, the lack of projection coupled with the overall balance gives the sound a tinny character.
Focal has made intelligent improvements to the Sib & Cub. Leaving alone the parts that work well (the Sib), the company has made the package blend together and turn in a very tasty performance.
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