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SPEAKER REVIEW: Focal 300 IW6 LCR In-Walls

SPEAKER REVIEW: Focal 300 IW6 LCR In-Walls

In the latest installment of our series of no-nonsense architectural speaker reviews, we turn our attention from the Brits at Kef to the profoundly French Focal 300 IW6 LCR in-wall speaker Oui, Oui!

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Focal 300 IW6 In-Wall Speaker

Starting with nerdy essentials, each 300 IW6 LCR comes loaded with dual 6 1/2″ Woofers, a 4″ Mid-range, and a 1″ aluminum/magnesium tweeter.

The 300 series marks a manufacturing transition point in Focal’s custom install line, assembling all models in the same factory in France that produce their high-end signature products like Kanta, Sopra, etc. 

Focal Kanta 3
The 300 IW6 LCR shares a lineage with Focal Kanta

Focal claims these are “coherently aligned” with their Kanta towers utilizing the same woven flax cone material but a different tweeter configuration. This makes them a perfect complement to a two-channel Kanta system when perhaps floor space or budget prevent placing full-size speaker cabinets throughout the room.

In both of our most recent installs, we decided to build MDF back boxes for the speakers since they were installed behind fabric in one case and an acoustically transparent screen in another.

Custom Back Boxes For Focal 300 Series Speakers In Nashville, Tn
Back Boxes from our Shelter Theater Build
Custom Mdf Backboxes Housing Focal Speakers In A Media Room In Nashville.
Focal 300 IW6 LCR in MDF Back Boxes

Unfortunately, Focal doesn’t provide any guidance for enclosure volume, but based on our experience with other similar units, we opted for roughly two cu ft and were pleased with the result.  

Installation is simple and makes use of Focal’s “Easy Quick Install” system. Rather than relying on traditional speaker dogs and screws, Focal uses eight high-tensioned plastic spring clips to securely hold the speakers in place.

As long as you make use of the included template to cut out your openings, it really does take less than a minute to install each speaker.

A word to the wise, these are a little less forgiving than speaker dogs, so leave at least an inch and a half between the sides of your opening and any framing members.

Custom Home Theater And Media Room Installation In A Modern Home In Nashville, Tn.  Focal Speakers, Slat Diffusers And Lg Oled
Finished Install Awaiting TV Installation
Focal 300 Series Custom Install Speakers Behind A Projector Screen
Illustration showing speakers installed behind a Screen Innovations Projector Screen

Sound Performance: 

Full stop; you will not be disappointed. In our test environment, not only did the IW6 LCRs exhibit the signature “Focal” sound, but they also offered low-frequency extension I’ve yet to experience from any other open-back architectural speaker.

Again, I’m not claiming these could go toe to toe with a set of gargantuan hi-fi towers, but they certainly qualify as full-range, which is in and of itself quite a feat for an in-wall speaker.  When paired with a capable sub, the end result is fantastic and nearly invisible.

Bass performance is going to vary greatly depending on the volume of your enclosure, but in the average 8ft – 10ft wall should be more than adequate, and it will be better still with a properly sized MDF enclosure.


Tasting Notes: 

If you haven’t had a chance to experience the timber of Focals in person, I will describe their midrange to low-frequency crossover as exceptionally smooth and well-engineered.

Their tweeters tend to be a bit more on the sweet or articulate side, but there is a pad for you to EQ to taste if you prefer a more mellow top end.  It’s a bit more forward than something like Kef’s UniQ but never sibilant or sizzly.


Value: 

With a price of $1199 each, are they worth it?

I think these speakers occupy a comfortable spot at the edge of a precipice. The 300 series offer a step into the world of true audiophile sound in a compact in-wall package. Yes, at a higher price point, there is room to improve.

If you have a larger space, budget, or want the very best, there are next-level options out there (The Focal 1000 Series or Kef Reference come to mind), but for most people, the 300 series represent an investment that’s easy to justify by both their pedigree and sound quality.

Top 4 In-Wall Speakers That your Designer Will Love

Top 4 In-Wall Speakers That your Designer Will Love

Top 4 in-wall speakers That your designer will Love

Usually, when installing speakers in ceilings or walls, the goal is to make them disappear. If I had to summarize the most common request we get from clients, it would go something like this; “I want it to sound good, but I just don’t want to see anything.” It’s sometimes even a stretch convincing someone they’re markedly better off with a subwoofer tucked in the corner of the room rather than being completely hidden away.

I understand the quandary entirely; when you’ve worked hard with an interior designer to make your space just right, the last thing you want to do is clutter up the design with ugly utilitarian speakers boxes.

That’s why most of the time, making things vanish is the best course of action. 

While my inner modernist rejoices at the simplicity of the “heard and not seen” approach (Trust me, I AM a modernist), There actually are a few in-wall speaker options that can take your design up a notch rather than mucking things up.


#1-KEF Extreme THX Ultra Series

Kef Ci-3160 Extreme Series In-Wall Speakers
KEF CI-3160 RL In-Wall Speakers

These posh in-walls are constructed with a baffle from a single piece of aluminum and built to the same exacting standards as KEF‘s fabled Reference series.

As part of THX Ultra certification, the extreme series can fill even the largest rooms with audiophile quality sound while adding palpable visual interest and modern punch to your design.   

Audilux Lg Kef Install Nogrills
KEF Ci-3160 Install in a modern home

#2 – Focal 1000 Series In-Wall

Focal 1000 Series Luxury In-Wall Speakers
Focal 1000 Series Luxury In-Wall Speaker

While they may be lacking some modern bling compared to the KEF’s, The Focal 1000 series sport a clean industrial design that would be equally at home in a basement speakeasy or the most well-appointed living spaces.

You also get the bonus of a great conversation starter, a pure Berrilyum tweeter crafted in France from one of the planet’s rarest materials.  

Focal Beryllium Tweeter
The Focal Beryllium tweeter.

#3- Klipsch Reference Series In-Wall

Klipsch Reference Premiere
Top 4 In-Wall Speakers That your Designer Will Love 17

At #3 we have our first American-made entrant into the battle of the beautiful. The Klipsch reference premiere series features their signature copper-colored drivers. In addition, the bold Klipsch Horn gives the speaker an almost art deco look.

These are considerably more affordable than our first two options and prove you can still make a statement without breaking the bank. 


#4-Dali Phantom S280 In-Wall 

Dali Phantom S 180 Livingroom No Grilles 2
Dali Phantom with exposed drivers

Danish hi-fi company Dali has taken a different approach when it comes to their flagship in-wall systems. 

You can choose to display these vintage-vibe speakers ala Christopher Lloyd or use their included grills for a refined but modern appearance. We can’t help but think these would be the perfect addition to a listening or music room.  

116301 Dali Phantom S 180 Livingroom Cam01
Dali Phantom In-Wall Speakers with grills

If In ROom is an option

Focal Kanta 3

Focal Kanta 3
Top 4 In-Wall Speakers That your Designer Will Love 18

While they may not be in-wall, if you want to add some stunning visual appeal and jaw-dropping sound, you might be looking for Focal Kanta. Hand-made in France and featuring automobile quality paint jobs and a vast array of color options, this in-room option is A+. 

Focal Kanta Color Options
Focal Kanta is available in a fantastic array of colors

Do you want to learn more about Surround Sound & Home Theater?

Read our post “Surround Sound Basics” for more information!