With Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround sound increasingly infiltrating home theater gear, finding a place to put all those speakers has become a commonplace conundrum — especially those pesky overhead speakers. Many audio companies have turned to speakers mounted on top of traditional towers to bounce sound off the ceiling, but the audiophile experts at Focal have presented a more refined solution — the new 5.1.2 Dôme Flax speaker system — as long as you aren’t averse to making a few holes in the ceiling, that is.
Calling the speakers the “new flagship in the Home Cinema range,” Focal’s system is aptly named. The primary speakers feature five miniature domes of sound, each of which uses a cone made from flax grown in France and manufactured in Focal’s factory in Saint-Etienne. Focal uses flax for its light nature as well as its rigidity, claiming it allows the speakers to deliver high-quality sound in a small package, especially when it comes to dampening and sound propagation, which Focal says help improve dynamics and high-frequency precision.
The new 300 series ICW-4 ceiling-mountable speakers share the same tweeter and the same four-inch flax woofer as the original Dôme Flax 5.1 setup, matching all seven speakers for fluidity of movement throughout the seven Atmos/DTS:X primary channels. The ceiling speakers have also been specifically tuned for use in an open baffle (i.e. your ceiling), meaning they won’t lose their acoustic qualities outside of those little globes.
All of the primary Dôme speakers are adjustable thanks to the swiveling heads, and are easy to mount or set on a shelf or TV stand. The system as a whole offers both a gorgeous aesthetic and a highly minimalist profile, perfect for those averse to the clutter of most traditional systems.
Focal is also hoping to make those without much carpentry competency comfortable with mounting the new speakers, thanks to the company’s new Easy Quick Install (EQI) design. Once you’ve got your hole cut and your wires run (admittedly, the toughest part), the 300 series ICW-4 speakers can be installed without tools. The mounting frame fixes to the hole in your ceiling via small mounting brackets on the sides, and the speakers are designed to pop in with nothing more than a quarter turn.
You can also add additional Dôme Flax components to expand the system to 5.1.4 (four overhead speakers), or a 7.2.4 system for even more surround accuracy, depending on your Atmos/DTS:X receiver’s available channels — and your budget. Additional speakers cost a whopping $399 a piece, and the full 5.1.2 system carries an MSRP of $2,499.
That’s a whole lot of folding cash for such a tiny system, but Focal’s mini system is well known for its precision, clarity, and musicality. If you’ve got the dough, this is an elegant way to satisfy your desire for accurate, immersive audio that won’t cover your living space in clutter.
Focal’s new 5.1.2 Dôme Flax speaker system is available now in black and white at the company’s website.