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Posted: 2017-11-01 22:46:26

Dolby Atmos has been with us for several years now, but apart from an initial rush of speakers from the likes of Onkyo and Klipsch, things have been a little quiet on the Atmos speaker front, so to speak. Sure there's a dribble of dedicated height speakers you can add to existing non-Atmos speakers, but you can count on one hand the number of speakers with integrated Atmos modules.

Enter Focal's Sib Evo Dolby Atmos 5.1.2. The French company's atmospheric speaker kit boasts front speakers with top-firing Atmos drivers built-in, and it sits toward the more affordable end at $1,299/£1,099/AU$1,500.

The sub and surrounds were solid enough, but the star of the package is definitely those Evo Atmos front speakers, which cost $299/AU$750 a pair by themselves. They integrate the height channel in a way that is unobtrusive and elegant, and would make a great addition to an existing Sib-based system. 

Unless you really prioritize sleek looks, however, there are better options out there for a complete surround system. For example, an Elac Debut 5.0 Home Theater Package  with two A4 height modules and a sub will cost roughly the same as the Focal. It may not look as pretty, but it would sound much better.

If looks were everything...

Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 Atmos speakers
Sarah Tew/CNET

As the name suggests, this is the Dolby Atmos-enabled version of the popular Focal Sib and Cub speakers, with five surrounds and one sub. The heights are integrated into the main Sib Evo Dolby Atmos speaker and are designed to fire onto your ceiling and back at you.

As surround speakers go this is a beautiful looking system. The new Evo satellites are finished in a gloss-black finish and the even though the main's cabinet is larger than the other satellites -- 12 inches tall versus 10 inches -- it is still very classy. All of the speakers, regardless of size, feature a 5-inch Polyflex driver and a 1-inch soft dome tweeter. The Atmos drivers, meanwhile, are 3 inches in diameter.

Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 Atmos speakers
Sarah Tew/CNET

There's no different-looking center channel speaker in this system -- you simply place one of the satellites sideways on the supplied rubber mount. You then rotate the Focal logo and voila -- a center channel! The main advantage to this is better integration between the fronts and surrounds, as we soon found.

Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 Atmos speakers
Sarah Tew/CNET

Lastly, we come to the Cub Evo. This subwoofer is a cubic foot in size with a different finish -- a brushed vinyl wrap. At the bottom resides an 8-inch woofer which feeds a large port at the front of the sub. At the rear of the unit are the controls including volume, crossover point and a phase switch. There's only line-level inputs and no speaker ins for this model. It's rated for 35Hz to 150Hz and features a 200-watt amplifier.

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