Made in France loudspeakers!
Founded at the beginning of 1980 in Saint Etienne, Focal-JMlab started life in a small workshop, within a precision engineering firm. The fledgling company had a workforce of just two people including the current Chairman and CEO Jacques MAHUL, a trained engineer and specialist in drive units.
The first drive units developed in this workshop quickly won international acclaim thanks of the originality of their design. At the same time as it was producing drive units under the Focal brand (specially designed for the most famous brands of speakers and for top-of-the-range kit enthusiasts), the company also launched its own range of loudspeakers under the JMlab brand.
The DB 13, the first Focal-JMlab loudspeaker
JMlab quickly made a name for itself with original designs in the field of small bookshelf speakers, including the famous dual voice coil midbass DB13 which had the remarkable characteristic of offering sound quality comparable to much larger models.
An active development policy aimed at constantly adapting the company’s products to market requirements, coupled with an audio “style” skilfully combining musicality and dynamic performance has enabled JMlab to achieve leadership within the French loudspeakers market from the middle of the 90's.
Focal to the international
Vega and Grande Utopia
At the same time, exports have gradually grown within Europe, North America and Southeast Asia, with these areas experiencing strong growth in recent years thanks to an increasing awareness of the Focal brand firstly, followed by JMlab, and supported by a number of awards. As a result, the JMlab Vega model was voted “speaker of the year 1992” in Japan, something of a scoop for a French product. In 1996, the Grande Utopia model was extensively praised by the international press and is considered as one of the best systems currently on the market.
From Home to Car
Whereas the first products meant for cars were created in 1989, as soon as 1997, a vehicle integrally equipped with Focal drive units won the world final of the IASCA competition in the expert category. Our skills in the field of onboard sound have helped us to take the top prize each year since then. In 2001, a French car won the final in the Pro category… a real “first” on American soil! 2002, Focal strengthens its leading position by winning first place in the expert category at the IASCA world finals.
Focal becomes a standard
In 2002, the home audio line, now divided into four series, brought a reference solution from entry level to hi-end. In the space of four years, with an annual growth of 25%, the company doubled its turnover; its future clearly moved from the national market to the global market. In 2003, the new Grande Utopia Beryllium set a new standard. The “Golden Sound” obtained in Japan conferred upon it the status of world reference. In 2004, the Home Audio line launched an additional "lifestyle" series, called Sib & Co, which was intended for consumers in search of integration solutions. The iCub, designed for new digital sources, was an "amplifiersubwoofer". Nova Utopia was chosen as product of the year by the American magazine Stereophile. Also in 2004, the Car Audio line grew to include the Utopia Beryllium series, with three kits of two and three way designs, all equipped with the famous Beryllium tweeter and innovative crossovers.
In 2005, the goal of gathering our two brands, that began in 2002, was totally reached. Thus, the acoustic loudspeakers were engraved Focal-JMlab during 3 years, now only Focal is used for all the products. In 2007, the Pro Audio range extended its offer by proposing invisible high-range integrated solutions, In-Wall and In-Ceiling, for sound systems in public or private places. As for Car Audio, the Focal Power line was created to accompany the audiomobile offer. In 2008, the Grande Utopia EM launching set a new decisive step. A world reference in terms of technology, design and ultimate performance. Dôme and XS opened new horizons for the brand in the miniature acoustics and multimedia domain. In 2009, the arrival of the CMS in the professional monitor sector establishes the brand as a major actor in the Professional speakers field.