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 to 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.
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.
In 2004, JMlab had a market share of 15% (sales value) for loudspeakers in France.
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. 2003, the Grande Utopia Beryllium creates a new standard.
In 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.
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.
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.
At that point, export represented 66% of turnover.
Furthermore, a streamlining strategy of our two brands was undertaken in 2002. At that time, speakers were to be branded Focal-Jmlab, and by 2004, only as Focal.
Focal-JMlab is strictly dedicated to high-end sound. The products offered by the company lie on three axes: loudspeakers for domestic use, for automobile and for recording studios.
In 2004, total speaker production rose to 650 000 units, that of finished loudspeakers more than 135 000, and 150 000 for car audio.
Products available to our clientele are spread out over three commercial divisions:
Home Audio (65% of turnover) under which we find the ensemble of loudspeakers for domestic hi-fi use such as home theatre. In 2004, the range is structured as six lines:
This unique range extends its scope from 300€ to 70 000€ a pair. Focal offers an appropriate product for each market segment.
Car Audio (30% of turnover) which consists of Focal speakers and systems ready for installation and onboard listening.
Focal has quickly acquired the position of reference in the high-end segment and reinforced its position with the arrival of the new Utopia Beryllium series. The 2004 lineup was structured along four series:
The Professional department saw the light of day in 2002. The first product of this division, launched in 2003, was the SM11, a digital monitor that would set a new reference. In 2004, the range is structured on two levels and only offers very high-end with digital sound, Beryllium tweeters and W “sandwich” diaphragms:
Pv Trade Sa