Last week had the opportunity to test the Focal Sopra 3 at a local Naim dealer, for the record was also present our fellow member Max B.
At the beginning they were connected in a pretty large room (50/60 m2) with a Marantz cd player, a pretty expensive Gryphon integrated amp and Nordost loudspeaker cable.
To be honest with this set up, for me and for what i’ m used to, the result was pretty disappointing, basically for a certain amount of bass bloom, and poor control. Overall clarity was not great too.
Then we moved the Sopra to another smaller more rectangular room along with 282/SC + 300DR. The source was still a Marantz cd player (probably even cheaper) and different speaker cable.
Finally, oh boys ! i coudn’t believe how it was different now. The bass was much more articulated and controlled with overall much improved clarity and timing.
Comparing this set up with my 500 system/ S600 i much appeciated a very nice midrange refinement. With London Grammar - Truth Is… the voice was very clear and smooth at the same time little details in the background were easy to follow.
Bearing in mind this system set up was not quite ideal (source, cables) Naim boxes were piled on each other.
Definetely i really liked the Sopra balance, the midrange is more refined and the higher part of the spectrum it’s not overclear at all, like someone told me about Focal and generally about French loudspeakers.
My dealer has offered me a home demo of a pair of Sopra 3s, an offer I’ve yet to take up. I tried a pair of Sopra 2s at home late last year and liked most of what they did but they didn’t really show what they were capable of unless the volume was wound up to a level I only use occasionally. My dealer suggested that the slightly higher efficiency of the Sopra 3 might address that issue.
For our demo, the 282 pot was on average aroud 9 ’ o clock, in a medium/big size room of i’d say 40m2, in a basement without windows and walls covered with absorbing boiseries.
Even at this volume i appreciated a very nice flow and balance with excellent intelligibility, Definetely it didn’t have the extreme slam, dynamics and clarity of my 500 system wherewith the same records i’ m at 9.30/10 o’ clock, in a smaller and not so absorbing room.
As for efficiency, according to Hi Fi News lab report was respectively for Sopra 2 and 3 88,7db and 88,9 with impedance module of 2,6 and 2,7 ohm @ 104 and 102 hz
I went from S600 to Sopra 2s and loved them from the outset. The S600s were always a little boomy in my room which isn’t small by any stretch of the imagination.
Midrange is great and to be honest I’ve not encountered any of the tweeter brightness that some report. OK, so to some they’re an acquired taste cosmetically but I love the design…in black not orange! I did consider the veneer but though the painted finish suited the speakers much better.
Cosmetically for shape and stance is probably the closest thing to S600. Even the enginnering likewise the S600 shows some interesting solutions
I reckon the midrange quality is probably their strongest argument.
For mewood veneer is probably the least happy combination. I’ d go either for black or white, orange or red for the bravest. The black we demoed differs from the usual piano black for a good amount of metallic flakes reminding me the Lotus Phantom Black paint.
And what did our friend Max say? If I remember correctly he quite liked the large integrated Gryphon.
I quite like the black…a departure from the usual piano black and the flecking is very subtle - bit like the Santori black on my Discovery - but the Sopras don’t get as dirty or attract shopping trolley dings!
I’ve never understood the focal haters. I have a pair of Sopra 2’s and for me they are an end game speaker on the end of my 552/300 DR. And I even got the Orange… only because I thought if I was going that big on a pair of speakers… might as well make a statement.
I always wondered how much the Focal haters have really listened to them rather than simply not liking the whole idea of the Naim-Focal partnership or heard them shouting away with overblown jazz at audio shows?
One previous less than contented forum member used to describe them as pedal bins - some pedal bins!
Sitting here listening to solo piano music via my obsolete NDS/555PS DR they sound sublime.
I think there’s something in that. We all know that the true test of any speaker’s capabilities is at home in your own system and listening room. I was introduced to Focal speakers being matched to Naim by my dealer years before the Naim-Focal partnership and have been using them in various systems ever since.
I have black Sopra one’s,and think they are awesome,and i really do not get the haters.Right now i am listening to “Keb Mo” DSD and i have goosebumps,it"s so good.
For me, 282/SC/300 simply destroyed the Gryphon, and think Max agreed with me.
The dealer blamed the room for the poor bass control ! ? but it was bigger than latter Naim room. The black finish is quite stunning.
There are Focal haters as there Ovators haters. For me the Sopra has a better, richer more organic midrange.
I know I risk incurring the wrath of many on here by saying this but having demo’ed them side by side I much preferred the Sopra 2 over the much-vaunted Kudos Titans.
Kill the witch!
Mike, you have ruined my carefully crafted future plans.
Not surprising for me. The best tweeter I’ve ever heard in my room was the Be in my long departed 1037s (only replaced as they didn’t ‘work’ post a room change - long story). Scarily revealing even via NACA5. I know the later models 1038 onwards and now Sopras are even better. The Focals are also so fast to my ears, I assume driven by their high efficiency.
Same for me with T 808s, altough it was a very short experience visiting Suono & Comunicazione premises last year ( Kudos distributor for Italy) when they were connected to a medium level AVM system. As i discovered with Sopras the system behind is paramount.
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