Naim Ovator s600 vs Focal Sopra No.3

Has anyone done a comparison between these two speakers? especially in terms of PRAT. I currently own the S600 and think that they are amazing speakers,I like that they are warm,full-bodied and fast. I am just wondering if in the long term, the Sopra No.3 would be an upgrade in terms of scale and realism(I think the beryllium tweeter won’t be as rolled off as the BMR). Does it possess the same level of speed as the Naims? This is likely just a thought experiment, although if the overwhelming feedback here is in support of the focals, I might just try and ask for an audition :slight_smile: My system is a 252/500/NDS/555ps. Looking forward to your thoughts n experiences

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Hi - I haven’t done any direct comparison’s with my S600-v-Focal’s, but I have done some work that I think has improved the sound of the S600’s with my system which may give you what you could get from the Focal’s.

  1. Re-torque them to factory spec’s - lots of info on the forum just do a search.
  2. I’ve added Isoacoustics Gaia’s - Bit marmite for some, but I got a set from ebay and also the carpet spiked supports. Doesn’t look as good and you may/may not have an issue with BMR being raised higher in your room. But I do think they’ve tightened the S600’s up with the bass being more nicely controlled and in doing so made the mid clearer and dare I say it more realistic?
  3. Added an N-Sub. The S600 can do a lot of bass, but for that real feeling of depth I think the sub has really added something, The presence of the music in the room is tangible, albeit some recordings better than others. I haven’t overegged it either the crossover is at 45, but the gain is only 65 so it ‘adds’ rather than ‘dominates’ and the N-Sub keeps up with the speed of the S600 and the Olive system.

Obviously your mileage may vary based on music, cables and room, but I’m very pleased with what I’ve got from the S600’s with these changes and additions, and although I also wondered about other speakers my current setup has reduced my desire for change.

My system is Olive NAC52/SCap/NAP135s/NDAC/XPS/Linn Sekrit streamer.


You have a wonderful system. I would see if you can home demo the Sopra No 3s. I think you’ll find them different from the Naim S600s in character. The Focal speakers might be a bit brighter and less warm.

Focal make good speakers but they are a bit marmite. There is a love hate relationship with Focal on this forum.

I have the Focal Aria 936 on my LP12, NDS 555PS, 82, Supercap 2, 2 x 135s.

Previously had Linn Kelidhs which were lovely, warm and sounded great.

The Focals are brighter, more dynamic, go a lot, lot louder and have a cleaner sound.

Obviously the Sopra No 3s are up several notches from what I have but I’m just giving an insight in to what to expect.

I would expect a bigger sound from the Sopra No 3s. Dynamic, detailed, great bass, treble and midrange. Fast but will not be warm.

Depends what you want. Maybe demo some other speakers such as Kudos Titan range as well.

Maybe a 552DR could do this trick, together with DRing the 500?

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I have Sopra-3s and a 500 system. Haven’t compared them to the Ovator 600s but I can tell you that they do like some space from the front wall. Mine are about 4 feet from the wall measured at the driver faces, in a 17X 25 foot room firing down the long length. Nice tight full and realistic bass. I do tame the berilium tweeter by using essentially no toe in.
Midrange voice and piano excellent in my opinion. Might be a little “fatiguing”at higher volumes but have no acoustic treatments at this point. Low level listening is wonderful.
Hope this is somewhat useful. Glad to elaborate further if you have a specific question.

hi ben,

Thanks for the tips, I will try to re-torque the drivers :slight_smile: but i must say that I am kinda surprised that you aded the n-sub. You’re right that the s600s can do bass well, thus intuitively, it would occur to me to add a sub. Did the N-sub keep up and time coherently with the Ovators? Thanks for your insightful sharing,


hey Dan,

i think your characterisation of the Sopra No3 is spot on!it’ll be lovely to try the two speakers side by side, for a proper shootout. Its that almost intangible quality of musicality that must be the x factor when comparing these two speakers- only an actual audition will tell. I imagine that the Sopras will be easier to drive n pair with a lower powered amp due to its sensitivity. thanks for the thoughts, much appreciated ,


Hi Shyam,

I can’t remember exactly what triggered me to try a sub with the S600s. But I’ve had an MK Sub on my A/V system for years and knew what that could add to music from the DVD/Blu-rays.

The N-Sub keeps up and with the gentle crossover level and low gain that I’m using it disappears into the music - but using it’s ‘mute’ feature you can cut it out and notice the effect it is having. Is it because of my room layout? do I just prefer the subtle physicality that the movement of bass gives to the listen experience as much as hearing the really low notes… not sure but it definitely adds something to my setup.

Interestingly @916SPS has a thread going where he has added a REL no.25 to his Active S800 Ovators and seen real improvement too. His system is much higher specification than mine, but his comments are similar to my experience of adding a sub… this one description particularly resonanted with my experience too -

You don’t really hear the bass as a big boomy bottom end. The cross over is quite low down so it just finishes the end of bass notes. The surprising thing is that it has affected the whole of the range, making the mids and even the higher frequencies clearer. The only analogy I can think of is like putting a primer coat on your car before the final paint job so that the top layer sparkles and has a deep shine. I didn’t have any idea what I was missing.

So with that description being pretty much how I also felt about the addition of my sub (albeit in a lower spec, passive system and with the GAIA’s), I would add the caveat that it is more noticable and effective on some tracks than others probably as you’d expect dependent on their use of bass. However something like ‘So far away’ from Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms album sounds another level better with the sub to my ears.

Don’t know if it’ll change your mind on the Focal’s, but gives you another option to consider. See if you can find a dealer to lend you a sub… if you can’t source an N-Sub, and they aren’t that common nowadays, then REL seem to be a forum favourite, along with SVS and BK.


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Thanks so much for the feedback. Do you find that they sound good on particular genres of music? Whats the tone of the midrange?Neutral or a touch warm? Also, are the Sopra 3s fast and do they time well? Thanks so much for your insights,


As you have the Gaias, if you are in the UK, have you thought about trying the Townshend podiums?

IME, these (via taking some of the floor effects away) can make a material difference to bass performance and, ergo, the wider musical soundscape.

They can be sale/return I understand.

I would say that the midrange on the Sopra-3 with my equipment and room would be on the neutral side but I can tell you that the midrange is excellent in these speakers especially voice,piano,sax etc. I may not understand the difference between warm and neutral and so I don’t want to mislead you.
I tend to listen to a lot of small ensemble jazz which these speakers reproduce very well. Rock music with many instruments voices and percussion simultaneously can be a little fatiguing at volume.
As far as timing,I’m afraid I’m not exactly sure what that means and so again I don’t want to mislead.
These are excellent speakers,easy to drive with superb midrange and ample realistic bass. Good value in my opinion.
Nevertheless I am casually considering a speaker upgrade. Why? That’s the 64million dollar question in this hobby.

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Hi Ben,

Very nice system! May I ask how you have connected your n-Sub to your SC/135s?



Yes, I have considered the Podiums and suspect at some point I may have to give them a go… if nothing else they look better than the Gaias.

I’m lucky in that I have a good concrete base under the carpet and I definitely get improvements with the Gaias. I got a similar improvement with Gaias and the speakers prior to ths S600’s as well (Monitor Audio Studio 20SE’s) hence when I saw an appropriately sized set on ebay I got them for the Ovators.

So we shall see…

(Podiums aren’t cheap though… especially for the Ovator sized version!)

Hi OA,

I have a high-level connection from the back of the Ovators to the Speaker cable connectors on the N-Sub.

I use 2:1 gold banana plugs on the back of the Ovators to accept both the cable from the NAP135s and the cable to go to the N-Sub. For the actual cable, I only use some basic Chord speaker cable running to the sub, but I have Witch Hat Phantom cable between 135’s and the S600s. All works fine.

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the explanation. Where did you get your 2:1 gold banana plugs from? I’ve been toying with adding an ATC sub to my system and have been curious how to best manage the connection on my ATC 19s. When you made the actual connection of the n-Sub downstream of the 600s, did you notice any negative impact to the sound the 600s made? It’s not really clear from Naim - based on their recommendations - if the 2:1 connector takes something away from the amp / main speaker combo.



Presumably that extra length of Chord cable you have is a further electrical load on the 135s. Have you noticed if they run hotter?


Can’t remember exactly where I got them from but if you do a google you will see ones like mine - they are like usual banana plugs with a 45degree second connector which is tightened by a couple of screws. I do recall that only the top connection is able to do banana plug to banana plug and I had to remove a plug to get the Phantom cable banana in, and the second connection for the chord/sub had to be bare wire and tightened with the 2 screws.

No negative sound on the Ovators I can hear - you can mute the N-Sub (can turn it off too!), and it sounds as it did without the additional connection. I don’t see why it would be worse though unless you used awful plugs - same signal is being sent to the Ovators, just it then also goes to the sub as well?

No noticable extra heat from the 135’s, but then they are pretty powerful so the extra workload of pumping the signal down a few more metres of cable isn’t likely to be an issue and I don’t normally run them much beyond 30% volume on the 52. Disclaimer though - I don’t sit there with a thermometer checking and the fans would sometimes come on in the past even without the sub connection. I had the 135’s serviced last year (c10year since last service so just routine) and there was no mention of any problems that were needed to be fixed - just a usual service so again assume no problems caused by the additional sub connection via the high level.

So I’m quite happy that there are no detrimental effects from adding the Sub via this method, but I do believe there are gains from having the sub present.

Hope that helps, B

…a picture says a 1000 words…

If you connect at the speaker end the amp doesn’t ‘see’ the sub cable which is why Naim recommend doing this instead of connecting to the power amp output sockets.

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Thanks Chris!

Thank you for the picture Ben! What is the clear two:one splitter called in audiophile parlance? I can’t seem to find any on the net with the keywords I’ve used.