B&W.....Focal.....or Focal


I am currently in the market to replace the speakers in my 2 channel setup. I currently have a pair of N803’s that I have had for about 7 yrs. front end consists of a Classe CA 2300, Classe CP 800, and a Cary DMS 500. My three finalists are B&W 802D2, Focal 1038BE, it Focal Sopra No2. Problem I have is that the closest Focal dealer is about 3 1/2 hrs from me. Musical taste is all over the place Metallica, Foo-Fighters, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Norah Jones, Rush, Pink Floyd and on and on and on. Any thoughs would be greatly appreciated.
h2gastech
I owned 802 D2’s for a while and would have gladly traded them for Sopra 2 or 3’s. With that said people tend to prefer the sound of one or the other (I prefer Focal.) The synergy of B&W and Classe gear should also be considered. It’s worth the drive to go and listen for yourself considering the amount of money involved. If you want to stick with the big companies I urge you to audition Dynaudio as well. I heard NOLA KO 2’s on similar gear and it was very good.
I like the top end Monitor Audio better than either of those brands myself.
How big is your room? For the average room size, I’d always recommend Sopra no2 over 1038’s if your budget allows.

I also think you’d be crazy not to listen to the Paradigm Persona 3F for “only” $10k.

I heard the top of the line Monitor Platinum at Axpona and was unbelievably underwhelmed, but I’m sure they were set up poorly.

Not sure if you can get lucky, but a pair of used AZ Crescendo mkII would be pretty incredible for your musical tastes too.


a 3 1/2 hour drive to a high end store is nothing.  I drove 8 hours one way to listen to a tube preamp which I ended up buying.  It was a fun day and my wife got to eat 3 meals out in  a restaurant.
Win, win all around.
Can’t comment on 1038be2 vs Sopra but I had Focal Electra 1028be2 speakers. 
They sounded great but I was disappointed with their stability and coupling to the floor. The anchor points for the spikes loosened on mine within a few months. 
To their credit they replaced my speakers with a new pair, but the design was exactly the same. 

I ended up using pricy Stillpoints to get the sound I wanted, but ultimately I just wasn’t happy with the cabinet design, although I loved their sound using the Stillpoints/Spike setup on my carpet. 
When the Sopra2 arrived, setup was easy and the Stillpoints got a new job in my electronics cabinet. 

The speakers are a few leagues beyond the ****BE series IMHO. 
CHEERS!!! 
PS:  Driving a few hours deciding to pull the trigger on buying $14K Speakers can be fun....and much cheaper in the long run if you get it wrong. 
@stereo5 Absolutely on the money; you turn it into a fun experience.  I flew 8.5 hours each way to audition the D'Agostino M400.  Similar to you, I turned the audition into a nice holiday in Singapore and it was fun all around (love the city and the amps were everything everyone said they would be).
If you're looking at Focals in that price range, who not consider the Kanta No.2?