Focal Sopra 2


I just posted a review of the Focal Sopra 2 and my speaker journey.

A little sample.

"First listen and I was smiling. The same beautiful sound that I heard in the large showroom was present in my home! And I only had to turn the preamp volume half as high as I had to with the Bob Carver Amazing Line Source speakers. The sound quality was there from the lowest bass to the upper treble. Nothing stood out, or faltered, the sound just blended together as one cohesive sound that is so easy to listen to for hours and hours. Also, I think the speaker style is cool and the speakers finish is impeccable."

Full review below is in the Audiogon Member Review section.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/my-speaker-journey-and-focal-sopra-2

ozzy
ozzy
Really enjoyed reading this Ozzy.  Glad you found the right speaker for you.
Best....
I also added the Iso Acoustics GAIA 1's footers under the Sopra's.

ozzy
Congrats Ozzy, happy you found a speaker that you really like.  Your mention of the Von Schweikert struck a cord with me.  I was intrigued by the VR33 speakers they were making.  I read all the reports and found a used pair here and bought them.  Biggest disappointment of my audio journey.  I couldn't stand them and stopped listening to my main rig.  A year later, I sold them for a huge loss and purchased the GE Triton 1 and last year moved up to the Triton Ref.

Your review was extremely well written and I really enjoyed reading it.
ozzy - whats your opinion on the Gai ?
Great review Ozzy.

I had to say I was wondering what you would make of the Carver speakers when I first read you had bought them.

Forget now how many speakers gone through based on reading reviews and been disappointed in one way or another.

Not sure we truly learn our lessons... lol

Love the looks of the Sopras and it appears they have the nads to back up the looks.

Enjoy.
After hearing the Sopra N3 powered by the new Classe amps at RMAF, I'm dreaming of a set of them.  Very smooth sounding, with nice, deep bass. 
Stereo5, maplegroovemusic, uberwaltz, lak, mtrot, Thank you for the replies.

Maplegroovemusic, The Iso Acoustics GAIA 1 were put under the Sopra’s the next day after I found the sweet spot. At the time, they did seem to add a deeper 3D image to the sound, but now I am used to it. They were kinda tough to install since my right arm is still recovering from surgery. I also bought the carpet spikes.

uberwaltz, yeah I was disappointed in the Carver speakers. There was a review of them in 2015 in the Absolute Sound but I think that was of a earlier version.
BTW, Bob Carver also doesn’t think too much about speaker cable quality. He told me so. And after looking at the wire in his umbilical cord connecting the crossover to the speaker it appears to be about 18 gauge wire.

mtrot,
I hope you can get them. With the Sopra 2’s now on the Iso acoustic footers they appear to be much larger than they are. The Sopra 3’s would even be taller. But if you have the room they are really impressive sounding.

ozzy


I should add that my review is slanted to the type of genre and sound that I prefer. Many of the other speakers that I listened to did have their qualities and I didn’t mean to dismiss some of the very popular designs.

I did want to hear the Legacy Aeries but never got the chance. The Tekton speakers are inexpensive relatively speaking, and seemed interesting, but I couldn’t get past all the drivers and the boxy exterior. I also wanted to hear the new Martin Logan’s but passed based on the Magnepan demo. But so many people own these...

So, based on your equipment, genre, and listening habits many of the other speakers could be preferred to what I like.

ozzy
I just removed the metal screen cover that is over the Sopra tweeter and found additional airiness along with a wider dispersion. 
So, those of you with these speakers remove those grills!

ozzy
I often wondered how they would sound with the metal screen removed. 
Your post helped me decide to remove them. Definitely hearing the wider dispersion.  

Mike
I thought metal grill was there over Berillium tweeter to prevent accidental touching since material is toxic and very fragile.
@dmk_hifi not at all.  It's there to tweak the sound from the tweeter.  Focal thinks it sounds better that way; obviously, others disagree.  There is nothing dangerous about the tweeter in its current form.  In fact, the earlier generation of Utopia III speakers let you completely remove the tweeter grill by simply pulling it off as it was only magnetically attached.
93cobra, dmk_hifi, bar81,

Thanks for that information.
When you look at pictures of Focal’s higher end Utopia line they seem to be shown with no screen.
To me, it does sound better sans screen.

ozzy

twoleftears,

I read that notice with the instructions for the speakers. I took it as though it is dangerous if the tweeter gets damaged. Which I hope will never happen.

ozzy
...if the tweeter gets damaged.

Which I assume is a little more likely if one removes the protective screen.
For me the risk is worth the reward. Big difference in sound with them removed.  Only person I need to worry about damaging the tweeters...is myself...
93cobra,
I agree. 
When was the last time you poked out a tweeter or any speaker?

ozzy
I would think that homesteads that are void of children without climbing animals should be able to handle the removal of the protective screen etc.
lak.

Thanks. I agree.

ozzy
Did you listen to both the Sopra 2 and 3 before buying?  I am leaning towards the 3 only because they are the ones I demoed.  Now to decide on color...
I have owned the 2 and currently have the 3 and I will tell you if you love the 2's the 3's will absolutely blow you away. 
At the Audio store I was only able to listen to the Sopra 3’s and they were awesome! I picked the High Gloss black since most of my equipment is either black or silver. But the Blue looked pretty nice!

ozzy
I had heard the Utopia Grande (over $200k/pair) driven by the Naim Statement NAP S1 monoblock amps + Naim Statement NAC S1 linestage analog preamp before and those were the best I've heard. They also had very high end flagship Naim 500 series streamer/DAC digital front end components with separate Naim 500 psu. Highly musical presentation. You could easily perceive the very subtle dynamic shifts in timbre. 
caphill,

I have never heard the Utopia line, but I would like to someday. They must be huge!

From what I have read, Focal actually makes the speaker drivers in house and is one of the largest speaker manufacturers in the world. 

ozzy
Greetings everyone.  Glad to find all these positive reviews on the Focal Sopra 2.  I definitely had that stupid grin on my face when I auditioned them.  I was impressed by the speed and detail of the sound without the any hint of harshness, which people often complaint about. I was told that the Sopra 3 were even better and the higher models up are in another class.  I liken them so much that I placed an order, for a pair of Utopias in gray.  
.
redphu72,

Wow! Congrats! They should sound awesome based on how well the Sophia 2’s sound! Any idea when you will be receiving them? I think they take a while to break in (most speakers do). I purchased mine used so they sounded right very quickly.

Keep me posted.
Merry Christmas!

ozzy
Ozzy

Funny thing I’m sort of like you in that I bought my first pair of Sonus Fabers based on reviews and now buying a different model than the one auditioned.  Also I’ll be using my stereo for surround sound duties. What Center speaker are you using. 

As the the Utopias, I should have listened to my dealer when he first suggested the Focals at the time of my Sonus Faber. I was afraid the focals might be too bright and fatiguing especially for surround sound duties. I was so surprised how when I listened to the Sopras big sound stage, coherent sound with details and SPEED that my guarneris were lacking. The Utopias should be here in the next week or so. Hopefully the break in period won’t be too painful. Any tips on setup?  
redphu72,

My center speaker is a DIY as are my side and rear speakers. To me, they sound pretty good.

As to set up for your Utopia's. Pull them out of the box on their sides, stand them up and then walk them into place. Sounds easy? But it probably won't. Make sure you have a strong helper.

I removed the Focal footers and installed the ISO Acoustics GAIA 1's in their place. 

I would be interested in your opinion once you have them set up.

ozzy


Admire the DIY skills for sure. I wouldn’t even know where to start with enclosure design and resonance and baffles, etc. 

Will try your method for setup. I really like the recommended starting placement as suggested by Wilson Audio. I’ll check to see if Focal has a similar set up guide. Ill keep you posted.  
redphu72,

I did make a mistake, the Sopra’s came in a box that has a pull rod at the bottom to help pull them straight out of the box. Yours will probably the same I believe once out of the box then I had to tilt them to get the bottom packing off.


ozzy
@ozzy 

Any tips on installing the footers/pucks?  Did you lay the speaker on its side or just tilt it?  Also on placement, one of my speakers is close to the wall on the side but I'm able to adjust distance of back of speaker to rear wall.  Where did you start with placement?  One thing that's pretty coo on the Utopia is the ability to adjust for bass/tweeter level via jumpers.  As for sound, so far I'm blown away compared to my sonus faber guarneris.  
redphu72,

If you are referring to installing the ISO Acoustics footers, I had someone (wife) tilt them to the side while I installed the footers and carpet spikes. I did have to loosen the base a bit to get the original spikes off.

I started with a placement that is pretty close to every speaker I have had in this room. That is, approximately 8 feet from the back wall and 11 feet apart and 4 feet from the sidewalls. And, I am sitting about 11 feet from the center of the speakers. I use very little toe in.

Are your speakers new? If so, give them a couple hundred hours to break in.

Merry Christmas!
ozzy
Ozzy,

Thanks for the info.  The speakers a new and I'm just trying to get them broken in playing them on the loud side with heavy bass tracks.  So far so good.  Soundstage is amazing, on some tracks, makes my room seem larger than it really is.  One comment is it does sound a little thin and not as musical but I guess that will change with over time.
redphu72,

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and the New Year will be great for you!

Don’t worry about the thinness you are hearing with the new speakers. That’s typical and the amount of time for break in will very by the speaker make. I will say this, the Focal Sopra 3 had the best overall sound I have ever heard, so I expect the Utopia’s will be much more. I am using the Cerious Matrix speaker cables. What are your speaker cables?

ozzy
@ozzy 

Happy holidays to you as well.  It's reassuring yet another account of how the Focals will smooth out over the course of the break in period.  And I'm enjoying the entire process as these speakers a truly amazing, so coherent, accurate, and fast.  Currently I'm using the Neotech NES 3001 occ (pure copper) speaker cables with furutech rhodium spades.