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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
@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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
The minimum impedance is important but I like I stated earlier 3 ohm is really not that low.
Now to me, SS power seems to have more guts to handle those issues. Tubes can be iffy. Although, I love the sound of tube amps. I am using Bob Carver Raven 350 mono block amps. They are rated for 350 wpc but I really don't know how many watts I am actually using, far less I'm sure. You can never have too much power, especially for dynamic swings and deep bass.
If the Sopra 2's are nearby, perhaps you can take your amp to the audition?
Winoguy, I have the Sopra 2’s paired with Simaudio 700i integrated. I have tried speaker cables at varying price points and have settled on which ones sound best with my system, this will vary based on components. The best overall sounding cables for me are the Blue Jean 10G, with locking connectors, a pair cost 80 bucks. The Sim with the Sopra tweeter can get a little bright based on my room acoustics. The Blue Jean SC matched best with my components as the 10G settled the tweeter just enough, without impairing dispersion or clarity. A perfect match. I was honestly surprised since I was focusing in on more expensive SC’s. Are these better than $1000 cables, they are with my system, and I tested many before settling on the Blue Jeans. Good luck on your search.
Just to add my input on this one.
I am currently running Sopra 2 with PassLab INT-250.
About to upgrade interconnects with Cerious Graphene Extreme between NDX2 and INT-250.
Still undecided for Speaker cable upgrade.
Cerious Matrix or Extreme tempting but will probably consider trying some Mogami 3104 to start with. Read good reviews. Curious to see how those "entry price" cables perform.....
The Sopras have the port in the front bottom of the cabinet so it would probably be fine for your size room.
If you are like me sooner or later you will get the upgrade bug and end up getting the Matrix cables anyway. So, to save money overall you would be better off just buying the Matrix cables now.
There really is a big difference between the Matrix and the original.