Focal Sopra, Kanta, Aria

I’m confused. I’ve been in the market to replace my B&W 802D speakers. I’ve had them for 10 years and finally cannot take the brightness of them anymore. I’ve replaced amps, preamps, cables, sources, and yet the fundamental brightness is there, fatiguing me after only 1-hour of listening.

I auditioned the Focal Sopra 3 which I am told are not as bright and more musical. LIstened to them a few times, and honestly felt that they were also on the bright side similar to the B&W’s.

Another time I listened to the Focal Kanta 3 speaker. Like the Sopra it also has the Beryllium tweeter. Yet the one time I listened to these, they didn’t seem as bright.

Anyway, recently a friend of mine was in the process of moving, and I stored his Focal Aria 936 speakers at my home. I decided to hook them up to my electronics in my listening room just out of curiosity.

What I found were loudspeakers that were not bright (non beryllium tweeter), a warmer sound, probably due to a better mid-bass then the big 802’s. The extreme resolution was not there, and the midrange seemed congested at times. Yet, I found I could listen and enjoy these speakers for hours at a time. Bad recordings sounded good, and great recordings sounded, well, good also. Speaker placement made minimal difference.

My questions is at what is the sweet spot for Focal speakers. The point where they sound wonderful with extended listening, vs the point where they become a finicky pain in the ass to live with (aka 802D).

I was expecting to spend around an equal amount of money as the 802’s as a starting point, now I’m not so sure if I need to.

Thanks in advance for everyone’s input…


Sorry...I am a dope.  I was thinking of the Sigma amp line.  My apologies.  Based on the review of those CAM-200 amps in stereophile, amplification is not your issue.  

Try over-toeing or increasing the damping in your room.  Lack of toeing or toeing the speakers out will be less effective.  

If you are committed to replacing the B&Ws, I just wouldn't pick Focal.  It is every bit as bright as B&W.  You need to look at a different brand.  

That's what I noticed with the Sopra 3's. It's as if the Beryllium tweeter and the diamond tweeter are both 'hyper tweeters'. Crystal clear but fatiguing.

After having the Focal 936's in my house for a couple of weeks (non Beryllium  tweeter) i noticed they were not fatiguing after several hours.


my electronics are as follows:

Classe cam-200 monoblocks, bryston bp-26 preamp, mark levinson 5101 cd player.

all xlr audioquest water interconnects

audioquest indigo bi-wire cables (2 cables per speaker)

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IBryston BP-26.

Another point mentioned in another forum, which is more severe in my system is the Bryston BP-26 connected to the Classe CAM-200 via XLR, my volume range is literally from 6 to 7 (clockface speaking)

This is very annoying when trying to adjust the volume on the remote, but is this causing any weird sound issues?