If your set up is optomized for bookshelf style speakers then I would stick with the Sopra 1's. The BHK combo will also smooth them out a bit which to me would be a good thing.
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Good thought. BHKs are hybrid and the Modwright/Oppo DAC is tubes. The only ding against the Sopras that I have read is a bit of glare in uppers at high vol.
The thing I didn't like initially about the 706s was a hard upper register - though they were running on 40 year old modded Haflers at the time. Nothing like what I have now and I don't really hear that hardness anymore.
I owned m30.1's for 6 yrs and also found myself seeking a bit more incisiveness and dynamics.
Since I owned Focal Utopia headphones I was considering the Focal Electra 1007Be at the time. I took my Benchmark amp into the store and was planning to listen to both the Focal and the ATC SCM19mk2.
I actually ended up listening to the SCM19 first and was hooked, I did have a brief listen to the Focal but it just didn't impress after the ATCs. The ATCs appear quite workmanlike compared to the visually flashier Focal's, but the proof is in the listening.
The great thing about the ATCs is that I didn't give up the great midrange or tonal correctness of the Harbeth - in fact I find the ATCs more correct and dynamically lifelike over a greater range. The ATCs excel at voice and acoustic instruments and bass smokes the Harbeths.
I've gone on to get a bigger active pair of ATCs, so perhaps I'm a bit smitten and biased.
My only caveat is that ATCs (or Harbeths for that matter) will likely sound better when listening at near field distances - where their neutrality is less polluted by room sound. Listening 18ft from the speakers is probably not ideal - though in terms of max SPL the ATCs will play loud and stay very composed given enough power.
So, I almost always hear Focal gear demo’d With Naim equipment. Focal and Naim are like peanut butter and jelly. Together they are awesome and should be since they are owned by same company.
That at being said, Naim gear is shockingly warm for SS and Focal’s beryllium tweeter tends to be bright when driven by mainstream SS gear and the tube input stage on the BHK does not warm that amp in a noteworthy way. Certainly not enough to offset the Sopra’s tweeter.
You might be unhappy moving from Harbeth to Focal with the same amp. Consider the Wilson Sabrina, Magico S1 MKii or the Marten Django. They will all be more natural sounding with your amp.
For stand-mounts, oh boy. There are not a lot. I listened to every stand-mount I could find for under $22K. The Kaiser Chiara at $22k is probably the gold standard that all stand mount speakers should be measured by. My cap was $10K, and you don’t find Kaiser speakers used, really ever.
I could not find a stand mount I liked otherwise. I even bought one and was supremely disappointed. The end result was that I started my own company and am producing a composite stand mount that is quite natural. Several reviewers were pleased at AXPONA and we were called out in TASs under $20K coverage which was really cool.
In gloss black they are $7500. If you want a wood veneer, different color, etc... they can be customized for an additional $1500.
My Blackthorns are carbon fiber sandwich cabinets with a magnesium composite driver and ceramic tweeter. I ran out of stock after AXPONA and have been waiting on parts from Europe. I am also making a small tweak to the design. Previously the binding posts were mounted in the CF. The detail machining was hard and we are switching to a WBT anodized plate.
I have them in a 13’ x 30’ space with a vaulted ceiling and a loft and they deliver room filling sound. The space is actually bigger than that as if spreads out to 25’ with the dining room after about 10’ or 12’.
I will I’ll be back taking orders within two weeks I expect and have a better stock position moving forward. If you are in NYC, Boston or Philly Metro I could arrange an in-home demo for you.
Otherwise, Marten has a new floorstander out that I haven’t heard but since it is Marten, it is worth listening too. Magico has the new A1 coming. Not sure how it will sound.
For stand mounts, the Fritz line offers not just an incredible value, but better sound quality.
The latest Be tweeter based models will give you the incisiveness you are looking for, with much better mid/bass response than Focal. Also, his tweets are much better than the Focals.
Last time I heard a Focal stand mount, they had significant midi-range suck out too. Fritz do not.