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Opuslab, I demoed a pair for a solid 2.5 hours with lots of different music and a Hegel 300 Integrated, completely blown away, the speakers showed me how good my Hegel is. I will be ordering a pair in the next few weeks, after the Axpona show in Chicago.
I will be demoing a few other speakers at the show, but can't imagine any outperforming the Focals at their price point. Fun time to be in the market for speakers. I also demoed the Wilson Sabrina, very nice, but not as good as the Focal Sopra and a couple thousand more.
Try to audition Bowers Wilkins CM5S2 (not CM9s, althou those are very good as well) with open mind. Yes they are 1/6 price of the Focals, but never mind their pricing. Pretend they cost 10 grand. Take your ECM records with you, you d be pleasantly surprised me thinks.... Don’t listen to the B&Ws with any Naim, Linn,&other lifeless gear. Even cheaper Marantz integrated at the Best Buy would give you much more musical sound.... Also they play nice with Rega amps....
I am working on a review of Sopra 2s for HomeTheaterReview.com. I got them in white and they are really nice looking. They sound just as good as they look. They are in fact so good that I want to improve the acoustics of my room (hard to do by design) so the room lives up to the potential of the speakers.
I am powering them with Classe which is great. Also try Pass Labs Class-A stuff if you really want to go over the top.
I am running the Sopra 2 on a Supernait 2 and the results are amazing. Focal excels at delicate airy treble. At low listening levels they are so satisfying permeating every part of the Listening Room with they're amazing presence. I think this synergistic match is not an accident. Naim's ultra rich, settled sound is perfectly complimented by the Focals.
Dealer disclaimer for Focal & Naim but still my true feelings!
I have Sopra 2's (Wadia S7i CD/ Bryston BP26 pre/Bryston 7B3 Amps) I'm currently using OCOS Triple twist speaker cable but feel the Sopras deserve better. Would like to upgrade the speaker cable. If anyone has come across a spkr cable that really gave an eye opening improvement would love to know what you went from/to. Extremely happy with the Sopras but you all know how this sport goe$.
If you are considering the Sopra No. 2, you should really check out the Sopra No. 3 if it's still within your budget constraints. I auditioned both the "2" and the "3" and ended up buying the "3". Everything the Sopra No. 2 does well, the Sopra No. 3 does better, and in some cases a lot better. IMHO the superiority of the Sopra No. 3 easily justifies the cost difference.
I also agree completely with earlier comments that the electronics can make a big difference in sound quality with these speakers. I'm driving my Sopra No.3's with the ARC Reference 150, Reference 5se, and Reference CD9.
If you like Focal, Sopra's or Utopia you have to hear them with Devialet - you won't find better without spending ten's of thousands more.
Both Focal and Devialet work very well with good copper - Analysis Plus Solo Crystal 8 has bested many more expensive brands although I still belive there's even better to be found - maybe the new Lessloss C-marc?
Forget Nordost - unless you're using a fluffy warm tube amp.
I agree with the OP. The No 2 is a powerhouse in its price range. You can find them used under 10k. I'm not sure I've heard a better speaker at that price. The No 3 is amazing, too, if you have a large space, but you can also use the 5k extra you'll spend (either new or used) on some upgraded gear to power it.
I just auditioned the Sopra 2's hoping to like them. I listen 90% of the time to Classic Rock/80's Rock (Not the REAL hard stuff). These speakers were paired with Mcintosh Equipment 7200 and something else. They sounded OK with the softer stuff (Captain Fantastic, Green Grass and High Tides Forever, Dire Straits - Tunnel of Love) but they were totally unforgiving of stuff like Thin Lizzy - Dedication, Night Ranger - Dont tell me you love me. Twin Guitar attacks were unlistenable. Even the Guitar Solos in Green Grass High Tides sounded tame when they should be searing the paint off the walls. Maybe it was the Mcintosh gear, the Cambridge piece of crap CD player, The room or cables but based on my experience I would NEVER recommend these for people looking to Rock Out. Too much Bass for my tastes as well. My various JBL Monitors that can be had for $500-1000 in nice shape sound SOOOO Much better..even with 1970's era Receivers/Equalizers. Thankfully I auditioned them without purchasing first...cause thats what I usually do.
RACOF, System dependent for sure. I have a very good CD player and killer Integrated 700i. I listen to many of the songs you mentioned and the Sopra 2’s sound great. Enjoying Don’t tell me you love me right now. My Yggy Dac does a great job on 80’s rock that can tend to sizzle a bit. My S2’s rock out from Scorpions to Winger. Cabling and room set up really helps. Sorry to hear your experience was unfavorable. I also have a pair of late 70’s JBL 4311B’s and they still sound great, but, nowhere as good as the S2’s. When you close your eyes from NR sounded great also. Thanks for reminding about Night Ranger fun to listen to again.
That's all I listen to is rock music. The Focal 2's can certainly rock with no strain what so ever.
RACOF, you must have listened to a system that was not matched well with the Sopra 2's. Hard to believe your results.
Metallica is not my music but I have played Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, and everything else through the Sopra 2's.
I am using a few JL F-113 subs.
I was fortunate to receive one of the first pair of Sopra No2's to arrive stateside, and I am still smitten.
I drive them with a McIntosh MC452 solid state power amp, and McIntosh C2500 tube preamp...and have a pair of JL F113V2 sub woofers, as the bass the Sopra's have is very good, but the subs add just a nice amount below that!
I once had a listen to the Sopra 3 at my local dealer paired with all Naim 500 separate gears and higher end Transparent cablings (couldn’t remember which models) and they sounded great together. Yes, like other posters here had mentioned before that the newer or current Focal speakers were voiced using Naim gears since the acquisition and the Naim/Focal pairings are perfect match. They have good synergy together. For those who are big fans of Focal you all owe it to yourself if you haven’t heard the Focal (Sopras or current newer Utopias) on higher end Naim separates.
Fyi, slightly off topic, Naim electronics also pair really well with PMC, Magico, B&W, ProAc, Audio Physics, ATC speakers among others.
The Sopra 3 that I listened to at the dealer were paired with the following Naim 500 series separates :
* Naim ND 555 digital streamer/DAC with an external separate Naim 555 PS DR power supply unit (psu).
* Naim NAC 552 linestage preamp with an external separate 555 PS DR psu.
* Naim NAP 500 DR power amp with an external separate 555 PS DR psu.
The NAP 500 DR amp is a true dual monoaural design configurations. Each left & right channels are encased in separate chambers with its own independent separate power supply and voltage regulations and are completely isolated and independent from each other.