Actually compared to other speakers in that price range, I think the Sopra 2's are underpriced. Before buying mine, I've been auditioning other similar priced speakers. I liked the Joseph Audio Perspective quite a bit until I heard the Sopra. Listen to a pair that have been broken in for at least 400hrs, using good electronics and cables and then decide for yourself if they're overpriced compared to the competition. They improve dramatically after a proper break-in period. Mine went thru several phases during their break-in period. They sounded OK out of the box initially, then started to sound like I made the wrong choice for a month or so. Only recently (5 months & approx 400hrs), have they settled into their own.
I hear good things about the sound, but as far as I know they are made out of painted pressboard. The Magico S1 MK II's are the real deal, but I doubt they sound at all alike. They have their own colorations, see if they suite you.
jafant, in my experience most companies strive to make as much profit as the markets will allow. The advent of the labor unions in the U.S. gave workers more leverage here. Think of all the IT jobs outsourced to India. India's compensation for IT professionals, job for job, is way below our standards.
"I would venture to say that any gear made in china is over-priced. We all know how "cheap" the labor force in that country."
Come on Jafant, I've read enough of your posts to know you're smarter than a generalized, myopic statement like that. As if the cost of labor were the only input on which the price of an item is based. Did you accidentally get served a decaf at Starbucks this morning?
So, lots of off topic points I want to contribute to.
The quality of products made in China is directly proportional to the parent company’s willingness to control that quality and partner with the manufacturer. Very high quality and crap comes out of Chinese assembly lines, all of it determined by the buyers.
The productivity of the American worker continues to go up while salaries have remained flat for the past 15 years.
Having said that, my own secret calculations say that the High End prices are around 10x the driver costs. Some are better, like Lawrence Audio, and some are much worse. I would put Focal at a much higher rate, plus they benefit from really cheap cabinets and inexpensive in-house drivers. The Magico S1 Mk II which I am not a fanboy for (nor particularly upset by) is all aluminum, and has 2 very nice Scanspeak drivers with proprietary cones and moderately expensive Mundorf crossovers. Then you have some one like Bose selling a 5.1 system out of 6 plastic boxes and $2 drivers for over $1,500. Amazing. :)
Really interested in purchasing a pair, good bang for the buck or overpriced when compared to speakers at similar price point?
I don't know. Are the other speakers in their price range they are designed to compete with overpriced too?
Only the market will make that determination. If they are perceived to be overpriced, or sound bad, they won't sell, Focal will then have to make a decision to lower the price to attract more buyers or discontinued the model altogether because they made an Edsel. Time will tell.
I do know that my dealer has one pair in red, for demos. He tells me if you want orange, there is a 6 week wait. If this is true, then that tells me Focal has priced this speaker right and it is being bought by its intended target market. At least the orange ones anyway.
I believe the Sopra line is made in France, although its likely that some components are sourced from other countries.
As for the value aspect, Focal stated this speaker would provide the best value in high end audio. While it may very well be one the better values, not quite sure I would have given it the class leader. In my book, it would require it to either meet or exceed all speakers nearby or below its pricing. Something I feel it doesn't accomplish across the board.
Even with that said, this level of performance cost considerably more just few years back. This progress is certainly very welcome and I'm glad they create more than statement pieces.
Now it depends on if you enjoy their sound profile and if works in synergy with your room, gear, and listening preferences.
Eric, Back in the late 70's, early 80's I worked in high end audio, back when Yamaha was a "more exclusive" brand. One week, some folks from Yamaha corporate visited and one of their chief engineers said that, to put a model into production, it had to have a retail price that was 10x their cost of the components and assembly costs. On the surface, that sounds like a HUGE markup, but you'd need to add the costs for R&D, packaging, shipping, promotion, service support, and of course, some profit for the local distributor and dealer. At the time, Yamaha had "44 points" in it (if you paid your bills promptly), for the dealer, an item with a $100 retail price cost the store $56 (plus shipping). Speakers typically had at least "50 points" in them, some even more.
that works apart from the R&D. Add up the countless hours spent on R&D and please add them to your single speaker design...then something ike the sopra 2 would become very expensive and you on your lonesome likely would not 'build' them for many many years.
even trying to implement the tweeter the way the sopra line does....long time. Make your own driver surrounds for a single pair of speakers...your concept falls apart pretty quickly. Sorry.
reference999, Thanks for the inputs. Yes, some reviewers have acknowledged that the T3 has more bass than Sopra 2, but the Sopra's bass was mentioned as "tighter". I recently heard the Focal 1008 Electra and was mesmerized by the midrange and treble. That BE tweeter was awesome. I had auditioned the T3 and the tweeter was not as extended. But we are talking about 2 totally different systems. The T3 was driven with NAD while the Focal was driven with Naim.