FOCAL Sopra N°2

MJ30.08.2016

Floorstanding loudspeakers

The story goes that Focal used Naim’s NAP amplifiers to voice the Sopra range which – according to my experience with Naim – is not a good endorsement. Fortunately the sound of Sopra N°2 is very well balanced as if Focal tried to bridge euphonic seduction of their Aria range and perhaps too neutral sound of the Utopia. The result is one of the finest speakers Focal has ever built.

Funkce a forma

86%
Ergonomie
70%
Zvuk
94%
Zpracování

The Sopra N°2 is a three-way floor standing loudspeaker that fills the gap between the flagship Focal Utopias and long-selling Electras. The MDF cabinet is divided into separate compartments that host Focal’s proprietary drivers. Two 7” (18cm) woofers take care of the bass part (the cones are from “W” material that is a sandwich of a sheet of foam covered in glass fiber). The bass is supported by down-firing port – the gap between the speaker and the floor is ensured by spiked legs that are attached to a glass plinth (it is a French speaker so it needs to be chic). The midrange driver is of a similar construction plus it introduces what Focal calls Tuned Mass Damper, a surround ring that stabilizes the cone.
Upper and lower compartments are attached to each other by means of a wedge that hosts an inverted dome beryllium tweeter. The Sopra N°2’s cabinets are concave to put a listener in the focus of virtual beams from all drivers. Focal’s engineers have come up with an idea of the rear of the tweeter loaded by a tapered horn (that is the horn opens from the tweeter to the rear of the cabinet where the metallic perforated grille is fixed). The horn is damped by foam inside so that the rear firing energy is absorbed. Unlike the magnetically attached grilles of the woofers and the midrange the front grille of the Be tweeter is permanent. The Sopra N°2 is not bi-wireable. Dimensions (HxWxD) are 1190 x 358 x 540mm, 55kg. See attached images for colour finish options.

Nízké frekvence

Váha
91
Výbušnost
75
Artikulace
77

Focal defines the Sopra N°2’s frequency response as 34Hz/- 3dB (with quite high sensitivity of 91dB and traditional wild impedance that dances between 3 and 8 ohms) which corresponds to what I heard. However, because the bass sounds are usually centered much higher than 34Hz and the N°2s are a bit tilted in the bass region, I perceived the bass as rich and weighty. Actually Sopra N°2 went ‘deeper’ than most other speakers of its size. The down-firing bass reflex port solves the dilemma of placing the speaker too close to the front wall so positioning of Sopras is not difficult.
What I have found is that Sopra extremely benefits from replacing its feet: when I substituted the factory spikes with a set of Stillpoints the bass went from good to great and its articulation had become tighter and bass transients better defined.

Čistota rozlišení

Detail
94
Vzduch
92
Transparentnost
85

Some reviewers comment on overall brightness of the tweeter which is a correct observation when listening to a new pair. The Focal’s inverted dome Be tweeters require proper burn-in of minimum 150 hours according to my experience – then they reward you with exceptional clarity, resolution and detail.
I have commented a bit ‘hot’ bottom end and I have to admit that highs are a bot hot too, but in connection with the purity of the tweeter they never sounded harsh, forward or detached from the midrange. In turn the midrange is neutral and informative, similar to what I am used to hear from Utopia Be speakers.

Tonální věrnost

Témbr
78
Dynamika
78
Časování
71

I would say that the Sopra N°2 produces more attractive sound than the Scala Utopia. The voices, like Norah Jones on her new Day Breaks album, were simply amazing with impressive microdynamics and detail. Don’t get me wrong – Scala Utopia provides more mature sound with better scale, yet the Sopra N°2s can be more involving speakers that provide more joy.

Prostorovost

Trojrozměrnost
70
Šířka scény
62
Hloubka scény
66

The imaging of the Sopra N°2 is dictated by its tweeter. Its ultra-precision locks the sounds with great accuracy and the speaker’s transparency lets sonic images breathe in space. The depth of the soundstage benefits – as usual – from the rear boundary distance: the Sopras need space around and minimum of 1m of free space behind the cabinets. Push them into corners and they start sounding boomy and fuzzy.
I loved one thing: as good as the Utopias are they disappoint in their lateral presentation as they limit the width to the distance between the cabinets. This is not the case with Sopra N°2 which were more holographic to my ears.

Cena v době recenze:339 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

SK: Nisel SK, Bratislava, tel. +421 905 203 078

CZ: Excelia HiFi, Chrudim, tel. +420 724 00 77 44

Připojené komponenty

  • Sources: AVM Evolution CD5.2
  • Amplifiers: Octave HP 700 tube preamp and Octave RE 320 stereo power amplifier
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Nordost Valhalla V2
  • Power conditioning: Furutech Daytona on CD player only, Furutech Powerflux on all components

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