Also, for $12k I’d suggest the Kanta no3 over the Sopra no2.
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The reality is these are both terrific loudspeakers that appeal to two different listening priorities and profiles.
The Focal Sopras are a transparent slightly warm more emotional sounding loudspeaker with a warmer richer bass response.
The Magicos are cleaner and less colored and may appeal to someone looking for more neutrality, they go a bit lower with a cleaner tighter lower bass, with a less warm midrange than the Sopras.
The Personas are in this same league with a diffrent profile then either of these loudspeakers, the Personas are a bit more focused in the way they image, have one of the least colored midrange and treble responses on the planet, and they also go nearly as low as the Magicos.
So in summation three of the best loudspeakers on the market today each has their charms and fans, any of these speakers when setup correctly will sound terrific.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Been done already:
I like Focal industrial design, but it come with a heavy penalty of gross coloration from the lousy MDF cabinet. They should let Magico build their cabinets ;)
Coloration from cabinet is not always a bad thing. Someone may just as well prefer the colorated sound of the Sopras. Take percussions for example, that mdf coloration can give spooky real snare drum sound reproduction.
Spendor classic and Harbeth uses the thin wall cabinet resonance that gives that famous magic midrange to their speakers. Voices, brass and winds sound absolutely wanderful.
Not a good idea. I just watched his latest video, I had to check the date; this guy has not left his basement in 40 years.
He still thinks that a plastic woofer cones are hot. And he likes to assess his work listening to music backward, I kid you not… I have to say, it was disturbing.
BTW, it does not matter how much his enclosures sings, his drivers and XO parts, which are below Radio Shack quality and, are so outdated, they are not passing half of the information to begin with, so yes, you may need to get some help from the carpenter ;)
I agree Harbeth speakers don’t have the best crossover parts and best tweeters on market, but that Radial polymer midrange may be the best plastic midrange on market right now. We have to give credit to the designer. And we cannot forget that he has to build a product to a price point, so choices must be made in selecting parts. He has the right to make a living like everyone else who owns a company, so we should forgive him if he does not put a pair of Scanspeak beryllium revelators in his Shl5...
Sure , carbon, aluminium, titanium, beryllium and ceramic composite are more modern driver materials and they have their pros and cons.
Nevertheless, the first time I eard a pair of classic Spendors bookshelves I was very impressed by that midrange naturalness ! Only the bbc thin wall design can give you that kind of sound... Is it perfect , no. But it sure sounds special with voices, brass, winds, acoustic instruments.
In my yearlong search for a new pair of speakers I stopped at one dealer and before they he fired up the first pair of speakers the salesman asked me if I prefer "analytic" or "musical" speakers. I thought about it for a second and thought "musical" was my choice. He characterized the Magico S5's I was about to hear as "analytic". I'd characterize the Wilson's I've auditioned in the same group.
I would probably place the Sopra's in the "musical" group.
Some people like "analytic" some "musical". I just happen to be in the latter group, if you are in the former, good for you too!
Hearing music “the way it was recorded” is an absolute rubbish argument. The entire recording chain is “colored” right down to the microphone, let alone the act of capturing a live event on a mic. If the holy grail as described by you is just an instrument into a microphone, then why do we need mastering engineers?
Because they make the music sound better, more touching, more emotional, more connection to the artist. A great pair of speakers can do the same thing, and which speaker does that for you is personal.
So you are saying that because the recording process is “colored” to begin with, you are OK with adding more, and this time gross (like MDF vibration), coloration on top?
Unlike my “rubbish argument” yours is brilliant...
BTW, the job of a good mastering engineer is not to "make the music sound better", but rather to preserve, as much as possible, the original intent of the performance. A process that involved the artists. That is the where the "connection" is made (or not). The job of a loudspeaker is to convey that intent as truthfully as possible.