Sopra N°2

My story with Focal goes back to the early 2000's. I used to own a pair of fantastic Electra 928's back when they were still marketed as JMLab/Focal. Almost ten years later I bought a pair of used Mini Utopias, which I ended up trading in for a brand new pair of Electra 1028Be. The latter was actually a choice I made for my wife -- she came to the dealer with me for audition and picked 1028's out of the three other candidates.

As most audiophiles, I progressed with time and developed a taste for esoteric brands, denying anything mainstream. I kept digging down to the depth that would bring me "closer to the source". Some audio components that I've become familiar with were so unique that most people won't even know how to pronounce the name of its manufacturer. And that is why my pair of 1028's only lasted for a little over a year. Gradually, my audio system completely transformed, which made me feel right at home in the company of other two-channel dinosaur audiophiles who share my undeniable passion for music and its faithful reproduction.

And then last year Focal rolled out Sopras. I have to admit, my curiosity instantly spiked because of their design resemblance to Utopias. I waited for them to become available and went to a dealer nearby for audition. The dealer had a pair of Sopra 2 set up with some Mac gear, which is a major no-no in my book (but that's a whole new topic), however I thought that it would at least give me an idea. Idea I did get, and it was anything but favorable. Just like the Mac gear, I thought the Sopras were quite mediocre. I specifically brought some of my most treasured ECM recordings with me, and Sopras failed at reproducing the magic captured on those recordings miserably.

That's where I thought my Focal story would end. Only for some reason the Sopras kept coming up on my radar. It's the design, I knew it. After all, it is a gorgeous-looking speaker. I finally came across somebody's post regarding Dan D'Agostino's new monoblock amp introduction event somewhere in Seattle, where they had four different rooms/setups, which included speaker systems and audio components by Wilson Audio, ARC, and Magneplanar. And sure thing, one of them was Sopra 2. The fact alone that Sopras were picked as one of the demo pieces in the event where Mr. D'Agostino himself was present was good enough reason for me to give them another try. But this time I was going to do it right.

I reached out to the dealer again and scheduled the audition, bringing my Boulder integrated with me. I asked for the best interconnects and speaker cable that they had, which ended up being Cardas Clear, hooked them up to the Sopra 2's attractive and very functional binding posts, got comfortable in a chair positioned in sweet spot's epicenter, and pressed play.

Oh my dear God. How can the same pair of speakers sound so different, I can't even start to understand. What I thought I heard this time was the musical truth that I've been searching for. My body started to react in strange ways to the vibrations coming out of Sopras, I couldn't wipe the embarrassing smile off of my face -- that was literally beyond my control. I was only able to press stop to change discs when the track I chose for audition was over. Quite honestly, I think that the dealer himself was blown away. He just sat there without saying a word with his jaw on the floor. I ended up spending about 1.5 hours of playing different tunes, which varied from early 70's rock to modern Jazz, and every single test I threw at Sopras was passed with flying colors and more.

I keep thinking about that day, and I try to relive that mind-blowing experience, but I'm afraid that the only way to really do that is to actually hear Sopras sing again. And even if they become so popular that they start selling them at Walmart - I don't care. I want them.
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Excellent story- opuslab.

whom is your dealer/retailer? Where is he located?
Jafant -- thank you!! You know, I think I’ll keep my dealer’s identity private, just in case I said something I wasn’t supposed to. It is located in the N.E. USA, and if you live around here I’ll be happy to reveal the details over personal messaging.

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 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.
Yeah, don't bother with Naim amps as they are "lifeless"..
What Naim amps have you listened to kot?
Lifeless? That's hilarious...

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$. 
I’ve heard several people say that if you already have 1038 be IIs, the Sopra no2 is not an upgrade. The no3 is a different story. Not to mention, some like me never warmed up to the modern airport dustbin/garbage can look of the Sopra. 
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I went from 1038be to the Sopra 3. I was actually surprised at how much better the Sopra3 is. I loved the 1038 but it isnt even close. Every area is a big upgrade. I now want to try different amplifiers. Now Im using a levinson 532H and it sounds great but I need to try some others.
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.
"Audiophiles" suffer from G.A.S., or gear acquisition syndrome and justify their purchases simply based on delusioned emotions. You can always fool your brain and state-of-mind into 'thinking' something is better. 
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 have the 3s and 2 rel Gibraltar 2s run by devialet monoblocks as part of a home theater system and they sound truly amazing. Am a bit frustrated with my transparent ultra cables as they lack air and some details. However. There is a true ease of sound that can captivate me for hours.
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.
anyone ever fire up any Metallica, slayer or Pantera om the focal 2's via spotify or tidal? Can they rock?
I've had my Sopra 2's for a year and I can't think of a speaker in its price range I love more. The only ones I would even discuss are 2-3x's more in cost. The lone exception may be the Sonus Faber Sonetto VIII but with better bass response.
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.