Reviews

Review: Focal Sopra N°2 Floorstanding Speaker – A Sonic Odyssey and Visual Symphony

Review: "Dive into the auditory realm with the Focal Sopra N°2, a sonic masterpiece merging precision engineering, avant-garde design, and immersive artistry."

Embarking on an Auditory Odyssey: Focal Sopra N°2

In high-end audio, the Focal Sopra N°2 emerges as a symphony of engineering and design, beckoning audiophiles to explore its sonic landscape. Beyond its imposing stature and captivating finishes, this floorstanding giant from French audio experts Focal promises an immersive audio experience that transcends the ordinary. From using a beryllium tweeter to the unconventional Brown Concrete special edition, the Sopra N°2 demands attention for its sound prowess and the meticulous craftsmanship and innovation woven into its DNA.

Marrying Form and Function: A Design Odyssey: Large floorstanding speakers aren’t mere audio instruments but statements in both sound and aesthetics. The Sopra N°2, available in seven distinct versions, beckons enthusiasts with a visual feast ranging from vibrant orange to the industrial allure of the Brown Concrete finish. Yet, as we delve into this auditory adventure, our focus remains steadfast on dissecting its sonic nuances and how design choices, from its towering dimensions to the selection of materials, influence the overall listening experience. Join us as we navigate the intricacies of the Focal Sopra N°2, where each detail serves as a note in the symphony of audio excellence.

Focal: Pioneering Sonic Excellence: Renowned for pushing the boundaries of audio innovation, Focal is a paragon of excellence in high-end audio equipment. Established in 1979 in Saint-Étienne, France, Focal has consistently mesmerized audiophiles with its unwavering commitment to precision and quality. From crafting exceptional speakers for home and professional use to pioneering advancements in driver technology, Focal has garnered global acclaim. Using cutting-edge materials, such as beryllium tweeters and innovative construction techniques, exemplifies their relentless pursuit of sonic perfection. With an illustrious history and a dedication to delivering an unparalleled auditory experience, Focal continues to shape the landscape of premium audio, earning its place as a benchmark for uncompromising sound quality and design ingenuity.

Focal Sopra No 2 Floorstanding Speakers

TypeThree-way bass-reflex floor standing loudspeaker
Drivers2x 7″ “W” woofer

6 1/2″ “W” midrange with TMD suspensions and NIC motor

1 1/16″ IHL Beryllium inverted dome tweeter
Frequency Response (+/- 3dB)34Hz – 40kHz
Low frequency point (-6dB)28Hz
Sensitivity (2.83V / 1m)91dB
Nominal Impedance8 Ohms
Minimum Impedance3.1 Ohms
Crossover Frequency250Hz / 2200Hz
Recommended amplifier power40 – 300W
Dimensions (HxWxD)46 27/32″ x 14 3/32″ x 21 17/64″ (1190mm x 358mm x 540mm)
Weight122lbs (55kg)

Design that Harmonizes with Style: The Aesthetic Symphony of Focal Sopra N°2

In the world of high-end audio, where sonic excellence often converges with visual allure, the design philosophy of the Focal Sopra N°2 stands as a testament to the seamless integration of form and function. The Sopra N°2 transcends the mere utilitarian aspect of speakers, transforming into a statement piece that not only captivates the ears but also harmonizes with diverse interior styles.

Available in an array of seven captivating versions, each showcasing a unique personality, the Sopra N°2 becomes a chameleon, effortlessly blending into any living space. From the audacious vibrancy of bright orange to the industrial chic of the Brown Concrete finish, this floorstanding speaker caters to individual tastes, ensuring a bespoke aesthetic experience.

Beyond its diverse color palette, the Sopra N°2’s design brilliance extends to its architectural structure. The towering 120-centimeter height and substantial 55-kilogram weight demand attention, creating a visual presence that complements expansive living rooms and intimate listening spaces. The strategic placement of the beryllium tweeter below the midrange driver serves acoustic precision. It ensures a visual focal point at ear level, creating a symmetrical elegance that engages sight and sound.

Moreover, the choice of materials, such as the MDF skeleton and the black glass base, contributes to the speaker’s overall aesthetic coherence. The Brown Concrete special edition, introduced to celebrate a decade-long partnership between Focal and Naim, adds a luxury reminiscent of modern penthouse aesthetics. In various lighting conditions, the concrete finish transforms, resembling dark gold, copper, or rust, creating a dynamic visual experience.

In audio equipment, where technology often takes center stage, the Focal Sopra N°2 stands as a beacon of design ingenuity, proving that a speaker can be both an acoustic masterpiece and a visual art. It invites audiophiles to listen profoundly and behold a harmonious blend of style and substance.

Impressive Build and Dimensions: Crafting Sonic Mastery in the Form of Focal Sopra N°2

The physical embodiment of sonic prowess, the Focal Sopra N°2, is a testament to precision engineering and formidable dimensions. Rising almost 120 centimeters tall and boasting an imposing weight of 55 kilograms, this floorstanding giant commands attention and signifies a meticulous amalgamation of materials and structural design.

The speaker’s dimensions are not arbitrary; they are a deliberate orchestration to optimize acoustic performance. Slightly eclipsing its Bowers & Wilkins counterpart in size, the Sopra N°2 accommodates two woofers, a midrange driver, and the pièce de résistance—the beryllium tweeter. Positioned strategically below the midrange driver and precisely at ear level, the tweeter becomes a sonic element and a visual focal point, ensuring an immersive auditory experience that aligns seamlessly with the listener’s perspective.

Internally, the Sopra N°2 unveils its complexity. An MDF skeleton forms the core, providing structural integrity that resonates through every note. The speaker stands proudly on a black glass base, creating a sleek foundation that enhances stability and aesthetics. The bass reflex tube, intelligently placed between the base and the speaker’s bottom, is a deliberate inclusion designed to accentuate low frequencies and add depth to the overall sound profile.

Moreover, the innovative use of a sandwich membrane made of glass fabric and foam for the bass and midrange drivers exemplifies Focal’s commitment to agile movements and minimal deformation. This intricate construction ensures that every beat, from the gentlest to the most powerful, is rendered with unparalleled precision.

The attention to detail doesn’t stop there. Focal’s meticulous approach is evident in the Faraday ring integrated into the midrange driver, ensuring a stable magnetic field regardless of the coil’s position or current flow. This groundbreaking feature enhances clarity and fidelity, contributing to the speaker’s reputation for sonic excellence.

In the universe of high-end audio, where every nuance matters, the impressive build, and dimensions of the Focal Sopra N°2 underscore not just a speaker’s physical presence but the embodiment of a sonic masterpiece meticulously crafted to redefine the boundaries of auditory bliss.

Sound Precision Test: Unveiling the Sonic Tapestry of Focal Sopra N°2

The crucible of the Focal Sopra N°2’s sonic prowess is laid bare through rigorous sound precision tests, with one such litmus being the audacious and demanding track “Bubbles” by Yosi Horikawa. This sonic odyssey thrusts the speaker into the throes of extreme precision, where myriad spheres, balls, and marbles cascade, collide, and rebound across the sound stage. In this intricate soundscape, it’s here that the beryllium tweeter takes center stage, meticulously rendering each element’s weight, impact, and trajectory with unparalleled accuracy.

The bass drivers come to life as the musical weight increases, showcasing their prowess. While perhaps not as clinically controlled as some competitors, such as the Canton Reference 2, the Sopra N°2’s bass responses form a formidable phalanx of impulses, dynamically advancing toward the listener. Notably, the membranes of the woofers exhibit a controlled finesse, never straying a millimeter beyond their designated range, ensuring a dry bass presentation without a hint of muddiness.

The true marvel, however, lies in the speaker’s ability to articulate the sonic elements spatially. Whether it’s the delicate bounce of a table tennis ball or the resonant thud of a leather medicine ball, the Sopra N°2 unveils a three-dimensional soundscape. It allows the listener to perceptually “see” each element dispersed across the room with a level of precision that is a rarity in the words of the reviewer.

Yet, achieving this level of sonic finesse requires strategic placement. The Sopra N°2 demands a slightly wider stance than the norm, emphasizing that its optimal performance is tailored for larger spaces. Once achieved, This deliberate spatial arrangement unlocks the speaker’s full potential, providing a nuanced and immersive listening experience that transcends the ordinary.

In sound precision, the Focal Sopra N°2 emerges as an instrument and as a conductor, orchestrating the delicate dance of frequencies with an exacting precision that turns the listening experience into a vivid, multisensory journey. It’s a testament to Focal’s commitment to delivering sound and an artful representation of musicality where each note and impact is etched with meticulous accuracy.

Optimal Placement Unveils Full Potential: Sculpting Sonic Brilliance with Focal Sopra N°2

The Focal Sopra N°2, a sonic virtuoso by design, unveils the zenith of its capabilities when treated to the meticulous choreography of optimal placement. In a symphony of spatial arrangement, the speaker transforms from a formidable instrument to an ethereal conduit of sonic brilliance, revealing nuances that remain dormant without strategic positioning.

The reviewer’s narrative unveils a deliberate dance with spatial dimensions, a journey where the Sopra N°2 demands to be set slightly further apart than the conventional norms dictate. This nuanced adjustment, though not requiring an arduous calibration, is the key that unlocks the portal to the speaker’s full potential. It’s a subtle reminder that the Sopra N°2 isn’t tailored for the confines of modest spaces; instead, it flourishes in the expanses of larger listening realms.

As the speakers find their optimized positions, the transformation is palpable. A sonic panorama ensues that transcends the ordinary, a revelation where the Sopra N°2 breathes life into every note, beat, and silence in between. The reviewer’s prose unfolds the journey, emphasizing the criticality of this bespoke spatial arrangement to harness the speaker’s capabilities to their fullest.

In the acoustically orchestrated realm of the Focal Sopra N°2, optimal placement becomes the alchemist’s touch, turning a listening session into an immersive experience. The spatial dimensions, once aligned, allow the phalanx of bass impulses to move with intent toward the listener, creating a soundscape where precision meets emotion. This revelation underscores the speaker’s technical prowess and innate ability to connect with the listener on a profound, almost visceral level.

The optimal placement of the Focal Sopra N°2 is the final stroke in an artistic masterpiece, where the canvas is the auditory space, and the brushstroke is the meticulous arrangement of each sonic element. It’s a testament that the Sopra N°2, much like a seasoned performer, demands the right stage to deliver its magnum opus.

Innovative Construction for Enhanced Sound: Crafting the Acoustic Alchemy of Focal Sopra N°2

At the heart of the Focal Sopra N°2’s sonic wizardry lies an innovative construction that transcends the conventional, meticulously designed to elevate the auditory experience to new heights. From the diaphragms to the magnetic field stability, Focal’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional speaker engineering is evident, revealing a symphony of technological marvels.

The journey begins with the diaphragms – a departure from the flax membranes of the Kanta series. Focal introduces a sandwich membrane of glass fabric and foam for the bass and midrange drivers. This composition is the crucible for nimble movements with minimal deformation, ensuring that every musical note is articulated precisely and clearly. Not merely content with this groundbreaking construction, Focal claims the ability to fine-tune the thickness of the foam layer based on frequencies, a testament to their dedication to a tailored, nuanced sonic profile.

The midrange driver’s Faraday ring emerges as a technological beacon. Designed to stabilize the magnetic field, this ingenious addition ensures unwavering field strength, regardless of the coil’s position or the varying currents that course through it. This stability becomes the linchpin for crystal-clear playback, underscoring Focal’s understanding of the intricate relationship between magnetism and music signals.

The Sopra N°2’s drive towards enhanced sound also delves into the motor’s magnetic field stability intricacies. Recognizing the inherent instability caused by the coil’s movement and fluctuating currents, Focal engineers introduce a Faraday ring to the midrange driver. This ring acts as a guardian, ensuring a stable magnetic field regardless of the dynamic nature of music and volume. It’s a nuanced solution, an acknowledgment that the interplay between magnets and music is a delicate dance that requires meticulous calibration.

Beyond the traditional focus on the drivers, Focal’s innovative approach extends to eliminating rear-emitted sound from the tweeter. In a parallel pursuit with industry peers, Focal employs a cavity filled with insulating material, terminating in a concealed slot behind a grille on the back. This intelligent design, reminiscent of principles seen in open headphones, ensures that unwanted vibrations are quelled before they can taint the pristine sound emanating from the beryllium tweeter.

In essence, the Focal Sopra N°2’s construction is a testament to the marriage of art and science, where each material, every ring, and each diaphragm layer is a note in the grand composition of acoustic alchemy. It showcases Focal’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in speaker design, ensuring every listener embarks on a sonic journey that transcends expectations.

Usability and Unique Functions: Unraveling the Focal Sopra N°2’s Sonic Tapestry

The usability of the Focal Sopra N°2 extends far beyond the conventional; it’s an immersive experience that seamlessly marries technology with user-friendly design, unraveling a host of unique functions that elevate it to a league of its own.

One of the standout features lies in the meticulous placement of the beryllium tweeter, strategically positioned below the midrange driver at ear level. This isn’t merely an aesthetic choice but a deliberate ergonomic consideration. The result is an optimal listening experience, ensuring the listener is enveloped in the purest form of sound without compromise. A small yet profound detail epitomizes Focal’s commitment to enhancing user experience through thoughtful design.

The Sopra N°2’s adaptability to various room sizes and configurations is another user-centric attribute. While larger speakers often pose challenges in smaller spaces, the Sopra N°2 doesn’t shy away. However, the call for strategic speaker placement unveils the speaker’s true potential. The process is a harmonious collaboration between the user and technology, an invitation to curate the perfect auditory space.

Including magnetically held fabric covers for the midrange and woofers is a nod to usability and aesthetics. Focal understands the desire for flexibility in visual presentation while recognizing that sometimes the raw beauty of its speaker components deserves to be on display. The result is a user-friendly option that accommodates individual preferences, ensuring that the Sopra N°2 seamlessly integrates into diverse living spaces.

A unique function that warrants attention is the bass reflex tube, intelligently positioned between the black glass base and the speaker’s bottom. This addition serves a dual purpose – not only enhancing low-frequency emphasis but also contributing to the overall stability of the speaker. Focal’s attention to detail extends beyond sound quality to the physicality of the listening experience, ensuring that every aspect of usability is considered.

The Sopra N°2’s usability is further accentuated by its compatibility with various amplifiers and audio setups. This adaptability allows users to personalize their listening experience, whether they prefer a vintage amplifier or a modern, high-tech setup. Focal doesn’t impose limitations; instead, it empowers users to tailor their audio journey according to their preferences.

In essence, the Focal Sopra N°2 is not just a speaker; it’s a companion in the pursuit of sonic excellence. Its usability and unique functions echo Focal’s dedication to delivering an immersive and tailored experience, ensuring that each user becomes the curator of their auditory masterpiece.

Flawless Craftsmanship Beyond Aesthetics: The Art and Engineering Mastery of Focal Sopra N°2

The Focal Sopra N°2 stands as a testament to a level of craftsmanship that transcends the superficial, delving into a realm where every joint, every curve, and every detail serves as a testament to the fusion of art and engineering. Beyond the captivating aesthetics that catch the eye, the flawless craftsmanship of the Sopra N°2 is a symphony of meticulous design and precision manufacturing.

The speaker’s construction goes beyond mere assembly; it manifests engineering precision, ensuring every joint dimension is accurate. Each component seamlessly integrates into the next, forming a harmonious whole that speaks to the dedication of Focal’s craftsmen. This commitment to perfection extends beyond what the eye can perceive, guaranteeing structural integrity that resonates through every note the Sopra N°2 produces.

The grille on the back of the speaker, often a functional but overlooked aspect, becomes a focal point of curiosity. Its design goes beyond the practical, drawing glances that seek to understand the purpose behind its intricate structure. It’s an emblem of how Focal’s craftsmanship extends to even the seemingly mundane elements, ensuring that every aspect of the speaker is an opportunity for excellence.

The magnetically held fabric covers for the midrange and woofers introduce a level of user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing sophistication. Crafted with precision, they offer a seamless integration into the speaker’s design while allowing users to choose between a sleek, covered look or a raw, exposed beauty. This duality is a testament to Focal’s understanding that flawless craftsmanship extends beyond mere appearance; it’s about providing users with choices that enhance their overall experience.

However, the true showcase of craftsmanship lies in the grille design that veils the beryllium tweeter. Focal embraces a kink in the speaker’s design in a conscious departure from convention, where a continuous cover might have been the easier path. This decision is not just about aesthetics but a calculated move to maintain the tweeter’s performance. With its subtle intricacies, the grille becomes a shield that doesn’t compromise the speaker’s sonic integrity.

The Sopra N°2’s flawless craftsmanship is not confined to aesthetics alone; it extends to the functional aspects contributing to sound purity. Though unconventional, the recessed area between the two bass drivers is not an oversight. It’s a deliberate decision that aligns with the overall acoustic strategy, showcasing that every contour of the speaker has a purpose beyond visual appeal.

The craftsmanship of the Focal Sopra N°2 is a harmonious marriage of form and function, an ode to meticulous design that goes beyond what meets the eye. It’s an investment in engineering artistry, where every detail is a brushstroke in creating an auditory masterpiece.

Conclusion: Focal Sopra N°2 – A Sonic Maestro with Artistic Finesse

In the grand finale of our exploration, the Focal Sopra N°2 emerges not merely as a speaker but as a symphonic masterpiece meticulously designed to redefine the auditory experience. From the beryllium tweeter’s precise articulation to the innovative construction techniques that elevate sonic clarity, Focal has crafted a speaker at the intersection of art and engineering. Its flawless craftsmanship, extending beyond aesthetic allure to encompass user-friendly design and purposeful construction, ensures that the Sopra N°2 transcends the realm of audio equipment to become a beacon of sonic excellence. It invites listeners on a journey where each note is a brushstroke, painting an immersive soundscape that lingers in the memory.

As the final chord resonates, the Focal Sopra N°2 unequivocally asserts its worth in the pantheon of high-end audio. The Brown Concrete-clad behemoth not only captivates with its aesthetic splendor but delights with a sound profile that is dynamic, nuanced, and unparalleled precision. While it demands spatial consideration, the rewards for optimal placement are an auditory odyssey that transcends the ordinary. In a landscape teeming with audio options, the Sopra N°2 stands tall, a testament to Focal’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. For those seeking an immersive sonic journey and an artful marriage of design and technology, the Focal Sopra N°2 emerges as an investment that transcends mere audio equipment to become a cherished companion in the pursuit of acoustic perfection.


Reasons to Buy the Focal Sopra N°2:

  1. Sonic Mastery: The Focal Sopra N°2 stands as a sonic maestro, offering a level of precision and clarity that is rare in audio. Each element is meticulously designed to deliver an immersive and nuanced auditory experience, from the beryllium tweeter to the innovative construction techniques.
  2. Artful Craftsmanship: Beyond its exceptional sound, the Sopra N°2 is a visual masterpiece. The flawless craftsmanship and attention to detail, from the Brown Concrete finish to the magnetic fabric covers, make it a statement piece that harmonizes with diverse interior styles.
  3. Innovative Construction: Focal’s engineering prowess shines through with innovative features like the sandwich membrane and the Faraday ring, contributing to enhanced sound quality. The meticulous construction choices demonstrate a commitment to pushing the boundaries of speaker design.
  4. User-Friendly Design: The Sopra N°2’s usability is not an afterthought. From the strategically placed tweeter for optimal listening to the flexibility of magnetically held fabric covers, it caters to audiophiles and those with an eye for design.
  5. Versatility in Amplifier Compatibility: Its compatibility with various amplifiers allows users to tailor their audio setup according to personal preferences, making it adaptable to multiple listening environments.

Reasons Not to Buy the Focal Sopra N°2:

  1. Spatial Consideration: The Sopra N°2 demands a slightly wider speaker placement for optimal performance. This may pose a challenge in smaller spaces, making it less suitable for those with spatial constraints.
  2. Midrange Reserve: While the speaker excels in many aspects, some reviewers note a slight reserve in the midrange frequencies. This might be a consideration for those prioritizing the utmost realism in vocal reproduction.
  3. Price Point: The Sopra N°2 has a premium price tag as a high-end speaker. This might be a limiting factor for budget-conscious buyers, especially when alternatives are cheaper.
  4. Special Edition Cost: Opting for the exceptional Brown Concrete finish incurs an additional cost. Buyers should evaluate whether the unique aesthetic justifies the extra expenditure.

In essence, the Focal Sopra N°2 is a compelling choice for audio enthusiasts who prioritize exceptional sound quality and avant-garde design and are willing to invest in a premium audio experience. However, alternatives with a different balance of features may be worth exploring for those with budget constraints or limited space.