After the global success of the UTOPIA range, the French manufacturer Focal comes back with the more affordable range “SOPRA”.
The Focal Sopra 1 speakers are high-end 2-way, offered on nice supports (optional stands - essential!).
FOCAL SOPRA 1: DESIGN
The finish, no matter the color, is superb. The Sopra 1 is offered in white, red, black or orange lacquered finish. A wood finish is also available.
The top of the Focal Sopra 1 speaker receives a black tinted silica plate of the most beautiful effect. Below this, the module receiving the tweeter is placed.
FOCAL SOPRA 1: TWEETER
It is made of extremely strong and inert matt black one-piece polyurethane. It receives the famous 27mm pure beryllium tweeter, which is now the trademark of the manufacturer Focal.
This one has the particularity of working like a baffle.
Its rear wave is damped by an IHL horn. It opens at the back of the speaker through a beautiful stainless grid named as “variable geometry”. Acoustically speaking, this part is fully independent from the speaker.
FOCAL SOPRA 1: SPEAKER
Below the tweeter module, there is the "subwoofer" housing the bass/midrange speaker. Its load is of the bass/reflex type with a laminar port leading to the back of the speaker.
The Sopra 1 by Focal is equipped with a “W” 16.5mm membrane, with specific TMD suspension. Its powerful magnetic circuit is designed following the NIC principle. It consists of the use of a Faraday ring whose dimensions, material and positioning have been optimized to make the magnetic field insensitive to the position of the coil following the intensity and frequency of the current flowing through it.
Focal’s R&D says that this speaker is the best one ever developed. That is right! Most of these technologies can be found in the Utopia range from which these SOPRA 1 speakers are derived.
The filtering uses the best capacitors and coils possible.
Note that the internal wiring is particularly neat. It uses a well-known European speaker cable manufacturer known and recognized for its high-end products.
FOCAL SOPRA 1: TERMINAL BLOCK
The terminal only accepts mono wiring and that is good!
However, it is of excellent quality and its oval shape allows optimum clamping of bare cables or forks. Of course, the contact with the banana plugs is also perfect.
FOCAL SOPRA 1: SUPPORT
Let’s speak about the stands of these SOPRA 1 (optional)! This one deserves some attention because it is an option to this almost indispensable pair of speakers.
Find more information about these stands for SOPRA speakers - STAND 1 on the product sheet.
FOCAL SOPRA 1: INSTALLATION
When unpacking, we immediately see that Focal has done nothing for the economy. The Sopra 1 speaker is a big Hi-Fi speaker!
Its dimensions are above what we often find in this category, and its weight (19 kg unit!) gives an idea of the manufacture and the care given to the cabinetwork.
FOCAL SOPRA 1: SET UP
The set up is quite simple and does not require specific precautions. This Focal Sopra 1 speaker is designed to 20 to 30 m² rooms, but it can show its potential in bigger spaces.
We obtained good results in more than 45 m² rooms!
Depending on the size of the room and the wall behind the speaker, we place them from 30 to 80cm away from the wall.
The Sopra 1 is versatile is terms of amplification. It only requires quality electronics. From 35W with tubes and 70W with transistors, the Sopra 1 speakers show their potential with ease.
FOCAL SOPRA 1: REVIEW AND LISTENING
We tested them seriously after 50 hours of running-in.
The general restitution is very neutral. This is a Hi-Fi speaker that is truly “monitor” in the good sense of the word. We really hear all the details of the recording. But it does not highlight one register more than another.
The treble is a wonder! It is informative and dynamic without aggressiveness. It gives a very open and airy restitution to the music.
On excellent recordings, the stereo effects come completely out of the side fields of the speakers! We are surprised to hear sounds that you can locate up to one meter to the right of the right speaker and this is the same for the left.
The vocals are nice and, in addition to enjoying a remarkable presence and realism, their positioning is a reference. We move the head and the singer stays in the middle. We find this on a real mono signal. Proof of a very tight pairing of the Sopra 1 speakers with a studio standard!
We would like to mention the totally "holographic" side of the restitution which gives an incredible dimension on public recordings and on orchestral masses.
The bass is a great success for a speaker of this size. We almost (not far!) hear a real level double bass with a great realism. The double bass solo on Patricia Barber's album "Companion" ridicules many ambitious three-way! The behavior and articulation of this register are examples.
The whole restitution enables matter and presence, but also precision and realism.
This Focal Sopra 1 speaker is one of our 3 or 4 favorite monitor speakers... but the others are worth at least twice its price!
This Sopra range is the first one offered by the manufacturer from Saint-Etienne since the acquisition of the British brand, Naim Audio. And we can naturally think that the combination of these two "skills" has been totally beneficial... and even more so in the future. The Sopra speakers are very high-end and FULLY manufactured in France (the only ones?!...). They do not have to blush at productions across the Atlantic.
A reference to us, that we have adopted for our tests! When we love... We say it!
LB Award ***** - 2016
AUDIO - 2016
STEREO + ***** - 2016 Franck
Type: 2-way bookshelf
Frequency response at -3 dB: 45hz – 40 KHz
Frequency response at -6 dB: 41hz – 40 KHz
Output: 89 dB
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms
Minimum impedance: 3.9 ohms
Filtering frequency: 2 200 Hz
Bass/Midrange: 1 x 16.5cm “W” speaker with “TMD” suspension and “NIC” motor
Tweeter: 1 x 27mm beryllium inverted dome
Recommended amp power: 25-150 W
Dimensions: 425 x 279 x 396 mm
Pair weight: 38 kg