Thanks to the astronomical success of its UTOPIA series, Focal has been able to develop a new range of ultra high-end but affordable speakers.
Aesthetically, the Focal SOPRA 2 speakers are very similar to the Utopia models, featuring the brand’s signature curved lines and beautiful finish, no matter the colour (available in white, red, black and orange, with a wood finish also on offer).
The top of the speaker is made from a gorgeous black glass plate. From the moment you set eyes on them, it’s plain to see that Focal has spared no expense. The SOPRA 2 is an impressively large tower speaker! Its imposing dimensions – each speaker is 1.2m high and weighs 55kg – give you a good idea of the care and effort that has gone into the production of the cabinet.
The baffle alone (which houses the drivers) is 69mm thick! The whole speaker sits on a 19mm-thick glass base and four adjustable stainless steel spikes. It also comes as standard with stainless steel counter-spikes and damping pads. This rock solid base ensures perfect stability for the Focal SOPRA 2 speakers, and in doing so contributes to a precise and clean sound quality.
The Focal Sopra 2 boasts the brand’s instantly recognisable driver design, where the tweeter is positioned between the midrange above it and the two woofers below. The Focal SOPRA 2 speaker is the SOPRA range’s midrange model. It is a genuine 3-way speaker with 4 drivers. The bass register is taken care of by two excellent woofers with 18cm ‘W’ membranes. They use a bass reflex system, with a front-firing laminar port located at the bottom of the speaker face. The motor uses NIC technology, whereby the dimensions, materials and positioning of a Faraday ring have been optimised to ensure that the magnetic field is not affected by the position of the coil, depending on the intensity and frequency of the current passing through it. This technology controls the magnetic field, reducing distortion and producing ultra high definition sound quality and a remarkable dynamic range.
Above the subwoofer you'll find the tweeter module, which is made from matte black polyurethane that is extremely hard and inert. It houses the famous 27mm beryllium tweeter, which has now become a Focal trademark. It is special because it works a little like a flat baffle. Sound waves from the back of the tweeter are damped by an IHL system, passing through a superb stainless steel grill that can change in shape. Acoustically speaking, this system is completely separate from the rest of the Focal Sopra 2 speaker. Above it you'll find the sealed chamber that houses the midrange driver. This driver has a 16.5cm ‘W’ membrane, with dedicated TMD suspension and an NIC motor. Focal proudly claims that this the best driver it has ever created!
The filtering system also uses only the best coils and capacitors. The internal wiring is meticulously designed, using cables made by a respected European manufacturer that is renowned for its high-end creations. The terminal can only handle mono wiring, but this is often the most simple and effective option. Both its excellent production quality and oval shape ensure optimal contact with stripped cables and fork and banana plugs.
The Focal SOPRA 2 speakers are relatively easy to set up and don't require any particular precautions to be taken. While these speakers have been designed for spaces over 30m², they can also work well in smaller rooms, provided they are used with the right high quality equipment that knows how to handle the drivers. And large rooms need not be daunting either, as they can deliver good performances here, too – we got impressive results in an auditorium over 60m²! Depending on the size of the room and the material of the wall behind them, we would recommend positioning the Focal Sopra 2 speakers a maximum of 50cm away from the wall.
The neutrality and output of these speakers make them highly versatile when it comes to amplification. Ideally, they need a good 45W tube amp or 70W transistor amp. We gave them a serious listen after a break-in period of 50 hours.
From the opening bars, we were impressed by the openness of the sound stage and the placement of each instrument. When positioned correctly, the Focal SOPRA 2 speakers are capable of delivering holographic sound reproduction. The instruments pour out far beyond the peripheral limits of the speaker. The depth of the sound is also impressive, and the vocal placement is perfect. All of this serves as evidence of their high production quality and steadfast production processes. The bass is remarkably tight and well-articulated, and more than capable of holding its own when dealing with heavy drums or slap bass. It remains deep and sensitive to the nuances of the music. There are other speakers which appear to offer a deeper bass, but this is often artificial and as such is riddled with colouration. With the Sopra 2 speakers, jazz double bass is reproduced with astonishing realism. The cohesiveness between registers is so good that they could be mistaken for 2-way monitor speakers. The midrange/treble is beautifully open, present and neutral. It is detailed and highly precise without being harsh or aggressive. The Focal SOPRA 2 speakers also boast a rare harmonic richness which is hard to find, even in Focal products. They'll make you forget all about the technical elements and just lose yourself in the emotion of the music! Also worth a mention is the volume these speakers are able to reach without any hint of distortion – it’s extraordinary! We listened to orchestral music, rock and electronica and were impressed with the realism of the reproduction across the board. If you're still not convinced, just go from Martin Gore, to Mahler, then back to Nick Cave and you’ll see what we’re talking about!
The Focal SOPRA 2 speakers are an absolute triumph, both musically and aesthetically, managing to combine flawless musicality with effortless style that complements any interior. And don't be fooled by their compact size, as they have enough energy to rival many a more sizeable (and expensive) model!
The Sopra range is the first the French manufacturer has launched since its acquisition of British brand NAIM AUDIO. And this partnership of great minds has clearly been a fruitful one so far. Focal’s Sopra speakers are crème de la crème high-end speakers. They are, we suspect, the only ones on the market to have been produced entirely in France, and can definitely compete with the best overseas models.
They are benchmark products in their range that are doing France proud.
EISA Award - Best Product 2015-2016
HI-FI NEWS - Outstanding Product
SOUNDSTAGE - Product of the Year 2015
SOUNDSTAGE - Reviewers' Choice 2016
STEREOPHILE - Best Loudspeakers
HAUTE FIDELITE - Référence
EAR - *****
HIFI CRITIC - Recommended
SON & IMAGE - Master Piece 2015 Franck
Type: 3-way tower speaker
Frequency response at -3 dB: 34hz – 40 KHz
Frequency response at -6 dB: 28hz – 40 KHz
Output: 91 dB
Impedance rating: 8 ohms
Min. impedance: 3.1 ohms
Filtering frequency: 250/2 200 Hz
Woofer: 2 x 'W' 18 cm drivers with 'NIC' motor
Midrange: 1 x 'W' 16.5 cm driver with 'TMD' suspension,
Tweeter: 1 x pure beryllium inverted dome 27 mm
Recommended amp power: 40-300 W
Dimensions: 1 190 x 358 x 540 mm
Weight (each): 55 kg