Focal Sopra N°1 Bookshelf & Center Speaker Review

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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
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On the many occasions that I have heard Focal speakers, I have always been left impressed by the sound, but I never thought I would get some in for review to spend serious time with them. Perhaps the reason is that Focal is a European brand, and I have just spent a lot more time with American, British, and Japanese brands than European manufacturers. Hopefully, that can now change, and this review will start a trend for dealing with European brands. Not only do I now have an opportunity to dig into some Focal speakers, but I have been sent some advanced high-end designs for review as well in the Sopra series. Read our full review of the Sopra No1 Bookshelf and Center speakers...

READ: Focal Sopra N°1 Bookshelf & Center Speaker Review
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Focal make such beautiful speakers. I've always admired them from afar...
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Chief
Focal make such beautiful speakers. I've always admired them from afar...
Me too. Wish I could afford the Kanta floor model. They are also beautiful, and if they're good enough for Gene... :D Too bad the Aria doesn't have the beryllium tweeter. That's the only thing that makes me shy away from that model. Those Sopras look incredible and apparently sound as good as they look. James is so lucky sometimes. :)
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
I don't remember which Focals I listened to at the CAS in 2019... Sopra no.2, I think. They were nice. But for the cost... Compared to the SQ I heard from the Salk 9.5 and Selah Audio Cali4... the value proposition really comes into play. 10-Large for the Salks, 7-Large for Rick's petite 4-way design.
Very cool you get to play with some proper gear, Shady!
So, uh... when you gonna get some Sonus Faber in? ;)

Great review, Shady! Thank you. :D
 
zieglj01

zieglj01

Audioholic Spartan
Impressed by their measurements ... Focal does some good work
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
I don't remember which Focals I listened to at the CAS in 2019... Sopra no.2, I think. They were nice. But for the cost... Compared to the SQ I heard from the Salk 9.5 and Selah Audio Cali4... the value proposition really comes into play. 10-Large for the Salks, 7-Large for Rick's petite 4-way design.
Very cool you get to play with some proper gear, Shady!
So, uh... when you gonna get some Sonus Faber in? ;)
The Focal Sopras are about more than just sound quality.. The build quality is on another level from anything I have ever had, and I don't think the best that Salk or Selah has to offer could match these on that level. They really are heirloom quality items. If you buy them, when you pass away, your kids will be fighting over who gets the Focal Sopras! These are way past the point of diminishing returns for sound quality, but if you want raw sound quality for the dollar, even Salk and Selah are relatively pricey. For that, I would be looking at powered monitors, like PreSonus, Kali, or JBL LSR, and possibly others.
 
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Beave

Senior Audioholic
Gorgeous speakers with very nice measurements.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
The Focal Sopras are about more than just sound quality.. The build quality is on another level from anything I have ever had, and I don't think the best that Salk or Selah has to offer could match these on that level. They really are heirloom quality items. If you buy them, when you pass away, your kids will be fighting over who gets the Focal Sopras! These are way past the point of diminishing returns for sound quality, but if you want raw sound quality for the dollar, even Salk and Selah are relatively pricey. For that, I would be looking at powered monitors, like PreSonus, Kali, or JBL LSR, and possibly others.
High praise indeed. In just what ways do the builds exceed those of Salk tho?
 
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Beave

Senior Audioholic
Measurements from the NRC here. The results are consistent with shady's results.
 
B

Beave

Senior Audioholic
How would you rate these against the Revel M126Bes?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Just saw a comment on an asr thread that shadyj's measurements aren't up to those of the Klippel system Amir uses....this seems to say otherwise.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
High praise indeed. In just what ways do the builds exceed those of Salk tho?
Solid glass and solid aluminum pieces. Very dense and thick cabinets with lots of layers of lacquer. Heavily curved cabinets. To be sure, these things don't really benefit sound quality, but they do impart a very luxurious feel. You just need to try to pick up one of these things and hold it. The craftsmanship is as good as I have seen in any loudspeaker.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Solid glass and solid aluminum pieces. Very dense and thick cabinets with lots of layers of lacquer. Heavily curved cabinets. To be sure, these things don't really benefit sound quality, but they do impart a very luxurious feel. You just need to try to pick up one of these things and hold it. The craftsmanship is as good as I have seen in any loudspeaker.
So Magico up next? :)
 
Cos

Cos

Audioholic Field Marshall
The Focal Sopras are about more than just sound quality.. The build quality is on another level from anything I have ever had, and I don't think the best that Salk or Selah has to offer could match these on that level. They really are heirloom quality items. If you buy them, when you pass away, your kids will be fighting over who gets the Focal Sopras! These are way past the point of diminishing returns for sound quality, but if you want raw sound quality for the dollar, even Salk and Selah are relatively pricey. For that, I would be looking at powered monitors, like PreSonus, Kali, or JBL LSR, and possibly others.
The Sopra 2's I really liked and I could have picked up a pair for 7.5k in the white and almost pulled the trigger. The do sound amazing at that price point, not quite as much at 17k
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
How would you rate these against the Revel M126Bes?
As far as sound goes, I would need to do an A/B comparison to really say. The Revel PerformaBe speakers are pretty darn good as are the Sopras. As far as build quality goes, the Sopras are unquestionably on another level. The Revels are very good, but the Sopras are "holy sh!t" good, just spectacular. As for the measurements, the Revels have a more consistent dispersion pattern out to a higher frequency, but the Sopras have a more neutral response on-axis. Both boast a terrific set of measurements.
 
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Beave

Senior Audioholic
As far as sound goes, I would need to do an A/B comparison to really say. The Revel PerformaBe speakers are pretty darn good as are the Sopras. As far as build quality goes, the Sopras are unquestionably on another level. The Revels are very good, but the Sopras are "holy sh!t" good, just spectacular. As for the measurements, the Revels have a more consistent dispersion pattern out to a higher frequency, but the Sopras have a more neutral response on-axis. Both boast a terrific set of measurements.
Thanks. The Revels look quite nice, but they're pedestrian when compared to the looks of the Focals.
 
Mark A

Mark A

Enthusiast
I went with Focal speakers for my car. CLEARLY not the same thing, but they do sound amazing.
 

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