Yesterday, an excellent event, for the UK launch of the Focal Sopra No. 3 speakers, again at KJ West One in Marylebone, London. The event was the first public demonstration of Focal’s latest product that builds on their own 35 year plus speaker drivers pedigree and Naim’s 40 years plus electronics expertise.
KJ West One’s Jason Ford introduced Jason Gould, Naim’s UK Marketing Manager who introduced the audience to
the Focal Sopra No. 3s and the equipment set-up. The speakers were being driven by the £150k+ Naim Statement pre and power amplifier.
The source for the demonstration was the £7,000+ Naim NDS flagship streamer supplied by two power supplies for the different analogue and digital sources. There were £30,000 of cables and interconnects from Vertere for good measure.
After getting stuck into some wonderful music to start with, Dave Speirs from Focal discussed the importance of tweeter drivers to the development of the new Focal Sopra No. 3s . Behind the new Beryllium tweeter there are no obstructions at all, ensuring the flow of air as the tweeter vibrates is away from the back of the cone, thus ensuring a cleaner delivery free from adverse perturbations. The rear of the Focal Sopra No. 3, where the tweeter is placed below the mid range driver, is unobstructed and the air passes through a wire mesh.
The mid range and bass drivers have also been completely redesigned by Focal, the mid range cone held in a uniform and firm plane by a dual ring rubber mass damping system, ensuring linear and uniform control.
The gloss cabinets used for the beautiful looking Focal Sopra No. 3 are made from walnut HDF that presented a lovely feel. The top and plinth of the speakers are made of glass, presenting mass and less electromagnetic interference that can often be given by metal feet and legs.
The key issue, what did it all sound like? Well, the resolution at this price level goes without saying, the detail I heard, albeit from the side, included hearing the opera singer turning over the music page and that was just one example. The soundstage was wide and just above centre, apparently. Overall I found the presentation delightful, fast and precise. I would have preferred some different music but the system performed beautifully with opera, electronica, female vocal and a delightful acoustic track I didn’t recognise. I would have loved to hear Ryan Adams’s Carnegie Hall concert, ‘Sylvia Plath’ in particular, on this system and who knows one day it will happen.
10/10 to Focal for the beautiful Focal Sopra No. 3, 11/10 to Naim for the amazing Statement.
The Focal Sopra N°3 will retail for £15,750 (per pair) and will be available from June 2016 from the likes of KJ West One.