Focal Sopra No. 1 Black Oak
Sopra clearly inaugurates a new era for the ‘Premium High-End’ speaker class through a fresh evaluation of performance criteria.
The physical form is compact, modern and undeniably “pure” in character. All these are essential factors to ensure perfect integration into your interior.
From the audio engineering perspective, Sopra N° 1 is a concentration of technological innovation. It features a ‘NIC’ magnetic circuit, ‘TMD’ surrounds for the midrange woofer and Infinite Horn Loading (IHL) of the tweeter.
In the sonic department, very low distortion gives the Sopra N° 1 incredible clarity. And the impressive resolution is delivered along-side the spectacular spatial characteristics one demands of a high-end bookshelf loudspeaker.
In time, even more, astonishing than the resolution and imaging of the Sopra N° 1 is the texture and smoothness of its voice. It provides a solid, ‘fleshy’ performance with full and articulated bass. Overall coherence and harmonic richness offer the listener an outstanding appreciation of recorded music across the broad range of genres.
Infinite Horn Loading
The Focal Beryllium tweeter features an incredibly light and extremely rigid dome, that delivers a transparent and dynamic sound. Its main limitation comes from the compression of air in the cavity behind it. But the requirement for Sopra to be compact meant that as much of the cabinet as possible had to be used for the bass. Focal had to explore other options for loading the tweeter, which led engineers to come up with the IHL system. The “IHL” system enables to load the Beryllium tweeter respecting the compactness demand of the speaker. The rear wave of the tweeter is delicately and gradually absorbed to avoid any distortion. The treble definition is pushed to the maximum!
Neutral Inductance Circuit
From the outset, Focal has always had a great interest in the magnetic circuit, an essential aspect of a speaker drive unit. The precision and detail of audio reproduction depends on the stability of the magnetic field. NIC technology (Neutral Inductance Circuit) permits the full control of the magnetic field in order to limit distortion. It decreases the effects of distortion and gives the sound very high-definition and an unprecedented dynamic.
Tuned Mass Damper
Meticulous research and measurement by Focal engineers revealed resonances (which alter definition) in the suspension which connects the cone to the basket. The solutions already known for increasing the damping properties of the suspension all result in an increase of the mass which consequently alters definition. The answer to this fundamental design problem came from a technology used in earthquake-resistant skyscrapers and which is also used for the suspension on racing cars. “TMD” technology consists of optimising the suspension profile which controls the resonance in order to drastically reduce distortion and increase the definition of bass and midrange.
Mastering the Cabinet and Choice of Materials
Handcrafted in France, Sopra’s cabinet was designed in the company’s dedicated cabinet-making facility in Bourbon-Lancy (Burgundy, France) using the same manufacturing process as for Utopia. The 69mm sandwich-machined front panel uses the same principle as ‘Gamma Structure’ to provide inertia and damping. Its density gives it the inertia necessary to provide a stable mechanical reference for optimal definition. The inside of the cabinet has no parallel side panels, and small Helmholtz resonators have been added to the lower section to prevent vertical standing waves. Focal chose glass as the material for the base of the loudspeaker to provide floor coupling, using spikes, which enabled the fastest propagation time possible, thus eliminating all halo effects in the bass.
No Sacrifice of Performance to Aesthetics
The design agency Pineau & Le Porcher designed Sopra with one rule : No sacrifice of performance to aesthetics. The Sopra line is destined for the most passionate sound enthusiasts. Its design favours performance, whilst bringing together the qualities expected of an object which will be integrated into very elegant interiors and décors. Lacquered finishes are associated to noble materials to create an elegant line. Substantial efforts were made to give the front a tidy appearance, particularly around the speaker drivers, to iron out any aspects which could afflict the acoustics or the appearance. Sopra’s very structure is articulated around the intermediate section. This injected polyurethane component allows for the upper and lower cabinets to be inclined for the “Focus Time” (acoustic convergence of the channels).
• 2-way, high-end bookshelf/stand-mount speaker
• New mid-bass driver with “TMD” suspension (Tuned Mass Damper)
•”NIC” magnetic circuit (Neutral Inductance Circuit)
• New “IHL” Beryllium tweeter (Infinite Horn Loading)
• 5 lacquered finishes handcrafted in Burgundy, France
• Studio-grade reference without sacrificing emotion
• The finish is simply stunning