Hi everyone, i’d like to get everyone’s opinion on upgrading my set of loudspeakers.
I would be going from a pair of B&W 802D (the first of the diamond models, around 2010) to a pair of Focal Sopra 3’s.
Is there much of an upgrade making this change?
I heard the Sopra’s at an upscale dealer with a close to perfect setup: speakers about 15 feet from the front wall and about 10 feet from the side walls. Electronics were all Esoteric, including their $44,000 Grandiosa M1 monoblocks, preamp, cd player, power regenerator and $3,800 Cardas clear stereo speaker cables.
I’m not sure if these speakers would sound much different from my current 802D and my humble Classe CAM 100 monoblocks.
Also, how many years do speakers last before they degrade (speaker, crossovers, etc…)
thanks to everyone in advance.
Welcome aboard onehorsepony! I don’t have and have not herd any of those speakers. However I do have the Sopra 2s. Like the 3s, these are easy to drive speakers. While one can use tube amps or SS, the Sopra’s are not afraid of power. (I’ve run them with both Prima Luna Dialogue HP tube amps set to mono block, and the PS audio 300 mono blocks.)
Some fell the Be tweeter to be a bit bright but I personally like them. You made one observation I can second, they like to be away from the walls. I think getting the proper speaker/room coupling and treatment is a must for any speaker, and it may change when you switch models. HTHs.
I have the 800 D2 and they are staying. No plan or temptation to upgrade.
I highly recommend Plinius amplification with them. In my case the Tautoro pre and SA 103 as monoblocs.
I can just second Philippe, I have the 802D2 and have no plan to replace them - which is as you all know a bit unusual for audiophiles… I have heard some Focals and did not really like them. The Diamond tweeter with the upgraded D2:s was what I fell in love with first time I heard them - then with the good old Classé blocks (AB).
Overall, I thought after 11 years with the same speakers it be nice to change things up a bit.
Trouble is, about 15 years ago I changed things up by purchasing a pair of Thiel 3.7’s and they never worked out for me.
If I were to ask myself what I don’t like about my current 802D’s I would say issues with the soundstage and imaging. Vocals tend to wander from center to left to right within the same recording. Soundstage does not seem spacious and as open as I’d like.
Sounds like a source and cables thing to me. Don’t know if others agree! May be a full description of the setup can help.
If you are thinking about changing it up how about trying the 802D3. I am fortunate enough to live close to B&W in Sussex England and listened to them at their demo facility. I would say that if you like the 802D that before you switch brands take a listen to the new D3 model
They may just give you the openness and soundstage you are craving …and the bass
A bit like asking if you should have Gorgonzola or Camembert after dinner tonight. I would suggest Brie.
You really need a home demo, or at least a demo in a room similar to yours with your amplification. Focal Sopra 3 can be bass heavy and need careful set-up. My dealer sells lots of Focal, he has a pair of Scala Utopia III Evo at home. I tried a pair of Diablo Evo at home a few months ago, whilst they impressed at first and ticked lots of boxes, I found them too heavy going and fatuiging. I was advised that they need a lot of power to perform at their best. I bought Wilson, besides preferring the sound, they are easier to set up and room-friendly and much less power-hungry.
There is no doubt Focal make very fine speakers, as do B&W, but the choice is for you to make and I would suggest under the most realistic conditions possible.
I had tried Audioquest Indigo on the woofers and Cardas Quadlink 5-C on the midrange/tweeters. I found the sound to be conjested in the midrange.
I then ran two pairs of Audioquest Indigo’s for both woofe and midrange/tweeters and found that to be the most open detailed match.
My current setup is the Classe CAM-200 monoblocks, Bryston preamp, and an Arcam CD72 cd player. All balanced inputs.
i listened at different dealers the 803, 802, and 800 D3’s. I’m not sure what I’m hearing from them, tho they are voiced very similar across their line. But it seems as if they are not as musical as previous generations. It was as if i was hearing the individual drivers and not the music. That may or may not make any sense.
The main thing to know is: Do you have an ac power regenerator in your system??
This one piece of equipment will transform your entire system…if you don’t…
place your $$$$ on one of these…before upgrading your speakers…It is very
significant what a P12, P15 or better yet the P20 will accomplish for yoyr system!!!
I say this having a P15 for my system…Currently I have Focal Aria 948s …
they think they are Sopras…they “sing” so well…
In my 15x26’ L shaped room…my Arias superb !!!
So give the AC power regenerator a go…if you haven’t already…
Best wishes with your audio journey
Try some wireworld cables. More transparent than Audioquest IMO
If your AQ dealer allows you to test the new generation of cables, I would test AQ Water interconnects as well as Robin Hood or William tell zero full range speaker cable. For power, I would consider Monsoon across the board. All subject to dealer permitting the trial.
You may consider a power regenerator for stability of dynamics and soundstage. This one needs a good power cable too.
EDIT: it occurred to me that PS Audio allows trials on some cables please check: https://www.psaudio.com/connections/
@onehorsepony asks about speakers and people start telling him to buy a regenerator and loads of cables that probably cost more than the speakers.
Can I therefore suggest he buys a Lelit Mara PL62 coffee machine. Never fails to make music sound better .
The responses are not oxymoronic as is your reference to an espresso maker; these productive suggestions are addressing the OP’s statement the issues are soundstage and imaging.
And to answer you directly…the notion that suggesting these items a regenerator
and or cables is far less expensive than a pair of Sopras…seems bothersome to you.
If these do provide a decent improvement to onehorsepony’s gear sq at less than
a price of Sopras…then he wins…if not he can then return under a free home trial
So why would that bother you…? It shouldn’t…should it?
If this is the problem you’re trying to solve, I would suggest you try starting from scratch on setup.
Use one of the many guides that are available for speaker placement, like this one: https://www.psaudio.com/products/the-audiophiles-guide-and-reference-disc/
I’ve always been a B&W fan, but I too am intrigued by a few other speakers. Can you home demo the Focals?