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Who says food and premium hi-fi can’t mix? Dampers In Building
Tasty high-end Focal speakers inspired by oysters and chocolate? Yes please. We'll take a set of each. We've been good all year…
French sound specialist Focal has launched two new finishes – officially called Black Ostrea and Brown Concrete – for its popular Sopra 2 loudspeakers, inspired by two of our favorite festive foodie treats.
Both finishes build on the concrete effect first featured on the Sopra 2 special editions in the Focal Naim 10th Anniversary system – doubtless some of the best stereo speakers on the market. Have you read about what Focal can do with headphones? The Focal Bathys, Focal Clear Mg, Celestee and Stellia are great places to start – and that's before we even get to the outdoor-friendly, Frozen-esque Littora speakers or Utopia headphones, two Focal propositions we've yet to experience in person.
Back to the Sopra 2 speakers, and Focal tells us that the Black Ostrea finish is inspired by the "pearlised appearance of an oyster, with an iridescent sheen to each side", while Brown Concrete sports "warmer-toned, chocolate-colored side panels, paired with metallic bronze front panels". Yum indeed…
Ready to try and stomach the prices? The new Focal Sopra 2 Brown Concrete and Black Ostrea finishes are available to order now, with a suggested retail price of £14,999 per pair (which is around $18,450 or AU$27,000, before shipping and duties, but we're waiting on official pricing for the US and Australia.)
What if you fancy neither oysters nor chocolate? The Sopra 2 remain available in Carrara White, Electric Orange, and Black Lacquer finishes, as well as in Light Oak and Black Oak editions.
There's no doubting that the Focal Sopra 2 (opens in new tab) are designed to bring a modern look to contemporary home interiors. And yes, they are expensive. But not outrageously so in the realms of high-end audio – see Wilson Audio's Alexia V option, which cost £79,888 per pair (roughly $90,000 or AU$135,000), for comparison.
Also, they aren't physically intimidating, and they seemingly don't require a huge area to operate in – in fact, Focal says they're perfectly at ease in rooms of up 320sq ft (30sq m) but are also ideal for rooms up to 750sq ft, or 70sq m.
And what about the delights underneath Focal's delectable new finishes? These are just as mouthwatering. Sopra 2 is apparently equipped with "the best midrange drivers ever developed by Focal", with Focal's own NIC (Neutral Inductance Circuit) magnets and TMD (Tuned Mass Damper) suspension wizardry.
Drivers? Of course. Each Sopra 2 floorstanding speaker comprises two 7-inch (18cm) 'W' woofers, a 6.5-inch (16.5cm) 'W' midrange driver and a 1-inch (27mm) IHL Beryllium inverted dome tweeter (in case you were wondering, IHL stands for Infinite Horn Loading), all developed and manufactured by Focal, in France.
But it's the design I find the most fascinating (not to mention beautiful), with the midrange driver angled downwards slightly, positioned above the tweeter (which is itself atop the two woofers, both of them angled upwards slightly). I saw a similar idea, with the tweeter surrounded, in Monitor Audio's Concept 50 at High End Munich – and those speakers sounded incredible during my limited time with them.
Want something similarly beautiful (and passive) but smaller? We might nudge you towards Cabasse's Rialto for a similar build quality – and please, please follow our guide on how to set up stereo speakers for the best sound. If you're spending serious money on speakers, you may as well get them sounding as good as they possibly can.
For now, we're making a list – we're checking it twice. And right at the top are the words 'Focal Sopra 2 in Black Ostrea'.
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.
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