This is another staple event that is always interesting to attend and judging by the ‘rammedness’ of the room every other journo in the world is in agreement. There wasn’t a seat in the house, other than right at the front oddly and so this is where we sat. As usual Gérard Chrétien gave us a warm, personal welcome and the event had been nicely organised by Steve Harris.

However, first up were Naim to tell us about what they have been up to. Needless to say everyone remembers last year’s launch of the gargantuan Naim Statement amp and pre of last year (who could forget such a statement of intent) but this year at High End Munich show their announcement was equally interesting, if not as overwhelmingly impressive!
In a nutshell the trickle down tech from the Statement will now go into the NAP 200DR, 250 DR, 300 DR and 500 DR with prices ranging from £1662.50 to £16250 and owners of the older versions will be able to upgrade with prices to be announced. The DR range will be available in June with the exception of the DR500 that will be available in August.

Steve Sells Naim's Electronic Design Director

Steve Sells Naim’s Electronic Design Director

Focal announced three new patents for driver science, a key focus for the company as it has always been.
The new Sopra range of loudspeakers is the culmination of all that Focal has learned plus new ideas.

Focal's Gérard Chrétien

Focal’s Gérard Chrétien

In short the new technologies are:
NIC (Neutral Inductance Circuit) which is used to stabilise the magnetic field.
TMD (Tuned Mass Damper) which is said to reduce distortion in the surround by 50% and Focal say this gives the best midrange of ANY Focal loudspeaker;
IHL (Infinite Horn Loading) for the Berylium Dome Focal are famous for. The rear of the tweeter is loaded via a small cavity which is connected to the exterior of the enclosure by a horn. The inside of the horn is filled with a damping material so that the acoustic impedence approaches zero and no resistance alters the dome.

IHL (Infinite Horn Loading)

IHL (Infinite Horn Loading)

The overall concept gives a loudspeaker that gives a Focal signature design and sound in a compact and good looking loudspeaker. “A big speaker in a small size”
Both speakers are really rather gorgeous in the flesh and sound pretty impressive even in these less than ideal conditions.FOCAL4S

Soprana #2

Three way bass reflex floor standing loudspeaker

Two 7″ W Woofers

One 6.5 W Midrange with TMD suspension and NIC motor

1″ IHL Beryllium inverted dome tweeter.

Frequency Response – 34Hz – 40 kHz

Sensitivity 91dB

Nominal Impedence 8 Ohms

Minimum Impedence 3.1 Ohms

Dimensions 1190 x 358 x 540mm

Sopra #1

Two way bas reflex bookshelf loudspeaker

6.5″ W Bass Midrange with TMD suspension, NIC motor

1″ IHL Beryllium inverted dome tweeter.

Frequency Response – 45Hz – 40 kHz

Sensitivity 89dB

Nominal Impedence 8 Ohms

Minimum Impedence 3.9 Ohms

Dimensions 425 x 279 x 396 mm

Prices are 8000 Euro for Sopra #1 including stand and 12000 Euros for Sopra #2…per pair.
Speakers in the first audio file are Christophe Sicaud who is CEO of Vervent Audio Group and then Steve Sells who is Naim’s Electronic Design Director. Given the nature of the event and the number of people present the sound quality on the first recording isn’t  spectacular….the Focal one is much better!   

 

Speaker in the second audio file is Gérard Chrétien of Focal.

 

FOCAL5S

Read all our High End 2015 coverage in one place

 

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