The second system consisted of a pair of Focal Sopra No.3 speakers ($33,798/pair) and electronics by Musical Fidelity, about which: EQ Audio owner Ed O'Herlihy prefaced my auditioning of this system by declaring: "I dub myself the Canadian ambassador of Musical Fidelity. I'm going to rebuild the brand come hell or high water. They just punch so high above their weight." On display were the Musical Fidelity streaming MX-DAC ($969), M8SPRE preamp ($6500), and a pair of M8S-700M mono amps ($5590/each). Cabling and power conditioning were by Audience.
On a variety of music streamed via Tidal, both systems displayed power, excellent dynamics, and tentacle-like in-room extension. They also produced images that were clearly demarcated at various depths and heights across a deep and wide soundstage. Moniteur Sdi
More specifically, on the Monitor Audio-centered system, I notedliterally noted, on my writing padhow it delivered an airy, uncluttered sense of wide-open space and deep-diving transparency, along with vivid tones, stygian bass impact, and a chunkydare I say ballsymusical momentum.
On the Focal-centered system, I noted the size of it imageshuge in this high-ceilinged spaceits startling bass impact, the lusciousness of its acoustic sounds, the in-my-facein a good wayintimacy of its vocal renditions, and its uncanny ability to make sounds appear behind me.
In the end, they both charmed my pants off, figuratively speaking.
(All prices in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.)
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