We were forced to compare the Copra Cyclops triphonic and the Focal Aria 948 floor-standing acoustics due to the consumer demand for good sound and a beautiful interior.
Speaker sellers know well what the wife factor means. When the husband likes these brutal (luxurious, powerful, technological) speakers, and the wife intends, at all costs, to preserve the interior of her living room. The conflict is resolved in different ways. And there are more and more opportunities to satisfy both sides.
One of them was proposed by the Odessa company Copra Acoustic, well known at AVM. Its leader, Maxim Chizhov, managed to direct the qualifications of a physicist to create completely original acoustic systems. The company’s name comes from the flesh of the coconut. Its shell is used as housing for mid-range speakers – a rounded, not entirely symmetrical shape made from a natural material that, as it turns out, has unique acoustic properties.
Another Copra proprietary material is polymer concrete. Subwoofer enclosures are made from it. Attached to such a subwoofer on flexible rods are 4 midrange drivers and a ribbon tweeter – this is what the flagship Copra Hidra looks like – the concentration of Copra proprietary technologies.
In 2019, Copra decided to expand its lineup. This is how the triphonic Cyclops appeared. Its satellites are two-block: this is the same coconut-midrange driver, with a long-throw high-tech speaker equipped with a neodymium magnetic system, and a ribbon tweeter in a separate housing.
The satellite is mounted on a sleek stand of three vertical metal spokes emanating from a flat base. They seem to “pierce” the tweeter body, and the coconut box of the midrange driver rests on three damping plastic tips of these spokes.
This design allows you to rotate the midrange driver at almost any angle, significantly changing the character of the sound. This feature is Copra’s signature credo: the owner of the system, if desired, can experiment with sound. The weight of the Cyclops satellite is 5.5 kg.
As for the subwoofer, this is also a Copra branded product, which is a body of rotation, a kind of vessel made of polymer concrete. The mere fact that, unlike traditional MDF products, not only parallel, but also flat surfaces are simply excluded here, gives the system a lot of advantages.
And finally, the head unit, the Copra Cyclops amplifier. In addition to amplifiers for satellites and a subwoofer (the precise “stitching” of their sound is a matter of particular pride for Copra), the designer case houses a multimedia computer and a DAC based on the ESS Saber chipset.
The system supports digital audio resolutions up to 192kHz/24bit Hi-Res Audio, has an on-board WiFi dual band module, duplicated LAN RJ45 plus Bluetooth 5.0 with Aptx HD support, works with Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Qplay, Amazon Music, Deezer, Internet Radio, iHeartRadio, Napster, TuneIn, supports multiroom, is compatible with NAS, UPnP and DLNA protocols, and plays FLAC, MP3, AAC, AAC +, ALAC, APE, WAV formats via USB. The analog RCA input is not forgotten, there are digital inputs – optical and coaxial S/PDIF. In addition to the standard remote control, Cyclops can be controlled from mobile applications for iOS or Android gadgets.
The capabilities of the kit are self-sufficient; it is quite ready to work independently or together with audio sources – both analog and digital. But another advantage of Cyclops can be considered design. You don’t want to hide the system – on the contrary, it is ready to decorate almost any interior, while occupying a minimum of space.
We decided to compare the sound and capabilities of Cyclops with reputable acoustics from a reputable brand. Focal Aria 948 floorstanding speakers were chosen, which are positioned as speakers for sophisticated music lovers. These are three-way floorstanding speakers measuring 1150 x 372 x 420 mm and weighing 35 kg each. A pair of 8.3-inch woofers and a 6-inch midrange driver are equipped with proprietary Flax diffusers (a composite synthetic material based on natural flax fiber). An inch inverted tweeter is responsible for the high frequencies. The system body in walnut finish is made of MDF boards up to 24 mm thick.
The Focal Aria 948 was paired with a Vincent SV-234 amplifier, all of whose circuitry operates in class A, and the declared power indicators are quite consistent with the connected acoustics. And most importantly, according to these parameters, the Focal Aria 948 – Vincent SV-234 combination is fully consistent with the capabilities of the Copra Cyclops. Both sets are quite capable of sounding a room of 30 square meters. m and more.
At the same time, the difference in weight and size is impressive: the Cyclops acoustics weigh a total of 28.5 kg, and the Aria 948 – 70. The Cyclops head unit is twice as small in size and almost four times smaller in weight than the Vincent SV-234 amplifier. The price of the two systems is also different, the Cyclops kit is approximately half the price of the floorstanding ones, and this does not take into account the cost of the amplifier connected to them.
The signal source common to both systems was the Teac NT-505-B network player-DAC, which received data from the computer to the USB input. The device is powered by a high-quality Asahi Kasei AK4497×2 chipset and is capable of converting a PCM stream with a resolution of up to 384 kHz/32-bit PCM. There is a built-in MQA decoder on board, which, however, we did not need. But the frequency range from 10 to 80,000 Hz, total harmonic distortion up to 0.002% and signal-to-noise ratio of 110 dB or higher are worth mentioning.
The audition itself took place in the production and office space. Yes, it was not a specially equipped room. But we can safely say that its acoustics were quite consistent with the parameters of an ordinary average living room, where, by and large, the tested systems work in most cases. So, this minus, the result of the limitation of our capabilities caused by the current situation, can even be considered an advantage.
Since the task of the audition was to evaluate the new product, Copra Cyclops, in comparison with the well-known acoustics of the venerable brand, some listeners began the process not without prejudices. But listening showed that the Copra set clearly won in terms of dynamics – a lot of distinguishable details appeared in the music, worked out accurately and brightly. Triphonic ribbon tweeters deserved special praise: even at high volumes, the high-frequency range was not “collapsed”, but was worked out proportionately.
At the same time, Focal Aria 948 demonstrated a more accurate stereo scene, clear for low-frequency sound sources. As a comment, it is worth saying that this effect could be caused by the poor placement of the Copra Cyclops subwoofer. The bass of the triphonic was deep and dynamic; the bass felt very good. Probably the best illustration of the listening results is that the owner of a set based on the Focal Aria 948 even expressed some disappointment with his setup. However, listening is a subjective matter, and many impressions are enhanced by accompanying information, sentiment, and even the appearance of the systems being compared.
And, if we talk about the visual side of perception, then with all the scale of sound, in which both systems are quite consistent with each other, Copra Cyclops looks polished, elegant and compact. This is despite the fact that the designer black sub, which with its black polished surface looks like a decorative item, can, if desired, be completely removed out of sight – the 2.1 topology completely allows this.
You can’t do this with the Focal Aria 948 in their only, as far as we know, available color, noyer (walnut – French). And if your interior is based on dark wood or, say, designed in white and blue minimalism, then beware of the wife factor, which we talked about at the very beginning. And it is quite possible that your own artistic taste will come into conflict with your audiophile inclinations.
Another advantage of Copra Cyclops is its self-sufficiency. By and large, using the Focal Aria 948 requires a certain rack with equipment (in our case, these were the Vincent SV-234 integrated circuit and the Teac NT-505-B DAC, which, by the way, are of different sizes and therefore do not fit well visually).
The Cyclops, with its compact designer amplifier head unit, has no such problems. And with its access to network and Internet audio sources, by and large, no additional devices are required.
Summary: A comparison of an audio setup based on the Focal Aria 948 acoustics and a stand-alone Copra Cyclops set showed that with much greater ease of use, compactness and optimal design, the modern Copra Cyclops triphonic also turned out to be able to “outplay” the classic “towers” even in a very famous version.