Focal Elear and Utopia

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by SingSing, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Almost "Made"

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    @sheldaze I’m usually listening to the Utopia from a McIntosh MHA150, which is connected to the Yggdrasil with balanced cables. While I don’t dislike the pairing I’m always wondering if/what I’m missing out on compared to other amps. Not a rare situation in this community I know. I’ve heard summit-fi tube amps with the Utopia at shows, though I don’t think that really counts. I’d love to get a few weeks with a ZDS at home to get a feel for it.

    @Darren G those minor differences can have a big impact on enjoyment in my experience. The Utopia didn’t seem so amazing to me initially, but after a while...

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Darren G

    Darren G Friend

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    @dubharmonic - We are on the same page. Those small differences in gear are where my mind focuses too. And I also agree with you regarding the Utopia. I had plenty of 'this is not so great' impressions when I got them.
     
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  3. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Almost "Made"

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    In case anyone is curious, Woo Audio and Focal did repair my bad Utopia cable free of charge. It took Focal about a month, and Woo Audio gave excellent customer service. Happy to have them back, I think 5 weeks without them gives me some added perspective.
     
  4. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    That clearly shows you that Fuckall is no Schiit and will never be.
     
  5. Mrip

    Mrip Friend

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  6. netforce

    netforce MOT: TSAV

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  7. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    Thanks! Now I have go change my underwear. I thought it was a a joke. In a way it is. Sorry, gotta go. :oops:
     
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  8. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    Adorama, learn a thing or 2 from AT&T:

    Price: $2048 for 48 months and additional tax may apply
     
  9. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    I hate to ask what that sum represents.
     
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  10. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I picked on up at RMAF last year. I had to EQ out the bling sound, though. Ultimately returned them since they clashed with my receding hairline and my badge lanyard at work.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. netforce

    netforce MOT: TSAV

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    I asked Focal at Axpona 2017 when they were sharing booth space. They had 8 made and had sold 5 at the time.

    Kimber Kables thought of doing a prank with Focal to go and have one of their employees hide the Gold Utopia and see how it took for the other employees to notice it was gone.
     
  12. Mrip

    Mrip Friend

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    You guys have convinced me not to go for a used Focal. I took a look on HF and apparently posts regarding broken Focals were deleted. My Spirit Pro headband snapped while putting the phones on, which I thought was just a freak occurrence, but apparently not. My understanding is that this would be excluded from warranty service as physical damage. Crazy.
     
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  13. Darren G

    Darren G Friend

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    @AllanMarcus - Ah, the Utopias with the chick-magnet installed (chick-magnet credit goes to Borat).
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The MA150 is a world class amp and movement to the typical summit-fi tube amps known to synergize with the Utopia (ZDS, AF, Stellaris / Stratus, etc.) Is a mostly a matter of different tonality rather than better technicalities. I felt the MA150 was pretty damn neutral and not necessarily a perfect tonal match with the Utopia, which I preferred a little higher Z out and some tubes to take away the harshness of off the upper mids. I did find the tonal balance of the Utopia / MA150 honest and acceptable, and perhaps with a vinyl source optimal.

    It's a case by case basis. I'd still take an MHA150 with Utopia over a Woo WA5 (under most typical tube combinations I've seen). While the WA5 tonality is a bit better, I'd rather accept the more forward presentation of the MA150 because it doesn't sound like soft warm poo. 88% tonal balance / 95% technicalities is better than 94% tonal balance / 43% technicalities. YMMV and just my own opinions and personal preferences.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    As has been stated before:
    1. Work with your dealer. This is how the Focal model works. They rely on the more traditional dealer model. Think of it like cars. You don't go to GM or Ford directly for service.
    2. Warranty is not transferrable. Sorry, no right to bitch about this. You have a choice to not buy it used or offer a lower price. If this makes you feel that Focal is trying to discourage the sale of used gear and force people to buy new gear, then so it be. Too bad that Focal is not like the auto makers in this fashion.
    3. Never buy at retail price. Do you guys buy cars at MSRP - that is just fork over the money to the dealer?
    If you have a problem with Focal's policies, don't buy Focal, used or new. This is the best way to cast your vote.

    Personally, I think people pay way too much for used Focal gear and used gear in general. Sometimes I think HF'ers must pay MSRP or $200 less than MSRP for their cars and think they got a good deal. Old school audiophiles pay 40%-60% of original street price for used HiFi gear.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  16. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    I hope I'm not necroing this thread, but I thought I would briefly share my experience with the Focal Elear. I bought these and was very excited by them for the first few days. I really wanted to love them and keep them. But then I started to notice the upper midrange dip - it manifests in the overtones and harmonics of orchestral instruments. So violins lose some of the bite and etch of the bow string, and harpsichords lose some of their sparkly fullness. Simply put, orchestral instruments don't sound as interesting and full and good. In most technicalities, the Elear is excellent, but this effect on orchestral stuff is a deal breaker for me. Sadly I will be sending these back. Focal Elear, how I wanted to love thee. RIP
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  17. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    @Im4der You could smack a pair of Clear pads on there and everything will be better. Suckout gone! Elear w/ Clear pads (AKA Elex) is my favorite in the Focal headphone line.
     
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  18. FallingObjects

    FallingObjects Pay It Forward

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    HM5 pads work as well if you can't find a pair of Clear pads around. Iirc Hands has a great analysis earlier on in this thread of how they impact the sound if you'd like to see measurements, like page 4-5 or something if memory serves.
     
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  19. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Hmmm, that's interesting... I think if I go that route I'll just pick up the Elex. Is the Elex a lot better than Elear with that upper mid dip?
     
  20. FallingObjects

    FallingObjects Pay It Forward

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    I can only speak for the Elears, but the Elex post week two seemed a lot more well received than the Elear post week two, even including price point discrepancy.

    Also heads up around Focal's (lack of) customer support. Make sure whoever your dealer is has a good reputation and is ready to help fix things if anything breaks. If you're buying used, then consider making an offering at whatever altar is appropriate for your beliefs system.
     
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