Focal Utopia Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I wonder if you'd like what I end up doing with my Elear...hmm. Anyway, that's a good way to put it. Listenable, and you can acclimate to it, much more so than the stock HD800.

    Yeah, I find the Utopia much easier to listen to on my Super 7 than I did with the Studio + mesh tubes at the meet. Same DACs. Though, like I said, the Studio sounded brighter than I remember with the mesh tubes compared to my last listen with RCAs.

    Yes, I have more tolerance for warmfag, and a trigger warning might be appropriate if there's a headphone I should avoid. :)
     
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  2. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Mr. Crowley sounds good and that's gotta be worth something, right? :p
     
  3. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    I enjoyed the Utopias more out of my Mjo2 w/WE396A tubes than the Jotunheim.
     
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  4. TMRaven

    TMRaven Friend

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    As someone who's so sensitive to treble irregularities and harshness I'm actually surprised you can tolerate the wealth of 5khz energy on the HD650, Hands.
     
  5. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Wealth of 5KHz energy on the HD650? What sort of nonsense is that? :p There's the slightest little bump there...like the tiniest little pimple. At least as I hear it and I measure it, which would make sense given my in-ear measurements. Maybe if I measured it on your head you'd get a nasty spike there. But what I hear and measure on my end isn't anywhere NEAR the 4KHz spike I hear and measured on the Utopia (nor would I expect everyone to hear or see that measured if they had in-ear mics).
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Utopia sounds more like 6kHz glare / hardness of HD800 to me. Just not as bad. Has no resemblance to 4kHz spike of AD2000.
     
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  7. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Yes, highly doubt it's product variation.

    I think, for this particular measurement, I know the cause of the dip. I'm not entirely sure, but if I could redo the measurement I'd expect to see the valley to be filled in by about 5db, which would also match what I heard subjectively. Maybe, just maybe, the bass extension would also look a tiny bit better. As for the bass quality, I think I'd agree here.

    I think the ear resonances which are audible in sweeps may not be audible in music. You can sorta hear the same ear resonances when listening to sine sweeps with speakers, too. I think they mainly tell the brain about the position of the drivers relative to your ears, or something. At least that's what I think.
    As far as the CSDs filling in the dip, they did fill in part of the dip, but not to the extent that I would call accurate.

    LOL, but tonality still far from everything. I think I could acclimate to the Utopia tonality, just as I did with my modded HD800. My modded HD800 is probably still slightly bright but I don't notice it anymore.
    I do have a greater tolerance for brightness than either Hands or Psalm. The FE83En in the big baffle that I have them right now is actually just above my tolerance for warmth, while Hands might complain about slight 6 and 9kHz resonances :p. Who knows, my speaker future might put me in a place where the FR is much worse than with most of the good headphones.
     
  8. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Tone is love, tone is life.

    The rest is just like all the other shit you fill your existence with to try to attain or maintain happiness. :)
     
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  9. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Got around to taking a "full" set of measurements. For the left channel FR, I took about 12 different measurements in varying, yet logical, positions. Averaged those together. Here is how that turned out:

    Focal Utopia Left FR.png


    I cherry picked the CSDs. Went with the one that looked the cleanest, because I think both the Elear and Utopia are cleaner and faster sounding than CSDs indicate. FR might not match up with the above exactly, since this was only one of the measurements used in the above average. Results are really not bad at all, and sound better subjectively. The Utopia IS cleaner in all measurements I tried vs anything I've seen on the Elear.

    Utopia Left CSD -35dB.png

    Utopia Left CSD -45dB.png
     
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  10. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    For some additional measurement comparisons...

    Utopia vs Elear, both stock. It's funny, on the Elear, the 2KHz bump really bothered me, and the 4-6KHz area on the Utopia bothers me, but for different reasons. Both have a somewhat rough timbre relative to the HD650 or similar. (Note: that upper-mid/lower-treble dip on Elear would sometimes disappear with the right positioning, but usually at the expense of making something else worse.)

    Utopia vs Elear.png


    Utopia vs Elear w/ HM5 angled pads + 1/4" open cell foam over driver. I prefer this to the ZMF protein oval pads, which were too dark and soft sounding up-top. The treble droop around 10KHz doesn't particularly sound that far down subjectively (more in line with HD650).

    Utopia vs Elear Mod.png


    Utopia vs modded HD650. The pads are semi-worn on my HD650, so that means a bit of extra mid-bass, and the 10KHz spot gets pulled down a bit. Subjectively, I don't think the droop around 10KHz is that severe.

    Utopia vs HD650M.png


    The upper-mids and treble on the Utopia actually sound similar to the Ether (original, open, 1.1) to me. But the Ether had other issues, some measurable like the dirty CSDs, and some more subjective. Really no contest, with the Utopia being so much better, but there are some upper-end tonal similarities to me.

    Utopia vs Ether Open.png


    Take with a grain of salt, as this Ether Flow (open) may have had some issues, but just in case it wasn't a fluke...

    Utopia vs Ether Flow Open maybe broken.png


    I don't know if I ever published my HD800 measurements. Stock HD800 vs Utopia. Modding the HD800 gets them MUCH closer, but often at the expense of making that upper-midrange dip even more severe on the HD800. Some of the newer mods people have created for the HD800 might alleviate that. I also thought it made more sense to match these at 100Hz.

    Utopia vs HD800 Stock.png
     
  11. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    Here's my set of measurements :

    FR

    Focal Utopia FR.jpg

    FR Left and Right

    Focal Utopia FR Left & Right.jpg

    Distorsion L

    Focal Utopia Disto L.jpg

    Distorsion R

    Focal Utopia Disto R.jpg

    IR L

    Focal Utopia IR L.jpg

    IR R

    Focal Utopia IR R.jpg

    CSD L

    Focal Utopia CSD L.jpg

    CSD R

    Focal Utopia CSD R.jpg

    Spectro L

    Focal Utopia Spectro L.jpg

    Spectro R


    Focal Utopia Spectro R.jpg


    FR is really nice except some little treble peak and dips ( 8khz is an artifact ) and CSD are not that clean in the treble ? Strong points IMO are bass and mids. FR in the treble can vary significantly depending on how the pads are squeashed or not on the coupler. Large headed people could maybe have different impressions from narrow headed ones. it's worst for the Elear ( measurements to come later)

    I still hear this headphone as a bit colored ( Kinda slightly W shaped) whereas the measurements show something relatively flat and even. I'll give more solid impressions later. For sure it's right up my alley in the sense it's the kind of tonality I love but thus far i don't think I like it better than my HD800SD. I find the utopia sounds a tiny bit bright/irritating and "light" as a few e-stats for example. I struggle to really put the finger on the issue I hear. it's not soft , it's more like there was a lot of dynamic and transient speed and attack but not enough weight/impact... something like that. I have maybe 15/20 Hours of listening thus far. compared to Milos Orpheus Clone and a bit with my HD800SD and to the Kennerton Vali i just received ( This one is a good one as well ! )
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
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  12. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    Utopia vs Elear

    FR Utopia vs Elear.jpg

    Utopia vs HD800SD

    FR Utopia vs HD800(modded).jpg

    Utopia vs HD600

    FR Utopia vs HD600.jpg
     
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  13. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Interesting. So @sorrodje you're actually showing the 4k peak as a few dB depressed vs the 1k point. Elsewhere I'd seen it slightly elevated. BTW, for those that are hearing leanness out of the Utopia, where is that coming from? The 1-2 dB depression around 400-600 Hz would seem to fall in the category of "barely perceptible", although maybe it's more like a 3 dB dip compared to a desired target curve? Still seems pretty minor to me? (Still learning, though)
     
  14. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    Comparing FR is always difficult imo.

    See the HD800SD vs Utopia FR above and now look at this :

    FR HD800SD vs Utopia ( eq @1khz).jpg

    in this one I made a different choice and decide to use 1khz to align the two FR.... HD800SD looks warmer, weighter right ? but how does work our Brain ? what's his reference point ? I don't know.

    Moreover I don't know if the feeling of "lightness" is related to FR.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
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  15. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    @bazelio I think the coupler curves should look slightly warm. Every coupler will have a different target curve. The B&K target is usually close enough. I also like to use something that's flat to about 500Hz or 1kHz (depending on coupler, etc.) and then drops off 5db by 2kHz or so. It's never exactly scientific and with flat plate couplers the perceived tonal balance will never exactly match the measured response for everyone and for every type of headphone, but you start to see some patterns over time (planars with big drivers far away from the ears interact more strongly with the outer ear and thus should measure with a little less 3-4kHz than over-ears or something like the HD600 for the same perceived FR).
    (I never actually compared my coupler and in-ear curves but I think the Elear fell in between the HD600 and HD800, but closer to the HD600. I think this makes sense given its soundstaging.)
    (I don't have exact target curves for other people's couplers yet. I would maybe have to try to recreate them and compare against my own coupler.)

    I found the depression around 500Hz clearly audible. 2db is pretty significant in my book.

    @sorrodje I generally like to align at 500Hz. It really depends on what kind of music you're listening to, etc. Use whatever you find works best.

    What I find interesting is that your measurements seem to show a dip at 5kHz. For some reason Tyll's and Hands' measurements also seem to. I'm pretty sure I heard the whole region between 4 and 6kHz as emphasized.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
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  16. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Thanks, @sorrodje

    I just wanna chime in and say that your measurements look exactly like how I hear Utopia, and also somewhat like how I measured it as well.

    Utopia seems to "miss" certain frequencies in the highs, which causes it to sometimes sound a bit dark to me, but then some peaks stand out at the same time.

    I think the ringing in CSD and spectrograms may be artifacts of the pads, though. The drivers should technically sound cleaner than that with better pads. But the problem then becomes: does Focal want to provide different pads, or do we have to stick with Elear and Utopia pads? The fact that the pads are glued on to plastic rings... (the HiFiMAN "way") is also not very encouraging. But I'd bet anything that a pad change will do Utopia a lot of good.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  17. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    @Bill-P Based on my tests, and IMO, the only pads worthwhile so far on the Utopia are the stock pads. The Sennheiser pads sounded kinda wonky but were otherwise the least bad out of the bunch I tried (some I tried but did not measure). Maybe other pads out there work well, and I certainly don't have every pad to test.

    I think the best way to smooth the treble is a bit of front damping over the driver, if one doesn't love the stock response. Of course, that could lead to other trade offs.

    Regarding CSDs, you'll see differences in resonance and ringing from pad to pad, but as a whole, a lot of the "dirty" looking stuff is just how it is. Won't go away. I'm sure some is inherent to the driver, and some is inherent to reflections elsewhere from the pads.
     
  18. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, that's why I suggested that it's something that Focal themselves should look into, rather than having us do it.

    As you said, the Senn pads are the least bad, but still not quite there. You actually still have to mod the pads pretty hardcore to even get it to fit properly on the Utopia due to the plastic retaining rings.

    And to a certain extent, we should not be required to try this many things with a headphone at the price point of the Utopia. All of this should have been figured out at the engineering phase.

    I dunno... I'm just going by my hunch after having heard them and thought that the drivers themselves sound like they have some promise. It's still a pretty concrete fact that you'd have to do some very extensive things beyond just slapping on some pads in order to make them as smooth as HD6xx, and you may never even be able to. I think that, at this point, Sennheiser may be the only company that can make another headphone that has HD6xx treble response. That is... if they want to.
     
  19. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    My Current Utopia Rig .. i wonder if i can post that on HF in the "picture of your Hi End System" |{

    20161117_171947_resized.jpg

    Yggdrasil > Cmoy > Utopia . Donald North is still cheking if my Stratus is OK for shipping soooooo...
     
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  20. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    New measurements (@brencho cans):

    Frequency Response

    Focal_Utopia_fr.png

    Distortion Right

    Focal_Utopia_dist_right.png

    Distortion Left

    Focal_Utopia_dist_left.png

    CSD Right

    Focal_Utopia_csd_right.png

    CSD Left

    Focal_Utopia_csd_left.png

    Comparo with Utopia measured about 7 to 8 months ago + HD600:

    Comparo.png

    For all practical purposes, I feel these measure pretty much the same as the ones I measured some months ago.

    Proly @Tyll Hertsens got some defective ones that sounded moar awesome. Who knows.
     

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