Focal Utopia Review (collective stream of consciousness)

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. murphythecat

    murphythecat GRU-powered uniformed trumpkin

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    just got the new Focal Utopia.
    balanced, clear, musical and dynamic! the first headphone that I prefer over my hd650. You hear so clearly the transients of a piano for example, the back vocals in a track are so obvious. im shocked. the combination with my pro ican is mindblowing!
     
  2. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    Headphones: Focal Utopia, Sennheiser HD650M / HD800 (SDR + SBAF)
     
  3. murphythecat

    murphythecat GRU-powered uniformed trumpkin

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    the hd800, even modified, is still a bit bright and lack bass.

    with bass boost via my pro ican and modification such as sdr and sbaf, the hd800 is good but Imo the Utopia is definitely better.
     
  4. Untouchable

    Untouchable Rando

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    The Focal Utopia's resolution and clarity is pretty incredible. The bass isn't incredible, but it's very good, a big step up over the HD800. I have only two gripes with the Utopia:

    1. Soundstage isn't very big
    2. Stock cable is bulky, heavy, and can be a huge annoyance.

    I pair my Utopia with the EC 445 and I've had plenty of time listening to it on the EC Studio, you hear sounds and instruments you didn't know were in some of your favorite songs.
     
  5. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Ethernet Nervosa

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    As good as Utopia is with Studio (been there, logged some time with that), I believe its output impedance (Z) is a bit higher than optimum. Can't remember what it was now though. Best amp I've ever head driving Utopia was Doug's (ECP) DSHA-2. With Its very low output impedance, the Utopia sounded neutral, with great extension top to bottom. Supposedly the S7 drives it wonderfully too - looking forward to hearing this combination.
     
  6. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    I definitely prefer the Utopia with the lo Z setting on my T3 as opposed to the hi Z setting. I think T3 output impedances are roughly 10 and 20 ohms, respectively. Technicalities aside, I probably still prefer the HD600 anyway. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
  7. str-1

    str-1 Rando

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    I've seen a couple of posts from people who expected to have the DHC Prion cable to use with the Utopia. Is anyone able to comment on how well this pairing works? Thanks.
     
  8. pippenainteasy

    pippenainteasy Acquaintance

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    HE1000 is like the SD HD800 but trading treble detail and extension for smooth mids.

    Utopia is like SD HD800 but trading soundstage for punch and dynamism. I think Utopia with Elear pads is closest to end game as with the Elear pads the soundstage gets deeper (instruments sound farther away/more separated than with stock pads) and you get closer to the spaciousness of the HD800.
     
  9. phaeton

    phaeton Acquaintance

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    Just joined SBAF community, and this is my first post after the presentation, even if I've lurked here for long time.

    I've got my Utopia couple of months ago, and since then listened to them almost daily. Will not repeat all the goodies already written here about these cans, I simply think these are among the best headphones I have ever heard. Would just like to highlight something that strangely enough I have not seen in this long discussion (maybe because it's just me being deadly wrong... could definitely be), i.e. the fact that with these cans I don't need to pump up the volume to a minimum high level to have a satisfying sound. I can use the Utopia even at very low level, without trading off dynamics, details, transparency, etc etc etc.

    To put this in contest, this is the two main rigs I typically use with Utopia:
    MSB Analog - Halgorythme 300B SE (with 300B EML Mesh)
    Auralic Vega - Auralic Taurus MKII
    and these are the other cans I typically use:
    Hifiman HE1000 v1 , HE6 (with Brainwavz pads) , HE500
    all HPs cables are FAW HPC MKII
     
  10. rainer.skill

    rainer.skill Rando

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    I find the HE1000 sounds more like the HD650 in better with a slight sibilance. Could be endgame if the sibilance can be removed with EQ.

    Utopia for me is a "perfect" headphone but without soundstage (elear too so i think elear pads won't fix it), so it is inacceptable at its price point
     
  11. phaeton

    phaeton Acquaintance

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    umh... well, even if of course not at the level of HD800(S) the soundstage I can hear from Utopia is good enough. HEK one is wider, or maybe just a little bit more "diffused". this is out of the same ampli/dac and using the same cables, so maybe could very well be something related to the overall "synergy" of the setup.

    btw, I do remember that out of the box Utopia showed a quite shy bass and a somewhat "tunnelized" (hope this word exist in english :D ) image, so maybe they just need some time to burn-in.... or to burn-in our brain :D:D

    instead, lately I've discovered that my Utopia are opening up also in the highs. in a way I maybe don't like so much. there is IMHO a little bit too energy in the 10k and above region... hopefully is only temporary (my Utopia has more or less 200h)
     
  12. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    Don't make the mistake of mentioning this in the HF thread. A certain dealer will come back with something about cables, 250 hrs burn in, do you know how to burn in properly? Something about your hearing etc etc :D
     
  13. phaeton

    phaeton Acquaintance

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    for sure it depends on the moldy patanegra(*) slices I have on my ears :D

    (*) patanegra is the best ham money can buy. if you have never tried it, do try it :D

    PS "having ham slices on the ears" in Italy means you are too boor and basically unable to ear/understand anything related to music :eek::D
     
  14. pippenainteasy

    pippenainteasy Acquaintance

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    If you look at innerfidelity measurements the Elear pads reduce the prescence region by 2db on the Utopia (800-2000hz) so it has the effect of increasing the soundstage.
     
  15. rainer.skill

    rainer.skill Rando

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    Ok, I agree, but then the utopia with elear pads still measures like the elear and the elear has zero soundstage so it's very hard to imagine the Utopia with elear pads will have ss
     
  16. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I would like my utopias to fit a little tighter. Anyone know if it's ok to bend/compress the headband?
     
  17. phaeton

    phaeton Acquaintance

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    umh... I wouldn't bend the headband until you're sure that the internal locking mechanism is different form the Elear's one.... there is a thread on HF IIRC
    would be you, I would send an email to Focal support.
     
  18. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I would assume so. I've been fiddling with the headband and the metal extenders/cup attachment pieces since I had my Elear. Quite pliable. But, I dunno, maybe the Utopia's materials won't work the same way.
     
  19. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I'm not at home now, but I just remember the headphones came with a manual. I'll check that later tonight.
     
  20. Exidrion

    Exidrion Rando

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    Would the ZDS serve the Utopias well enough or is it worth it to save a little longer?
     

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