Focal Utopia Review (collective stream of consciousness)

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

  1. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Did you notice any missing from inventory? Now you know where they went! :D
     
  2. drgumbybrain

    drgumbybrain Science Nut

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    Yep! They are the old ones!!
     
  3. neo_the_one

    neo_the_one Facebook Friend

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    I tried to go through this thread but am now quite confused. What are people's opinion about best dac/amp combo with the utopia?
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    The "best":

    Donald North Stellaris or Eddie Current Studio Junior. Both are SET but have a different sound. DNA is wetter, more bloomy. EC uses feedback and is less tubey. EC is no longer, but may have a final run.

    ECP 3F for solid state with consideration of nickel input transformers.

    Anything less means you are leaving stuff at the table with regards to Utopia.

    Honorable mention: DNA Starlett (still leaving stuff at the table). Schiit Vali (OG and OOP).

    DAC: Your pick since the above are fine amps, it's unlikely that anyone buying will have poor taste. Then again, some people pair hundred+ dollar bottles of bourbon with items from McDonalds
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Vali OG with Utopia? I’m assuming that would be leaving the most on the table of any of the amps you listed.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Stopgap while amp gets built or located. Adds to mystique if $99 OOP item
     
  7. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF's Mr. Bean

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    The Feliks Euforia is also worth considering with the Utopia; however this recommendation comes with a huge caveat. You really do have to like the intimate, tubey presentation (can be tube rolled to be a bit less tubey), and ultimately you're giving up on some of the ultimate resolution that the Utopia can offer. In exchange, the Euforia pretty much fully eliminates the "Be" timbre of the Utopia and makes it sound a bit warmer by bumping up the bass a bit. Definitely an enjoyable listen!

    That being said, the Euforia has a severe case of "synergy or anti-synergy." With HD600/650 and Focals, it's fantastic and IMHO very worthy as an alternative to something like Starlett. With some other headphones, it actually makes them sound bad to the point where I'd rather listen to them straight out of my phone. This, along with some other factors, make it a terrible value at its price.

    Edit: I'd also like to add that the Starlett may not be as good as the Stratus or the Stellaris, but I definitely don't feel that I'm leaving that much on the table in comparison. Just know that the big boy DNA amps are indeed a step up (and corresponding steps up in price)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  8. Failed Engineer

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    I run the Utopia with the 3F (prefer amorphous transformers and own both) with a Wavelight being served by the Pi2AES. I admit that I like the Utopia for all it's strengths and don't really view the commonly noted negatives (soundstage, timbre, bass weight) as sonic priorities. I don't look at the chain to "tune" the Utopia but rather to let it do what it does. I know a lot of listeners would consider this a full out auditory assault on the ears and could enjoy it only for short period of times, if at all. I know my wife does and a few friends that are into headphones that I recently invited over after I got the Wavelight. But for me I'd not rather have any other headphone.
     
  9. Krzysztof

    Krzysztof New

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    I agree that Utopia's stock cable is heavy and pulls headphones down.
    I changed that cable after few days from the beginning.
    The best option is to make your own cable just like I did.
    Connectors are easy to buy (sure, not cheap and only silver version) https://www.tme.eu/pl/details/fgg0b302clad52z/zlacza-lemo/lemo/fgg-0b-302-clad52z/
    And I used 1,5 m of this cable https://www.tme.eu/pl/details/tas-tsk1148/przewody-sluchawkowe/tasker/tsk1148/
    It is very flexible cable, and light, so comfort of using it is a lot better than stock cable.
    Ofc Neutrik 4 PIN XLR at the end to make it easy to connect + adapter for standard 6,3 mm jack.

    [​IMG]
     

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