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Focal Utopia headphones...with Beryllium driver


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not going to create a new thread... figured i'd drop some simple thoughts on the Focal Elex that arrived last week. i decided to grab these after reading ample comparisons to Sennheiser and the notion

I could have said that just as easily as you did, and suspect that many other people feel the same way about it. It's like any hobby, I guess. There is that initial phase when you're all into it an

I'd suggest trying them on a Cmoy to see if a superior amplifier might help. 

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3999usd for the Utopia...and of course, Ms Judith hyping up like always.

I don't like Focal speakers, I tried Solo 6be for my studio and even the Sopra 2 too, and they're very unnatural sounding, I prefer ATC or Amphion over Focal, leagues better.

So, if the headphones sound like the speakers, I don't like them.

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Very few audio products use beryllium, even though it is close to being the ideal material in terms of young modulus/density ratio.  Used in the 1970's in the classic Yamaha NS1000M speakers for HF and midrange units.  Surprisingly not particularly toxic in the metallic state - it is the soluble salts that are the killer.  The mirrors in the James Webb Space Telescope are all of machined beryllium, gold coated.

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Beryllium has been used in the manufacture of fluorescent lamps and the aerospace industry. It can give you a chronic inflammatory condition similar to Sarcoidosis, which can be pretty nasty and cause pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs) amongst other problems.

 

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12 hours ago, Craig Sawyers said:

Very few audio products use beryllium, even though it is close to being the ideal material in terms of young modulus/density ratio.  Used in the 1970's in the classic Yamaha NS1000M speakers for HF and midrange units.  Surprisingly not particularly toxic in the metallic state - it is the soluble salts that are the killer.  The mirrors in the James Webb Space Telescope are all of machined beryllium, gold coated.

I believe the new upcoming NS5000M speakers will be using beryllium for its driver like its predecessors but applied using today's technology.

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Orange is the new black.

Focal Utopia is the new Audeze LCD-4. 

Meh. 

Berylium works good for dynamic compression drivers. Have had a pair of TAD 2001s for years in my horn system. Before I retired them for Vintage ESS Heil Great AMTs. They are worlds better. 

Edited by Laowei
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I finally got around to watching the HF video.

Even Jude seems subtly disappointed by the $4k price-tag. It is about damn time we start seeing backlash at these prices.

Edited by TMoney
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Do they grow it in a tub of yoghurt...?  :rolleyes:

 

It's probably the closest some wearers would get to some culture....!   :P

4 hours ago, Arthrimus said:

Isn't biocellulose both lighter and more rigid than beryllium? I would assume cheaper to manufacture too? The drivers do look impressive. 

Could be lighter, but I doubt it would be more rigid than Beryllium.... :o

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10 minutes ago, wink said:

Do they grow it in a tub of yoghurt...?  :rolleyes:

 

It's probably the closest some wearers would get to some culture....!   :P

Could be lighter, but I doubt it would be more rigid than Beryllium.... :o

Ok, I think I inferred that from some stuff I was reading about Audioquest's Nighthawk a while back. Can't find anything definitive either way but I know that biocellulose is widely praised for it's extraordinarily high rigidity in relation to it's mass.

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Doesn't last forever though especially in shit environment conditions. My old CD1k drivers (using biocellulose coating technology) had turned to white shit because it was stored in piss poor conditions.

Here I was thinking oh another $1000 headphone....did not realise these are $4k ish until TMoney mentioned it.

Edited by DefQon
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Life expectancy for bio-cellulose drivers manufactured before 2005-2006 is approximately 10 years and that's being optimistic.*

 

Sony basically made the R10 and CDX000 when biocellulose was just an impractical nascent concept just to show off that they could do it. They were never designed with functional longevity in mind.

 

*For reference the biocellulose designs mass-manufactured beginning in the mid-2000s (e.g. Fostex) are on a mature enough technology/process that they will last decades at worst and outlive most listeners on average.

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I actually listened to these headphones on Friday. They are very quick and detailed, but smooth, with a somewhat forward presentation. I preferred them greatly to the withdrawn, distant sound of the HD800S I compared them with directly. There seemed to be a slight dip in the lower mids that made male vocals feel a little buried, and the bass punch was not to the level of the best planars. Soundstage size felt a bit limited for a TOTL headphone. They are fairly heavy, but clamping force is light, and the pads are well done, so I didn't notice any comfort issues.  Overall, the detail they produce puts them in a very high class, and it's all personal preference from there. They wouldn't supplant the HE1000 as my personal favorite headphone, but they may be just what others are looking for.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Heard the Focal Duo at the SF HF meet yesterday on my rig.

My impressions of the Focal Utopia:

  • A real contender for best dynamic headphone.

  • A bit heavy, but otherwise very comfortable to wear. Build quality appeared excellent.

  • Sound was very clear and very detailed. Background noise at the meet was a bit of an issue, but you could tell Utopia is a very technically competent headphone, potentially better on technicalities than the HD800 but would need to evaluate at home to be sure.

  • Not a bass monster and does not compete with planars in that regard.

  • While soundstage is good, does not have the uniquely massive soundstage that is my favorite thing about the HD800.

  • The $4k price is unfortunate. This is a headphone that needs to cost $2k at most for it to be a good value.

My impressions of the Focal Elear:

  • The buzz is that Elear sounds somewhat like a HD650 plus. I would agree with that assessment.

  • Should be a must listen for the HD650 fans.

  • As I much prefer the HD600 to the HD650, the slightly tonally dark Elear isn’t a headphone I’d consider buying.

  • Priced at a grand, it is nice to see a step in the right direction on price. Should be $600, but at least its not $1,500.

  • Between Utopia and Elear I lean very strongly towards Utopia.

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