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Focal Utopia headphones...with Beryllium driver

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I picked up the Utopia recently, echo John's comments regarding sound.

This weekend I was at a local dealer's, they had the Elear and Utopia out for listen.  Indeed, not exactly the same sound signatures.  Elear is still quite good at $1k, but Utopia is definitely more refined, better highs, more balanced overall, and more transparent.  The bass on the Elear seemed fuller, but the Utopia is MAYBE as deep but definitely a bit more controlled IMO.

 

EDIT: BTW, driven by an Arcam CD player, so source wasn't up to snuff.  Told them they should put in a new source or set up a good DAC.  So my observations could even be understated.....

Edited by skullguise
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We don't need no steenkin' amps!

Yes, of course.  They did have a decent Unison amp to drive them, plenty of power and sounded good, given the source weakness.....

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Arcams aren't that bad, are they?  The old FMJ...whatever...I forget the nomenclature, was in at least one British magazine's "best of sources" list.  But this was a good 10 years back, so what do I know.

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thanks for the input, I wanted to bring up the elear but it wasn't worth making a new thread. I'll have to check the utopia out at some point after I get my dynamic setup going again

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23 hours ago, skullguise said:

I picked up the Utopia recently, echo John's comments regarding sound.

This weekend I was at a local dealer's, they had the Elear and Utopia out for listen.  Indeed, not exactly the same sound signatures.  Elear is still quite good at $1k, but Utopia is definitely more refined, better highs, more balanced overall, and more transparent.  The bass on the Elear seemed fuller, but the Utopia is MAYBE as deep but definitely a bit more controlled IMO.

 

EDIT: BTW, driven by an Arcam CD player, so source wasn't up to snuff.  Told them they should put in a new source or set up a good DAC.  So my observations could even be understated.....

Yep. 

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I've been listening with the utopias a couple hours every night since I got them. I love that I can throw all kinds of recordings at them and they are always very listenable. They are my favorite headphone. :)

 

Biggie.

 

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And how might they look on a certain Egyptian themed headphone stand?

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The Utopias visited at my house last week, in the company of my friend Jim. Pretty darned impressive. The speed and finesse of an electrostatic with the guts of a dynamic and all that cliche stuff. Wonderful top end. As in actually for real, not just prominent.  Very fine resolution across the band. And super tight, tuneful bass. Somebody here (JP?) described them as "clean". That's pretty apt. They're fast,fast, fast. It's all the music and none of the noise. Sense of space was palpable in a way that I've not heard before, certainly on dynamics. In comparison to other headphones we had on hand, (HE-500s, HD-800Ses, LCD-3s) they were just "better". Of course, they cost twice as much as the next priciest unit. All were driven by my relatively modest Woo from either a Neko D-100MKII or vinyl. We didn't have a solid state amp on hand to try.

All that said, there were a couple pieces of music that sounded more "whole" for me on the LCD-3s. Mind you, I doubt anybody would listen to those two phones for two minutes and fail to judge the Utopias better overall. Ditto for the other sets we had at hand. (But it does beg the question: what do the LCD-4s sound like?) So maybe we're not yet talking about the absolute bestest thing ever for all time past and future..  There's always a new world to conquer.  

If I was really in danger of writing that check, I'd want to listen to the Utopias for a pretty good long time to be sure they were the right musical fit for me, before putting pen to financial instrument. I listened to them for about five hours on one day. Which, now that I think about it, is something of an endorsement for non-fatiguing listenability. They were comfy, too. Maybe the comfiest I've felt. But I'm not really the princess with the pea as far as headphone comfort goes. Most of 'em seem to feel fine on my head. 

 The Elears are very nice, but not in the same league, really. It's not that they're 80% of the Utopias. They're a different sort of thing altogether.

A sample of the Woo WA 8 sort-of-portable DAC/amp was traveling with the headphones. It didn't suck, either. I thought it was curious that they would put it in the box. I mean who is going to drive $4K headphones with a portable? But it drove both the Focals really nicely. 

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Now, imagine if you had a GSX Mk.II or Dynahi on hand.....!  

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4 hours ago, tin ear said:

no need to go overboard with the amp when the utopia is so efficient

It's not only the power that matters, but also the quality.  :)

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17 hours ago, wink said:

It's not only the power that matters, but also the quality.  :)

audiophile myth #(insert figure here)

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1 hour ago, tin ear said:

audiophile myth #(sarcasm_notice.jpg)

FTFY

 

Edited by wink
upgrade

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I'd really like to hear the Elear (well, sure, I'd love to hear the Utopia, but I'm unlikely to spend that kinda money anytime soon on something that isn't a watch).  I have a pair of HD-800, again, this time with the Shure foamy mod, and I'm very happen with them.  

On 12/30/2016 at 0:36 AM, tin ear said:

audiophile myth #(insert figure here)

Well of course, because things like "damping factor" don't exist.

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On 12/30/2016 at 0:36 AM, tin ear said:

audiophile myth #(insert figure here)

 

On 12/30/2016 at 2:19 AM, wink said:

FTFY

 

 

On 12/30/2016 at 3:20 AM, tin ear said:

i like mine better. go fix your own lame-assed shtick.

 

On 12/31/2016 at 5:28 PM, lostinaudio said:

Ehh? You serious? 

OMG please go find another forum to troll 

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