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Focal Utopia headphones...with Beryllium driver


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The upper mid of Utopia is the exact reason why I went with Stax 009.  Though, I can not deny that Utopia is a great headphones as it has many things that was done right on it.  Essentially it can be plugged into anything and play unlike Stax 009 which needs a proper energizer :).  It is hard to see other dynamic headphones that can achieve what Utopia can out of portable devices.  I literally meant it, I can just plug it in an IPad and have it sound wonderful, and ofcourse except the quality of an IPad DAC and output is shitty...lol...Utopia is wonderful with WM1Z, a combination that can be taken on the go and to many places....then when talking about amping and DAC chain the Utopia it would scale up (being desktop and stationary), but I rather stick with Stax 009 stationary system

i have no regret moving up to 009+ carbon, trully an amazing feasts.  Possibly looking into T2 as I have heard that T2 is the Ultimate end for Stax 

Edited by Whitigir
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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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21 minutes ago, Whitigir said:

The upper mid of Utopia is the exact reason why I went with Stax 009.  Though, I can not deny that Utopia is a great headphones as it has many things that was done right on it.  Essentially it can be plugged into anything and play unlike Stax 009 which needs a proper energizer :).  It is hard to see other dynamic headphones that can achieve what Utopia can out of portable devices.  I literally meant it, I can just plug it in an IPad and have it sound wonderful, and ofcourse except the quality of an IPad DAC and output is shitty...lol...Utopia is wonderful with WM1Z, a combination that can be taken on the go and to many places....then when talking about amping and DAC chain the Utopia it would scale up (being desktop and stationary), but I rather stick with Stax 009 stationary system

i have no regret moving up to 009+ carbon, trully an amazing feasts.  Possibly looking into T2 as I have heard that T2 is the Ultimate end for Stax 

Yup, that's why I dig the Utopia as well. 

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6 hours ago, mwl168 said:

Agreed!

I did not pay attention to the sound stage when I auditioned the Focal's and I have no familiarity with HD800 other than a very brief listening in an uncontrolled environment. Going by memory the HD800 is also a more comfortable headphone than the Focal's.

The Utopia, if priced at $2000 US, would have been a no-brainer for me. 

That would be the edition without the drivers or earpads.........:P

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I'm disappointed with the Utopias.  They are very good.  That is the problem.  Everything with them sounds very good.  Nothing sounds great, and nothing sounds bad. Maybe I could have a better system for them, but a Capitole Mk II SE running to a maxed out SP Extreme with true NOS VT-231 and Tung Sol 5998 is about as good as I'm going to get.  

Thank you, Todd (skullguise), for letting me borrow your Utopias.  I am very interested in what my friends think, on Sunday.  It is a combo of audio engineers and music fans, and none of them pay much attention to me (they wouldn't be my friends, otherwise). 

Edited by EdipisReks1
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10 hours ago, gepardcv said:

What headphone+gear and music combination do you think sounds great, relative to the Utopia? (Genuinely curious, I haven't listened to one yet.)

I'm a big fan of the RS-1, HD-800 (modded more than not) and the Stax 007 and 009.  I used to swear by the Grado HP-2.  

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15 hours ago, EdipisReks1 said:

I'm disappointed with the Utopias.  They are very good.  That is the problem.  Everything with them sounds very good.  Nothing sounds great, and nothing sounds bad. Maybe I could have a better system for them, but a Capitole Mk II SE running to a maxed out SP Extreme with true NOS VT-231 and Tung Sol 5998 is about as good as I'm going to get.  

Thank you, Todd (skullguise), for letting me borrow your Utopias.  I am very interested in what my friends think, on Sunday.  It is a combo of audio engineers and music fans, and none of them pay much attention to me (they wouldn't be my friends, otherwise). 

my reaction was very different. i was really impressed by the utopia. its sound and build quality made it a headphone worthy of totl status.

Edited by tin ear
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16 hours ago, EdipisReks1 said:

I'm disappointed with the Utopias.  They are very good.  That is the problem.  Everything with them sounds very good.  Nothing sounds great, and nothing sounds bad. Maybe I could have a better system for them, but a Capitole Mk II SE running to a maxed out SP Extreme with true NOS VT-231 and Tung Sol 5998 is about as good as I'm going to get.  

Thank you, Todd (skullguise), for letting me borrow your Utopias.  I am very interested in what my friends think, on Sunday.  It is a combo of audio engineers and music fans, and none of them pay much attention to me (they wouldn't be my friends, otherwise). 

I think the Utopia needs a low output impedance amplifier to work best.  Doug actually informed me that it has a poor damping factor and I totally agreed.  Out of my L3 (high output impedance amp), the Utopia's bass is all over the place while the Utopia becomes a TOTL headphones out of my DSHA-0/2 and Headamp GSX as well as the SuSy Dynahi.  You should try to the Utopia out of a portable source and you may like it even more.  I personally find the Utopia's small and compact soundstage its biggest weakness.  Otherwise, I find them quite awesome. 

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RS-1? Come on, man!

If the Utopia had fit me better, I'd still own it. The Utopia is a master of technicalities, though its not going to please people who like warmer/darker sounding headphones. The soundstage is also quite small. Other than that, they are magnificent.

Edited by TMoney
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Ok.  I guess clarinets are supposed to sound like ducks. I wish I had known that, at conservatory. 

If you think you know more about woodwind timbre than I do, well, I applaud your musical career. 

Edited by EdipisReks1
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7 hours ago, EdipisReks1 said:

Ok.  I guess clarinets are supposed to sound like ducks. I wish I had known that, at conservatory. 

If you think you know more about woodwind timbre than I do, well, I applaud your musical career. 

 

6 hours ago, EdipisReks1 said:

When did this forum become so anti-expertise?  Are the powers that be going to suggest not using vaccines, next?

While your source may be excellent your amplifier is ill-suited to lots of things given it's high output impedance.  Maybe the Utopia's are one of them?  The quality of the tube you have in there isn't going to help with that, either.  

And one person posting an opinion that isn't the direct mirror of yours is hardly the equivalent of anti-vaxer behavior.  I don't know what axe you're trying to grind here but it's a huge bummer.

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Just for the record, I do not have a dog in this race but imo the initial posts after Jacob's lukewarm impression were the axe grinders. And I still love my MS-Pros and use both the Beyer 880s and AKG   K340 at work. New isn't always better.

Edited by morphsci
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It's certainly not out of character for people here to shit on things they don't like.  And shitting on grados has been a part of the hobby for at least the last 15 years.

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I've never really understood why so many want everyone to like what they like anyway. There's no right or wrong in the audio hobby. If you like a certain sound signature, then have at it. Why do you care if someone else doesn't like it? Jim mentioned both the Beyer DT880, which I somewhat like, and the AKG K340, which I really liked. Should I chastise him for liking the DT880? 

I happen to find the AKG K1000 as my all around favorite headphone, though many hate it. So what? I don't make the claim that it does everything right, but it's what I find most enjoyable. Why do we need everyone to love all the same shit we love? IMO these people need there decisions bolstered. I for one prefer to be an individual and rely on my own taste (even as bad as it may be).

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^ Agree, plenty of mob rules on the other forum. I prefer people telling it like it is.

 

The K-1000 is still my favorite headphone too. I thought I was the only one left on the planet with that opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, swt61 said:

I've never really understood why so many want everyone to like what they like anyway. There's no right or wrong in the audio hobby. If you like a certain sound signature, then have at it. Why do you care if someone else doesn't like it? Jim mentioned both the Beyer DT880, which I somewhat like, and the AKG K340, which I really liked. Should I chastise him for liking the DT880? 

I happen to find the AKG K1000 as my all around favorite headphone, though many hate it. So what? I don't make the claim that it does everything right, but it's what I find most enjoyable. Why do we need everyone to love all the same shit we love? IMO these people need there decisions bolstered. I for one prefer to be an individual and rely on my own taste (even as bad as it may be).

They're not headphones, they're "earspeakers".  Otherwise, HEAR HEAR! to all of that.

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Really though it is about impedance issues on the Utopia.  I was having similar problems with the ECP-L3 and Utopia combo but absolutely loving it with the Dynahi, GSX, and DSHA-2.  Ultimately, the smallish soundstage may lead to me selling it.

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The K1000 is definitely a niche headphone, it does things no other headphone can do but its strengths are also its weaknesses. Ultimately I found the Sigma Pro to have that out of head soundstage while being easier to live with, despite not really sounding very similar.  In fact the K1000 seems to measure a lot like a Lambda above 80Hz or so.

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