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Focal Utopia headphones...with Beryllium driver


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I had mine replaced earlier this year and it was a pretty straightforward process with the local dealer handling everything. The headphone had to be shipped back to France for repair so it took a couple of weeks but I didn't have to pay for anything. 

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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 had general impressions of Utopia ready within an hour of receiving them but took the week to work through various material (still a lot to go). significant upgrade from Elex and Clear. ther

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

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I follow the Utopia thread on the other site and the number of posts about driver failure are concerning me. I got a great deal on a new pair and was quite pleased, but now I'm worried that if the driver fails I'll have warranty troubles.
Has anyone had their Utopias fail recently?

I haven’t had any problems with mine.
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Bummer. No problems on mine so far (I've had it over half a year now), and no problems on my Clear either which I had since 2017 and which has been used daily. But I did have an Elex with a failure at the cable connector on the right earcup. I can't blame the headphones too much since there was a lot of strain being put on that connector and eventually it let go. I've gathered that it's a common weak point with them, so if you've got an Elex, don't yank on the cables!

Edited by catscratch
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  • 4 weeks later...

Just got my repaired Utopias back—both drivers were replaced and now they sound a bit different than they did before. Previously, they had a strange reverberation to the sound, which was especially noticeable in the bass. I've been in touch with the people I bought them from and apparently some recently manufactured Utopias were wired incorrectly, causing them to have the strange reverberation and making them more likely to fail. I thought that was just the way that Utopias sounded and I got used to it, but I definitely prefer them without that "feature".

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Also, I just looked in the discussion thread for the Massdrop x Focal Elex and I noticed that some people were complaining about driver failures. One of the employees posted this update recently:

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We randomly pulled a sample unit from the latest batch from Focal and tested to make sure it falls within specifications.  First the headphone was tested to ensure both drivers were operational by using  a mixture of music and sine sweeps to test for any unnatural resonances in the drivers and the headphone frame.

This makes me think that some Elex headphones were also wired incorrectly, causing them to have the same reverberation that I was hearing with the Utopias.

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  • 3 months later...

Currently spending my evenings listening to the Elear. I like it quite a bit more than the Utopias I used to own. Wonderfully potent, rich, dynamic, textured sound and plenty fast/detailed. The Utopias were probably even more refined but less authentic sounding.

It does have some treble problems which the Sonarworks Plugin just does wonders with... and also helps with the last bit of bass extension. 

Having a blast with these cans, I regret not buying them years ago instead of the overpriced Utopias. 

Edited by Bjorn
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/30/2020 at 2:49 PM, catscratch said:

I also made the jump from the Clear to the Utopia.

The Utopia is a little leaner and colder, has a few db less bass and a bit more treble but is still roughly within the boundaries of neutral. It is noticeably more resolving than the Clear, has a bigger stage especially when it comes to height and depth, and in the treble there is more 6khz peak but less 11khz peak. The microdynamics are also better on the Utopia, the Clear felt like it compressed things a little bit (though it had terrific slam) while the Utopia is more nuanced. I do think the Clear is better balanced and a bit better in terms of tone, but the Utopia is noticeably more resolving. At the end of the day, a fair price for the Utopia would have been around $2k and for the Clear around 1k, at least in terms of sound quality, so they're both quite overpriced to my ears but the Utopia does perform technically better overall.

I will probably get rid of mine soon, though. It's fatiguing (the Clear was too) and I tend not to listen to it very much because of that. Granted, I haven't done any serious component swapping to try and find the perfect synergy, but I'd rather find a headphone I enjoy with no caveats and build on that. Well, I have one, it's called the HD650, but I want to find something that resolves at the flagship levels while having similar qualities. The Focals are close... but no cigar.

I'm not sure what to replace it with though. The Audezes have the wrong FR and unit to unit variation, and I don't really feel like playing roulette with $4k headphones. The Raals are intriguing, but I've heard fatigue is an issue too. The Stax SR-007 just doesn't fit my head properly. The SR-009 very much has the wrong tuning. Hifimans... yeah... no. So I'm kinda stuck.

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students of history know, Utopia never really works out!

.Audio-Technica ADX5000. They are tonally more accurate than Utopias, they also do not have problems with treble; and frequencies are balanced - all this at half the price for Utopias. These ATs are better than Utopias for music which is not ghetto type music [Rap, Hip Hop, Bass and Drums and similar - about 20% of music market]. People who listen to ghetto type music do not care about tonal accuracy or frequency balance.

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, sszorin said:

.Audio-Technica ADX5000. Tonally more accurate, no problems with treble, frequencies are balanced - at half the price for Utopias. These ATs are better than Utopias for music which is not ghetto type music genres.

D66DDC62-E424-40E6-A509-F5966F51B12C.jpeg.6df18c40e2655930aa90471e81efbab8.jpeg

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1 hour ago, morphsci said:

D66DDC62-E424-40E6-A509-F5966F51B12C.jpeg.6df18c40e2655930aa90471e81efbab8.jpeg

Not really. I do not care about opinions. Opinions based on subjective preferences are not helpful in life.

I grant the case that a subjective preference might align with objective quality/value but that occurs infrequently. Your subjective preference for the Utopia headphones does not mean that they represent an objective standard in sound quality. Bless you if you like Utopias, and enjoy listening to music with them, but accept that they are flawed and thus they do not represent the peak of quality of reproduction of sound.

To Hell with opinions, they have killed music and art in general. 

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7 minutes ago, sszorin said:

Not really. I do not care about opinions. Opinions based on subjective preferences are not helpful in life.

I grant the case that a subjective preference might align with objective quality/value but that occurs infrequently. Your subjective preference for the Utopia headphones does not mean that they represent an objective standard in sound quality. Bless you if you like Utopias, and enjoy listening to music with them, but accept that they are flawed and thus they do not represent the peak of quality of reproduction of sound.

To Hell with opinions, they have killed music and art in general. 

ktf.gif

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6 hours ago, sszorin said:

Not really. I do not care about opinions. Opinions based on subjective preferences are not helpful in life.

I grant the case that a subjective preference might align with objective quality/value but that occurs infrequently. Your subjective preference for the Utopia headphones does not mean that they represent an objective standard in sound quality. Bless you if you like Utopias, and enjoy listening to music with them, but accept that they are flawed and thus they do not represent the peak of quality of reproduction of sound.

To Hell with opinions, they have killed music and art in general. 

Clearly you are a douchebag who does not know the meaning of the word opinion. What you initially posted was an opinion, and in fact not one backed up by any real objective data. So please, just go away. We really do not care about your opinion. Also, all headphones are flawed, just like your supposed use of logic above.

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16 hours ago, sszorin said:

 People who listen to ghetto type music do not care about tonal accuracy or frequency balance.

I listen to a lot of klezmer music, would you classify that as ghetto type?

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1 hour ago, Doc Brown said:

and another ones bites the dust. 3 month old purchased new in Dec 2020. Right speaker cuts in and out and distortion at low volumes. 

I understand that it was new but was it version from the new production with small case and two different cables, or the older one that was sitting somewhere on the shelf?

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/24/2021 at 8:06 PM, morphsci said:

Clearly you are a douchebag who does not know the meaning of the word opinion. What you initially posted was an opinion, and in fact not one backed up by any real objective data. So please, just go away. We really do not care about your opinion. Also, all headphones are flawed, just like your supposed use of logic above.

i'm back to support my homie @morphsci and his opinion that the dude's opinion is FUCKED 

also these arrived today from @justin and after five drams i can tell you these headphone are the absolute GOAT and please go right fuck off if you feel otherwise because obviously your ears are broke AF okay adios bros 

edit - also shout out to @naamanf because he's a manly man

CD6BF83A-6532-43FD-AA6D-483F8261751C.thumb.jpeg.ddad462907856307bd0c1e1b74d4e107.jpeg

Edited by Aura
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Bryan, as one who has not listened to any Focal headphones, can you give me a broad idea of the Utopia sound signature?

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2 minutes ago, swt61 said:

Bryan, as one who has not listened to any Focal headphones, can you give me a broad idea of the Utopia sound signature?

while not Bryan they are like super hot (you pick the gender) angels licking your ears and caressing your brain all at the same time

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