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Focal Utopia headphones...with Beryllium driver


mtoc
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Well, I didn't do a direct comparison, so I couldn't do more than a passing comment. Basically, I find e-stats have too much "air". I find there's often an added indistinct haziness around the treble sounds. The Utopia was astonishingly precise and markedly different from pretty much anything I've heard before. 

It's pretty rough doing a headphone review a week, doubly so when they're so new and unusual sounding. Really, all I can do is take a good first pass on the sound in general and then just wait and see what the collective community has to say over time. It's only then we'll really be able to get a handle on how well these cans perform for people.

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Sounds like you changed your mind from the time you reviewed the SR-009 (http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/comparing-world-class-headphones-stax-sr-009):

Quote

Treble - Damn! I'm running out of superlatives. I'm super sensitive to trouble in the treble, and I'm floored by being able to hear a strong sense of speed and treble energy without it sounding strident in the least. The sense of coherent high frequency sound is extraordinary; everything is more than natural and organic, it's simply sounds like you're there. Wow again!

 

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I wish you would have Tyll, but I also understand that you probably had your hand full.  Maybe you need a KGSSHV Carbon permanently as your reference amp.  It probably is the best amp that will work with both the SR009 & SR007.  Well, the BHSE also get my vote.  The SR007 & SR009 really blossom into something very special with those two amps and I just can't really see any dynamic totally outclassed them.    Some may dislike the SR009 here, but they do sound pretty awesome out of BHSE & KGSSHV Carbon.  Do you have the SR009 and SR007 to use as reference?

Edited by purk
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Aha, so the "fuzziness" comment was in response to the air! I don't find airiness and naturalness to be mutually exclusive. It's one of the reasons I really enjoy the Omega and Sennheiser electrostats.

Would you contest the possibility of the honeymoon effect also being in full force? :P

In all seriousness the bass on these was the Achilles heel for me but I'm eager to hear how they turn out on different amps vs. stats and the like.

Edited by 3x0
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Well, the problem is when I heard the 009 I hadn't heard the Utopia, so I can only go on what I've heard to date. 

And sure, they may be a honeymoon effect, but I've got a pretty thick skin and don't have any money invested in these things. I reckon I can be pretty objective.

None the less, I am excited about what I'm hearing with these cans. That can be a factor in my tone.

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Those, you've said a similar positive comment about an older speaker/headphone must get old. 

I'm going to assume the Utopia doesn't suck since your impressions are as objective as they come with a little preference thrown in. Looking forward to hearing it one day. I am interested in how close the Elear comes to the Utopia. 

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I Bogart-ed Jude's pair at the SF meet for an extended listening session on my own rig and I agree with most of what Tyll had to say. It was noisy and I don't claim to have nearly as experienced a set of ears, but I could tell right away that they are an extremely technically competent headphone. I'm hoping to get a pair for an audition in the months to come.

My only immediate issue was that the soundstage/imaging seemed lacking next to my HD800S, which is something Tyll noticed as well.

As a former 009/KGSS-HV owner, I don't think the Utopia is going to convert anyone away from the Church of stats.

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19 minutes ago, TMoney said:

I Bogart-ed Jude's pair at the SF meet for an extended listening session on my own rig and I agree with most of what Tyll had to say. It was noisy and I don't claim to have nearly as experienced a set of ears, but I could tell right away that they are an extremely technically competent headphone. I'm hoping to get a pair for an audition in the months to come.

My only immediate issue was that the soundstage/imaging seemed lacking next to my HD800S, which is something Tyll noticed as well.

As a former 009/KGSS-HV owner, I don't think the Utopia is going to convert anyone away from the Church of stats.

Did you able to take your big DSHA to meet?  That amp is phenomenal sounding and really work wonder on the HD800/S.  Do you like your current setup better than your old SR009+KGSSHV Combo?

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1 hour ago, purk said:

Did you able to take your big DSHA to meet?  That amp is phenomenal sounding and really work wonder on the HD800/S.  Do you like your current setup better than your old SR009+KGSSHV Combo?

Yes, I had my full rig at the meet.

Purely sonically, I liked my 009/HV combo better than what I have now, but there is a lot more that goes in to it that just sound. After having to get a broken pair of 009s fixed by Yama's I'm done with electrostatics.

EDIT: Just found a picture I took at the meet when I was listening to Elear.IMG_0138.jpg

Edited by TMoney
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Beryllium is old hat at this point, Yamaha has moved on from the NS1000 beryllium to the NS5000M and zylon now.

" The mystery material is a synthetic polymer called ‘Zylon’, which is manufactured in two varieties, Zylon-AS and Zylon-HM. It is used by NASA and in Formula One cars, and according to manufacturer Toyobo’s spec sheet for Zylon, it is indeed lighter and stronger than beryllium, its density 1.55g/cm3 compared with 1.8g/cm3 for beryllium, and its tensile strength 5.8 gigapascals compared with only 0.24 gigapascals for beryllium, and  surpassing even carbon fibre at 3.5GPa. Zylon is also amazingly flame resistant, according to Toyobo, hopefully something prospective NS-5000 owners will never need to discover. "

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5 minutes ago, kevin gilmore said:

40 years ago, they held up well against everything out there for the same price. As I remember they were $600 a pair. The JBL's were a bit more, and the B&O 5700 were also about $600 a pair.

I love JBL, of course things change with time, but right now, their LSR 305 monitors are nice, I have one pair in my home studio and can't be happier.

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14 hours ago, stax fart said:

I love JBL, of course things change with time, but right now, their LSR 305 monitors are nice, I have one pair in my home studio and can't be happier.

Just googled the LSR 305... you can't be happier than with $100 5" monitors and call the NS1000s clusterfucks? Okay, buddy.....

This is what Yamaha resources nets you, on top of Monel-coated zylon drivers:

 

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