Focal Utopia Open-Back Headphones - Official Thread

focal

#1

This is the official area for discussing the Focal Utopia Headphone

Specifications

  • Type: Over-Ear Open-Back Headphones
  • Earcup Size (W X H):3.597" X 4.122"
  • Impedance: 80 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz - 50kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 0.2% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
  • Weight: 490g (1.08lb)
  • Cable Length: 4m (13.1ft)
  • Connector: 6.35mm (1/4“) Neutrik® Stereo Plug

Focal Utopia - Review & Impressions Index
#2

The Utopias are easily up there in my top 3 headphones (the others being Audeze’s MX4 and the Andromeda). They are just ridiculously resolving and musical. Their soundstage isn’t quite as expansive as I would like but their imaging is unreal. I just wish they didn’t 3 pound python cable that they ship with. If they threw the Clear cables in the box it would be the perfect package!


#3

Did you take that pic?


#4

For those that have tried the Utopias and the Clears. How do they compare?


#5

If the Utopias are a 100/100 the Clears are a 90/100. They fixed a lot of the issues from the Elears with the Clears (crappy comfort from crappy pads and headband, 3 pound python cable that was ridiculously long). The Clears are vey musically resolving. They do lack the sheepskin leather that the Utopias have on their headband and earpads but the Clears come with better cables which in turn makes the headphones lighter.

The Utopias are better but the Clears are definitely in the 90-95% region of being as good.


#6

I tried these in an Italian restaurant one time and my head exploded. True story.


#7

Hahaha. They are so much better with a proper amp in a quiet environment. I hope you get to experience that soon


#8

Gosh, these headphones. From the moment you open the beautiful box, until the moment you place the beautifully constructed frame onto your head, your mouth will be agape. And then you turn the music on, and your mouth hits the floor. Wow. The clarity, the punch, the accuracy…these headphones are arrestingly majestic. They truly are incredible. The ONLY “con,” and this is totally based on my individual ears and preference, is that they are a bit bright. And if what you’re listening to isn’t mastered well, you’re gonna hear it. More than you’re ever heard it before. But that’s hardly a negative. Just the reality of what you’re getting yourself into when you buy these bad boys. The bottom line: if you have the means and listening to music is a big part of your life…make the investment.


#9

The Utopia for me, are easily the most musical headphones out of all the TOTL headphones except for maybe Stax which is a whole other animal altogether.

If they shipped with the Clear cables instead of their monster stock cable, they would probably be my perfect headphone. The entire construction of the Utopia is certainly premium though and their pads are some of the comfiest I’ve ever used.

I actually found that they were a little on the warm side but from my understanding, there are two different tunings out there. The early Utopia headphones were tuned a little brighter and then they went through a retune to bring back the brightness. I haven’t heard it confirmed by Focal but its definitely a theory that is floating around.


#10

I’ve stumbled across that theory myself. I know I’m sensitive to brightness in general, but the pair I have couldn’t be described as warm in the slightest so I must have the first rev.


#11

I didn’t want to like these because I knew it’d be pretty ridiculous for me to buy one, but they’re easily in my top three headphones, with the others being the HE6 out of a beefy speaker amp (the only headphone that’s given me the same energy rush I get at an actual concert) and either the HE1000 V1 (the V2 doesn’t hit me in the same spots as the V1) and Stax 4070 (the ugly closed ones—I’m not a big Stax fan but the midrange in this was to die for).

The Utopia just sounds very put together with very little to complain about. The only real qualm I have is that the upper midrange sounds slightly nasal. I understand people may think they’re on the thin side, but as someone who finds the HD800 too warm, it’s just right for me. Now that used ones are hovering around 2k, I’ve been tempted to purge my stuff and buy one, but the fact that failures aren’t unheard of and Focal doesn’t transfer warranty makes me pause.


#12

So 90 tp 95% and about 3000.00 less, at least here in Canada.
Sounds like a bargain


#13

I spent about 2 hours with a pair of these at a dealer in DE while on a business trip, switching back and forth between an Auralic Taurus Mk. 2 (own one, so familiar) and a McIntosh MHA150 (I own the MHA100, but sounds the same). I wanted desperately to love these cans (they are gorgeous), but I found them a tad bright and fatiguing unfortunately. They had that “HiFi” sound that I don’t unfortunately subscribe to, even though they had miles of detail. They were more “HiFi” sounding on the McIntosh, and a little less so on the Taurus, but still not something that I could live with. For comparison, I own HE1000s (Mk 1), LCD3fs, and LCD2s. They didn’t carry any of these cans there, unfortunately, so I couldn’t do a side-by-side.

While I had never heard Sennheiser HD-800s, which I had always assumed I wouldn’t like from my reading about them, it turns out I enjoyed them way more than the Utopias. I did like them (the HD-800s) better on the McIntosh than the Taurus, which is how I prefer to listen to my 3 sets previously mentioned. With all 3 of them, I find the Taurus to be a tad boring and unemotional relative to my other headphone amps.

Just one man’s opinion. I know a ton of folks love the Utopias.


#14

I’ve fairly settled on the Utopias as my main headphones. They don’t do everything perfectly – I often wish for slightly more elevated bass, but they’ve saved me wishing to get electrostats absolutely now. With the Hugo 2 as a source, they present the true depth of the soundstage of high-quality recordings in a way nothing else has before.


#15

All that may be true, but unfortunately the price puts them out of reach for many.
One reviewer said that they are approx 2000.00 over price but I don’t know how they came up with that number, but here they are 5000.00 cnd
So that would put them at 3000.00 and at that price I’d give them a shot.


#16

I’m in the camp that finds the Utopia, while not perfect (no headphone is), to be the best overall performing headphone I’ve heard so far. It does the most right, and the least wrong, across all technicalities and musical performance vs. everything else I’ve heard or own.

If I wasn’t lucky enough to be able to have a stable of TOTL cans so I can bias which I use to both my mood and the music I’m listening to, the Utopia would have to be the one headphone I’d keep.

No, they don’t have the bass performance of the Abyss or the LCD-4, or the stage of the HD800S, but they have fewer net faults, for me, than all three of those headphones combined. And in most cases, those faults are addressed with a minimal EQ (e.g. a little sub-bass/bass elevation) … though generally I don’t bother.


#17

What amps are people feeling to be the best match for the Utopias?


#18

I’ve gotten excellent results all the way from the Massdrop CTH, Woo WA6 (in low-impedance setting), the iFi Pro iCAN (especially in tube mode), with Schiit’s Ragnarok, Woo WA5-LE Mk2 and WA234 MONO Mk2.

They sound great out of units like the Chord Hugo 2 and Sony NW-WM1Z as well.


#19

Is there one that you feel brings out the best in them, or one you prefer the most?


#20

I like the Woo WA234 MONO Mk2 with the Utopia the most.

Which isn’t really surprising - it’s the best amp I have. It’s also my favorite amp for all of my other headphones too!

The Utopias are pretty easy to drive, so I can use it with any of the different types of power tubes it supports (300B, 2A3, 45), though I tend to use a pair of NOS WE 300Bs in cathode-ouput/low-Z mode, most with the Utopia even so .

Next up would probably be with the RCA 2A3 mono-plates.