Focal Utopia Open-Back Headphones - Official Thread

focal

#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.


#21

Have you listened to the Focal Elex? If so how would you compare them to those? I have the Elex and have been feeling mixed bag about it to some degree. I will probably do a review on them here soon"ish". I would love to A/B them with other Focals one day. So far my favorite sound signatures are Sennheiser and Fostex. The Elex I describe as being a more music “friendly” or sit and relax and listen sidegrade to my HD800.


#22

I compared the two super briefly. The Elex is a much more relaxed, warmer sound. It has an extra bit of thickness in the low midrange and bass that some people may miss in the Utopia. But the Utopia is a cleaner, more detailed sounding headphone with a more forward upper midrange. Utopia seemed a bit more treble-forward too. I liked the Elex a lot more than I expected to considering I didn’t have a very positive opinion of the Elear.


#23

I loved the Utopia a lot during it’s time with me. The presentation was right up my alley with that forward mid range that gives a lot of life to female vocals as well as pianos which coincide with my love for smooth jazz music.


#24

not having experience with the Elear or Utopia, I had to compare to my HD800 and I felt similar feelings to how you compare it to the Utopia. The Elex is a unique headphone and looks really good, I just don’t know where it fits in my stable of cans… I’m giving it some more time on my head before I fully evaluate it.


#25

Oh brother! I took the plunge to day and bought some from Jason at Source Audio. Great deal. I cannot say, but you won’t be disappointed.
Any thoughts and recommendations on Amp, Dac, or Amp/Dac combo. Jude said he loved them with Woo WA8 Eclipse.


#26

Anyone using utopia with sp1000?


#27

I love the Utopias with the SPL Phonitor X. You can get the Phonitor X with or without the DAC, I’d get it without the DAC to save a few hundred bucks.


#28

Funny you mention that. I was looking at that today. I’ll take a closer look now. As far as a Dac goes now, I’m getting down with the new Matrix X-Sabre Pro with the new ES Sabre 9038 Dacs . I used to have the older X Sabre and it had the 9018’s in it and it was cutting edge DSD decoding 4 years ago. Anyway the right amp and I think I’ll be there (or not) ?? :money_mouth_face:


#29

Hope it’s not too late but I’d skip all the woo stuff.


#30

Used it with the WM1Z. Not a fan of A&K purely due to prices.


#31

Wow! Can it be all that great. Fit in the palm of your hand and cost all that money? :scream:


#32

I’d recommend a DAP like the WM1A over the woo memes. If that’s what you’re asking.