The Mighty Utopia: Focal Utopia Revisited

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Aug 13, 2020.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I screwed up there. Let me reup.
     
  2. ductrung3993

    ductrung3993 Facebook Friend

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    Just want to say that I so very much appreciate you using Alonso in the analogy. Perhaps the most well rounded driver racing sports has ever seen.
     
  3. neo_the_one

    neo_the_one Facebook Friend

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    How does the Focal Arche perform with Utopia? Just wondering, since its an amp from Focal.
     
  4. sbaf217

    sbaf217 New

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    Great comments, all and love actually seeing the measurements. I have a big problem putting them down, too. Can vouch that the synergy is awesome with tubes and the EC stuff in general... they make that "metallic" taste (which was the only significant drawback for my ears/my setup) go away


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
     
  5. iDesign

    iDesign Almost "Made"

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    Is the Focal Utopia worth another look?

    Sometime after the Utopia after was released, I lost interest because of its cost, reliability woes, warranty policy, flex noises, replacement part costs, and narrow soundstage to name a few. Over the years I have read posts from other experienced members of the forum that ultimately preferred the HD 800 S. Now that the dust has settled on the Utopia, is it an upgrade to the HD 800 S and HD 650 that I should re-audition?
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2020
  6. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

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    None are perfect, but it offers the best balance of tradeoffs. It’s biggest flaws are the Be colouration and soundstage. The right tube amp will cure those ails. The LowZ output of the Laconic Night Blues Mini did that for me, but there’s better out there. It was my daily driver before that but once I paired it with the NBM I sold off all my other gear, except my HD650m, and lost the fervour for anything new.

    The HD800 will always sound thin due to the large cup, and the HD650 will always have a glass ceiling. The Utopia races passed them. The only thing I’ve heard that’s in the same league is the Verité. It just has a different set of goals and trade offs, and is harder to drive.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
  7. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    Like the HD800s, it's not for everyone, even when you recognize it's many strenghts.

    Not an upgrade, not a downgrade, not a sidegrade, just a, very good, different take.

    I prefer the 800s but if the price, of the Focal's, was good I would love to own a pair. Would love hearing them again, in my system.
     
  8. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    Only if you plan on matching it with the right upstream components. If you do, it could be as good as headphones get.
     
  9. saint.panda

    saint.panda Friend

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    With the Stellaris, sounds like it'd be ignorant to not at least try the Utopia. There was a pair for sale for 2k EUR on HF couple weeks ago, missed that chance.

    I didn't love the Focal Stellia on Stellaris + Yggdrasil A2, especially compared to Verite Closed. Great attack/resolution but quite bright and a bit edgy. Should I expect something similar from Utopia?
     
  10. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    For phones like HD800 and Utopia, a smooth source will go a long way. Now that you own a Morpheus and a Wavedream, which I hear are smoother than the Yggdrasil, now may be the best time to try a Utopia.
     
  11. smileraidcall

    smileraidcall New

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    I am loving the my setup of Focal Utopia with Schiit Mjolnir 2 and Gungnir Multibit A1. With a custom XLR cable So I can enjoy the stack full balanced. I use the same stack with HD6XX. They can basically cover 95% of my music libary.

    I actually really like the HD6XX ` s vocal nad overall tonality. But in terms of detail retriveal and sense of sound stage, Utopia really pulls ahead.

    What is really evil about the Utopia is that it will fully reveal your upstream gear. Every single changes can be deteched by my ears. And it really do need great gears to shine.
     
  12. Acoustic Taser

    Acoustic Taser New

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    Listening to the Utopia with a DNA Stratus and Yggdrasil
    is still as absorbing as when I first heard it on the
    Stratus over a year ago. And that includes frequent
    listening sessions of 4-6 hours.

    It has been so long since my television was on, (because
    I'm always listening to music) the warm up circuits went
    off-line. The last time I turned the TV on I got a message
    telling me that it would be a few minutes before a signal
    became available.
     
  13. murphythecat

    murphythecat GRU-powered uniformed trumpkin

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    unless you plan to use hd800 with bass boost, yes the Utopia are generally a upgrade from hd800 modded.
    this, but now i kinda miss the utopia.

    for those of us who consider buying second hand, what's the latest new toward driver warranty and failure-replacement?
     
  14. YMO

    YMO Chief Fun Officer

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    I read from @netforce that warranty is transferable for up to five years from purchase case. @netforce could explain more, but I think it is only transferable from original owner to new owner. However, after those five years are up, repairs $$$$$.
     
  15. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Friend

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    In my admittedly limited experience, amps and DACs really come into play with these 2 headphones. Using one chain the HD800 comes out ahead, while on another chain the Utopia does.
     
  16. netforce

    netforce MOT: Headphones.com

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    Yeah Utopia warranty transfers and is indeed 5 years.
     
  17. murphythecat

    murphythecat GRU-powered uniformed trumpkin

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    do we know the cause of driver failures? did focal eventually fixed those failures, or its simply the nature of that particular BE driver that is more prone to fail?
     
  18. YMO

    YMO Chief Fun Officer

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    @netforce (sorry bud)
     
  19. netforce

    netforce MOT: Headphones.com

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    As far as I am aware (because I started working for TSAV in 2017) the earlier units had a solder issue that caused issues when shipping was rough. They corrected that but in turn extended the warranty from 2 years to 5 years and also made transferable. Most issues I see are when people overdrive the Utopia or play it a little too loud for too long.

    Once got a Utopia back for RMA and it had a burned out voice coil since the owner listened to it at pretty ungodly loud levels.
     
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  20. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    ^^ HA Spinal Tap vol 11 blows the lid off french headphones. c'est vrai.
     

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