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Focal Elear and Utopia Review / Preview With Measurements - Head-Fi TV

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jude, Jun 14, 2016.
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  1. jude Administrator
    NOTE:  If you can't see the embedded video above, please CLICK HERE to see the video.​
     ​
    Focal-Utopia-and-Chord-Electronics-DAVE_DSC07703.jpg
     
    Focal-Elear-and-Focal-Utopia_DSC07671.jpg


    FR-utopia-HD800.jpg
    (Above) Frequency response: Focal Utopia (solid line) and Sennheiser HD 800 (dotted line). (Click on image to see full size.)
     
    THD-utopia-hd800.jpg
    (Above) Total harmonic distortion (THD): Focal Utopia (solid line) and Sennheiser HD 800 (dotted line). (Click on image to see full size.)​


    FR-utopia-elear.jpg
    (Above) Frequency response: Focal Utopia (solid line) and Focal Elear (dotted line). (Click on image to see full size.)
     ​
    THD-utopia-elear.jpg
    (Above) Total harmonic distortion (THD): Focal Utopia (solid line) and Focal Elear (dotted line). (Click on image to see full size.)​
     ​
    ImpedanceMagnitude-Focal-Elear_Utopia.jpg
    (Above) Impedance: Focal Utopia (purple) and Focal Elear (brown). (Click on image to see full size.)
     
     
     ​
    NOTE: The measurements reflect diffuse field correction applied via the APx555's input EQ.​

     
    EDIT August 10, 2016: We posted measurements and first impressions of the Focal Utopia and Focal Elear with their earpads swapped. You can see that by clicking on the following link: Focal Utopia and Focal Elear Earpad Swap Measurements and Impressions.
     

     ​
    Audio measurements were made using:
    1. Audio Precision APx555 audio analyzer
    2. G.R.A.S. 45CA Headphone/Hearing-protector Test Fixture
      1. G.R.A.S. KB0072/KB0073 small pinnae; G.R.A.S. RA0045 IEC 60318-4 ear simulators including G.R.A.S. 40AG microphones; G.R.A.S. 26AS 1/4" microphone preamplifier; G.R.A.S. 12AP microphone power module
    3. Audio Precision APx1701 Transducer Test Interface (pre-production)
    4. Rupert Neve Designs RNHP headphone amplifier
    5. Herzan acoustic enclosure (custom)
     ​

     ​
    Produced by Joseph Cwik and Jude Mansilla
     
    In this episode of Head-Fi TV, we sat down and talked with Nicolas Debard of Focal about two new flagship headphones from Focal -- the Elear and the Utopia -- and learn about Focal's loudspeaker development approach to crafting high-end headphones.
     

     
    Products mentioned in the video:

     
    1. Focal Elear open, over-ear headphone
    2. Focal Utopia open, over-ear headphone
    3. Focal Spirit One S closed, over-ear headphone
    4. Focal Spirit Classic closed, over-ear headphone
    5. Focal Spirit Professional closed, over-ear headphone
    6. Focal SM9 loudspeaker
    7. Focal Grande Utopia loudspeaker
    8. Focal Sopra N°3 loudspeaker
    9. Focal Electra 1038 Be loudspeaker
    10. Focal Alpha 80 monitoring loudspeaker
    11. Focal CMS 65e monitoring loudspeaker
    12. Focal Trio6 Be monitoring loudspeaker
    13. Sennheiser HD 800 open over-ear headphone
    14. Sennheiser HD 800 S open over-ear headphone
    15. HiFiMAN HE-1000 open, planar magnetic, over-ear headphone
    16. DragonFly Red portable, USB DAC/amplifier
    17. Onkyo DP-X1 portable digital audio player
    18. Astell&Kern AK380 portable digital audio player
    19. Astell&Kern AK380 AMP amplifier for the AK380
    20. Woo Audio WA8 Eclipse portable DAC/amplifier
    21. Dragon Inspire IHA-1 tube headphone amplifier
    22. Simaudio MOON NEO 430HA headphone amplifier
    23. Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon desktop amplifier
    24. Schiit Audio Yggdrasil Digital to Analog Converter
    25. Meridian Prime DAC/amplifier
    26. Meridian Prime Power Supply for the Meridian Prime
    27. totaldac d1-integral-headphone DAC, preamp, headphone amplifier, and music server
    28. Chord Electronics DAVE DAC, digital preamp, and headphone amplifier
     



    Audio measurements in this video were made using:
    1. Audio Precision APx555 audio analyzer
    2. G.R.A.S. 45CA Headphone/Hearing-protector Test Fixture
      1. G.R.A.S. KB0072/KB0073 small pinnae; G.R.A.S. RA0045 IEC 60318-4 ear simulators including G.R.A.S. 40AG microphones; G.R.A.S. 26AS 1/4" microphone preamplifier; G.R.A.S. 12AP microphone power module
    3. Audio Precision APx1701 Transducer Test Interface (pre-production)
    4. Rupert Neve Designs RNHP headphone amplifier
    5. Herzan acoustic enclosure (custom)
       

     

    We will occasionally post Q&A episodes of Head-Fi TV.  If you want to submit any questions (or comments), you can do so via email to tv@head-fi.org.

     
  2. Stillhart
    EXCITING!
     
    I got to hear both of these already as I reviewed the Elear over at Audio Head.  I'm happy to answer any questions people may have.
     
    shiorisekine likes this.
  3. warrenpchi Administrator
    These sound fantastic!
     
  4. shiorisekine Contributor
    OMG its here!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. ejong7
  6. uchihaitachi
    4000usd for the flagship....
     
  7. audionewbi
    Finally a new flagship.
     
  8. warrenpchi Administrator
    I had the opportunity to audition these for hours on end, on my own rig, and I wholeheartedly concur with Jude... with the one exception that I find the Utopia to be far more exciting than the Elear.  [​IMG]  Yes, at $3,999, it's not what would typically be considered affordable, but I can tell you guys that I find it superior (by far) to another $4k flagship that comes to mind.
     
    ZoNtO, 1c3d0g and reddog like this.
  9. mscott58
    Very cool! Ready to try them sometime soon. Too bad I can't get to Jason's event at AVSource this weekend. Cheers
     
  10. joeq70
    These look awesome. So glad they use dynamic drivers.
     
  11. shiorisekine Contributor

    Sunday makes more sense now haha. :wink:
     
  12. conquerator2
    Hmm...
    I was not expecting this :xf_eek:
     
  13. moedawg140 Contributor
    It will be very nice to see everyone who can make it to The Source AV in Torrance, CA on Saturday for the new Focal headphone lineup listening event!
     
    guerillaw and reddog like this.
  14. Stillhart
     
    I think Jude is spot on that HD800 folks looking for an upgrade will be interested in the Utopia.  I got an HD800 relatively recently and I've been completely enamored with it off my rig.  Listening to it off the Liquid Gold (or Liquid Tungsten) was a magical experience in transparency for me.  But damn if the Utopia doesn't sound even MORE transparent off the Liquid Gold!  I didn't think it would happen this quickly, but I am ready to upgrade from the HD800 to the Utopia.  Now, what to sell...
     
  15. Greggo
     
    ...and for the rest of you that have heard them as well:
     
    1) Difference between these two models besides the price?
    2) How does the Elear compare in sound and comfort to HD800S and/or Ether?
    3) For the Utopia, besides comparison to the only other 4k flagship I know of (Audeze), how would it compare to HD800S and HK1000?
    4) Not sure I could ever get myself to the point of spending 4k on headphones... but I always assumed the best path beyond HD800S would be electrostatic headphones, especially with Mr. Speakers coming out with something that will probably price in between the SR007 and SR009... Do you feel the Utopia is a solid alternative to going the electrostat route? This seems fairly critical to me as a second dedicated amp is also involved which then adds much more cost to a home headphone rig overall.
     
    Thanks for any and all feedback, always very interesting when the market sees new entries with serious cred and targeting the flagship ranks.
     
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