Focal Elear and Utopia Review / Preview With Measurements - Head-Fi TV
Aug 13, 2016 at 9:43 PM Post #1,921 of 5,630

grizzlybeast

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So you guys sold pre-production units?
confused.gif


Why would you sell pre-production units??

There was a recall. 

I bought a supposedly brand new pair. It was broken. Others that got theirs shipped them back and Focal sent out new ones. That is a recall. Whether it is the whole production or just a few that is a recall. 

There are no other options. 

A. you sold pre-production units
B. there was a recall

no other options. 

They were in part handmade to be able to provide products at the launch. 2,were found to have an issue. So they pulled the entire group shipped or hand delivered. It was a total of 5 pieces that were brought back in including those 2 pieces that failed. The balance never got shipped to a consumer. Not exactly a recall now is it. Oh and FYI, we didn't know they weren't full production models until those 2 units failed. Regardless Focal was offering full factory warranty and backed all the owners like yourself 100%

 Got it! 
 
Didnt know that you didnt know
 
I understand. I know some of that but didn't understand it put that way. 
 
Thanks for explaining .... again.
 
Its a mini recall 
tongue.gif

 
Aug 13, 2016 at 10:17 PM Post #1,923 of 5,630

Audio Addict

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Will you please compare the Elears to the Flow?

Id very much appreciate a comparison.

 
I did not like the Ether Flow C but I didn't like the Ether C as well.  Both just seemed to closed in to me.  I would keep the Elear in a heartbeat over those.  But that's just me.  The open Ether Flow was like a totally different headphone than the regular Ether.  I really enjoyed it but for $800 / 80% more I don't think I could justify it.  I would rather save my pennies for the Utopia 
biggrin.gif

 
The gentleman that rode with me has the current Ether C.  He preferred the new regular Ether Flow to the new Ether Flow C.  He definitely preferred the Ether Flow other the Elear.  It really is a matter of what you value.  
 
Aug 13, 2016 at 10:34 PM Post #1,924 of 5,630

grizzlybeast

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Will you please compare the Elears to the Flow?

Id very much appreciate a comparison.

 
I did not like the Ether Flow C but I didn't like the Ether C as well.  Both just seemed to closed in to me.  I would keep the Elear in a heartbeat over those.  But that's just me.  The open Ether Flow was like a totally different headphone than the regular Ether.  I really enjoyed it but for $800 / 80% more I don't think I could justify it.  I would rather save my pennies for the Utopia 
biggrin.gif

 
The gentleman that rode with me has the current Ether C.  He preferred the new regular Ether Flow to the new Ether Flow C.  He is a current Ether C owner and definitely preferred the Ether Flow other the Elear.  It really is a matter of what you value.  

that Utopia is golden.
 
I will see what the next major review of the Flow has to say about it. I hope its tonality is good. I may ditch the Elear for the Flow since my Vali gets me what I want for that price tier. Then just save and sell and ramp up for the Utopia. By then a used one can be had at the same price as a used LCD4 is going for now. 
 
Aug 13, 2016 at 11:23 PM Post #1,925 of 5,630

jamato8

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Mr.jamato8,
 
This new world of instant communication, having a global reach, can magnify.    
 
You're not helping with your 90% comment.
 
We now have 3 parts per million "quality" standards in Manufacturing. 
 
Consumers expect and demand "Perfection", they 'pay' for perfection and Focal is now delivering greater 'perfection' than we've ever experienced. 
 
I'll own the Elear and am not at all 'put-off' by all this.  As a Manufacturer, I realize that 'perfection' doesn't exist, I'll embrace the best "we've been able to accomplish' as a realizable expectation. 
 
Geez, we now have two "state of the Art transducer systems" that essentially have no need for pricy amplification, we can run these things straight from a hand-held Chord Mojo DAC!
 
We've Won!  
 
Tony in Michigan


You are not reading my post correctly. I didn't say 90% fail, I said that of failures often or in what I have seen, when they do, it is solder. That does not mean any of a new product will fail but over the years, when they do, I have noticed even if it was a couple out of a 1000, it was a solder issue. You, IMO, totally misread what I wrote. 
 
Aug 13, 2016 at 11:30 PM Post #1,926 of 5,630

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that Utopia is golden.

I will see what the next major review of the Flow has to say about it. I hope its tonality is good. I may ditch the Elear for the Flow since my Vali gets me what I want for that price tier. Then just save and sell and ramp up for the Utopia. By then a used one can be had at the same price as a used LCD4 is going for now. 


Listening to those who had the Ether today, it was a no brainer for them to go for Ether Flow upgrade.
 
Aug 13, 2016 at 11:52 PM Post #1,927 of 5,630

SearchOfSub

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that Utopia is golden.

I will see what the next major review of the Flow has to say about it. I hope its tonality is good. I may ditch the Elear for the Flow since my Vali gets me what I want for that price tier. Then just save and sell and ramp up for the Utopia. By then a used one can be had at the same price as a used LCD4 is going for now. 



How would you compare Nighthawks to Elear? very curious. Thanks,
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 12:03 AM Post #1,928 of 5,630

Hansotek

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  that Utopia is golden.
 
I will see what the next major review of the Flow has to say about it. I hope its tonality is good. I may ditch the Elear for the Flow since my Vali gets me what I want for that price tier. Then just save and sell and ramp up for the Utopia. By then a used one can be had at the same price as a used LCD4 is going for now. 

 
I listened to all four today, thanks to @Audio Addict and @AxelCloris. LOVED the Utopia and Ether Flow. I'd ditch the Elear for the Flow in a heartbeat, personally. The Elear and Ether-C Flow just aren't my taste (completely subjectively). The Ether Flow, on the other hand, is probably the best headphone under $2k right now, IMHO. The improvement from the previous generation is not a small one. I think a really well amped, DAC'd and cabled HD800 or HE-6 could probably hang (if you're willing to play the Hifiman production variation lottery - I've yet to hear two HE-6s that sound the same) - but it takes a hell of an investment to max those out.
 
If you're choosing between the Ether Flow and the Utopia, it's much harder. I just loved everything about the Utopia. Is it twice as good for twice the cost? No. But we all know better than that by now, don't we? It's really only fair to judge the Utopia on it's own merits, and DAMN, that sound is dangerously close to perfection! I think, as of this moment, that would be my "desert island" headphone - if I could only choose one headphone, it would be the Utopia. (Too bad I can't even remotely afford it at the moment. :/ )
 
More thoughts to follow, but wow, four really awesome new contenders!
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 12:08 AM Post #1,929 of 5,630

grizzlybeast

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  that Utopia is golden.
 
I will see what the next major review of the Flow has to say about it. I hope its tonality is good. I may ditch the Elear for the Flow since my Vali gets me what I want for that price tier. Then just save and sell and ramp up for the Utopia. By then a used one can be had at the same price as a used LCD4 is going for now. 

 
I listened to all four today, thanks to @Audio Addict and @AxelCloris. LOVED the Utopia and Ether Flow. I'd ditch the Elear for the Flow in a heartbeat, personally. The Elear and Ether-C Flow just aren't my taste (completely subjectively). The Ether Flow, on the other hand, is probably the best headphone under $2k right now, IMHO. The improvement from the previous generation is not a small one. I think a really well amped, DAC'd and cabled HD800 or HE-6 could probably hang (if you're willing to play the Hifiman production variation lottery - I've yet to hear two HE-6s that sound the same) - but it takes a hell of an investment to max those out.
 
If you're choosing between the Ether Flow and the Utopia, it's much harder. I just loved everything about the Utopia. Is it twice as good for twice the cost? No. But we all know better than that by now, don't we? It's really only fair to judge the Utopia on it's own merits, and DAMN, that sound is dangerously close to perfection! I think, as of this moment, that would be my "desert island" headphone - if I could only choose one headphone, it would be the Utopia. (Too bad I can't even remotely afford it at the moment. :/ )
 
More thoughts to follow, but wow, four really awesome new contenders!

I can't afford the Utopia just yet. However, I have mapped a path to it. It is the best piece of gear I have put on my head. Im glad to hear you liked them and will look forward to a more in depth report. 
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 1:20 AM Post #1,930 of 5,630

hifihp

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I listened to all four today, thanks to @Audio Addict and @AxelCloris. LOVED the Utopia and Ether Flow. I'd ditch the Elear for the Flow in a heartbeat, personally. The Elear and Ether-C Flow just aren't my taste (completely subjectively). The Ether Flow, on the other hand, is probably the best headphone under $2k right now, IMHO. The improvement from the previous generation is not a small one. I think a really well amped, DAC'd and cabled HD800 or HE-6 could probably hang (if you're willing to play the Hifiman production variation lottery - I've yet to hear two HE-6s that sound the same) - but it takes a hell of an investment to max those out.
 
If you're choosing between the Ether Flow and the Utopia, it's much harder. I just loved everything about the Utopia. Is it twice as good for twice the cost? No. But we all know better than that by now, don't we? It's really only fair to judge the Utopia on it's own merits, and DAMN, that sound is dangerously close to perfection! I think, as of this moment, that would be my "desert island" headphone - if I could only choose one headphone, it would be the Utopia. (Too bad I can't even remotely afford it at the moment. :/ )
 
More thoughts to follow, but wow, four really awesome new contenders!

How much better Utopia compare to Ether Flow?
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 5:08 AM Post #1,931 of 5,630

musicday

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This is what I've heard and liked and spent quite a lot of time with all Ether C Flow, Ether Flow and Focal Utopia:
-
Been listening to both Ether C Flow and Ether Flow with the Cavallii naked DAC in balanced mode at the CanJam London today..They both are very good sounding and have raised the bar really high for any headphone manufacturer.
I like them both very much with the open model being slightly more airy with a bigger soundstage but the other is not far away , while being a very confident headphone in all the respect.
The Ether C Flow doesn't not sound at all like a closed headphone.
On the other hand the new related Focal Utopia is a very good headphone also in a good respect but cannot match the speed of the Ether Flow,open or closed.
Also with the Utopia you notice that is on your head ( weight distribution ? ) But not so much with Mr.Speakers flagships that has a very well balanced weight ratio.
Listening to Tidal i heard the fastest cymbal player in the world Toni Iordache that can hit the strings up to 25 times/sec and it was simply stunning how the headphone reproduced every single nuance of the cymbals, having a very detailed sound and natural.
In other words if i were to choose one between the two i will choose Ether C Flow.
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 1:53 PM Post #1,933 of 5,630

Hansotek

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Focal Elear Micro Review/Impressions
Have we met before?
 
I gotta say, the comparisons to a “Super HD650” have been pretty spot on. To me, the Elear basically sounds like a well-amped HD650 with a bit more air up top. I, unfortunately, cannot stand the HD650, but I think a lot of other people are going to really like this headphone.  A few thoughts:
 
Bass – Very nice and meaty sound. Plenty of midbass, though I wouldn’t have minded a little more forceful impact. Nobody will ever accuse this headphone of sounding thin. I wouldn’t have minded a little extra bass extension down low. Like many headphones, there seems to be a bit of a tapering off of the bass between 70hz and 20hz – in the Elear’s defense, I think the roll off started a bit lower than average.
 
Mids – Thick and robust seem like the appropriate words here. Definitely bears a resemblance to that same syrupy sound as the HD650 throughout this range. I feel like I am in a rare, rare minority here, but there is something about the HD650’s mids that my ears find to be very fatiguing. It’s like a shoutyness with an emphasis on the lowest end of the “shouty” range. It honestly gives me an earache, and for that reason I cannot stand the HD650 or the Elear. That being said, I only know of a tiny handful of people who experience this issue. Most folks will probably find the Elear’s mids lush, romantic, relaxing and non-fatiguing.
 
Treble – Smooth with very nice extension. Doesn’t feel “veiled” or “rolled” like many folks accuse the HD650 of being. Detail was decent. Competitive for the price, but I wouldn’t call it revelatory. It’s pretty comparable to a lot of the sub $1K planars from Oppo, Hifiman, Audeze, Zmf, etc. in terms of detail. Didn’t really pick at enough to say whether it is more or less detailed than those.
 
Soundstage & Imaging – Seemed a little more open than the HD650 to me from memory, but not by a ton. I would say it is solid, but not exceptional. A pretty honest size and not many people will complain about it one way or another.
 
Build Quality – Hot damn, this is one beautifully crafted headphone. The build quality is solid as heck and the look is just gorgeous. Feels solid, like it is going to last a long time. Comfort and weight where good to. Both of the headphones are on the heavier side, but the weight is so well distributed, it doesn’t affect comfort.
 
Value – I think that depends on how much you like the HD650. If you’ve always been a fan of the 650’s sound, but are sick of being saddled with bulky OTL tube amps to crank out every last ounce of performance, it is going to be a godsend for you. This is going to give you that well-amped HD650-type of sound in a very easy to drive package. That’s going to be a big deal for a lot of people, and while an HD650 might look like a cheaper investment, to get up close to the Elear level, you’ll probably end up spending substantially more in the long run to get the HD650’s chain right. The Elear will be a cheaper long-term investment and will likely outperform a well-amped HD650 anyway (though I can’t say for certain without a direct comparison in a quiet environment, so I’ll leave that verdict up to others to decide).
 
Overall – While this wasn’t a headphone I really liked subjectively, I think it is an excellent take on a tremendously popular sound and an very solid value for people who like that type of presentation. If your preferences tend to align pretty closely with Tyll’s over at Innerfidelity, chances are, you’ll probably like the Elear a lot. 

 
Aug 14, 2016 at 2:46 PM Post #1,934 of 5,630

jamato8

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Focal Elear Micro Review/Impressions
Have we met before?
 
I gotta say, the comparisons to a “Super HD650” have been pretty spot on. To me, the Elear basically sounds like a well-amped HD650 with a bit more air up top. I, unfortunately, cannot stand the HD650, but I think a lot of other people are going to really like this headphone.  A few thoughts:
 
 

Very good writeup and thank you for the time you have taken doing this. I have never been crazy about the HD650 but balanced, I find them to be an excellent value to to me, they sound totally different getting rid of the overly warm sound and everything tightens up. But this is about the Elear and I wonder how they sound balanced. 
 
You are also going to right on impressions of the Utopia? 
 

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