Focal Utopia (& a little Elear) impressions and discussion

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by Allanmarcus, Jun 14, 2016.

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Has your utopia needed repair from your dealer or Focal, either under warranty or not?

Poll closed Sep 4, 2017.
  1. Yes

    11.3%
  2. No

    79.0%
  3. I prefer not to answer

    9.7%
  1. musicman59
    I agree with you Peter. Talking to Dana, the Utopia version is the top seller for the Lanzuli Reference. I also have it with a 3.5mm mono connectors version for my McIntosh and Z1R headphones and the sound on both is also improved as with the Utopia. I also like it with the HE1K.
     
    MacedonianHero and bidn like this.
  2. FLTWS
    Based on my listening satisfaction with the Lazuli SH for my HD800 I didn't hesitate to order the Lazuli Reference for my Utopias when I bought them and it gives the Utopia the sound I was hoping to hear. Dana's Sapphire Reference IC's complete my rig and complete my search for cabling that gives me the sound characteristics I like.
     
    MacedonianHero and bidn like this.
  3. guerph
    I can also vouch for Audio Sensibility. I've never been disappointed with any of my purchases.
     
  4. Jozurr
    Just a heads up for people recommending Dana Cables - I have a danacable lazuli reference that I wanted to get reterminated for another headphone - Vinh at Dana Cables outright refused to do it saying that working on used cables is not their priority as it takes some time to do it and they already have a lot of orders for new cables and that he could trade in the cable with different connectors for $600 on top of the old cable which has to be in good condition, which would exceed the price of a new cable if you got the cable used and even more absurd if you paid full price for the cables - Even after repeatedly asking that I dont mind if it takes long, he was not convinced to give me a price to just change the connectors, or even agreeing to do it. Talk about after-sales support.

    I would be very hard pressed for my hard earned money to go to someone who can not provide after market support like this for their cables quoting reasons of priority - Most decent cable manufactures support reterminations for little cost and I've had very good experiences from cable manufacturers who are much more busier and much cheaper like norne, toxic etc. If charging $100 for a Neutrik 4pin XLR plug (the difference between $1199 and 1299 cable) which costs $5 did not rub me the wrong way enough, this definitely does. Cable reterminations are common and not unheard of, specially if you want to resuse your cables on a different headphone. Just something to keep in mind before jumping on these expensive cables.
     
    supabayes, Liu Junyuan and bidn like this.
  5. Turdski
    I wonder if a combination OCC copper and OCC silver cable (50/50 split) would strike a nice balance. Has anyone here attempted such a cable with their Utopias?
     
  6. bflat
    I'm definitely not an expert, but given the fact that copper and silver have slightly different conductivity characteristics, the electrons will flow through the path of least resistance so amount of current will be slightly different on the copper versus silver wire. Not sure what the audio effects will be. I've seen where the individual litz strands alternate copper and silver into one wire so maybe that's the better approach.
     
    Turdski likes this.
  7. Turdski
    Yeah, I've also wondered if said conductivity characteristics would be an issue....
     
  8. meomap
    So, he just take money and run basically.
     
  9. tkcha
    I just order audio sensibility statement occ silver cable and steven huang promise me later if I change to balance cable he will do it for no coast.
    What a nice guy.
     
    Turdski likes this.
  10. Svatopluk
    I find the determining factor whether or not I prefer copper or silver with the Utopia depends on which DAC I pair with my Violectric V280. With the Gumby, it's the Silver Dragon, with the HA-1's ESS Sabre32 it would be the Cardas copper cable.
     
  11. watchdog507
    I've had my Utopia's for a little more than 24 hours now. First off, the fit isn't quite as comfortable as the HE 1000's V2's. The Utopia's cup is smaller and I guess my ears are big. The other thing that I noticed was that I love my HE 1000's on my Woo WA5-LE. The opposite is true so far for the Utopia's. I like the Utopia's better on the V281. I have them running 12 hours a day to break them in. I'm expecting at least 250 hours to get to their sweet spot. The good news here is that the break in is solid state so no tubes to wear out. What I do notice so far, even with the OEM single ended cable, is that there is more detail and a better soundstage than the HE 1000's. I'm running a Brooklyn DAC and I'm hearing far more detail. I have 20 Core Silver Lavricables on the way in XLR configuration and I can't wait to hear the results.
     
  12. Svatopluk
    I'm not surprised you prefer the V281 over the WA5-LE. The Utopia's pair very well with Violectric amps.
     
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  13. MTMECraig
    For all the other Silver cable supporters I might become a believer of it for the Utopia. We have used the WireWorld Nano-Platinum Eclipse on the Utopia for quite some time now. I really like how the cable looks with the Utopia given the color and the Utopia's interconnects.

    It's not trying to be flashy on the outside, so for those that need that you would probably want to look elsewhere... But the build and sound quality are excellent. 27ga. OCC solid silver, using a helix design on the inside.

    Here's a pic IMG_7862.JPG
     
    Turdski likes this.
  14. emptymt
    Hi guys,

    What would be a good DAC to upgrade from The chord Mojo for The utopia?
    I'm thinking of upgarding MY DAC abit, and just use the mojo for OTG solution or even sell it, depending on how it works out ltr.

    I want a good upgrade on the sound quality department but still want to keep the warm coloration of the mojo if possible, since I don't want the utopia to be brighter then what it is now.

    My current set-up is:
    Chord mojo -> Cavalli LC -> Norne audio Arcane cable -> Utopia

    main Genre:
    Metal & progressive Rock/metal fusion

    I just got The Utopia not long ago, so still trying to find out what will work best for my needs and also because The utopia is easy to drive, i think it's more important to upgrade the DAC first when trying ti go upscale.
     
  15. bflat
    If you want to try an entirely different category of DACs, try R2R. While each model has its' own nuances, most R2Rs are considered more "analog" sounding with very high resolution. They tend to be pricey but Schiit has several at multiple price points. The Gungnir MB would be a solid upgrade since it is a fully balanced DAC. Beyond that, you have Yggy, Holo DAC, Metreum and those go up into the $3-5K range and you would also invest in a lot of USB de-crapifying stuff and exotic i2S type interfaces. Probably the best "value" would be Gungnir MB with the new Gen 5 USB. Keep in mind as you go up the price range of DACs, they tend to be more neutral and transparent so if you like that slight mid to bass warmth of Mojo, there really isn't a high end DAC that has the same, except for the Hugo 2 with Mojo filter turned on.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
    phase0 likes this.

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