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Focal Utopia General 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?

  1. Yes

    24.0%
  2. No

    60.8%
  3. I prefer not to answer

    15.2%
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  1. cladane
    Hi,
    Quote:
    Well to @Arnaud's credit he is a big loyal fan of STAX. The TotalDAC Six as a source seems to have boosted the BHSE/009 setup. The reason why he advises to look at the source.
    The maintenance problems are another view which definitely as a reseller you are right to point out.
     
    I find really interesting your comments comparing the 009 and the Utopia since I thought it would be the Planar technology to relagate the estat to old fashion (older speaker what you write).
    Would you say that with the UTOPIA dynamic could again compete with Planars ?
     
    HoloSpice likes this.
  2. conquerator2
    :popcorn:
     
  3. arnaud Contributor
    Ok, seems like you have an axle to grind against stax, I can't blame you in re. to the reputation of US distributor and certainly selling utopias may be more convenient for you in the future.
    You've convinced yourself they sound better too so it's a no brainer. I certainly look forward to hearing the Utopia for myself if your claims are valid :).

    Arnaud
     
    HoloSpice likes this.
  4. TSAVJason
    . I'd like to approach this differently now that I glanced at the glossary. Yes I am saying that these particular dynamic drivers and how they being implemented are very nice tonally and in accuracy. I also mean accuracy from the perspectives of how the instruments should sound to be real. IMO they are reference with no laid back nature in any range and yes, I believe they are more realistic and emotional than a planar when your preference is more reference than colored. Planar like the MrSpeaker and others are great for those that like a more colored sound. Like the LCD3 being more of a bass lovers preference in some cases. The Utopia has characteristics of many in my opinion. Soundstage similar but not the same as the 800. It's highs are Focal Be all the way with great extension I don't find cleanly in planars or stats. If this dynamic driver see's a gen 2, I believe Focal will have hit another milestone for dynamic drivers. I also try to stay within today in my explanations because tomorrow brings us more. I know of some stat and planar tech that should be brilliantly impressive coming very soon ....Arnaud is welcome to love his 09's, they are terrific from a SQ perspective if you like it. Now that I'm experiencing newer and more improved possibly even ground breaking engineering in Dynamic - Planar - EStat headphones, I would say what we once thought was the best will no longer be the benchmarks and what has and is coming very soon will make headphones like the 09's antiquated in price and quality. I understand vintage preferences and I agree they have their joy. I can't agree with being the vintage with terrible build quality along horrific service. IMHO, by the end of this year, STAX will no longer be the aspired for EStat. There is another that is made by MrSpeaker that after hearing it I'm sure the 009 is for those that already have a special relationship with them only. The new Estat aficionado's will be considering other choices. Keep in mind I've been a STAX user/lover for a very long time. I think this market is about to get very serious with high quality products and in some cases are much more affordable costs. (Colored means more bass & mid bass than originally intended and not always realistic in the recording and often accompanied with a slight 8-10k bump) I'm not trying to slam arnaud's choice of headgear and hope he takes this as simply my opinion.
     
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    HoloSpice, ChisChas and Allanmarcus like this.
  5. greggf
    I await independent reviews as they trickle in.  Otherwise, this is too overwhelming.
     
    grizzlybeast likes this.
  6. arnaud Contributor
    Tbh, i've seen these claims for years and let say that they've come and gone... Future will tell :)
    Arnaud
     
    HoloSpice likes this.
  7. up late
    this mot is picking up from where he left off in the elear/utopia launch thread... unfortunately.
     
  8. rgs9200m
    It's interesting since I've always liked many of the JMLabs speakers at shows, like the original utopia, the mezzo utopia, and the grand utopia be. ('never owned them though).
    There is something nice about those Be tweeters in their Be line and also in the Usher speakers.
    I never found the JMLabs to be overly bright or etched, so I respect them a lot.
    JMlabs was the first to use the Be tweeter I believe back in 2002.
    It's nice to see speaker companies jumping into the headphone market anyway (is Wilson next)?
    But these guys are used to stratospheric pricing though...
     
  9. TSAVJason
    Arnaud, as stated I am a STAX fan. I've been listening to STAX as my preferred headphone for a long time. I've not had the issues others have had with build quality but I've seen lots of defective units as a result of poor build quality in parts they could easily correct. This is a common and very well known problem. I also don't think it's fair to the consumer to have to pay such rediculously high prices to repair a simple clip. Yes I do think the distributor here in the US is the worst I've ever experienced. These don't change that I liked them and still think they are good. I just know that they are no longer the premier stat as soon as MrSpeaker releases his Ether E stat. I also know that the MrSpeakers stat is significantly lower cost and his build quality has been very strong.

    In Utopia News with regard to Japan. Japan has been scheduled to be the first Asian country to receive the Utopia so I imagine you'll see them in a couple months. Be sure to give us your impression when you do. I look forward to reading your impression of them.
     
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
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    ChisChas likes this.
  10. Dillan
    I didn't like the sound of the Ether E at all. I feel like hype outweighs sound quality in that regard but just my opinion. Either way if utopia can compete with the 009 in sound quality then I would be very impressed.
     
  11. TSAVJason
    It's always fair to state your individual opinion I've heard 3 versions and each continues to improve. I guess when it's released we'll all know if my prediction is correct or not.
     
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  12. Music Alchemist
     
    Do you have any insights on how the Utopia compares to the Abyss and HE6? (I've heard the latter two but not the Utopia.)
     
    Aside from the MrSpeakers ETHER Electrostatic, can you list the upcoming affordable 'stats and planar magnetics you referred to? I know that Sennheiser reps mentioned that they plan on releasing a second Orpheus successor at an affordable price, for example.
     
    I have relationships with many audiophiles, plus I scour the Internet for countless impressions...and on average, more people still think the 009 is better than new 'stats like the ones from MrSpeakers and HIFIMAN. Every individual experience is valid, but you have to take into account the experiences of others as well.
     
    You seemed to imply otherwise, but the SR-009 (and SR-207) is more or less as neutral as it gets. Click here and here to see what I mean. (No other headphones I know of follow the compensation curves so closely. I use the diffuse-field curve represented by the green line as my neutral reference for a number of reasons—a notable one being that planar magnetics follow it in the bass. But the Harman curve is similar.) And, as with any headphone, you can tweak it with EQ and so on.
     
    I have also owned STAX systems and love them to death...but I'm willing to look elsewhere as long as I can achieve even higher fidelity. (Not to be confused with something that is lower fidelity and mistaken for higher fidelity because it happens to be more enjoyable for some.)
     
    The Utopia seems interesting, but I'm not sold on it yet. It doesn't help that one of my friends thinks it can't compare to his HE1000 and the 009.
     
    HoloSpice likes this.
  13. Trance_Gott
    It's the same everytime.
    The newest expensive headphone is always the best.
    Same with HE1000, LCD4 when they came out and Ether C as best closed.
    No one of this headphones is a game changer and I will bet the same with Utopia and Ether E. They will only sidesteps that's all!

    Dan goes the way with different frequency response on Ether C and E. The C is really a detail monster but not everyone likes the bass shy character and prefered the XC. With E he goes the way with meatier sound than Stax. I really like what Dan makes to create a different sound and not to copy a XC, SR007 or SR009.

    Technically I will bet we don't get a big step up in the next 3-5 years. We will see...

    I must laugh when I read the Utopia is more speaker like. I read the same for HE1000, Abyss and then LCD4. Nothing is speaker like only speakers themselves. We have 2 separated channels. Utopia is not different it's a headphone nothing more. You may get 5cm more soundstage from the Abyss and Utopia in comparison with LCD4. No worlds difference for sure!
    As for distortion we have a lot headphones under 1% on all frequencies at 100db. Technically better mean better in distortion. But if we really hear it as better I don't believe because we already reach a very good really good level of distortion performance.
    When people say they hear a cleaner sound with Utopia compared to HD800S for example it is a trick in frequency response that's all. Detail monsters have in many cases always a frequency response with more highs. Not a lot people can really make a difference between technically and frequency response.
     
  14. TSAVJason
    I do have insights but at present I'm asked to allow the product release to be your resource for information. I feel the personal audio world is coming into its own and will really begin to get exciting
     
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    tradyblix and Allanmarcus like this.
  15. rgs9200m
    I dunno, I think my LCD4 is a game changer.
    (But I also think this about my PS1000e, so what do I know....?)
     
    ChisChas likes this.
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