Focal Utopia General Discussion

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

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

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. I prefer not to answer

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  1. wldcohso
    I’ve heard good things about Lavricable Grand 20 cable. Personally I haven’t been able to test it out but many many good reviews.
  2. DMck2000
    Yeah I'm looking for a new cable more for comfort than anything else, but I want to make sure it will at least sound as good as the current cable. I think I will go with the Black Dragon Cable by Moon Audio for my Utopias in balanced operation. Thanks for the help.
  3. solstice15
    I have a set of Utopias incoming! Are there any "budget" (~$150 max) cable options? I just want something shorter/presumably less heavy than the stock cable...
  4. Allanmarcus
    Agreed. For me, I made my own, but if you don't have that option, buying a reasonably priced cable is a good option, as is shortening and/or re-terminating the stock cable.

    Just note that cables are incredibly profitable. Let's take the "Corpse Cable" on eBay. It uses Mogami 2893 wire ($1.22/foot), genuine Lemo connectors ($20/ea), and a Neutrik 4-pin XLR ($5). Probably a few buck in heat shrink, and the labor to make it.

    $1.22 x 6' = 7.32
    $20 x 2 = 40
    $5 x 1 = 5
    $52.32 + 5 for heat shrink and misc stuff.
    Round up to $60 cost. Probably less since they probably buy in bulk.

    eBay sale price: $251
    Figure 20% for eBay and paypal fees and shipping, ~$50

    $251 sale price. $141 "profit".
    Probably takes 15-30 minutes (or much less) for an experienced person to make the cable.

    Fancier wire = more cost
    Braiding = more cost
    sleeving = more cost

    Just pointing this one out, since all the parts of the cable are stock.

    If anyone want me to re-terminate and/or shorten their cable, I would be happy to for the cost of parts and shipping. Just send me PM. Note, I will be on vacation (Hawaii, Big Island) until 1/11, then in Las Vegas (work - MicroStrategy World) until 1/19.

    I do find it interesting that the list price of the Focal cable is like $1100. It has black Lemo connectors (impossible to get), a custom Y splitter, and a standard 6.5mm Neutrik plug. The Neutrik strain relief pinches the wires through a thin piece of heat shrink, which I would not do on my wires. Of course I don't know what metal is used in the wire, or its construction, but it looks surprisingly similar to Sommer Cable SC-Peacock Mk II cable, which is the same cable beyerdynamic used in the T1 gen1. I've used the Sommer cable for a few headphones, and people that claim to be able to hear a difference say it's the best copper cable they ever heard.

    As you can see, here is the stock cable with the plug opened up. Very simple to re-terminate. Just 4 wires to solder/re-solder. Heck, if you believe in such things, one could re-terminate with a PlusSound Audio Cryo Treated 6.3mm Straight Plug ($10), or a Furutech XLR ($31) or a Furutech 6.5mm ($49-$61).

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    up late and bidn like this.
  5. bidn
    For cheap cables, you could try aliexpress :

    I have ordered various adapters from this seller (e.g. xLr -> 2,5 mm, etc.) and I am satisfied with the adapters.
    (but they don't sale cables for the Utopia. I ordered from this seller a cable for my AKG K872 and one for my LCD-XC, but haven't received them yet, so I can't say at this point what they're worth):

    I ordered once really cheap (something like $ 25) Chinese cable from China over Amazon and I didn't find them good, never used them again...

    In general it is said that silver cables would enhance the treble and copper the opposite.
    So I ordered a silver cable from Lavricable for my Elear and it combines well.
    If you are treble sensitive or listen to music which become fatiguing if the treble is to high,
    then it would better to avoid silver for the Utopia as they seem to be slightly on the bright side.
    solstice15 and Allanmarcus like this.
  6. TSAVJason
    Not to sway you from the dragon cable you’re thinking about, but If you’re looking for something comfortable and neutral (not modifying the sound of the package you bought) I’d like to suggest the Wireworld nano.
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

    miceblue likes this.
  7. Allanmarcus
    BTW, here's my hybrid "Candy Cane" cable. The silver is cotton sleeved solid core 24AWG 4N silver wire. The red is 2 mogami 26AWG per channel copper.

    The 4 red wires are braided together. The two silver wires and the red braid are themselves braided to the Y. Then two red wires per channel are wrapped around a silver wire to each connector. All sealed in clear heat shrink. The whole cable isn't all the flexible, but it's still OK for what it is.

    Sorry if I already posted this here. I'm getting old and can't remember

    DMck2000 and joseph69 like this.
  8. joseph69
    Listening to the Utopia today/tonight, and their actually really impressing me more and more.

    They still sound smooth, but much clearer with more definition and detail, as well as sounding tighter and more precise than the other night when I listened to them for 3-1/2hrs. I wonder if it's due to them playing at room temperature compared to playing them from just arriving from the cold the first night?
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    HoloSpice likes this.
  9. LCMusicLover
    I got this cable with the OCC Option. About $40 more than you wanted to spend, but I’m quite happy with it.

    I chose the OCC for the presumed warmth it might add, since my DAC/amp combo is neutral-to-slightly cold. Frankly the balanced vs SE difference is much more noticeable than any warmth the cable might add.

    In any case, nice cable, great ergonomics. I got a 5ft cable, 2.5mm TRRS terminated for use with my Plenue 2 and Opus 2.
    solstice15 likes this.
  10. up late
    maybe it's just you? :wink: good to see that you're giving them a chance anyway. i think that they're an exceptional headphone.
  11. joseph69
    It very well could be me.
    But they really didn't sound this good to me the first night (or in the past) I received them. I now understand why people like them, and I have plenty more time to spend with them.
  12. wldcohso
    Radiohead OKNOTOK (Remastered) sounds sooooo good through Chord Hugo 2 and Sennheiser HDV820 using my Utopia's... If you haven't heard it give it a listen...
    Turdski, Jearly410 and Liu Junyuan like this.
  13. DMck2000
    I'll definitely look at Wireworld as an option. Thanks for the recommendation!
  14. DMck2000
    Looks pretty cool. Definitely fits the holiday season haha
    Allanmarcus likes this.
  15. Lev10Prod
    Here is a screen shot of the settings I used for my Focal Utopias with Isotope Neutron 2. You can use just about any parametric EQ VST plugin you like. I have mine in JRiver Media Center.

    screen 1.jpg

    Note that I set the input gain to -16 dB to compensate for the filters however most good players should also have a limiter before the final output stage. Here are the filters I used. It should be noted that these settings are tuned to my ears only and as such, may be compensating for my own hearing loss or degradation! (I wonder about filter #6...are the Utopias really down by 7.7 dB at 6750?). Also note that I had to use a band shelf filter on has a flat top characteristic.

    I Have the sweep tone files in FLAC format in case anyone here wants to perform their own calibration. I suppose I could try and post them here if anyone is interested.

    Freq Type Gain(dB) Q
    25 Shelf 12.0 1.0
    95 Bell -2.7 2.8
    1958 Bell 8.0 2.9
    4057 Bell -3.7 5.0
    5860 Bell -5.1 9.6
    6747 Band Shelf 10.5 7.7
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