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Hi everyone. Clear owner here. I was lucky enough to try Utopia paired with my Feliks Euforia, and now I’m hooked. Im interested in purchasing a new Utopia from an authorized retailer (5 year warranty). I’d like to purchase dealer-direct, not online. Has anyone here purchased in-person from a dealer? And if so, what deal were you able to cut? If I could get to $3K I’d pull my credit card out on the spot.
Focal changed the warranty so all of its authorized dealers, storefront as well as online, now provide a 5 year warranty on the Utopia. The warranty is now transferable, too.
how did the utopia hook you?
Mostly the improved imaging and midrange detail. Clear, especially on Euforia, blends everything into the same plane, while Utopia puts each member of the band in their respective place. Vocals on my setup sound completely euphonic, unlike anything I’ve ever heard from a headphone setup. Euforia doesn’t have quite as much treble extension, which kept Utopia from seeming too awfully bright to me. But man, if that separation and sparkle aren’t something else. On my setup Utopia sounds like the breakthrough that could stave off upgrade-itis for quite some time (at least for headphones).
The Clear always sound great . . . until you put on the Utopia.
Empy vs Utopia
Hi! I will need to sell either the Empy or the Utopia. And I am surprised how difficult It is for me to decide which one to let go, maybe it is because I love both headphones very much. So, after a lot of back and forth comparisons, I can summarize my findings like this:
- Build quality and comfort: Both are incredibly well built. And I find both equally comfortable … from the looks, the Empy should be more so than the Utopia, but in practical terms the Utopia fits better with my glasses. TIE
- Easiness to Drive: Yes, the Empy is easier in its requirements but I have all the gear I need with the Utopia so it is a TIE again for me
- Sound: Now, the big one… Bass: The Empy has the ticker, more immersive bass but the Utopia has a very tight, sophisticated response; both are also on the same level in terms of “physical bass feedback”. TIE. Treble: The Empy is less sparkling than the Utopia and therefore much darker, which means depending on the genre one is better than the other- TIE. Other aspects are speed (win Utopia), soundstage (win EMPY but not by huge margin), 3d imaging (win EMPY), and coherence (TIE).
Soundwise overall, it is a TIE a again depending if you like “not so neutral but super pleasant while being a bit darker and slightly muddier” or “analytical with an ultra dynamic, more resolving” sound signature.
I really find it impossible to decide on what I outlined above. What do I prefer more? I like both for different genres and moods.
I guess then economic realities kick in and I will sell the Empy since it is a very new purchase with higher resale value (I am sometimes shocked how low the Utopia prices dropped). What do you guys think?
I think you are in the best position to judge. I have the Utopia, but have not yet heard the Empy (although I would very much like to). Keep the one you use the most. Or keep them both, if you like both.
agreed that this really is your decision to make. that said, i have tried the empyrean and found its sound signature pleasant enough but uninspiring. the design, build quality and presentation is befitting of a totl headphone tho.
If they are a tie re. musical enjoyment for you, you might also consider the following factors:
- audio tool:
would you ever need to compare cables, DACs, power supplies, amps ... the Utopias are so transparent, with such high resolution and low noise floor that they maybe an ideal tool for this. I know some people find other headphones like the Susvara to be more resolving, but this is not my case, I assume because I listen at vey low volume levels (I find even the Clear to be more resolving and cleaner sounding than the Susvara at these low levels).
- hifi versus euphonics:
much audiophile striving is more about enjoyment to the detriment of high fidelity (e.g.: the harmonic distortion created by tube devices, unnatural FR, overly large soundstage...) . Many headphones have a huge soundstage, which I enjoy, but that doesn't sound so natural to me. Maybe you find the Utopia to be more realistic, more hifi (I do) even if a tie re. audiophile fun.
All the best,
Thanks for your input. For me, the utopia remain something very special which no other headphone has besides the abyss... it makes music exciting. This is precious with certain types of music, with others (and other subpar sources), the empy has the better approach, it transforms music to a relaxing stream of pleasant sounds. Both have their merits, but the point you mention (use the Utopias as a baseline for gear) is a good one.
...and they are back with a new pair of matched drivers! Just wanted to give you some follow-up. Took 2 months and shoddy communication on the part of the Authorized Dealer, but at least they back and like new. Thanks again for the help!
Please, at risk of offending the Utopia community, I'd like to share thoughts as a potential buyer. Hopefully you will see that I mean no offence.
I recently read an older Hifi News of Hifi Plus review of the Utopia. (It was in their magazine and not an online review.) They said quite clear that they considered the Utopia balanced in terms of bass and treble. They practically gushed about how balanced it was.
The issue I am thinking about, is that the Utopia often gets criticism of brightness levelled at it. While some reviewers say that's not the case.
Notably Innerfidelity did an after review article about this. Just searching Focal Utopia Measurements, brings the link up first. https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/seven-focal-utopias-measured
He suggests that the Utopia he got for review was vaguely possibly aimed at his known warmer tastes.
Given I have thought of going to audition the Utopia, the idea of warmer audition models, is not in my mind. I have to say at this point, that my sources are Chord DACs, which are flat-line neutral. I can not possibly introduce brightness from my source. I have the Mojo, Hugo 2, and TT2.
Secondly I read about a cable upgrade for the Utopia, and mentioned it before. This thread was very enthusiastic in mentioning other cables and the love users had for them. (That was cool.) I would not be averse to buying the cable I read about. This one. https://www.hifiplus.com/articles/moon-audio-black-dragon-premium-v2-headphone-cable/
I am particularly fond of this review, because he discussed perceived bass lightness. Meanwhile not actually saying the Utopia is bass light. This is interesting because it makes me think about the Utopia detail level. In my limited experience, more detail can sound trebly, even when it is not. I wonder if this is actually what is going on with the Utopia. (My solution would be to audition Utopia with my self-chosen bass tracks from my music.)
It leads me onto another aspect though. Some graphs show Utopia with high peeks in the treble, a 10dB over the bass response. That would be bright to me. Some other measurements the Utopia with no treble peaks. Of course it depends on measuring equipment. Sound-wise brightness would be also dependant on source kit.
I am not really asking a question. I am thrashing out my thoughts, knowing that folk will know how to reply.
I love bass and I love YES. When I want just excitement I will listen to my bass heavy EE Legend X iem. When I want the detailed artistry of Chris Squire to be easily heard I will reach for the Utopia. Every nuance and kick of his Richenbacker is there. There is no other voice like Jon Anderson and the Utopia’s detail retrieval is able to bring his etheral tones.
I prefer my TT over H2 for the Utopia.
Cables - right now using CutomCans ULC but also great results with Moon Silver Dragon. Stock is good but heavy.
Nothing technical, just thoughts.
i don't find your post offensive but your ruminations are no substitute for actually trying the utopia