Focal Utopia General Discussion

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


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post-15240642
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meomap

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Hi there,

Andrew Park posted a really nice, quite up-to-date video of the Utopia, impressions and measurements, I find it really worth watching.

It includes comparisons with some recent headphones like the ZMF Verite and the Hifiman HE1000se.
I was pleased to hear about his impressions and measurements of the neutral setting and the Utopia setting on the Focal Arche DAC-amp. These confirm my listening impressions
( https://www.head-fi.org/threads/focal-utopia-general-discussion.811273/page-735#post-15188208 ),
i.e. that I couldn't hear any difference in tonality between the two, in spite of being tired after having focussing on auditioning a number of DAC-amp before.

In case you haven't heard yet about Andrew Park (nickname "resolve"): he is the only one I can see as taking up the torch and filling in the void left after Tyll Hertsens retired, I find him smart, critical, and a great communicator. And fully independent : neither paid nor "receiving" (for free as a present) the expensive stuff. I understand he lives close to the location of headphones.com, taking headphones for his reviews and returning them, all he has to do is to mention their site in his reviews.

Enough talking, here is the video, enjoy :)
and have a nice weekend,
bidn


20191010_163531.jpg

I know. I have one.
 
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post-15241177
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up late

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Hi there,

Andrew Park posted a really nice, quite up-to-date video of the Utopia, impressions and measurements, I find it really worth watching.

It includes comparisons with some recent headphones like the ZMF Verite and the Hifiman HE1000se.
I was pleased to hear about his impressions and measurements of the neutral setting and the Utopia setting on the Focal Arche DAC-amp. These confirm my listening impressions
( https://www.head-fi.org/threads/focal-utopia-general-discussion.811273/page-735#post-15188208 ),
i.e. that I couldn't hear any difference in tonality between the two, in spite of being tired after having focussing on auditioning a number of DAC-amp before.

In case you haven't heard yet about Andrew Park (nickname "resolve"): he is the only one I can see as taking up the torch and filling in the void left after Tyll Hertsens retired, I find him smart, critical, and a great communicator. And fully independent : neither paid nor "receiving" (for free as a present) the expensive stuff. I understand he lives close to the location of headphones.com, taking headphones for his reviews and returning them, all he has to do is to mention their site in his reviews.

Enough talking, here is the video, enjoy :)
and have a nice weekend,
bidn


thanks for posting. this is the second review that i've seen from him, and it reaffirms why the utopia is the most complete flagship headphone that i've encountered. still miss tyll tho. :wink:

and here is his written review, which evaluates the utopia's timbre, tonality and fr in more detail and addresses the so-called "metallic sheen" issue:
https://www.headphones.com/blogs/news/focal-utopia-the-king-of-detail-review
 
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post-15243618
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Roasty

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The 1266 are off duty tonight.
Listening with the Utopias.. They still do not cease to amaze. The level of detail retrieval is simply unbeatable, and the way it does it so effortlessly, just wow.

It's like a teacher in a classroom, with some noisy kids up front, but still being able to pay attention to that quiet kid sitting way at the back, and making sure whatever that quiet kid wants to say is being heard, and at the same time not allowing the noisy kids upfront to overpower..

Some people dislike its forward presentation, but I actually quite enjoy it, the way voices are right there in your head, just appearing out of blackness. And disappearing just as fast, when it needs to.

Bass may be comparatively lesser in amount than the abyss, but definitely not lacking. It is there when the music calls for it, and so very balanced. the tightness, punchiness, and texture.. So much information low down as well.

I did contemplate selling the utopia once I had the abyss. But I think the utopia is definitely a keeper.

20191014_000833-01.jpeg
 
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"The level of detail retrieval is simply unbeatable, and the way it does it so effortlessly, just wow."

Stax SR-009 : "Hold my beer"
 
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Roasty

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"The level of detail retrieval is simply unbeatable, and the way it does it so effortlessly, just wow."

Stax SR-009 : "Hold my beer"
Admittedly, I've not had the opportunity to listen to the 009. Are they a whole lot better than the utopia? If so, touché..
 
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BreadMaster

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Admittedly, I've not had the opportunity to listen to the 009. Are they a whole lot better than the utopia? If so, touché..
I owned the Stax 009 for nearly 3yrs and sold them for the Utopia. I just enjoyed the Utopia more overall.
This is a compliment to the Utopia, not a knock in any way to the 009. I was getting tired of the Stax and was tired of using them with a dedicated amp (BHSE) and much prefer the freedom of using other driver types with my WA33 which replaced my BHSE and never looked back.
 
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it comes down to personal preference as usual and i prefer the utopia to the sr009. i've found that i generally prefer dynamics to estats tho.
 
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sonics

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Excatly, it is purely a personal preference at this level. I sold my Utopia, because to me, 009/007 does almost everything better.
 
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pataburd

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it comes down to personal preference as usual and i prefer the utopia to the sr009. i've found that i generally prefer dynamics to estats tho.
Same here. I much prefer a well-executed dynamic delivery to that of electrostatics.
 
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pataburd

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Just received DSHA-3F Ravenswood amp yesterday. Spent way too many hours last night trying out all my cans with it.

On plugging in Utopia, my reaction was:

'Wow, there's more depth to the headstage!'

It was an immediately noticeable difference -- with my previous amps (LP/BHA-1/V280) the stage seemed quite flat.

Once again reinforcing that Utopia really scale.
+1

: )

The ecp DSHA-3F really brings out the best from the Utopia [and the Clear].
 
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Energy

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@Roasty
Could you give us some pointers on how the Abyss 1266 Phi TC compares to the Focal Utopia? What does each excel in. What do each lack? How do they compete?

@joseph69
Have you ever used your previous SR-009 with a KGSSHV Carbon? Or has it been just the BHSE & WA33 since. What did you feel like was missing with the SR-009 versus Utopia?

I think at this Summit-Fi it comes down to just preference. I have a lot of friends who listen to more classical music that prefers the better imaging, space, and natural timbre/decay of electrostatics over dynamics. There is also another opposite group that listens to rock, electronic, and bass heavy music that chooses the dynamic side so it's very understandable how absolute certain people here are.

Like with what @pataburd says, the ECP DSHA-3F really is a godsend headphone amplifier for the Focal line of headphones.
 
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jlbrach

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the abyss TC is as detailed as the utopia...has far more and better bass and a far larger soundstage....the utopia is more coomfortable
 
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Energy

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@jlbrach
You're saying the Abyss TC offers better bass extension and amount, but it still lacks the impact that only dynamic drivers can offer right? By how much.
As for the imaging, how does the two compare? The Utopia is good for imaging (but not as good as electrostatics imo). Does the Abyss TC do as good but with a larger sound stage?
 
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jlbrach

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the TC is head and shoulders better than the utopia in all aspects other than comfort IMHO
 
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