Focal Utopia General Discussion

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


  • Total voters
    323
post-15247978
Post #11,101 of 11,525

Energy

Member of the Trade: Artemis Cables
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
503
Reaction score
181
Location
San Francisco
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Location
San Francisco
Posts
503
Likes
181
Age
28
Thank you for sharing. A friend also told me the same thing but considering they are nearly $5,000 headphones it is hard to take the plunge.
After hearing your comments and many others who has said the same, I think it's time to go give them a try.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15248089
Post #11,102 of 11,525

Roasty

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 13, 2005
Messages
670
Reaction score
293
Joined
Mar 13, 2005
Posts
670
Likes
293
@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.
My impressions so far..

About the same:
- Sound signature up top (ie slightly bright).
- detail retrieval. I'm on the fence, but I think utopia has the edge on this..

Bass is as textured in both headphones, but 1266 delivers so much more, without sounding bloated and without overpowering the rest of the music. It's really bass u can feel, and it can really cause some vibrations.

Utopia presentation is more forward, accentuated by its highs and clarity as well as (comparatively) softer lows. 1266 has a more even presentation.

Background blackness, which is not oftened compared.. For some reason, the 1266 seem to have a blacker background.
Soundstage is a no brainer.. 1266 for sure.
Comfort no brainer.. Utopia for sure.

If I could describe them in terms of speakers:
Utopia - top range bookshelves on solid stands, in a relatively smaller room, with relatively near field listening position. Could be a B&W805..
1266 - top range stand mounts, with additional subwoofers, in an acoustically treated large room, with you seated about 3m away. Could be a Dynaudio Confidence 50/60 with (insert your favourite brand) sub.

A note, if you ever do audition the 1266, you really need to take a bit of time to adjust the fit and ear pad positioning. Especially the ear pads. Don't aim for a seal all around. The 1266 need a small gap (for me, about 2 to 3mm gap in the area just below and behind the ear). If not, the soundstage is crap, the headphones sound like in a box and tinny, and bass becomes severely lacking and lifeless. Also, really spread apart the headphones; the pads should be just resting lightly on the sides of your head. These two combined result in a headphone which is not clamped down and is very loose sitting, meaning if you turn your head decently fast, they will come off or get out of position... Of course, you can wear them tighter, but u sacrifice a bit in soundstage and an overall better presentation.
 
Last edited:
post-15248185
Post #11,103 of 11,525

up late

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 19, 2013
Messages
5,867
Reaction score
1,543
Joined
Feb 19, 2013
Posts
5,867
Likes
1,543
@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.
i don't really listen to "rock, electronic, and bass heavy music" and still preferred the utopia to the sr-009. to say that estats have "natural timbre/decay over dynamics" is again, a matter of opinion and personal preference.

with regard to the abyss, while i've not heard the latest iteration, i was impressed by the sound of the original. but its unwieldy design hasn't changed and remains a deal breaker for me.
 
Last edited:
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: xxx1313 and bidn
post-15248449
Post #11,104 of 11,525

joseph69

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
9,854
Reaction score
2,134
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Posts
9,854
Likes
2,134
@Roasty

@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?

No, not the Carbon. I did own both, the Mjolnir KGSSHV & KGST while waiting for my BHSE to arrive (1yr).
I preferred the KGST due to the KGSSHV being extremely revealing for me to the point that I just couldn't enjoy listening long, especially if the recording was lacking in any way. The KGST was more forgiving and a more enjoyable listen for me, and even more so the BHSE.



I felt the 009 was maybe missing emotion & soul in the vocal area, dynamics & attack which I enjoy in a headphone very much.
All in all the 009/BHSE became too smooth and neutral for me after owning the combo for +/-3yrs. Don't get me wrong, the 009 is an excellent headphone and I do wish I could hear it eery now and then, but that's about it. I much prefer owning dynamic & planar drivers due to their "excitement" factor for me.

Just a side note; I owned both, the 009/BHSE and Utopia/WA33 at the same time, and compared both combos side by side and in a short time I knew the Utopia/WA33 combo suited my tastes overall, so it wasn't hard for me to make my decision.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15250770
Post #11,105 of 11,525

up late

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 19, 2013
Messages
5,867
Reaction score
1,543
Joined
Feb 19, 2013
Posts
5,867
Likes
1,543
the TC is head and shoulders better than the utopia in all aspects other than comfort IMHO
i've not heard the tc iteration but i'm sceptical of such claims at this level of performance. i don't doubt that the abyss creates a significantly larger "headstage" and impactful bass - it's renowned for that, but i do doubt that it's "head and shoulders better than the utopia in all aspects", including resolution, imaging and timbre.
 
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: xxx1313 and bidn
post-15251172
Post #11,106 of 11,525

pataburd

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 1, 2003
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
277
Location
Rural New York State
Joined
Jul 1, 2003
Location
Rural New York State
Posts
5,538
Likes
277
Associated equipment/optimal matching plays a significant role, too, aside from subjective preferences and brand loyalty.
[Am still enjoying--and am still fiercely loyal to--the (discontinued) Martin Logan Mikros 90: to my ears, among the top 5 headphones I have ever heard.]
 
     Share This Post       
post-15251712
Post #11,107 of 11,525

musicman59

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 27, 2004
Messages
4,408
Reaction score
501
Location
Canton, MI
Joined
May 27, 2004
Location
Canton, MI
Posts
4,408
Likes
501
@joseph69,
Is your WA33 the regular version?
When I heard the WA33 Elite Version with the Utopia/Axios AG and a very good source what came first to my mind was "why would I need my electrostatic rig with this?".
My issue is that i have not been able to listen to a similar setup but with the regular WA33.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15253278
Post #11,108 of 11,525

quodjo105

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 2, 2013
Messages
840
Reaction score
235
Joined
Feb 2, 2013
Posts
840
Likes
235
Hi
Is there any member here who owned the Sony Ta-zh1es and Hugo 2 and found one better than the other with the utopia?. I'm happy with the Sony but sometimes I'd like to move around the house with the utopia, so I'm considering replacing it with the Hugo2 so I can use it both at desk and around the house . Any help ?
 
     Share This Post       
post-15253793
Post #11,109 of 11,525

joseph69

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
9,854
Reaction score
2,134
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Posts
9,854
Likes
2,134
@joseph69,
Is your WA33 the regular version?
When I heard the WA33 Elite Version with the Utopia/Axios AG and a very good source what came first to my mind was "why would I need my electrostatic rig with this?".
My issue is that i have not been able to listen to a similar setup but with the regular WA33.
Yes, my WA33 is the standard version.
When I heard my Utopia w/WW Nano-Platinum Eclipse XLR cable and the stock WA33 (in home) I thought the same which is why I sold my Stax system. I've also owned the Danacable Lazuli Reference for my Utopia and compared it to my WW and preferred the WW,

"My issue is that i have not been able to listen to a similar setup but with the regular WA33."

Not too sure I understand this? So you've heard both, the standard & Elite?
 
     Share This Post       
post-15253908
Post #11,110 of 11,525

musicman59

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 27, 2004
Messages
4,408
Reaction score
501
Location
Canton, MI
Joined
May 27, 2004
Location
Canton, MI
Posts
4,408
Likes
501
[COLOR=#ff0000 said:
"My issue is that i have not been able to listen to a similar setup but with the regular WA33."[/COLOR]

Not too sure I understand this? So you've heard both, the standard & Elite?
What I was trying to say is that I have not had th eoportunity to listen to a regular WA33 with a high end source and Utopia with the Axios AG cable.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15254077
Post #11,111 of 11,525

joseph69

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
9,854
Reaction score
2,134
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Posts
9,854
Likes
2,134
Okay.
I've never hear the Elite either, so I can't comment.
Furthermore, I don't think there are any posts comparing the two side by side in stock configuration?
I could be wrong, thought.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15254746
Post #11,112 of 11,525

attmci

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 24, 2005
Messages
1,616
Reaction score
406
Location
North America
Joined
Feb 24, 2005
Location
North America
Posts
1,616
Likes
406
Okay.
I've never hear the Elite either, so I can't comment.
Furthermore, I don't think there are any posts comparing the two side by side in stock configuration?
I could be wrong, thought.
You can upgrade the capacitors by yourself.
  • Ultra high-bandwidth, low-loss output transformers custom-made with Single Crystal Copper wires and Ni Alloy metal

  • Single Crystal copper hook-up and signal wires are used throughout.

  • Alps RK50 4-channel volume control in brass enclosure

  • Mundorf MCap Supreme Silver/Gold capacitor for interstage coupling, one per channel (4pcs)

  • Mundorf MTube capacitors for voltage filter (3pcs)

  • Cardas Audio XLR and WBT RCA connectors

  • WA33 Elite Edition 24k gold-plated plaque
 
     Share This Post       
post-15254917
Post #11,113 of 11,525

joseph69

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
9,854
Reaction score
2,134
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Posts
9,854
Likes
2,134
I could upgrade everything, but in return void my warranty.
I knew the differences between the two, but I've never heard the Elite.
:)
 
     Share This Post       
post-15258890
Post #11,114 of 11,525

AuditoryCanvas

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
865
Reaction score
775
Location
Los Angeles
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Location
Los Angeles
Posts
865
Likes
775
Today I joined the Utopia driver fail club :frowning2:

I noticed early on that there seemed to be quite a few being reported. Is that still the case, or was the issue resolved? They're only 10 months old, so it's a bit concerning.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15258894
Post #11,115 of 11,525

triggsviola

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 14, 2018
Messages
85
Reaction score
107
Location
Orange County, CA, USA
Joined
Aug 14, 2018
Location
Orange County, CA, USA
Posts
85
Likes
107
Today I joined the Utopia driver fail club :frowning2:

I noticed early on that there seemed to be quite a few being reported. Is that still the case, or was the issue resolved? They're only 10 months old, so it's a bit concerning.
NO! That's terrible news! Warranty should take care of it?
 
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: AuditoryCanvas

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 3, Guests: 5)

Top