Focal Utopia General Discussion
Jan 14, 2021 at 12:48 PM Post #13,756 of 15,394

xand

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The Focal Arche comes with 2X AK4490, sounds fabulous. Even though I think that amplification is more important than the DAC once you cross a certain level.

Thanks.

I should have said - I'm hoping there's a somewhat portable DAC/amplifier (or combination) which can drive the Utopia's well.

I'm going to demo it with the Shanling M8, but I don't think I'll be able to demo it with the AK SP2000.
 
Jan 14, 2021 at 1:06 PM Post #13,757 of 15,394

LCMusicLover

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Thanks.

I should have said - I'm hoping there's a somewhat portable DAC/amplifier (or combination) which can drive the Utopia's well.
4444
I'm going to demo it with the Shanling M8, but I don't think I'll be able to demo it with the AK SP2000.
I've got a Cowon Plenue II mark 2 which is 4497 based. I like the combination very much vs my previous Opus #2 (Sabre 9028) and current Hiby R6 Pro (Sabre ES9028Q2M based). But I want to 'soften' the 'sharpness' of Utopia with my source chain. I suppose 4499 based DAPs might be a further step up.

As @NYanakiev said above, amping might be more important than the DAC at this level. For example, when I used my Opus #2 with my CypherLabs AlgoRhythm Duet amp I liked it better w/ Utopia (actually with most of my cans).
 
Jan 14, 2021 at 1:20 PM Post #13,758 of 15,394

xand

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I've got a Cowon Plenue II mark 2 which is 4497 based. I like the combination very much vs my previous Opus #2 (Sabre 9028) and current Hiby R6 Pro (Sabre ES9028Q2M based). But I want to 'soften' the 'sharpness' of Utopia with my source chain. I suppose 4499 based DAPs might be a further step up.

As @NYanakiev said above, amping might be more important than the DAC at this level. For example, when I used my Opus #2 with my CypherLabs AlgoRhythm Duet amp I liked it better w/ Utopia (actually with most of my cans).

But you prefer the Cowon without the Duet amp? :D
 
Jan 14, 2021 at 1:56 PM Post #13,759 of 15,394

iamoneagain

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I got so focused on the Dac part that forget how much the amp plays a part too. I think the Hugo 2 maybe have been an excellent dac for the Utopia’s but were slightly thin for my taste. So I’m of course moving to the Dave solved the amping issue and improved the dac too but now realized I didn’t have spend that kind of money to get the Utopia’s to sing.

Once you have a great soundstage, weight, impact from the amp, the level of detail the dac provides is less important. So for me even though Hugo 2 had loads of detail that didn’t make it the most musical experience. Think the Focal Arche is perfect for most listeners but there are better solutions if willing to pay for it.

Has anyone tried the ifi iDSD with the Utopia’s for portable? That should have enough power just not sure about it’s dac. I found it harsh sounds with other headphones.
 
Jan 14, 2021 at 3:27 PM Post #13,760 of 15,394

LCMusicLover

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But you prefer the Cowon without the Duet amp? :D
Yes, plenty of power, and sounds excellent. It's really an amazingly competent 'portable' rig. I use it frequently when doing chores around the house. And it competes with Hugo2 ==> Utopia (and other cans) for my 'listen to music while watching sports with the sound off' system.
 
Jan 14, 2021 at 3:48 PM Post #13,761 of 15,394

LCMusicLover

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...I think the Hugo 2 maybe have been an excellent dac for the Utopia’s but were slightly thin for my taste...
Interesting, that's really not what I hear from Hugo2 ==> Utopia. Or perhaps I should say that it doesn't sound significantly 'thinner' directly from Hugo2 than (say) from Hugo2 feeding my LP, nor thinner than my Gumby feeding my LP. To me, LP w/ NOS Siemens tubes drives Utopia with excellent fullness and body, pretty much regardless of which source I use.

Your ears/my ears I guess.
 
Jan 14, 2021 at 7:00 PM Post #13,762 of 15,394

ASIN

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After some very positive comments about the WireWorld Nano-Platinum Eclipse balanced XLR to lemo cables for Utopia headphones, I was disappointed to hear they had been discontinued as I really thought the were what I was looking for. Well Head-fi sponsors, The Source AV, The Art of Design, www.TheSourceAV.com were able to pull off some magic and some are now in the post to me at a price far better than I anticipated (I will not reveal the price as I do not have their permission). I sometimes think we can take the Head-fi sponsors for granted and so I would like to thank @TSAVJason for pulling off this unexpected blessing. They were so good that I have today ordered a WireWorld Platinum Starlight 7 USB Type A to Type B cable from them, once again at a price that was better than any quoted elsewhere online. In future they will be my first contact point for all audio equipment even though they are US based and I'm currently in the UK - they even absorbed postage. If you are looking for something special, or a new piece of equipment, please remember to contact Head-fi sponsors. Not only do they help make this board sustainable, they also offer special prices for Head-fi members that are excellent value. Thank you @TSAVJason and Wayne, I cannot wait to receive the cables and give them an honest review; I still cannot quite believe you pulled the rabbit out of the hat and found discontinued headphone cables for me, do you also walk on water?
 
Jan 14, 2021 at 9:11 PM Post #13,763 of 15,394

Chesty

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Anyone tried the Utopia's with any AKM4499EQ dac, and liked it?
I'm seriously considering a Utopia to add to my Focal collection. I own an A&K SP2000 and have now demoed the Utopia several times with it. A great combination as far as I am concerned, although I would generally use it with my desktop setup if I take the plunge and buy it. Mind you all Focals are easy to drive and the SP2000 has plenty of power. The detail retriveal from the dual AKM4499EQ dacs combine very well with the qualities of the Utopia (resolution, transparency and dynamics).
 
Jan 14, 2021 at 10:49 PM Post #13,764 of 15,394

thecrow

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.... I have today ordered a WireWorld Platinum Starlight 7 USB Type A to Type B cable from them, once again at a price that was better than any quoted elsewhere online. In future they will be my first contact point for all audio equipment even though they are US based and I'm currently in the UK - they even absorbed postage. If you are looking for something special, or a new piece of equipment, please remember to contact Head-fi sponsors. Not only do they help make this board sustainable, they also offer special prices for Head-fi members that are excellent value. Thank you @TSAVJason and Wayne, I cannot wait to receive the cables and give them an honest review; I still cannot quite believe you pulled the rabbit out of the hat and found discontinued headphone cables for me, do you also walk on water?
Better than $499 for 2m?
https://www.thecableco.com/platinum-starlight-7-2-0-usb-usb-a-to-b.html
 
Jan 15, 2021 at 12:07 AM Post #13,766 of 15,394

KennyDow

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Today I dig out my dust-collecting stock cable with 1/4" TRS jack.
I have to say, besides the cumbersome, the stock cable does have some magical tuning made my initial impression of the Utopia when I first tried it in the audio shop. The stock cable has fuller punching sound (compared to the 6N-OCC silver cable) and a sense of better decay for the instrument, which creates a deeper soundstage (not wide through). Consider my aftermarket cable isn't a weak contender, the stock cable is really something not to be ignored easily.
 
Jan 15, 2021 at 2:59 AM Post #13,767 of 15,394

Kiats

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Today I dig out my dust-collecting stock cable with 1/4" TRS jack.
I have to say, besides the cumbersome, the stock cable does have some magical tuning made my initial impression of the Utopia when I first tried it in the audio shop. The stock cable has fuller punching sound (compared to the 6N-OCC silver cable) and a sense of better decay for the instrument, which creates a deeper soundstage (not wide through). Consider my aftermarket cable isn't a weak contender, the stock cable is really something not to be ignored easily.

Which is good that the new stock now comes with balanced XLR. Still waiting for new stock to come in to Singapore.
 
Jan 15, 2021 at 6:26 AM Post #13,769 of 15,394

Kiats

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Which is good that the new stock now comes with balanced XLR. Still waiting for new stock to come in to Singapore.

Of course, just as I say that, guess what Claire from JabenSG sent me? 🤗

I am surprised how easy to drive it is. I have it at near minimum volume on the Cavalli Liquid Gold.
706C350F-E98C-4EC5-82FA-82DD31599262.jpeg
 
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