Focal Utopia General Discussion
Feb 10, 2021 at 2:09 PM Post #14,071 of 15,081

iamoneagain

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Thanks for the link to the Nirvana. Read the article but it is out of my budget. Jay has golden ears, doesn't he?

Focusing on the Lazuli Reference though, very interested to hear what a cross-section of people on Head-Fi think, compared to Jay's views on Audio Bacon. How does the Lazuli R compare to the old and new stock cables from Focal, and esp. after an extended period of listening. Are people still happy after a couple of years or does the novelty wear off.

Not to exclude current / new listening experiences as well, of course. If you are willing to post.

Here in the UK there is a bit of a preference for the Nordost Heimdal 2 but that might be because they are readily available, vs an international order for the Lazulis.

I’ve already stated that I find it a bigger upgrade for the Utopia’s than upgrading my Focal Arche to the Chord mscaler/Dave. When I sold the Chord combo I didn’t miss it. When I sent the Danacable cable back to get the XLR plug, I missed the sound very much. Luckily they replaced the plug and sent back same day. Had cable back within less than a week.

So I’ve gotten so used to the sound it produces, switching to stock cable makes it sound like a slightly different headphone. Still pretty amazing but not as open sounding, as rich mids, or detailed and clear sounding.

I can see how some may prefer the slightly warmer sound of the stock original cable if have a lean source. With the Focal Arche, think it’s not lacking in warmth at all so the Danacable shines. And stock is only warmer, not because it had better bass, but because the mid and highs not as clear.

I’m getting sick of myself talking about the cable, so I’ll stop but you did ask. Hoping more people chime in

I should note that I don’t have any experience with other cables than the stock one. So it’s possible there are other great cables out there for a better price.
 
Feb 10, 2021 at 2:33 PM Post #14,072 of 15,081

bajs1988

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Anyone here have thoughts about the SMSL SU-9? Seems like a complete package with a price that's hard to ignore.
 
Feb 10, 2021 at 6:49 PM Post #14,074 of 15,081

dontfeedphils

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Well I finished up a new cable for my pair after starting the search for materials almost a year ago. It's about 11' tip to tip (I'm a fan of long cables) and is made up of 4 "strands" of this Neotech UP-OCC Copper Litz wire. The 1/4" connector is from ViaBlue, as is the Y splitter.

PXL_20210204_015421148.jpg

PXL_20210204_015347338.jpg

I got around to measuring the three cables I have currently, one being the original 4m stock cable from Focal, the second is a DIY cable I made a couple years back using 24AWG stranded copper wire from Double Helix Cables, and the third is the new cable using the litz copper wire from Neotech. I'm not sure how accurate the meter I'm using is, so this was mostly for comparison between the three cables and less about absolute values. Looks like the new cable wins out in all measurements except for inductance.

Headphone Cable Measurements.jpg
 
Feb 10, 2021 at 7:10 PM Post #14,075 of 15,081

Roasty

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Well I finished up a new cable for my pair after starting the search for materials almost a year ago. It's about 11' tip to tip (I'm a fan of long cables) and is made up of 4 "strands" of this Neotech UP-OCC Copper Litz wire. The 1/4" connector is from ViaBlue, as is the Y splitter.

PXL_20210204_015421148.jpg

PXL_20210204_015347338.jpg

I got around to measuring the three cables I have currently, one being the original 4m stock cable from Focal, the second is a DIY cable I made a couple years back using 24AWG stranded copper wire from Double Helix Cables, and the third is the new cable using the litz copper wire from Neotech. I'm not sure how accurate the meter I'm using is, so this was mostly for comparison between the three cables and less about absolute values. Looks like the new cable wins out in all measurements except for inductance.

Headphone Cable Measurements.jpg

Damn.. That's a beautiful piece of work. Amazing braid! How long did it take u to do that, and when are you taking orders?
 
Feb 10, 2021 at 7:19 PM Post #14,076 of 15,081

dontfeedphils

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Damn.. That's a beautiful piece of work. Amazing braid! How long did it take u to do that, and when are you taking orders?

Thanks, appreciate it. All in probably about 5 or 6 hours I think. Honestly, I hate doing this kind of work, the only part I really like is the result lol. Plus I get enough soldering at work.
 
Feb 11, 2021 at 12:56 PM Post #14,079 of 15,081

iamoneagain

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Thanks. I read your earlier post and it is good to know that your opinion stands the test of time.

Now if one of those thinner cables can sound as good as the Danacable, that would be the only reason to switch. But have a feeling the thickness is an important piece is lowering resistance, like power cord gauge.
 
Feb 11, 2021 at 6:16 PM Post #14,080 of 15,081

Gadget67

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Now if one of those thinner cables can sound as good as the Danacable, that would be the only reason to switch. But have a feeling the thickness is an important piece is lowering resistance, like power cord gauge.
Just purchased a WyWires platinum cable (10‘) from the sales forum; it compares VERY favorably with the Danacable Lazuli Reference. It is also much thinner/lighter. I need to spend time comparing the two, but I’m really pleased so far. If you really are looking for thinner/lighter you should check this cable out.
 
Feb 11, 2021 at 6:48 PM Post #14,081 of 15,081

iamoneagain

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Just purchased a WyWires platinum cable (10‘) from the sales forum; it compares VERY favorably with the Danacable Lazuli Reference. It is also much thinner/lighter. I need to spend time comparing the two, but I’m really pleased so far. If you really are looking for thinner/lighter you should check this cable out.

I think I’m very happy with the Danacable and thickness doesn’t bother me but I can see how some people would be put off by it. So if was first buying, I might take that into consideration. This is where having headphone meets would be helpful once we’re past covid. Although not sure meet conditions with open back headphones would be best place to test cables.

Just looked up WyWires and price is slightly cheaper for same length and XLR connector. So if it sounds as good, cheaper, and thinner and lighter, you have a winner. I’m going to guess they do sound somewhat different though.
 
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Feb 11, 2021 at 7:06 PM Post #14,082 of 15,081

Gadget67

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I think I’m very happy with the Danacable and thickness doesn’t bother me but I can see how some people would be put off by it. So if was first buying, I might take that into consideration. This is where having headphone meets would be helpful once we’re past covid. Although not sure meet conditions with open back headphones would be best place to test cables.

Just looked up WyWires and price is slightly cheaper for same length and XLR connector. So if it sounds as good, cheaper, and thinner and lighter, you have a winner. I’m going to guess they do sound somewhat different though.
I've only just received it so it will take some time to sort it out. I haven’t tried it with the Arche yet (currently using Chord TT2/M-Scaler) and my Lazuli is terminated with 1/4” plug while the WyWires is XLR so it’ll be an apples to oranges comparison with the Arche When I get around to it. I’m using a Moon Audio Silver Dragon XLR to 1/4” converter plug for the WyWires on the Chord. There they sound about the same.
 
Feb 11, 2021 at 7:19 PM Post #14,083 of 15,081

ilikebananafudge

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I’ve already stated that I find it a bigger upgrade for the Utopia’s than upgrading my Focal Arche to the Chord mscaler/Dave. When I sold the Chord combo I didn’t miss it. When I sent the Danacable cable back to get the XLR plug, I missed the sound very much. Luckily they replaced the plug and sent back same day. Had cable back within less than a week.

So I’ve gotten so used to the sound it produces, switching to stock cable makes it sound like a slightly different headphone. Still pretty amazing but not as open sounding, as rich mids, or detailed and clear sounding.

I can see how some may prefer the slightly warmer sound of the stock original cable if have a lean source. With the Focal Arche, think it’s not lacking in warmth at all so the Danacable shines. And stock is only warmer, not because it had better bass, but because the mid and highs not as clear.

I’m getting sick of myself talking about the cable, so I’ll stop but you did ask. Hoping more people chime in

I should note that I don’t have any experience with other cables than the stock one. So it’s possible there are other great cables out there for a better price.

I haven't been able to swallow the expensive cable pill, so I got a custom Utopia headphone cable made from Blue Jeans Cables for $55 plus the cost of the connectors (they don't have the LEMO connectors in stock, so I ordered a pair from Mouser and shipped them to Blue Jeans). It's 7ft long and made of their MSA-1 cable and terminated with a Neutrik 4-pin XLR plug (looks like NC4MXX-B).

I think your description about the Danacable applies for this cable, as well. It seems to improve clarity in the mids and treble, and sounds smoother and a little richer. I would also say it's brighter, but it actually sounds less harsh to me (not that the stock cable sounds particularly harsh, the Utopias just sound less harsh now).

I will say that the ordering process wasn't super speedy—it took a month between the first email and getting the cable—but I'm quite happy with the result and so is my wallet :)
 
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Feb 11, 2021 at 7:27 PM Post #14,084 of 15,081

Ciggavelli

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I’m a big supporter of Danacables. Everything except my bnc cables and Ethernet cable are Danacables. I had the Lazuli Ref for my Utopias when I had them.

You can actually get thinner and lighter Lazuli cables. They made a new version:

https://danacables.com/product/lazuli-ultralite-fc/
 
Feb 11, 2021 at 7:46 PM Post #14,085 of 15,081

LarsMan

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I just got Lazuli Reference on Monday - still breaking it in - but the thickness doesn't bother me at all, because it's so totally flexible. I've got an Elrod power cable for my main loudspeaker system, and that thing is like wrestling with an anaconda and just as thick.
 

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