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FRANKLY SPEAKING: Current situation and news on headphone market

  1. erik701
    There is a lot of ongoing activity currently on headphone market and I want to share my opinion with community, with you. 
    Let's start with announcement of new high-end headphones. FOCAL unveiled two new models, the flagship Focal Utopia and Focal Elear. In my opinion FOCAL made huge mistake by unveiling 2 new models at the same time, I mean two competitive models. Can you imagine that Mercedes will unveil S class at the same time with brand new E class? They will never do that, because half potential buyers of S class will go for cheaper E class. They will get a lot of S class features, for much lower price and Mercedes will lose money, a lot of money. That's why each smart company is unveiling flagship at first and then after some time other lower models. Focal didn't and they will lose money because of that, believe me. Each review what I read is mentioning that model Elear is much more impressive at it's price range. It has technology of Utopia for 1/4 price. Other thing what I really don't understand is price of Utopia. 4 times more than second highest model in Focal headphone model range. I'm asking what's the reason for that? If we look at other companies, HiFiman HE-1000 have aprox. double price of HiFiman Edition X, Audeze LCD-4 have double price of LCD-3, so I really didn't get the price of Utopia, they should cost 2000.
    Now let's talk about Sennheiser. Company unveiled improved model, SENNHEISER HD800S. Again, this is not successor of SENNHEISER HD800, Sennheiser just wants to get time. Because believe me, they are already working on proper successor of HD800.
    And my opinion on HD800S? If you already own HD800, there is no reason to go for S model. If you are considering buy of new high end headphones and you are new to this segment, you should definitely go for HD800, not S model and rather put saved money to better amp or dac. You can save a lot when you will look for some deal on the internet or go for some used hear on head-fi.
    I see potential buyers of HD800S as person who already own some good balanced amp, using it with some other high-end headphones and this person do not own any Sennheiser HD700 or HD800 model. This person should go for HD800S, because you will get very good balanced cable in the box and of course HD800S doesn't this well known peak, so smart choice in this case.
    Next company is HIFIMAN. Just a few days ago HIFIMAN unveiled HIFIMAN HE-1000 v2, improved flagship model. My opinion is that it's too soon for something like this. Owners of regular HE-1000 model will not be happy, I wouldn't be happy if you would own HE-1000. There is a lot of changes in v2, so I don't think that upgrade for owners of regular version will be possible. They should wait at least 1 year with v2. So again, not the smartest choice by company.
    MrSpeaker, I'm not very familiar with this company and I never heard any of their model. All review what I read are strongly positive on their Ether models. Now company unveiled upgrade named flow, for both closed and open back model. Upgrade will be available for current owners of Ether models too. This is good approach, I like that, this is how it suppose to be. If company is releasing some upgraded model in 3 years after initial model hit the market, they should be able offer this upgrade to current owners of initial models too, otherwise company should announced it as brand new model.
    Last company what I want to mention in this topic is AUDEZE. It's more than few month since Audeze launched their new flagship model LCD-4. I already wrote one post here on head-fi where I complained about price of LCD-4, but now when I compare it to Focal attitude, I have to say that Audeze approach is more acceptable. Audeze is not new company on high-end headphones market. They are well know, highly rate company because of their models produced in last years. Focal is new player on this "field", I mean high-end headphones field. They just came and they are asking for 4000, for the same 4000 is Audeze asking with their 4th model. After 6 year on this "field", with many satisfied customers and many awards for their products, again in this product segment, because Focal is doing great job with their speakers, but what I'm trying to say it's that I'm not OK with price of Utopia. I have more than one good reason for that, I think that many of you will agree with me. Back to Audeze, some people are complaining about changes which Audeze is making to their products during the sell cycle. Look at it from other point of view, will be better if Audeze will announce v2 of their model and ask current customers to buy it if they want better quality, comfort or whatever? Audeze is making changes during the sell cycle and if you are facing some issue with your model, they will improve it covered by your warranty without any additional fee. I think this is good approach, because they are constantly working on improvement of their models. If other companies will do the same, we would have HD800S already few years ago for the same price as HD800 without S added to product name.
    OK, that's it, thank you for reading and do not forget to enjoy listening, because that's all what about is this beautiful hobby. There are a lot of fights of this forum, but at the end we all will end up with our favorite headphones placed on out heads, listening to our favorite music, peace [​IMG] 

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