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They might be Kings: Focal Utopia, Sony MDR-Z1R, HiFiMan Susvara, HE1000 V2, MrSpeakers Ether Flow & Meze Empyrean

Discussion in 'Currawong' started by currawong, Mar 6, 2017.
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  1. RCBinTN
    So, I am wondering...if the HD800 sound like they present a wall of sound, which I don't necessarily disagree with, after having the Ether Flow on my head the last three days, then how do they present such a wide soundstage and super instrument positioning?  Could it be the sound decay is so fast that it doesn't have any reverberation at all and comes across as a "cold wall?"  I'm talking in comparison to the Utopia, which I haven't personally heard, so going from others' impressions.
  2. Rchandra
    Having both the z1r and the utopia i prefer the sonys due to two huge factors for me.. One being closed back so i can listen to them and not wake up my wife and second the bass response.. I have absolutley fallen in love with how the bass can for the most part not effect the sound in a negative but rather more engaging sort of way.. The utopia is a beast but with the way my time frame is set up.. I dont have the luxory of being alone in a environment that wont disturb my loved ones.. For that reason if i had to do it again i would never buy the utopia i would get the z1r and be happy with them just my two cents.
    bimmer100 likes this.
  3. canali
    this may be a silly question, esp given one is open and the other closed
    but...is the soundstage on the sony that much different than the focals?
    i've just read repeatedly that thes Sonys are often being touted as 'the best CLOSED cans' out there...
    and that the soundstage is pretty good for what it offers...but that said, how much less ...or different than the Utopias?
    Read: i'm about to pounce on some Sonys for a good price..(Utopias are just too costly)...
    Sheesh I'm having slight panic attacks about forking over that dough, as i've never spent that much on a pair of cans
    (or anything audio related, for that matter).
    heck my most ''expensive'' are the Senn 650s @ US$300 a few yrs back.
  4. up late
    they have very different presentations. the z1r's "soundstage" is quite spacious but you're comparing a closed can to an open one. sorry if that isn't helpful but it's kind of an apples to oranges thing imo.
    MacedonianHero likes this.
  5. Rchandra
    The sony z1rs soundstage is good for a closed back in other words dont go expecting a soundstsge of a hd800 or in cheaper headphones the soundstage of a fidelio x2 the sonys are not that wide BUT the sound is taller then both of them i hope that makes sense.
  6. Rchandra
    A good test track would be daft punks lose yourself to dance there will be a verse where "come on come on" comes from both left and right channels you csn gauge the width of the soundstage easy.
  7. canali
    thanks, guys...yes I know they're still closed.(and you can't really change physics)
    ..but i was just hoping not as closed as many closed cans out there, is all
  8. up late
    i think the z1r has a reasonably spacious presentation for a closed can
  9. Currawong Contributor

    It's relative. I wouldn't have said that about the HD800 not having listened with the Utopias. However, the ability, at least on my system, of the Utopias to separate the layers of the music is far superior. It's not a bigger soundstage -- if anything the HD800 has been criticised for making everything sound too wide, even music that should be more intimate. If anything, the Utopia has the opposite problem -- sounding too small and monitor-like out of most gear. What I found they are capable of is a level of transparency (I couldn't think of a better word) where the headphones seem to disappear, bested only by my experience of a Shangri-La + DAVE set-up, where with binaural tracks music sounded like it was actually in the room.
    Here's the review, including video: 
    I've had to return the Utopias now, so I'm on to the Sonys. I think Anakchan has it nailed owning them at the same time. A lot of music I found just wasn't recorded or mastered well enough for the Utopias, but also the Utopias can be somewhat too "polite" in their presentation -- too perfect in a manner of speaking. The Z1R is rather like what you'd get if a planar and Grado mated. There is a lot of bass, a somewhat forward midrange and the treble .... is rather odd. What I found they do, both on Sony's desktop and my system is both entertain and deliver a good sense of the space of a recording. If the music is forward, then so is what you hear. If the music is spacious, then that is what you get. In many ways, they are very wrong, and very right at the same time. If the Utopias are Wilson speakers, then the Sonys remind me of big, old JBL or Yamaha monitors.
    AnakChan and RCBinTN like this.
  10. purk Contributor
    To my ears, the Utopia is just a much cleaner sounding headphones compared to the Z1R.  The only area where the Z1R is more superb than the Utopia is the depth of the soundstage.  The width is also better but the Utopia can be just as precise image wise...just that instruments are not as spread out as the Z1R.  I definitely prefer the Utopia over the Sony.  The bass on the Utopia is so clean, robust, and impacful.  The Z1R's bass can often be too much quantity wise a lot of time.  Treble wise, the Z1R isn't as smooth as the Utopia's.
    I'm on the fence on which do like better between the HEK V2 or Utopia but the Utopia's ability to sound darn good out of portable DAPs may win me over long run.  The HEK V2 is just notorious hard to drive and won't sound its best unless being driven from a powerful solidstate amp such as my SuSy Dynahi.   On lesser amps, the HEK simply can't compete with the Utopia...but it is more or less equal it (albeit more of a side-step presentation) on the Dynahi.  
    Currawong likes this.
  11. Sarnia
    Hi Purk, how do you think the HEKv2 sound out of the Sony TA-ZH1ES?

    They sounds good to me, but I've got no comparison point.

    Very interesting to hear your thoughts vs the Utopia, thanks. I was thinking of buying either the Utopia or HEKv2. The retailer steered me towards the HEK despite the smaller margin for them.
  12. MAURO16164
    buys hifiman he1000v2 ONLY if you will amplify across the terminals of a good integrated amplifier (Naim, Rega, Sugden, Roksan.ecc ..) with any headphone amplifier will amplify the maximum 60%. the the focal can also amplify with a simple dap. the hifiman wants only an integrated amplifier, minimum, 40 watts.I own apex pinnacle and headamp gsx mk2 and my hifiman sounds from "God" only with the Sugden ia21se pure classe A.
  13. zolkis
    I for one would certainly choose the HEKv2, plus an amp. You'd need to listen to both.
  14. Sarnia
    Thanks, I wasn't very clear but I already own the HEKv2 and the TA-ZH1ES.
  15. zolkis
    Ah, I see. That simplifies things. Just enjoy the spring :).
    And if you want an Utopia, IMHO it's going to be fine from your amp (it's another thing I didn't like the Utopia that much, but out of that amp wasn't any worse than from other amps like Naim or Marantz). Certainly enough until you figure out your own preferences with it.
    Sarnia likes this.
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