Cool Gadgets, Gizmos, Games and Geek Stuff on Technabob
VISIT OUR OTHER SITES: THE AWESOMER | 95OCTANE

Like Us on Facebook

Technabob is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Disclosure.

Ears-on Review: Focal Utopia Open-Back Headphones

 |  |  |  |  |  September 21, 2016


If you’re a serious audiophile, nothing less than the best headphones will do. There are a handful of players at the very top end of the headphone market, and now French audio equipment maker Focal has joined the ranks with their ultra-premium Utopia headphones.

Priced at a whopping $3,999 (USD), these very special headphones are designed for the most discriminating of ears, and fattest of wallets. But do they live up to the price tag? Read on, and find out.

focal_utopia_headphones_1

Focal packages the Utopia headphones in a schmancy stitched, leather covered black box, lined with acoustic foam insulation, letting you know immediately that this is going to be a quality affair.

focal_utopia_headphones_5

The headphones themselves are as impressive and substantial as any I’ve ever seen, built from premium materials like aluminum, soft lambskin leather, and the pure carbon fiber yoke structure that holds the earcups in place helps not only reduce weight, but looks awesome. A heavy duty, low-impedance audio cable clicks satisfyingly into place with premium Lemo connectors – though at 4 meters in length, are a bit too long for my taste. Being over-the-ear headphones, they’ve definitely got some heft, but are still offer plenty of comfort for long listening sessions, with thick foam cushions wrapped in perforated leather.

focal_utopia_headphones_4

Of course, what you want to know is how they sound, right? Well, I’ll sum it up in one sentence: The Focal Utopia is simply the best sounding pair of headphones I’ve ever listened to, beating out my previous favorites, STAX SR-009 electrostatic headphones.

Sporting custom 40mm drivers made with pure beryllium, Focal has developed drivers which do away with the need for crossovers or passive filtering, resulting in smooth and precise audio replication across the audio spectrum. In fact, Focal claims that the Utopias replicate sound from 5Hz all the way up to 50kHz. Since I’m not a dog, I can’t hear frequencies beyond about 25kHz, so I’ll just have to trust them on the high end stats. Regardless of numbers, when hooked up to a quality amplifier, they simply sound fantastic.

focal_utopia_headphones_2

Dynamic range is spectacular, with the ability to reproduce the quietest and most intricate passages right alongside the biggest, most vibrant sounds. Their sonic profile is clean and natural, offering a great low end that’s not boomy, highs which are bright, without being the least bit harsh, and mids that are sweet and soothing. Both vocals and instruments shine, and the open-back design provides a great sense of width to the soundstage. With most headphones, there are specific musical genres which play to the strengths and weaknesses. With the Utopias, it doesn’t matter. I threw everything from Regina Spektor to Gipsy Kings to Adele to Steely Dan to Beethoven to Kanye at them, and they impressed at every turn. I dare you to find a piece of music that doesn’t sound great on these.

focal_utopia_headphones_3

So the million dollar question – or more appropriately, the $4000 question is: are the Focal Utopia headphones worth the price of admission? Well if you’re serious about your audio, and have the disposable income to afford such an extravagance, Yes. Yes they are. On the other hand, if your income isn’t quite as stratospheric, there are plenty of very good headphones on the market for significantly less money. Trust me when I say that you’d be very happy with a pair of Focal’s $1,000 Elear headphones as well. Though if the Elears score a 10 out of 10, the Utopias are a solid 15.



Coast Adjustable Beam Work Light

Coast Adjustable Beam Work Light

Making Shiny Steel Spheres

Making Shiny Steel Spheres

LÜM-TEC Watches

LÜM-TEC Watches

Manhart CR 700 AMG C63 Wagon is a Fitting Farewell to the AMG V8

Manhart CR 700 AMG C63 Wagon is a Fitting Farewell to the AMG V8

Corvette Marketing Manager Hints at 2023 Z06 Price

Corvette Marketing Manager Hints at 2023 Z06 Price

2022 Dodge Durango R/T Plus to Add Luxury to the Sporty SUV Trim

2022 Dodge Durango R/T Plus to Add Luxury to the Sporty SUV Trim

Advertisement