InnerFidelity Product of the Year

There's just no question.

Four years in the making, this all-new Beryllium dome driver headphone design from Focal has completely disrupted the flagship headphone category. The Utopia ($3999) is the best headphone I've ever heard...by a significant margin.

The Focal Utopia is a sexy beast with rock-solid build quality; looks with just the right mix of conservatism and bling; brimming with technological innovations; and sound quality to die for. Though the audio image is small and the bass just a tad light, in every other way this headphone sounds spectacularly good. Tonal balance is beautiful; image, though small is marvelously precise; dynamic punch is terrific; micro-detail is nuanced and well integrated. And everything comes together as whole so well that you simply don't feel the need to analyze...you just kick back and listen to the glorious music. You can read my full review here.

This is InnerFidelity's Product of he Year because it has redefined what world-class headphone fidelity sounds like. It really is like no other I've heard before. It's catch-up time for everyone else.

COMMENTS
ManiaC's picture

Jewish bolshit

jjgr's picture

You're an ass, but i'm guessing you already knew that.

ManiaC's picture

2nd jewish bullshit detected on this page

NickS's picture

Here is some Jewish bullshit for you. I'm writing to your employer "Acoustic-Fun Co., Ltd" to let them know that you are a rabid anti-Semite making them look bad.

Tyll - I hope you plan to ban this moron and delete his posts.

NickS's picture

Anti-Semite, poster of hate, ManiaC can be reached at zycamaniac@gmail.com. His real name is David Wei.

JimMc's picture

Hang on, he's right. When are we going to rise up against ZOG's plot to make us fork out hundreds of bucks for 'phones that don't fit under pointy hats or stormtroopers' helmets?

ADU's picture
gibtg's picture

If only it wasn't $4000

:)

tony's picture

and the darn things don't have a $675.000 price tag.

Historically thinking and speaking, my Sennheiser HD 600 ( properly tuned and set-up ) are far better than any loudspeaker system I've sold, owned or experienced. Little Tube headphone Amps ( like the Felikes & Valhalla 2 ) with carefully selected glass are the most beautiful sounding Amps I've ever experienced. My history reaches back 60 years.

I've recently experienced both the Focals and the Audeze 4, the Focals are the ones to own, no doubt about that in my old mind ( even with my compromised hearing specs. ), they're a Morphine drip, dangerously addictive, lovely, not too expensive and don't require powerful Amps.

Focal, in France, are easier to trust,

I'm certain Audeze will be releasing a revised version of the LCD 4 sometime in 2017 ( about the time sales taper off ). And I've learned, over the decades, that I don't live well with Planers ( despite how beautiful they sound ( Magnapans, Quads and all the rest ).

The $1,000 Focals display the identical sonic qualities as the $4,000 versions ( for my un-tuned & aging ears ) but the utopia version is a good bit more "seductive" and desirable.

Sennheiser have their work cut-out for them, phew!

Tony in Michigan

gevorg's picture

Happy New Year everyone!

ADU's picture

...And everyone at IF!

Jazz Casual's picture

It's a fantastic headphone but one that I'm unlikely to own due to its prohibitive price.

EdAInWestOC's picture

I wonder how the Focal Utopia stacks up against the Stax SR-009 driven by a TOTL estat driver (like the Blue Hawaii). It would be interesting to hear a head to head comparison.

If the Focal Utopia compares favorably or is a close equal to the SR-009 then it should be a pretty easy recommendation. The Stax SR-009/Blue Hawaii combo is in the $10K price range and the Focal is considerably less expensive when paired with a quality headphone amp.

I wonder if someone, somewhere, has both of those headphones with TOTL amps/drivers so a prospective buyer can sit down and make the comparison. I would be interested to compare these headphones out.

I am getting old and time is running out for me. I would love to own the best headphones available and enjoy my music produced as well as possible.

I'll never be able to afford TOTL Wilson speakers (an insane price tag) but I could swing a TOTL Stax or Focal setup. It would be worth it.

Ed

chik0240's picture

I remember I jointed the headphone community around 3 years ago, my first pair was a 2nd hand Shure SRH940 which after 1 year of use it breask, then I browsed around the web and came here, going from driving the phone directly from my Onkyo SE300 sound card's headphone output (quite good actually, from my past experience with the HD650 I think it drives it pretty good)

Then I reached here and ended up with my final setup of Hifiman HE500 paired with auralic Taurus mk II, but then in the past two years we came to ridiculous prices like this.... hope the sky rocket price can stop in the future...

no point to produce a bunch of headphones sounded really good but cost something like a decent car

tony's picture

Stereophile's Michael Fremer ( High Priest of Vinyl ) is today presenting Two Lyra Phono Cartridges with prices in the $10,000-$12,000 price range. Phew. He reports the $12,000 Etna SL to be the Company's best yet. ( presumably there will soon be something even better! )

In Mr.Fremer's Analog World, a proper turntable will cost around $10,000 ( with Arm ).

A useful Phono Pre-Amp will range in the $15,000 ( Audio Research Reference 6 )

The above is just for starters, we still need to purchase those pricy cabling, Pre-Amp, Amps, Speaker Cables and $16,500 Wilson Speakers.

Who do they sell this stuff to? :

1). A 6 Billion World Population has the Top 1% numbering 6 Million. Surely they would be potential customers to try reaching for. ( maybe they simply order "Live" musicians and don't bother with electronics )

The Top 10% number in the 60 Million, this group is known to own Music Systems, why not High-End Audio stuff for the McMansion?, something as good as the Levinson stuff in their Cars.

We "regular" ordinary folks can achieve greatness with a modest Bottlehead Crack & Sennheiser HD600, we can own the finest transducers known to mankind for another $3,000.

Chasing those Gigantic Big Bucks hasn't hit the Headphone World. We can have fine music reproduction and keep our money, lucky us!

Who the hell spends $15,000 for a Pre-Amp?, for god's sake.

Tony in Michigan

drbobbybones's picture

The world population is 7.5 billion people.

The top 1% of this includes 75 million people.

The top 10% of this includes 750 million people.

I bet a few of those could afford $4000 headphones. Even if only 10,000 of these headphones are ever sold, that's $40 million in sales. Not to shabby for Focal.

drbobbybones's picture

"not TOO shabby..."

Can't edit on this stupid comment tree.

tony's picture

Egads, 7.5 Billion, phew, where are they hiding em? My little town in Michigan has about 12,000 of mostly older folks. I'm moving to a Florida Town of 22,000 winter / 9,000 Year-Round residency. If my ancestors weren't a bunch of Criminals ( escaping/emigrating to the US) I'd probably be living in Sweden or Mother Russia, lucky me!

I'm one of the 300 Million US citizens that Won life's lottery.

Tony in Michigan

drbobbybones's picture

I am one of those that won life's lottery as well-my ancestors immigrated here a generation ago.

Anyway, after listening to these headphones on a Chord DAVE (which I already own), I don't think there is anything better sounding at any price. I will likely pick these up someday.

tony's picture

Transducer design and manufacture is progressing. I suspect Sennheiser and other outfits will task their Physicists with further development.
Back in the Vinyl days it hardly mattered.

Today the recording, mixing and mastering engineers can produce digital music files for home reproduction gear capable of phenomenal performance levels.

Much of todays Dave level of performance will ( and is ) migrating into the Smart Phone's Feature Sets!

I suspect the we are less than 5 years away from "everyman's" handheld device becoming a full fledged "Audiophile-level" Music Center.

The Utopia Focal ( and the Elear ) are ultra efficient and fit well with low power amplification devices.

It's all coming together as we sit and watch. Phew!

Today, my little Etymotic or my Sennheiser HD600 are rather "entry" level, yet they are better than any of the High-End Transducer Systems I Imported, Retailed or Manufactured in the mid 1980s' ( all of that being Analog Vinyl based ).

Bon Vivant,

Tony in Michigan

Bennyboy's picture

I picked up a mint Orpheus 2 for a couple of quid in a car boot sale over the weekend and it sounds pretty good.

sszorin's picture

I'll buy Orpheus II from you for 4 dollars - you will make 100% profit.

MessiaaH's picture

Hello, i'd just like to comment on some earlier comments about diminishing returns, and the thought that a 4k$ headphones arent worth it.

I own the following headphones : Grado SR80\SR325, Hifiman HE350\HE1000, Senn HD6xx, Denon D5000\D7000, Focal Utopia, Abyss AB-1266

SO i own a wide variety of headphones, from $100, all the way up to $5500

Back in the day i was very much a supporter of diminishing returns, going from a 500$ D5000 to a 800$ D7000 was very minimal in improvement. But over the past few years the advancement in headphone technology was so substantial that the gap between the low end/budget cans and the high end greatly improved imo. The difference between the very good Senn HD6xx and the HE1000/Focal Utopia/Abyss are dramatic, and to my ears, they are not even remotely close. Once you get to the high end, its a matter of personal taste. Some may prefer the sound of the HE1000, some may prefer the sound of the Abyss. Buts it clear that either of those high end cans destroys the headphones sub 500$ that i've heard.

This brings us to the Focal Utopia. They are overall the best headphones i've ever heard. The HE1000 does some things really well, and the Abyss once fitted correctly does some things really well. But i wouldnt put either of them above the other to say one is "Better" because they both do different things really well, and shine in their respective strengths. But the Utopia is..........different. It really is a game changer, and does alot more things really well all at the same time.

Which brings me to my last point, everything is relative. Someone driving a Kia may think that spending 10 times the amount on a Ferrari is "not worth it", at the end of the day, the kia gets you from point A to B. But to the guy who can afford a Ferrari, it makes sense. Now im quite sure the Guy driving the Kia would want a Ferrari if he could have it, and wouldn't consider someone with the means that buys one "wasting their money" or "not worth it"

Would i like these products to be cheaper? Of course.
But in 2016 and onward, there are a large variety of headphones available at varying price points, to suit everyone's needs.

Enjoy the hobby, enjoy what you can afford, and stop hating on the high end products, which to this utopia owner, is worth every penny.

P.S. Alot of the technology/sound in the Utopia can be found in the Elear for 1/4 the price. #Options.

ADU's picture

Thanks for posting your thoughts, MessiaaH. It helps to put things in some perspective.

I'm pretty happy with my $130 AKGs, even though they require a number of tweaks to really deliver a decent sound to my ears. But I'll put the same question to you (or anyone else who wishes to offer an opinion) that I did to Scientist1 above...

In your opinion, what $300 closed headphone would come closest to sound of the Focal Utopia or your favorite high-end headphone?

tony's picture

I'll share a trick my University of Michigan Ear people presented to me : Cover up the outside of your open Headphone and use Equalization to re-balance the sound to your own hearing curves ( "curves" because each ear hears differently and needs it's own Eq. settings ).

I did this with the Sennheiser HD580/600/650 range to good result.

What comes closest to the Utopia?, probably the Elear.

Tony in Michigan

Augustus's picture

It doesn't make sense to cover the headphones. It changes the FR, so if you EQ the covered headphones - it's not going to sound like the uncovered one you usually listen with.

tony's picture

That's right, why cover?

But it can be done if a person needs to do such a thing.

The transducer doesn't change, the reflected wave is the added new bit which enhances certain frequencies, it's effectively diminished by the Equalizer.

Eq works well with Direct Radiation so viola we have a useful application.

But, why sealed in the first place?

I'll contend that a pair of Eytmotic do a proper job of Isolation, the Ety 4 series are the best "Sealed" solution out there. The Sealed effect of the Ety 4 can be further enhanced by wearing the type of Ear Protection that Small Airplane Pilots wear ( looks like green ear muffs ). Doing something like this creates a "noise Floor" much like an Anechoic Chamber ( which I once had access to at GM ) you can hear your heart beating.

The "Pro" Audio guys work with "Sealed" headphones because of their "noisy" working world.

Still, I can live with any "solution" that Tyll suggests, he has some Sealed Cans on his famous "Wall of Fame", I think. I simply don't need more than the Ety 4 series for my work & travel ( I traveled with two pair of Etys ). Two pair fit in my shirt pocket.

Tony in Michigan

Jazz Casual's picture

Congratulations on rationalising the purchase of the Utopia in your own mind. However, I can't help wondering if someone who uses the term "destroys" to convey the difference in (sound) quality between high-end and sub $500 headphones, really grasps what "diminishing returns" means.

MessiaaH's picture

I can speak about diminishing returns in different classes. Like i said, going from an HD650 to say a Denon D7000 for double the price, is massive diminishing returns. Or going from a solid 500$ Amp (say the jotunheim) to a Ragnarock offers diminishing returns. But the Utopia really are in a different class to the HD650s, i can spend time detailing why, but there are enough articles and opinions out there. But to my ears, destroy is a fitting description when comparing those 2. I started with Grado SR60 for 60$ and worked my way up over the years, i very much understand diminishing returns, And wont recommend anyone go past say the HD650+jotunheim unless they have extra cash, a love for headphones, and ready to make the jump to flagship territory. Is going from a Kia to a Lamborghini or Ferrari diminishing returns? And if you could own a Lambo or Ferrari would you?

So much hate for high end products in our hobby, by guys who haven't actually heard any of them. Sigh.

Also, its just my honest opinion guys. To each his own.

jaredjcrandall84's picture

I am fairly new to audio but I support the notion that the extra 10% increase to sound quality adds an extra 90% in enjoyment. The difference in experience being "these sound good" to "these are really exciting, fun, and enjoyable", the latter of course being the extra 10% that pushes the sound to a desire to continue to return. Of course this is subjective as some people love hd650 with bottlehead crack--ha, speaking for myself--but I have been explored other more expensive realms because little things can be added that make the experience transcend to the latter sound i described. Just a shame that means spending so much more :(

Martin.'s picture

I have to agree with Messia. I don't understand why it's a big a deal because if you look at speakers you will find the same disparity in prices. There are some speakers which I know I will never be able to afford just because their prices are not geared towards the middle class. These headphones are obviously good enough to excuse their price, but that doesn't mean everyone can afford them. Not everyone owns a flagship computer or phone either.

MessiaaH's picture

Very correct. Some people spend 400 bucks and game on a console and are content, others spend 3000$ on a high end gaming PC because they want the best experience possible.

Some are ok with a 24" 1080p monitor, others want the latest 34" 4k panel.
Some are fine with the low end galaxy phone, others want the Note 7 (ok bad example :P)
Some guys are ok with a point and shoot, others want a dslr.

In the tech industry, there is always going to be the high end products that's pushing the boundaries of technological innovation and capabilities and are priced accordingly. And this segment needs to exist because it brings in more $ for R&D to keep advancing, and eventually these innovations are pushed down into the budget products.

And if we as audio fans cant realize this, best we go back to using Pigeons for sending messages.

The beautiful thing is, there are options for all at all price points. No need to be upset for an expensive product, when there is a product priced just right, just for you.

Jazz Casual's picture

"Destroys" is a ridiculous description - period. And why do people who use such hyperbole always resort to using luxury care analogies in support of their claims? High-end headphones have little in common with them. If you must use analogies, then try using some that at least seem appropriate, such as high-end loudspeakers for example.

Rather than comparing a $4000 headphone to those that are in the sub $500, why don't you compare the Utopia to the HD800, which can be had for less than $1500. Given that the HD800 is technically comparable, then choosing the Utopia over it is an example of paying considerably more money for a "diminishing return". And I wonder whether you could consistently identify a "night and day" difference in performance between the Jotunheim and Ragnarok in a double-blind test.

I don't "hate" high-end products and I have heard the Utopia. It's an excellent headphone, as it should be for the price. Rather than audio fans abandoning emails for pigeons, perhaps you could stop using confused analogies to justify what you spend your discretionary income on.

MessiaaH's picture

Clearly you have not read the rest of my comments, or understood what i wrote.

When i referenced the Jotunheim i was implying that going up to the rag in that case would be diminishing returns.

I've also said there is a gap between the low end/mid range stuff and the high end. And once you enter high end/flagship territory, its more about preference than one phone being "better" and diminishing returns can be obviously seen there. Like going from the $2000 HE1000 to the $4500 Abyss.

And whether or not you think "destroy" not an appropriate description, its the one i chose to use, deal with it :)

And i agree with you, it doesnt make sense to compare a 200$ product (HD6xx) with a 4000$ product (Utopia). But that's exactly what alot of commentators on this page has done, and basically implied that going from a HD650 doesn't make sense because how much better can it get.

My answer is.....ALOT! better, to the fact that i specifically used the word "Destroy"
The gap is that large. IMO.

There are also many comparisons between the Flagship Cans that can be read, but i was specifically addressing the idea that the Utopia is not worth it over something like the hd650. Night and day, destroyed, laid low, taken down. Use whatever description you're comfortable with :)

Jazz Casual's picture

I have read your posts but I must confess that I find your reasoning perplexing. As I understand it, you have found that there is a dramatic difference in performance between high-end and mid-fi headphones, but these differences are not as apparent when one enters the high-end realm. You believe that it becomes more a matter of personal preference than anything else when comparing and making headphone choices in the high-end because their performance is of a similar level. So in other words, you are saying that diminishing returns really only apply to the high-end. Then you go on to undermine this very point by saying that "everything is relative", which makes such distinctions pointless.

Well I have some news for you, diminishing returns can apply to entry-level, mid-fi and high-end headphones. For example, if someone listens to a Grado SR-60 and compares it to an SR-80, and then concludes that the difference between them is almost imperceptible but decides to buy the SR-80 because it's the more expensive and supposedly better model, they have just experienced diminishing returns in headphone audio.

Tyll's reviews here have been critical of the price/performance ratio of a number of high-end headphones, and he has challenged the manufacturers to lift their game in that product category. He has generally been more enthusiastic about offerings in the mid-fi category, however.

Having made a distinction in headphone performance based on price, you have mounted the classic audiophoole's argument that assumes more expensive is "better". We've seen many examples of mid-fi headphones that "punch above their weight" here, and of flagship headphones that have been disappointing or worse. And it's apparent that Tyll doesn't think that the prices of many of the high-end headphones that he has reviewed are justified by their performance.

I've not heard the HD650 so I can't comment on how it compares to the Utopia, but I'm inclined to think that it would not be "destroyed" by it. Outperformed by the Utopia in certain areas yes, but "destroyed" - I doubt it. You can believe that the Utopia is "a lot better" but if someone has heard both and prefers the HD650 because they find it say, less fatiguing than the Utopia, then it's highly likely they're going to think that the Utopia is not worth it - to them. As you said, "everything is relative".

And I have dealt with your use of the word "destroy" by calling it for what it is - ridiculous. It's an absurd exaggeration to use for comparing the differences in performance between headphones or any other audio components for that matter. They are rarely that great unless they're broken.

MessiaaH's picture

Yea, so you clearly have not read anything, because i've used the same example you've used to describe diminishing returns. I've said that i've experienced diminishing returns when i started my journey, which i started on an sr60, then sr80, grado 325, HD650, D5000, D7000. And i've experienced diminishing returns there.Especially going from D5K to D7K which were substantially different in price.

Going from my HeadRoom Ultra Stack to the RSA Dark Star was also diminishing returns. Improves yes, drastic? no.

And you say i can continue to "believe" lol, i own every headphone im commenting about, so its not a matter of what i "believe" Its a matter of what i hear. An i preference every statement with "IMO". And ill repeat.

In My Opinion, and to MY ears. There is a drastic difference in performance, when going from HD650/HE350/D5000/D7000 to HEK/Abyss/Utopia.
And the different between the HD6xx and Utopia specifically, to my ears, are so great that the HD6xx has been destroyed by the Utopias. If someone ultimately prefers the HD6xx because of whatever reason, fatigue you mentioned, then that's.......their opinion. My opinion is, the HD6xx is now in my collection as a reference piece to compare new gears, but ill never reach for them over the utopias, like ever. If i want less fatiguing, ill reach for the HE1000. which performs in a similar class to the utopia, whiles offering that less fatiguing flavor.

For years i've been buying new cans an upgrading, and every upgrade didnt feel drastic or dramatic. But when i went to the LCD3, my eyes were opened to a whole new level of performance. It's never happened before those cans. And never happened since, because i consider the HEK/Abyss/Utopia playing in the LCD3 class of performance.

But what i'll also say is. Those cans are all different flavours and do different things really well. Abyss slams really hard, HEK is a nice lush listen with great expansive bass. But the utopia does alot of different things really well all at the same time without sacrificing any of the others. So though its not a dramatic jump as when i went from Mid-Fi to High End, its one of those special moments non-theless, that 1 headphone can do all of these things really well at the same time.

It's currently my fav HP in my collection. And thus i totally agree with the point of this article : "Product Of The Year"

^^ Non of this is "Fact", its all my personal honest opinion.

And FTR, when folks with less means, or now entering ask what cans to get. I tell them try to spend the 200$ for the HD6xx and they'll be ok for a long time. But if you have $4000 sitting around, and you dont know what to do with it, and you love this hobby, go buy the Utopia Now :)

(demo first of course, tastes and all that)

#Destroyed. (OK, im teasing now lol)

Jazz Casual's picture

The problem I have with your posts is that they're, well, baffling. In your first post you say that you were "very much a supporter of diminishing returns". You refer to your experience with the D5000 and D7000 as an example. You only noticed a minimal improvement in performance between those two headphone models from Denon. I can understand that as they were from the same manufacturer. Improvements in performance can seem only subtle as we move up the product line from the same manufacturer; diminishing returns in other words. The same could be said (and has been said) of the Focal Elear and Utopia, however, which presents you with a problem I think.

You say that due to advancements in headphone technology, the performance gap between entry-level/budget/lo-fi headphones and todays high-end headphones has increased. You then go on to say that todays high-end headphones such as the Abyss and HE1000 "destroys" the sub-$500 headphones that you've heard. You do realise that the D7000 was a high-end headphone in its day and was retailing for just under a grand. So what are you trying to say here? Are you saying that your D7000 didn't "destroy" your Grado SR-80 as completely as the HE1000 does? And if so, do you realise how silly that sounds?

My take away from your posts is that you used to believe in the notion of diminishing returns but think that doesn't apply to todays high-end headphones because they "destroy" everything that has gone before them that cost significantly less. That is your opinion. My opinion is that you are exaggerating the differences and that your position is confused. By way of example, if the Utopia "destroys' the HD6xx then why would you use the latter to evaluate gear rather than the former? I suspect that you reach for the Utopia over the HD6xx because it's your latest high-end headphone acquisition and your favourite - currently. And why wouldn't you when it cost around $3,800 more?

Once again, congratulations on rationalising the purchase of the Utopia, HE1000, Abyss and the rest of your headphone collection in your own mind. It's an ability that you share with audiophiles the world over.

MessiaaH's picture

My believing in diminishing returns doesnt make my statements false. Is the reason the current flagships to my ears outclasses the midrange is becuase of advanced technology? maybe. Tech improves and around the planar explosion maybe the game has changed to the point where i think the previous gen of stuff gets outclassed. Eventually all new tech gets pushed down the pike though, elear for e.g. Which is still high end. But eventually there'll be a 400$ elear with alot of the same tech to occupy the midrange and re-establish traditional diminishing returns model. Who knows. And i can only speak on what i've heard. And what im saying is. To my ears, the HEK/Abyss/Utopia outclasses the HD650,D5000,D7000 all of them. Does stepping up from an elear to a utopia offer diminishing returns? i dont know, i havent heard them. what i do know is, going from a hd650 to utopia is dramatic. Also, i keep many headphones in my collection, including the lower end ones, i even have a $100 HE350. I keep them to be able to compare them to other cans, so when friends ask me "how's X" i can gave them an opinion based on cans on hand. So when i got the HD6xx, i didnt compare it to the utopia, didnt intend to, i compared it to the HE350, D5000, etc. So then i could tell folks, HD6xx is better than HE350 in this way, whiles HE350 is better in this way. etc etc etc. And after i was finished with those comparisons, and getting used to the HD6xx sound, and put the utopia back on my head, i was like.......wow. If the HD6xx sounded better or just as good as the utopia, id simply return the utopia, and spend my 4k$ on something else. And if you're still confused at this point. Then. nothing else i can say.

The utopia is awesome.

Jazz Casual's picture

I didn't accuse you of making false statements, just confusing ones. I have no doubt that you are being sincere.

Yes, the technology is evolving and you appreciate it, but that doesn't explain why someone might prefer the Stax 009 (a four year old headphone) or the HD800 (a seven year old headphone) over the Utopia, and I know of people who do.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that the hd6xx is the equal of the Utopia. I'd be surprised if the Utopia didn't outperform it in a number of areas, including the quality of materials used, but you're the one who uses it as a reference to evaluate gear rather than the Utopia. Maybe the Utopia's more vivid and dynamic presentation makes it less suitable for that purpose than the hdxx. I really don't know, but the fact that you have kept the HDxx suggests that it hasn't outlived it's usefulness to you, and that the Utopia hasn't completely "destroyed" it.

Do I really need to remind you that all you are doing here is expressing your personal preferences, which are entirely subjective? I'm not questioning them, just your logic. Just enjoy your headphone purchases rather than trying to justify them. Try as we may, there's nothing rational about being an audiophile

I do share your opinion that the Utopia is an excellent headphone.

MessiaaH's picture

The hd6xx is not my reference headphone. It's just one of the headphones in my collection. When I get a new headphone I compare them to everything that I own in the same class. So if someone has about 200$ to spend, I can tell them the pros and cons, similarities differences etc, between cans in that price range that I own to help them decide. Hd6xx just happens to be one of those. But if that person has 4k$ to spend, and already experienced the low end stuff, then I'd not even mention the 6xx.the utopia completely destroys it, and no matter how much you try, that's my opinion and it's not going to change. If someone is playing in that price range, I'll talk to them about utopia, HEK, lcd3, Abyss the totl cans I have experience with.

I have a D5000 model and a D7000 model in my collection also. I never listen to them unless I wanna do some comparisons. And want a point of reference for the price point, closed back, age, etc. All part of the hobby bro. Yes the 6xx still has its uses, it's the best sub 500$ headphones I've heard. But when it comes to my own personal listening. Only cans hitting my head are my 3 flagships. The others are for comparisons and just to have in my collection.

We're going in circles though. So I'll just continue to enjoy my utopias now.

Jazz Casual's picture

From your earlier post: "My opinion is, the HD6xx is now in my collection as a reference piece to compare new gears,".

You're repeating yourself "bro". I suggest you take the advice that I offered in my previous post and give the keyboard a break.

MessiaaH's picture

It's the best sub 500$ HP I've heard, which I've also stated, so it's a reference peice in its price point, but I won't be using it as a reference to compare high end gear, different class. Stop nit picking lol. Go enjoy your mid range gear. Utopia's are not for everyone :)

Jazz Casual's picture

Thanks for clarifying. Your other posts would benefit from you doing that.

Now you're getting personal, which is telling. Not only is your last remark uncalled for, it's incorrect. You have no idea which headphones I own so don't pretend to know that you do. As you like to make a point of saying, "clearly you have not read or understood what I wrote" regarding the Utopia, so let me make it crystal clear for you, I think it's an excellent headphone - ok?

Now if you won't take my advice, then at least take your own and "continue to enjoy" your "utopias now" before your posts degenerate further.

MessiaaH's picture

You can have the last word :)
Enjoy.

Jazz Casual's picture

Happy listening.

ADU's picture
Quote:

I do share your opinion that the Utopia is an excellent headphone.

Don't think I've ever seen two people agree more contentiously!
: )

The insights in both your posts are appreciated though.

Jazz Casual's picture

That's the internet for you. ;)

Jazz Casual's picture

In the absence of an edit function which is frustrating, I meant to type "car" instead of "care" after "luxury" and omitted to include "category" after "sub $500". I'd probably change "confused" to "flawed analogies" if this site would it. Apologies for the unnecessary addendum.

tony's picture

you can "Preview" which allows for editing.

Tony in Michigan

Jazz Casual's picture

I forgot about that. :)

tony's picture

What we can do is : nominate our own "Product of the Year 2016"

These opinions would and could prove to be a useful Sum.

I'll nominate the Felikes Amp that is consistantly in HeadFi's top ten Active threads. It's a superb sounding tube-rolling Amp, made in Poland, well under $1,000 US. It improves the sound of all headphones!

Tony in Michigan

ADU's picture

I'll try to think of somethin I can recommend,... maybe some nice tunes on YT?

I re-read Tyll's original review as well, and had a few thoughts for the other newbs on how to get their HPs to sound more Utopia-ish. Keeping distortion to a minimum, and smoothing out bumps and imbalances in the frequency response would probably be near the top of that list.

Euler's picture

I consider myself to be a responsible and, dare I say it, frugal man. If you were to look at the items I buy from the grocery store you'd notice a lot of generic/store brand items (including the underrated store brand cereal). I try to live within my means, and if I can save money without sacrificing quality I'll gladly do it.

With that being said I'm a music enthusiast who doesn't mind spending money on the hobby if I notice a major improvement. I had been considering an upgrade for a few years, but I had a hard time believing that the skyrocketing prices of TOTL headphones were actually worth my hard earned money. I went out of my way to try as many flagship headphones as possible. I ended up staying with my old workhorse headphones. I had pretty much given up on finding a worthwhile upgrade until I heard the hype about the Focal Utopia. The glowing reviews sounded too good to be true. Well after trying out a demo pair I can say that these cans are truly special. It's easily the best headphone I've ever heard. Is it worth $4000? I can't answer that question for anyone else. To me they are worth the price of admission. I ended up buying the demo headphone and am completely satisfied with my purchase.

karomi's picture

was very interesting and beautiful
Kondom Duri

andrejones's picture

$4,000 for a headphone? No matter how good it is, I'm not paying that.

Andre

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