Make it Rain with the €100,000 Focal Utopia by Tournaire

Happy days, zero point one percenters, have I got a deal for you!

Just a few months ago Focal released it's flagship Utopia headphone ($4000), and man is it good. I called it the world's best headphone in my review. Not only does it sound good, but it's extremely well built using excellent materials, and it looks absolutely terrific. Well, now it's gotten even better with recent announcement of the bedazzling Focal Utopia by Tournaire (€100,000). Just look at it sparkle! (photo above)

Now, there's going to be a lot of backlash on the headphone forums about these headphones. Don't listen to it. You have to understand that for years headphone enthusiasts have been confronted with the blingy, over-the-top luxury headphones.

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The Beats by Dre Studio variants being the most vulgar example. The garish gem crusts concealed within one of the worst sounding headphones of the time. A candy-coated turd. Is it any wonder headphone enthusiasts revile at the thought of a $100,000 headphone.

But this is different. This is a really, really, really good headphone. Even at this price, there's enough performance to get some sort of ratio out of it. What do you say? Let's put that trickle down economics to work and spend some cash. A hundred grand? Trump change! Let's try to really make it rain.

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The gorgious and terrific sounding Astell&Kern AK380.

How about going portable with your Utopia by Tournaire? The sexiest portable player I've seen is the solid copper edition of the AK380 ($3999). Not only does this player sound great and store a ton of music, it has all sorts of cool features for networked listening—like music on your server or from streaming services. You'll have to replace that long dangly cable though...it'll make your Armani suit all lumpy when you wad it up in your coat pocket. I'd suggest calling Moon Audio and asking them to whip something up for you that will work in the balanced output of the AK380. You'll spend maybe $600.

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The fugly but great sounding Apex Pinnacle tube amp, and Solid-state Pass Labs HPA-1.

Home use? Sky's the limit, really. For front end electronics I'd suggest perusing the class-A gear on Stereophile's recommended components lists. For vacuum tube headphone amps, I really like Pete Millett's Pinnacle ($10,000), it sounds just glorious. I know it looks like the south end of a north-facing bulldog, but think how good your Utopia by Tournaire will look next to it. And for solid-state? Nobody does it like Pass Labs...here's their HPA-1 ($3500). Then, why not cable it all up with Nordost Heimdall 2 headphone cables...about $800.

Well, there you go, big guy. Let's just add it all up and...one, carry the two...throw in the matching headphone stand and a stock Utopia as a spare in case you need to upgrade the gemstones in your main cans and call it an even $150 grand. Don't delay, mate, they only made six of these Utopia by Tournaire headphones. Pull that titanium plated, carbon fiber reinforced, platinum Master Card out of your Ethiopian lamb skin wallet and turn that trickle into a torrent.

Make it rain, baby, make it rain.

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COMMENTS
ultrabike's picture

But...

Mountain View
Tyll Hertsens's picture
I wonder if people get my humor sometimes.
ultrabike's picture

I think I do :)

The market can be crazy sometimes.

zobel's picture

...and do they come with a factory warranty? Are parts available? :-)

OldRoadToad's picture

With regard to those headphones and the people that would own/wear them... Repulsive. Yogurt or a high school petri dish have more culture.

Cultural Philistines.

ORT

Argyris's picture

I look at it this way. This isn't a €100,000 headphone. This is a $4,000 headphone (*sigh* ten years ago I would have laughed) made of considerably more expensive materials, then marked up even more for the sake of exclusivity. It's like if I commissioned a solid gold designer toilet and sold it for $100 million--the first $37 million or so would be for the gold; the remainder would be for the exclusivity of having a golden commode, fashioned, of course, by some famous designer as a one-off.

I guess if you're in the market for something like this, you don't really care if it's a headphone or a piece of jewelry (or a toilet). The functionality of the object is unimportant. The exclusivity is all that matters.

Here's an exercise for the reader: If you were forced to judge, who's worse? The person who buys the Utopia by Tournaire, or the person who buys the equivalent of €100,000 worth of audio equipment based on ostensible claims of performance superiority? And, maybe the knottiest question of all, are the underlying motivations behind these two people's purchases necessarily all that different?

hanshopf's picture

Haha, not bad. But even the 100.000$ version will not be very comfortable for people with small heads. I just sent my Utopia back to the dealer because fit was relatively loose on my smaller than average head. I would have coped with not ideal fit, but the character of sound changes strongly with even slight changes of clamping pressure and/or the vertical angle of the driver at the ear entrance. Unfortunately it is not possible to fix the angel with a screw. On my head with loose fit the Utopia sounds brighter than the brightest and worst AKG. Only added pressure and slightly changed angle would give me the real quality of the Utopia. Seems like I am the first unhappy customer of this potentially marvelous headphone. Hopefully people with big bugs generally are equipped with bigger heads than me... . :)

Peragulator's picture

Gold plated MSB Select system for $250,000 plus another $499.00 for the gold plated hammer to clock yourself in the head if anyone buys this junk.

MattTCG's picture

The new Sony GOLD plated nw-wm1z might have been appropriate for this article. At least they did it in the name of absolute sonic potential instead of bling :-)

nigelf's picture

I wonder if Tyll has the full authority to pick and chose what he want to review or he takes order from his management;)

tony's picture

Oh daddy, thank you but I wanted the Beats.

Geez, this outfit have the Customer Base for stuff like this!

There exists an outfit that makes ( and Sells ) $5,000 Shower Curtains.

The United States has an Asset Value of approx. 120 Trillion Dollars, the Top 10% own 70% of it. the Top 1% own most of the 70%. These folks live in their own world where middle-class values don't apply, they have their own set of laws and for the most part have Diplomatic Immunity.

The Vast majority of this Class have inherited, they're born with the winning ticket to Life's Lottery.

Inheritance TAX keeps us from creating Royalty Class, it's a Campaign Issue in the Nov. Elections.

Doesn't V-Moda have some super pricy stuff?

Tony in Michigan

Sedusia Sound's picture

"But this is different. This is a really, really, really good headphone"

I don't care how good this headphone is, they took an attractive headphone and made it gaudy and just as vulgar as the other headphones shown.

It's like taking a hypercar and putting a gold foil wrap on it.

Crass, pure crass.

And that .gif, like all .gif's used on web pages are annoying.

gibtg's picture

I don't know whether to commend the company for picking the Utopia as a platform or scold them for what they're doing :)

Jazz Casual's picture

And it will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

SoapBox Sound's picture

"The Utopia by Tournaire being the most vulgar example. A garish candy-coated turd. Is it any wonder headphone enthusiasts revile at the thought of a $100,000 headphone." - Quite right.

sp0525's picture

Yes,

Sennheiser HE1 system ($50,000~) now suddenly looks reasonable, only for ten seconds..

ultrabike's picture
No
jeffporter's picture

I was able to bring my grandfather back from the grave using this cable...Pure magick. Albeit very, very black.

ultrabike's picture
Wait until you use the headphone.
gibtg's picture

Speaking of extravagance... Tyll, when will you be looking at the Bowers P9? ;P

KerrieFoster's picture

Jesus, they look so great! Focal Utopia is my dream from this moment! I'm not sure that I could save up enough money on different kind of research paper formats, but I'll try anyway) Thanks for the review, it's awesome.