Focal Utopia 2022 - Dynamic Driver Over-Ear Open-Back Headphones - Official Discussion Thread

This is the place to discuss the Focal Utopia 2022, Focal’s update on their original flagship headphones that were released in 2016, the Focal Utopia.

From Focal

Specifications

TITLE DESCRIPTION
Impedance 80 Ohms
Sensitivity 104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
THD <0.2 % @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
Frequency response 5Hz – 50kHz
Speaker driver 19/16" (40mm) pure beryllium ‘M’-shaped dome
Weight 1.08lbs (490g)

Forged recycled carbon yokes

Help the Utopia mould perfectly to your head

Honeycomb grilles

Ensure openness and full decompression of the speaker driver.

M-Shaped pure beryllium dome speaker drivers

Create exceptional clarity of sound.

The new Focal Utopia 2022 is available today and will also be at CanJam SoCal tomorrow so everyone in attendance will have the chance to listen!

What do you think of Focal’s newest announcement?

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Here are the Focal Utopia 2022 measurements done on the GRAS 43AG with KB5000 pinna:

I will post the comparison to the OG Utopia shortly.

You can think of the 2022 Utopia as being extremely similar acoustically to the original, just slightly warmer. So if you found the original Utopia to be a bit too bright, the Utwopia might be more to your taste. But they’re also similar enough for the rest of their tuning to where if you loved the original, you’re probably going to be into the new version, and if you weren’t into the original - unless you specifically wanted it to be slightly warmer - it’s unlikely to change your mind.

Personally, I think they’re both great, and for sound quality I don’t really have a meaningful preference either way. They both have that slight mid forward flavor to them, and I think yeah the new Utopia does soften some of the treble peaks a bit, but for whatever reason I never heard the original Utopia as being sharp or fatiguing up there. I think this is where the smoothness of the target isn’t a fair indicator of treble performance, and I’m sure unsmoothed rig vs human HRTF variation plays a role there.

If you own the original… should you get the new one? I’d say probably not, unless of course you’re all about the new aesthetic change and just want to have it. And I also wouldn’t say the new one is ‘better’ outright, as that’s going to come down to what individual people are looking for. We’re talking about like a 2dB difference here in the treble.

But if you were hesitant about the Utopia before given some of the reports of it being a bit sharp in the treble, well then I guess worry no more with this new one.

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I need to hear it for myself. The old version had brutal piercing treble peaks to my ears, and so it was a non-starter.

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Here’s the Utopia 2022 vs the original:

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frequency response is near identical… can’t wait to hear more reviews/impressions from the show and official reviews. Been waiting for a new utopia for a few years now.

2-3dB in the treble above 5khz basically.

I was hoping for a bit more of a bass shelf on the new one. Oh well… wait for some reviews. There are a couple of interesting new releases one in particular the DAC Expanse plus they upped the price for the new Utopia to $5k. Ouch. Should make the used units for sale that much more attractive since there is not so much difference in SQ apparently?

Curse you and your honest opinions! I need you to say the 2022 Utopia is a step up in every way so that I can finally afford an OG Utopia! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I’m keeping an eye open for some “open box” deals as retailers move old stock.

Regards,
Vic

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I’m trying to keep an open mind, but from what I see so far (WAY to soon to judge, I confess), this is the same as Clear OG vs Clear MG. Utopia OG left very little to be desired IMO, so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Utopia OG is already bumping up against the ceiling of what is technologically possible with dynamic drivers, I’m not sure lowering the treble slightly is what I would call an “upgrade”.

And of course, now that I’ve said this publicly I will obviously hear the Newtopia, love it, and upgrade. Because that’s how things work. lol

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In the headfi review video they commented that the jump from Utopia '20 → '22 was even greater than the HD800 → 800S leap. In your opinion is this primarily the increased treble above 5k leading to the perception of wider stage, improved imaging, and greater resolution? Or are there some technical capability improvements outside of tuning? Doesn’t seem that there was much change in the driver implementation.

Wondering if the clipping issue was improved with new version. That could make a difference with regards to purchase

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Other way around, Utopia 2022 has less treble - i need to fix the colors on that.

And, i somewhat disagree with Jude on this, even though his review was extremely well done and everyone should watch it. I never found the original utopia to be too sharp in the treble. With that said, for those who did, the new utopia would probably be a more meaningful upgrade. So i guess it depends on the person?

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ok we’ll wait for your official review then… will be interested if you’re finding anything different in technical performance aside form some slight changes in tuning/FR.

I was actually chatting with Crin about it last night, we both agreed that the original Utopia was smoother in the treble than the HD800 and HD800S, so it could be an HRTF variation where some folks hear those peaks as sharp, while for others it’s the right kind of “HRTFy”, but there’s also always the possibility of unit variation or common pad variation that explains this difference.

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I hear the HD 800 S as diffuse or atmospheric in the treble. This may be ‘roughness’, but it’s randomized and not piercing. I have a similar take on the OG Clear but to a lesser extent.

The OG Utopia and Elex were capable of generating pure, narrow, clean high notes. Over time these wore on me and led to cringing and dread. I think that’s also why some hear these as brassy or metallic (I did at first) – the very pure notes create a sawtooth effect similar to a trumpet.

That’s what I perceive.

Fwiw I’ve heard the treble on the og utopia be either relaxed or energetic depending on the chain. So maybe source gear contributes to a significant amount of difference for a flagship hp that costs $4-$5k. And it’s not helping that the og utopia is a very picky hp on pairing, at least from my experience.

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