Beryllium Drive Aesthetic Build Quality
Its 35 years of speaker design experience is shown here. The highlight is the 40mm Beryllium drive unit, which covers the frequency range from 5Hz to 50kHz, and is shaped to deliver exactly the kind of dispersion the engineers wanted.
The company is already strongly associated with Beryllium drive units, thanks to its use in the brand’s high-end tweeters, and the material’s combination of low weight, rigidity, and damping work equally well in this application.
The use of a single drive unit doesn’t give the engineers much room to tailor the performance. There’s no crossover to adjust or multiple drivers to balance, just the cone material, diaphragm shape, and surround to play with. If there’s some drive unit flaw, it can’t be hidden and is harder to correct.
Fortunately, Focal has built its business around drive units and has been developing them for decades, so if anyone can make a single driver configuration work properly, it can.
High-Quality Sound with Optimum Comfort
The Utopia, which was the first headphone released by Focal, immediately rose to prominence for its noteworthy performance. Since its introduction, the sonic experience it delivers has been met with great acclaim, with many listeners going as far as calling it the world’s best headphone.
The Utopias are an open design – help for the engineers tasked with getting them to sound good, but a pain for everyone who hears Springsteen’s Born To Run as you rock out.
Openness goes both ways, and you’ll find all sorts of noises intruding on your experience if you don’t find a quiet place to listen. They’re comfortable though, and that’s despite a weight of 490g. This is down to a carefully shaped and nicely padded headband (that suits a wide variety of head sizes) and sensible distribution of mass.
Both the headband and nicely cushioned memory foam earpads are covered with some wonderfully tactile lambskin. The open design means that long listening sessions don’t end with hot, sweaty ears, either.
As you’d expect at this level, these Focals are built beautifully, combining leather, carbon fiber, and metal to produce a product that feels like it’ll last for years. The earpads are easy to replace, which bodes well for a product that should be in use for decades.
The headphones are supplied with a surprisingly heavy 4m long lead, which is terminated at one end by a sturdy Neutrik 6.3mm jack and the other, earpiece end, by a pair of two-pin lockable Lemo connectors. The cable is shielded and uses high-quality oxygen-free copper and is designed for low impedance characteristics.
If you want to hear the Utopia at their best, you’ll have to feed them with a quality signal. While we’re all for using smartphones and tablets as music sources, it means you’ll only get the loosest idea of what the Utopias can do.
- Circum-aural open back headphones
- Frequency Response: 5Hz – 50kHz (-3 dB)
- Nominal impedance: 80 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
- THD: <0,2% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
- Weight (without cable): 490g (1.08lb)
- Connecting cable: 6.35mm (1/4“) Neutrik® stereo Jack connector (to the amplifier). 2 shielded Lemo® connectors with self-locking bayonet system (to headphones)