Focal launches a new line of High-End Headphones. Utopia at 4k EUR is a flagship headphone implements Beryllium “M” dome and is made in France...
Utopia is Focal’s flagship product. The sound quality is striking in terms of realism, neutrality, dynamics and clarity. The user will forget the headphones are even there, and the reproduction of the audio signal is of unrivalled clarity. The Beryllium “M” dome delivers music and speech with an ease and naturalness unheard previously from headphones. Particular attention has also been paid to the design in terms of types of use, comfort and overall aesthetics. The shifting of the articulation to the inside of the headband is the perfect example of this, and gives the carbon fibre yoke a perfectly smooth and seamless design. The lambskin leather sourced in New Zealand, chosen after many alternative samples were examined, tested and even auditioned, used for the ear cushions and headband emphasises the sleek design, the high performance and the comfort of Utopia, and creates a sense of elegance. Supplied with a 4m OFC cable, including a Neutrik® 6.35mm (1/4“) stereo plug and two shielded Lemo® connectors with self-locking bayonet system.
Utopia headphones are the result of a rather risky challenge: to offer an audio experience worthy of the brand’s high-fidelity loudspeakers through two new products. In order to achieve this, Focal approached the design of the various components in these headphones very differently to other players in the market. Focal’s desire was to bring the sound and feeling of listening to its high-end Utopia loudspeakers to headphones.
The first obvious aspect is the extent of the open design of these two products. When Utopia are being worn, the sensation is remarkable: there is no change in perception in terms of room size. This desire to not have an impact on the feeling of the room the user is in, clearly contributes to the realistic sound of these two headphones.
The next step for Focal’s mechanical engineers and designers was to improve the comfort of the headphones. There are still many high-end headphones which no doubt offer excellent performance, but comfort is a difficult issue over long periods. So, Focal focused on designing a headband with a constant bend, regardless of the size of the user’s head size. This spreads the weight of the headphones evenly over the head to avoid the feeling of pressure on the head or ears, which is all too often the case with other products.
The yoke developed for these two projects is also very impressive, both in terms of purity of the design and in terms of comfort. The yoke doesn’t have traditional vertically rotating mechanics, as this has been integrated into the headband.
The ear-piece also deserves praise for its remarkable aesthetics and its impressive open design. This avoids any mechanical compression of the transducers while preserving exceptionally realistic sound. Equipped with high-density memory foam, the headphones provide perfect sealing and adapt seamlessly to heads of all shapes and sizes.
By refusing to accept the compromise of having ports, which would of course allow for numerous tuning possibilities, particularly in the low end, Focal’s priority was to get rid of the distortion typically experienced with this type of open design. The only limit with this concept is the necessity to conceive the headphones from the start around a loudspeaker with a perfect frequency response. The only possibility for sound tuning would come down to the choice of materials and their properties, for example the magnet, the voice coil, the surround or, of course, the dome. There was just one watchword: to have the lightest moving assembly possible in order to be able to reproduce the highest frequencies.
A characteristic which really sets Focal apart is its ability to innovate and push back the limits in the field of speaker drivers, while managing its own industrial process at the production site based in Saint-Etienne, France.
The only means of succeeding with these acoustic challenges was to perfectly master the development and production processes. For this reason, a whole new production line was developed at the Saint-Etienne site for manufacturing Utopia and Elear.