The Focal Utopia is a tremendously musical headphone and one of the very best open-back dynamic headphones ever produced.
You would expect crazy praise for such an extremely costly high-end headphone, but its deep comprehension, beautiful balance and consummate detail shocked even the most experienced members of our headphone.com review team. Audiophiles wanting the most holographically precise sound with absolutely no excess, bloat or coloration need to hear the Utopia as soon as possible.
Like a headphone teleportation device from the future, the Focal Utopia beams you up and materializes you right into the inner reality of a performance. Maybe the best analogy we can make is the Focal Utopia headphone is the closest thing to participating in a studio recording session or sitting in the most acoustically perfect seat at the show.
At the beating heart of the Utopia’s sound quality are 40mm 100% pure beryllium rare element drivers featuring Focal’s patent-pending ‘M-shaped’ dome design that allows for astonishingly fast straight-line driver excursion movement. The strict linear movement of the driver dome and surrounding materials reduces distortion specs to negligible rates while increasing the power and extension of the Utopia’s low-end response. The open earcups eliminate undue loading or backpressure within the driver enclosure which can result in a blurry or smeared sound at critical frequencies. The combination of these scientific advances contribute to the expressive, lovely sound of the Utopia which has the most wonderfully simple, spacious clarity of any high-end reference headphone.
The Focal Utopia is indeed stunningly clear and tonally precise, but don’t think it is a clinical or analytic-sounding headphone. Just the opposite, the Utopia marries its penetrating resolution and quick transient speed to a full-bodied warmth and lush timbre that actually sounds like real live music with all its subtle delicacy, slam and emotion intact. And it’s all presented within the most stable, atmospheric soundstage image we’ve heard in any headphone.
The Utopia’s deep-field imaging is not overly spread out or too thinly populated. Instead, it has an infinitely layered, richly detailed perspective that allows the subtlest musical or production nuances to shine through with a completely realistic ambience and an almost tactile sense of dimension. The Utopia is an immensely exciting headphone but not because the presentation is exaggerated or hyped in any way. The chills and thrills come simply because of the previously obscured details you now get to hear clearly with the Focal Utopia every time you listen to your favorite music. What can we say, it’s just a truly joyful listening experience.
Obviously the Focal Utopia’s bone-rattling 5 Hz up to a ‘dogs-only’ 50,000 kHz frequency range specs and speed-of-light dynamic range quickness are amazing technological achievements. But instead of a clinical hard-toned audio reproduction like with some other reference headphones boasting uber-fast transient response times, the Utopia always sounds silky and warm with a serene presentation that stays uncluttered even with busy or dense recordings. The Utopia excels at decoding and simplifying complex sonic salads down to a comprehensible musical whole while not sounding like its performing open-heart headphone surgery on the recording. In short, it’s a perfectly smooth, perfectly balanced sound that precisely reveals the interior of the music without ever getting aggro or edgy.