Focal Utopia (2022) Headphones Review – Beryllium Speaker Drivers !

Introduction

Focal is one of the largest audio brands in the world today, with over 40 years of experience. The French brand is most known for its standalone speakers and car audio systems to the point where anyone who’s heard the ~$250k Grande Utopia pair of speakers is left speechless by both the audio phenomenon it is, and also the price tag. This gives you some context on how much of a flagship brand Focal is, with in-house developed speaker drivers that win awards in every application to date. So imagine the reaction of the headphone community when in 2016, after a mostly unmemorable debut into the world of head-fi a couple of years before, Focal decided to get serious with the aptly named Utopia headphones. People immediately drew comparisons to the larger speaker brethren and this became all the more apt with the use of actual speaker drivers that were downsized after years of R&D, and pure beryllium diaphragms to further seal the deal. These were true top-of-the-line dynamic driver headphones that have held up quite well even today and yet Focal never stopped thinking about what could be done to improve the Utopia.

It took six years for the leaks to start, earlier this summer saw mentions of an updated Utopia model coming out imminently. This was soon confirmed with Focal announcing the aptly-but-still-confusingly named new Utopia in September 2022. It’s not called Utopia 2022 or Grande Utopia as some others might have liked it, so I have taken the liberty of referring it as Utopia ( 2022) in this review to help eliminate any confusion. I also have not reviewed the original Utopia but have heard it extensively in trade shows and audio stores to where I can tell you the new model is more an evolution rather than a revolution, with minor tweaks inside and out that aim to improve upon what is already an excellent set of headphones. As such, the name does make sense given the shared DNA here, and I’ll bring up the various changes as and when we come upon them in our detailed review of today which begins with a look at the product specifications in the table below. Thanks to Focal for loaning a review sample to TechPowerUp!

Specifications

Focal Utopia (2022) Headphones
materials:Forged carbon fiber yoke, aluminum frame, steel mesh rings, leather headband and ear pads with memory foam lining
Transducer Principle:Open back, over ear, dynamic
Frequency Response:5 Hz–50 kHz
sensitivity:104dB/mW @1kHz
Impedance:80Ω
cable:Dual LEMO connectors for headphones to 3.5 mm (6.35 mm with provided adapter) TRS or XLR connector for source
Weight (without cable):490g
Warranty:Five years, transferable depending on region