World's Best Headphone: The Focal Utopia Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Raw frequency response plots show some significant change in response between 200Hz and 2kHz with movement on head, the biggest range of change occurred between 1kHz and 2kHz. In listening test I clearly heard changes when moving the headphones forward and back on my head. When my ears were in the front of the cups it got brighter, when towards the rear of the cups it became warmer.

Raw frequency response plot can be read as this headphone having a very broad and flat hump between 10Hz and 500Hz, and then rising nicely to the peak at 3kHz...but, everything is pretty shallow and smooth, so I'd say it looks pretty flat. Target response would probably want the peak at 3kHz to be a few dB higher. Thing is, this headphone sounds so coherent and whole that I don't think I'd even want the Focal engineers to start tweaking suff around any more strongly if it would take away from the wonderfully integrated sound of these cans. I'll just EQ in a little more bass and call it good.

One interesting note is the two peaks at 3kHz and 4kHz that coincides with a little wiggle in the impedance and phase curves. My guess is there's some subtle tweaking going on here; I didn't hear anything amiss here in listening.

30Hz square wave shape is good for an open, dynamic driver headphone. Swayback is small for a headphone of this type, and distortion figures are likewise excellent. It doesn't have the slam of an Audeze, but it's damned good.

300Hz square wave shows a first overshoot of about the right size, then a subsequent ring and modest noise. Impulse response likewise shows good overall shape but some modest ringing at a few of frequencies. 300Hz square wave has nice horizontal overall shape indicating good tonal balance in the treble. These are good results, but not great...and the headphones sound great. I think with the Utopias we're really beginning to enter the territory where the measurements aren't telling you much about how good the headphones really sound.

Distortion is ridiculously low. These headphones sound ridiculously clean.

Impedance plot shows a headphone with a nominal 85 Ohm impedance, but at the primary resonance hump at 50Hz impedance ascends to just over 300 Ohms. Headphone amplifiers with an output impedance of over 10 Ohm may begin to emphasize this hump. If done judiciously this may give these headphones a tasty bit of umph in the lows. This headphone is worthy of a great headphone amplifier, and I'm thinking careful matching with a killer tube amp might deliver a very special experience.

9641-82 Ave
1 780 439 39 01