Saint-Étienne: FOCAL, the expert in luxury high fidelity loudspeakers has launched a luxury audiophile headphone based on new groundbreaking technology that is representative of FOCAL heritage and engineering excellence. Utilising its renowned team of experienced loudspeaker engineers to take a fresh look at audiophile headphone design, FOCAL has implemented unique technology to implement true loudspeaker performance into open-backed headphones. The result is a pair of handcrafted headphones that provide the ultimate audiophile experience, whilst offering the comfort and exceptional finish expected from one of the world’s foremost loudspeaker manufacturers.
The groundbreaking Utopia driver is crafted with an innovative ‘m-shaped’ Beryllium diaphragm for the fastest response with minimal distortion. Beryllium provides superb rigidity and the smoothest and flattest frequency response curve – allowing for the optimal audiophile experience.
Available across the UK now, the FOCAL Utopia has a UK SRP price of £3,500
Key features include:
- • Open-backed headphones for an immersive musical experience
- • Pure Beryllium ‘M’ shape diaphragm – for extreme rigidity and the fastest response with minimal distortion
- • Matched ‘loudspeaker’ drivers via Klippel Laser measurement for perfectly matched pairs
- • Exceptionally wide frequency range – 5Hz – 50kHz
- • Luxurious materials used throughout – including real lambskin earpads, genuine leather headband and carbon fibre yoke.
The Worlds First Loudspeaker Headphones
The FOCAL Utopia (and Elear) are the first headphones to use real loudspeaker techniques in the development of the drivers. In an effort to source the finest materials and components, FOCAL engineers have rejected the standard ‘off-the-shelf’ components found in electrodynamic drivers for premium materials and a construction that offers stronger resonance and minimal distortion. This led to a fully bespoke matched loudspeaker driver that is paired to a very fine tolerance and able to reproduce the entire audio spectrum – with an immensely wide frequency range of 5Hz to 50kHz. To implement this concept, FOCAL engineers were tasked with designing a full-range loudspeaker that is compact and lightweight enough to fit within an ear cup. The result was the ‘m-shaped’ diaphragm.
FOCAL’s ‘M-shaped’ Diaphragm
For the lightest and most rigid application, FOCAL has taken an innovative approach to the standard ‘cone’ headphone diaphragm and designed a new concept to account for the possible setbacks of implementing a loudspeaker into a headphone. Traditional inverted dome diaphragms do not offer a totally flat frequency response, due to the listening proximity with a headphone, whilst positive domes are even less suitable due to a low break-up frequency and poor mechanical coupling with the voice coil.
To avoid these problems, an aluminum and magnesium ‘m-shaped’ diaphragm, inspired by FOCAL’s Car Audio tweeters, has been applied to the Utopia. The ‘m-shape’ benefits from a larger emissive area and thanks to a more rigid and lightweight design, the 40mm dome allows for substantial SPL capabilities. The ‘m-shape’ diaphragm results in higher damping, higher rigidity and the lowest possible mass – allowing for the ultimate performance within a loudspeaker headphone.
Ground Breaking Innovation with Beryllium Drivers
The application of Beryllium allows for a substantially improved listening experience. 7 times more rigid than an identical dome made from Titanium, a pure Beryllium dome offers a significantly lower mass (135mg). With a density 2.5 times lower than Titanium and 1.5 times lower than Aluminum, plus a rigidity 3 times higher than Titanium and 5 times superior to Aluminum, the Utopia driver is superbly lightweight yet immensely robust. This allows for a much wider SPL and a fantastically smooth flutter frequency response.
Moreover, the velocity of sound in a Beryllium dome is 3 times faster than a dome constructed from Titanium. This illustrates how efficient the damping of Beryllium is compared to any other raw materials. The manufacturing of Beryllium remains very difficult. Forming a sheet of the material required 2 years of R&D at FOCAL – simply to develop a dome construction. This exemplifies the attention to detail and time invested into the development of the Utopia model.
Beryllium is commonly known for its use in aeronautical and military applications. It is also dearer than gold and 100 times more expensive than Titanium. FOCAL has strived to produce the most exclusive headphone components on the market and this is evident through the Utopia.
Groundbreaking Transient Response
Another major innovation is the combination of the lightest possible voice coil and speaker surround, reaching a target never achieved before in the headphone industry – a mass of 135mg. This also allows for the best transient response ever achieved in an electrodynamic loudspeaker.
The unique ‘m-shape’ diaphragm allows an important Xmax for a total respect of the dynamic. This requires a 5mm voice coil to ensure total frequency control between 5Hz and 50kHz. To construct this, FOCAL engineers created the first unsupported voice coil in order to reach the lowest possible mass with a coil twice the size of a standard component. The coil measures an astounding 5mm tall and 25mm in diameter – yet weighing lighter than a standard 1.5mm x 15mm voice coil. The coil is constructed from high quality NBR – a rubber compound that adds ultra flexibility and surround suspension to the diaphragm. NBR further combines softness, lightness and mechanical functioning linearity. The result is a surround 3 times thinner than a standard coil (75 microns) and a total mass of 135mg.
Carefully Crafted Construction
Any devotee will appreciate the handcrafted and finely sourced nature of the components used within FOCAL products. At every stage, the most luxurious materials have been used to construct the Utopia headphones – providing optimal comfort and the most astounding listening experience.
The Utopia earpads are made of two raw materials: real lambskin leather and perforated fabric. The inner part of the cushion is composted of a perfect 50/50 ratio of lambskin leather (diffusion) and fabric (absorption). This gives a perfect ‘room character.
A robust carbon fiber yoke holds the premium leather headband and driver cups together – for a sublimely robust and comfortable listening experience.
The FOCAL Utopia headphones have been designed for the discerning audiophile and offer an element of exclusivity, heritage and excellence that aim to position the model as the finest audiophile headphone in the world.
Available now, the FOCAL Utopia has a UK SRP of £3,500.
- Type: Circum-aura open back headphones
- Impedence: 80 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 104dB SPL/ 1mW @ 1kHZ
- THD: <0.2% @ 1kHz/ 100dB SPL
- Frequency Response: 5Hz – 50kHz
- Loudspeaker: 1137/64” (40mm) Pure Beryllium ‘M’ shape dome
- Weight: 1.08 lb (490g)
- Cable Length: 9.8ft (3m)
- Connectors: 1×01/4” (6.35mm) stereo Jack connector, 29/64” (3.5mm) Jack
- Carrying case: 1253/64” x 1015/64” x 629/64”
- Rigid carrying case with magnet locking system
- 9.8ft (3-m) OFC cable
- 1 x 01/4“ (6.35mm) stereo jack Neutrik®
- 2 x 09⁄64“ (3.5mm) Jack with self-locking system)
- 2 x shielded 03⁄8“ (9.5mm) Lemo® connectors with self-locking bayonet system
For further information, high resolution images or to request a sample, please contact Andy Napthine on firstname.lastname@example.org / 07920 425 166
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For more than 35 years, FOCAL has been recognised as a leader on the global stage for its high fidelity products. This French company based in Saint-Étienne (Loire Department) manufactures speaker drivers, home audio and multimedia loudspeakers, car audio systems, monitoring loudspeakers and audiophile headphones. Many of FOCAL’s loudspeakers and technologies have become world-renowned references in the Hi-Fi industry.
All FOCAL products are designed and developed in France: they benefit from 35 years of innovation in exclusive and patented acoustic technologies. FOCAL has chosen to continue manufacturing products ‘made in France’, where the quality and high standards of French workmanship place the brand above its competitors. A market leader in France, FOCAL exports more than 80% of its production, mainly to Europe, North America and Southeast Asia.
In 2011, FOCAL merged with Naim Audio Limited, the leader of high-end electronics in the UK Vervent Audio Group, the resulting holding company, has a turnover of over €85 million.