Focal began work on state of the art headphones years ago. Finally on June 1, Focal came by Headphone Bar with their 2 new open headphones, Elear and Utopia, as well as their new closed headphone, Listen. Headphone Bar welcomed Jay Haberman, Marketing Manager Focal North America, Matt Roach, Sales Rep (not pictured) and 2 people from head office in France, Romain Vet, Product Manager and Arnaud Hendoux, Focal Sales Director. (I'm the guy holding the Utopia)
Romain is the tech guy and through the several hour presentation, listening to the products and lively discussion, I appreciated Romain's intimate technical excellence, regarding all aspects of the product's fit, build and sonic tuning. Focal devoted extensive resources to this project, with a team of people working full time for years, endless prototypes, modelling, trial & error and measurements. Focal had extensive measurements on hand to compare. They have done a wonderful job of creating two flagship open headphones.
The Elear, which I consider a flagship headphone built with some cost constraints and the Utopia, with zero cost constraints. Both models fit very well and can be worn easily for hours at a time. Both require a decent amount of amplification and both deserve excellent quality of amplification.
We have great product on hand for comparison and I feel the Utopia is the best headphone I have heard so far. Can't wait to get it in stock. The cost is very high for a headphone but this is not a product that everyone will own, so for those with the means, it is a wonderful listening experience. The Elear is also very impressive, with a full deep response, slightly warmer tuning than some other $1000-$2000 models and with no loss of fine detail. I also can't wait to receive Elear in stock, since it is going to be exactly what many customers are looking for.
The design goals for the new Focal open headphones have been well thought out and nicely executed, from the headphone gimbals to the drivers being designed as miniature loudspeaker drivers. (it still makes me mental that there is not an industry standard cable plug, but that is an industry wide annoyance).
The new Listen headphone also provides improved fit, with larger earcups & a light clamping pressure, along with class leading sound quality. These fold, look sleeker and are a very good buy for a closed headphone. Sample is now in store.
Congrats to Romain and Arnaud with the Elear and Utopia - these are about to be a great way for people to connect with their favorite music.