The Focal Utopia 2022 takes an iconic reference headphone to the next level. These elegant and sophisticated open-back headphones from the celebrated French speaker manufacturer combine the clarity, resolution, and realism of the original Utopia with added warmth and musicality for a breathtaking listening experience. With acoustic enhancements and updated design elements, the Utopia 2022 is poised to again rank among the best headphones in the world.
The Utopia 2022 has an all-black design that dispenses with the silver accents from the original. The black chrome rings are now attached from the inside for a cleaner appearance, and the Focal flame logo adorns the center of each ear cup. A new yin-yang pattern surrounds the center rings on the ear cups to symbolize the intersection of design and technology. The yin-yang is going to be used on all future Utopias. Borrowing from the open-back Focal Clear Mg, the Utopia 2022 sports a honeycomb pattern on both the ear cup grilles and the speaker grilles. This is not just an aesthetic choice, though. The more open holes of the honeycomb pattern help the headphones to achieve a more open sound. The Utopia 2022 uses black and red double speaker grilles, and the pop of red is visible through the outer grilles. The carbon fiber yokes are made from forged, recycled carbon, lending a one-of-a-kind look to each headphone.
The Utopia 2022 uses the same dynamic 40mm loudspeaker with M-shaped beryllium dome as its predecessor. This driver is fully open-backed and runs with no passive or active correction, with a frequency response from 5Hz to over 50kHz! The listening experience they deliver is strikingly real, precise and dynamic, with a soundstage that is both wide and deep. You can close your eyes and feel the musicians beside you. One thing that has been updated is the composition of the voice coil, which previously was 100% aluminum. Focal engineers opted for a new voice coil made up of 30% copper (to improve reliability) and 70% aluminum (to make it more lightweight). This alloy provides a rejuvenated sound signature, that lends even greater neutrality, with powerful bass and more mellow treble. What’s more, the grilles inside the ear cups are now M-shaped, following the curves of the speaker drivers, to give improved linearity and even more precision.
Utopia is made from premium, sophisticated materials. The carbon fiber yoke, made from forged, recycled carbon, is an elegant touch, helping to keep the headphones lightweight and distributing their weight evenly on the head. Because forged carbon is from scraps, the finished product has a marbled appearance, and each headphone will have a slightly different look. The genuine lambskin leather headband and perforated memory foam ear pads—also leather-bound—provide unparalleled comfort and softness. Finally, exceptional headphones merit top of the range accessories: Utopia comes in faux-leather packaging with a black fabric thermoformed carrying case and two high-fidelity cables (10ft and 5ft / 3m and 1.5m) for using the headphones at home with an amplifier or on the go with Lemo® connectors and a Jack adapter.
While Focal wasn't looking to fundamentally alter the tuning of the Utopia, they were looking to achieve a smoother top end, as some customers felt the treble on the original could be a bit peaky. By utilizing M-shaped grilles inside the ear cups that follow the curves of the driver, Focal was able to achieve more linearity in the treble. Both headphones are highly detailed and transparent sounding, but the Utopia 2022 has some midrange warmth to it, which is wonderful for vocals, and is arguably the more musical sounding of the two headphones.
With an impedance of 80 ohms and a sensitivity rating of 104dB, the Utopia 2022 is relatively easy to drive. This means you can use most any DAC/headphone amp to power your headphones. While you could conceivably power the headphone with your phone, you will not get optimal sound quality.
The Utopia 2022 uses the same beryllium M-shaped dome as the original. The only thing that has changed within the driver is the composition of the coil, which has been updated from 100 percent aluminum to 70 percent aluminum and 30 percent copper. Focal has indicated there had been some instances of coil failure on the original utopia, and the addition of copper helps boost the reliability of the voice coil.
The Focal Clear Mg uses a magnesium and aluminum driver, while the Utopia 2022 uses a beryllium driver. Beryllium tends to produce a more analytical sound, while magnesium lends a warmer sound. That being said, both the Clear Mg and the Utopia 2022 do have some warmth. The difference is in the resolution. The Utopia (both versions) is simply a more detailed headphone. We like to say that the Clear Mg gets you about 60 percent of the way to the Utopia.
|Type||Circum-aural, open-back headphones|
|Sensitivity||104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz|
|THD||<0.2 % @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL|
|Frequency response||5Hz – 50kHz|
|Speaker driver||19/16" (40mm) pure beryllium 'M'-shaped dome|
|Cable provided||1 x 5ft cable (1.5m) with 1 x 1/8" (3.5mm) asymmetric TRS Jack connector and 2 x Lemo® connectors|
1 x 10ft cable (3m) with 1 x symmetrical 4-point XLR connector and 2 Lemo® connectors
1 x Jack adapter, 1/8" (3.5mm) point socket – 1/4" (6.35mm) point plug
|Carrying case included||9.8x9.4x4.7" (25x24x12cm)|