Silver Dragon Premium Cable for Focal Utopia
The Silver Dragon Premium Cable for Focal Utopia headphones V3 is a Premium version of our award winning Silver Dragon.
Made specifically for the Focal Utopia headphones, it is our Top of the Line headphone cable. It can improve the listening enjoyment of most high end headphones and it has lots of detail, great energy, a fantastic soundstage with lots of air.
- 4 x 24AWG
- 99.99998% UP-OCC Silver
- Varying Size Stranding
- Mudorf MSolder SUPREME Silver-Gold mix
- Aluminum Foil, Braided Wire Shield
- Silver Polyethylene
- Dual Entry (Y-type)
- Lemo 2-pole B Series
- Fullsize Headphone
- Sound Signature
- Break-In Time
- 80 Hours
Not surprisingly to me the midranges were similar but the Black is slightly recessed (giving it a sense of a deeper sound stage and the Silver is slightly forward and images are more sharply drawn. I hear the Silver as more transparent, especially on vocals, and maybe I was being influenced by the Silver’s delivery over the copper at the frequency extremes because at the frequency extremes I found them more different. The Silver Dragon was tightly controlled in the mid-bass and bottom bass going all the way down revealing a little more fine detail than the all copper Black Dragon with my Utopia but never sounding dry or lacking impact. The Black went just as deep but generated more air which added in nicely, but that air tended to slightly obscure some of that very fine detail in the bottom octaves I was getting with the Silver. I actually almost expected something along these lines. It was the highs where my expected results were completely reversed.
My pet peeve with any reproduced classical music is a tendency for high strings and horns to get a glazing resonance that I would visually describe as “ghosting” as seen in the good ole’days of B&W TV’s with rabbit ears, but much more subtle. In the concert hall I’ve heard certain combinations of held high notes on violins and horns combined simultaneously that give a similar, but not as cringe-worthy effect as I hear with many of my orchestral music recordings. I always chalked it up to the recording quality in most cases, microphone resonances, too much gain on a spotlight mic from the recording booth, a resonance in my transducer(s), a hall resonance, and as many other excuses as I could come up with.
But the Silver sounded significantly cleaner to my ears and sounded more extended with sharper transient attack and decay than the all copper Black Dragon on my Utopia in the highs. It was smooth with no more edginess than the Black on a lot of my usually suspect recordings. Maybe the Silver is even smoother.
I think the Black Dragon on my HD800 is just the right combo and wouldn’t consider a Silver Dragon for it as I think the HD 800 needs all the oomph it can get on the bottom and I don’t think its highs will be better served with the Silver over the Black Dragon sound.
I’m thinking next up I’ll purchase an HD800 S with Silver Dragon Premium and see what shakes out. If it turns out to be too hot in the highs I could send it in to Moon to replace the 800 type connectors for my Abyss (I think that combination could be very complimentary to my tastes). I’ll need to spend more time listening to some of my 60’s and 70’s classical labels that had a tendency to be thin on bottom and hot on top, especially as the years progressed and more current electronics became more linear and transparent. But in the 70’s the gear of those days made those recordings sound just fine on my AR3a’s. I may just hang on to the Black for Utopia for that reason or have it retrofitted for HD800 / S if the Silver is too intense.
Let me close by saying in additional to the above comments, the Dragons are very light, very flexible, very low in microphonics, and easy to dress, especially given that I buy 3 meter lengths on almost all HP cables, better too much than too little, especially if one likes to watch movies with HP’s on a 60” or plus sized screen. The Dragon’s are also among the most reasonably priced I’ve seen (especially the Silver’s), and they are well put together with quality connectors. The price difference between the Black and Silver isn’t really that much, especially when compared to other brands with offerings of copper, silver, or hybrids that are generally many times more expensive. It’s more a matter of personal preference as to which will be better.
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After satisfying myself that the DAC has the muscle to drive the cans, and that the impedance of the passive pre would mate well with the Utopia, I thought I would upgrade the cable to fully balanced. I have bought Moon Audio cables before, and have always been very happy with them.
So, I selected the Silver Dragon in 10-foot length, but with female carbon fiber/rhodium 3pin connectors. Drew built the cable and shipped it promptly, and the USPS was even good enough to deliver it a day early. I did a quick listen before making the swap, and after the swap, heard a significantly improved SQ.
As the other reviewer noted, the utopia OEM cable is not a bad cable at all. This is just better. $690 better? Absolutely.
Better depth, micro detail, and overall tonality. Utopia is very good; this makes it better.
Closer to my Stax. Very well made, well packaged.
However, having recently moved to silver interconnects between my DAC and Pre-Amp - and having been astounded at the improvement in resolution, definition and particularly low-end detail, I started to actively consider silver elsewhere in the signal path.
Enter a brand new set of Focal Utopia cans, admittedly supplied with a very good standard copper lead, and I started looking for something silver to see whether I was missing anything.. After a look around what was being said around the world, I ended up here at Moon Audio - because it looked like I'd find the best combination of price and quality. And, of course, a Silver Dragon Premium cable for the Focals had already been put together!
For me, everything starts and ends with how 'real' the sound I am hearing is. I'm not persuaded by 'perfect' and am frequently astounded at just how 'un-real' the sound in high end gear can be. When we blow out the lows or make the highs unnaturally bright, all we're doing is creating something that never existed.. I just want exactly what the engineers captured and subsequently released.
Musically, there's almost not a genre I don't listen to. However, music that is heavy on acoustic, with little or no electronic, is probably where my greatest passion lies. This lends itself to a lot of classical, blues, Indie, 'folk' and vocal music. I have a reasonable amount of 'Pure' DSD, some other high res stuff and a very large collection of good ol' 'Red Book' CD recordings. I don't use compression, so have about 6TB of music in the library at the moment.
This, by way of explanation, is just to say that everything for me is about resolution, detail and honesty - and that's a big ask from a headphone cable, driving a very nice set of cans, which sounded pretty great already! I'm driving them from a Woo Audio 5LE headphone amp, driven by a silver interconnect from the record out RCAs on a Brinkmann pre-amp.
So, how did the Silver Dragon Cable go..?
Great! Probably the two most marked differences were definition and space in the lows - which started to make it clear just how amazingly low and full the Focals are capable of playing (and which is a very significant ask of any cans) and then the fullness and bell-like quality of the upper registers. It's probably also true to say that any signs of harshness or edginess in recordings was dealt with even better with the new cable - if anything a slightly warmer, but equally accurate reproduction.
I was also really impressed with the fact that the best sound was attainable using the unfiltered, high power output from the Woo - which delivers enough more detail to add to the dynamism of the listening experience. By comparison, the standard Focal cable was a bit happier with either filtered and/or low power settings, with less definition through the spectrum as a result. Listening fatigue - zero!
So, all in all, worth every penny! Add to that a great online, experience, swift shipment and very high quality manufacture, and I'm one very happy customer. And just to explain my 4 star rating on price, when you live in Australia, everything costs about 50% more once we've paid in A$. Still, in the scheme of dollar per hour of enjoyment, no doubt a great investment!
Highly recommended.. :)