Yang to my Focal Utopia's yin?


#1

I am considering buying a complimentary mate but in an opposing way to my Focal Utopia’s. I listen to headphones quit a bit as my wife likes to watch TV while I listen to music. I cant really find anything that I don’t like about the Utopia’s. After contracting analysis paralysis I have narrowed the field down to these 4 in no particular order (I have not listened to any of them):
HIFIMAN HE1000 V2
Audeze LCD-4
Sony MDRZ1R Signature
STAX SR-009
Using the BKH preamp as the HP amp. I listen to all genres from classical and jazz to rock, country and punk.
Opinions from this trusted body of knowledge are appreciated.
Thanks all


#2

Analysis Paralysis, I love it! Are you listening in the same room while your wife watches TV? Just curious if you need a closed back set of headphones.


#3

Yes. Listening in the same room but don’t need closed back. I came up with that term some time ago although I may have heard it somewhere. Not sure. It usually strikes due to TMI issues :exploding_head:


#4

I have had Utopia headphones since they came out. I have had HE 1000 V1 and V2’s. I had them at the same time as the Utopia’s. I never used them after I acquired the Utopia’s. I also had other HE headphones namely the Edition X. If you like the Utopia’s the LCD4’s would be my choice.


#5

Thanks. That’s the kind of info I am looking for. I do like the Focals and the LCD-4 also comes highly recommended and in the same league. If anything the Focals are a very little short in deep bass to my ears.


#6

They’re both wonderful. I currently have Focals and the edge for me was the greater weight of the Audeze made them less comfortable. (btw, I own Clears and I compared them to LCD-3 so maybe not quite the same)


#7

I can’t really speak to sound quality since I only have very limited time on most headphones, but I would certainly make a point of trying out for an extended period whatever is on your short list. Everybody has a different head/ear shape and different headphones will fit, well, differently. A headphone may sound great but if it is uncomfortable you won’t wear it for long. I’ve always liked Sennheiser since they fit my head/ears wonderfully, as such I have HD-600 and HD-650 even though they don’t make too many “best” lists. I also don’t use headphones too often so that figures in too!


#8

I think the Utopia’s might be made of a little better “stuff” than the Clears but I’m sure they both have the “Focal” sound and are very close to sounding the same. I have a mobile system with Focals and they are the same way. Very accurate sound and a little on the bright side although not tiring and they will play as loud as you want still with great sound.
The Utopia’s are considered heavy by some but they fit my big melon OK and I don’t tire wearing them. I will go back and compare the weight with the LCD-4.
I did consider the Sennheiser 850 but dropped it off the list for some reason.
I appreciate the input.


#9

it looks like the LCD-4 is about 50 grams heavier than the Utopia. That would probably be OK with me. I see they now have a LCD-4z with some magnesium components to take some weight out but I haven’t seen any reviews. I need to take a look.


#10

The LCD4 ‘s feel heavier. It’s the design, most of the weight is on the ears.


#11

I have had Utopia HP for about 2 months and amazing after putting on about 300hrs on head phones on my new BHK Preamp. I got the Heimdall 2 3m cable. I have owned Stax HP and others. Not in the same zip code. I do use cross feed DSP (Roon) for long listening when wife is watching TV in the great room. I love listening to music loud, she says I have hearing issue


#12

My wife says the same thing only she words it differently. She says “you hear me but you don’t listen to what I am saying” :grin:


#13

Have you consider ZMF headphones? I recommend the Auteur, I think it complements the Focal Utopia well, I used to have both, sold the focal as I found myself listening to the ZMF most


#14

Never heard of ZMF but I will check them out today.


#15

I am not sure if the BHK pre-amp is powerful enough to drive the LCD4, it takes a lot of
power, I think its 300 ohms. I use Audeze myself with Bryston HP amp. I have listened to
both Focal and Audeze and I prefer the sound of Audeze myself.

Audeze now has a version of LCD4 thats much easier to drive. LCD-4z and LCD-MX4.
These are also lighter compared to the classic LCD4.


#16

I can second ZMF as an option. I have owned their Ori headphones and have listened to their Eikon and Atticus models. The Auteur’s look special!

Such beautiful craftsmanship.

I currently own the Ultrasone Signature Pro headphones and for neutrality, detail, accuracy, and holography, they are some of the best I have heard.


#17

I looked at the Bryston when I was headphone and amp shopping and it looks like a really nice unit. I almost bought one but I decided to get the BHK preamp as an upgrade to the DSJr built in preamp and get a headphone amp along with the deal keeping everything PSA. I think the BHK HP amp will drive the LCD-4 OK as it was one of the HP’s used in the design of the BHK pre built in HP amp.
I knew this group would have a lot of good info.


#18

The ZMF looks like a nice option too. Dang - more analysis paralysis…


#19

If the BHK can drive the LCD4, then fantastic. One less box and one less set of cables.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the BHK, maybe my next upgrade.


#20

I didn’t know it either until recently @cardri clued me in on the making of the BHK preamp that used LCD-4 and HIFIMAN 1000 to voice the HP amp (if voice is the right word)