Sharp sharp details, but at a high price
I've now auditioned the Audeze LCD-3s, Focal Clears, and Utopias for 2+ weeks each. You can find my comparison between the Clears and LCD-3s on their pages. In this review: "okay, tell me why the Utopias cost so much more. Do they really sound that much better?" The short answer is that going from cheap earphones to the Focal Clears will make you go "wow!", but the difference between the Clears and Utopias is very small by comparison. They both have a very neutral sound with great reproduction of crackling textures in the high frequencies. Try out Yosi Horikawa - Bubbles for auditions. The ping pong balls tickle your ears with both sets, but a marginal amount more with the Focal Utopias. Letting friends try both, the most common answer is either "I can't tell the difference", or "they sound different, but I can't decide which one I like best." I regret buying these given how similar they are to the Clears. Move up to the Utopias only if you have unneeded cash, or an uncurable case of audiophilia. More details: the bass is crisp here, but not the star of the show. These work great for all music. The treble can be described as "brilliant" or "harsh", not unlike looking at a bright white light. But that brilliance is why you spend the money: the fine details are there. The Clears come with 3 cables of varying connectors. The Utopias come with one long one with a 1/4" connector. I would have preferred they leave out the stitched leather case and just give me some e
Pros: * Sharp details, especially in high frequencies * They suit all listening needs well, pulling the details out of most any source.
Cons: * High frequencies can come across as harsh, like being hung over. * At this price I would prefer more cabling options. * Questionable cost vs. benefit relative to Focal Clears * The open backs on these broadcast themselves to the room more than e.g. my Grado SR-80s.