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Focal Elear + Utopia Reviews

Hi All, 

I have just received the HiFi Choice Review of the Elear’s and the excellent HiFi+ Review of the Utopia’s so I thought I would post the links to them on our website - 

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/image/attachments/Focal/HIFI+-Utopia-Review.pdf

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/image/attachments/Focal/HFC-Elear-Review.pdf

Thanks,

Paul.

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Focal Utopia Headphones with Nordost Heimdall II Cable Thoughts!

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Hi All,

This week I bought the Nordost Heimdall II cable for the Focal Utopia headphones, more for myself to be honest as an experiment but I thought I would just scribble down my thoughts for other Utopia owners who may find it useful.

Basically as many of you will know I love listening on headphones and have been enjoying the Stax SR-009′s for a few years now, like many though once the new Focal Utopia headphones were released I found myself using them more and more as my headphone of choice, but, and this is only a but because I was coming from SR-009′s, I just wished the Utopia’s were a little more open in their signature, I never expected to be able to achieve that sweet top end of the SR-009′s but then the Utopia’s bass weight and mid range really do take some beating so if I could just get a bit more from them then I could see myself going over to the Utopia’s full time.

In the past we have had great results swapping stock cables that come with headphones for the Nordost Heimdall II cable, but it does seem to work better on some headphones than others, for example in my opinion it transforms the Audeze LCD-3 into a much better headphone but didn’t really seem to make much difference on the Sennheiser HD800S’s, so I was hoping that adding the Heimdall II to the Utopia’s would give the same gains as you get with the LCD-3′s.

So last night I hooked up an Aurender into Chord’s DAVE which fed my favourite headphone amp, the Trilogy 933, then lined up a few of my favourite demo tracks and quite excitedly started listening to see how the Heimdall II effected the Utopia’s with everything crossed hoping for the result I wanted, I spent around 10 mins with the stock cable then swapped to the Heimdall II.

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Starting with Massive Attacks Teardrop as usual as the opening minute really is an excellent demo piece, the fist thing I noticed was the better definition and attack on the bass notes, everything seemed to start and stop more precisely, this was a good start, then as the track grew you could definitely hear better seperation between all the notes, Teardrop is quite a busy song so this really was quite apparent and then when Elizabeth Frazer’s vocal comes in it really was crystal clear.

So this really was a good start so I went back to the stock cable and admittedly it still sounded great but I just didn’t feel quite so involved with the music then after 15 minutes I went back to the Heimdall II and to sound quite cliched it really did sound like a Veil had been lifted, for me the Heimdall II really does make the Utopia a far more enjoyable listen, it definitely give better clarity, separation and attack but the word that kept coming to mind to some it all up is that it just gives better definition, whereas the the stock cable is probably a little more forgiving and warmer in it’s presentation which I guess I could see some preferring.

So if you are a Utopia user and would like a more open sound with better definition then I would most definitely recommend trying the Heimdall II, I just couldn’t use them now with the stock cable knowing what an improvement it brings as for me using the Heimdall II really unleashes the performance of the Utopia and really shows what they are capable of, it is almost as if Focal went with the safe option with their stock cable.

For my final SR-009 v Utopia shootout I listened to Lorde’s Royals and yes the 009′s gave a wider soundstage with a beautiful airy and open top end but about 1 minute from the end there is a great driving bass segment and the Utopia’s with Heimdall had so much depth that the difference was quite shocking, so for me I still think there is a case for owning both the SR-009′s and Utopia’s if the budget could take it but for an all rounder then the Utopia with Heimdall II really is tough to beat.

Needless to say I will be buying another Heimdall II for demo for the shop as the one I currently have will be staying at home :-) so if you do fancy coming in to try it on the Utopia’s anytime please feel free.

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/focal-headphones/focal-utopia-headphones

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/nordost/nordost-heimdall-2-headphone-cable

Cheers,

Paul.

Edited by HiFi Lounge

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Introducing The New Stax SRM-T8000 Hybrid Reference Energiser!

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Hi All,

Big news this one as it is not everyday that Stax release a new product but especially a new Energiser, since we started HFL this is the first new Energiser we have seen and more importantly this is a new reference flagship energiser so plenty to get excited about for us Stax enthusiasts out there.

Although the Stax SRM-007tII Kimik energiser is really great it has been known that there is definitely more performance to be got from the Stax SR-009′s and SR-007′s with many people importing amps from the likes of Blue Hawaii and Woo Audio so it is really great that Stax now have their own offering which from early reports really does get more body, bass weight and detail from the SR-009′s, for me this is great news as I have been a SR-009 user for a while now but just recently have gone over to the Utopia’s so if a fuller sound can be achieved from the SR-009′s then that will certainly be very welcome and will make things very interesting when comparing to the Utopia’s.

Basically the new SRM-T8000 is a hybrid design so uses a couple of 6922 valves for the pre-amp stage with class A power for the amplification and also now has a volume bypass option so if you are using something like a Chord DAVE or Hugo TT you can use the volume on these giving an improvement in sound quality and also remote volume control which can be very useful for a lot of people.

The SRM-T8000 is due around July time, is priced £3895 for silver and £4194 for black, we are taking pre-orders now with a £400 deposit and we will have one on permanent demo as soon as possible.

Exciting times for Stax enthusiasts out there :-)

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/stax/stax-srm-t8000-hybrid-reference-energiser

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Cheers,
Paul.

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Hi All,

This is a real quicky as I promised a lot of people that I would stick up a quick blog once we have the new MrSpeakers Aeon’s in and I am glad to say that they arrived yesterday, we have sold most of our first batch but we do have a few free stock if anyone wants to grab a pair.

I really believe that these set the new benchmark for a headphone under £1000 and really do offer one of the best, if not the best, closed back portable headphones, firstly they look quite discreet, are pretty light, are extremely comfortable, possibly the most comfortable headphones I have tried but most importantly they sound excellent giving a large slice of the Ether Flows for a fraction of the cost so they really do come highly recommended.

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/mr-speakers-headphones/mrspeakers-aeon-closed-back-headphones

If you’d like a demo please feel free to pop in anytime.

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Cheers,
Paul.

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New Focal Clear Headphone Announced!

Hi All,

Well it has become big news when Focal announce a new headphone after the amazing success of the Elear and Utopia so it is great news that yesterday they announced their new ‘Clear’ headphone, I have listened to these and basically they are a more open sound compared to the Elear and really sit quite nicely between the Elear and Utopia and in presentation, priced at £1399 these are going to be very popular indeed.

You can read more below, we will have these on permanent demo anytime soon so please get in touch to arrange a demo - 

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/focal-headphones/focal-clear-headphones

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Cheers,
Paul.

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New Sennheiser HDV 820 Amp + HD 660 S Headphones Now On Demo!

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Hi All,

Just a really quick one to say that we now have Sennheiser’s much anticipated new headphone amp, the HDV 820, now on permanent demo + we have just taken delivery of Sennheiser’s follow up to one of the most popular headphones of all time, the HD 660 S which now supersedes the HD 650, I really have lost count of the amount of people that come in here that own HD 650′s and at £429 for the HD 660 S I can really seeing these being equally as popular as the 650 over the years to come, especially as they do sound really good.

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/sennheiser/sennheiser-hdv-820-headphone-amplifier

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/sennheiser/sennheiser-hd-660-s-headphones

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Anyway if either of these are of any interest please feel free to come in for a listen.

MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open Backs Now Here!

In more headphone related news I am pleased to say that we now also have the new MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Open Back Headphones on demo and again very much like the closed back version I can see these being very popular as they really do get close the the Ether Flows in performance but at almost half the price, not overly sure that it is such a good business move for MrSpeakers but it great news for headphone enthusiasts :-)

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/mr-speakers-headphones/mrspeakers-aeon-flow-open-back-headphones

aeon_open-001_1_zpslvwaoxlr.jpg

Cheers,
Paul.

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Wendy's Sennheiser Factory Tour!
 
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Hi All,
 
At the moment Wendy is on a jolly, sorry I mean working hard, in Germany as a guest of Sennheiser, today was a factory tour amongst other things + she got to listen to the new Orpheus HE1, a snip at £54,000, we have been mad enough to have ordered one for permanent demo so watch this space as it is very special indeed, hopefully we’ll have it at Highend Headphones in time for Christmas.
 
Please find a few pictures from Wendy’s trip so far -
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Cheers,
Paul.

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Quite Possibly The Coolest Display Stand Ever!

So Wendy is now back from her trip to Germany as a guest of Sennheiser and whilst out there she ordered our demo Orpheus and to be fair when she showed me this video of the stand that comes with it I got a little excited myself, I know the headphones are amazing but this has to be one of the coolest stands ever :)

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Cheers,
Paul.

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New MrSpeakers Voce Electrostatic Headphones On Demo, A Stax Rival Maybe?

Hi Everyone,

To be fair it has been a while since I have done a headphone un-boxing, normally I leave this to Wendy, but in all honesty I haven’t been this excited about a new headphone for a very long time, this is 2 fold really, firstly MrSpeakers have really made a name for themselves in producing extremely good headphones and secondly as I am a big fan of Stax Electrostatic headphones so the fact that MrSpeakers have produced their own Electrostatic headphone has to make you sit up and take notice.

Stax are celebrating their 80th Anniversary this year and in reality no one has really rivalled them when it comes to Electrostatic Headphones, for whatever reason they have pretty much had the market to themselves so I am really keen to find out how MrSpeakers takes the challenge to Stax.

Firstly you have to be impressed with the quality of the packaging, basically the Voce come in their own Walnut presentation and storage case which is such a brilliant idea, also another neat touch which MrSpeakers use with their other headphones is the ability to put in ‘Tuning Filters’ in the ear cup to tailor the sound to your own personal taste, so this is a very flexible headphone.

They are also very light and comfortable and appear to be very well made. Now being an Electrostatic they need their own Energiser to drive them, MrSpeakers doesn’t produce this part but you can use them with many different Energiser’s on the market including any of the Stax range.

I have only un-boxed them 30 mins ago and will be running them in on our Trilogy H1 energiser but I couldn’t resist to have a quick listen, instantly it is a sound I know I will like, there is something about an Electrostatic headphone that is captivating, a spacious and airy sound that dynamic’s and Planar’s just can’t match, I will let them run in for a couple of days before making any concrete conclusions but at the moment I would say MrSpeakers really do seem to be a welcome addition to the Electrostatic market.

http://hifilounge.co.uk/mrspeakers-voce-electrostatic-headphones

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Abyss AB-1266 Phi Now On Demo

In other headphone news I am really pleased to say that we now have the new and improved Abyss AB-1266 Phi headphones on permanent demo, personally I would say that the AB-1266 are up their with the Stax SR-009 and Focal Utopia as the best headphones out there.

According to Abyss they say - ‘The new version AB-1266 Phi refines the sonic virtues of Abyss with greater transparency to the source, further improved low frequency impact and resolution, and vocals as alive as can be.’ And who am I to argue :) seriously though they are incredibly good.

http://hifilounge.co.uk/abyss-ab-1266-phi-headphones

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So if you fancy coming in to try out either the Voce or Abyss just get in touch to book an appointment.

Cheers,

Paul.

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Stax Announce A New Flagship Earspeaker - The SR-009S

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Hi Everyone,

So as far as I am concerned when it comes to headphone news it doesn’t get any bigger than this as a Stax SR-009 user myself, as part of their 80th Anniversary year Stax have just announced their new Flagship Earspeaker, the Stax SR-009S based on the brilliant SR-009 but using a new lighter diaphragm and revised thinner chassis to help with any colouration this brings.

Personally I am hoping for the same amazing transparency of the SR-009 but with a little more bass weight like the brilliant SR-L700′s, early reports seem to indicate though that they are a slightly smoother and rounded version of the SR-009 whilst retailing the same level of space and air, very much like Sennheiser did with the HD800S compared to the HD800.

The SR-009′s will still stay in the range as they will offer a different presentation so Stax still feel they are a relevant alternative, just a different flavour if you like. Price is yet to be confirmed but is likely to be around £4000, needless to say I have ordered our demo pair so we should have them around summer time, apparently Stax are only making 100 pairs to start with for the whole world then will make them in small amounts each month so it looks like they are not going to be the easiest headphones to get hold of.

Personally I can see these being very popular indeed, especially when you think how many SR-009 users there are out there, partnered with a Trilogy H1 or Stax T8000 Energiser I can see the SR-009S soon becoming the reference for many headphone enthusiasts out there, for one I can’t wait to get my hands on them :)

For more information or to order a pair please feel free to give me a ring, more info below -

http://www.highendheadphones.co.uk/stax/stax-sr-009s-electrostatic-earspeakers

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Cheers,
Paul.

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