We’ll start by saying that there is no doubt that the Focal Utopia open-back, over-ear headphones are astounding. They are quite possibly the best headphones we’ve ever used and every ounce of the renowned French manufacturer’s audio expertise is right there for you to enjoy.
However, the Tournaire edition, made in collaboration with one of France’s top jewellers, will set you back $120,000 (around £97,000). That’s a staggering amount to pay for a sports car let along a pair of headphones. So why will they set you back so much?
Well, you have the hand decorated gold and diamond elements to thank for that.
There is 18 karat yellow gold on the ear pieces and at the start of each side of the headband. There are also 6 carats worth of diamonds, set into them.
While this might sound a bit too bling for your taste, they are actually elegant up close. And they feature the same audio signature as the conventional, black Utopia headset – that’s only $3,999 if you can’t quite stretch to the whole $120 K.
There are some clever technologies at work too. Much of it is housed in the head strap across the top, with a 40mm Berylium ‘M’ shape dome driver for each ear. The drive unit is also placed slightly forward, giving the impression of audio origination in front of you rather than at the sides.
They have a huge frequency response of between 5Hz and 50kHz, and an impedance of 32 Ohms. Impressive stuff.
The cups are covered in super soft lambs leather, while the yokes above each earpiece are carbon fiber to reduce weight. They are extremely comfortable to wear, as we discovered in our preview session, but however nice they feel, the audio performance is the real star of the show.
They are, quite simply, stunning.
Spatial representation is excellent and there is so much clarity throughout volumes – up to ear splittingly loud. You can hear every slide of a finger on a string, or a cough in the audience at a recording.
There’s little doubt that people will want the Utopia by Tournaire edition headphones, but on only a few generally will.
They will be lucky people indeed through. These are the Ferrari of audio listening. They even almost cost as much.
And we can safely say that even before we get a pair in for testing.