Effects of switching pads with the Focal Utopia and Elear

Just yesterday, Jude Mansilla posted measurements of the Focal Utopia and Elear with the pads swapped. Stillhart had messaged him that the he tried swapping the Utopia's pad to the Elear pad to get a little more bass. The pads just pull off and swap easy-peasy. I did it and...SWEET! Yes, the Utopia's gain a bit more bass—which was something I found them in need of in my review.

Duh. Why didn't I think of that?

I figured Jude's post should be confirmed. The plot at the top of the page shows the Utopia's left and right channel averaged raw frequency response with both the stock pads and the Elear's pads. You can see a modest gain in bass response below 200Hz, netting about a 2dB increase in the lowest octave. You can also see a small reduction in energy between 800Hz-2kHz and between 3kHz-6kHz. These are a little uneven in channel matching but are probably real, though modest at just a few dB.


Putting the Utopia pads on the Elear (graph above) shows a loss of bass response; an added twist to the 800Hz-3kHz area; and a bit of a de-emphasis of the spike at 10kHz. If you look closely, you'll notice the pads seem to have different effect on the two different headphones. Interesting.

I definitely prefer the Elear pads on both headphones.

Here's the full set of measurements:

I agree with Jude, Focal better stock up on Elear pads.