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The One

What Are the Best Hi-Fi Headphones for Wild, Wired-In Sound?

Focal’s $4,999 Utopia headphones use pure beryllium drivers to transmit musical genius.

Focal Utopia premium over-ear wired headphones.

Focal Utopia premium over-ear wired headphones.

Photographer: Ryan Jenq for Bloomberg Businessweek

The thriving vinyl market, a recent swell in CD sales, and new audiophile-grade streaming services have all helped rekindle interest in sonic quality. But whatever your source, the best auditory experience bypasses Bluetooth and requires a wired set of cans. Focal, based in Saint-Étienne, France, takes a spare-no-expense approach with the redesigned, $4,999 Utopia headphones. The most noticeable changes are the forged carbon yokes and honeycomb grilles on the ear cups, as well as a new voice coil for clear, natural sound that spans frequencies from 5Hz to 50kHz—more than the human ear could ever detect. They weigh in at just over a pound, but supple lambskin-covered memory-foam ear pads mean you’ll hardly notice.