Focal Celestee Review & Measurements
Jan 29, 2021 at 10:00 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 76
Focal Celestee Review & Measurements

NOTE: If you can't see the embedded video above, please CLICK HERE to see the video.


The new closed-back Focal Celestee is a compelling addition to Focal's lineup, as it replaces a well-regarded model (the Elegia). We take a close look at the new Focal Celestee, including several measurements from the Brüel & Kjær 5128 hearing simulator. We compare the Celestee to its Focal siblings, as well other well-known headphones. We also examine Jude's (French?) pronunciation.




Click on the following link for more information about the Brüel & Kjær 5128 hearing simulator mentioned in the video: Brüel & Kjær 5128





Focal Celestee Review & Measurements - produced by Joe Cwik, Brian Murphy, and Jude Mansilla​
 
Jan 29, 2021 at 11:29 AM Post #2 of 76

Fegefeuer

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Nice, really helped separating all 3 headphones and giving them context. Celestee looks like a definite loaner sometime as I really want a close back.

How do you find their imaging differences? I'm assuming Stellia being superior while Radiance=Celestee?
 
Jan 29, 2021 at 11:39 AM Post #3 of 76
...How do you find their imaging differences? I'm assuming Stellia being superior while Radiance=Celestee?

Yes, @Fegefeuer, the Stellia still images best of the Focal closed-backs to me, and I neglected to mention that in the video. None of the Focals are airy imagers to me -- versus, say, the HD800S for open-backs or the HD820 for closed-backs -- but their imaging (while tighter) is a detailed imaging, with (especially with the kind of recordings that present strongly with these kinds of cues) a nice, coherent sense of where things are in the space. And of the three (or four if you include the Elegia), the Stellia is still the best in this respect to me.
 
Jan 29, 2021 at 12:09 PM Post #4 of 76

FullBright1

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Yes, @Fegefeuer, the Stellia still images best of the Focal closed-backs to me, and I neglected to mention that in the video. None of the Focals are airy imagers to me -- versus, say, the HD800S for open-backs or the HD820 for closed-backs -- but their imaging (while tighter) is a detailed imaging, with (especially with the kind of recordings that present strongly with these kinds of cues) a nice, coherent sense of where things are in the space. And of the three (or four if you include the Elegia), the Stellia is still the best in this respect to me.

Sound-wise, the Celestee has the "leanest" bass...sort of like the Elear ?????? Whereas their last release, the Radiance, was the opposite, as it has "bass authority".
 
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Jan 29, 2021 at 3:50 PM Post #8 of 76

ralphp@optonline

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Thank you once again Jude for a most informative and highly entertaining video. Great job. Hope to see you again at another NYC Can Jam once this pandemic is behind us. Stay safe my friend.
 
Jan 29, 2021 at 10:07 PM Post #9 of 76

up late

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nice comparison thanks @jude. i share your opinion of the stellia and look forward to giving the celestee a listen. are you planning on re-measuring the utopia using the Brüel & Kjær 5128 anytime soon?
 
Jan 29, 2021 at 11:35 PM Post #11 of 76

Coztomba

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I'm not a fan of the blue. I much prefer the Radiance looks wise. I want the looks of the Radiance and the sound of the Stellia.
 
Jan 30, 2021 at 8:44 AM Post #12 of 76

nightaurora

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I'm not a fan of the blue. I much prefer the Radiance looks wise. I want the looks of the Radiance and the sound of the Stellia.

I would take the Radiance leather and grill color, but sans the Bentley logo.
 
Jan 30, 2021 at 10:44 AM Post #14 of 76

dan3952

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I've had the Clears before, and think they are worth $1500. I wouldn't personally look at any Focal product below their price point, as it's doubtful that any of them can match their level of micro detail. These are capitalists who charge what the market will bear for their products. I take my music seriously, and would rather pay $500 more, than spend two years wondering if I should have splurged for the next model up.

I had a good laugh when I had clicked on Dan Clark Audio: they don't have any new products to offer that would interest me, just new marketing babble: their aging Ether closed is still $1800, and they had raised the price of the Ether 2 to $2300, without changing it. They also have an obsession with cables, clicking on that pulldown, gave me a headache. It's a much smaller company than Focal, I know.
d
I don't think my Audeze LCD-3s are worth their $1945 MSRP either, but I appreciate what they do well: the Clears and the Aryas outresolve it, but not always in a pleasant way (at least to me). There's no doubt in my mind that a Utopia or an HE-1000 would outperform any of those.

As an technical person, I dislike "jewelry" like cables and use of colors designed to get people's attention. I see needless glitz in the packaging for a lot of products, including huge boxes that are mainly for show. But, that's what sells, and what people seem to want. HiFiMan seems to be the minimalist of the group.

Personally I'd be looking for a new flagship from focal, these "mid tier" headphones occupy a strange area of the market, at least to me they do.
 
Jan 30, 2021 at 2:46 PM Post #15 of 76

JWahl

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I've had the Clears before, and think they are worth $1500. I wouldn't personally look at any Focal product below their price point, as it's doubtful that any of them can match their level of micro detail. These are capitalists who charge what the market will bear for their products. I take my music seriously, and would rather pay $500 more, than spend two years wondering if I should have splurged for the next model up.

I had a good laugh when I had clicked on Dan Clark Audio: they don't have any new products to offer that would interest me, just new marketing babble: their aging Ether closed is still $1800, and they had raised the price of the Ether 2 to $2300, without changing it. They also have an obsession with cables, clicking on that pulldown, gave me a headache. It's a much smaller company than Focal, I know.
d
I don't think my Audeze LCD-3s are worth their $1945 MSRP either, but I appreciate what they do well: the Clears and the Aryas outresolve it, but not always in a pleasant way (at least to me). There's no doubt in my mind that a Utopia or an HE-1000 would outperform any of those.

As an technical person, I dislike "jewelry" like cables and use of colors designed to get people's attention. I see needless glitz in the packaging for a lot of products, including huge boxes that are mainly for show. But, that's what sells, and what people seem to want. HiFiMan seems to be the minimalist of the group.

That's an interesting take on the Clear. I have yet to hear one, but I've previously owned the Elear. It was nice at first, but I eventually began to dislike the ~4-5k dip. I've read that the Clear improves that, but I wonder how much of a step up it is. The Clear and Arya are the top of headphones that I'd like to hear sometime, but the Hifiman HE-6SE V2 (Adorama version) will probably be my next headphone purchase due to the discount and having an amp that can drive them. The Clear and Arya are still outside of my comfort zone for awhile. This Celestee is at an interesting price-point, though. I'd eventually like to have a complementary closed-back headphone. The Fostex TH-X00 and Pioneer SE-Monitor 5 have filled that role previously. Right now, I've just been using the HD-650 for awhile since they're affordable, scale well, and don't have any majorly intolerable flaws (Although they could do certain things better).
 

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