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Focal Stellia Review, Measurements, Interview - Head-Fi TV

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jude, Feb 12, 2019.
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  1. bidn
    Hi franz12,
    at this point it think that doesn't matter too much because right now it is still too early to have devices with the AK4499 which reaches a whooping 140 dB SNR in mono mode (what each chip in a pair of AK4499 DAC chips in balanced dual mono mode would obtain for each channel):

    https://www.akm.com/akm/en/product/datasheet1/?partno=AK4499EQ&link_id=link5073

    I will be watching for newer DACs (well) built on a pair of AK4499...
    Right now you are right that AKM have better DACs than the AK4490, the AK4493 and AK4497, but they don't improve things as much as the AK4499.
    For me the AK4499 is the real thing to be waiting for, and at this stage it is too early, AKM has planned mass production only for May 2019.
    So DACs (e.g. a successor to the SP1000) with the AK4499 chips would not arrive in stores before the fall 2019...
    (re. Sabre, the ESS 9038 is complicated to implement well).

    In any case, that Arche DAC is apparently not portable,
    so the best one could get for the Stellia as a fully portable (single device) solution is a A&K SP1000 with its dual AK4497 DACs.
    and as a desktop solution, if the Stellia is like the Utopia and money allows it, then the best would be a Chord Dave (but don't look at the price...)

    Have a nice weekend,
    bidn
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
    xxx1313 and franz12 like this.
  2. wje
    Great point. Lots to look forward to.
     
  3. Nomax
    .......the most impressive Thing in this Soundsignature is....the Echo Effect/the reverberation Effect

    NOMAX
     
  4. wje
    :D - Wow, I haven't messed with reverberation equipment for audio since the late 1970s. I remember using a Pioneer-built unit for such effects. It's great the manufacturers are now including this functionality in the product. Truth be told, I don't have an environment where a closed-back headphone is a necessity for me at this time. While I've enjoyed reading about these latest Focal headphones, I opted for a new pair of Utopias and put my order in yesterday. It's still great to see where this hobby takes us though - lots of interesting products keep being introduced and the costs, for the most part, tend to be trending down a bit as opposed to going up. Focal could have priced the Stellia at $3,999 (MSRP) like the Utopia, but decided on a lower price point.
     
    QueueCumber and PeteSTRADAMUS like this.
  5. tekkster
    I just realized that Focal was launching the Stellia a couple of days ago. Haven't thought of much else since.
     
  6. leftside
    Yeah they look fine. Looking forward to pairing up the Stellia with the LCD-4.

    300B LCD 4 1.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
    Anaz and PeteSTRADAMUS like this.
  7. PeteSTRADAMUS
    Weight aside I think these are beautiful.
     
  8. up late
    i found out today that my local headphone dealer has had the stellia for about a month and has now made it available for audition. i didn't have as much time as i would have liked to spend with it as i arrived at the store 20 minutes before closing, but i can share my initial impressions of it in comparison with the utopia - as always, ymmv. the stellia doesn't look as ostentatious in the flesh, tho i think its design will continue to polarise opinion. i found it very comfortable to wear and more so than the utopia. it felt lighter in the hand and on my head. it sounds warmer than the utopia with a touch more bass presence. the treble is shelved-down relative to the utopia. the utopia has noticeably more treble energy and sounds more incisive, whereas the stellia has a more relaxed presentation. the mids were lovely. while the stellia's bass seemed to be more elevated than the utopia's, it was also somewhat amorphous in comparison. i didn't notice any obvious honkyness or muddiness in the stellia's presentation, but if you are expecting it to rival the utopia for clarity, then you should probably lower your expectations as it is a closed-back headphone after all. the stellia made a very favourable first impression on me, unlike the elegia, which i didn't like at all. i wish that i could have spent more time with the stellia today, but i intend to return to it for a longer audition in the near future and a comparison with the z1r and hd820, which should be interesting.

    ps i forgot to mention that i'd happily swap the utopia's stock cable for the stellia's
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    Bern2, Zojokkeli, bidn and 3 others like this.
  9. Beagle
    If I 'notice' the bass on a headphone, It's usually too much bass for me. Same with treble.

    So, if initial impressions are any indications, the Stellia is to the Utopia what the 820 is to the 800s. They have nothing to do with one another sonically.
     
    wje likes this.
  10. up late
    the stellia's bass seemed just a tad more elevated than the utopia's. i certainly wouldn't describe it as prominent. there are similarities in the sound signatures but they don't sound the same, and i wouldn't expect them to.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  11. leftside
    Yes they are pretty hefty. When I use these, I'm sitting in a reclining chair, so the weight isn't a problem.

    I'll be using the Stellia in a more open environment, and often won't have the luxury of using a reclining chair. Also I don't expect these to be a "Utopia killer" or "better" than the Utopia. I expect they will sound quite different.
     
    PeteSTRADAMUS likes this.
  12. PeteSTRADAMUS
    Right on brother! I'm headed to Canjam as I write this, and I'll give my thoughts regarding the Stellia!
     
  13. PeteSTRADAMUS
    Sounds pretty good so far!
     
  14. QueueCumber
    Pre-ordered with headphone.com the minute I got the email. Psyched to hear them.
     
    wje likes this.
  15. QueueCumber
    Lol. Bass you can’t escape. Those were returned pretty quick on my end... :joy:
     
    Hoegaardener70 likes this.
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