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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. DarginMahkum
    It is not just the frequency response that shows the sound quality, but also the speed of the response. I don't know how this tests are done if it is just done by sweeping frequency of a sine wave and measuring the response, it would be far from perfect. The question would be also how the frequency response changes with the change of the frequency sweeping speed (I guess this is what the beryllium dome can do better) and when multiple frequencies are applied at the same time (which is the normal case when listening to music). Just a guess.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  2. pataburd
    Me likes the flat bass response of the Utopia!
  3. jude Administrator
    I'll have to revisit that specific measurement, but I believe it was (a) made with our first configuration of the GRAS 45CA, and (b) using diffuse field compensation.

    We have since updated the pinnae/canal assembly on the 45CA with GRAS's latest anthropometric models, as well as updated our ear simulators to their latest versions.

    Perhaps just as importantly -- actually, I'll say most importantly -- we have developed stricter processes and better methods for measuring headphones (some of which I showed in a seminar at CanJam New York this past weekend), so I'll post an updated Utopia frequency response (and THD) measurement for a more meaningful comparison to the Elegia and Stellia. (We may already have a usable set completed using the latest setup and methods, but I have to look later in our project files when I'm back at the office.) As with the Stellia and Elegia measurements shown, I will not use diffuse field compensation for the Utopia measurement.

    In short, disregard the comparison posted a few posts above this one by @up late, and wait for me to post a new one later. (It may not be today, as we have a lot of catch-up after CanJam.)
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
    Deftone, bfreedma, XERO1 and 6 others like this.
  4. Whitigir
    I agreed with everything you just said.
    We just need to keep in mind that the Stellia is a closed back headphones where as Utopia is a full blown open back. Closed back will have 2 problems of boosted low bass and upper frequencies. So, to keep it down into a balanced signature and sound so close to Utopia, the goal is achieved. Heck, Focal turned Stellia even better than HD820 which is an 800/S being cramped into a closed back from Sennheiser

    In mind opinion, the Stellia is a wonderful products and artfully tuned to be keeping Utopia traces, but inside a closed back factor.
    bidn and teknorob23 like this.
  5. pataburd
    OK, Chief. : )
  6. Ojisan
    Since few people mentioned "toned down treble" and "warmer", does the Stellia have a flavor somewhere between Clear and Utopia (but with the speed/resolution of beryllium Utopia)? Anyone with experience with Clear/Utopia and Stellia care to comment?

    If it has a correct timbre for acoustic instruments (like Clear) but leaning closer to Utopia balance, this might be an awesome headphone regardless of being open/closed.
  7. Art Garfunkel
    Yet I note that a large number of listeners were complaining that the Elegia, also a closed, had no bass. A few of the MrSpeakers closed offerings have little bass. So I don't think a generalization about closed-back and boosted bass is necessarily accurate.
    kid vic likes this.
  8. Whitigir
    To clarify, what I meant is that using the same drivers from opened back design, putting it inside a closed chamber , the case in point of HD820, the nature of the closed back design, the sound chamber acting as an acoustic room and all that plethora effects, it is inevitable to have boosted bass and upper frequencies.

    But I will leave it there before I get too technical

    I never would say closed back have to have boosted bass or treble frequency. Of if you thought I did, it was a misunderstanding
  9. leftside
    If you like the Utopia, keep the Utopia. If you want something that is better for traveling/sitting close to people with a little portable DAC - get the Stellia. I have the LCD-4 and they’ll be going nowhere, but I understand the limitations of these headphones when traveling and with a portable DAC, so I’ll also get the Stellia.
    bidn likes this.
  10. gb21011971
    I am familiar with Utopia, Clear, Elear and Elegia. Going off memory (sold the Elear some time ago) the Elear is the only one having the same amount of bass as the Elegia. The Elegia definitely has more bass than the Clear or Utopia.
  11. Nomax
    My last comments to Stellia and about other closed Back Headphones

    Denon is certainly not a bad closed back, I own it myself .... it just has too much pent-up energy that just does not find its way out. The whole sound spectrum is therefore very much in the head ... the bass is not balanced enough (closed back) and its also treble is too much from time to time.

    That is just what makes Stellia so special ... the balance .... even Wedemark has not achieved this, in my opinion, except from the comfort ..... you may not believe it but, the HD820 is the first Sennheiser that does not fit properly / not good enough on my head.


    The Closed Back does a lot of things differently .... it
    has a little bit more in the lower registers than the Utopia .... but not too
    much ... and a bit less at the top ... the mids seem tob e even more present.

    What fascinates me the most is how they managed to get this rich and almost balanced sound signature with a closed back, so that there is just the right amount of bass, not too much (except for metal / rock genres). In my opinion, this will be the main reason why this model will have the edge in the long-term over other closed backs, and will therefore get many fans.

    Ultrasone ... Denon ... ZMF ... K872 ... TH900 and also the German top dog are not even close.

    Therefore, no matter how you look at it... this point from me for the best closed back headphone goes to France.

    To those who do not like the Focal sound signatures too much, I would recommend to give the Empyrean a try.


    P.S. And now for its time to give a listen to one of the next flagships/prototype which is coming at the End of this year...and when the right time is coming
    i will give some leak information lol
    XERO1, bidn and xxx1313 like this.
  12. teknorob23
    i think its easy to mistake the Elegia for being bass light on first listen, i would have discounted when i was auditioning for a new closed back a couple of weeks ago. My friend who works at my local dealer nagged me into taking it home with mr speaker ether c and ZMFs. Long story short, i bought the Elegia, with their bass presentation being one the deciding factors. It is pretty neutral though and if the bass isnt in the recording, its not going to add any and it also plays a lot better with wetter tube amplification + hugo2 than the hugo on its own, which tempers its slightly analytical leanings into something addictively musical... i will however be first in the queue to hear the stellias :wink:
  13. JohnYang1997
    This is raw frequency response. To me stellia looks 10 times better.
  14. JohnYang1997
    You need either square wave(useless without compensation of frequency response)
    or use multitone measurements. That shows harmonic distortion and intermodulation distortion. But in this case frequency response alone should tell enough story.
    There is no such thing as sweeping fast enough.
  15. DarginMahkum
    You definitely know more than I do and just asking out of curiosity: But if the measurement was done by sweeping a single sine wave, and if the decay is not fast enough and there is still ringing and its harmonics from the earlier frequencies, it would affect the measurement of the upcoming frequencies, wouldn't it? I never experimented myself and maybe it is negligible.
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