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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. raypin
    Mm...can’t locate the emailed invoice (2016/2017).... Query Double Helix for current price.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  2. jude Administrator
    I thought some of you would find this measurement comparison interesting -- it's the Focal Stellia frequency response compared to the Harman AE/OE Target* (to read the paper in full requires purchase or AES membership):

    FR---Focal-Stellia-(black-solid)-v-Harman-AE-OE-(gray-dotted).jpg

    For my preferences, in terms of tonal balance, the Focal Stellia is perhaps my favorite closed-back headphone for general listening pleasure. While the Harman Target is certainly not the only sound signature I like, headphones that are Harman-AE/OE-Target-ish (and IEMs that are Harman-IE-Target-ish) seem to reliably be among those I enjoy listening to.

    In terms of imaging, I feel the Focal Stellia images precisely, coherently, and relatively airy for a closed-back headphone. However, when it comes to image size and perceived openness, the Sennheiser HD820 and Sony MDR-Z1R remain the clear frontrunners to me. (And between those two, I'd give the edge to the Sennheiser HD820 in this regard.)

    Versus the Sennheiser HD820 (with its very large ear pads that are relatively firm), the relatively smaller footprint of the Stellia with its very cushiony, pliable earpads will likely make achieving a good seal much easier to achieve for most users (which is very important especially with closed-back headphones). While I can get a good seal with the Sennheiser HD820, reading community impressions over time suggests that some find it challenging. I think this will be a very rare issue with the Focal Stellia. In my opinion, the importance of this cannot be overstated.

    Since shooting the Focal Stellia video, my enthusiasm for this headphone has only grown. The Stellia is my favorite of all of Focal's headphones. And while the closed-back Stellia unquestionably (and unsurprisingly) gives way to its open-back siblings like the Clear and Utopia in terms of pure technical performance, resolution, and imaging, its tonal balance is strong enough (for my preferences) to push it well to the front of Focal's now quite-complete family of headphones. (Again, this is relative to my preferences and priorities, and those who rank all of these factors differently may (of course) come to different conclusions.)

    Also, following are the measurements that were shown in the video:

    FR---Focal-Stellia-(black-solid)-v-Focal-Elegia-(gray-dashed).jpg

    THD---Focal-Stellia-(black-solid)-v-Focal-Elegia-(gray-dashed).jpg



    *
    S. Olive, T. Welti, and O. Khonsaripour, “A Statistical Model that Predicts Listeners' Preference Ratings of Around-Ear and On-Ear Headphones,” presented at the 144th Audio Eng. Convention, Milan, Italy (May 2018).



    The Focal Stellia and Elegia measurements in this post were performed at Head-Fi's audio measurement lab using:
    The Harman AE/OE Target plot data was provided courtesy of Sean Olive, Harman International, Northridge, CA, USA.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
    Pokemonn, RobertSM, XERO1 and 9 others like this.
  3. mixman

    Hi Jude, as we discussed at Can Jam, I very much agree with your conclusion on the Stellia. It's also my favorite Focal headphone.
     
    jude likes this.
  4. 329161
    Fantastic closed can, probably the best iveI heard. Will wait for the price fall though. Can't justify this amount for any headphone.
     
    Misson07 and noplsestar like this.
  5. AmusedToD
    Found it, they have a whole range or ultrashort adapters for the Focal Utopia cables, so one can basically use a Utopia cable with a multitude od other headphones. The price is $219.

    015A996D-69F9-455B-B786-4BD645B29286.jpeg
     
    raypin and bidn like this.
  6. gb21011971
    $ 219? L M F A O :dt880smile:
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
    bfreedma, kid vic, Edric Li and 3 others like this.
  7. raypin
    mm...yeah, the DHC hypershort adaptor works well and saves you money by not replicating your favorite top-tier headphone cable with each of your top-tier headphones. One thing I remembered is it took awhile for DHC to get it done since the Utopia Lemo is not off the shelf. Which is what I did with one of my all-time favorite headphone cable: Nordost Heimdall 2.

     
  8. AmusedToD
    Yeah, quite expensive. Probably not worth more than a hundred bucks, but they are the only one that make it (as far as I know). They also have some kind of a 3D printer that allows them to accomplish different sorts of designs and alterations.

    https://doublehelixcables.com/customization-guide/3d-printing/
     
  9. AmusedToD
    Exactly. Even though the price seems outrageous, it's the only way to save money by not buying another expensive cable with a different set of headphone plugs.
     
  10. Whitigir
    Wrong, the other way is to start making cable yourself. It is all just simple soldering works, at materials of choices, period. Speaking of materials, DIY will guarantee the highest yield of saving and authenticity of the parts too.

    The convenience of saving time ...looking out the windows, surfing the tablets to follow email or tracking number on the delivery. You get it done in a short time by yourself
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  11. AmusedToD
    Absolutely not interested in making my own cables. I am no expert in that and don't intend to become one.
     
    kid vic likes this.
  12. Whitigir
    Yeah, so a niche products will have an inflated costs. That is just normal then. Be glad that your money can trade for it. If no one made it, then no amount Of money can trade for it
     
    snellemin and audiobean like this.
  13. AmusedToD
    That's true. But it's the way things work for most people.
     
    Whitigir likes this.
  14. raypin
    mm...the time it will take me to learn and experiment with headphone cable fabrication/modification/customization I could use productively to earn money and have it done by someone who knows how to do it right. In any case, to each his own. In other words, this headphone cable thingie is not my core competency. I don't do DIY.
     
  15. Whitigir
    Correct, and usually people who think like that will have no problem to pay for the thing they need :). I wasnt directing the saving to you though, I was just saying whoever is thinking the adapters are expensive...start DIY then, or else...pay up

    Money is king, until the king is out of money :wink:
     
    snellemin, audiobean and raypin like this.
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