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



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:







*
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.
I'm still bothered by that ugly hump between 80 and 200hZ. I realize seeing is not necessarily hearing, but other phones that measured a peak in that area I did hear easily.
 
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Whitigir

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I'm still bothered by that ugly hump between 80 and 200hZ. I realize seeing is not necessarily hearing, but other phones that measured a peak in that area I did hear easily.
Honestly, I never heard there was a bump when I was listening to Stellia at CanJamNYC, so I don’t know. Anyways, if I was looking for a highend closed back headphones, the Stellia would be the choice over the HD820 any day. Could be the synergy of the stuff it was hooked up into, at the show. Synergy and stuff is important at this level
 
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Honestly, I never heard there was a bump when I was listening to Stellia at CanJamNYC, so I don’t know. Anyways, if I was looking for a highend closed back headphones, the Stellia would be the choice over the HD820 any day
I probably would not hear it during the first 10 minutes or even the first day. But a week or so later, I worry that I would and that it would never go away..
 
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I'm still bothered by that ugly hump between 80 and 200hZ. I realize seeing is not necessarily hearing, but other phones that measured a peak in that area I did hear easily.
I probably would not hear it during the first 10 minutes or even the first day. But a week or so later, I worry that I would and that it would never go away..
I'm right there with you - that was my first thought upon seeing the measurements. Of course, listening may tell a different story but it's definitely a concern to watch out for.


On the topic of headphone cable adapters - Audio Art also makes a short adapter set to convert between aftermarket headphone cables. It's not a 1-piece like the DHC, but I find it very low profile and non-intrusive to use. Bonus points for not imparting any noticeable sonic changes (or at least not that I can hear). Pricing is listed as "from $120" but obviously that will increase with some of the more expensive connections like Utopia or HD800 etc. The final product should still cost less than the DHC but I'm not positive.
 
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I probably would not hear it during the first 10 minutes or even the first day. But a week or so later, I worry that I would and that it would never go away..
Yeah, well, everyone hear it differently. There are many factors that can be affected by how we observe the sound performances. But once you know what you are looking for, the general ideas will still be similar. I swear, there is a dip in HD820 upper mid somewhere, and I don’t even want to look at it graph.

After all, I listen by ears, and not eyes, or over measurement instruments. But then again, no one have to agree, and this is why the world is interesting, otherwise it is all gonna be very boring
 
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Yeah, well, everyone hear it differently. There are many factors that can be affected by how we observe the sound performances. But once you know what you are looking for, the general ideas will still be similar. I swear, there is a dip in HD820 upper mid somewhere, and I don’t even want to look at it graph.

After all, I listen by ears, and not eyes, or over measurement instruments. But then again, no one have to agree, and this is why the world is interesting, otherwise it is all gonna be very boring
Agree. Just posting my thoughts, with speculation, based on what I usually hear and my experiences. Not arguing with you.
 
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Honestly, I never heard there was a bump when I was listening to Stellia at CanJamNYC, so I don’t know. Anyways, if I was looking for a highend closed back headphones, the Stellia would be the choice over the HD820 any day. Could be the synergy of the stuff it was hooked up into, at the show. Synergy and stuff is important at this level
it wasn't apparent to me either but maybe i'm just partial to mid-bass and don't know it :wink:
 
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I have not heard these yet, but my thought process developed over the years is that in general manufacturers assign a price in comparison to their other products in their extremely experienced, um, experience. And every time I think outside of what they are telling me with their pricing I come to realize they knew what they were doing when they picked a price point, let’s say, 25% below their top line product. So when we have some folks say this is their favorite Focal headphone, I do (nowadays) consider that they are actually in disagreement with the folks that make these things.
I re-learned this lesson with a recent purchase of focal elegia’s hoping they might be a closed back headphone approaching my beloved utopia ‘s. Or even my z1r’s. But they were grainy and not close to either. That said, I like my utopia ‘s enough that I will likely take the leap. Hope they make me re-think this experience!
 
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Nice couple lol


IMG_3423.JPG



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I'm still bothered by that ugly hump between 80 and 200hZ. I realize seeing is not necessarily hearing, but other phones that measured a peak in that area I did hear easily.
.....its not ugly.....to my ears this hump offers more body in the music....and not to much....very balanced all in all

NOMAX
 
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I have not heard these yet, but my thought process developed over the years is that in general manufacturers assign a price in comparison to their other products in their extremely experienced, um, experience. And every time I think outside of what they are telling me with their pricing I come to realize they knew what they were doing when they picked a price point, let’s say, 25% below their top line product. So when we have some folks say this is their favorite Focal headphone, I do (nowadays) consider that they are actually in disagreement with the folks that make these things.
I re-learned this lesson with a recent purchase of focal elegia’s hoping they might be a closed back headphone approaching my beloved utopia ‘s. Or even my z1r’s. But they were grainy and not close to either. That said, I like my utopia ‘s enough that I will likely take the leap. Hope they make me re-think this experience!
So just demo stellia then.
 
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ThomasHK

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I'm still bothered by that ugly hump between 80 and 200hZ. I realize seeing is not necessarily hearing, but other phones that measured a peak in that area I did hear easily.
Largely a measurement artifact. Will not be as bad on real human.
 
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