Focal Stellia Review, Measurements, Interview - Head-Fi TV
Apr 21, 2021 at 4:14 AM Post #3,391 of 3,505

teknorob23

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Trying to decide what to pair with my Stellias. A Cord Hugo 2, Qutest + Topping A90, The Arche (my store still has 2 available) or the Oppo HA-1. What would you guys recommend? I haven't heard the Questest(heard the dac is nearly identical with the Hugo 2 just slight changes), and the Topping A90. Everything else in this list I heard, and liked.
The Stellia's on paper are easy to run, but i've tried mulitude of amp/dac combos as well as all-in-one DAC/Amps and the better the kit the more you get from them. They are genuine TOTL HPs and to my ears head and shoulders the best closed backs, so good partner kit will get the most out of them

Out of these my choice would be Hugo2. Its super flexible and as resolving as the qutest plus the Stellia's working brilliantly with the amp stage. To my ears the arche is all a bit vanilla in every department, not as resolving as either chord, and lacks the sense of contol and impact that they have. Base on my experience of reliability alone, i gave up after on the a90 after my 3rd unit developed a fault. Sonically with the qutest you get a good clean powerful sound, but it doesnt suffer poor recordings gladly.

Other pairings i liked with the stellia, keeping your budget in mind are: qutest or H2/ Flux Lab Acoustics FA10 - very natural, fast and dynamic. The Questyle amps work great with the Stellias, the CMA800R is stunning and was the only amp that can match the Hugo2 resolution, but gives you a bit more body and even more control especially in the low-end, but i appreciate this hard to find amp, but its CMA600i is one of the best value all-in-one DAC/Amps i've heard, not quite as resolving as the Hugo2 but there something very special about the way it drives the Stellias. Other than these the RME-ADi 2, FS version is a great DAC and a pretty good amp with loads of functionality, but because you really need a separate amp to get the most out of the DAC.

So coming full circle and based on your budget, i find it hard to look beyond the Hugo2, especially if you can pick a a good used one for £1000-1300, you wont get a better all around DAC (apart from the amp-less qutest) for under £2000, but the clincher is your getting and powerful amp stage that matches the DAC and more to the point the Stellias, better than anything else ive heard without getting way beyond your budget. And you can take your full set-up anywhere without compromising on SQ.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 7:36 AM Post #3,392 of 3,505

Nomax

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Got the Stellia delivered today, i noticed some changes in the included cable. I recalled last 2019 when I demoed and unboxed the package the long and short cable are both wrapped in fabric in which are sturdy cables but stiff. The package I received today comes with the shorter cable not wrapped in fabric but still sturdy and good quality wich makes more sense to me.4A44D4AF-1C24-480F-BACB-5C19931BC340.jpegEDE030B7-13F7-4D18-A21E-50B0EC874982.jpeg

Have a nice Time with this new Version 👍

NOMAX

PS.because its not the only difference vs the old Version
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 8:20 AM Post #3,394 of 3,505

XeNoNF50

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Got the Stellia delivered today, i noticed some changes in the included cable. I recalled last 2019 when I demoed and unboxed the package the long and short cable are both wrapped in fabric in which are sturdy cables but stiff. The package I received today comes with the shorter cable not wrapped in fabric but still sturdy and good quality wich makes more sense to me.4A44D4AF-1C24-480F-BACB-5C19931BC340.jpegEDE030B7-13F7-4D18-A21E-50B0EC874982.jpeg
Just noticed this post - my 1/4" jack cable went faulty (audio kept cutting out) and Focal have just shipped out a replacement. I wonder if they will send this new one.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 8:53 AM Post #3,395 of 3,505

ZekeAdebayo

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Thank you for all of the replies thus far. The Qutest/Hugo I've heard to have the best DAC stage of all of these options. The Hugo was a solid one or done solution, but I was left wondering with the difference in pricing between it and the Qutest if I couldn't find an even better amp to power things with. I guess why the A90 seemed liked a good option was because it was capable of driving a variety of headphones from power hungry to sensitive (cleanly without audible noise). I'm hesitant on a 789 because I've heard it's less refined than the A90 (seems to be a certain harshness issue up top that the A90 seem to handle better). I am open to better amp pairings than the A90, the Qutest combo affords me that luxury while having the best dac out of all the options I'm looking for. The Arche is being offered to me for around $1500, I like the way it works with the Stellias but can't help wonder if I'm missing out on something vs going for a Qutest/whatever solid amp combo down the road. The filters on the Arche were pretty alright, I do think I preferred the Hybrid Mode vs the Stellia mode on them though.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 9:50 AM Post #3,396 of 3,505

ZekeAdebayo

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@teknorob23 The Questyle CMA800R seems like a very tempting option for an amp. I do question why they went with a 3 pin XLR vs a 4 pin, but if the single ended output is just as good as a 4 pin would have been on this unit then I can't really complain. That plus one of the Cord DACs might just be my best bet. Thank you so much for the thorough response sir
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 10:14 AM Post #3,397 of 3,505

NCUS

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Thank you for all of the replies thus far. The Qutest/Hugo I've heard to have the best DAC stage of all of these options. The Hugo was a solid one or done solution, but I was left wondering with the difference in pricing between it and the Qutest if I couldn't find an even better amp to power things with. I guess why the A90 seemed liked a good option was because it was capable of driving a variety of headphones from power hungry to sensitive (cleanly without audible noise). I'm hesitant on a 789 because I've heard it's less refined than the A90 (seems to be a certain harshness issue up top that the A90 seem to handle better). I am open to better amp pairings than the A90, the Qutest combo affords me that luxury while having the best dac out of all the options I'm looking for. The Arche is being offered to me for around $1500, I like the way it works with the Stellias but can't help wonder if I'm missing out on something vs going for a Qutest/whatever solid amp combo down the road. The filters on the Arche were pretty alright, I do think I preferred the Hybrid Mode vs the Stellia mode on them though.
The Hugo 2 costs about $2500. Adding a streamer, if you are into that, is another $1300 and you'll be getting something with only 2.4Ghz wifi. An Arche at $1500 + bluesound node 2i streamer is about $2,050. That leaves $450+ to buy music. There is some fun in tinkering around and mixing equipment, but if you like the Arche, I think it's a no brainer.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 11:01 AM Post #3,399 of 3,505

teknorob23

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@teknorob23 The Questyle CMA800R seems like a very tempting option for an amp. I do question why they went with a 3 pin XLR vs a 4 pin, but if the single ended output is just as good as a 4 pin would have been on this unit then I can't really complain. That plus one of the Cord DACs might just be my best bet. Thank you so much for the thorough response sir

Reply this actually on useful if you bi-amp, i.e buy 2 x CMA800r otherwise its single output. Its amazing quality outputting single and has way more power than you'd ever need for the stellias
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 6:29 PM Post #3,400 of 3,505

Mkoll

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The Stellia's on paper are easy to run, but i've tried mulitude of amp/dac combos as well as all-in-one DAC/Amps and the better the kit the more you get from them. They are genuine TOTL HPs and to my ears head and shoulders the best closed backs, so good partner kit will get the most out of them

Out of these my choice would be Hugo2. Its super flexible and as resolving as the qutest plus the Stellia's working brilliantly with the amp stage. To my ears the arche is all a bit vanilla in every department, not as resolving as either chord, and lacks the sense of contol and impact that they have. Base on my experience of reliability alone, i gave up after on the a90 after my 3rd unit developed a fault. Sonically with the qutest you get a good clean powerful sound, but it doesnt suffer poor recordings gladly.

Other pairings i liked with the stellia, keeping your budget in mind are: qutest or H2/ Flux Lab Acoustics FA10 - very natural, fast and dynamic. The Questyle amps work great with the Stellias, the CMA800R is stunning and was the only amp that can match the Hugo2 resolution, but gives you a bit more body and even more control especially in the low-end, but i appreciate this hard to find amp, but its CMA600i is one of the best value all-in-one DAC/Amps i've heard, not quite as resolving as the Hugo2 but there something very special about the way it drives the Stellias. Other than these the RME-ADi 2, FS version is a great DAC and a pretty good amp with loads of functionality, but because you really need a separate amp to get the most out of the DAC.

So coming full circle and based on your budget, i find it hard to look beyond the Hugo2, especially if you can pick a a good used one for £1000-1300, you wont get a better all around DAC (apart from the amp-less qutest) for under £2000, but the clincher is your getting and powerful amp stage that matches the DAC and more to the point the Stellias, better than anything else ive heard without getting way beyond your budget. And you can take your full set-up anywhere without compromising on SQ.
I can also vouch for the RME ADI-2 DAC FS. It's a very good DAC with lots of extra functionalities that aren't found in other Hifi DACs. It drives my Stellia through a GS-X mini which is a stellar amp that pairs well with most headphones.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 11:02 PM Post #3,401 of 3,505

chaz_flhr

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Trying to decide what to pair with my Stellias. A Cord Hugo 2, Qutest + Topping A90, The Arche (my store still has 2 available) or the Oppo HA-1. What would you guys recommend? I haven't heard the Questest(heard the dac is nearly identical with the Hugo 2 just slight changes), and the Topping A90. Everything else in this list I heard, and liked.
Ifi pro idsd is a great all in one option, musical DAC with plenty of filter options, SS, tube & tube+ amplifier in one small chassis.
Liquid Platinum could also work well, as was stated previously Stellia scales well.
 
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Apr 21, 2021 at 11:49 PM Post #3,402 of 3,505

Roasty

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20210422_103850-01.jpeg
20210422_114552-01.jpeg


Office rig..
I listen to this setup and sometimes think.. actually maybe I really don't need anything else.
 
Apr 22, 2021 at 6:13 AM Post #3,403 of 3,505

Caruryn

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Trying to decide what to pair with my Stellias. A Cord Hugo 2, Qutest + Topping A90, The Arche (my store still has 2 available) or the Oppo HA-1. What would you guys recommend? I haven't heard the Questest(heard the dac is nearly identical with the Hugo 2 just slight changes), and the Topping A90. Everything else in this list I heard, and liked.
AK SP2000ss if you have the cash.You don't need anything else.
 

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