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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. teknorob23
    i'd agree that the Stellias for out and out performance are bested by TOTL open backs, although Focal have done a better job than anyone else by a country mile of overcoming the limitations of closed backs. I have a fairly specific need when it comes to HPs, in that 10 years of DJ'ing in front Monitor speakers largely without the facility to alter their levels, followed by a career in production, has left me with me with sensitivity in my left ear to 4-6k mark when using HPs. I'm lucky because my hearing is otherwise fine, but it does mean i have to listen at fairly low volumes, which make open backs, in most situations, unsuitable. I've largely used Beyers for work which are analytically fine but ive never really used for music and otherwise up until i finding the Elegias and now the Stellia i had not found a CB that i could get on with. All sounding to cupped, not enough width and crap bass (for various different reasons). Focal seem to have got the closest to cracking the design restrictions and with Stellias, they have CB which actually performs tonally, for my personal tastes at least better than the Utopia and many other OBs i've owned and or heard. Technically they're good enough to let my source kit shine and they've got me revisiting the nether regions of my music collection which is always a good sign :)
    raypin, bidn and DarginMahkum like this.
  2. SilverEars
    After I've got it performing better on the right setup, it had me thinking that Focal has done the darnest job getting this closed headphone tuned so to get least reverb as possible, and I don't know if it's possible to get much better actually. Because, we know that is the what is being fought off when trying to tune closed headphones.

    I was a bit disappointed with Elegia, with it's treble response, but Stellia has the more controlled and smooth treble response. If driven with the right setup, the bass is tight, impactful with good quantity as well, not getting wooley or too warm. Also, the seal of the Stellia is quite right with the plush pads (and the clamping force), it does feel comfortable.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
    raypin likes this.
  3. teknorob23
    I agree on the Elegia's treble, but i was willing to forgive this in return for their dynamism, natural tone and relative openness compared to every other closed back i'd heard B.S.. perhaps an unfortunate acronym for "Before Stellia":wink: and they also scaled well with my home set up. Sadly for the Elegia, once the Stellia had 50hrs under their belt, they left them for dust. I've just plugged the Elegia back in now and damn they sound closed and lifeless. Switch back is quite simply like turning the lights on.
    raypin and bidn like this.
  4. skootb
    listening to Stellia right now from a Dave.

    first thought is that my Noble Katana CIEMs are really good. I'm not wowed by Stellia at all, especially for the price, and I feel like my Katanas may be better
    raypin likes this.
  5. schugh
    I've the Elegias for a month and two weeks after I heard about the Stellia.
    Thankfully my local dealer will take back the Elegia and I've placed my order for the Stellia.
    I never liked the Utopia but do very much like the Elegia and I'm sure the Stellia should work for me also.
  6. SilverEars
    Try this one

    wje likes this.
  7. tekkster
    Thank you Audio Vision SF!
    So happy they had one in stock.
    I've finally joined the Stellia club (^_^)
    DarginMahkum, teknorob23 and wje like this.
  8. up late
    finally? they've only been on the market for five minutes. :wink:
    tekkster likes this.
  9. SilverEars
    I've been listening to the better matched setup, and better appreciating the Stellia. My impression of imaging and tonality of the instruments have much improved. I'm getting more dimensional sounding imaging now compared to previous setup which sounded a bit smeared in depth, lacking imaging definition/separation. I think it's the tube amp causing such an imaging, and also the source/amp combo is providing more bite to the sound, and sharper treble for a more vivid detailing.

    I think what the tonality needed was some incisiveness and bite for my taste which pushes for stronger attack when it comes to instrumental sounds with more realism. I've been listening to a lot of jazz, and find it enjoyable with jazz and instrumentals.

    Funny thing is, I usually do not say a headphone should have more incisiveness and bite the sound, and usually point out if there are too much of it (peaky/brightness, etc..).

    As far as it being closed, it has that advantage of sound isolation, and appreciating the advantage of sound isolation when listening to music (I notice the reduced ambient noise level).
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
    raypin likes this.
  10. 329161
    So I was abc-ing between my Elegia, a prospective LCD-x and the Stellia on my mojo setup today and the thing that struck me was how close these headphones all are. I've reconsidered my intention to one day acquire the Stellia as there just isn't enough of a difference between the 3 to justify the triple cost. I've decided to go for the Audeze next as it's on the same level as the Stellia as far as I'm concerned. The lcdx beats the high end Focal in soundstage and treble air. Bass seems better defined too. The bass hump on the Stellia really becomes noticeable when compared beside "more neutral " cans like these other 2, So much so that it precludes it from being reference class. Hell the Elegia even beats the Stellia for soundstage, dynamics and neutrality. The higher class Focal has that last 10-5 % in refinement and smoothness. Imaging is superior on the Stellia too. I know what my next purchase is, and I'm happy to say I'll be saving around 3 grand AUD. YMMV natch.
    Deftone, wje and teknorob23 like this.
  11. teknorob23
    Wow your findings are pretty suprising, because my experience is contrary to yours on almost every count. Just shows how we all hear differently and have different preferences.

    I own the elegia and stellia and have recently sold my lcd xc. I haven’t listened via the mojo but instead hugod2, hugo2+Feliks euforia and DF red with iPhone X.

    Until I heard the stellia the elegia were my favourite cb, for exhibiting the least of the traditional downsides of their form. By comparison the audeze sound boxy and innacurate/ unrefined.

    The stellia initially while in the early stages of burn in did not impress over the elegia apart from the extra width, less veiled mids, better seperation/ detail retrieval and extended treble. The bass was simply not there. Then at 50hrs it arrived and the whole presentation and sq litterally lept ahead of the elegia. Their great space all loads more detail, the mids and treble really let the beautiful liquidity of the h2 flood through. I could go on but essentially the signature is a significant noticeable improvement over the elegia and for that matter any other CB and quite a few totl open backs that I’ve heard. The audeze just aren’t in the same chapter let alone page.

    The stellia are ever so slightly north of neutral but this more body weight rather than warmth. In my set up I can find no sign of any significant peaks or humps accept ever so slightl at 10khz and a tiny bit of Mid bass but it’s by no means a “hump”.

    I’m not saying your wrong, because I listen at quite low volumes, so i don’t know what they do turned up loud and my kit is different too, but I am as I say surprised :wink:
    DarginMahkum, bidn and 329161 like this.
  12. tekkster
    Every minute since it was announced was a lifetime (^-^).
    Listened to them for 10 hours already. Such a great fit for the sound characteristics I chase: less bass, thank you, fast attack for guitar plucks, violin, cello resonance, cymbal and snare drum hits, etc. Also less "in your face" prominence of the Utopia (which can be great, but also a wee bit fatiguing). Great at bringing up subtler details of accent sounds (e.g. as heard in a lot of Keiko Matsui's stuff, or Dmitri Shostakovich's compositions).

    I hate to use the term because it's over-used and really constantly changes, but for right now, it's my closed back endgame. Can't imagine anything being a better fit right now, and I've tried almost every high end closed back that is currently available including niche headphones like Sonorus (probably have missed a few, so not definitive, of course).

    Of course, next year, I might be chasing something else, who knows.
    bidn, Deftone and teqshea like this.
  13. up late
    i liked it instantly and can relate to your experience - congrats!
    Deftone and tekkster like this.
  14. tekkster
    As a hoarder, I'm always surprised (and a little impressed, jealous at such self discipline), when folks say they're so happy with a recent headphone purchase that they've sold their other headphones.

    While I still won't sell my other gear (love rotating), with the sound of the Stellia being so close to what I'm always seeking, I kinda sorta get it. When you find something that's closer to your holy grail sound characteristic preference than anything you've had before, why listen to anything else?

    I "almost" get it. Cuz. c'mon...hoarder... Rotating headphones is an almost OCD need, hehe.
    Anaz and jbrownson like this.
  15. Beagle
    There's always a trade-off. That's why we keep spending money.
    tekkster, Rowethren and DarginMahkum like this.
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