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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. Wooglish
    I am around 50 volume on high gain. I tried low gain at first, but was at about 80 volume without the punch I was looking for, you definitely have to go the high gain route for these!
  2. guitardave
    I had a similar experience today with my z1r’s. I had thought that maybe after comparing them back to back with my Stellias I would just want to sell the Sony s. But while the Stellia s are a bit more open and detailed, and subjectively “better”, I felt a renewed appreciation of the slight warmth of the Sony’s and decided I did not want to be without them in the collection.
    On another note, after listening and comparing both to the utopias, the utopias definitely showed why they cost a bit more in terms of openness (no surprise) and a it more inner detail. But this is only apparent in a close back to back comparison. All three offer a completely satisfying level of detail in normal listening.
    DarginMahkum likes this.
  3. teknorob23
    The one CB HP I’m really curious about in comparison with the stellia’s is the ludicrously in-written about final audio sonorous VIII. Has anyone tried these?
  4. ubs28
    Hahah. Focal creates a $3000+ headphone and my ears are touching the inner side of the headphone. That is totally unacceptable. Obviously not buying this. Do people actually test the headphones they create? (Sony, Apple / Beats and Mr. Speakers also have a habit making headphones that are touching the ears).

    Yeah, I know I can fix this if I put the Focal Utopia pads on it, but it will probably change the sound for the worse.

    Also really strange why the Focal Stellia uses the Focal Clear cables, so I cannot use my high-end Focal Utopia cables for this headphone.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    tekkster likes this.
  5. emrelights1973
    maybe the ears are little out of specs ?:)) I just ordered one, looks very well made and cables are looking good as well, it is little anoying that I won't be able to use my Kimber axios CU made for Utopia but I am happy for a balanced long cable and 3.5 short combo.....
  6. ubs28
    My ears are not out of spec. Focal simply did a bad job. I don't have this problem with the Focal Utopia (and a lot of other headphones)

    Any headphone were my ears touches something is not good.

    Quite funny that people defend this type of stuff from companies and blame it on people their ears when most other headphones do not have this problem.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  7. SilverEars
    Stellia is not more open than Z1R, but it does have more upper-mids presence than the Z1R and transitions more smoothly there, and more fuller sounding tonality. I can hear the more enclosed-ness of Stellia's imaging. Upper-mids do contribute to the perception of sound stage.

    I think Stellia might be the best sounding closed-back due to the tonality (most full and even sounding I've heard), and I did find it musical sounding for my taste, but not a wow'ing performance, perticularly at 3 grand. I get a feeling we will get different impressions of it depending on the setup, and I just don't think portable is the best as I got the best sound out of a desk-top setup, and had to be a particular kind. Like one of the poster pointed out, you do get that airey-ness with open-backs that closed-back have a limit on.

    I agree with the cable and the kink it leaves, I don't know why Focal still produces such cable. Wish they did cables like Audeze braided ones that doesn't have memory.

    I prefer the fit and feel of the Stellia over the Utopia, the clamping force, and I feel that it has the best pads out of the Focal line, so plush and comfortable! With it's clamping force, I can't imagine isolation being at issue. Maybe it's my melon size creating the clamping force, which Utopia doesn't (not like Stellia, which has clamping force for me).
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  8. DarginMahkum
    I completely forgot about it! Yeah, that comparison would be a great.
  9. franz12
    What do you think about it compared to the Clear? A fellow headfier whispered me that the Stellia is side-grade from the Clear rather than is upgrade.
    Yes, one is closed-back and the other is open-back. But they belong to a Focal line-up, so I guess they share focal sound signature to some extent.
  10. emrelights1973
    sorry not meant to offend but you make a long list of companies which are making out of spec cups for your ears.....

    but since we are quiet funny, it is also funny that the people have big ears and blame Focal, Sony, Beats, Mr Speakers for it..... they all got it wrong! Nothing touches my ears...
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    Admiral Kolchak and kid vic like this.
  11. SilverEars
    I'm not too certain at this point although earlier I was pretty sure because I compared it out of a source that made Stellia sound warmer in the mids, and thus less clear, lowered articulation. Clear is still open, so you are getting that open sound although Stellia can get about the same level of detail, Clear being open has that advantage in sound. I would say it's not a clear upgrade as well, but if you are looking for closed, that rules one out.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    franz12 likes this.
  12. teknorob23
    Price-wise they're bang on for a comparison even if the Sonorous are 4 years old. I have found an open box pair in the UK for 1200......mmmmm.
    DarginMahkum likes this.
  13. tekkster

    Agree, I'll be keeping an eye out on eBay for LQi woven cables that have no memory for sure. Since I'm not a cable afficionado, the LQi $85-$200 cables are all I need. I've bought quite a number of them for other headphones and consider them both convenient and attractive, while having minimal microphonics.

    Apart from the cable, I need just one more piece to finalize my transportable setup to my liking. Just need the 2Go for the H2. Though, there's no indication on whether it will even launch since Chord has been dead silent for over a year, so I am also seriously considering the iBasso DX220 + Amp Module 9 as a possible good fit for the Stellia at a much lower cost than the exorbitant Cayin N8. The Stellia to the H2 sounds exceptionally close to my ideal sound characteristics, and frankly, if I had no other DAC, this combination would keep me happy long term.

    For the desktop, though it uses a much older chipset than what is available today in mid-fi and hi-fi gear, I am really enjoying the RME ADI-2 DAC with the Stellia, plugged into the IEM port instead of the headphone port. For classical music, the IEM port's dead silence during breaks in the music creates a very clean sound. And while the chipset is much older, I find the Stellia's rare ability to provide very fast attack/transients is maintained with this setup. I did try using the balanced cable with the iFi iCan Pro, and tested with the ADI-2, H2, iDSD BL, and Mojo, and found the iFi iCan Pro <-> H2 to be my favorite. But, the XLR to the iFi iCan Pro didn't really do it for me. Ended up preferring direct to ADI-2 more (and of course, direct to H2 even more)
    Also tried the Jot (older, not the multi-bit version), and while the sound was grander, deeper, more powerful, the attack which I crave so much disappeared. The subtler details of accent instruments (like Keiko Matsui stuff) was also less prominent and often blended, being over-powered by the main instruments.

    Interestingly, with the Utopia, I found the headphone port on the ADI-2 to be a better fit, rather than the IEM port. Also with the Utopia, I found the H2 to be a somewhat less than ideal pairing. Great for most music, but once in a rare while, a song will hit that isn't pleasant with this combo.
    Admiral Kolchak and bidn like this.
  14. ubs28
    Tyll also had the same problem with headphones like the Aeons as an example which he normally doesn’t also have with other headphones. So Mr. Speakers messed that up definetly.

    It is bad engineering if potential customers have problems with your product and has nothing to do with the customers.

    My ears are not to blame when pretty much all of the headphones I tried don’t have this problem (Orpheus 2, Susvara, LCD-4, Shrangri-La, Focal Utopia, Abyss, HD 800, and so on ....)

    This is Focal doing a bad job plain and simple (and I am not buying this untill they fix this)
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  15. SCBob
    Happy to hear that you like the Stellia. I had looked at your Elegia great offer and decided to pass as I thought I might go for the Stellia.
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