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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. mamsterla
    Board participant @teknorob23 built me some neotech cables (8 cores, 4 copper and 4 silver) which really sound good and are better than stock for comfort and sound. They are a little stiff due to single core silver. If you want flexible and great sound, go for a 4 or 8 core neotech copper cable. He is also building my balanced interconnects between the THX 789 and SMSL D1 DAC.
    jmpsmash likes this.
  2. jooonnn
    Ive got the Stellias with a iFi micro idsd black label and i can notice a significant difference (more complimentary to my ears) than my audioquest cobalt. The amp gives you exceptional power, and a ton of variations that keep your experience fresh. The bass boost is fantastic, and the 3d setting is phenomenal for live recordings making the closed backs sound even wider (think #41 or all along the watch tower live by dave matthews band). One of the few amp and headphone combos that have made me laugh and spooked me at how sweet and dynamic it sounds.
  3. jmpsmash
    What gauge are the cores? Mind posting a photo?
  4. teknorob23
    thanks @mamsterla for kind words.

    And for those who've heard me rattle on too many times in this thread evangelising about neotech or who dont believe in the SQ merits of cable, apologies and please look away now.

    I am cable believer, purely because i can hear and enjoy hearing the effect they have on my system. I have spent stupid amounts of money over the last 20 odd years on HP, Interconnect and power cables, often getting into 4 figures and on the whole ive been very happy with the results if not the cost. So i was very skeptical when a headfier in one of the tube amp threads continually challenged the merits of my cables over the ones he'd built at a fraction of the cost, but long story short i gave it go and now i've now made getting of 30 different cable recipes using Neotech's UPOCC copper, silver and silver/gold and a range of OCC and OFC wire from different manufacturers and the results with the neotech are consistently better my some margin, even a basic 4 core 24awg UPOCC copper cable costing £50 out performs most £250+ shop bought cables i've tried, then as you go up in weight and exoticness of metal used, the performance:value ratio, appears so far to improve not diminish. Neotech are one of the biggest suppliers of mono crystal wire to the Hifi industry, but bizarrely it doesnt appear to be widely used by HP cable manufacturers or if they do they dont shout about it. A few smaller HP cable makers, like Arctic are selling cables using it and by all accounts with very good results.

    The 8 core which i made @mamsterla uses solid core 24AWG copper & 28AWG solid silver, which is not as flexible as the multi-strand version, but t it is one of the best performers Vs cost, recipes i've found for the stellia. By adding a strand of silver to the the copper you keep the depth, body, dynamism and tone, but you get a lovely snap to the snares and air/ seperation across the range. Solid core is cheaper than the same gauge multi-strand due to the simpler production process and it does sound marginally different too, in that it brings just a bit more weight/impact in the presentation.

    This wont be any sort of a revelation to many of the users on this thread, but ive found the number of cores makes little or no difference to the performance, but instead it's down to the amount and of metal used. For example the cable i'm currently using is a 4 core made of 20AWG multi-strand silver, which has more silver in it than the 8 core i previously had. When i get home tonight i've got 18AWG multi-strand copper cable to make for friend who to use with his Utopias when travelling.

    If you 'd like to chat through what might be best for your set up, priorities and budget drop me a DM, or equally if you're up for getting the soldering iron out, i'd be more than happy to help put together a shopping list of materials and guide you through the build process. It's a very satisfying and therapeutic and surprisingly simple process, but be warned once you hear the results, it can, or at least has for me, proved highly addictive... oh and another side effect you risk is becoming a neotech bore like me :wink:
  5. Marutks
    I bought Stellias at CanJam. They (hifonix) wanted to sell me an overpriced silver cable as well.
    It didn't sound any different than stock cable.
  6. jmpsmash
    Hi @teknorob23 , thanks for the detail description. I am also a cable DIYer myself and have made a handful of cables before. I received my Stellia not long ago and is in the process of burning in. I am trying to get some idea what have worked for other people in terms of cables, aftermarket ready made or DIY. Your feedback is very valuable. I will definitely keep that in mind once I have familiarize myself with the Stellia sound signature and its matching with my equipment.

    Aside from cost, are there other reason to choose solid core vs stranded? i have never tried solid core due to its stiffness. Also where do you find stranded 20AWG Neotech Silver? Everywhere I look only solid core is available at that gauge. or are you combining multiple 24AWGs?
    Topbanana and bidn like this.
  7. teknorob23
    Sorry my post wasn’t very clear. I don’t use solid core for every build because the end cable is on the stiff side, but it does sound slightly better than the multi-strand. Bass has more slam and the separation is better. The 4 copper + 4 silver both solid can be made for less the 150 quid and out hits cables for 2 or 3 times this cost. Neotechs multi-strand is more expensive especially silver and silver/gold but i do use it for the majority of my builds because it’s much more supple. I’ll drop you a dm as I’m conscious we’re going way off topic. Congrats on the meantime on the stellia:)
    bidn likes this.
  8. Voodoo Child
    Probably a weird question but it keeps bugging my mind for a while now. I have kept the Stellia in its case for a while, but I start noticing that the case has leave some trace of the headphone being pressed inside the case. My question is can the headphone be damaged from this? I'm really paranoid rn. 20190906_042201.jpg 20190906_040942.jpg
    Ps. Sorry for my broken english in advance.
    Misson07 likes this.
  9. jooonnn
    Nope, no issue. Had the same imprints on with my focal case with my elear’s as well. That metal bolt is pretty robust and the case design has been around for years so that is some historical peace of mine for you as well. Headphones are also shipped in the case.
    Voodoo Child likes this.
  10. Voodoo Child
    Thanks a lot. You make my day a lot better sir.
    jooonnn likes this.
  11. joesuburb
    So I finally had a chance to A/B my Stellias with some Utopias along with B&W P9s and Mr Speakers Aeon Closed. (If you get a chance, visit spirtland in London. Small place but some great cans to Demo).

    I have to say that the Stellias sound an awful lot like the Utopias. Maybe not as much sparkle. But based on what I've read from other people, I was surprised how much they sounded the same. Loved them both, but the Utopias sound better, but I cant have an open back.

    I was really surprised how disappointed I was with the P9s. They sounded heavy compared to the Stellias. I have B&W Nautalis 805s at home and love them.
    bidn likes this.
  12. Topbanana
    +1 for Spiritland. Which one did you go to the Headphone Bar?
  13. joesuburb
    Yes, the little tiny headphone bar. Do they sell headphones at the other ones?
  14. Topbanana
    Not sure to be honest, I think the others are more bars/restaurants with amazing sound systems. But if you're only visiting London then head to Kings Cross for a cup of tea!
  15. atahanuz
    How does Stellia compare with Aeon Flow Closed?Considering their prices, Stellia should blow up AFC in terms of sound. Is this the case ?
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