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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. BiggieBig
    may be we should blind test against bell wire then :)
    teknorob23 likes this.
  2. teknorob23
    Just to throw the hand grenade back... and to think its 2019 and there are still people who dont think cables effect sound :wink:
    llamaluv likes this.
  3. atahanuz
    The answer lies in science, not in subjective discussions. Let me explain.

    Audio cables are passive electronic components, all they do is transform the electronic signals generated by the amplifier to the headphone. That's it. There is no way that it influences the sound.

    Cable vendors claim that:Our X cable smooths highs, improves vocals quality and extends the soundstage. But how? How can a passive electronic component with the sole role of transforming electronic signals from A to B can do that? None of them explains that because there isn't any explonation.
  4. BiggieBig
    I don't think they add anything but I believe they can remove, for an example a bad cable will reduce bass giving emphasis the treble more and vice versa.
    In ideal conditions there would be no resistance between transfer and zero loss but I don't know of such a cable.

    If we let ours ears decide regardless of cost quality etc etc that to me will beat an theory man kind has created. it proves a gap in our science :)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    David Kleinfeld likes this.
  5. up late
    discussions about whether audio cables affect sound are off-topic and should be taken to the sound science forum. they've also been repeated ad-nauseam.
    will f, kid vic and teknorob23 like this.
  6. jooonnn
    Was the closed immediately wider sounding than the stellias? Any feelings of buyers envy? (i own the stellias also, somehow trying to not justify an addition....lol)
  7. teknorob23
    I'm not sure what you want me to say here :wink:

    More curiosity than envy, because the Stellia's have so many strengths and having demo'd them at length against the market (at the time), for my tastes they were head and shoulders over the competition. The VC's are the first headphone since buying the stellia to have me twitching slightly, but as you'd expect at this level, i think the choice may come more down to personal preferences in presentation and music choice, as opposed to one being clearly better than the other, but i maybe wrong so the curiosity could quickly turn!:wink:
    jooonnn likes this.
  8. jooonnn
    As you can i love GAS and GAS loves me. Your thoughts on paper sound exactly like mine..... so ill do it if you do it? :)

    I feel like im just so good at appreciating stuff like the verite and the stellia. Both are sweet examples of a huge company that does it right and a small company that does it right. The gift and the curse of auditing and analyzing so many manufacturing plants. Aesthetically both are stunning. Torq posted some graph comparisons and it looked more similar than different from a numbers standpoint too. Ive just never listened to a zmf headphone to compare their voicing to the focal lines
  9. mamsterla
    Trying not to stray too far from the Stellia core topic (still loving mine). A friend of mine lent me some Sennheiser 800 - they have uncanny imaging, but such a strange sound signature. Some things like voice sound pretty good. I find them fine for Youtube listening, but I don't like them that much for music. Still a big fan of the Stellia's for music. It would be awesome to get the imaging of the Sennheiser with the tonality and detail of the Stellias, but I would trade some of the imaging away.

    Has anyone listened to the Hifiman Arya? They seem like a good open back to add to the collection when I get there. I still have not listened to my Audeze LCD-2 in a while to compare.
  10. GreenBow
    I'll be paring with Chord Mojo, Chord Hugo 2, and Chord Hugo TT2. To be honest, I can hardly wait. Hugo 2 and TT2 are flatline perfect neutral. The Focals should be perfect with all those DACs, and they will all have enough power to drive the Focals.
  11. jmpsmash
    from my experience and I have talked to some other members about it too... I have the Hugo2 and while it drives the Stellia with enough power, it only sound so so. Hugo2 is better as a DAC than as a headphone amp. I find it a bit too laid back and dry when driving the Stellia. If you want a SS sound, something like a THX AAA 789 works well with it with gaining more clarity and microdynamics.
  12. GreenBow
    I am not spending another bean on amps or DACs. Many of the reviews for the Stellia were made on the Hugo 2 anyway, and they loved it. I am sure I will. Can't say I ever found the Hugo 2 laid back or dry. I loved using the headphone ports on the Hugo 2 with what I have used so far.

    I have heard that said of the Hugo 2 before though. Secondly you can't possibly get more clarity and microdynamics by adding an amp to a DAC. You'd have more chance standing in a bucket and trying to lift yourself up.

    I don't even know what you're saying either. Is it my DAC choice is garbage, or my headphone choice. Or I should buy something because you say so. Not a chance.

    Additionally, in the Hugo 2, it is the identical signal in the headphone ports and the RAC posts. All Chord DACs are like that. There is no headphone amp per se. It's just the output from the DAC converter fed to the outputs. Rob Watts uses digital gain, not analogue. Meanwhile Chord do use the term 'headphone amp' in their literature.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  13. jmpsmash
    It might sound counterintuitive, but there is a plausible explanation. A amp input stage is a easy load, a headphone is a tougher load. when presented with a higher power load the Hugo2 output stage is more strained and thus more distortion (and the regular measurements won't show it as they are done with a pure resistive load while a headphone is more reactive). anyway, a properly designed amp will preserve the DAC output while driving the headphone with ease.

    just sharing my experience. you don't have to buy anything. :smile_phones:
    Misson07 and llamaluv like this.
  14. GreenBow
    Well actually, the principle is this. When you are driving a load like headphones or speakers from an amp, you do one thing. In the line out you put an op-amp with very low output resistance. (Unless Rob Watts has designed the DAC output as such already.) The op-amp will not be to colour sound or affect it. It's just there to lower output resistance.

    The reason you do that is so that all the voltage drops across the resistance of the headphones. Thus the voltage drives the headphones, and not the output stage of the DAC, amp, etc.

    In basic terms anyway, and first principle - an 'ideal' op-amp, has infinite input resistance and zero output resistance. (Not saying you are trying to, but you won't blind me with science on this one.)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  15. teknorob23
    Either way the Stellia sound sweet with all three of your DACs and i'm looking on with envy at the third one :wink: My personal preference is for a tube amp in front of the chord's just to add a bit more body to the presentation and natural warmth to the tone.
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