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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. LegionWolf
    Can see in video here talks about port where logo is to release pressure (around 2 minutes):

  2. GreenBow
    Yeah I heard about the port on Jude's Head-Fi TV with the chap from Focal there.
  3. GreenBow
    Now I am lost. He says the Utopia has more bass, than the Stellia. He recommended adding a warm cable to the Stellia.

    Whereas the general opinion is that the Stellia has more bass than the Utopia.
  4. LegionWolf
    That confused me also -- pretty sure every person who's tested/ posted hear say Stellia has more
  5. GreenBow
    It has me going back over the reviews.

    You know as much as I think I should buy the Stellia, I can't quite shake the Utopia: the price though. Plus it would need a warmer cable from moon Audio. I would be after the Black Dragon Utopia V2 one. Maybe I should audition the Utopia to get it off my mind. Although I can't help thinking I would come back to the Stellia.
  6. jmills8
    Utopia LACKS bass
  7. teknorob23
    Yes but UK internet selling regs mean you dont even need to give a reason, just try'em, keep them pristine and send them back. Its a tough law on retailers but thats how it is and this way you can stop torturing yourself :wink:
  8. teknorob23
    I've owned both and the Stellia has more bass especially sub-bass. Do you need a closed back? Just asking because they're a necessity for me and while i love them, they still wouldnt be my first choice if open backs were an option
    GreenBow likes this.
  9. GreenBow
    Yeah, I think with headphones they are trying to circumvent that. Some retailers say they will not accept used headphones back. I think they are getting around it by health and safety.

    That's what I am tussling with. I have had open backs before, and managed. I think I really should go with closed-back though.

    Ultimately though, if the headphones being closed-back made such a difference. Like 'hot-ears', and sense of air-pressure or too much of that closed feeling, I might pursue open-back. It seems like the Stellia are the most forgiving of open-backs, and thus a worthy choice. … Like HiFi Choice were saying in as many words, they don't get the sensation of closed-backs with the Stellia.

    All said and done, I have been trying to decide over headphones for ages. Whereas now I feel I know what I need.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  10. teknorob23
    Closed backs are the only option for me so the decision is easier. They definitely are the most open sounding closed headphones i've heard and i listened to pretty much everything that was available in January this year. And partnered with TT2 i can confidently say youre getting a system that would be hard to beat in hifi terms without spending 10-15K maybe more, and you dont need to worry about the positioning and room shape.

    I honestly dont want to make your decision any harder, but i have a terrible secret :wink:, so In the spirit of full disclosure i have just pulled the trigger blind on a pre-order pair of ZMF Verite closed backs, which may or may not have wider/deeper more open stage. Early reports are very exciting and too exciting for me not to find my credit card details being rattled into my laptop late on friday night, but i'll still be surprised if they're better in every aspect than the Stellias.

    On the shop returns front the health and safety clause only relates to in-ears, i have returned a quite a few pairs of headphones without question or issue.

    Sorry again about the ZMF disclosure :wink:
    BiggieBig likes this.
  11. GreenBow
    It does make you wonder how other companies are making £300 headphones with beryllium. (I forgot the name of the £300 berillium headphones I found a review on. I mentioned them recently.) Given how Focal keep saying how expensive berillium is to work and develop at least.

    If I were you though, I think I would be tempted to keep my money and save it towards a TT2. Unless you are thinking you could sell a lot of your headphones after buying the ZMF.

    There just isn't enough feedback with the ZMF for me to part with money.

    One of the reviews says this about the ZMF. "It provides the blistering attack and stiff damping you get from beryllium drivers with a sense of organic tonality no beryllium headphone has been able to deliver so far.". ……. (I think there would a be a few Stellia and Utopia owners that would disagree with that.)
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  12. BiggieBig
    Good on your Rob
    would be great to hear your opinion on the differences once you have a chance to settle in with them.

    I see a few amendments coming to your Neotech cables :)
    guess that's one way to convince the family you need another pair of headphones because you have surplus cables :wink:
  13. teknorob23
    There are differences in construction: the focal drivers are made of pure beryllium whereas the Verite and Verite C drivers are are beryllium coated which i'm guessing makes them cheaper and easier to work with. I will sell one or the other, but i'm willing to take the punt pm the VCs at their incentivised early run price on the hopeful basis that i wont lose much on resale and i bought my Stellias for a really really good discount at the Bristol hifi show in january so like-wise if theyre the ones to go i shouldnt be too much out of pocket either.

    I havent warmed to any other ZMF HPs, until i tried the Verite open which i really liked because of its pace, dynamism, stage dimensions, seperation and detail. The tuning is still different from Focals, but with much more sophisticated and consistent presentation compared to the other ZMF's i tried.

    I know on first reading the VC thread you might at first think theyre discussing the 2nd coming and there are also to few impressions so far from people who've heard them to garner a reliable consensus, but a few pairs of ears who's owners opinions i respect and are fairly consistent with my own, who heard them at canjam and ordered there and then have convinced me there worth an expensive punt.

    I'd love a TT2, but im pretty happy with my Hugo2/ Feliks Audio Euforia set up, i'm still as i excited to play new album through them as when i put them together over a year ago. Closed headphones however are the one area where i feel theres scope for improvement. Recent advancements spearheaded by Focal have definitely raised the bar by some distance with whats possible, but it was always going to be interesting to see how other brands responded and i wasnt expecting a little company like ZMF to be the first to come at them. But if they can add width and depth to the Stellias stage whilst matching their detail retrieval, definition, seperation, tone, etc, then who knows. I suspect they're probably at a similar level, with different strengths, weaknesses and compromises and the perfect closed back grail will remain just out of reach, so idiots like me keep spending
  14. GreenBow
    I see. I didn't realise you had heard the ZMFs. Also I saw that Innerfidelity described them as 'just right' headphones.
  15. teknorob23
    thank you, you are very generous for the not throwing back in my face the complete denial i made to you when chatting after canjam about this as an impossible outcome:wink: And yes ive already been eyeing up some nice furutech mini-xlr connectors for a matching neotech silver cable so the comparison is a level contest, well actually i'm going to the cut the 3 metre one i have been using in half and sit a bit closer!
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