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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 agree 100% on waiting for burn in before you make any changes. A cable wont transform signature, but it can have the effect of fine tune certain areas of the performance. If you dont like the basics its not going to help, but UPOCC (continuous mono crystal) silver has different sound characteristics to typical solid silver cable. It has much fuller more natural tone and can be easily mistaken for good copper, except the clarity is just way improved along detail retrieval, separation and layering. The bass is beautifully rich and extended but just with more control than the equivalent copper. Obvs personal preference comes in to play, so mixed 8 core cable cable using 4 copper and silver 4 silver cores which add some extra body weight and slam to the lower end of the stellia presentation while the silver element enhances control, separation and stage depth. This is probably the best value vs performance options. But as i say i agree totally with @GreenBow about waiting till both the cans you ears are burnt in before tweaking. :)
    LegionWolf likes this.
  2. GreenBow
    I didn't know that. I thought we were going with the standard copper is warmer, and silver is brighter. Hence we generally seem to be moving towards silver-coated-copper-cables for neutrality.
  3. LegionWolf
    Ya - will be putting in more time before buying any cables-- but also slightly disappointed can't fit balanced cable in carry case with crazy crumpling it up ( which i won't do right now at least as not 100% if keeping long term, want to keep thing looking nice). So that would be another perk to upgraded cable -- just take case -- instead of case and bag for cable ...
  4. llamaluv
    I'm also a fan of Neotech silver wire.

    I don't have the Stellia, but I use Neotech 23AWG UPOCC solid core silver 4-core for the Utopia. And also using 24AWG Neotech stranded silver 4-core for my Denon D9200, and 24AWG Neotech stranded silver with eight cores for the RAAL SR1a. All are custom builds made by Triton Audio Cables.

    The "sound signature" of Neotech silver wire is well-balanced, detailed yet smooth, and I notice no big change in tonality compared to typical copper wire. I usually also notice an improvement in the reactivity of the bass compared to whatever cable I'm comparing it to. Some expensive speciality cables can sound suprisingly different from the norm, which to me can be a bad sign as often as a good one, and can also limit how well they'll synergize with the rest of the system.
    raypin, bidn and LegionWolf like this.
  5. BiggieBig
    Just to add my 2p worth

    I was also convinced by Rob to try the Neotech and agree with him 100% the silver in Neotech to my surprise just enhanced all elements of the stellia. I built a 4 core silver cable and haven't looked back.
    all elements in the spectrum just sound cleaner and enhanced :)
    teknorob23 and LegionWolf like this.
  6. teknorob23
    I'd seen their site but i'd thought they only used viablue stuff not neotech, but their cables look really nicely finished. Its good stuff isnt it and you summing up of its effect much better and more succinct than mine.

    i agree some of the New school manufacturers who focus more on designing cables for In ear cable market, can be a bit heavy handed and rather than increasing transparency and allowing as much of the original media through as possible, which i'm guessing most people central goal with after market cable, whereas they can act more like tone controls.
    LegionWolf and llamaluv like this.
  7. mixman
    Like Teknorob mentions, and from trying many different cables, one of the myths is that all silver is bright. It is thin non quality silver cables that tend to be bright. The heavier the gauge and the more quality the wire, the more silver actually warms up, sounding almost copper like except more detailed. This is why it's best the get the thickest silver cable you can afford or feel comfortable with such as an 8 wire cable.
    teknorob23 and LegionWolf like this.
  8. coolmilo
    I purchased a TOTL Norne Audio cable for my Stellia headphones and the result is magical. I went from liking the headphones to loving them! The replacement cable improved the sound in every way. In some respects, they sound like an open back headphone now.
    teknorob23 and LegionWolf like this.
  9. mixman
    Totally agree. Having talked to a few cable manufacturers, Trevor is one of the few in this business that actually knows what he is doing. There a is science behind this cable thing and the reason I will never anymore buy a cable without knowing it's exact specs.
    LegionWolf and coolmilo like this.
  10. teknorob23
    Agreed, as far as I can tell it’s a good cable is as much about educated curation and combining of the right materials as it is fancy construction techniques, especially when it comes to HP cables. Whereas fhe cable construction is as if not more important in other cable types like mains or digital cables. The only shop bought cable I’ve clung on to which contradicts everything I’ve just said is my tellurium q black diamond USB. TQ give absolutely zero info on materials or build methods, but wow this it the usb cable is genuinely transformative of almost all aspects of the presentation. And i challenge any ‘its just zero and ones flat earthed” to compare it and not hear the improvmenfs... wow apologies as always we were a little off topic and I’ve taken us off right out to sea... mind you all of these cable related benefits have only really been appreciable in recent times because of the stellias ability to scale and then scale some more!
    LegionWolf likes this.
  11. jonstatt
    Apologies if I am missing discussion on this but has anyone else noticed the brown leather on the headband gets darker very quickly the more you handle it? I'm surprised the leather wasn't treated to prevent grease from hands and fingers affecting it so easily.
  12. Topbanana
    There was something in the thread on it, it seems baby wipe maintenance is required, now and again. So far I'm ok
  13. GreenBow
    USB cables need shielding from RFI, otherwise RFI noise gets into the analogue parts of the DAC. (Also from noisy PCs, and that is why there is the AudiQuest Jitterbug.) This causes a brightening of the sound signature.

    Beyond that, I have seen it said that poor cable parts quality can cause errors. (In optical cables, poor quality causes reflections.) I use Chord DACs though, and on USB if there is an error it sends for the data again.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  14. up late
    I'm not surprised that the Stella (and most other high-end headphones for that matter) is sounding "bass-lite" to you coming from the z1r, which has boosted bass. I also regard the z1r as having a dark presentation despite its treble sparkle. The Stellia sounds more tonally balanced to my ears, which is why I suggest that you give it a chance and allow your ears to acclimate to its sound signature.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  15. GreenBow
    Please does anyone know the warranty length I the UK with the Stellia?

    I looked on the Focal website but it says, it depends on your country. However I thought the warranty was set by Focal and about five years.

    I think if the warranty was one or two years then that would be unfair. I think the UK warranty on electrical goods is two years, and that covers headphones I think on e.g. Amazon. I am not going to find Stellia on Amazon though.
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