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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. GreenBow
    Well I am hopeful since you said they take maybe 200 hours to run in. At the moment I have them with the TT2 and I am crumbling in my chair. They sound so average, like my AKG N5005 (£800 IEMs) can almost do what these do. Although now and again, there are some really nicely refined sounds on the Stellia.

    What's really worrisome though is that there is quite a lot of bass on them already. Since someone got some new ones recently and reported weak bass, it suggests they are partly or fully run in. However there is also brain burn-in which is about getting used to the new level of detail.

    What HiFi mentioned leaving them to run-in over a few days, and so I think I will do that.

    This is the colour of my pads.

  2. teknorob23
    I found them bassy straight out of the box too, with a bit of bloom but that evened out gained control quite quickly. The Focal presentation is fairly unique and more so with the closed backs and it may take a a little while to get them completely. I've probably mentioned before but i only gave the elegia a 2nd chance on my shops insistence. I took them home with Either C closeds, and denon 9200, and after a day or so i stopped listening to others, listened to the elegias and bought them at the end of the week with much of a 2nd thought. The Stellia are cut from very much the same cloth, but just improve on every aspect of the Elegias performance. I obviously cant guarantee you'll feel the same, but your underwhelmed-at-first-listen has been quite common response judging by contributions to this thread and most but not all seem to have gone on to love them.
  3. BiggieBig
    I had the N5005 though excellent IEMs my first-high end purchases except I.E800s and they did blow me away.
    I had to sell my N5005 due to fit and then purchased CA Fibrae F5 at first I wasn't too convinced I was almost regretting my decision but after a week I could appreciate them and all the +ve reviews came to light.

    When I received the Stellia yes they were good , but they didn't blow me away. As Rob suggests over time they just improve and get better and better. I can listen to some tracks and the detail the level of Bass, mid, control treble still amazes me.

    On the negative side bad tracks can sound awful as they pick up the bad recording but I guess that's because they're so detailed. Also once you have these nothing else really compares including my IEMS sound bad in comparison.

    I'm convinced over time they will improve and your brain will also get to appreciate the level of detail. lets us know how you get on ....
  4. Admiral Kolchak
    Same here. Out of the box I did not find the Stellia at all impressive. I found them much less organic, less full than my XCs (both fully burnt in). Not engaging at all.
    After 50h burn in, the veil started to lift, and well, totally different story. I like them more every day, currently at about 100h.
    Rob rightly insisted that I be patient.
    Topbanana and GreenBow like this.
  5. GreenBow
    Thank you for your encouragement.

    Actually they started to sound better already. There's something about clarity, control, and overall presentation that has started to move in the right direction. (Although it may be me adjusting to them.)

    Tha sounds kind of exciting and believable.

    I can honestly imagine that with the change I think I have heard in only one hour. That they will end up besting my AKG N5005. Although it's easy to forget how good the N5005 are though. I had them on my Sony ZX300 DAP today, and they make it sound briliant.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
    teknorob23 and Admiral Kolchak like this.
  6. jmpsmash
    do you have a previous pair of headphones that was already burned in to use as a comparison?

    brain-burn-in is quite real and without a stable reference point, it can skew your perception of your new headphones.
    up late likes this.
  7. Topbanana
    Agree with the posts above. I really went through a stage where I thought I'd made a mistake. I'm up around 200 hours now. The pairing with the SP2K CU and balanced copper is a real winner listening to rock.
    Admiral Kolchak likes this.
  8. GreenBow
    Not really. I have some IEM AKG N5005. They are amazing.

    My experience of brain burn-in was going from a Meridian Explorer to a Chord Mojo. Then Mojo to Hugo 2. Then to TT2. .. To use on example, when I went from the Mojo to Hugo 2, the increased level of detail was outfacing. It took about a month before all my music sounded normal. At first when I got the Hugo 2, I heard sounds that I knew on the Mojo. However on the Hugo 2, they had all sorts of extra bits tacked on to them. It took quite a while before I heard them as whole sounds with acoustics and inflections.

    Similarly when I bought my AKG N5005, I found they sounded a bit like the N40. They again had sounds which sounded like more musical parts tacked on, compared to the N40, which I also have. Like acoustic guitars sounded like there was two guitars instead of one; but it was just the extra detail. Now when I put the N5005 on, I know them just about off by heart and love them.

    Yeah I stopped listening from earlier, but just came back to them. I swear they already sound as though they are opening up. Or I am adjusting to them.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  9. GreenBow
    I think one of the faults we or rather I make, is putting new gear on, and trying to compare. I have very recently come to the idea that it's better with new gear, just to listen to the music. That way you actually end up noticing new stuff, rather than forensically looking for new stuff.

    I forgot that earlier though, and was all "what's new". Then I was thinking grainy and to be honest boring.

    Now the Stellia are sounding livelier, and all I am doing is trying to get into some tunes. (Bit difficult after my earlier shock, but doing well.) They should burn-in too as all you folks have said. I did have wobbles all over the place thinking they might have been part used before. There is no evidence of that though, so it's starting from scratch with burn-in I think.

    By the way some folks mentioned the signature is just on the warm side of neutral. Whereas right now I am thinking they are strictly neutral sounding, which I like. … with reference to neutral sounding, today I put my speakers directly from my TT2. (No amplifier.) Easily loud enough, as long as we don't want earth shattering volume. What it means though is I am getting a really neutral presentation from the TT2. It's very exact too, and the timbre 'ahh'.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  10. jonstatt
    I think the inside of the ear pads look darker because they are shielded from the light. Out of the box the headband is not 100% uniform with an element of mottled colour variations across the band. The easiest way to tell if it has been open before is how many pieces of tape there are on the outer box. If it was open and resealed there would be another layer of tape.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
    GreenBow likes this.
  11. GreenBow
    Will have a look at that then. Thank you.


    I think this must be a good sign. I already have some tunes that I think Stellia users need to check out.

    I have the album called Vertigo, by Billie Myers. I have deleted two tracks from it. One called 'Should I Call you Jesus', and anther called 'Afraid of Spiders'. Just didn't like listening to those two tracks, but the rest of the album is very good.

    Folks I think you should check out these following tracks from the album Vertigo, on your Stellia:

    1. Am I Here Yet.
    5. Room Full of You.
    7. Where Romeo Never Dies.

    (Track one folks, honestly the edges of notes and sounds in that song. Has to be heard to be believed. … Track five, has some great hanging in space sounds, that really need listening to. Track seven - just a great feel track.) Good album. I have all of her three albums.


    @teknorob23 I think this must be a very good sign. I think you will love the Stellia and TT2. Stuff's happening. … By the way I checked out the Hugo 2 with Stellia, and was very surprised; it was gorgeous.

    Just still questioning the level that the Stellia are playing at vs price. However that is really and gradually changing by the half hour.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  12. Van Gogh
    Good staff in here!
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  13. kid vic

    akãjerovia and llamaluv like this.
  14. teknorob23
    glad things are improving and the tt2 is a fine thing, but for me, now I’ve discovered the joy of tubes between dac and the stellia. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back, but I suppose I’ve been doing this long enough to never say never. :wink:
    Admiral Kolchak likes this.
  15. GreenBow
    Sorry. I misinterpreted your saying you were interested in my impressions of TT2 and Stellia.
    Must have been more exhausted than I thought last night. I was saying I was surprised Stellia and Hugo 2 were so gorgeous. I had anticipated them to be stunning together. I think I was more thinking about how good they sounded given my initial doubts.


    Going back to some of my much earlier questions about the Stellia, that I asked the thread:

    • I was very worried about that sensation of air pressure, or sound with the Stellia. If there is any I barely notice it. The Stellia are lovely and quiet, which means no impeding of noise on the music. (I bought some budget AKG Y50 and they sound like you're underwater. I think it's because they pretty much seal against your ear.)
    • I was worried about isolation being not so good, or possibly too good. Whereas the isolation level is great. It's good enough to block out background noise, but not so isolating that I would miss a smoke alarm.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
    bidn likes this.
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