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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. up late
    i've not read an audio cable review
  2. GreenBow
  3. teknorob23
    the stock cable for all its failings is pretty neutral and doesnt colour the signature. That’s where the positives end, because as well as being as flexible as a stick, it’s not particularly transparent, there’s loads more detail, layering, extension, depth, you name it to be had with the right cable. I must have tried getting on for half a dozen shop bought cables and double that in terms of different wire combinations in diy cables. Rather than repeat myself and save you all from another gushing eulogy on the wonders of neotech, my main tip when choosing a cable for the stellias, would be to look first at what it’s made of, mono crystal copper is the best value and mono crystal silver is the best sounding, don’t buy a cable with less the 24awg cores if your buying silver or copper.

    There’s less science in the construction of HP cable than other hifi cables like interconnect, usb and power leads, where shielding and cable construction are much more important in determining performance. Most of an HP cables performance comes down to using the best conductor in the heaviest gauge without making it too stiff and wrapping not to tightly in the best sleeve that avoid microphonics. From my experience and speaking to pro cable makers everything else comes down to cosmetic or ergonomic differences :)
    llamaluv, mixman, noplsestar and 2 others like this.
  4. GreenBow
    Thanks for sticking with this. I personally don't doubt your admiration of Neotech cabling is solidly founded.
  5. Caruryn
    I like the look of the Norne cable they have on their site with the Stellia,very matching combo lookswise but apparently i should go for something like CC Dream Duet according to above post and i certainly don't have time or energy to go through different cables and see what applies and what doesn't.
  6. teknorob23
    All the Norne cables look great. they've all made of 21awg or heavier OCC silver, which is enough to get all the benefits this silver has to offer. Litz is less important but it does make it flexible. And they're good value for money. Arctic are also great value and use the neotech's UPOCC. I've had a brief demo of the cc dream duet, not with the Stellia but with LCD4z and it was very good but totally overpriced. The Effect Audio Cleopatra is very very good and effects craftsmenship is second to none but its also expensive. Essentially any of these will get the best out of the stellias, just pick your budget and get as much mono crystal silver as you can afford. Depending on the length you need, and if your willing to hunt about will get you an end game cable. I'd suggest avoiding the big name old school hifi brands, Chord Co. Nordorst, wireworld, etc, not because they're inherently bad, just because they're generally bad value for money, paying for all their overheads, factories, marketing, etc. Their range topping cables are good but you can get them same for half the price or less from lesser known or custom builders. I totally understand for the small percentage possible gains, trying cables is for nerds like me who enjoy hearing the tiny difference they make and spending more money than anyone of sane mind should in doing so :)
  7. noplsestar
    any audible differences too?
  8. teknorob23
    and curious to know what the 8 cores are too?
  9. mixman
    I love it. Someone who knows cables. I will add to what you said which I agree with. Do not buy a cable in which you they do not tell you exactly what is in it. A lot of manufacturers will give you scientific mumbo jumbo on how their cable is just better, but will not tell you what's in it......Gauge, type of wire, strands.....etc. It's about capacitance and the purity of the cable. Getting the best signal you can from the source to the headphone.
  10. up late
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
    gtbrown50 and x RELIC x like this.
  11. teknorob23
    Kind of you to say, sadly mostly learnt through trial, error, using my ears, a lot of reading and finding a few pro builders who were generous sharing their knowledge. I always a poor physics student. It was only when in started making my own that I worked out with HP cables especially performance was 99.99% down to the quality and weight of the conductor and very little else if anything effected the sound quality. Having also made interconnects and mains cables I do concede some credit fo the big makers, but I’m much less convinced than before as companies like furutech and neotech sell such amazing bulk wire for a fraction of the cost and the results speak for themselves acoustically.... if there arent too many oxymorons there :wink:
  12. subguy812
    I didn't buy the cable to change it's sonics. I bought it for ergonomics. Fortunately, it is a UP-OCC cable produced by Neotech and it really doesn't change the signature as much as it appears to add a touch of resolution. I am not a huge believer in cables to overhaul a signature. I buy any given headphone/IEM because of it's original sonics and have found most cable enhancements minimal at best.
    noplsestar and up late like this.
  13. GreenBow
    What do you mean by ergonomics? is that about moving away from the looks and stiffness of the Stellia cable? Or about getting a cable with no cable noise?

    I personally think the Stellia cable should be replaced post haste, because of all aspects. (Under British law it would be classified as not fit for purpose.)

    @teknorob23 I actually thought that the Chord Company Shawcan was a fair price. About £250 I think. Plus the Wireworld Nano is said to be a very good cable and reasonably priced.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  14. teknorob23
    By ergonomics, yes i mean how flexible it is, level of microphonics, how it physically functions as opposed to solely sonic performance although i appreciate microphonics crosses over slightly between to the two areas.

    The chord cable might be better ergonomically, but sonically pretty much the same as what you've got. In terms of the materials its made from it the £40 cable in pretty dress. The wirewold cable is the same again, but stiffer. These cables, because they're made by traditional speaker/ interconnect companies get reviewed by the mainstream who as i say generally have tiny frame of reference and therefore you have to question they're value. A good way for judging is how many comparisons do they make to other cables and how many different pairings to they refer to., if theres lots then fair enough, but without these frames of reference a review is pointless. And as ive mention headfi is still a peripheral sport for the like of Hifi+, hifi Pig, what-hifi, etc. Sites like the theheadphonelist.com, headfonia, or headfonica, or even one of the pro-headfi bloggers like https://twister6.com/ and there are plenty more, who test large numbers of cables are going to give you much more reliable review. Eg see this review for Effect Audio cleopatra, they compare it to most of its competitors and discuss how it pairs with different headphones. https://theheadphonelist.com/category/reviews/cable-reviews/

    These established old school hifi brands are trading on their long established reputations built in other areas, generally not headphone cables. The technologies that they've developed in doing so, are largely irrelevant and or superfluous when it comes to HP cables. Sorry if sound a like a grumpy old man repeating himself, but i just dont want to see you waste your money paying over the odds for the essentially same wire you've got from another company who doesn't specialise in headphone cables either
    Ultrainferno and noplsestar like this.
  15. GreenBow
    The are The Basolute Sound magazine

    Sites like the theheadphonelist.com, headfonia, or headfonica, or even one of the pro-headfi bloggers like https://twister6.com/ and there are plenty more

    Those are excellent suggestions. I will look over those carefully, because I would like to make a very informed decision.

    I would like to be able to share the reviews that I have accessed so far. However I would be in breach of copyright.

    I saw some cable reviews ages ago when I was looking for a balanced able for my AKGs. The reviews I have looked at recently in relation to the Stellia, are all HiFi+.

    Or rather Hi-Fi+ & TAS Ultimate Guide to Headphones & Personal Audio 2018. (TAS - being The Absolute Sound.) Also Ultimate Headphone Guide HiFI+ and TAS, (another 2018 edition).

    I paid full subscription price for those a while ago. However there are also some free editions that are very similar. They are The Absolute Sound magazine buyers guide, which are free on their website.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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