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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. alvinsi
    If anyone in Sydney Aus with these - would love to audition them..
  2. GreenBow
    Folks, I am in a tough spot.

    As much as I love how well the Stellia sound, the cable noise has killed it for me. I was never sure that buying an aftermarket cable would cure the cable noise. I imagine it would a bit, and take the worst edge if cable noise.

    What I mean by the worst edge is, when sat back, I hear every breath as the cable rubs on jumper. I can imagine a good after-market cable could sure that. However it means spending money on uncertainty. Tomorrow is my closing date for a return of the Stellia. I think that's where I am. Sad stuff, since I did grow to like the Stellia more, much more as they ran-in somewhat. Someone said they open up, and they did in some ways.

    I can't help thinking that if I kept them, and bought a new cable, I would still get quite bad cable noise. I know you folks must have fixed it for yourselves, or my pair had particularly bad cable noise somehow. I also accept a certain level of cable noise is unavoidable. However the cable noise with the stock cable has totally stopped me from using the Stellia. I have only tried them now and again as you would to see if I could live with the noise. (While running them in a bit in between listens.)

    I wish I could ask, can the cable noise be brought to a minimum, or at least to acceptable levels. For me, being able to hear my breaths through friction on the cable is bad. However then when I turn my head and get a blast of cable noise, it's all too much. Plus I don't think it's fair that I am forced to buy a new cable. A new cable before I can even use them.

    I'm still torn though. I try telling myself that if I bought a quality silver cable it might be what I want. It might lift the treble just a bit, and I find the Stellia a touch bass heavy. It really is only a touch though. (I can live with that though, and no headphone is prefect.) I imagine a quality silver cable would also refine the sound somewhat. I imagine it would better at detail and more pure sounding, than the Stellia stock cable too.

    However these are all guesses. I don't think I want to risk keeping them, and being disappointed.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  3. up late
    VanLifeHiFi likes this.
  4. noplsestar
    Comeon, just buy a cable and try if it works out for you. It doesn’t have to be a 1k cable, I am sure there are cables for 100 dollars and then you know. It may fix everything and then you are satisfied!

    edit: maybe contact @teknorob23 and ask for a cable, he has tons I guess :wink:
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
    bfreedma and teknorob23 like this.
  5. teknorob23
    Sadly they’re all gone but I can always make another one. My advice would be to take them back, a cable can enhance but not transform. With £3k back in your pocket your pocket you’ll be able to view the stellias far more objectively, than when they’re holding a proverbial gun to your head. Try to listen to a range, find a baseline of what works for you and move forward from there, you can always buy them again.... I feel all other routes may converge where madness lies :wink:
    will f, GreenBow and mixman like this.
  6. noplsestar
    So you did already let go of your Stellia too?
  7. GreenBow
    A new cable would be for one objective. To reduce cable noise compared to the stock Stellia cable.

    However I would expect a really high quality silver cable to tighten resolution a bit, as with top quality copper. I did mean to get a new cable anyway one day. Plus I wanted a 3 metre one too.

    It's bit late for me in the day, to start cable hunting though. Although there is a way I could get another two weeks before I need to return the Stellia. This means searching for a quality expensive cable though, and that's a risk. I just can't feeling that the safest place to start, as you said too, is back at the start. No headphones and less pressure.

    I think I would also be in a better position with some headphones that I can use. meaning I can use them because cable noise is not prohibitive. Then I can take my time to find a quality cable for them.

    That's pretty much the whole picture. My feelings say start again. While my head is saying, 'I love the Stellia sound'. (I will love other headphones though, so not a total loss.)
  8. teknorob23
    No and i have no immediate plans to do so, despite the arrival of he verite c's. I wont keep both, but i'm all too aware of my own propensity to get over excited about the merits of a new toy, so i'll get the VCs and then try to be a bit more objective in a few weeks time with a bit stern AB'ing. But i cant help myself saying i think ZMF are on to something very special. The Stellias are near perfect CBs, but the VCs might be nearing that status compared any type of headphone i've tried. They just dont sound like a closed back full stop. There you go i've just gone and done exactly what i said i wouldnt do, all in the space of a paragraph :wink:

    Back to the point in hand, Its just i've been where @GreenBow is, not for while fortunately, but i get it and unfortunately once the combination or doubts and the pressure of the price tag set in to deeply it's very hard if not impossible to shake off the doubts you might have especially when they seem fundamental. I think may have mentioned i'm quite fan of upocc cables :wink: but in they're not going to change the Stellia's signature, yes they can enhance certain areas, but thats all cable can ever be expected to do and if did do more than its bad cable

    @GreenBow if you did decide you wanted to try a cable before giving up, Futureshop have a 60 day no quibble returns policy on all cables and they have most of the cables you've been speaking about
    noplsestar and GreenBow like this.
  9. GreenBow
    Wow thank you so much. I had no inkling about Futureshop and that.
  10. atahanuz
    I am looking for an used pair for $2k on ebay since I can't afford $3k. Still very expensive but may be worth if the headphone sounds really good. In your honest opinion, is Stellia a good investment?
  11. up late
    honestly, it depends on what you value in a headphone. when you're contemplating parting with a considerable amount of your money to acquire one, then it may be prudent to find out exactly what you're going to be investing it in by trying it first.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  12. arielext
    My preferences shifted from open-back to the need of closed-back and thus I bought the Stellia in the end, could have save me a lot of money by just jumping to the Stellia train directly.
    I acquired Stax sr-007 mk2 and a pretty heavy KGSShv this year and although the Stellia is great it just cannot compete in speed and transparency.
    It was only when I heard a pair of MMX300 gen2 that I realized how much I miss the beyerdynamic sound; which I always come back to. Sold the Stellia which has a new good home and bought a pair of beyerdynamic T5p to complement the SR007.
    If I could have only 1 headphone it would be the Stellia though as best all all rounder with good ambient noise reduction.
    noplsestar likes this.
  13. subguy812
    Honestly, with all due respect it sounds like there is more to this than cable as everyone has already said the cable noise is gone with an appropriate aftermarket cable. It is a 3K headphone and many times buyers remorse pays a larger part in these decisions. If you originally decided to experience what 3K sounds like that is okay, return it. The stock cable is stiff , unwieldy and has friction noise.

    If you don't like the sound quality return them, a cable will not fix what ails you with the sound. The cable I have and have sent you the information on in private has no cable noise and offers a slight uptick in overall resolution, and it wouldn't break the bank.
  14. subguy812
    I am curious in hearing your thoughts. I know you love the Stellia. It can be difficult to fend off the "newness" impact in decisions. The Stellia has an incredible signature making it the best CB I have heard. It all comes down to the signature and which one checks your boxes, at this level neither suck. Maybe one has a touch more warmth and that is more to your liking or another more detail and resolution. Curiosity to try different gear is really what it is all about. If the VC didn't exist, you would have been fine until the next thing that caught your attention, but in this case it does happen to be the VC that caught your attention. I will say, my Stellia experience has grown on me but I still have the curiosity to hear the VC as well.
  15. GreenBow
    I actually really like the Stellia to listen to. I will reply to your PM.

    (No offence taken at all. Thank you for posting.)
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
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