Massdrop x Focal Elex Review & Measurements
Nov 6, 2023 at 9:15 PM Post #1,952 of 2,030
Jeez, I had just ordered an Elex off headphones.com and I started hearing about the large number of failing drivers people are experiencing with them. I hope Focal has either quietly resolved the voice coil issue or they have a good RMA experience.
 
Nov 6, 2023 at 9:23 PM Post #1,953 of 2,030
Jeez, I had just ordered an Elex off headphones.com and I started hearing about the large number of failing drivers people are experiencing with them. I hope Focal has either quietly resolved the voice coil issue or they have a good RMA experience.
Yeah it was a known issue but not all of them. The percentage seems to be fairly low or they may have fixed the issue as there hasn't been many complaints lately.

From having disassembled a few of these headphones, I think the issue is the solder that they're using. It seems to lose continuity completely or reduced continuity where it causes increased impedance and snaps the voice coil wire from a hotspot.

I have also seen it on my focal clear where the voice coil wire was completely intact but the driver went dead. After resoldering the wire, it was fine. Still using now with no issues.

I'm not sure what type of solder they're using or why it loses continuity. All the solder joints appeared to be ok.
 
Nov 6, 2023 at 10:31 PM Post #1,954 of 2,030
Jeez, I had just ordered an Elex off headphones.com and I started hearing about the large number of failing drivers people are experiencing with them. I hope Focal has either quietly resolved the voice coil issue or they have a good RMA experience.
I have a first run pair, back from when they started out on Massdrop. Never any issues…
 
Nov 12, 2023 at 10:33 AM Post #1,955 of 2,030
Got my Elex in yesterday. I had tried out an Elear a long time ago when I used to be into the journey. First impressions of the Elex are as follows:

-Yeah the cables really are as bad as they say. Super stiff and prone to kinking. I have to work potential future kinks out every time I put them on. However I do like that you get a quarter inch and XLR cable with the headphones. I'm using XLR into my Jotunheim.

- More comfortable than I remember with the Elear. I'm comparing them to my R70X with Brainwavz XL pads as well, which put everything else on the market to shame. I typically shy away from heavy stuff, especially if they don't have large suspension straps, but the Elex does a remarkable job distributing the weight on its headband, and the cups themselves fit very well while having minimal clamping force. Very nice!

- Soundstage is miniscule. Things are very much in your head. The imaging of the sound is very open and lifted however. Very lifelike. These things are as open as the Hifiman Egg-shaped headphones. You can hardly tell a difference in ambient sounds with them on or off.

- I quickly EQ'd these to get rid of some treble spiciness around 8-9hz by around 3-4db, slightly reduced some shoutiness around 1.5khz by about 1-2db, gave about a 2-3db lift around 40-25hz, and a slight db lift of about 1-2db around 4-5khz. Out of the box they are well balanced, but I can still tell they have some of that Elear quality to them. Bass extension is exceptional-- very assertive down to 40hz. Lower - mid midrange is very smooth and natural. Around 4-10khz I hear lots of Elear qualities that I remember from when I had them. I'm sure the pads are doing a good job at bringing back much of the presence region around 2-4khz, but there's still a depression centered around 5khz just as with the original Elear, and there's some roughness to the upper treble. The R70x is much more linear in this area, and while the Brainwavz XL pads do a number to its original sound, it can thankfully be EQ'd back.

- Sound overall is very energetic and tight. Tight and solid are perhaps the bets descriptors I can use for the Elex. Bass is strong and very controlled. Drums sound amazing especially once you bring back some additional energy around 5khz. I wouldn't say they're bassy headphones at all however, just very dense with what they present.

- This headphones might be the most sensitive to hair or other small particles that get in contact with the drivers. I'm experiencing rattle coming from either the left or right (or sometimes both) drivers. And no, I'm pretty sure this isn't the clipping issue at 105db and above that I've heard about. This rattle is shown even at lower volumes when I do test tones on Audacity. Sometimes carefully inspecting and pulling hair out of the inner cups does the trick, sometimes slightly blowing over the area or repositioning does the trick. Either way I experience it quite often. Does anybody else experience this?
 
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Nov 14, 2023 at 10:01 AM Post #1,956 of 2,030
Got my Elex in yesterday. I had tried out an Elear a long time ago when I used to be into the journey. First impressions of the Elex are as follows:

-Yeah the cables really are as bad as they say. Super stiff and prone to kinking. I have to work potential future kinks out every time I put them on. However I do like that you get a quarter inch and XLR cable with the headphones. I'm using XLR into my Jotunheim.

- More comfortable than I remember with the Elear. I'm comparing them to my R70X with Brainwavz XL pads as well, which put everything else on the market to shame. I typically shy away from heavy stuff, especially if they don't have large suspension straps, but the Elex does a remarkable job distributing the weight on its headband, and the cups themselves fit very well while having minimal clamping force. Very nice!

- Soundstage is miniscule. Things are very much in your head. The imaging of the sound is very open and lifted however. Very lifelike. These things are as open as the Hifiman Egg-shaped headphones. You can hardly tell a difference in ambient sounds with them on or off.

- I quickly EQ'd these to get rid of some treble spiciness around 8-9hz by around 3-4db, slightly reduced some shoutiness around 1.5khz by about 1-2db, gave about a 2-3db lift around 40-25hz, and a slight db lift of about 1-2db around 4-5khz. Out of the box they are well balanced, but I can still tell they have some of that Elear quality to them. Bass extension is exceptional-- very assertive down to 40hz. Lower - mid midrange is very smooth and natural. Around 4-10khz I hear lots of Elear qualities that I remember from when I had them. I'm sure the pads are doing a good job at bringing back much of the presence region around 2-4khz, but there's still a depression centered around 5khz just as with the original Elear, and there's some roughness to the upper treble. The R70x is much more linear in this area, and while the Brainwavz XL pads do a number to its original sound, it can thankfully be EQ'd back.

- Sound overall is very energetic and tight. Tight and solid are perhaps the bets descriptors I can use for the Elex. Bass is strong and very controlled. Drums sound amazing especially once you bring back some additional energy around 5khz. I wouldn't say they're bassy headphones at all however, just very dense with what they present.

- This headphones might be the most sensitive to hair or other small particles that get in contact with the drivers. I'm experiencing rattle coming from either the left or right (or sometimes both) drivers. And no, I'm pretty sure this isn't the clipping issue at 105db and above that I've heard about. This rattle is shown even at lower volumes when I do test tones on Audacity. Sometimes carefully inspecting and pulling hair out of the inner cups does the trick, sometimes slightly blowing over the area or repositioning does the trick. Either way I experience it quite often. Does anybody else experience this?
I like your description energetic and tight, that's the best way to describe these headphones that I've heard. Great sound for what they are, and this type of headphone is perfect for older studio rock albums like Aerosmith, Jethro Tull, etc.
In terms of the hair issue I have not had that issue, but I don't have alot of hair to begin with :ksc75smile:
 
Nov 15, 2023 at 12:38 PM Post #1,957 of 2,030
Jeez, I had just ordered an Elex off headphones.com and I started hearing about the large number of failing drivers people are experiencing with them. I hope Focal has either quietly resolved the voice coil issue or they have a good RMA experience.
Don't worry about it. It was a very small, but vocal, minority that had problems. I had mine for about three years and they still worked perfectly when I sold them. I LOVED those headphones and don't find much difference with the Clear's.
 
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Nov 15, 2023 at 1:13 PM Post #1,958 of 2,030
Don't worry about it. It was a very small, but vocal, minority that had problems. I had mine for about three years and they still worked perfectly when I sold them. I LOVED those headphones and don't find much difference with the Clear's.

I haven’t had any issues with mine either. I am certain that those problems did exist, but they aren’t a foregone conclusion.
 
Nov 25, 2023 at 9:32 AM Post #1,959 of 2,030
IMG-20230827-WA0004.jpg


Black friday deal ordered the same balanced cable i use with my senns for the elex. So far i used elex with my meze 99 balanced cable.

Needs 7-20 days to receive it i am curious if I see an improvement.
 
Nov 25, 2023 at 10:32 AM Post #1,960 of 2,030
IMG-20230827-WA0004.jpg

Black friday deal ordered the same balanced cable i use with my senns for the elex. So far i used elex with my meze 99 balanced cable.

Needs 7-20 days to receive it i am curious if I see an improvement.
The braided cable looks a lot nicer and probably has better conductivity and less signal loss. You should notice a much more open sound stage with the Elex. Enjoy!
 
Nov 28, 2023 at 9:45 AM Post #1,963 of 2,030
Still loving my elex with my Rebel Amp. Also thinking of a balanced cable to use with my Singxer amp. My original cable that came with the unit went blank on one channel.
I would recommend the balanced cable for the Singxer amp. You will get better volume efficiency and overall better sound as that is designed as a balanced output. These folks make a good amp for the money!
 
Nov 28, 2023 at 9:54 AM Post #1,964 of 2,030
I’ve been using mine with a Type-C Apple dongle out of my iPhone 15 ProMax and they sound just fine this way as well.
 
Nov 28, 2023 at 10:07 AM Post #1,965 of 2,030
I’ve been using mine with a Type-C Apple dongle out of my iPhone 15 ProMax and they sound just fine this way as well.
I have the same setup on an IPhone 14 Plus. They drive many over ear headphones very well without an amp.
 

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