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Massdrop x Focal Elex Review & Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jude, Dec 15, 2017.
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  1. john57
    I currently own the DT1770 and I kind of regret it. That headphone sounds very dark with no fine detail to the sound and the treble then jumps up. The DT1990 was just a bit better but nothing stands out when I tried it at RMAF. Before I ordered the Elex. I tried the V3 of HE560 since I like the original version two years back. But the version I got was distorting in the mid-range and other QC issues. I return it. I enjoy my HE-400 far better and it has much more pronounce bass and clear in the details. I was concerned that I might hear the Elex metallic coloration but that was not the case. The Focal Elex is outstanding for vocals. Male vocals and chorus are the best and natural sounding I ever head on a headphone. Very smooth and very detailed. The Elex was being driven by Monoprice Liquid Platinum. I could not hear any harshness or edginess on the treble. A real keeper for me.
    phthora and CoFire like this.
  2. CoFire
    Funny, I don't care for the Elear but feel the Elex fixed most my big issues with the Elear. I may try some velour pads out of curiosity. I didn't know people swapping pads on the Elex was popular. The Clear pads are nice.

    Also very surprised the DT1990 is described as V-shaped and the Elex more neutral than the DT1990. Good to know! I expected the opposite of both these impressions with hotter treble, maybe less bass.
  3. john57
    I did not know that third party pads are available either since I am rather new to Focal. Changing pads on the DT1770/DT1990 is a PITA. I saw some internal pictures of the Elex and I was impressed on how it is put together. Lots of screws with metal inserts. The clear pads are very conformable and the clamping pressure feels just right for the heavier weight of the Elex. I have owned other Beyer headphones and one time a tube in a custom built tube amp arc over and blew the headphone to kingdom come.
  4. joeydgraffix
  5. slowpickr
    That should work. I bought an adapter like that and it works great with my Onkyo dp s1 and ES100 (balanced). The Elex cable is unwieldy and stiff. Definitely for home use.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  6. joeydgraffix
    Thanks! Yeah I’ve read about people not liking the cables too much due to stiffness and tangling. Too bad they don’t make them like the Audeze cables, I loved those.

    The other thign I couldn’t find is whats the max power on the Elexs and what is the power to really get them going?
  7. will f
    My Elex arrived yesterday. Very impressed with the sound. I’ll post a longer review later, but for now I’ll say that the clarity, detail and soundstage are outstanding, with great dynamics and tonal balance. Very comparable in terms of overall performance to my AFC and AFO though each is a little better at some things, a little worse at others. In other words, an awesome performer for the price.
    robo24 likes this.
  8. Ollie the bear
    My current rig. Sounds pretty good balanced or single ended.
  9. will f
    Funny you should mention. I ordered the Dekoni fenestrated sheepskin the same time I ordered my Elex and I just tried them on. They address the fatigue I was getting on some tracks perfectly. I prefer them to the stock pads without question.

    See link below to my opinion pre- Dekoni:

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  10. dannyvstheworld
    Yes, the high mid or lower treble of Elex is a bit too much for me, especially since the bass is very linear so no significant mid bass hump to cancel it out. I don’t know whether it’s the high mid/ lower treble that the Dekoni Elite Velour pads changed, but either way it worked for me.

    And glad to hear that the sheepskin pads have similar effect too, I may order a pair next time when mass drop drops.
    will f likes this.
  11. CyberAthlete
    I have the Focal Clear right now that I'm very happy with. Has anyone heard them side by side with the Elex? Thoughts?
  12. phthora
    I auditioned the two side-by-side recently when I was deciding which to buy. Ultimately, I thought both were well worth the price and could be purchased together without redundancy, but ended up buying the Clear. The Clear was simply more of a unique addition to my particular collection.

    In comparison, the Elex had more bass, more impact, and more dynamism. That last point, I think, is really the fundamental characteristic of the headphone. Where the Elear was dynamic in an explosive, but unpredictable way, the Elex tones it down a bit and, for the most part, does not sound artificial or peaky. There are points where this dynamism gets to be too much, but usually it provides a very lively sound that does especially well with electric guitars. The Clear has the definite edge in resolution and detail, sounding well controlled and exact in the entire spectrum. I think the Clear compares well to the HD800, but trades soundstage width for a more appealing sound signature. The Clear makes the Elex sound peaky, unbalanced, and unrefined, while the Elex makes the Clear sound, well, boring. The Clear seems a touch brighter than neutral to me, but it's hard not to hear them as having a flavorless, no-character sound. On the other hand, the Clear sounds so right across genres that it's easy to get sucked in for hours. The Elex is a tad too fatiguing for that. Still, for the price and for most music, it has a really engaging and energetic sound that I quite liked, and it doesn't have the dip in the upper mids that took the Elear off my list.
    BrokeSkoolBoi, rantng, eeagle and 3 others like this.
  13. gLer
    Nice comparison. And to think the Elex does all that with just a set of pads!
  14. CyberAthlete
    Thank you for your response! I do love my Clear and I will stick with them. No need for temptation for Elex :) Thanks again!
  15. joeydgraffix

    Another dissapointment. The LCD2c’s were way too bright and the seal killed my ears. Now with the elex’s they barely have any type of bass and clip incredibly easy. Oddly enough the treble doesn’t bother me at all. Right now they sort of sound like a clearer x27, slightly wider soundstage but minus the bass. After all the reviews I read these are no way worth the price in my opinion.

    Really dissapointed in Focal on these headphones. I had a home audio system from them that I loved and was hoping the same with these headphones.
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