Massdrop x Focal Elex Review & Measurements
Mar 27, 2019 at 9:48 AM Post #1,307 of 2,018
Now that I have a pair of elear with clear pads, I have a strange hunch about the Elex.

Hear me out. The Elex physically and on the surface is a darkened Elear, I have very little doubt about that.

The “dampening changes” some speculate may or may not exist, I can’t really judge that but I’d love if someone could confirm if there is indeed changes there.


But what I found really interesting in comparing my elear and clear pads. From the photos alone, and holding both pairs, the Elex pads sold by MD look strangely similar in material to elear pads.

I know it may sound weird, but IMO: MD x Focal took their stock of clean elear pads (without any perforations) and simply put them into a clear mold to get Elex pads.

Which would explain why some people have noticed that clear pads are of better quality then Elex pads.
 
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Mar 27, 2019 at 10:07 AM Post #1,308 of 2,018
Now that I have a pair of elear with clear pads, I have a strange hunch about the Elex.

Hear me out. The Elex physically and in the surface is a darkened Elear, I have very little doubt about that.

The “dampening changes” some speculate may or may not exist, I can’t really judge that but I’d love if someone could confirm if there is indeed changes there.


But what I found really interesting in comparing my elear and clear pads. From the photos alone, and holding both pairs, the Elex pads sold by MD look strangely similar in material to elear pads.

I know it may sound weird, but IMO: MD x Focal took their stock of clean elear pads (without any perforations) and simply put them into a clear mold to get Elex pads.

Which would explain why some people have noticed that clear pads are of better quality then Elex pads.

It's obviously a mixture of the two pairs. How they got to the end product, only MD and Focal know for sure.
 
Mar 27, 2019 at 10:33 AM Post #1,309 of 2,018
I noticed a few days ago, Massdrop made some modifications to their Web site. It seems slightly better to navigate. However, they also changed their price format. Where all the items used to end in $.99 for the price, they've rounded the number up. The Elex now sells for $700 instead of $699.99.

Regarding the differences between the Elex and the Elear and to which extent the drive in the Elex was modified (dampened) we'll probably never really know.

Finally, from time-to-time, Headphones.com offers a special on the Elear with the Focal hard case included along with a pair of Clear or Utopia pads (your choice) for $699. If I were looking today, I'd highly consider that package if available. My ears could tell little, if any, difference between the Elear and Elex models while using the same (Elex) pads.
 
Mar 27, 2019 at 10:42 AM Post #1,310 of 2,018
The headphones.com deal is crazy good if you want this platform. I bought the Elex on MD and the case separately, so I can attest to that first hand.

As to MD’s changes... they have changed how the price is displayed on the drop page (rounded up). But if you go to the Join Drop, the price is still 699.99.
 
Mar 27, 2019 at 11:39 AM Post #1,311 of 2,018
The headphones.com deal is crazy good if you want this platform. I bought the Elex on MD and the case separately, so I can attest to that first hand.

As to MD’s changes... they have changed how the price is displayed on the drop page (rounded up). But if you go to the Join Drop, the price is still 699.99.
I entirely agree,

That is the bundle I purchased. Plus I got a nice 10 percent discount after forgetting about it in my cart. Clear pads are miles better than the stock elear pads, especially in quality of material (softer, doesn’t feel like it will start chipping off fibers). Haven’t opened my portable case, comes brand new as well.
 
Mar 27, 2019 at 11:54 AM Post #1,312 of 2,018
I noticed a few days ago, Massdrop made some modifications to their Web site. It seems slightly better to navigate. However, they also changed their price format. Where all the items used to end in $.99 for the price, they've rounded the number up. The Elex now sells for $700 instead of $699.99.

Regarding the differences between the Elex and the Elear and to which extent the drive in the Elex was modified (dampened) we'll probably never really know.

Finally, from time-to-time, Headphones.com offers a special on the Elear with the Focal hard case included along with a pair of Clear or Utopia pads (your choice) for $699. If I were looking today, I'd highly consider that package if available. My ears could tell little, if any, difference between the Elear and Elex models while using the same (Elex) pads.
It is currently $699 here: https://www.headphones.com/products...MI3aKzgNSi4QIV9R6tBh1AeAIKEAQYASABEgKsXfD_BwE

FYI: clear pads are best. Utopia pads look nice, but I haven’t heard very positive feedback of them being paired with the elear.
 
Mar 27, 2019 at 12:12 PM Post #1,313 of 2,018
Since the elear with clear pads (some call the eclair) is fairly similar to the Elex with some variations, I’d like to make some comparison of them to the beyerdynamic 1990 I had and a few references to my hd 600 I own.

- Openess definitely goes to Eclair. It just feels more airy and “further out” than the dt 1990 did. This may be a result of different cup structures. Hd 600 feel more closed in, but not as closed in as the dt 1990 felt.

- Sound leak is a given on open back headphones. But I will say this (which most likely applies to all open back focals) they leak sound like nobody’s business even at low volumes. Even my hd 600s leak less sound at similar volumes. While I could probably get away with listening to the dt1990 in the office for a while, I would definitely disturb others with the eclair.

- The highs try to achieve the same thing but are targeted towards different audiences. The Dt1990 highs, which I still sustain to this day, are designed for professionals in mind. They are bright, even piercing in nature (which some may attribute to me not growing my grey hairs yet). But the focal eclair highs definitely get up there, but are in no way close to how peaky and bright the dt 1990s were. Of course, if I were trying to find sibilance in music the dt 1990 would be my go to. And of course the hd 600s do not have the treble sparkle of either, which sometimes is a good thing.

- I am not a “mids” expert. My go to has always been the hd 600. But I will put it like this: if the hd 600 did not exist I’d probably be just fine with the eclair. Dt 1990 mids weren’t that bad either.

- Bass wise, the eclair has punch. And I mean it. The thump feels like a “thump” instead of a slow wallop of bass. Sort of like the hd 600 bass, but with better quantity in the sub bass. Dt1990 bass was also very good when I had then, but again the high issues took most of my attention.
 
Mar 27, 2019 at 12:16 PM Post #1,314 of 2,018

Below is a graph of the Dekoni take on the Utopia pads compared to the stock. I haven't heard them, but the graph is enough to put me off. It seems like it would simply exacerbate the tonality issues I already have with the Elear.

Taken from: https://dekoniaudio.com/so-you-want-some-focal-measurements-with-the-dekoni-audio-ear-pads/


FNSK-STOCK.jpg


Anyone have measurements/best guess on what the Clear pads do to the FR?
 
Mar 29, 2019 at 12:07 AM Post #1,315 of 2,018
I think if I have any issues with the Elex, it's that I wish the mids were a bit rounder against the treble region. Of course I could always do with that last bit of bass extension, but really, it's the treble peaks and valleys, starting at the big one around 5-6k. If the whole thing were tamed down and smoothed out a couple of dBs, it would be perfect for me. I recently heard a song that has a bell-like chime that the Elex just doesn't reproduce like literally every other headphone I own. I think it's around that 8k valley? I don't mind the overall shape of the treble, but if the slopes weren't so steep, it might produce more detail without getting called out for being too bright.
 
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Mar 29, 2019 at 3:18 PM Post #1,316 of 2,018
I think if I have any issues with the Elex, it's that I wish the mids were a bit rounder against the treble region. Of course I could always do with that last bit of bass extension, but really, it's the treble peaks and valleys, starting at the big one around 5-6k. If the whole thing were tamed down and smoothed out a couple of dBs, it would be perfect for me. I recently heard a song that has a bell-like chime that the Elex just doesn't reproduce like literally every other headphone I own. I think it's around that 8k valley? I don't mind the overall shape of the treble, but if the slopes weren't so steep, it might produce more detail without getting called out for being too bright.

Are you using the stock Elex pads? Sorry if you've mentioned this before.
 
Mar 29, 2019 at 3:29 PM Post #1,317 of 2,018
I wish to reiterate a point to fellow elear owners.

Please, buy some clear pads for them. I’ve done a direct comparison between both pads on the elear and the elear definitely benefits from a pad change. I would go as far as to say that the clear pads almost completely fix the “upper mid range hole” people often complain about.
 
Mar 29, 2019 at 4:39 PM Post #1,318 of 2,018
I wish to reiterate a point to fellow elear owners.

Please, buy some clear pads for them. I’ve done a direct comparison between both pads on the elear and the elear definitely benefits from a pad change. I would go as far as to say that the clear pads almost completely fix the “upper mid range hole” people often complain about.

Great recommendation. However, the $199 price point of the Clear pads might be a bit steep for many to swallow. Hopefully, Dekoni has a replacement option for the Clear in the works that could keep the price down to about $60. Or, we could hope for Massdrop to offer the Elex pads again at some point in the future.

I've carefully studied the Dekoni pads vs. my stock Focal pads. It appears Focal adds about 3/8" of fabric on the inner ear part of the pad closest to the driver and then utilizes either the fenestrated suede (Clear and similar for the Elex) and has the 3/8" of fabric present on the Utopia pads, that connects to the fenestrated sheepskin for the rest of the pad.

If we could find a way to make small, precise holes in the Dekoni suede pads along with that strip of fabric, I think we'd be close to what the Clear pad offers, but in a black faux suede and a price of approximately $50.
 
Mar 29, 2019 at 5:17 PM Post #1,319 of 2,018
Are you using the stock Elex pads? Sorry if you've mentioned this before.

I had the Dekoni fenetrated sheepskin pads at one point. I liked what they did for the lower mids but the upper mids were still too hot for me. So I sold the Dekoni pads to someone who would get better use out of them. Tbh, it’s a fairly narrow peak that is bothersome to me. The upper treble peaks are not as bothersome, even if smoothing out the lower treble/upper mids makes the Elex sound more conspicuously U-shaped. Otherwise (minus some quibbles), I’m pretty happy with with the way Focal and Massdrop tuned the Elex.
 
Apr 2, 2019 at 4:23 PM Post #1,320 of 2,018
Now that I have a pair of elear with clear pads, I have a strange hunch about the Elex.

Hear me out. The Elex physically and on the surface is a darkened Elear, I have very little doubt about that.

The “dampening changes” some speculate may or may not exist, I can’t really judge that but I’d love if someone could confirm if there is indeed changes there.


But what I found really interesting in comparing my elear and clear pads. From the photos alone, and holding both pairs, the Elex pads sold by MD look strangely similar in material to elear pads.

I know it may sound weird, but IMO: MD x Focal took their stock of clean elear pads (without any perforations) and simply put them into a clear mold to get Elex pads.

Which would explain why some people have noticed that clear pads are of better quality then Elex pads.
The Elex and Clear pads are clearly not the same, in material, sound, and feel.

The elear and elex pads are also clearly different. The only dampening I’m aware of for the elear and elex is the pads themselves.
 

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