Its entry-level Elegia headphones are well constructed, and these pricier cans share similar attributes, but with a more elegant look that stays true to the company’s design pedigree. This is how you know you got some really good headphones . Focal Listen Wireless Design Utopia and Elear are made in France and about to hit the market. If that’s the case, then the Focal Clear deserves your full attention. TechHive helps you find your tech sweet spot. Specifically, the aluminum yoke and click-adjustable headband are noticeably more snug on the Elegia than on the Clear. The Focal Stellia headphones look like they’d be at home on location at the season’s showing of the new Chanel or YSL line. Its design will turn heads while offering snug comfort on your head. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, The LCD-3 gave me the same feels, although its low end felt tamer. By continuing to push the boundaries of acoustical engineering to the limits, Focal’s expertise with great-sounding materials and artful craftsmanship has inspired its product-line of headphones.The French company achieves all of this within the walls of its facilities based in Saint-Étienne, and Burgundy, France. The barrel on the 3.5mm adapter is big—about three times the size as what you’ll find on some other cables. While the Stellia’s 40mm Beryllium dome drive unit is heavily based on that used by the older model, the closed design means that Focal’s engineers have had to rework it considerably. I’ve never noticed this when testing popular mid-luxury headphones like the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000xM3. 3 were majestically rendered. Focal’s Utopia headphones are a bleeding-edge statement from a pedigreed loudspeaker manufacturer that has made the most of its speaker-designing experience. Good examples were Taylor Swift’s “Delicate” and “Look What You Made Me Do” and Lorde’s “Royals,” where bass lines knew their place but weren’t afraid to deliver a swift body blow when called upon. These characteristics were laid bare on “The Greatest Show” and “From Now On” from the Greatest Showman soundtrack. The Elegia’s penchant for dynamics enlivened my listening. Being indoors didn’t fare any better, as I could hear analysts speaking during live football games with the TV at low volume. To get the full bottom-end oomph this song should produce, however, I had to switch out the Fiio X7’s AM3 amplifier for the AM5 . As a bass reflex for the bigger loudspeaker system, the headphones have room for tuning the back vent … The full-range speaker driver includes a vent to manage the balance between the bass and the midbass. © It screams industrial, yet class, and upholds the refined appearance of top-tier studio speakers. The Elegias certainly look like a premium pair of headphones. To simplify the technical jargon, the driver doesn’t just optimize volume levels across different audio sources (e.g. Focal knows how to create attractive audio hardware. I much prefer headphones featuring this driver orientation. The Focal Utopia and Clear headphones are tuned to be used in an open configuration – what Focal calls a low acoustic impedance environment. Focal includes three cables with the Clear: one with a balanced XLR plug, one with a 1/4-inch plug, and one terminated in a 3.5mm connector. NY 10036. It’s perfectly molded to store, protect, and carry the Elegia wherever you go. Elegia has angled drivers, positioned towards the front of the headphone, that are visible when looking at the ear cup from the side. Focal says that the M shape gives the dome a larger emissive surface area. This design, which is also common to Focal’s Utopia, Clear, and Elear headphones, creates a solid soundstage that feels less “in my head” and more akin to traditional loudspeakers. Too often high-end products neglect appearances; if you’re spending this sort of money, we think you should get a product t… New York, My take? Despite its massive frame, the Clear does make for a pleasant wear, as long as you limit listening to a reasonable time frame; I recommend 1 to 2 hours max. It’s a shame too considering how much the Clear improves sound quality on music and video apps. I find myself turning my head sometimes when listening to music as I'm trying to locate an instrument. Thank you to Focal for giving us this opportunity.. To read up on other FOcal products reviewed on Headfonics click here.. Essentially, these are the closed-back version of the Utopias. That cable has a threaded neck capable of accepting the included screw-on 1/4-inch adapter. The Focal Clear headphones from the front Focal Clear have plenty of padding for ultimate comfort These headphones are kind of large, but comfortable The Focal Clear headphones sitting on a desk These are open-back so you get an amazing soundstage Everything that comes in the box with the Focal Clear headphones I used Tidal Hi-Fi exclusively for playing streamed music. Again, $1,500 is a lot to ask for any pair of headphones, but an investment worth considering if you want natural-sounding cans that look and sound this good. Focal has been building high-end audio products for decades, and Focal Utopia is a high-end headphone manufactured by Focal. Orchestral works such as the London Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Haydn’s Symphony No. Focal Utopia Review - True Audiophile Perfection Focal has always been at the top of the game when it came to high-end audio products, but before 2012 I … As if poor noise isolation didn’t already make these cans impractical for portable use, girth also factors into the equation. Far from cheap, the Focal Clear sells you on beautiful sound and build quality for a higher-than-normal premium. Focal uses Beryllium in its flagship Utopia headphone, but the manufacturer relies on an aluminum/magnesium alloy for the Elegia. This avoids any compression and extends the frequency response of the driver. Here’s how Focal thought through the problem. These are, of course, purely comparative differences. He's also a passionate audiophile and home theater aficionado. The memory-foam ear pads covered in plush microfiber create a spa-like cocoon. 92 and the Minnesota Orchestra’s performance of Aaron Copeland’s Symphony No. They also have pliant cushioning that doesn’t press up hard against or around the ears. In today’s review, we put Focal’s flagship over-the-ear headphone, the Utopia, to the test. This is a headphone for the serious audiophile who wants to make a long-term investment in a reference-grade, closed back headphone. I have those headphones and I have to say they are expensive. Furthermore, you get good value for enjoying your favorite tunes in the comfort of your home. When I did get the chance to pull up Spotify in a private setting, hip-hop songs had more oomph to them. Focal clear comfort and fit At nearly a pound (15.8 ounces), the Clear is in the same weight class as the Elegia, but far heavier than most noise-cancelling headphones. High-quality, closed-back headphones like these always help me get lost in the music. Focal Elegia, the company’s first high-end, closed-back headphone, is a winner. spiral cable, which extends to a length of 5 metres, and a 1.2-metre long cable are also included. Female vocals basked in Elegia’s sunlight. The headphones boast a strong metal frame that should be able … They will your weigh you down during commutes. The Focal Listen is a full-size wireless headphone with quality design. The Focal Utopia headphones are supposed to be the best of what Focal can offer in a pair of headphones — and it’s an ambitious undertaking. … Under the beautiful shell, Focal says that Elegia features a new generation of full-range drivers that can operate in the small space required of a headphone design, while delivering exceptional dynamics and pristine sound reproduction. The etched logo in the middle is a sweet finishing touch. At the suggested retail pricing of $2,199 for the Naim Mu-So for Bentley and $1,300 for the Focal Radiance for Bentley, these new audio products are truly built and priced for the luxury consumer. With each impact, a cloud of wasps rose from the nest. The headband feels just as comfy with premium leather wrapped around it. French audio brand Focal is known for its super-high-end luxury headphones, with prices to match, and its latest model, the Focal Stellias, are no exception. Even with such a thick barrel, however, the threaded neck allows you to plug in the 3.5mm adapter through many (but perhaps not all) smart devices or high-res digital audio players when they’re in cases. At nearly a pound (15.8 ounces), the Clear is in the same weight class as the Elegia, but far heavier than most noise-cancelling headphones. The black Focal logo on the ear cups is etched in a slightly cratered circle. The Elegia features a 4mm frameless, copper voice coil and an aluminum/magnesium alloy M-shaped inverted dome. I’m also fond of the circular cutouts that offer a generous amount of space for listeners with larger ear shapes. Focal says the allow delivers a similarly strong combination of lightness, rigidity, and excellent damping at a lower cost. Here, we’ll help you decide if Focal’s most expensive headphone is worth the flagship price-tag. Focal Elegia, the company’s first high-end, closed-back headphone, is a winner. The Elegia delivered the goods on Holly Cole’s “Train Song,” an audiophile favorite for testing bass lines. However, the Clear has zero noise isolation and lacks extra features that help personalize your listening experience, which may sway you to consider other expensive models like the Audeze LCD-3. I chose to use the Focal cabling for this review, one is a 3-foot cable with 3.5 mm plug and ¼" screw on adapter, while the second set is a 10-foot cable using a 4 pin DIN termination arrangement. My fiancée identified every Jay-Z song I played from about 25 feet away. I preferred the LCD-3 and WH-1000xM3 for bass-heavy content, but I also appreciated how well balanced the low end was on these cans. I can’t think of another speaker manufacturer that has embraced the headphone movement as … The yokes appear shorter as well to ensure a more secure fit. Not exactly. The earphones have a balanced sound with comfort for long sessions of listening. You have to be a serious audio head to consider spending $1,500 on a pair of headphones. Raising the headphone volume didn’t fix this issue. Elegia is designed, developed, and assembled in France. We got the exclusive on the Elear review sample. These are open back headphones Alex. The latest addition to Focal’s stable of headphones is the Stellia. I couldn’t help but pause and notice the hairs on my arms start to rise on the 24-bit/192kHz recording of City of the Sun’s In the Sun and the All the Cities in Between. These open-back circumaural headphones combine the brand’s prestigious craftsmanship and proprietary technologies to recreate the dynamic sound of its loudspeakers. The only other noticeable difference in design between the Elegia and Clear are the earcups. The ear pads also did wonders to block out the noise around me. I felt compelled to write a review about these headphones since there were just 9 reviews that averaged to a 4 star rating. TechHive |. It folds up to … The Good The Focal Listen Wireless has a sturdy design, fits comfortably and snugly, and sounds excellent for a Bluetooth headphone. The acoustic guitar on Oasis’ “Wonderwall” pulled me in with every strum, but it was the different string arrangements sprinkled throughout the recording that made the listen more enchanting. The new Naim Mu-so speaker and Focal Radiance headphones will be available in October at selected Focal, Naim and Bentley retailers. Focal Utopia. Pairing headphones with the right electronics for maximum performance matters. The closed headphones in an ear-enclosing design come with a handy carry box. Not too blingy but a certain unmistakable French elegance in fit and finish. TechHive has reviewed two—the Clear and the Elegia —deeming both to be exceptional, though not inexpensive by any means. Read our, [ Further reading: The best headphones you can buy ], Rich, lush, musical presentation regardless of genre, Super easy to drive with any smart device, Can't quite match the Focal Clear's sonic clarity. Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc. Look no further than the intro to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for confirmation. In addition to the natural difference between an open- and closed-back design, I felt as though the Focal Clear had more sizzle and shine on the top end, a hair more bottom-end control and dynamics, and slightly more resolution and air around instruments and vocals. Until now, Focal’s flagship over-the-ear headphones—including the $1,499 Clear I reviewed for TechHive last year—have all been open-back models. The group’s harmonies at the start of the record sound beautiful and crisp; the synthesized vocals have a naturalness to them. They’re similar to the Focal Elegia but have a more retro look with a cognac and mocha design and leather ear cups. And nothing would have torpedoed the Focal Clear headphones faster than having an identical sound signature to their younger brother - the identically-designed Elear. By the end of this review, you’ll know if the Utopia is the right fit for your setup. Its latest offering, the Focal Clear, borrows technology developed for the Utopia and cuts the price by more than half. Focal’s industrial design team paid attention to every detail. This is ensured by pre-punched recesses, a double zipper and a hardy fabric loop that serves as a carry handle. Most professional and high-end audio gear come with 1/4-inch connections. Yes. Acapellas really soar on these cans. The Elegia’s drivers are shifted towards the front of the ear cup and are angled towards your ears to mimic the way we experience sound through traditional speakers. Frankly, we wouldn’t have been surprised to see a price tag twice the size on these over-ears. Expect nothing different than what comes bundled with the Elegia. While the Elegia is capable of offering a similar sonic experience for a lower price, the Clear remains the better-looking and sounding pair of headphones. 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