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Focal Headphones Owners & Discussion Thread


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5 minutes ago, Martykt said:

Where did you find the improvements from the cable upgrade?

Which Arctic did you choose?

I'm possibly about to commission a cable build for my Stellia... :fear:

I don't believe there's a sound difference, I didn't look for one. I got the custom cable because the stock one is terribly stiff and breaks from feqeuent use. 

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The Elegias need break-in. Dixit Focal the surrounds are ultra stiff (not the case on Clear and Elear) and the headphone need 100h for full potential . I broke mine in comparing with my Hd650 and He40

Okay thought I'd join the little Focal Headphones Club here after I couldn't resist A2A B Stock sale...    Intended for a portable headphone system for my truck I am now the very happy owner

I haven’t yet opened the Stellia. I’ll do that for work tomorrow where they will her head time. For now, the Focal Utopia.  

34 minutes ago, Martykt said:

Where did you find the improvements from the cable upgrade?

Which Arctic did you choose?

I'm possibly about to commission a cable build for my Stellia... :fear:

Forza Audioworks. Claire with black tinted casing. Should match in fairly nicely 

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4 minutes ago, stewart68 said:

What do people find is the best desktop amp or dac+amp for Focal Clear? at different price points would be great.

Something on the warmer side personally. 

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38 minutes ago, Martykt said:

For me the pairing seems to do vocals very well which to me sound very natural and quite lifelike.

I've also found that they shine with classical music.

Tone and texture seem to very much be one of their strengths.

 

Your Stellia's will improve with time too, I've been told about 200 hours before they're fully burned in.

 

Do you have any initial sound impressions to share?

Thanks Marty, yes have found the pairing VERY NATURAL. been listing most of afternoon into evening. These aren't bass monsters or over the top in treble or pushing in the mid range or anything. Clean detailed, expansive.... am quite impressed with the sound stage and detail in ability to place sound across the stage.What is pretty impressive is how composed they stay at different volume levels. not falling apart or going ragged at edges.

 

my context is vs open  headphones mainly owned over the years.   first closed back of this sort of level have owned and doing very well have to say.

 

I'll let them settle in then do some comparisons down track with the grado and senn open backs...

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On 02/08/2020 at 12:59 PM, betty boop said:

am very pleased to hear they have worked out very well for you :) sound like wonderfull thing... ive never really been into closed head phones but with a B&W pair and a sennheiser pair for daughter ... and the more noisier household with everyone home ... more and more considering myself to buy a higher end closed pair... good to know there is option like this one here :) 

Congrats, if I were your daughter, I'd ask for a swap! haha 

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2 hours ago, zxSwifty said:

I recommend you replace the Stellia cable, I got myself a cable from Artic cables. It's the only place I could find a brown cable to match the Stellia, highly recommend. 

Double Helix has one brownish, orangish, "cognac" - https://doublehelixcables.com/product/dhc-molecule-se-headphone-cable-premium-occ-copper-litz/

 

Just a long wait, still waiting for mine.

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24 minutes ago, deafenears said:

Congrats, if I were your daughter, I'd ask for a swap! haha 

Definite short end of the stick !! :poke:

Nothing wrong with borrowing Daddy's headphones is there ?? :D 

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38 minutes ago, deafenears said:

Congrats, if I were your daughter, I'd ask for a swap! haha 

ha ha ! 

 

12 minutes ago, Martykt said:

Definite short end of the stick !! :poke:

Nothing wrong with borrowing Daddy's headphones is there ?? :D 

 

quite possibly going to happen I imagine :) 

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1 hour ago, zxSwifty said:

I don't believe there's a sound difference, I didn't look for one. I got the custom cable because the stock one is terribly stiff and breaks from feqeuent use. 

Thank you.

The stock cable does seem to sound pretty good for a stock cable.

Personally I haven't found the stiffness an issue for me.

Did you have a set fail on you?

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11 minutes ago, Martykt said:

Thank you.

The stock cable does seem to sound pretty good for a stock cable.

Personally I haven't found the stiffness an issue for me.

Did you have a set fail on you?

Yes, I had the stellia cable fail on me after about 3 weeks of use. Also bought someone's elegias and their cable failed on them too. 

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3 minutes ago, zxSwifty said:

Yes, I had the stellia cable fail on me after about 3 weeks of use. Also bought someone's elegias and their cable failed on them too. 

The Elegia I bought had a cable fail too. 

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3 hours ago, betty boop said:

Thanks Marty, yes have found the pairing VERY NATURAL. been listing most of afternoon into evening. These aren't bass monsters or over the top in treble or pushing in the mid range or anything. Clean detailed, expansive.... am quite impressed with the sound stage and detail in ability to place sound across the stage.What is pretty impressive is how composed they stay at different volume levels. not falling apart or going ragged at edges.

 

my context is vs open  headphones mainly owned over the years.   first closed back of this sort of level have owned and doing very well have to say.

 

I'll let them settle in then do some comparisons down track with the grado and senn open backs...

Your impressions are very much in keeping with my findings.


I also like how their not fussed about lesser quality recordings and let you get on and enjoy the music.

 

No they're not bass monsters but the bass will improve as they run in and isn't a deal breaker for me.

 

One slight disappointment with the SP1000 is despite looking quite impressive the inbuilt EQ seems to degrade the sound slightly and I found it preferable turned off.

 

At the moment I'm streaming through Amazon Music Unlimited and am using the EQ in that to give the bass a very slight bump for music that needs more bass.

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My original Elegia cable is going strong. Maybe different batches have different quality?

 

Congrats @betty boop. I love that colour. I couldn't justify the cost of Stellia so I have Elegia. Every time I put on my travel headphones I get a rude awakening. Elegia spoil me. I am sure Stellia takes it up a level or two.

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3 hours ago, Bengineer said:

The Elegia I bought had a cable fail too. 

Yep, my Elegia cable failed too. A good mate had the same thing happen. Those cables are hot garbage. The ones Focal has replaced them with (the same black cable that came with my Clear Pro) is much, much better. 

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32 minutes ago, gwurb said:

Congrats @betty boop. I love that colour. I couldn't justify the cost of Stellia so I have Elegia. Every time I put on my travel headphones I get a rude awakening. Elegia spoil me. I am sure Stellia takes it up a level or two.

thanks gwurb, focal do make these very nice ! definitely of the spoiling material :D yeah am quite taken by the colour combo on these .. .beats the standard black ! "chocolate" focal call it :D 

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20 minutes ago, BadSneakers83 said:

Yep, my Elegia cable failed too. A good mate had the same thing happen. Those cables are hot garbage. The ones Focal has replaced them with (the same black cable that came with my Clear Pro) is much, much better. 

Should I be hoping that my cable fails so I get a better replacement?

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40 minutes ago, gwurb said:

Should I be hoping that my cable fails so I get a better replacement?

Hah! Yeah, maybe! ATA were brilliant about quickly sending out a replacement. No questions asked. 

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1 minute ago, deafenears said:

"Full-grain leather, cognac and mocha finishes", get it right!  :D

 

hahaha ...

 

"Stellia Headphone - Chocolat" actually what it says on the external box :) 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, betty boop said:

hahaha ...

 

"Stellia Headphone - Chocolat" actually what it says on the external box :) 

 

 

Ah, didn't notice that. I guess I was too excited when I got mine that I just too it out and packed away the box. Thanks for the correction.

 

https://www.focal.com/headphones/stellia/ is where I got the cognac and mocha, and many mentions on it on other forums. FWIW.

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33 minutes ago, deafenears said:

Ah, didn't notice that. I guess I was too excited when I got mine that I just too it out and packed away the box. Thanks for the correction.

 

https://www.focal.com/headphones/stellia/ is where I got the cognac and mocha, and many mentions on it on other forums. FWIW.

I like both.... :D 

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9 hours ago, BadSneakers83 said:

Hah! Yeah, maybe! ATA were brilliant about quickly sending out a replacement. No questions asked. 

Hmm, glad you had a good experience. I had quite a fight getting them to reimburse me for return shipping and insurance, for a faulty product I had to send back. I was sick of going back and forth, so settled on them reimbursing the postage cost only. I’m out of pocket $10 which I can live with. I didn’t spend anything on fuel etc to visit one of their stores afterall.

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8 hours ago, SenorToucan said:

Was thinking of picking up the Elex in the next Drop shipment but the recent earpads debacle is causing some hesitation. Does anyone know of some good third-party replacements?

I believe the pads are what makes Elex Elex. If they can't reproduce them faithfully then the sound will be different.

 

I wonder if Dekoni pads and some plasti-dip on the chrome would see you right? Dekoni is the best replacement generally, don't know specifically for Elex though.. Otherwise maybe Elegia pads from Focal would be the go, if the drop efforts fall short. I feel that the true Elex ship has sailed.

A NOS pair would be ideal.

 

There is a post somewhere online where someone pad rolls between all the focal lineup. quite interesting reading. If you had the money, and were so inclined, you could develop your Focal headphones to suit your tastes quite well. I'll look for it hold on.. Here 'tis!

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Just picked up some Focal Clears from a forum member. Overall impression is excellent: great impact and clear (excuse the pun) airy sound. 

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9 hours ago, Munce31 said:

Just picked up some Focal Clears from a forum member. Overall impression is excellent: great impact and clear (excuse the pun) airy sound. 

Enjoy. I’ve got the Clear Pro. I found that they really improved after 50-100 hours as well. I have mates with the Utopia, and while the Clear doesn’t have their insane resolution, it gets quite a way there for a pretty huge discount. 
 

What are you driving them with? I’m using a Chord Qutest into a Schiit Jotunheim. It’s an unbelievably clean and three dimensional experience. 

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10 hours ago, BadSneakers83 said:

Enjoy. I’ve got the Clear Pro.

Whats the difference between the Clear and Clear Pro? Is it just the colour?

 

10 hours ago, BadSneakers83 said:

I found that they really improved after 50-100 hours as well.

I've been actually doing the same for most of yesterday and today but running music through them continuously. 

 

10 hours ago, BadSneakers83 said:

What are you driving them with?

I'm driving them with a Topping A90. The source is a Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro MQA(couldn't care less about that) DAC. I'm getting the same results - clean and positional audio is well represented. The A90 seems to be adequately powered. However, I'm tempted to buy a Schiit Ragnarok 2 (thinking of driving bookshelf speakers down the line), which should have an immense amount of power and electrical dampening. 

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I've just agreed to buy some Focal headphones, and I'd like to get a balanced 2.5mm TRRS to dual mono 3.5mm cable to connect them into an A&K DAP. I've spent a good hour or two hunting around the Internet (and in these forums), and can see a range of options from eBay, to Meze, to Moon.

 

Just thought I'd check if there's possibly a local (Melbourne, or if not Melbourne, Australian based) business that I could support instead, and possibly have the added benefit of not needing to rely on overseas shipping delays? I'm not fussed between a custom made cable vs a pre-made one. Unsure that my old-ish ears would detect the difference between wire made out of unobtanium vs other more earthly metals. But also not interested in false economy.

 

Open to suggestions 🙂

 

* And obviously upon posting the above, I almost immediately found another potential option from this Australian based-eBay seller: Would love to know if the rough $100 cost on these seems reasonable?: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Custom-Headphone-Cable-Focal-Elex-Hifiman-Ananda-Arya-3-5mm-Basic-Balanced-XLR/392818020612

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$100 seems reasonable to me. eBay takes $12 of it, and postage is included too. also bear in mind it will be $120 once you add the 2.5mm (XLR) option.

 

I definitely couldn't do it for much less, and would tear my hair out over that 2.5mm jack for hours probably. The pictures look good to me, and if lamp cable is good enough for Focal then you don't have stress about what wire metal you think you might need..

 

If you want to be 'wow'd' everytime you plug in, you'll likely need to spend $200-ish, and sky is the limit. See Aurealis for that, or there are other reputable ppl all over the place, EU USA and Asia.

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Hi guys, just picked up a pair of focal clears today, love the build quality and all the extras. Is there a way to ease the clamping force? im not sure if i just have a fat head or im just not used to them yet. My previous headphones were shure SRH-1440's and were super light and weak clamping force where as the clear kinda feels like im being squashed. Loving the sound so far but its only been a few hours so im sure it'll only get better

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On 16/08/2020 at 10:14 AM, mugwampjism said:

I believe the pads are what makes Elex Elex. If they can't reproduce them faithfully then the sound will be different.

 

I wonder if Dekoni pads and some plasti-dip on the chrome would see you right? Dekoni is the best replacement generally, don't know specifically for Elex though.. Otherwise maybe Elegia pads from Focal would be the go, if the drop efforts fall short. I feel that the true Elex ship has sailed.

A NOS pair would be ideal.

 

There is a post somewhere online where someone pad rolls between all the focal lineup. quite interesting reading. If you had the money, and were so inclined, you could develop your Focal headphones to suit your tastes quite well. I'll look for it hold on.. Here 'tis!

Now that you mention it I've never seen anyone recommend Dekoni for Focals despite their prevalence everywhere else. Thanks for that Torq link, looks like it really does make a huge difference.

At this point I reckon I'm best off waiting for a good deal on the Clears rather than rolling the dice on an Elex.

 

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On 19/08/2020 at 10:48 PM, shadroth said:

Hi guys, just picked up a pair of focal clears today, love the build quality and all the extras. Is there a way to ease the clamping force? im not sure if i just have a fat head or im just not used to them yet. My previous headphones were shure SRH-1440's and were super light and weak clamping force where as the clear kinda feels like im being squashed. Loving the sound so far but its only been a few hours so im sure it'll only get better

Honestly I needed to strengthen my neck. I wear them for 2-3hrs at a time tho.

 

It gets better over time, your head and the headphones will both adjust a bit

 

You can bend them, they're aluminium not plastic, so not a big deal, it's one of their best qualities afaic.

 

Stretch them gently overnight by putting them over something of the correct size for your head, or slightly bigger, or just bend them like a mofo like I did, they're pretty tough.

 

I've been wondering if the Utopia has the same clamp, with the carbon fibre I guess there is no allowance for stretching?

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