Focal is a well-known name in the realm of high-end audio. The company, which is situated in France, was founded in 1979 and has produced a wide range of audio equipment, including headphones and automotive audio. To achieve optimal consistency and quality, every Focal product is totally designed and manufactured in Saint-Étienne.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of their high-end headphones and compare them based on sound and distinguishing features. If you’re looking for a great sounding headphone with a reasonable price tag, Focal Over-Ear headphones offer some of the most detailed and immersive listening experiences available if you ask sound engineers.
Table of Contents
Focal Clear Over-Ear High-Resolution Audiophile Headphones
- Audiophile high-end circum-aural open-backed headphones for low-noise environments
- A pure, technophile and sophisticated design thanks to their solid aluminium yoke and the Leather headband
- Open high-fidelity headphone made in France
The Focal Clear headphones are unmistakably 2023 Focal flagship headphones. That is to say, although they have a number of different design elements than other Focal headphones, including color offerings, they sport that classic look of the Focal headphones, the beautiful mesh grilles on each headset, beryllium drivers, etc. When you take the headphones out of the box, you will immediately be blown away by the metallic look and the pleasant feeling. The headphones are largely constructed of metal which gives a very premium look. Besides the fact that these headphones have nice fabric cover, braided nylon cables, etc. better known as a manufacturer of high-end speakers.
In the box, besides the beautifully designed focal audiophile headphones, you will also get a nice hard case and very strong, premium cables. There are three cables in the box, including a one-meter cable with a 1/8 inch connector, a three meter cable with a 1/4 inch connector, and a three-meter cable with an XLR connector. The chic look of the Clear is enhanced by a choice of three striped cables: one measuring 1.2 meters and ending in a 3.5mm connector, a longer wire of 3 meters with a 6.35mm plug or another 3 meter cable with a large XLR termination.
The one of the best Focal Clear headphones, as mentioned, are built with a lot of padding and quality leather, and as such, they are comfortable enough for long periods of listening. The headphones feature a nice fabric cover for the headband, ensuring the headphones remain comfortable. The only thing to consider might be the weight of the headphones. At 450 grams, or around 1 pound, the headphones aren’t necessarily light – but given the padding and nice materials, we never felt like the headphones were getting too heavy.
The bass response on the headphones is tight and precise, and by no means overdone. The headphones offer a lot of bass response, although luckily Focal has chosen not to boost the bass too much like some of its competitors. The midrange is also well tuned. We’d say the emphasis is slightly on the lower midrange, but it’s so light that the result is just a warmer sound signature. The high mids are still more than present enough that those who enjoy vocals can cut a mix well. The highs are, well, clear. The high frequencies are very detailed and the instruments are clearly separated in the mix, making for a listening experience where you will discover something new with every listen.
The Focal Clear headphones aim to deliver some of the special features of the $ 3,000 Focal Utopia headphones while pairing them with the much more fun Focal Elear headphones, and they do it pretty well for the mid range. The best sounding soundstage is beautiful and wide, making it a natural-sounding listening experience with plenty of room to breathe.
As you might expect, Focal hit a home run with the Focal Clear headphones for the asking price. The headphones are beautifully designed, super comfortable, cable connectors, and deliver perfect sound quality for the audio experience looking for something a little more fun with a headphone amp. The frequency adjustments are subtle enough to create a very natural listening experience. Despite the steep price, the Focal Clear headphones have a ton going for them. Focal Clear is the Best Focal Headphones in 2023.
Focal Utopia Open Back Over-Ear Headphones
- Designed and manufactured in France and equipped with exclusive technology resulting from more than 35 years of expertise
- Open back circum-aural headphones dedicated to low noise environments
- Reference pair of headphones featuring full range loudspeakers made of a pure Beryllium "M" shape dome
The Focal Utopias are some of the best audiophile headphones in 2023. This is not hyperbole. It’s not shilling. It’s the truth. Sorry to spoil the conclusion of this review, but we cannot pretend to be ambivalent here. With these headphones, Focal beat Stax, Sennheiser, Abyss, AUDEZE and all the other headphone manufacturers on the planet, without even breaking a sweat.
First of all, the box of the audio device is beautiful. The unboxing experience is second to none. The box itself feels like it’s made of a soft-touch synthetic leather and when you open it, a bright red ribbon greets you in the headphones. There’s even foam inside the lid that gives you a sense of where they belong: in the studio. In addition to the headphones, you will receive documents and instructions, but that’s it. No accessories or carrying cases, because after all, who is really going to take them with them to work.
The reason the headphones are so tough to drive is a combination of the monolayer voice coil, magnets, and their Beryllium “M” shape dome. The results show for a headphone that can drop down to 5Hz and reach as high as 50kHz, far beyond our range of hearing and even higher than what some studio mics can capture. This allows for high registering frequencies to be played, and while you may not be able to audibly detect them, they add texture to instruments like pianos, harps, cymbals, and brass instruments.
The headband is made of carbon fiber which is great in terms of strength and keeping these lighter than they would otherwise be, but there’s also an annoying amount of squeaking that occurs when you put them on the treble region. That said, that’s only a problem when you’re not wearing them, because once they’re on your head, they conform to them perfectly and you never hear any squeaks at all.
Utopias are an open back headphones – a help for engineers tasked with making them sound good. The open back design goes both ways and you’ll find all kinds of noises that intrude into your experience if you can’t find a quiet place to listen. They are however comfortable, despite a weight of 490 g. This is due to a carefully shaped, well-padded headband (which is suitable for a wide variety of head sizes) and careful weight distribution. The well-padded memory foam headband and ear cushions are covered in wonderfully tactile lambskin leather. The open design means long listening sessions don’t end bed audio advice either.
As you would expect from this level, these Focals are beautifully constructed, combining leather, carbon fiber and metal to produce a product that feels like it will last for years. The pads are easy to replace, which bodes well for a product that should be used for decades. They come with a surprisingly heavy 4m long cable, which terminates at one end with a rugged Neutrik 6.3mm jack plug and at the other end of the earpiece with a pair of locking two-pin Lemo connectors. . The cable is shielded and uses high-quality oxygen-free copper and is designed for low impedance characteristics. If you want to hear these utopias as well as possible, you will need to feed them with a quality signal. While we are all in favor of using smartphones and tablets as sources of music, it does mean that you will only have a clue of what utopias can do.
Focal has done a great job with this drive unit. Utopias are refined and wonderfully gentle performers who still have enough bite to satisfy. There is a nice sense of weight and authority in their sound profile, and the ability to produce huge dynamic sweeps with calm. It’s a spacious presentation, where each instrumental part has space to stretch and express itself.
Tonic, things are well balanced, with no part of the frequency range receiving excessive emphasis. We are happy that Focal has avoided the current trend of excessive bass. What we get instead is wonderfully extended bass that is packed with agility and oomph, but also blends in perfectly with the organic mids. These headphone market are telling, but don’t go out of their way to emphasize the harshness of a recording. It’s a well-judged balance audio equipment which means utopias perform well on a wide range of recordings.
Focal has aimed at the moon in terms of performance, orienting its flagship offer towards the best that the establishment of headphones can manage. It succeeded.
Focal Stellia Closed-Back Circum-Aural Over-Ear Headphones (Cognac)
- Focal Stellia headphones deliver every tiny detail of every song at both very high and very low frequencies without compromising any tonal balance
- Incredible dynamics within a pair of closed-back headphones
- Each component has been developed with optimal acoustics in mind without compromising on style; Because at Focal innovation goes beyond technology; it...
The Stellia is the latest headphone offering from French manufacturer Focal, and only their second to feature a closed design. Opening the cognac-colored synthetic leather-covered case containing the headphones, it is immediately evident that Focal has paid meticulous attention to every detail of the design. Inside is a zipped hard case in two-tone brown fabric molded to perfectly protect the supplied Stellia headphones. The cover also includes a small fold-out box containing an exquisitely styled leather wallet with product information. The wallet appears to come from Coach.
Two cable options are also included. The first cable, intended for use with mobile sources, is four feet long and is covered with fabric in a cognac and mocha striped pattern. It features a 3.5-millimeter TRS jack and a 3.5-millimeter to quarter-inch threaded unbalanced female adapter plug, as well as right (R) and left (R) 3.5 millimeter TRS plugs ( L) at the end of the headphones that plug into their corresponding ear cups. . And with a nominal impedance of 35 Ohms and a sensitivity of 106 dB SPL / 1 mW at 1 kHz, the Stellia is certainly easy to drive with virtually any mobile source.
The second similar-mode cable, intended for use with desktop or full-size systems for speaker placement, is 10 feet long with a 4-pin XLR plug on one end and the same 3.5-millimeter right and left TRS jacks at the end of the helmet. Considering its 4-pin XLR plug, this cable seems to have been specially designed to mate with the new Focal Arche amplifier / DAC. Since my desktop system has a 3-pin XLR input and not a 4-pin XLR, I used the shorter cable with the 1/4 inch adapter plug and then simply removed the adapter when switching to my mobile sources.
The ear cups, the speakers for those drive units if you like, are elaborately crafted, with specially designed ventilation to aid dynamics and frequency response, along with built-in diffusers and precise amounts of absorption. EVA foam to support the sound waves that emanate from the back of the dome.
Even the atria were taken into account. The ones used on the Stellia are made up of two sections – the part that sits directly around the ears uses full grain leather and is intended to diffuse sound while the other half is covered with acoustic fabric over the memory foam. forms and offers a certain amount of absorption. The idea is to think of the cavity between the drive unit and the ear as a listening room, and these elements control the reverberation time and stray acoustic energy in this space.
The construction of the Stellia is beautiful, just as we would expect for a product of this level. The combination of high quality leather, beautifully shaped metal parts and an unusual color mix of mocha and cognac works well, giving the helmet a strong aura of undeniable luxury. They’re also comfortable, with a wide, well-padded headband. There are enough settings for these headphones to fit most people, and while large, they aren’t overly heavy at 435g. The pads adjust well and the clamping pressure is well judged for stability without going overboard.
The dynamics are delivered with considerable authority and not a small amount of grace. We love the way these Focals deal with the ever-increasing intensity of this piece, but also the way they stay composed and organized. There is enough refinement to keep things from getting tough, but the smoothness is never pushed so far that the emotion in the music is diminished. The Stellias have a spacious layout, and the tilt of the beryllium drive units towards the front of the headphones – a placement more closely aligned with that of a typical stereo speaker setup – means sound is presented more in front. the listener rather than just between their ears.
Tone, things are well judged. We would never describe these headphones as totally neutral – the balance is just a little too soft and full bodied for that – but that won’t make a meal with poorer recordings. This is a good thing since these can be used with music files of varying quality. Powerful bass has traditionally been a force in closed designs, and the Stellias do well. Their low end is meaty and bossy, yet nimble and responsive. Fortunately, unlike some competitors, Focal has chosen not to overplay the bass with the aim of impressing – the Stellias sound perfect and perfectly integrated. Of course, using a single driver unit to cover the entire frequency range – the company claims 5Hz – 40kHz – helps considerably.
The Focal Stellia headphones are an absolute joy – but, of course, they aren’t for everyone. If you are an audiophile who really wants the best of the best and prefers a closed design, then this is the way to go. The Focal Stellia is not only a luxuriously designed headset, it is also the most efficient closed headphone.
Focal Elegia High-Fidelity Closed-Back Circum-Aural Headphones
- Elegia is the new and the first audiophile circum-aural closed-back headphones integrating the best of exclusive technologies from Focal
- Every component has undergone cutting edge research and been meticulously considered to produce a precise and powerful sound
- Incorporate a new generation of exclusive full-range speaker drivers capable of operating in a small inner environment
Focal Elegia are a high-end pair of headphones. Focal Elegia a high-end closed-back headphone is the best and a clear winner. While some models go for a professional design, you won’t find anything like it here – even at this price.
Elegia is designed, developed and assembled in France. The look and feel of these headphones is to die for. Each time I picked them up, I couldn’t help but stop and admire a new side. Focal’s industrial design team has paid attention to every detail. The black and silver aluminum and leather accents are breathtaking, with undertones you have to see in person to appreciate. The Elegia’s ear cups have a honeycomb design. The aluminum yoke has a brushed finish, with bevelled screws at the cups that make the light dance. The black Focal logo on the ear cups is engraved in a slightly cratered circle. Micro-knurled polishing, meanwhile, gives off a rainbow shine like the back of a CD. The physical beauty of these headphones is complemented by their fit and feel. Memory foam pads covered with plush microfiber create a spa-like cocoon. The ear pads also did wonders in blocking out noise around me. High-quality closed-back headphones like these always help me get lost in the music.
Frankly, we wouldn’t have been surprised to see twice the price tag on these earmuffs. And they don’t just look expensive, they smell it too. Too often, high-end products neglect appearances; if you spend that kind of money, we think you should also get a product that looks and feels the part.The silver and black design is sleek but a bit flashy, but perhaps more importantly, the Elegia headset is tough and built to last. The aluminum headband has just the right amount of flex, the leather padding matches a thick showroom mat, and the 20mm of memory foam on each ear cup makes your ears feel like they’re s ‘sink into an ultra-soft sofa. Each ear cup rotates on the band for a snug fit against your head.
The detachable 1.2m silver and black cable plugs (we wouldn’t mind a little longer) slide a few millimeters into each cup to connect, locking into place. This adds to the premium feel but also gives this potential weak spot an extra level of protection. On the other end of the cable, you have a 3.5mm stereo jack and a 6.35mm jack adapter. All of this comes in a smart, hard carrying case for the footballer look off the team bus, and means you don’t have to slip such expensive headphones into your bag.
Focal Elegias isolate sound very well. There’s no active noise reduction here, but thanks to the closed-back design and comfortable fit of the cups, it almost feels like there is. You won’t hear much from the outside and while there is a little leakage of sound at high volume, they’re ultimately pretty good on that front as well. This enveloping design lends itself to immersive sound. Play something with a wide sound field and you feel yourself in the middle of the music. The effects at either end of the presentation clearly come from a wide left or wide right position, resulting in a powerful and spacious sound. Meanwhile, the Focals’ voice coil have substance, but not quite the immediacy and intimacy found elsewhere. Ultimately, detail retrieval, while impressive in isolation, is improved at this price. A high-quality recording can reveal all the subtle intonations of an artist and that last word of insight isn’t as present here as it is on the best, so you’re not as close to the recording as you will find. . on some of our favorite pairs of headphones at this price.
Focal Elegia headphones have a lot to offer and deserve the serious attention of any high-end headphone buyer. They look great, are sublimely comfortable, impressively isolate outside noise, and deliver spacious, direct sound. Perfect for listening at home and on the go, their versatility sets them apart at this price point, and they’re just the best when it comes to detail, timing, and ultimate musical entertainment.
Focal Clear MG Open-Back High-Fidelity Over-Ear Headphones
- Perforated microfibre earpads: extended soundstage
- Headband covered with leather and microfibre
- 'M'-shaped grille following the curve of the speaker driver: better high-frequency reproduction
The Focal Clear Mg Open-back Headphone excels at defining a soundstage without losing low-end detail. The bass is tight and distinct without being overpowering.
Following in the footsteps of the Focal Clear open-back headphone, the re-tuned Clear Mg features fine chestnut leather and microfiber materials on the headband and ear pads, as well as a cool honeycomb pattern on the earcups — and, of course, Focal’s special 40mm ‘M’-shaped all Magnesium full-range driver, as the name suggests. Needless to say, we were excited to obtain the Clear Mg in order to write a review for Focal’s reimagined open-back headphone classic.
The Clear Mg uses an M-shaped inverted dome loudspeaker to deliver complete and accurate sound in various Focal headphones. The original Clear had a 40mm driver constructed of magnesium and aluminium, as well as a copper voice coil. The Focal Clear Mg, on the other hand, has been fine-tuned using a new speaker driver cone material. Focal created a dome with an all Magnesium cone for the Clear Mg full-range driver after four years of research and development.
The new alloy provides for a lighter and more rigid speaker driver than the original aluminum-magnesium driver. This enables the Clear Mg to generate frequencies (5Hz-28kHz) that are both below and above human hearing thresholds (20Hz-20kHz).
Focal Celestee High-End Closed-Back Over-Ear Wired Headphones
- Closed-back headphones for home and on-the-go use
- Outstanding design fine materials and Navy Blue finishes with Soft Copper details
- Remarkable sound performance: incredible bass extension and tonal balance unrivaled in their category
Focal’s Celestee headset, which has a closed-back design, is another re-tuned design influenced by Focal’s first full-sized closed-back headphone. The goal was to produce a headset that was noise-isolating while yet retaining the sound quality of previous models, even taking structure and materials from them.
With mobility in mind, the Focal Celestee was created. They can be powered by a laptop or smartphone and have a 35 Ohm impedance. Wherever you are, the closed-back design ensures sound isolation from outside sources. To qualify as a “re-tuned design” on Focal’s first audiophile circum-aural closed-back headphone, the Elegia, the Celestee’s sound had to not only exceed Focal’s standards, but also outperform its predecessor.
Celestee has been fine-tuned and re-tuned with more attention on the lower-end frequencies, as requested by many Elegia owners. It is based on the Focal Elegia in terms of driver and dome materials. Focal introduced a 40mm ‘M’-shaped Aluminium/Magnesium driver, which is identical to the Focal Clear Mg loudspeaker.
Overall, the Focal Celestee has an incredibly wide soundstage, crisp detail, and tight, accurate bass that is rare to find in other closed-back headphones. If you prefer hefty low-ends, these may not be the headphones for you, but if you prefer warmth, they will be ideal.
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