Focal’s $3K Stellia headphones

May 4, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Trumpet player Erik Truffaz’s electronica-tinged jazz is highly textured, and the ultradeep bass beats coursing through his Bending New Corners album all but massaged my eardrums. The bass goes really low, but it never felt overdone — the control down there is exceptional. Reggae had plenty of drive over the Stellia.

Sadly, I didn’t have Focal’s Utopia headphones on hand for a direct comparison, so I popped on a set of Audeze LCD-MX4 headphones and the tonal balance cooled down, and I missed Stellia’s richer tone. Though the MX4 is an open-back design, the sound felt more canned than it did on the Stellias. The Focal is a very open sounding closed-back design.

Stellia is so easy to drive it sounded fine with my iPhone 8, played over the Apple Lightning-to-3.5mm dongle. It’s hardly an ideal setup, but for travel it’s perfectly serviceable. It is after all, a very large headphone, so transporting Stellia isn’t for the faint of heart. Home listening with a Mytek Brooklyn amp kicked Stellia’s sound quality up a few notches.”

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