January 27, 2022 § Leave a comment
The build quality is impressive. The headphone consists of aluminum and faux leather, which combine beautifully together and feel premium in the hand. There’s plastic material on the connection points between the headband and the metal yokes, but those parts also feel very premium and rigid. All of the other parts of the headphone are metal. Overall, I have no doubt that this headphone will last with normal usage, and I couldn’t find any weakness in its build, particularly for the price.
January 22, 2022 § Leave a comment
When comparing the sound of the Focal headphones with several models of varying designs from other manufacturers he happened to have on hand, Brent proclaimed that the Celestees sounded “at least as neutral and natural as any of the other headphones when it came to tonal balance” and that he “couldn’t find anything to complain about.” And he concluded his review by stating that although the Celestees are not for “audiophiles who want to max out on detail” or “bassheads,” they are “comparable in sound quality to any high-end, closed-back headphones” that he’s heard, and that “they’re the kind of headphones that the vast majority of listeners will enjoy.” Brent’s high praise earned the Celestee headphones a Reviewers’ Choice award when the review was published, and now has merited a Recommended Reference Component award—making them the third set of Focal headphones to receive this honor.
January 15, 2022 § Leave a comment
The Stealth’s pads are wonderfully constructed and are equally comfortable. While they share the overall shape of the pads on the Aeon series, they’re quite different. For starters, they’re angled – there’s more width at the back of the pads which forces the driver to have a more ‘speaker-like’ direction towards your ears. Next, there’s a couple of different materials in use here. An extremely soft vegan leather is used for the outside surfaces of the pad, and a very fine suede is used for the inner surfaces of the pads, as well as the surface that rests against your head. The Stealth’s pads are supple, premium-feeling and ultimately extremely comfortable. Full marks here. I must note that unlike some manufacturers who equip their high-end headphones with easily removable/swappable pad systems, the Stealth (like other DCA headphones) uses a simple adhesive system that allows them to be peeled off and stuck back on several times. I don’t see why you’d ever want to replace them, but while somewhat inelegant I guess it makes for the best airtight seal.
January 11, 2022 § Leave a comment
Audiophile headphones are a unique addiction. Over the forty years I’ve been a part of this hobby I’ve been truly enamored three times before this review. The first was the budget lightweight Sennheiser 477, then came the Master & Dynamic MD40 , and finally the Sennheiser HD800. Now I can add the LSA HP-Diamond to the list. The planar magnetic, easy to drive design provides an exciting listening experience, especially for percussion fans. Just select any Tito Puente song, sit back and let the dynamic immersion begin. For $1990 ordered directly from Underwoodhifi.com, the HP-Diamond headphones are a gourmet meal to the ears.
December 31, 2021 § Leave a comment
These headphones improve quite a lot during the first few days of use. Our initial impressions were of a detailed but tonally bland presentation that offered little in the way of expression. Given time, though, things get more interesting, with large gains in articulation and finesse.
Once settled, these headphones sound impressively clean and clear. They have a wonderfully agile presentation that responds to changes in the signal effortlessly. We start with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s Carnage set and the Liric deliver Cave’s trademark gravelly tones with all the presence and grit they deserve. These headphones communicate the nuances superbly, leaving the listener in little doubt as to what the intended emotional impact of the music is meant to be. There’s a lovely consistency from the expressive midrange frequencies upwards, and a pleasing degree of focus to the sound. The lows are almost as good, but sound a little soft-edged in relative terms.
December 28, 2021 § Leave a comment
Switching to the Elite from the Liric is a bigger shock. The Elite is the more neutral, fast and energetic brother of the Empyrean and as such the difference with the Liric is quite big. The Elite here is far more neutral and precise with a much higher level of technicalities. It has a much lower amount of bass, and lighter body overall. The Elite sounds wider as well and logically more open. The Liric is softer in delivery and that’s mostly audible in the mids, vocals and lower treble. Bass in the Liric has better sub rumble but both reach down very low. Vocals in the Elite are also more to the front like in the Liric, but they are thicker in the open back Elite. The Elite has a higher level of refinement and the micro details and note extension is better. Same goes for the clarity. As you can see the difference between the Elite and the Liric are more important than with the Empyrean, but hats only normal.