Focal Elegia - Closed Back Headphones - Official Thread

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#1

We already have the announcement of the Focal Elegia here and some pictures from RMAF 2018/CanJam of them in use here. However, as these are already in the hands of dealers, are actually shipping (a bit ahead of what I had gathered might be the case pre-show), and production units are just starting to arrive with actual customers … I figured it was time to spin-up the official thread for them.

Despite Fedex’s best efforts to the contrary, that’s my literally-just-arrived pair above (hence the quick-and-dirty grab-shot) - many thanks to @andrew and @taronlissimore for getting those to me so promptly!

And as you can see, Focal are using the “Clear” packaging rather than that of the Elear or Utopia - which includes the rather nice ($150 if bought separately) carry case - not something I had realized was included even after chatting with the Focal ladies and gents at the CanJam.

Full review to follow once I’ve had time to let them run a bit and do some serious listening. May post some stream-of-conciousness impressions as I go along too …


Focal Elegia, new closed-back headphones from Focal!
Focal Elegia - Review & Impressions Index
#2

I am looking forward to your impressions and review. I have these slotted as my TOTL closed backs in place of my currently out of reach HD820s.


#3

I am also very curious how they stack up against the other Focals.

Beautiful photo by the way! love the backdrop!


#4

You can give them a listen tomorrow! :wink:

Thanks! Having the Seattle waterfront right there off my deck makes that a bit easier!


#5

:nerd_face::tada: Awesome!! Looking forward to it, I will probably take a personal day from work (I.E. Work from my work phone/laptop)


#6

I love the pic with the stadium in the background .


#7

So … coming up on 24 hours in … with these things sitting playing overnight (etc.).

I would, at this point, say the Elegia are one of the least-closed-sounding closed-back headphones I’ve had my ears on. My original impressions that they are tonally closer to the Focal Clear (or Elex) than the Elear still hold.

They do not exhibit the classic “closed-back” signature of seriously-emphasized-bass, iffy-mids and either absent or overdone treble. Technicalities are very similar to the Elear/Elex, but without the tonal wonkiness of the Elear. They’re not quite as resolving as the Clear, but retain their dynamics.

Very encouraged so far … possible mid-level reference material.


#8

My ears are encouraged by this…my wallet and wife … Not so much lol


#9

I’m curious about how the Elegia compare to the AEON Flow Closed. After a week of use, I’m quite happy with the AFC. The high end is a tad quiet and diffuse (planar drivers), but that’s a good thing. I’m treble sensitive and the AFC don’t bother me after hours of use, while the brighter and brassy Elex do bother me with some sources. The AFC have extremely deep bass, but it’s not boomy or overpowering. Finally, the AFC lack the dynamics of the Elex, but that’s also fine/non-overpowering.

With back-to-back comparisons versus open headphones, I notice a slight pop-pop feeling in my ears from the AFC, seemingly from air compression in the closed chamber. The AFC seal extremely well. With fresh ears I don’t perceive pop-pops.


#10

I am hoping to have the AEON Flow Closed and Open around next week, so they’ll be easy to compare to the Elegia. Though it maybe well into the following week that I get a review and/or proper comparisons posted on those.


#11

This is just for a bit of fun … ahead of finalizing my listening for the full review … (which will have details on measurements, including comparisons to the whole Focal lineup) …

The purple trace is the raw (mic-compensation only) frequency response plot for the Elegia. The cyan plot is what happens to the Elegia if you do something daft and put Elex pads on it:

Note that this is not intended to be at all scientific (or even necessarily useful) nor can you usefully compare these two plots to any you see elsewhere, but it goes to show that just swapping pads can result in highly significant changes in how a headphone sounds and measures.

It should also be a good indication that you do not want to put Elex pads on the Elegia!


#12

wow that is crazy. Is the only difference in pads the perforations?


#13

Other than the color scheme, the only visible difference is that the Elex pads are perforated and the Elegia ones are not.

I shall, of course have to pop the Elear pads on the Elegia … out of pure, morbid curiosity, just to see if they are the same as the Elegia ones.


#14

Do the perforations really make an acoustic difference to the sound l. I always thought it was to allow the pad to breathe and keep thins cool.


#15

The perforations definitely make an audible difference. And a much bigger one that you might expect. In this case, a ~15 dB delta under 200 Hz (with the plots aligned at 1 kHz and both calibrated to 84 dB).


#16

What do you use to measure with?


#17

TIL. The tiniest of things really do affect sound then. I mean I knew that pad rolling would or could change the sound signature or a headphone, but perforations and I suppose the material of the pad would play a big part too then? I have been told the angle of the pads and the thickness matters too. Is this to do with how sound waves bounce off the pads? It’s crazy how much R&D must go into designing headphones.

I am also aware that there is a thriving community of headphone modders who change cups and materials, essentially redesigning the sound signature of the headphone. I have tried doing the HD800 mod on my set but put it back to stock. It’s a whole new rabbit hole to disappear down.


#18

The Fostex T50RP community got me into modding and really understanding how very small things can change sound signature.

But yea, different materials can change how sound bounces back.


#19

Don’t forget the quick and dirty tissue paper, toilet paper, and Kleenex mod: put 1 or 2 sheets in each ear cup to reduce the treble.


#20

Ooooo, but I love treble. :slightly_smiling_face:. But yes I know what you mean. Thanks.