Focal Elegia - Closed Back Headphones - Official Thread



To me, the bass is pretty much exactly how I want it. I wanted something that sounds like the Elex in a closed back form and the Elegia does that. I think @Torq 's suggestion about closed backs typically having the bump in the mid-bass or bass region in general is why people think they are light (compared to other closed-backs). I personally do not like that sound, so the Elegia is perfect for me.


@taronlissimore, they are my daily drivers as well. I really enjoy them, I ended up picking up two Periapt cables, one single ended, the other balanced. I also have a similar take away with them during travel. Just enough sound leaks in to be useful, but is easily tuned out with good music (and a fiddling with the volume). I just have one problem with them now…HD820…


Hi All! I’m one of those people who find the Elegia to be low end shy. To my ears they did have bass with decent extension, speed, and good textures but I prefer a low end that’s meaty and rich with a bit of warmth. I tried using EQ to compensate but it just didn’t do the trick for me. However, I found the mids, highs, detail retrieval, and soundstage on the Elegia wonderfully done and almost enough for me to dismiss my low end preferences. Really great headphones, just not my cup of coffee.

@taronlissimore and @andrew at were awesome and worked with on a LCD2 closed back swap (more aligned with my preferences). Thanks, guys, and looking forward to my new headphones!


I’ll bring my Cascades to the meet for you to try…


I own the Elex and agree with that characterization. The depth and clarity are great, but Focal aims for glassy precision. EQ and compensation just brings out more and more dynamics. Warm, meaty, and rich is a different profile entirely.


Cool, would love to give them a listen. At first glance, they look a bit small and I use full sized cans only for home use. But, the reviews have been really good and I’m curious. I like Campfire/ALO as a company. I’ve owned a few amps/dacs from them in the past. Pretty sweet that their Portland based too. :slight_smile:


Don’t get me wrong, I am a basshead and love my bass. For some reason though, the Elegia just seems to satisfy my needs. If I need that deep bass, I do turn to the Cascades (you’re going to have a lot of fun listening to @DarthPool’s pair!). The Audeze Mobius bass is actually quite nice too when its set to Music mode.

I will definitely be interested to see what you think of the LCD2 Closed-Backs when you get them in!

We should probably actually get a HD820 to the office to try out. Especially since opinions on it vary so much!

I’d like to try my hand at making some cables for it which is why I have resisted the urge to pick up any before the Elegia arrived. Once the holidays are over I will probably have the time to give it a shot.


I have half made HD800 cables made in my garage work bench right now, that eyeball me with judgemental eyes everytime I walk in the garage… I will say the HD820 are something…but I did some a/b with the Elegia and as of right now I’m leaning towards the Elegia, as the winner.


In relation to the Elegia being bass light, again, there’s how a headphone responds vs. neutral and how it responds vs. preference.

A good many of the people I know don’t (or perhaps can’t) differentiate the two. They consider neutral to be whatever their preference is. Which is fine for selecting headphones one enjoys, but it can be an issue when it comes to reviewing. And with a good number of them they act like there’s a problem with them liking something other than neutral, so they argue heavily that their preference is neutral when, in fact, they’re actually pretty much full-on bass-heads.

Which is one reason why, no matter what reviews say, unless you have a reasonable history of agreeing with the characterization of headphone (or any other piece of gear) with a specific reviewer - the only way to be sure of what you’re getting is to audition it against something you already like.



My more or less exact advice I tell my friends and family.


I agree, you’ve always got to make sure the reviewer knows what their talking about. Ideally they should point out their preferences and the gear they own at the start of a review. As you guys say it’s good to know their review history. Only my opinion of course.

As always @Torq hit the nail on the head when he said to listen to it yourself. It’s the best advice.


Thanks for posting this…This is primarily why I wanted to try the Elegia for myself before purchasing something else. I typically try to take an aggregate perspective when it comes to reviews and comments. The Elegia, though, does seem to be a divisive headphone when it comes to the low end of the spectrum. Hopefully it comes across that my preferences guided me away from the Elegia. If not, certainly, let me know.

In addition to the heavily argumentative perspectives of neutral, some folks take this hobby way too seriously and lack perspective of the privilege we have in our lives to chat online (and in person) about expensive headphone/audio equipment. I get it… there’s a lot of passion, emotion, and cultural inputs from the experience of music mixing with technics, measurements, physics, and philosophies. I’ve been away from the headphone world until quite recently and this has been something I’ve noticed since engaging a bit more. That said, we seem to live in increasingly fractured, divisive times and the above could be an extension (or at least an exacerbation) of those pressures and sensitivities. A conversation for another time, though it does make me think about the Mos Def song, Life in Marvelous Times.

My thanks to everyone for creating such a welcoming space. This is one of the better headphone/audio forums out there. :smile:

Edit: Just to be clear, this is not directed towards anyone here or this forum. Just an observation from browsing numerous forums and threads the past few weeks.


I started using the Elegia as my daily driver on Friday. I won’t get into specifics until I’ve had more time with them, but here are a 3 initial thoughts:

They sound great directly from my iPhone X with the stock dongle. They sound so good that I don’t feel the need to add a DAC / Amp to the mix.

The isolation makes them such practical headphones. This is the first pair of Focal’s that have allowed me to successfully ignore @taronlissimore during the day.

I really appreciate the short cable and carrying case that are included with the headphones. These are luxuries that didn’t come with the flagship Utopia and I’m happy they’ve started to include “quality of life” items in their new products.


One thing that someone on Head-Fi posted, and I never noticed, is that the “F” logo on each cup is actually a vent.


Holy poo! That is interesting… curious if it is functional…


The vent?

Yes, it is functional.

There’s quite a bit of detail on the driver, enclosure, baffle, absorbers/reflectors, pads and the venting in Focal’s Elegia Whitepaper.


I’ll have to look it up and read it…I’ve been on a “Ground hogs day” loop over the past couple weeks and haven’t had a chance to do much of anything besides routine…
Sad panda is sad…
Hopefully the holidays will provide a nice break and refresh


This is a comparison of the Focal Elegia stock pads vs the Brainwavz Microsuede pads.

The microsuede pads were attached using double-sided tape to the Elegia in this test.


These new pads are very comfortable to wear. They are softer to the touch than the scratchier feeling of the stock pads and use thicker memory foam inside. Besides that, they are relatively the same depth.


Microsuede pads sounded like it elevated the bass a bit more, and sounded fuller and slightly boomier (though not distasteful). The soundstage was probably just a tad more closed in.


The first graph is raw Frequency Response and second graph is compensated using HEQ compensation which is going to be similar to the Harman Target compensation, but supplied by MiniDSP.

Generally they have very similar characteristics in the most of the spectrum except in the lower bass region, where the Brainwavz pads elevates it. There is a noticeable listening experience as I mentioned above.

I also decided to plot out the decay in the following charts. The first one is stock and the second one is the Brainwavz Pads. In general, they are pretty similar.



Does changing the pads lose you detail at all as I can see the rise in the bass. More often than not if I use EQ to elevate the bass even slightly too much I find it is detrimental to the detail. This may just be my take on it though.

With EQ being a very precise way of making changes pad rolling seems to be a rather more hit and miss method. But I always like to look at the data as it’s always interesting how just changing something as simple as the pads can change so much (Sometimes).


I think elevating the bass will not necessarily lose detail, but put them further back than when the bass was lower. It’s a little bit of give and take. The details in say the mids and treble may still be there but now they arent put as far forward since the bass just got elevated, so you don’t hear them as clearly.

Pads can definitely change detail quality and quantity though. I’ve found the Elegia to be very sensitive to pad rolling. Some headphones are less sensitive, but the Focal series has been pretty sensitive to it.