Focal Elex - Official Thread

focal
massdrop

#21

I picked up the fenestrated sheep skin pads… hopefully they sound good


#22

Nice. I was thinking of grabbing those or the Hybrids. I love the hybrid look/feel for the HE560, but dont know how the sound will be affected by it.

The fenstrated sheepskin look like they have the best effect for the Elear though so that’s a safe bet.

Dekoni Charts (https://dekoniaudio.com/so-you-want-some-focal-measurements-with-the-dekoni-audio-ear-pads/),


#23

Yeah, I went with them for similarly styled to the Utopia pads. Not that they will be the same.


#24

I think a lot of it depends on listening levels. If I’m listening for vocal clarity or good attack on guitar or orchestral strings, and I forget about the recessed presence region, I end up cranking up the volume at which point the bass indeed becomes huge. If instead I set my volume based on where bass reaches a decent level, a lot of stuff ends up sounding a bit dull and muffled. All this is of course without EQ.


#25

That’s an interesting analogy. I remember test driving an old Ford Bronco ('72 IIRC) with aftermarket small block V8, and remember the impression of something simultaneously small yet ponderous, like a mini monster truck. The thing accelerated surprisingly quickly and with plenty of drama, but turning the giant tires was less than pleasurable and all the controls just felt unbelievably dull compared to something like my Miata.


#26

That’s a fair assessment of 4x4s and muscle cars. Take them for what they offer: mud, rocks, drag racing and anything but Miata canyon carving.

My intuition is that Audeze tried to turn a weakness into a strength. With bulky planar drivers they seemed to run with bulk. They turned flutter into rumble. They intentionally upsized everything. Or so it seems.


#27

for the first time i encountered that earplug suction with my right ear, when using the Audeze.
despite reading about it, i’d never yet encountered it…wasn’t too comfortable i must admit.

also for the price i found the massdrop ebony thx00 a fun set of cans for their V shape and bass cannons (more sub bass than mid)…should have kept those…lighter too…good for what i watch / listen to on quello tv: rock and blues concerts.

anyway there is a slight hum interference on my left ear cup or wire…so back to the ebay vendor they go within their 30 day period.(they were b stock)


#28

I posted the same thing on the Elegia and so here are the measurements for the Focal Elex of the stock pads vs the Brainwavz Microsuede pads

Listening Impressions

Noticeably warmer sound signature with the Microsuede pads. A little bit more bass impact, tamer upper mids and treble. More laid back overall.

Is this what the Elear or Utopia sounds like? I havent listened to the Elear in a very long time and never listened to the Utopia. Forgot to listen to it when I was at The AV Source earlier this year. It sort of looks like a frequency response similar to either of those two from my apples to oranges comparison of graphs :slight_smile:

Charts

Raw Frequency response

Compensated Frequency Response

Waterfall CSD - Stock (top) vs Microsuede (bottom)



#29

What’s settings are you using in REW for your CSD’s?


#30

I would take all these measurements and CSD with lots of fine grain pink Himalayan salt.

But here’s what I did:


#31

I just realized the CSD I posted wasnt logarithmic.

Anyway, I decided to remove the fabric screen/filter from the microsuede pads to see if it would elevate the treble a little more, and it did. It’s closer to neutral now.

Here’s the correct Waterfall CSDs


#32

I’ve noticed a 4.5 KHz resonance on pretty much every headphone I’ve measured on my E.A.R.S. Seeing it in your measurements makes me think that it’s actually a resonance in the E.A.R.S. and not the headphones.


#33

Yea, its a common theme on every EARS unit. I don’t know if @Torq had found a nice way to filter it out accurately in his latest compensations. I see this issue on Over-Ears only


#34

Thanks for all the info guys! This thread made me reconsider the Elex.

From what I have read, my tastes are really close to yours @generic. I also feel I speak same language as you @antdroid… if you find them bright, I know I must look elsewhere.

My ideal sound: be able to hear what the engineer did at the final mix, with some sugar on top if possible please.

A graphics analogy: unsharp mask, keep all the detail but make it bolder in terms of contrast and more enjoyable.

I focus on the DAC for that, but I want to stay away from any headphones needing any tuning to make them bearable.

Was wondering what a step-up could be from the 6XX, HD700 were mentioned?

I listen to a wide range of genres, but one thing I know for sure: don’t like “Classical” sterile-tuned phones as I don’t listen to this genre too much (rules out HD800?).

Like Jazz and accoustic, though, but don’t like it with sterile sounding cans either.

I listen to a wide array of Rock/Pop/R&B/Funk/Punk/Reggae/Flamenco/Latin & fusion of subgenres, and kind of rediscovered/found 80’s mastered pop music really enjoyable with the HD6XX+Loxjie P20 combo. Similar goes to Motown: I was blasted to hear closer resemblance to on-stage experience: percussion, bass, gained a depth and detail clarity I have only experienced either on studio or live. Upright bass sounds like… upright bass. With all the attack details, slides and changes in plucking, just as if I were hearing it IRL.

That’s my quest: finding those cans/gear that make you rediscover your whole library, and enjoy a wider number of songs as sounding appealing and engaging.

For me, analytic phones have their use tough: eq/Mixing/mastering at home studio, but I’m not looking for that.


#35

Just to be clear: I think these are slightly bright headphones, but I don’t find them annoying bright. Compared to many popular headphones, these may come off as bright, when in fact, its really a diffuse field neutral tuning that has slight peak in the upper mids and lower treble.

If you are coming from a 6XX, they will sound brighter and more lean, as the 6XX has a much more laid back sound and fuller body.

I personally love the Elex. It’s one of the most fun, yet technical headphones I’ve heard. If you ever feel a sense of harshness, it’s probably due to a poor recording or bad recording dynamics. It’ll bring out the the details of badly recorded tracks or grain from compressed files.

The Loxjie P20 pairs well with it, as does many tube hybrids I’ve tried. It helps take some of the edge off with a subtle boost in the bass response. I think you’ve seen my comments on that already.


#36

ouch @antdroid :smile: that’s not helping! :laughing:

How does e.g. Parallel Universe by RHCP sound on them with the Loxjie P20?


#37

I generally prefer neutral, as I recognize both reproduction deviations from original sources and flaws in the original sources. My tastes often run similar to @antdroid too (but I’m a critical user rather than a reviewer. I use up my brain energy at work and don’t have much time to review, etc.).

No personal experience with the HD700. I use my Elex most often, followed by HiFiMan HE-560s, followed by a tie between Audeze LCD-2C (for some sources, see threads with @pwjazz on its many quirks) and MrSpeakers AEON Flow Closed. The AFC are great at resembling open headphones but shutting out background noise.

If you buy HE-560s, don’t pay more than $300 and get the 2nd/3rd generation. (Original retail $900). They have notoriously poor quality control and are made cheaply. But they sound great.

The Elex are most similar to my HD-600s overall, but have more punchy dynamics, a blacker background, and better range. However, that they are brassy/metallic and have a good deal of glare on a non-clean amp. My interpretation is that the metal drivers convert all noise into exaggerated dynamics – but it’s controlled well with the Massdrop THX AAA 789 amp.

The HE-560s are great for classical and acoustic – they reveal a ton of detail in strings and the high range.


#38

I’ve been thinking and rewrapping around my quest to audio nirvana and concluded I prefer less detailed, less high-end “sounding” systems.

The reason: the moment sound is analytic, no matter if the slightest, I start focusing on imperfections, ruining engagement and listening experience… professional deformation I guess. I end up fed-up, and not listening to the headphones anymore.

Happened already with my pair of Heir Audio 5.0 IEMs (Wizard days, now Noble), which end up sitting on a drawer.

Are the HE-560 analytic? per your descriptions looks like the Elex is more analytic?

@generic: thanks a lot for the tip, have a good deal for HE-560 v3, but still hesitating if these are analytic or not, e.g. with the P20?

Darkvoice should be (theoretically) a lesser match due to the lowish HE-560 impedance though have read people classify the combo as a good pair?


#39

The HE-560s are planar magnetic, so they are a bit more diffuse and are less punchy than the dynamic driver Elex. The HE-560s are very clear and neutral to bright on a strong amp – I personally don’t say ‘analytical,’ but they are on the lean side (not bass heavy).

The P20 increases the bass on anything and takes away the ‘near lean’ feeling of the HE-560s (I’m using the factory/in the box balanced cable).

The Elex are different than most headphones I’ve ever used, as they can have INTENSE dynamics. Some call this ‘bright’ on first impression, but it’s more a brassy glare across the upper mid range. For the first 20-30 hours female voices and violins sounded like they were played out of a trumpet (the Elex either broke in or my ears adapted). I later moved to a balanced setup and this impression disappeared – now they are neutral all-around headphones with strong and very, very precise dynamics.

I have no experience with the Dark Voice. I’m using the HE-560s on a Massdrop THX AAA 789 and the Loxjie P20.


#40

thanks @generic!

Ok, so the P20 kind of shifts that leanness into more full-bodied sound and hopefully more resolution… seems like a worthy step up from 6XX, definitely will give it a try!

Next will come the Elex, sounds like a logical path (HD6xx -> HE-560 -> Elex) with optimal cost/performance steps…