Elex and Eclair discussion thread

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Vtory, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,180
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    [​IMG]

    Useful (potentially?) links

    I am starting this thread because of the followings:
    1. Elex will be more prevalent because the first batch is now shipping to purchasers.
    2. Elear and Utopia thread might be the most related in this forum (personal audio gear discussion/headphones) to date but I do think these two headphones are too different for a single thread. Different sonic characters, different upstream gear matching (both in terms of sonic-wise and budget-wise), and so forth..
    3. Eclair (Elear with Clear pads) can be discussed within the same context with elex, because elex and eclair will have a lot of similarities in common imo.
    4. Of course there is an elex thread in the measurement forum. But strongly want to keep there informative, focused, and concise (too many pages are usually not good for measurement threads).
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
    Golmang, Lyer25, slankoe and 2 others like this.
  2. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    743
    Dislikes Received:
    114
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    NYC
    Focal would do good to retire the aged Elear and continue with those two models you mentioned...
    They can make more money selling various pads for existing units.

    I really find it a bit surprising the level of resolve for the price of the Elex..
    The signature is well balanced.
    Not sure about its future as a massdrop model only.
     
    Vtory likes this.
  3. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,837
    Dislikes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Rapallo, Italy
    And one that can only ship to USSA, Canadia, 'stralaa, and Taiwan.

    Most of the world doesn't have access without wacky hijinks.
     
    Golmang and Jinxy245 like this.
  4. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,180
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    As an ex elear owner, I kinda suspect that Focal already had clear in their mind when released Elear and Utopia, and intentionally tuned Elear not to carnivalize siblings. Otherwise it's a bit difficult to explain why Focal continues to sell Elear without any revisions even now. Just my conspiracy theory though. lol
     
    slankoe likes this.
  5. TomNC

    TomNC Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    88
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Received Elex on behalf of an audio friend and listened for about 3 h last night.

    My chain is Ayre 7eMP CD player, Helen jitter reducer, La Scala Optologic DAC, and MCTH.

    My impressions agree well with the FR curves published at MD site. Elex has better bass than HD650M in both extension and quantity. Mids of Elex are slightly inferior to 650M with the latter being more mid-centric. Elex’s mids are not as natural and smoothe. On the FR graph, Elex has an elevation above 1KHz but lower energy around 3.5K. Surprisingly, 650M has arier trebles and this was shown as higher energy around 9-10KHz than Elex. Overall, the sound of Elex is punchier and denser than 650M, but not as open and good at layer separation. Drawing on my impressions of Elear and Utopia, Elex is more relaxed and balanced, causing little fatigue.
     
  6. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    743
    Dislikes Received:
    114
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    NYC
    FlySweep and brencho like this.
  7. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,180
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    Finally got mine (ordered on Mar 25). Impressions to come..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    slankoe and luckybaer like this.
  8. Shazb0t

    Shazb0t Rando

    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Likes Received:
    9
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    NJ
    Preliminary Impressions?
     
  9. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,180
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    TL;DR - So far I love them.

    ----

    0. This is what I wanted the original elear to be tuned like.. If my elear two years ago sounded like this, I would have kept them forever...

    1. Bright. Brighter than hd600. Even a tad brighter than utopia. But very tastefully tuned.

    2. Upper treble is a bit rough. It's interesting that such roughness adds some fake (or "perceptional") details and exaggerates texture. Not sure if this is intended or coincidentally happened.

    3. Sounds a smidge tinny and metallic. Kinda opposite to the way how BC transducers render. Some people probably hate this. I like it though.

    4. Bass extension is excellent. On par with the original elear. But without mid-bass humps of elear. Not as great as planars and estats, but very acceptable sub-bass given open-structure dynamic headphones. Semi-closed or closed back cans do have better bass with sacrificing openness.

    5. Delineates and reproduces everything fucking greatly across entire frequency region.. but quite artificially as if sound is moderately sharpened. This might be the biggest difference compared to more life-like detailed headphones (e.g. HD650).

    6. Overall sonic character is a mix of good traits of utopia and hd600. Replace last bit of refinement and elegance with fun and intimacy, then that's elex.

    7. Synergy with Lyr 3 is truly magical. Yes.. elex and lyr 3 sound as if they are voiced with each other from the development stage.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    rtaylor76, jam130, Golmang and 5 others like this.
  10. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,180
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    I could get a chance to 1:1 compare Utopia and Elex for hours, along with some other interesting gears.

    Gears used:
    • Headphones - Focal/MD Elex, Focal Utopia, Senn HD650
    • Amps - Woo WA5, Schiit Lyr 3
    • DACs - Chord Dave, Chord Qutest, RME ADI2 (all usb connected)

    Stream of conscious:

    1. With any combination of upstream gears, Utopia has more cohesive and smoother lower to mid trebles. Elex is brighter, but Utopia sounds colder by comparison.

    2. Utopia is more sensitive to which amps and/or dacs are used. While also scaled well, Elex seems to have stronger its own "ego". If scalability is modeled with a linear equation 'y=Ax+B' (y:sound quality, x:gear quality), I would like to describe
    • Utopia - higher A and nearly zero B
    • Elex - lower A and decent B
    In general, I found Dave was better than the other two in every aspect. And Qutest was also a bit better than ADI2. Utopia easily shows relative distances in very understandable ways. With Elex, the difference between Qutest and ADI2 was smaller as if they are in the same league. Maybe Elex was just right and Utopia might exaggerate.. but I dunno.

    3. Utopia bass is leaner but better controlled. Elex bass sounds a bit wooly and slow by comparison. I prefer Elex to Utopia when listening to "get lucky" (Daft Punk), but like Utopia over Elex for "Why so serious" (the first track of Dark Knight sound track album). Just want to make clear that both are wonderfully sounding dynamic headphones regarding bass reproductions.

    4. Midrange to lower treble was, surprisingly speaking, slightly better with Elex in terms of transient, attack, and decay expressions. Elex was cleaner and clearer by a small margin.. or at least it successfully pretended to do so. Maybe Utopia wanted a better amp to do this better than WA5 or Lyr 3.

    5. I do never think Elex is warm sounding, but don't want additional warmth, either. Cold nature of Utopia clearly favors warmth and meatier additions from WA5. In contrast, I prefer Lyr 3 to WA5 for Elex. End sound is more technical (particularly resolving microdynamics) with this combination.

    Comparing WA5+Utopia and Lyr3+Elex combinations is a matter of preference, mood, and/or fit. Beautiful and lush sounding vs Detailed and accurate reproductions.

    6. Briefly swapped pads, umm... just don't do that.

    7. It's very, very ironic that Elex's cable looks and feels way better than Utopia's one!!! (Elex cable is still stiffer than what I like though)​

    May report some additional thoughts later.

    P.S. Qutest was nice.. kinda "Dave Jr.".. and imo favorably compete against Gungnir Multibit (usb gen2). If it is priced at $1000 or so, it might be the most recommendable DS dac... But that asking price... doesn't make sense to me. Haha thanks Chord for saving my wallet!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
    rtaylor76, jam130, skullet and 5 others like this.
  11. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,180
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    Let me add several things.

    8. Elex treble sounds a bit metallic (not annoyingly to me though), which are often observed from speakers with metallic tweeters. Utopia also has this. Maybe it's a kind of focal's house sound (Had similar experience with solo 6 be speakers). Anyway, I hear less of such sound from Utopia than Elex.

    9. Utopia better resolves microdynamics and microdetails. But Elex is no slouch. Indeed they are much closer than I assumed, even fed by Dave. Midrange resolution is almost on par. Utopia slightly edges Elex in lower trebles. Delta is smaller than hd800-hd650 or sr009-lambda differences.

    10. Macrodynamics is very good with both. Utopia is smidge better in "actual" macrodynamics while Elex has better "perceived" macrodynamics (Elex's upper bass tonality magnifies dynamics). Again, the difference is smaller than expected.

    11. Headstage and imaging are where Elex shines over Utopia. Nothing wrong with Utopia imo, probably. Utopia just needs better amps to overcome weaker images and flatter stages. Elex achieves "holographic reproduction" fairly easily even with very affordable Lyr 3 - Great depth, decent width (I don't like overly wide headstages), and very strong center images.

    12. I conducted similar comparison (Elear vs Utopia) two years ago (upstream gears were different). My elear was totally beaten by Utopia in every criteria. So it's very unbelievable that earpads are the only difference b/w Elex and Elear. Suspect that there existed some secret revisions of the drivers.. Just my speculation.​

    ----
    Conclusion: At the end of the day, I got a feeling that WA5 is sub-optimal for Utopia regardless of its many good traits. It's interesting that I've never thought in such ways during my previous auditions.

    If Utopia is a perfectly dressed celeb lady with legendary beauty and difficult/strong personalities, Elex is a similar (but slightly inferior) looking, casually dressed girl with more cuteness and easygoingness. Are they the same person? Nope. Are they sisters? Maybe. Who will you (and I) go dating with? Probably a matter of wealth, willingness, and/or commitment.
     
    ColtMrFire, rtaylor76, jam130 and 9 others like this.
  12. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,180
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    Just a short report.

    Compared Elex and Clear one-on-one today. At least I couldn't distinguish material difference of ear pads of these headphones except color. Softness and physical texture were very slightly different but probably due to manufacturing variance or (material) aging difference. Also swapped pads, my ears couldn't catch any sonic difference between elex and eclair (elex with clear pads). Too subtle at best.

    Will post sonic impressions of Elex vs Clear later. But want to just say that Clear was really nice. The nicest tonality and refinement among all the focals (including Utopia).
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    jam130 and Golmang like this.
  13. sete

    sete Rando

    Executed
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
    Likes Received:
    3
    Dislikes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    New York
    I got the Elex and want to sell them.

    I know this is not the place, but It’ll take me a while to get the privileges to post in classifieds. Drop me a message if you’re interested. We can deal through eBay.
     
    luckybaer, spwath, dmckean44 and 5 others dislike this.
  14. jp11801

    jp11801 Rando

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    4
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    overall I am pretty impressed with these - they sound very similar to the Clears on a brief listen at a friends house. They do seem pretty picky regarding source. My Yggdrasil and TT are favored over the Sony 5400es. This is strange in that I never found the 5400 to sounds slightly congested on my speakers or other HPs.

    My thoughts tend to echo what I have heard here, they are super dynamic with a wet somewhat over saturated tone that is a lot of fun to listen to. These tonal quibbles don't interfere to the point where they sound fake (think ultrasone 9) on the contrary they sounds pretty accurate just slightly tipped up. Bass is outstanding in quantity and quality, some of the best bass texture I have heard recently (lcd-x, 800s, w3000, AD2000).

    Thinking of getting an aftermarket cable for no other reason than the stock one is too damn short.
     
    thoth likes this.
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    45,239
    Dislikes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    Sorry, I'm sure you are nice and all; but I need to ban you.
     
  16. brencho

    brencho Loves pumping iron (Moderator)

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    6,442
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    LA
    Weird, I compared the pads recently with @Bill-P and @Melvillian and they were def different. Clear suede was softer, more pliable and less wrinkly than the Elex material. Clear pads also felt a bit firmer and compressed less. That said, I prefer the Elex to the Clear but that's a personal preference (like hd600 and hd650).
     
    Melvillian, Jiko, Vtory and 1 other person like this.
  17. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,180
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    TX
    Haha my finger skin may not be sensitive enough to distinguish them (very likely).

    That being said, they were different. But I wasn't convinced that they were material-level different. My take was "(nearly) same material but with different history/wear/conditions". Mainly because my feeling was similar with when I compared old and new senn pads and dekoni pads of the same material.

    Anyway I am beginning to suspect I felt wrong. Maybe need to contact the clear owner (acquaintance IRL) again to give another shot.

    Off the topic, one thing I definitely like elex pads was that they are less subject to discoloration.. Easier management and longer-term maintenance are good to my liking. Regardless, a bit afraid that (at least currently) I have no way to purchase replacement elex pads...
     
  18. brencho

    brencho Loves pumping iron (Moderator)

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    6,442
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    LA
    Hey it's all good and perception is subjective haha. But our socal group here have seen 2 elex and 2 clear and it's pretty evident that the Elex pads feel a bit less soft and a bit more stiff/cardboardy, more like the elear pads of yore but perforated. Not saying that's what they are, but they don't feel like clear pads. They compress a lot more too. Definitely agree that the clear suede color choice was abysmal, my friend's pair are definitely discolored. I bet massdrop will make Elex pads available and dekoni appear to be making other pads to fit them as well,which could be interesting.

    Regardless, and this is what matters most, the Elex sound really good. They're my only headphone at the moment and I'm very happy with them. They're not as warm as the clear, and they're less aggro than the Utopia but with similar overall frequency response going from memory.

    PS: anyone have suggestions for good aftermarket cable? Kinda need a longer one and something less stiff would be cool...
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    westermac and FlySweep like this.
  19. Eindivere

    Eindivere Rando

    Joined:
    May 21, 2018
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Location:
    new york
    I really like the Elex, but the void/cavity in the middle bothers me from time to time, depending on the song.
    It's irregular compare to traditional headphones, think I'm still trying to get use to it.

    Is that cavity signature present on the Clear and Utopia as well?
     
  20. zonto

    zonto Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,011
    Dislikes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Eindivere likes this.

Share This Page