Focal Stellia Review and Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Jul 18, 2020.

  1. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    LMFAO! My mom never mentioned anything that would lead me to suspect I had a twin.

    I forgot to mention that the pins that connect the yokes to the cups on my unit have a bit too much "slop", so that if you squeeze the yoke when grabbing them to take them off or adjust the position on your head, it makes a creaking sound (I think it's the hole at the end of the yoke scraping against the pin). I wound several turns of waxed dental floss around the pin to take up some of the extra space, which has reduced the creaking, though it still occasionally makes noise when flexing ear/jaw muscles while listening. This is a minor annoyance and not worth dealing with warranty over. But it's interesting that my Clear seems to have tighter mechanical tolerance at half the price.
     
  2. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Forgot to mention I quickly upgraded the stock cable with a Draug 3SC (Ag/Cu). As you pointed out, Ag/Cu cables seem to perform the best with this headphone.
     
  3. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Does anyone find the headband/gimbals/cups on their Stellia are really creaky?
     
  4. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Of the 3 Focal's I have now, the Stellia creaks the least, the Clear is next, and the Utopia creaks like an old rocking chair out of a horror movie. However since they are quiet when just sitting on my head I don't mind. When I reach for them and are physically manipulating them (i.e. putting them on/taking them off, placing them from here to there, etc.) it is very noticeable. If I am laying in bed with them on and I shift around such that they are bein pushed around by the pillow, I sometimes can notice it. I don't think it means much or is an indicator of shoddy build quality or anything - it's just a result of the design and the metal/fiber/plastic doing its thing...that's what I tell myself anyways ;)
     
  5. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Edit: I'm an idiot ... totally forgot I'd already mentioned the creaking back in October ... o_O

    My Clear creaks a bit when picked up or handled, but make practically no noise when worn. Stellia makes a lot of noise when worn.
    This is when it's worse, but even if I arrange it so the cups aren't touching anything, small head/facial movements can cause creakage. It's not too bad if sitting up straight and not moving, but I still get the occasional creak if I adjust my head position.

    I first noticed it when grabbing the cups by squeezing the yokes just above the pins, so I thought that it was due to the pins on the Stellia being looser than on Clear. I tried winding some waxed dental floss around the pin between the yoke and cup to take up the slack, but this doesn't seem to help (much). I also tried spraying some silicone lubricant inside the headband mechanism as that's where a lot of the creaking seems to come from, but also with limited success.

    I almost want to try swapping the headbands, but that would likely require a full disassembly based on this.
    [​IMG]


    Oluv had different issues. Hopefully I don't have driver issues down the road ...
     
  6. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Mine creaks a bit, too, especially when lying down.

    I actually exchanged my original Clear as they were unacceptable in that regard!
     
  7. Nordpol Anton

    Nordpol Anton Rando

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    @Clemmaster a few posts back you mentioned that you EQ your Stellia.
    Would you mind sharing your settings or did you already post them anywhere? Thanks!
     
  8. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    I don't anymore.
    It was only necessary with amps with higher OI, like the ECP T4.

    I don't EQ with either the Bakoon HPA21, the Jot 2 or the Arche (Stellia setting).

    I don't have an easy way to share images, so I'll just share the Roon PEQ settings:
    1. Peak/Dip 64Hz -3dB Q 1.0
    2. Peak/Dip 387Hz 3.9dB Q 1.0
    3. Peak/Dip 1001Hz 1.5dB Q 1.0
    4. Peak/Dip 2501Hz -0.3dB Q 1.0
    5. Peak/Dip 5969Hz 3.1dB Q 1.0
    I originally did it on the fly on the Kann Cube (graphics equalizer), hence why it's all Q 1.0.
    Band 1 can be adjusted depending on your seal. With time the seal loosened a bit so I no longer use -3dB but just 0 dB.
     
  9. Nordpol Anton

    Nordpol Anton Rando

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    Thanks for sharing and taking your time. I have the LPGT ti and have a Romi Audio (BX-1) amp on between the source and the headphones. Tried other EQ settings before (crinacle´s etc.) but always came back to turning the EQ off again. So I will try yours and then decide which way to go. Probably turning off again after a couple of days ;-)
     
  10. pedalhead

    pedalhead Friend

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    I'd love to hear your thoughts on preference of source/amp for the Stellia from your line-up please. I've got a Stellia arriving next week & have the chance to get an Arche for 25% off (sadly I missed the really good deal they were offering through December). Still feels like a lot of dosh for what kinda feels like a "lifestyle" product (the Arche that is). Cheers.
     
  11. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Unlike the Elear, and more like the Clear the Stellia does not need EQ to my ears. Since it arrived a few weeks back I have used the Stellia with two sources, my main rig (Pi2AES > Gung MB A2 > DNA Starlett > Stellia) and an Shanling M6 Pro DAP. Despite these chains being quite different in character/ability, the Stellia sounds like itself though it reveals the source quality well. With a low nominal impedance of 32, if you source output impedance is greater than 3 or so then you will get a bass/low mid boast that you might want to EQ down, or maybe not if your a basshead...
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  12. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Because seal is critical with the Stellia, I think people will get widely different experiences based on their head morphology (more so than is typical with headphones).
     
  13. Nordpol Anton

    Nordpol Anton Rando

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  14. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Say more, why did you sell them? I have a set of Dekoni's on my Clear (hybrid elites if memory serves) . I like how they give my ears a little more space as they don't 'squish' as much as stock pads. They do tilt the FR a tad more to "warm", but nothing drastic and I like it.
     
  15. Nordpol Anton

    Nordpol Anton Rando

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    For starters there is a bit less bass. Which might not be a bad thing, depending on seal etc. But I happen to like a good fundament (also I have glasses, which I don’t like to take off all the time). Then you have a tiny bit less mids. I don’t know, I just felt that there is something missing at maybe 2k or so. And then the treble seems to be lifted somewhere, so the hi-hats are very pronounced, which might be a good thing when only listening to EDM, but they also make the treble a bit off with every other genre.
    I didn’t hear a better soundstage either. The only thing that really can be good is that bigger ears do have more space inside the cups. Oh, and the pads are a bit stiffer than the stock pads too. Of course they do not cost as much as new stock pads so they might be a good alternative when the pockets are not as deep as one wishes for.
     
  16. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    I just threw on my Dekoni hybrid elites on the Stellia and gave it a listen. Sort of like plugging the Stellia into a higher Z source. Bass was boosted up, and it bled into the mids a bit. Upper mids seemed a bit more restrained, and some treble 'sparkle' went missing. Stage got a little more intimate, but otherwise was present (in the usual Focal way). These changes were not drastic, but were noticeable and overall I prefer the SQ of the stock pads. However there was more space for my big old ears so they were more comfortable in the end.
     
  17. Nordpol Anton

    Nordpol Anton Rando

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    If you need more Space without changing too much of the frequency response of the Stellia, give the Dekoni Stellia pads a chance.
     
  18. 3X0

    3X0 Friend

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    I'm late to the Stellia bandwagon but I was looking at some disassembly images of the Elegia on reddit and followed murmurs through the internet (at least some of which might have been whispered from @dleblanc343 I think?) and did this:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Those are Stellia drivers in the Radiance.

    After a short love affair with the SR1a and the harrowing realization that my current living situation no longer permits open-back headphones (or rather, at no point when I couldn't use speakers anyway), I found some comfort in the performance and qualities of the Stellia.

    Like others, I was frustrated with the temperamental fit and not completely enthused by the headband's insatiable thirst for skin oils, nor the Stellia's general poopy trypophobia-inducing aesthetic.

    So after some light reading to confirm it was an easy job, I grabbed a Radiance and popped the Stellia drivers into them in just a few minutes. Unlike the open-back Focals, the driver units in the closed-back models seem to be hot-swappable with minimal effort and no soldering.

    The Radiance fit appears to play better with my glasses. The Stellias sounded awful with my head shape and glasses (hollow with a cave effect, which seems to be the general symptom of poor fit), but the drivers in the Radiance seem hardly phased by even the boxiest of my frames. I'm not sure whether this is attributable to the Radiance earpads, so I'll have to do some more pad-rolling to check.

    Less importantly, I'm a little bit more appreciative of the Radiance's general aesthetic (Bentley logos aside) and no longer have to care about some exotic aniline leather continually picking up muck from my hair or skin.

    I've read some reports of the Radiance housing being slightly different from that of the Stellia (e.g. with less porting and supposedly better mitigation of internal reverb) but didn't really get a good comparative look behind the drivers during the swap. Post-swap sounds great though, with slightly tighter bass and airier treble than what I recalled from the stock Stellia while maintaining the same internal resolution and macrodynamic capability.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2022
  19. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    I did some preliminary searching but couldn't find anything, other than posts of people's failed Focals :confused:
    Do you have any links?

    Does the driver come out by just removing the 3 torx screws on the outside?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2022
  20. 3X0

    3X0 Friend

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    Whoops, forgot the link. The most reassuring post came from a Redditor who swapped a HiFiMan headband into an Elegia: https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/p2l2tf/creation_of_the_focalman_elegidara/

    The Stellia and Radiance (and Celestee) earcups are constructed in the same way.
    (Note that the pictures below are after the Radiance drivers were already transplanted into the Stellias; the Stellia Beryllium drivers are a milky white).

    [​IMG]
    After pulling off the earpads, you unscrew the six torx screws offset from the earpad mounting points.

    You can then just tilt the earcup down and the earpad mounting plate / front baffle will pop off.

    [​IMG]

    In my case, my Stellias were used enough that the driver unit was "stuck" to the earpad mounting plate by pressure only (not pictured above since this was pre-swap). It's not actually physically attached to the mounting plate or rear baffle so you have to be a little careful with it; I gently removed it by the edges.

    The driver units are neatly contained and are electrically coupled using two contact pins that are in each earcup (more visible in the Reddit post). After a swap, you can just screw the earcup mounting plate back in which secures the driver unit and provides sufficient pressure to the electrical contact pins.

    In my case, the only snafu I had was almost touching/pressing on the Beryllium dome (RIP) when attempting to handle the driver unit given the limited non-driver surface area, but fortunately I caught myself before even laying a finger to the dome.

    The swap is so easy that I wonder if Focal would sell Stellia driver units independently given the abundance of $300 Elegias and $600 Celestees...

    BTW, I don't think the Radiance drivers in the Stellia are bad either as a warm "fun" headphone -- it might be an interesting upgrade pick from e.g. a ZMF Atticus. I'll try to get some ears-on (EARS on?) for both swapped headphones the next time there's an SF Bay Area meet.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 13, 2022

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