Oct 13, 2018341 views

Focal Elegia Impressions (to be updated as I break them in)

About an hour ago I received the Focal Elegia (newest model from Focal).
Unboxing: elegant and functional. Nothing over the top. Very easy to unbox. No fussing with unnecessary wrappers or zip ties.
Contents: gorgeous carrying case, headphones, unbalanced cable and adapter.
Aesthetics: they look fantastic and just as pictured in marketing material.
Comfort: so far they fit me very well (and I have a large noggin and ears). No discomfort to speak of.
Earcups: there's confusion out there what material are the earcups made out of. I'm going to say they are a polymer, not metal. If you flick it gently the sound is that of a hard polymer, not the 'ting' or resonance metals have.
Sound: I test new headphones w/o any EQ or sound modification of any type and with the same playlist of lossless songs downloaded via Deezer. I'll be A/B testing with AQ NIghtOwl which as of this writing are my BFF cans.
1 hour mark: sound stage and dynamic range are amazing. They are fast w/o being aggressive. They are not a clinical, flat sound, but they are truthful. I don't sense any part of FR being pumped or recessed.
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Ashit Modi, Manbear, and 5 others
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The dynamics and detail retrieval of these cans is off the charts. It's something really amazing.
Alright, just got the replacement Elegia! Man, did I miss this cans. I think that's how I realized I was going to keep them: sending them for replacement and just wanted to have them back on my head. They're just so clear and pleasant I don't mind I have to burn these ones in again!
My Elegia came in today, just what I remembered from RMAF so far. Seem to be well-balanced drivers (at least for my ears). My only complaint so far is that the cable _really_ should be 2 meters instead of 1. I had to move my AMP closer to my chair, and even still it feels constraining.
Only have had ~30 minutes of break-in on them so far - listening to some of my favorite tracks. Planning on gaming with these tonight and seeing if they are as good for gaming as I had hoped.
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I'll have to give that a try. I have the Elex and some Dekoni Hybrids but wanted to get used to the stock sound first before pad rolling.
It'll make the bass even weaker, if that's what you're looking for.
Vendor provided RMA and shipping label very quickly. Headphones were shipped yesterday. Hoping to get my replacements next week (stock permitting).
How's the isolation of the Nightowl vs Elegia?
Mkoll
NightOwl isolates way better. My guess is the earpads are softer and mold to the skull better than Focal's. To be clear, I wouldn't fault the Elegia, because there are pluses to the firmer earpads.
Day 2, after lunch: restested for driver matching because it was really bugging me and again found the drivers of my Elegia cans aren't well matched at all (I for one am expecting $900 cans to be almost identically matched). Contacted vendor to get a new copy -- this will take a few weeks, I bet (sad trombone). Hoping the vendor will replace them fast, though.
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For sure. This is why I compared the same test with my other cans, while my ears can be uneven FR, they should be uneven at the same frequency for all 3 (that I tested).
rdodev
Right, it's good you have a reference. I drove myself crazy with my first pair of cans. Recently got to test out some high quality sources and I seriously need an upgrade lol
Lunch time, day 2: nothing new to report. Headphones doing very well and have take a bit of vim from the Feliks Echo.
First hour, day 2: after A/B with the NightOwl a few songs, I realized they are just too different to draw any meaningful comparisons. So what I did is to move from the Schiit Magni 3 to the Feliks Echo (tube amp). Wow, huge difference. It makes these cans much funner and sound beefier.
rdodev
I had the same conclusion myself. Out of my Fiio A5 or iFi nano BL, they seemed more mid centric and bass light. I've been listening all morning out of my CTH and they have much tighter, impactful bass. I'm really enjoying them so far with their level of detail and clarity. I don't think they have a huge sound stage but they come off as very 3D/holographic. It's a nice effect that does make them sound larger sonically.
And we're off to the races today. In the morning I'm going to focus on direct A/B between the Elagia and the NightOwl. Will post first update of the day in an hour or so.
rdodev
Just A/B listening to Nos Annees 90's "Ne me quitte pas" was very revealing to me. Simply put, the NightOwl are much more warmer, musical and melodic that the Elegia.
Alright, ~8 hours in. Likely last update of the day. I've spent the last couple of hours playing Tycho and other such ambient/electronic music while doing some good ol' Saturday night work (because that's how adults like to party, right?)
I want to say so far I'm impressed, but I'm not "blown away" yet. I want to think it's because the NightOwl has set the bar very high for all other headphones.
Took quick break from music and moved to a more analytical (but not scientific tests). Went to https://www.audiocheck.net/soundtests_headphones.php and checked Frequency Response, Dynamic Range and Driver Matching tests. In terms of FR both the NightOwl and Elegia performed equally well with the the NightOwl perhaps having the "smoother" tonality. Dynamic Range was nearly identical on both the NightOwl and Elegia. Channel matching, however, was a bit scary: in both the Elegia and Night owl I sensed the tone moving off-center and wobbled as the frequency increased, but the Elegia felt slightly more pronounced. Is it my ears lol?
4 hour mark: due to house chores and errands, I left unattended for nearly 2 hours. Came back to Parcels' Hideout. Love this track to test my cans because of dynamic range, speed and cleanliness required to make it sound great. This song sounds fairly veiled and somewhat muddled on the HD 6XX. It sounds fantastic on the NightOwl, just a few notches bassier than the Elegia.
2 hour mark: had to run an errand so left them playing unattended at about 9 o'clock volume for about 50 minutes. Came back to Noah And The Whale's 5 Years Time followed by Yael Naim's New Soul. Both were insultingly good sounding in these cans.