Focal Stellia review: The most exquisite headphone we’ve reviewed to date

    French high-end model Focal is comparatively new to the headphone sport—its first mannequin was launched in 2012—however the firm has greater than 40 years of expertise designing audiophile audio system and drivers, so it’s no shock that Focal headphones are among the many most extremely regarded on the earth. TechHive has reviewed two—the Clear and the Elegia—deeming each to be distinctive, although not cheap by any means.

    The newest addition to Focal’s secure of headphones is the Stellia. Given what I’ve heard from the corporate’s headphones up to now, I used to be keen to provide this one an extended hear—and I used to be not disenchanted!

    This evaluate is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best headphones, the place you’ll discover opinions of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it’s best to think about when buying.


    The Focal Stellia is a circumaural (around-the-ear) closed-back design that connects to the supply system with precise wires—no Bluetooth right here! In truth, the Stellia comes with two hefty cables: a 3-meter (10-foot) cable with XLR connector supposed for house use with an amplifier such because the Focal Arche (evaluate forthcoming) and a 1.2-meter (3-foot) cable with a 3.5 mm connector for cellular gadgets. Also included is a 1/4-inch adaptor that screws onto the 3.5mm plug, which is safer than a snap-on design. At first, I assumed the XLR cable facilitated a balanced connection, however it doesn’t; the connectors for every earpiece have solely two conductors (sign and floor), so the connection just isn’t balanced.


    The headband and earpiece yoke mechanisms are derived from Focal’s Utopia headphone, and so they contribute to the Stellia’s excessive consolation issue.

    The headband and earpiece yoke mechanisms are derived from the corporate’s Utopia headphone, a flagship, open-back mannequin launched in 2016. The constant curve between these components is claimed to supply superior consolation whatever the form and measurement of the listener’s head. In addition, the earpads encompass high-resilience reminiscence foam that, together with the headscarf, is roofed with full-grain leather-based.

    Of course, the earcups are designed for greater than consolation; they supply wonderful isolation from ambient sound and an acoustic surroundings particularly designed for the full-range drivers. In truth, the earcups embody two vents: one to manage the steadiness between the bass and midrange and the opposite to evacuate the rear wave from the middle of the motor to keep away from compression and prolong the low-frequency response—in different phrases, this can be a bass-reflex headphone! At the opposite finish of the sonic spectrum, EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam behind the drivers absorbs extra high-frequency power. Finally, acoustic diffusers break up any standing waves and make the earcups extra inflexible and inert.

    focal stellia exploded Focal

    The earcup and driver are fastidiously designed to ship superb sound high quality.

    The full-range drivers themselves are equally well-designed. The 40mm diaphragm is a pure-beryllium dome with very low mass, excessive rigidity, and excessive damping. The cross part of the diaphragm resembles the letter “M,” which is claimed to supply even increased rigidity for extra precision and fewer distortion. Also, the Focal-exclusive frameless pure-copper voice coil reduces the mass even additional. The result’s a frequency response from 5Hz to 40kHz (±3 dB) with a THD of 0.1% @ 1 kHz/100 dB SPL and a sensitivity of 106 dB SPL/1 mW @ 1 kHz. The impedance is 35 ohms, making the Stellia comparatively straightforward to drive.

    I don’t usually touch upon a product’s packaging, however I’ll on this case—it’s as high-end because the Stellia itself. A big, sturdy field contains the headphone in its inflexible, woven-cover case together with separate case for the cables. Even the documentation, sparse as it’s, is available in its personal leather-based folder.

    focal stellia packaging Vendor-provided artwork.

    The Stellia’s packaging is sort of spectacular.


    At first, I couldn’t discover any indication of which sides of the Stellia are left and proper, however I lastly discovered small labels on the underside of every earcup close to the cable connector. The cables for either side are marked as properly.

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