Focal has risen to the top of the audiophile market with its three high-end open-back headphones: the Elear, the Clear and the mother of all cans, the Utopia. Known for their huge soundstage, ridiculous detail and superb transient response, no other headphone comes close to Focal’s performance. But closed-back they have yet to conquer…Until now. Can the Elegia live up Focal’s now famous sound signature? Let’s find out in this Focal Elegia Headphones Review.
Focal Elegia Headphones Review
The fit is the same as Focal’s open-back headphones. You’ve got a classic round or oval shape around the ears. The fit feels secure and well-balanced on the head. And though it looks like a really solid design, it’s a relatively light headphone compared to something like the Audeze LCD series.
One thing that sets Focal’s open-backs apart from the rest is their full-range speaker drivers. Anyone who has listened to them knows that feeling of being surrounded by acoustic speakers. Now, Focal has integrated this technology into its closed-back design, apparently without compromising the detail in the low frequencies. And their exclusive and low compliance electrodynamic transducers are designed to work effectively in a limited inner environment without trading off their amazing dynamics and extended frequency response of 23kHz. The now famous “M” shape dome is also employed in the Elegia’s design. The build is light and maintains the great damping and high rigidity that characterizes all their high performance cans.
The Impedance on the Elegia is pretty low, at 35 Ohms. So, any tiny amp can drive these cans.
Overall Impressions: Clean, well-separated, a little light on the lows.
I expected the Elegia sound a little bassier and warmer than the Clear because of its closed-back design. But the lows on the Elegia are just as conservative, if not more so. I was hoping for just a bit more punch and richness. Still, it sounds super clean in a way that you would expect from a Focal headphone, and the lows are well separated from the higher frequencies.
A nicely present midrange for the most part. However, I was missing the meat of the lower mids when listening to rock songs. But playing some folk, I heard more of that close-back warmth I was looking for. And combining this quality with the Elegia’s fantastic definition and clarity, you get a sound that feels both, neat and emotive. Acoustic guitar notes convey great separation and detail, and percussion feels spotless and snappy.
Listening to the highs, you can sense the more insulated sound of the closed-back design. Vocals are a little less airy and high percussion notes convey less sparkle. And while the upper-registers sound smooth, the Elegia is less transparent than the open-back Clear, for example. You get slightly less texture when listening to strings, and less breathiness from brass instruments. Listening to piano, the highest notes seem to hit a ceiling where they would otherwise float on an open-back model.
The soundstage is grand, and it even comes close Focal’s open-back models. Perhaps it doesn’t offer the same same extent of multidimensionality as the open-back, but instrument placement sounds precise and the spaciousness is impressive for a closed-back design.
Focal has done a great job at retaining their sound signature in a closed-back design. So, if you’re worried about losing too much soundstage or separation, don’t. There’s no mistaking the Elegia for any brand other than Focal.
You can find these cans for the best price at:
Audio 46: Focal Elegia
Amazon: Focal Elegia Audiophile Circum-Aural Closed-Back Over-Ear Headphones – Black/Silver
Impedance: 35 Ohms
Sensitivity: 105 dB
Frequency Response: 5 – 23,000 Hz
Speaker Driver: 40mm M-shape Magnesium Dome
Cable Length: 1.2m