To get the bass and mids where I like, the 1990s pierce in the treble region and I can do about 2 songs before I'm done. The song is chock full of guitar fills and licks that accompany the rhythm guitar, and the Elear’s fast and full midrange makes it certain that the arrival of such an event is presented realistically – with the picking and strumming ringing out clearly and standing apart from the rest of what is going on in the song. Like I would be willing to bet that if you blindfolded someone and made them listen to Elex vs Clear at intervals of hours apart, they would fail. 3 years ago His reviews are pretty good (though I always prefer a written review). It is more detailed, has a much bigger soundstage, better imaging, and offers a much more natural and cohesive sound. The instrument that stands out the most on the Elear is the piano, particularly a grand piano. I’m a lucky guy; I’ve heard almost all of the best headphones currently on the market, but I wasn’t expecting something in that league from Focal. Great review. This is not to say that the Elear is turning around the mixing and mastering (particularly the chosen volume of different instruments) process and brickwalling each instrument to a point where there is no dynamic range in a song. But I think HE-500 is the better all around headphone compared to Elear. I think Elear is even more aggressive and fun vs Clear and Elex. i love the bass on HE-6. Treble is where these headphones take different approaches. It also feels more comfortable to me due to the suspension band system and pleather pads. Cymbals sound accurate without demanding listener attention by drowning anything else out. As Axl Rose’s voice croons over the instrumentation, I can’t help but be surprised by how each track is not overshadows by anything else. Press J to jump to the feed. Can be a little harsh for some songs because it is a neutral-bright sound signature. I could continue with examples, but I’m sure you get the point. Regardless, I'll explain it a bit here for you or anyone else reading that isn't familiar so you understand the context of that comment. Focal cans, while flat(ish) compared to the LCD line, are pretty fun to listen to from my experience. This is not true except for bass performance. This makes LCD2C’s upper mids feel more refined and cohesive with its sound signature. Can see why it was brought down to half its original price. i just popped the ear pad off mine. I would love to hear your comments after your length of ownership of the elear/elex how the clear compares and why someone would want to have the clears instead in your opinion, or even why they would not. Take the introduction to the Dark Side of the Moon album by Pink Floyd; a track known as Speak to Me. If you are treble sensitive at all Elear might be one you need to audition first to be safe. Elear has some of the most macrodynamic3 bass response I have ever heard. I find that more pop/electronic genres can sound good if bass and mid treble are particularly emphasized. The earpads are memory foam and not a struggle to wear or tame. Even though LCD2C’s upper mids are recessed, it does so in a very smooth and linear slope and not like the cliff in Elear. Transient response4 is excellent and bass never feels overly bloomy5 or bloated. Also, I used be more active here and posted reviews in the past (DT880, DT1990, LCD-2F, Auteur, Cascade), but life got in the way more recently and I'm slowly getting back to writing and sharing here. But because of that upper mid suckout some tracks will end up feeling like something is off. And that Elear+Utopia pad deal is really solid and I can see why a lot of people are jumping on that. I have read tons of comments you have given on so many forums as i have read probably a hundred pages on the elear, elex, and clear. See footnotes for a sample of songs I use in my testing playlist. That should tell you where my biases lie, with more musical listening experiences rather than neutrality or super-high resolution. between the two with the Clear being the more firm of the two. I had no idea this is related to a "hole" in the 3-6 kHz range. A place for discussion, news, reviews and DIY projects related to portable audio, headphones, headphone amplifiers and DACs. Is that the 2016 one? Any $1,000 headphone needs to do something really, really well. Its tonal balance isn’t even enough to be neutral and reference level. However, stick on Elex pads and I think that combo beats out LCD2C. Tyll's review and the beginning of the Elear controversy happened about 3 years ago now, I'm not sure if you were around the headphone community back then. That is really just a throwback comment for the older members in the community. Shortly before attending the London Can Jam in August, the hype regarding the new Focal Utopia ($4000) and Elear ($1000) had reached a fever pitch – so much so that I put it high on my list of items to try out. That’s all fine and good, but it isn’t what I’m about at all. I heard the Elear at CanJam earlier this year. The HD800 has crisper presentation of orchestral strings for sure. Haha yeah it is kind of a weird headphone stand. I actually posted about that experience here a while ago. I can never just forget the headphone is on my head. but your site in my top 3 (other than head-fi) i loved how you compared it to HE-6. It is just this oddball headphone that didn't make sense. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts, RME/887/ZDT Jr>Auteur/Atticus/HD800(SDR)/Elex/LCD2C/Verum1/HD6XX, Benchmark DAC3 HGC | Audeze LCD-4 | DT-1990, AirPods Max|LCD-500|Ananda|HD800|HD6XX|"Elex"|SR-404. The latest of these headphones, and among the more expensive, are the Focal Elear … So I know Focal Elear isn't exactly new or exciting these days and this is a "late" review. But this also makes Elear a more fatiguing listen too, both from its bass weight and treble brightness. I use a mix of FLAC and Spotify premium streaming for testing. Anyways, hope this doesnt come off as as a nitpicky question goblin, i am happy to hear any comments and seek knowledge i can bring into my headphone understanding (combining subjective and objective data over time) more than buyer debate if that makes sense. It's sturdy and without microphonics, just over-the-top. The indecision is tearing me apart. Sennheiser HD650: When Elear first came out it was touted as being a true upgrade to HD650. It also makes it easier to EQ and compensate. After nearly two months, I am ready to publish my findings. Keep in mind that the Omni held this position before Focal released this beast of a headphone. Guitars and male vocals fall into this area and are presented supremely, with body and texture that are quite natural in their presentation. Though I do sometimes have to write reviews with limited time particularly if reviewing for a company or a loaner, but that is not ideal. Bass: Bass is probably the standout feature of Elear. With Elex pads, Elear evens out in tonal balance which puts it closer to HD650, but it still has much more treble energy for better or worse. An average dude like me doesn’t subscribe to the marketing practice of being sold a lifestyle rather than a product - and I would find all that luxury-positioning pointless if the sound quality was average-at-best. Turns out that so did everybody else. I think it can work for people that particularly listen at low volume levels or for people that already have a good reference headphone and just want a second headphone for a very dynamic and fun sound for genres that aren’t heavily mid focused. This is one of the several characteristics of the headphone that would disqualify it from being called “neutral” or from being used in a recording studio for mixing music – with the trade-off being that it makes the chorus of The Hills by The Weeknd sound so full and present. Yes, the weight. 454k members in the headphones community. However, it is further on in the frequency chart that the Elear redeems this fact. Exactly what i want to read from what humans should care about. Yes, this has something to do with the narrower soundstage on the Elear than the HD800 – but that doesn’t excuse just how much more noticeable each instrument is as the album carries on. This also really makes timbre feel off if you listen to a lot of natural instruments like violins, pianos, acoustic guitar, etc. Frankly, we wouldn’t have been surprised to see a price tag twice the size on these over-ears. Every week I debate on whether selling my Audeze LCD 2.2 fazor and getting this. But the mids of HD650 are far superior to Elear. Comparison: Focal Elear vs. Sennheiser HD800/Hifiman HE-500/ZMF Omni|1 - I know that the Elear’s sonic characteristics may be a deal-breaker for some, especially the small soundstage and the fact that the imaging is nothing special. The attack is quite sharp with quick decay. Video Review Introduction: God, this hype. HE-500 is big and clunky, tank-like, and looks more dated these days. REVIEW – When I was given the chance to review Focal’s new Elegia headphone, my first thought was to compare it to the slightly more expensive Elear headphone I … The problem is that while it does raise the volume level of those frequencies, it doesn’t really fix the feeling that it is hazy and lifeless. The Elear is an open-back , over-ear headphone. But on a positive note it is what lead me to audeze for my endgame headphones. It sounds closer to neutral and more refined. Dynamics and fast transients are awesome. The headphone needs to be returned. But when going to higher volumes the mid suckout becomes much more apparent and at those levels the bass starts to overwhelm the mids and starts to feel overly warm and bloated. at least that is how i perceive it. Though I don't agree 100% with everything you've said here, thanks for the really good review, I've been loving the Elear. Putting Elex pads on Elear accomplishes the same thing. I listen to a broad range of music and I tend to own many headphones that specialize in certain things to fit my preferences rather than go for single all rounder headphones that don’t stand out in anything. Sennheiser HD800: These headphones are incredibly different. Now I have tried using EQ on Elear and I can definitely use it to help bring the upper mids more forward. Focal is a French loudspeaker manufacturer that is well attuned to the developing trends in personal audio, and is this summer introducing two blockbuster pairs of headphones: the $999 Elear … John Mayer Trio, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Tom Misch, Gary Clark Jr, Devon Gilfillian). Over the last few weeks, we’ve been checking out some of Focal’s best and most impressive headphones, including the much-loved Focal Utopia headphones, the closed-back Focal Stellia headphones, and the slightly more affordable Focal Clear headphones.Now, we’re taking a look at a pair of headphones that are even more affordable — the Focal Elegia headphones. So now that I have owned Elear for 1.5 years I wanted to share my thoughts. lol. This could affect your total cost for HE-500. At lower volume levels even though the mid suckout becomes less prominent as the bass and treble are reduced comparatively. Today’s review focuses on the home area, where we will dive into the middle of three models in the series, the Focal Elear. If you truly are happy with your Elear+Utopia pad combo I wouldn't drive yourself crazy wondering about Elex or Clear. I spoke with Nicolas Debard at the London Can Jam in August and he told me that the Utopia and Elear were created with their in-house construction of an “M-shaped dome.” This was done in order to maintain the usage of electrodynamic drivers while offering an experience that is similar to speakers. Focal Elegia ($899usd) vs Focal Elear (now $700-750ish): As stated elsewhere, I rather enjoy pulling the Elear out for a run to clear my thoughts between reviews. I can definitely see why people would prefer Elear over Clear. HD800 is far more balanced and clean sounding. In fact, I think HE-500 is a pretty good example of a planar version of Elear+Elex pads (or just Elex). They are very well-built and very comfortable for long listening sessions thanks to well-padded ear cups and headband. However, though TH-X00 mids are clean and clear, they are overshadowed by the bass and feel less forward in the mix. Focal Clear review: One of the finest headphones money can buy (and you'll need lots of it) Once you hear Focal's Clear, you won't be able to go back to your old headphones. However, you mentioned fatigue, and if fatigue is an issue than there are plenty of other cans out there that aren't as forward in treble. This would make for an interesting experience with the HD800 sometimes, where a drum beat’s cymbal pattern would land squarely on the frequency chart of the headphones that emphasized treble – leading it to sound a great deal more pronounced than, I would imagine, even the personnel in the mixing room at the time of recording intended. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, Comparisons to similarly priced or cheaper headphones. This week is no different, even with my wife in labor. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but as I said earlier – I found the Elear to look more distinguished than the Utopia even. I think because of the upper mids suckout it can feel like mid treble is more energetic and forward. The Focal Elegia are above-average critical listening headphones. Since these are at similar price points I think LCD2C wins out all around, except that Elear’s sound is much more lively and exciting, which I often find more engaging compared to LCD2C’s more relaxed and laid back style. 1990s are what made me realize i'm treble sensitive. Last summer, a high-end speaker company out of France shocked the audiophile world with two of the best pairs of high-end headphones, the $1,000 Focal Elear and $4,000 Focal … The Focal Elear are kind of the “entry-level” models (yes, the others are even more expensive than around $1,600.) On the other hand, the Aeon Flow (it is more fun than the Ether tho) is one of the most unexciting headphones I've heard, though it is extremely accurate. I don't feel the need to disassemble mine. Essentially, these are the closed-back version of the Utopias. The Focal Clear headphones are unmistakably Focal. I don't find Elear to sound all that different on the various solid states so my impressions are consistent with any of those sources. It shares a lot of the technology found in the Focal Utopia , which many people consider to be the very best headphone in the world today. One of the unusual design elements of Focal loudspeakers is the frequent use of “inverted dome” tweeters, in which the dome tweeter is concave outwards rather than the more usual convex outwards. It, along with the clamp, does not add pressure to the point of discomfort or pain – far from it in fact. Elear has more air and separation up top with a brighter overall sound. I even did some back-to-back listening with Elear (stock pads), Clear, and Utopia. But bass on Elear is more dynamic and hits harder than LCD2C. Focal has knocked it out of the park here! Very, very dynamic. Elear is the oddball out that makes no sense and didn't live up to what he wrote about it. The Elear has a rather “full” sound to it, and this fact has a lot to do with the bass extension and performance. Bon Iver, Lake Street Dive, Ray LaMontagne, Ben Howard, James Vincent McMorrow, Shakey Graves), and blues/jazz/R&B rock (e.g. Again, I'm not saying Elear isn't enjoyable and I'm not crapping on people that own the headphone, I have owned it myself for nearly 2 years now, probably longer than most. Thanks! Luckily, Focal backs up their image with ample substance. LCD2C is gently rolled and much more laid back, not too dissimilar from HD650 in this regard. I have the same experience with them too, but couldn't explain it so clearly. Yet, clearly spending $1,000 on a pair of headphones isn’t for everyone. This cable is 13ft/4m and shielded so thick you would think the answers to the meaning of life are hidden within. They are the closed-back variant of the similarly designed Focal Elear.These premium headphones are very comfortable for long listening sessions and have a great build quality thanks to a metal frame and a detachable cable. Everyone was saying Elear was going to be the "HD650 killer" and then Tyll put it on the wall of fame and hype grew even more. Questions like: Do the clears handle volume better? I sold the Utopia pads so I no longer have them. Overall, I really like the look and build of all the Focal headphones and think they look quite distinct. Audeze LCD2C: This is a very interesting comparison because like Elear, LCD2C also has excellent bass as well as recessed upper mids. Build: Elear is made from metal for the most part and has a very premium look and feel to it. There’s more to it than that, but I’ll let the man explain himself. Then again, I do like a huge soundstage with a nice holographic sound... Do you know how the cups detach from the headband? i don’t mind more impact ofc. The upper-treble clarity on the Elear leads to all the aforementioned detail coming out in songs, such as the realistic twang of Slash’s lead guitar work in Patience. I'm in the same boat as you and the only thing keeping me from doing so is the dip in the upper midrange. Not only is the upper mid problem taken care of but it does it while feeling more clear, smoother, and more refined. I love the way the elear sounds with utopia pads (from everything i read the clear/elex/utopia pad changes are much closer than different) but have been eternally stuck on wondering on how the clear compares. It really is a pretty headphone, and looks even better in person. When you take the headphones out of the box, you’ll immediately be dazzled with the metallic look and great feel. However, I didn't get a chance to compare directly to Elex or to Elear with Elex or Utopia pads. The soundstage of the Elear is quite intimate, especially for an open headphone. HE-500 mids are quite nice, more forward, and smoothly transition to treble. I like the air and positioning of the 800S, but sometimes feel they lack a bit of body. My music preferences are broad and I try to incorporate a bit of everything, but currently I listen to mostly indie pop/rock (e.g. You've gained a follower. Fostex TH-X00/EMU Teak: This is a semi-open headphone not trying to be neutral. And Elear+Elex pads is still a much more dynamic and aggressive presentation compared to HD650. It still feels a bit muffled and not as clean as I want. Many thanks! While the Stellia’s 40mm Beryllium dome drive unit is heavily based on that used by the older model, the closed design means that Focal’s engineers have had to rework it considerably. It has much more sub-bass and mid-bass than Elear. Far from it, song dynamics are well presented – you just have to get used to how it’s done. I actually preferred the Elear to the Clear, haven't had a chance to check out the Elex. And they don’t just look expensive, they feel it too. i love the sparkly treble as well. :). HD650’s bass is not well extended and the slower decay makes it feel much more wooly in comparison. I would classify those headphones as having a more linear presentation to them. It is fast, very fast – and more than likely to surprise you at first until you are used to it. Glad you enjoyed the review. Cymbal crashes are snappy and sizzle. Overall thoughts: I think Elear is almost a great headphone, but it is just a bit wonky. Completely agree with your viewpoint. Treble: Treble is actually very clean and clear with really great transient response. Focal Elear open-back wired headphones reviewExcellent sound qualityBeautiful designA little heavy9Overall ScoreSound9Design9.5Comfort8.5Value9We review a ton of consumer-focused headphones here at Headphone Review, but every now and then we get access to something truly special. The cherry Omni was of a very similar weight, but the nature of the T50RP frame made it awkward to fit on my head comparatively – even with the ZMF pilot pad. I found that, with most headphones, I would find that a certain instrument or vocal in the mix was most pronounced – with the rest of the mix falling behind to give that particular melody space to carry the song overall. I still don’t think Elear gets anywhere near Beyerdynamic levels of treble though. Mids: As I said before, lower mids are a fairly warm and nicely emphasized1. The reason for the Elear’s incredibly fast ascent into the audiophile headphone firmament is clear: we think its easily the best value to be found right now in high-end headphones. Elear is 1k usd don't pay more than that. The Focal Elear open-back dynamic headphone was officially released in late 2016 and remains in high demand and limited availability as they slowly trickle out of Focal’s St Etienne France manufacturing facility.. I actually posted about that experience here a while ago. Source gear: RME ADI-2 DAC -> RME's built-in amp/Magni 3/SPL Phonitor XE -> Elear. It just isn't wall of fame worthy and I never understood its inclusion. Their open design makes them a poor choice for any other use cases as they don’t block any ambient noise and don't have a microphone or wireless technology. A song like Patience by Guns N’ Roses, with its layering of acoustic guitars, brings out the strength of the dynamics, midrange tone and detail of the Elear. About me: I've been in this hobby for a while now and I have at least auditioned most mid-fi and TOTL headphones and own quite a few too. When I had them side-by-side, you can definitely feel a difference in firmness/“compressability”(?) I agree with there being a difference between Elex and Clear pads. It is just about right to me. All joking aside, the weight distribution on this headphone is such that allows for this. What the Elear does in this song is take every sample and bring it up close and personal to the listener in a manner that would be undoubtedly more strikingly noticeable than on many other headphones in this price range. Elear looks and feels like a proper 1000$ headphone. I keep reading a lot of conflicting notes, but love hearing personal experiences regardless. But I have a slightly small head that is just a bit pointy at the top so I get a hotspot on the top of my head during extended listening. Did some A-B testing on them with my Elex. The presentation box is impeccable and so is the build quality of the headphone. The lower midrange of the Elear is quite a delight. I saw a post on the front page of r/headphones today of someone who bought an inexpensive aftermarket cable. There is a hole in the 3-6 kHz range that does some weird stuff. Over $1k for a headphone wasn't nearly as common as it is today. What the Elear does instead is reproduce sound in what seems like batches, with each second of listening presenting a number of sounds in equal measure. That’s to say, while they have a number of different design elements than other Focal headphones, including color offerings, they carry that classic Focal headphones look, the beautiful mesh grills on each ear cup, and so on. Pleather pads weighs 450g and that is really just a throwback comment for Elear! Agency sent us the Focal headphones and think they look quite distinct of. 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