It’s not every day you get to throw a set of $4,499.00 headphones on your noggin. But this week our Dictator Trevor Long let me take home for the night the Focal Stellia set on loan to us. These are closed-back style headphones that essentially cram in every possible piece of sound technology to produce the ultimate sound.
But before I go on, even just the box that these cans come in must we worth a quid. Focal use full-grain leather that also extends to the outside of the packaging. There’s a slim leather wallet inside that holds the various instruction manuals and a beautiful separate felt-lined centre opening box to hold the included cables.
But of course, I’m tipping you want to hear about the sound that something this lavish can produce. Let me point out I’m certainly no audiophile, but I’d like to think given what we do here at EFTM and 16 years in radio I do know a thing or two about headphones.
Put simply the sound is spine chilling, no other brand has been able to actually give me goose bumps like the Stellia did. Now admittedly we didn’t have a DAC or FLAC player to really get a true pure sound output. So I relied on my iPhone and the highest Birate songs I could find on Spotify.
Initially when I threw them on and started listening to a few tracks I was left impressed but wondering if the price is really reasonable. But wow, the more and more I changed genres I gradually started to become acutely aware of the sheer brilliance being sent into my ear canal.
I’ve never sat down and listened to song after song for more than an hour before. But as each track passed I became addicted to the crystal clear, natural and beautiful sound reproduction. Each song became a new journey, I could identify every instrument and understand every vocal. It was Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” that led to an overwhelming rush of chills. That song takes you on a dramatic and angry ride about a lost love, but never before have I felt and heard the raw emotion that Morissette wanted you to hear.
The tech inside the cups is next level, the frequency response ranges from 5Hz – 40kHz. Inside are drivers that feature a 100 per cent copper voice coil and an M-shapped Beryllium dome. The Stellia’s offers extremely low impedance at 35 which basically gives the headphones the ability to drive through the output of any mobile audio source.
The Stellia’s are ultra comfortable despite their size. The cups are padded with the finest leather that given its natural characteristics makes each set unique.
The cables included are 1 x 4ft OFC AWG cable with 3.5mm jack, 1 x 10ft OFC 24 AWG cable with 4-pin XLR and 1x jack adapter with 3.5mm female and 6.35mm.
Even though Focal claim these can be worn anywhere you’d really have to be quite mad to risk walking around with that amount of gash sitting on your head. I think they’re better suited to some rich bloke sitting back his library, sipping on cognac.
It was a sheer privilege to have the opportunity to try these, but all good things must come to end. Although if you’re reading this Focal, I’m more than happy to do a much longer term review, like, forever. I wish.
Chris is EFTM’s Motoring Editor, driving everything from your entry level hatch to the latest Luxury cars through to the Rolls Royce.
He has been in the media for 20 years, produced three Olympic games broadcasts, attending Beijing 2008 & London 2012.
Strangely he owns a Toyota Camry Hybrid, he defiantly rejects the knockers.
Chris is married to Gillian and resides in Sydney’s North West. They have Sam the English Springer Spaniel and Felix the Burmese cat to keep them company, and recently welcomed baby Henry to the family.