Focal Elear Best $1,000 Headphones?
As Moon-Audio.com’s founder, I’m often asked an impossible question - what is the best headphones for a $XXXX price. Headphones are like art. What excites, inspires, and thrills our ears may not be what someone else would select, glorify or buy. Hearing is subjective.
An important caveat stated headphone greatness exists and Focal Elear headphones are great. My Focal Elear headphones review shares how we define headphone greatness.
I wrote this Elear headphones review to provide a peek inside our evaluation process. We want to explain why the French speaker company Focal’s Elear and Utopia headphones are game changers.
Focal Elear Headphones & Musical Emotion
I can be overly analytic when listening to new audio gear. After hearing thousands of headphones, DACs, DAPs, Amps and audio cables it is hard to stop my engineer brain.
Analytical listening isn’t the musical experience sought. Music is an emotional experience. It should sweep our hearts and minds away moving us into a dream where music, musician, and our ears connect.
Finding gear capable of experiencing those musical emotions is difficult. Making it easy to find, buy and hack high-end audio gear is another reason we started Moon-Audio.com.
Chord’s Mojo Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) create a magical musical mystery tour. Focal’s Elear and Utopia headphones are insanely great audio gear, gear capable of sweeping ears, hearts, and minds into a dream where it rains all the time but you never get wet.
Focal Elear and the Headphones Market
Any audio gear between ears and music may influence, change, and color the sound. You may hear the equipment instead of the music.
As an engineer who may create new audio cables, I look for sound “markers”. Sound markers define a piece of equipment’s “sound signature.” Choices in design, materials and desired outcome create “sound signatures”.
The headphones market is divided. “Big” or “Sales First” brands such as Bose and Beats focus on marketing, not R&D. Fidelity to the sound of an original studio recording is less important than sales. Audiophiles want to let the music be, to hear the original studio recording.
“Sales first” brands, sometimes called “low-fi” or “mid-fi,” value sales over sound fidelity. They may spend $100 on marketing for every $1 in product development. Sales first headphones WANT to color, change and influence music because doing so supports their marketing.
Headphones with distinct “sound signatures” are easier to market, package, and sell. Marketing the ABSENCE of something is more difficult. The search for “audio purity” isn’t important for all buyers.
Neither audio gear purists nor “sales first” brands are right or wrong. People buy headphones for many reasons. If everyone on your campus has a pair of Beats and you want to join them buy Beats.
At Moon-Audio.com we are headphone agnostics. I founded the company after making audio cables friends loved enough to share with their buddies. Our Silver and Black Dragon audio cables and other headphones hacks help cans from Beats to Focal Utopia sound better.
Focal Elear and Headphone Emotions
Focal Elear headphones create emotional listening experiences. The Elear sounds tight, detailed and yet flowing and big. I find Elear’s vocals, while not as smooth, soothing, and astonishing as Utopia, very close to what I expect from a studio recording. I listened to Elear before hearing Focal’s Utopia headphones.
I know and love the female jazz singer Patricia Barber’s voice, intonation, and timber well. Patricia is my go to artist when testing vocals. Barber’s vocals on Smashas alluring as ever. Instrument separation is clear and concise. Piano decay sounds like a smooth stream of water.
Focal Elear Headphones Value
Prepared for Focal Elear’s headphone magic to fade with a high price I asked Focal’s Sales Manager Sanjay how much their new cans cost. “What,” I said with mouth open and surprised fully expressed. To say Focal Elear headphones are an enormous value at $995 having a gift for understatement.
Focal Elear build quality is what we expect from cans in the $2,000+ range. Several headphones costing more than two grand must improve build and sound quality to be close to Focal Elear headpones. Look for price reductions as many high-end headphones scramble to keep up with Focal’s new performance and quality standards.
Focal Elear and Utopia Headphones Dragon Audio Cables
Like fly fishermen “matching the hatch” or selecting lures consistent with what trout or salmon eat we make Dragon audio cables matched to sound signatures from the best headphones in the world.
We recommend our Silver Dragon V3 audio cable for Focal Elear headphones. The Sliver Dragon V3 audio cable helps bring the top end resolution, layers, and sound in line with Focal Utopia with factory cables.
First full range loudspeakers in an fully open back headphone