Focal Elegia Closed-Back Headphones
Introducing Elegia, the first closed-back headphone from Focal. Featuring a driver with a copper voice coil and a dedicated surround, the Elegia provides an intimate sound bubble of absolute sound, even in a noisy environment.
AN EXCLUSIVE SPEAKER DRIVER
Whether it’s the motor, the voice coil, the surround or the dome, Focal has once again chosen skilfully created, cutting-edge technologies, developed and assembled in its own workshops to put the very best into these innovative circum-aural closed-back headphones.
Elegia incorporates a new generation of exclusive and low compliance electrodynamic transducers, capable of operating in a small inner environment, whilst ensuring exceptional dynamics, a linear, extended frequency response of 23 kHz and the most precise sound reproduction. Just like the construction of the Elear, Clear and Utopia speaker drivers, Elegia is fitted with a dedicated surround, this time of 110 microns: the geometry of this new, half-roll NBR surround guarantees a lightweight moving part that is always under control, even at the lowest frequencies and the highest volumes.
The frameless copper voice coil (exclusive to Focal), measuring 4 mm high, is also very lightweight in relation to the traction capacity of the moving part: as such, the signal is reproduced perfectly.
Finally, exceptional headphones deserve an exceptional dome. The M-shaped inverted dome, a major innovation in open-back headphones, is also used for Elegia. Made from an aluminum/magnesium alloy, this dome offers an ideal combination of lightness, high rigidity, and excellent damping. Its "M"-shape gives it a larger emissive surface area for a sensational listening experience. Finally, when combined with portable source equipment, Elegia guarantees remarkable listening quality thanks to its low impedance of just 35 Ohms. This promotes mobility, without scrimping on technological performance.
HIGH-PERFORMANCE AND POWER
By integrating speaker drivers into closed-back headphones, Focal has written a new chapter in its history. Manufactured in our workshops, Elegia is a mass of brilliant, in-house and French-made technology, dedicated to sound and music lovers.
A new generation of exclusive, full-range speaker drivers, an “M”-shape inverted dome, a frameless copper voice coil...: every component has undergone cutting-edge research and been meticulously considered. The sound reproduction is precise, and the power is certainly not lacking: Elegia is incredibly high-performing when connected to portable audio players.
A PERFECTLY SOUNDPROOFED BUBBLE
The closed-back Elegia headphones allow music lovers to listen to their favourite tracks in total privacy, without disturbing the person next to them, but also to experience sound fully, without the surrounding hustle and bustle hampering this moment of pleasure.
No resonance, no unwanted sound signals: Elegia’s soundproofing is perfect. An achievement made possible by our engineers’ meticulous research on the vents and microfibre earpads.
COMFORT AND STYLE
At Focal, every acoustic solution has its own history and unique style. A thought-out signature, choice design and materials which enhance sound and imbue the products with elegance and comfort. Elegia is no exception to the rule.
The shape of the headband, the yoke’s ergonomics and the memory foam microfibre earpads make these headphones incredibly comfortable. And their elegance is not to be understated either: noble materials such as leather, solid aluminium and microfibre finish off these benchmark closed-back headphones to a tee.
Front Baffle Design
The stereophonic image is one of the most critical points when it comes to headphones. Indeed, its reproduction is much easier through a pair of speakers, since this exercise is mainly to define the correct spacing between the left and right speakers, determine the listening position and to adjust the orientation of the speakers. Traditionally, the principle of the equilateral triangle is a good place to start.
However, this is much more complex when it comes to approaching this point when designing headphones, as the distance between the right and left speakers is far more critical than the distance of the speakers in relation to the ears.
To promote the best possible stereo image, Focal has developed a single front speaker to position the speakers as far forward as possible from the listening position. The limit here is not to have too much space between the speakers and the ears to ensure the best dynamics and an ideal tonal balance on the entire audio spectrum.
Speaker Driver Design
The first task in designing a closed-back headphone was to define a new generation of transducer. It had to be capable of operating at a low volume while maintaining exceptional dynamics, delivering an extremely extended frequency response, and reproducing the subtlest sound details. Thanks to the knowledge acquired while designing Utopia, Focal made significant progress in simultaneously managing the bass level and its degree of control.
The Elegia utilizes a dedicated surround, constructed in the same way as the Elear, Clear and Utopia speaker drivers. It is constructed from the same material at a thickness of 110 microns. The geometry of this new half-roll NBR surround was the subject of an extremely detailed study on how to gain optimum control of the moving part, even at the lowest frequencies and loudest volumes.
The need for more magnetic flux for increased speaker driver control led to the design of a brand new copper wire, working inside a very high-performance N50 grade neodymium motor. The magnetic damping curve highlights the significant advantages inherent in this perfectly formed relationship.
The very low QES provides excellent electrical damping, over the entire travel of the moving part. The signal is, therefore, reproduced without additions, losses and any dynamic compression across the entire spectrum.
The aluminum-magnesium alloy dome used for Elegia uses the same materials and geometry as those developed for the Clear headphones. It offers an ideal combination of lightness, high rigidity, and excellent damping. As such, the dome still works by piston-effect and is free from mechanical distortion. The M-shape of the dome permits a larger emissive surface area, enabling even greater maximum SPL. At the same time, this choice results in the ideal coil positioning for optimum mechanical coupling.
In short, the moving part is always under control and has maximum acceleration capacity, key to reproducing subtle sound details. The filtering carried out downstream will be decidedly minimal, favoring a dynamic and highly accurate reproduction of the original audio signal. Developing the transducer in this way provides an extended frequency response of 23 kHz.
The ear cup features a vent inside the logo with a specially designed geometry to prevent any phenomena of dynamic compression and turbulence inside it. The progressive design enables dissipation of the lowest frequencies without disruption.
higher frequencies, these are absorbed through an EVA foam pad inside the ear cup, behind the speaker driver. Finally, acoustic diffusers fitted inside the ear cup break-up the standing waves and spread the residual energy homogeneously through the overall space.
The Elegia earpad provides excellent soundproofing against the external environment, whilst benefiting from an excellent ratio between damping and diffusion, all within a tiny listening space. Although the microfibre earpads are the same as those on the Clear headphones, Elegia’s are unperforated, which provides better soundproofing. This generates extreme performance with the most direct radiation possible from the speaker driver to the ear, without the usual artifices (foam around the transducer, etc.), for optimal dynamics and sound whose naturalness is noticeable from the very first seconds of listening.
by Mark Sparrow
by Tomasz Karasiński
by Theo Nicolakis
by Rafe Arnott
by Frank Iacone
- 1 hard-shell carrying case: 10" x 9" x 5" (250mm x 240mm x 120mm)
- 1 four-feet (1.2m) OFC 24 AWG cable with asymmetrical 3.5mm TRS Jack connector
- 3.5mm female Jack adaptor - 6.35mm male
- High-end closed-back headphones for home and on-the-go use
- Exclusive full-range speaker drivers with an M-shaped aluminum/magnesium dome (patent pending)
- Incredible tonal balance, reproduction of the tiniest sound details at both very high and very low frequencies
- Excellent performance when connected to a portable audiophile player
- Very good ambient noise soundproofing
- Comfortable and ergonomic
- Perforated microfiber leather headband
- Solid aluminum yoke which molds to head
- 1.57" (40mm) M-shape aluminum/magnesium dome with full-range speaker driver
- Very low impedance (35ohms) to ensure uncompromising use with portable audio players
- 0.14" (3.5mm) jack sockets with locking mechanism
- .79" (20mm) memory foam earpad covered with microfiber fabric
- 0.14" (3.5mm) stereo jack plug and .014" (3.5mm) to 0.25" (6.35mm) jack adapter provided
- Circum-aural closed back headphones
- 35 Ohms
- 105 dB SPL / 1 mW @ 1kHz
- 0.1% @ 1kHz / 100 dB SPL
- Frequency Response
- 5 Hz-23kHz
- Speaker Driver
- 1.57" (40mm) M-shape Aluminum/Magnesium dome
- 0.95 lbs (430 g)
- Provided Cable
- 3.94 feet (1.2m) asymmetric cable (0.14" - 3.5mm TRS jack)
0.14" (3.5mm) to 0.25" (6.35mm) stereo jack adapter
Focal Elegia to the rescue. After extended listening to Focal Elegia powered by my Chord Hugo, using my iPad streaming Tidal, and with Silver Dragon cables Focal's new headphones sound great. Soundstage and instrument separation is excellent. Elegia’s warmth and low-end is spectacular.
I listened to Speaking In Tongues by Talking Heads, Bright Sized Life by Pat Metheny, and Clean by Soccer Mommy. Sophie Allison’s voice provided the most dramatic Elegia demonstration. Allison’s voice is quiet, refined, and whispy. Soccer Mommy’s expert band can overwhelm tossing Allison’s vocals to the wind. Not so much when listening with Elegia + Silver Dragon + Hugo.
Hearing Allison’s breath as she breaks “park” into two syllables on Scorpio Rising is worth the price of admission. Hearing Julian Powell’s fingers slide to the next chord is a huge bonus. Warming Talking Heads art school funk was priceless and hearing Jaco Pastorius’ base as if he was playing next to me cemented Elegia’s sound, reputation, and inspiration.
Does Elegia sound as symphonic as Utopia equipped with Black Dragon cables? No, but these are the best closed-back headphones I’ve heard and they cost a couple grand less than Utopia. If I was in an airport I’d want Elegia. If I had the means, at home I’d listen to Utopia.
Read my October 2018 Elegia review on Moon Audio's blog for more about how Talking Heads, Pat Metheny, and Soccer Mommy sounded in Focal's newest headphones.