Well, I can tell you that I VASTLY prefer the Utopia over the Elear, so there goes that …
Nothing I could do to the Elear, be it custom EQ, True-Fi, swapping pads, makes it as good, let alone preferable. No doubt some people prefer it, but I’m not one of them … and that’s coming from a place where I have owned ALL of Focal’s headphones at the same time.
Literally the only reason I kept the Elear after the Clear was released, was because I wanted, for some bizarre reason, to have the whole set, together, for direct comparison. And I only bought it in the first place because it was an “open-box” unit on sale for $549.
Based on either owning or listening to the entire Focal line-up I personally would rank them as such from least preferred to most preferred:
To note I’ve owned all but the Stellia and Utopia. But, I’ve listened to both of those fairly extensively, at least for me to get an idea where they fall for me, but, not enough to give a proper review/impression of them.
Also, of the ones I’ve owned, I only still own the Elegia! It is in my opinion tragically underrated by people, I assume this is due to the Reddit crowd pooping on it with out actually either hearing it, or only listening to it for a very short period of time.
That’d be the same order I’d rank them in, both technically and for enjoyability (assuming no pad swapping was going on).
Though I never cared for the feel of the pads, nor the aesthetic, of the Elex (my picture, shows my preferred aesthetics here, from least favorite on the left, to favorite on the right).
I think the Elegia, which is probably the closest-to-actual-neutral closed-back you can buy, suffers because in general people (or whatever the closest facsimile is on Reddit) seem to associate closed-back with loadsabass … and they don’t get that with the Elegia.
How does the sound compare between the Elear rolled with Clear pads vs the Elegia? @TylersEclectic
I’m not @TylersEclectic … and I’m much too lazy to write up a comparison right now, but if you want to compare the frequency responses of every Focal headphone/pad combination, I have a thread for that here.
What Torq has highlighted is the jump off point for where I would begin researching the difference. Also, I think Torq nails it on the head regarding why people(or the Reddit inquisitioners) dislike the Elegia, it is a neutral headphone with more in common with the Clears than the Elears.
Thanks Ian! I wondered because I have been listening more and more to closed back cans out of necessity lately and my Elear’s don’t see much use because of that. I have been enjoying the Aeon2C quite a bit. When I do listen to open cans I find myself going back to the Ananda’s or 6XX for whatever reason vs the Elear’s with the clear pads. So I wondered if swapping them could be a good move to still get that Focal sound signature but a closed version, to prevent sound bleed and waking up my daughter or bothering my wife in the same room. I wondered how much the stage and imaging suffered as I’m not really big into measurements yet.
That might be enjoyable, but then again that could also mean very little bass. I will look at the sound measurements. I really need to just get the loaner pair and give them a listen.
I highly enjoy them as a go to closed, but yeah they can be a bit bass lite. But not unenjoyable
Yeah I need to listen to them, only way to really know. Do you experience any ear fatigue with them from them being closed back? Or do you find them fatiguing for longer listening sessions? Sometimes the Elear can be a bit fatiguing to me.
Back to the topic this is why I just don’t see a perceived end game for me, as I just haven’t heard enough headphones yet!
I have actually not had fatigue with them that I can recall, and I’ve listened to them for extended periods of time for multiple days in a row(at work).
I’m at my perceived endgame at this point, only thing I see now are niche or sidegrades to my home setup… or portable setups that can get me as close to my at home setup as possible…?
Yeah, you have great kit! I think the biggest thing I didn’t realize was when I started was how important having A couple good closed back options would be vs. having several open back options. With having my daughters room right next to my home office even with open backs she can sometimes hear them and I don’t want to disturb her when she sleeps. Still learning exactly what my listening needs are.
Friends don’t let friends r/headphones.
so good to see, it is also others.
Thank you buddy!!
the Reddit inquisitioners
While I appreciate Reddit (and Discord) for different reasons those two places are, to an extent, subject to a bit of group-think and hidebound by a certain orthodoxy of viewpoints. I appreciate this forum (and Head Fi for that matter) because there seems to be a wider range of acceptable opinion and people are freer to like what they like without having to justify it to, as you say, an inquisition.
I will not use the term “End Game”, I will use “I am done spending money for now”,
Portable: Hiby R6 Pro, Tin T2, Tin T3, BGVP DM6
Desktop: RME ADI 2 DAC, Cayin HA-300
Headphones: HD800s, ZMF Aeolus, Hifiman XX, 58X Jubilees, K7XX
2 Channel: Matrix Audio Element X, Crown XLS 2502, Magnepan 3.7
I think that’s the truth. End game doesn’t exist. It’d be like saying I’ve had the best pizza and I will only eat that pizza for the rest of my life. But we all like variety.
Or as my friend in sales says:
“It’s a good thing that there are so many kinds of single malt. Otherwise, someone could try them all and say, ‘Well that’s whisky done. Now to find the perfect root beer’”