Focal Celestee - Closed-Back Headphones - Official Discussion Thread

Off topic (feel free to move)…

I once had a surreal music experience when riding in a car with work colleagues at a midwestern location. Some achy breaky tear in my beer and my dog died on the big rock candy mountain country something-or-other came on radio and they said “Turn It Up.” They sang along.

I paused mentally. Wow…the other half does live differently. That happens to me with instantly forgettable Top 40 flavor of the day stuff too. Grasshopper: there are still many different flavors of “not you” music to be discovered. Seize the day and find them all!

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With the disclaimer that I am far from an expert, I will report that I just auditioned both the Aeon 2 Closed and the Celestee, and for me it wasn’t even close. The Aeons are great but the Celestees just blew me away.

For me, the Aeon 2s were remote and dry, albeit very detailed. By comparison, the Celestees are immediate, compelling but not over aggressive. Not a booming bass but it has a more than sufficient bass presence.

The soundstage is wide (particularly for a closed-back set), and the detail and clarity is really breathtaking.

To use a metaphor that makes sense for me but may be impenetrable to you - the Aeon 2 sound was like a matte finish while the Celestee was glossy. That doesn’t do justice to the presentation of the Celestees but hopefully gives you a sense of their relative approaches.

If I hadn’t heard the Celestees, I’d be delighted with the Aeon 2s, but…I heard the Celestees and I’m keeping them, very happily.

Just wondering if anyone has a balanced cable alternative they can recommend. Thanks!

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Hi and welcome @Sturosen. This is a great Writeup/Comparison piece.

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I’m a little curious where and how you bought the Focal Celestee and were able to test it?

Because officially, these headphones will not be available for sale at retailers (at least here in Germany) until April 15th.

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Great writing.
Célestee has a SQ that is a good example of Focal tuning and is a very pleasing headphone.
I’ve had the opportunity of listening to it and I really enjoyed.
Given it’s a dynamic driver headphone it benefits of a great sense of impact and clarity.
Due to mobility reasons I picked up a pair of Aeon Noire.
I have to say that the veil that you perceived with the A2C is highly attenuated by the perforated pads on the Noire.
Anyway the Celestee remains a punchier, more defined headphone and I hope I’ll have the chance to add it to my collection.
Enjoy.

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They were available for a couple of days on Crutchfield online. I had set up an alert for,when they came in stock and was as shocked as you that they were suddenly available weeks early. They are no longer available, though.

Further to my new Celestee headphones, here’s a weird, weird question. In registering the product with Focal, I realized that my serial number (put aside the preceding letters) is 00001. Is it remotely possible that I got the first serial-numbered set? Or is the variable for Focal in the letters that precede the numbers?

I thought I was lucky in getting these so early - now I’m trying to figure out just how lucky I was!

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Do you know good old Tyll Hertens? He always recommended NOT buying headphones from the first batch but to wait a bit until the production is run in. But hey, I also probably bought from the first Stellia batch so f*** it :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Focal owners - any opinions on (a) whether I’d benefit from getting a third-party cable (for length and quality) and (b) any particular recommendations? I see the general 3rd-party cable thread, but if Focal owners have a specific opinion, I’d be very interested to hear. Thanks!

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A lot of Focal owners do go for 3rd-party cables. Not for sound upgrades though, just strictly for ergonomics where it makes sense. Corpse Cables makes some reasonably priced alternatives as well as Periapt cables.

If you’ve got time on your hands, building your own cable can be pretty fun as well and since the Celestee just have a regular 3.5mm connection, pretty cheap to get the parts together.

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@Sturosen , I don’t know how the Celestee cables are, but the Stellia cables were stiff as ski poles and very microphonic, which is why I replaced them. As @taronlissimore said, many Focal owners have replaced the stock cables for ergonomic reasons.

Where are you based? Personally, I don’t see the point in shipping cables from another country when you can probably get something made locally. If you’re in the US, these are the cables I’ve bought and liked:

Hart Audio. Cheap modular system with lots of custom options, from connectors to colors. Good quality, good value for money.
Corpse cable. Fairly cheap, good quality. If you just want black, these are probably the ones to get. I got their premium grave digger cables, which use Cardas wire.
Arctic cable. Range from cheap to very expensive, depending on what kind of wire you want. Well made, very good customer service. This is where the “bling factor” starts. I got OCC copper.
Double helix. Very expensive. Very bling. I bought some OCC silver cables in a Black Friday sale, and their sale price was actually cheaper than everyone else for OCC silver.

I’m not making any claims for better sound, but all the above are very well made, very flexible, with no microphonics.

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Fantastic recommendations. I’m in the US so these are real options. Appreciate the response.

LQI Cables are the best value and quality for custom cables I have found. I have them for my HD800S and my Stellia. In one word ‘Luxurious’. Custom made to order. Each time I received mine in under 10 days total.

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I got two Arctic cables for my Focals, the basic models. They’re high quality, very pliable (a big requirement for me), and reasonably priced. Both my 10 footers were under $150 out the door.

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I am also using Arctic Cables for my Stellia. BIG recommendation! Their Signum+ Series are pricey (although for pure silver cables reasonably priced compared to other companies) but they are worth every cent IMO.

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I second Periapt cables as well. Not microphonic and seem very well built. My XLR’s had to be straightened a bit into shape though.

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I used to be a big cable guy until about Y2K. AC power cables, Speaker cable, XLR interconnects don’t show much difference, but RCA interconnects and headphone cables do. I avoid RCAs by going all XLR.

Headphones show because the detail on good ones is as good as $7k or better speakers.

My go to cables are “Custom Cans” from the UK. Shipping, taxex, and cables for a 2 metre set is about $125, time ~ 20 days to East Coast. Use them on the HD-600 and HE-6se very well. Also use Black Dragons on my HE-500 (bought used, too expensive used) and they are very nice, just nuts pricing. Also have silver cables by Ted on my HEX v2, way better than stock (why does HFM all have junk cables and crummy pads?)

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I can attest to a very good experience with Hart Cables. Really like the modular system they offer and they “sound” great to me, not microphonic, not too stiff, very good value, etc. Full disclosure, these are the only aftermarket cables I have bought, but have been happy with them on my Elegias. Want to try them out with some new Celestee headphones some day.

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Recently bought the Audeze Penrose when my old gaming cans finally broke down. This was my first purchase of a quality gaming headphone and it obv blew me away.

Now, the Penrose sits at ~300 bucks, will this ~$1000 Celestee headset (in Norway) blow my mind in a similar fashion as when I first tried my Penrose, considering I am new to the world of kindasorta high end headphones?

I realize that this is a somewhat silly question, I’m mostly looking for answers like “ohyeah, buybuybuy” or “nah, don’t bother” :slight_smile:

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Oh yeah, buybuybuy!

I can only tell you that the sound quality on this was so far and away better than several comparably-priced headphones, that I was immediately sold (and it hasn’t even burned in yet). I’m also new to this higher-priced world, so take the fact into account that I’m not yet audiophile-level discerning, but to me, this is the most vital, immediate, subtle, compelling set of headphones I’ve heard.

Like I said, buybuybuy…

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