Focal Stellia Closed-Back Headphones - Official Thread

Verite Open are worthy of consideration. Stellia are awesome, even straight out of my Mac.

After having spent the last 3 months or so pretty much listening to my VC’s exclusively I revisited my Stellia and Arche combo last night and was reminded why I love that setup. The Stellia sounds great driven by pretty much everything but when coupled with the Arche it really takes them to another level in regards to musicality. I just sat and enjoyed the music for hours and instead of spending time track hopping and thinking how they sounded, I listened blissfully. After that experience I won’t be taking such an extended hiatus from the Stellia again any time in the near future.


I wonder what’s the merit of having both a VC and a Stellia. I would think that I only would stick to one of them, but maybe I’m wrong.

My top two most listened to headphones right now are VC and Stellia lol… love them both and they both do different things for me… VC is wider and punchier with that ZMF magic… Stellia is warmer and more intimate


100% agree with this statement, that holographic sensation with the VC, especially with the Pendant is pure magic. Both are absolutely outstanding and to my ears are widely different in their presentation. Very happy to have both and neither are leaving my den any time in the foreseeable future.

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@Chrono - I just wanted to say thanks for your great review and in particular for your parametric EQ settings.

I bought my Stellia about a year ago and had found it mostly great but sometimes a bit harsh/fatiguing in the upper-midrange or lower treble on some material.

A few weeks ago I set up an EQ profile in Roon using your settings ( the version in your EQ profile compilation, Chrono's EQ Profile Compilation ), and the fatigue factor is now completely gone, without losing any of the detail retrieval or other characteristics that make the Stellia so enjoyable.


Doing a live stream comparing Stellia to the Verite Closed


I am sorry to not have the time to watch the whole video (3 kids, you know, I am happy to have time to listen to a bit music in the evening). So can you please sum up the pros and cons and to which conclusion you came? I personally have found that the Stellia greatly benefits from an upgrade cable (in my case OCC pure silver). Anyways, looking forward to reading your thoughts.

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TLDR: I prefer the VC, but the Stellia has better technical performance, it’s faster and has better detail and separation. But, the VC has the better “transport you into a place”, staging and the dimensional 3D magic lol. Stellia is more “intimate”, VC is more transcendent.


Here is my dumb question of the day:

What open backs at the same price and below (rules out utopia!) compete with the stellia?

The stellia sounds basically perfect for my goals ( @PaisleyUnderground you are absolutely correct ) with one caveat: there is a very good chance that these won’t be isolating enough for my situation. Isolating, for me, is sitting listening to music without disturbing my wife sitting nearby.

Since her crazy ears are bothered by other sealed closed backs (lcd-xc and ath-wp900 sometimes), I can’t imagine these will be better unless I naturally want to listen at a lower volume. (I did on the wp900, hence the sometimes)

If these, as closed backs, don’t solve that problem, I can get anything I want for the day and just use the Zen (or any IEM) at night.

Or is the stellia simply the end game for its type of sound signature?


Soooo … I picked up a SPL Phonitor E recently, and it’s like the sound from the Stellias has gone up another notch or three. I honestly wasn’t expecting a huge change from my THX789 (and tbh I haven’t done a direct comparison yet - maybe this weekend) but I’m having a lot more “wow” moments than I remember having with the THX amp. Hey @Torq, thanks for costing me another big chunk of change (and a BUNCH of desk space - this thing is huge) :grin:


Just be glad I didn’t have time to list all my gear for sale prior to moving! :wink:

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Oh, I’m pretty sure FedEx will ship :innocent:

Oh they will … they will …

But I find the added incentive of getting it same-day, for $200 less, makes things much harder resist than having to deal with shipping.


I’ve definitely proved that point for you :smiley: Hope the move isn’t too hellish.


I found them very isolating even at higher than normal listening levels. I don’t have the link on-hand but I remember seeing a review before buying the Stellia where someone did test sound leakage in an anechoic chamber and it ranked amongst the best in preventing unwanted noise.

I will try to find the article :+1:

Edit: I originally returned the Stellia due to my big ears not fitting. Tried out some new Dekoni pads with my Elegia that are almost identical in size to the Stellia and they now fit like a dream. Might be selling some gear and picking the Stellia back up soon as I truly miss how good they were all-around.


Hello everyone! Please help me. 2 months ago I bought Denon 7200 and astell&kern kann alpha. Mostly I listening deep house music. I expected from this combination something much better and because I didn’t like the bass quality in music I will give that denon to my young brother as a present. So the question is, what are the best top headphones to listen mostly deep house music? I plan listen music on my astell&kern kann alpha. Guy from the shop highly advised Focal Stelia. Is this combination is really good or I need to buy something else? Thanks in advance for any support

Not for this type of music!

This is more your problem, Astell & Kern has a “brighter” sound signature due to its built-in chipsets, which is excellent for acoustic, finer audiophile sound illumination. But not so good for powerful, dynamic bass emphasis. Here I would rather recommend an amplifier from ifi Audio, preferably with a switchable xBass function, the chipsets of which are designed to be a bit “darker” and therefore a bit warmer in the sound.

Denon’s biocellulose drivers are usually very good and powerful in the bass reproduction, most likely these headphones are not the problem in your sound chain.

I have just tried your preferred music (deep house music) with the pairing I recommended, and the bass sounds really good.


Many thanks for detailed answer. After research i think i will go for Focal Radiance. From my understanding they are very good for my type of music and there is no point to pay double price for benefits which are not suitable for me. What do you think?

@worten777 Did you buy the astell&kern kann alpha because you want to listen to music on the go, or are you listening at your desk?

What @Lothar_Wolf is trying to tell you is that the alpha isn’t suited to house music, so no matter which headphone you get, you may not be happy. Given that you probably can’t return the alpha, he’s suggesting buying an external amp for the alpha before buying new headphones.

If you absolutely need your audio gear to be portable, then there are various portable amp options from ifi, the smallest being the hip-dac. If you’re going to be sitting down while listening, then you can get something less portable. Schiit and ifi have a ton of options, depending on your budget.

Once you start using the amp in addition to your alpha, you might find that your Denon headphones were perfect after all. If not, you can come back for more advice.

I actually own (and love) a pair of Stellias, and although I’m not familiar with deep house, they do sound great with electronic, bass heavy music. But they are extremely expensive, and probably overkill for what you need. If the Denons don’t work out, then the Focal Radiance or the cheaper Celestee would be options. Many members here would recommend that you look into iems instead, because at that $1000-1500 price, you can get very high quality iems.