Focal Stellia Closed-Back Headphones - Official Thread


I’m beginning to feel like I’ve smacked a hornet’s nest …not wandered down a rabbit hole!

Just to clear things up a bit yet again: I said “…an excellent full-sized speaker based set-up.”
I specifically avoided top of the line, state of the art and reference quality, esoteric (or “Esoteric”) gear.

I’m not an absolute ignoramus. I’ve been aware for decades that there are plenty of audio set-ups costing tens (and hundreds) of thousands of dollars out there. I managed record stores, back when they were actually record stores in the seventies and eighties…in Toronto and Vancouver.

It may not have cost half a million bucks, but The Altec Lansing VotT" speakers, mounted at either end of the store on Robson Street, with two booth mounted Linn turntables run through Crown amplification sounded pretty good…did I mention it was in and around '78?

That was the year Sprongsteen played the 2500 seat QE theatre in Vancouver.

I’ve heard a great source run through excellent gear and know what it can cost.

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I liked the Altec VoT’s know them well, and the Crowns, and the Linns.

You did say “excellent” and I also excluded top of the line whacky products - And I do know that some audiophiles have more money than sense. So Maggie 3.7i’s and maybe a Conrad-Johnson or Musical Fidelity amp, a VPI turntable and decent cart. Total system still in the $18K range, and probably roughly in the ballpark (but different) than the Altec/Crown/Linn. Sub out B&W or Totem, or similar dynamic speakers at $10K for the $6K Maggies if you want. Personally, I’d be happy with the Maggies and a bass panel, or Quad 2905s.

I think that the upper mid / lower high-end boundary has experience higher than inflation price increases.


Seems no doubt on that, which is likely another reason decent headphone gear has become so popular of late…well that and of course cell phones and DAPs.


Stellia’s will be arriving to our office on Monday! Our US Stellias already arrived and so far early impressions that I’ve read have been pretty good. Seems like most people have moved past the brown now and are finally able to talk about the sound.

Excited to get our hands on them!


Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on them!


Yay! Looking forward to hearing about them :slight_smile:


Greeting me on my return from New Orleans, thanks to @Andrew and @taronlissimore, were a pair of Focal Stellia. And they are a very welcome thing indeed, given the last few days of abject, self-indulgent, carnival raucousness.

Not to mention their closed-back nature being very welcome with the current demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct (in downtown Seattle), right behind my home … which is having the effect of a near constant, gentle, tinkling emanating from my wine glasses as the whole building vibrates in time with the heavy machinery and falling concrete (measurements will have to wait until the small-hours).

Despite the initial surprise at the aesthetic of the Stellia from the first exposé pictures, something that their luxury-goods-buyer-targetting ad-shots made a bit more sense of, these are actually really pretty in person.

Surprisingly, the packaging has been upgraded somewhat from Utopia (at least the original boxing … maybe its changed since launch), with a leather-esque finish to the larger-than-Elegia/Clear slip-case and documentation wallet.

Initial sonic impressions, on the back of absolutely no “burn in” are entirely favorable and absent some weird, and unique, departure from how they sound now these are going to make pretty short work of the already-excellent Elegia for my purposes.

While I started out feeding them via my main rig, I am now braving a crisp, clear, gorgeous, not-quite-spring Seattle morning to enjoy their sound and the Elliot-bay view from my deck via the A&K SP1000m … which drives them beautifully … and which has me with nice toasty-warm ears (the ear-cups are supple and luxurious and make it trivial to get a proper seal, unlike, say, the HD820) and fairly chilly extremities.


I’m not sure if you care, but you’ve located your home with great precision in this post…


I’m not too worried about it … given the amount of trouble we have getting invited guests to our place with any degree of reliability, the uninvited are largely out of luck.

Even then, it’s not that precise (I could get the same shot from multiple places here), the floor isn’t obvious, and it’s a secure building … with cameras inside and out, hi-tech locks and secure elevators, 24 hour security personnel … and so on.

Two incidents in as many years, and the last one was apprehended by the police before a) he’d managed to get into the main building and b) before he was able to exit the garage he tail-gaited his way into.


You’ve take some of the best pictures I’ve seen of the Stella. And didn’t go to the extreme of placing a gorgeous model’s head between them.


[quote=“generic, post:88, topic:2704”]
I’m not sure if you care, but you’ve located your home with great precision in this post…

Heck - look at my profile. I list ICBM settings if you need my attention.

Hmmm. I’ll leave it like that.

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To be fair, it’s only because she is at work …


I’ve got a deep history on this topic, and do in fact know what is possible and the methods used.

Back in the days of the university Internet (pre-Web, pre-1995) there was a standard recommendation to never post anything online that you didn’t want your boss, spouse, children, or grandchildren to see. Nothing is every truly deleted. Even in that era there was a case of some stalker woman sorting through a mountain of public Usenet posts to develop a detailed summary of a man’s life for who knows what.

And then I learned of the methods used by governments (and spammers) to develop intelligence.

And then my mother fell for a password phishing and had a spam-bomb attack so the hackers could steal bunch of her eBay sales.

And then many credit card/hotel/bank/etc. companies lost my data at least a dozen times and gave me free credit monitoring.

And then I had the occasion to learn of Facebook’s practices(!) [Truly, this was very well known 10+ years ago.]

These days many billions of people post mountains of personal info, so it’s seemingly possible to get lost in the crowd (i.e., few targets are worth the effort or are ever targeted). But, a dedicated person can do an awful lot of damage pretty easily.


I wouldn’t discount what you’re saying. Nor would I advise against caution to the general population in terms of what they post and where.

There’s enough information in the public record for even a suitably motivated, non-skilled attacker, to wreak havoc, never mind someone that knows what they’re doing. Let alone all the nonsense from corporate breaches, data-harvesters, and so on.

I’m still not personally that concerned about it.

My non-public history means that anyone that delves into is only likely to get so far before they realize they want to choose almost any other target. The few idiots that have made death threats over something as silly as audio-gear reviews, for example, found that one out the hard way.


True enough. But I’m mostly analog with some digital plug-ins. Yes, I confess, I am but an AI. An aging intelligence. Just a vacuum (tube) between the ears. Anode to remember.

Faccia Libre is evil. But I live clean, and come from the time when you could tell the AC from the DC, and never have I sexted. I once had T-1, but seldom T for 2. Come, ICBM, awaken me, for my diodes degrade.


I know nothing about this…slinks away

Also in regards to finding @Torq they would also have to figure out no parking followed by a labyrinthine maze…oh and coffee breathed mermaids, in the moat that make delicious coffee called Star b… something…


so how do they compare to the 820?


Given that I haven’t had them for a full day yet, it’s far too early to say. Not to mention that I haven’t even tried to compare them to anything other than the Elegia yet (and then only very quickly and casually).

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I did some isolation testing to see how well the Stellia isolate relative to their closest relative, the Elegia, and also the most recent closed-back headphone I’ve had in my hands - the MrSpeaker’s AEON Flow Closed.

This shows the Stellia isolate better than the Elegia, although in the more audible frequencies not quite as well as the AEON Flow Closed.

The environmental background noise level was at 42 dB for this process and tests were made 1 meter from the ear-cup. The vertical axis indicates how loud the headphones had to be playing for a given frequency to be just-barely-audible to an outside listener. Thus it shows that lower frequencies are less audible - requiring a level of 120 dB for a 100 Hz signal to be externally audible, and dropping to 80 dB for a 6 kHz signal to be perceptible on the outside.