After Elear, Clear and Utopia, Focal finally offers its closed audiophile headphones, designed for all nomads who want good sound. As with the other models in the range, the design and manufacture are French, and the proprietary technologies are based on the technical heritage of the Stéphanoise brand. An exclusive VUmetre test!
Elegia is Focal’s first closed top-of-the-range headset. It took him a little longer than his brothers to get to the market. First, because the roadmap stated that priority was given to open models for exclusive products. And then because Focal already had nomadic closed helmets in its catalogue. That said, Elegia is at a much higher level in this line, and the hopes that rest on it are high. The first is contact is promising, since the Elegia comes in an elegant rigid cover that would not show up in a designer’s locker room. The overall shape is reminiscent of the delicious Utopia, which we greatly appreciated. The colours here are lighter, giving the product a more elegant touch than deliberately «technical». The head-band consists of a padded headband made of micro-perforated leather and solid aluminium side plates. The manufacturer confirms that the Elegia benefits from the ergonomic study carried out during the development of the other models, a prerequisite without which the helmet cannot be born well. The two circum-aural hulls are hemmed with 20 mm thick memory pads covered with microfibre. The wired connection is provided by a 1.2 m cable with a 3.5 mm stereo jack on the source side and two minijack mono connectors that can be locked on the earphone side.
Even if Elegia benefits from the experience accumulated on the other models, it is a closed model whose requirements are different from those of open headphones. But Focal can rely on forty years of experience with vents so that no resonance disturbs the listening. Elegia therefore offers excellent insulation, in which the pads play a major role, whose texture, density and materials have been selected after many hours of testing. Elegia also incorporates a new generation of wide-range aluminium/magnesium alloy drivers capable of working in low volume while ensuring exceptional dynamics and the most accurate sound reproduction: whether it is the motor, the unsupported copper coil, the separately applied suspension or the M-profile dome, these exclusive 40 mm diameter drivers are innovative. This new generation of electro-dynamic transducers offers very high elongation and an extended linear frequency response at 23 kHz. The geometry of the new half-roll NBR suspension guarantees a low mass mobile crew, always under control, even at the lowest frequencies and high sound levels. And thanks to the inverted dome with an «M» profile and its larger emissive surface, listening is done in three dimensions.
USE OF THE SYSTEM
Thanks to its very low impedance (35 Ohms), the Elegia guarantees uncom-promising use with personal music players. We have tested this helmet on Cowon and Fiio models with great success. But we also tried a mobile test from an iPhone equipped with a DragonFly Audioquest headphones/DAC amplifier: the result was very exciting. Finally, we listened to a «residential» listening on a Stratos ADL headphones/DAC amplifier, in order to perfect the result of our tests: full cardboard, the marriage between the two products has positively excited us.
Imagine a delicate fabric with a particularly fine weave and a subtle and elegant texture: you will have a precise foretaste of what this new Elegia has to offer. The latter cannot match his prestigious elder Utopia in terms of sound purity, nor the deliberately mineral side of the excellent Elear, but that is not what he is talking about, because the Elegia is a closed model, and anyone who has spent a little time behind a console or in a sound recording knows that we are not looking for the same type of information. The Elegia is not necessarily intended for sound engineers, but it could have the aptitudes to do so, because it does not seek to embellish the message ; only to reproduce it scrupulously. From low, deep, but firm, to high-frequency, extended and well integrated, the Elegia offers rigorous and elegant listening, without interruption, reproduction as neutral as possible and above all, completely protected from external disturbances, thanks to a very effective passive isolation. The result is a feeling of beautiful clarity, a lot of calm and an undeniably successful dynamic expressiveness. On small intimate pieces such as those by Agnès Obel, Elegia is masterful. But on more complex tracks like Ravel’s Rhapsodie Espagnole, he shows explosiveness and control.
Focal is now at the head of a beautiful collection of headphones, and all the more complete as it is now aimed at all demanding and aesthetic audiences. With the Elegia, the closed headphones made in France is nobly represented, facing a competition that does not rest on its laurels. Congratulations!
105 dB SPL / 1 mW @ 1 kHz
0.1% @ 1 kHz / 100 dB SPL
5 Hz-23 kHz