Focal Elear Open Back Headphones

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Focal Elear Open Back Headphones

Focal Elear Open Back Headphones

$995.00

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Focal Elear Open Back Headphones

$995.00

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  • Description

    MY TAKE: Bursting onto the headphone scene with rave reviews, the Focal Elear is considered as one of the very best headphones available at the price point. – Galen Carol


    Elear is an open back pair of headphones featuring numerous innovations from Focal, which are key to their outstanding acoustics performance.


    Elear offers the world’s first, full range and fully open back loudspeaker, built-in to a pair of headphones. Additionally, they are made from an Aluminum-Magnesium blend, in a formed shape, unique to Focal with the company’s brand new “M” shape dome. This new dome shape has originated from the research performed during the Utopia headphone project that will offer the highest quality sound, while avoiding potential avenues of distortion.


    The acoustic quality of this exclusive solution allowed Focal to avoid the use of any crossover or passive filtering process in order to achieve a frequency response from 5Hz to 23kHz. The result is thus impressively realistic, making the headphones virtually disappear and providing listeners with a truly unique high-fidelity audio experience. Elear also benefits from the R&D done on Utopia. With regards to mechanical design, the rotation traditionally included on the yoke has been moved into the headband to ensure the total purity of the design. The microfiber fabric, used on the cushions, offers a true comfort for all head shapes and sizes – a quality that is mandatory for long listening sessions.


    Utopia and Elear headphones are the result of a rather risky challenge: to offer an audio experience worthy of the brand’s high-fidelity loudspeakers through two new products. In order to achieve this, Focal approached the design of the various components in these headphones very differently to other players in the market.


    The first obvious aspect is the extent of the open design of these two products. When Utopia or Elear are being worn, the sensation is remarkable: there is absolutely no change in perception in terms of room size. This desire to not have an impact on the impedance of the room the user is in, clearly contributes to the realistic sound of these two headphones.


    The next step for Focal’s mechanical engineers and designers was to improve the comfort of the headphones. There are still many high-end headphones which no doubt offer excellent performance, but comfort is a difficult issue over long periods. So, Focal focused on designing a headband with a constant bend, regardless of the size of the user’s head size. This spreads the weight of the headphones evenly over the head to avoid the feeling of pressure on the head or ears, which is all too often the case with other products.


    The yoke developed for these two projects is also very impressive, both in terms of purity of the design and in terms of comfort. Thus, the yoke doesn’t have traditional vertically rotating mechanics, as this has been integrated into the headband.


    In addition to this, the asymmetry of the attachment points connecting the yoke to the ear-piece improves the distribution of clamping pressure and ensures excellent sealing and great comfort.


    The ear-piece also deserves praise for its remarkable aesthetics and its impressive open design. This avoids any mechanical compression of the transducers while preserving exceptionally realistic sound. Equipped with high-density memory foam, the headphones provide perfect sealing and adapt seamlessly to heads of all shapes and sizes.


    A characteristic which really sets Focal apart is its ability to innovate and push back the limits in the field of speaker drivers, while managing its own industrial process at the production site based in Saint-Etienne, France. The challenge to reproduce experiences worthy of the brand’s best loudspeakers through two new headphones has resulted in a major innovation in the world of headphones (patent pending): the very first completely open back full-range loudspeaker. This world premiere is the result of four years of collaboration between the R&D and production methods teams.


    By refusing to accept the compromise of having ports, which would of course allow for numerous tuning possibilities, particularly in the low end, Focal’s priority was to get rid of the distortion typically experienced with this type of open design. The only limit with this concept is the necessity to conceive the headphones from the start around a loudspeaker with a perfect frequency response. The only possibility for sound tuning would come down to the choice of materials and their properties, for example the magnet, the voice coil, the surround or, of course, the dome. There was just one watchword: to have the lightest moving assembly possible in order to be able to reproduce the highest frequencies.

     

    REVIEWS:
     

    Inner Fidelity - "In the fewest words: shockingly good! They're so stunningly dynamic I had—and still have—a hard time setting the volume. Turn it up too loud and a piano strike will punch out one of your eyeballs; get it set right and everything just pops!


    I suppose similar things have happened before, I've fallen to the new toy syndrom and thought a headphone was really good at first...then got poke in the ear with the annoying fault. But my first listening experiences with the Elear seemed different. So much was so right that any remaining tonal imbalance was not very meaningful in the overall experience. The Elears just seemed full-bodied and transparent...I was left to think only of the music dancing in my head.


    Oh well...I suppose I must try.


    The Elear has excellent overall tonal balance. Bass is slightly low for my tastes, but bass is very tight and punchy, and extension is extraordinarily good for an open dynamic driver headphone. The textural character of string bass, tubas, and large drums is clearly evident in this transparent, undistorted bass. Even though I've got a mild basshead penchant I was in no way left wanting in the low registers.


    The transition from bass to midrange is seamless and the midrange sounds liquid, coherent, and amazingly dynamic. Conga drums take on an immediate realism I don't think I've heard before—absolutely eye-blinkingly impactive and harmonically expressive. Were I to niggle, I'd say the upper-midrange/low-treble is slightly low compared to the overall midrange making this a slightly laid back headphone in the presence region...were I to niggle.


    But this plays to my penchant for a slightly relaxed sound. Treble above 3kHz is also slightly low in level relative to the midrange baseline, which reinforces this slightly relaxed sound. I don't want to play this up too much; I didn't even hear it 'til I started to compare against other headphones. Listening to the Elear alone, things are so close that your mind accommodates quickly. Other than it's big brother, the Utopia, and maybe the upcoming Ether Flow, this may be the only headphone in this category where my recommendation won't come with a "Yeah, but..." (HD 800 too strident; Ether too thin in the bass; planars to splashy up top) It's just damned good.


    "The Focal Elear is a drop-dead gorgeous high-end headphone. Build quality is spectacular; comfort is very good (though the cable is a bit heavy); and the new purpose built aluminum/magnesium M-dome drive is a testament to the technical accumen of Focal.


    "Sound quality is superb; this is an extraordinarily dynamic and punchy headphone. Unlike most high-end headphones, the Focal Elear seem to have no Achilles heal. It's very easy to just get wrapped up in the music and be unaware of the headphones themselves. I'd like a dB or two more bass, but the terrific bass tightness seems to make up for it, and a slightly laid back character up top has this headphone pushing almost all of my buttons.


    "Oh my yes, these are hitting the "Wall of Fame" with a vengeance. Focal has done an absolutely beautiful job of producing a worthy high-end headphone. They've driven a spike in the diminishing returns curve that's going to have competitors scurrying to find ways to tighten their game up. This headphone is a game changer." - Inner Fidelity. Read more here.



    Audiohead - "The Focal Elear is a classy-looking, well-designed headphone with impeccable pedigree.  It has a fun, lush, fatigue-free sound that’s easy to listen to for hours on end.  It’s easy to drive and scales well to all kinds of gear.  While this sound signature has not historically been my flavor of choice, I found myself falling for the Elear the more time I spent with it. All headphones have compromises, and that certainly includes those in the $1000 price range.  Some headphones are defined by their compromises:  shoddy construction or poor ergonomics or glaring flaws in the sonics.  I believe the Elear will be defined by what it’s accomplished despite its compromises:  sturdy construction, comfortable ergonomics, attractive design, appealing sound signature with no glaring faults, etc.  Focal has done a great job of giving us the “full package” at an attainable price point." - Audiohead


    Watch the (very comprehensive) video Review on HeadFi

     

    SPECIFICATIONS:

    • Impedance - 80 Ohms
    • Sensitivity = 104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
    • THD - <0.3% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
    • Frequency response - 5Hz - 23kHz
    • Transducer - 40mm Aluminum-Magnesium "M" shape dome
    • Weight - 0.99lb (450g)
    • Cable length - 13.1ft (4m)
    • Connectors -1/4“ (6.35mm) stereo Jack connector, 2 x 9⁄64“ (3.5mm) Jack
    • Carrying Case - 326x260x164mm
    • Warranty – Three Years          

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Focal Elear Open Back Headphones

$995.00

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Description

MY TAKE: Bursting onto the headphone scene with rave reviews, the Focal Elear is considered as one of the very best headphones available at the price point. – Galen Carol


Elear is an open back pair of headphones featuring numerous innovations from Focal, which are key to their outstanding acoustics performance.


Elear offers the world’s first, full range and fully open back loudspeaker, built-in to a pair of headphones. Additionally, they are made from an Aluminum-Magnesium blend, in a formed shape, unique to Focal with the company’s brand new “M” shape dome. This new dome shape has originated from the research performed during the Utopia headphone project that will offer the highest quality sound, while avoiding potential avenues of distortion.


The acoustic quality of this exclusive solution allowed Focal to avoid the use of any crossover or passive filtering process in order to achieve a frequency response from 5Hz to 23kHz. The result is thus impressively realistic, making the headphones virtually disappear and providing listeners with a truly unique high-fidelity audio experience. Elear also benefits from the R&D done on Utopia. With regards to mechanical design, the rotation traditionally included on the yoke has been moved into the headband to ensure the total purity of the design. The microfiber fabric, used on the cushions, offers a true comfort for all head shapes and sizes – a quality that is mandatory for long listening sessions.


Utopia and Elear headphones are the result of a rather risky challenge: to offer an audio experience worthy of the brand’s high-fidelity loudspeakers through two new products. In order to achieve this, Focal approached the design of the various components in these headphones very differently to other players in the market.


The first obvious aspect is the extent of the open design of these two products. When Utopia or Elear are being worn, the sensation is remarkable: there is absolutely no change in perception in terms of room size. This desire to not have an impact on the impedance of the room the user is in, clearly contributes to the realistic sound of these two headphones.


The next step for Focal’s mechanical engineers and designers was to improve the comfort of the headphones. There are still many high-end headphones which no doubt offer excellent performance, but comfort is a difficult issue over long periods. So, Focal focused on designing a headband with a constant bend, regardless of the size of the user’s head size. This spreads the weight of the headphones evenly over the head to avoid the feeling of pressure on the head or ears, which is all too often the case with other products.


The yoke developed for these two projects is also very impressive, both in terms of purity of the design and in terms of comfort. Thus, the yoke doesn’t have traditional vertically rotating mechanics, as this has been integrated into the headband.


In addition to this, the asymmetry of the attachment points connecting the yoke to the ear-piece improves the distribution of clamping pressure and ensures excellent sealing and great comfort.


The ear-piece also deserves praise for its remarkable aesthetics and its impressive open design. This avoids any mechanical compression of the transducers while preserving exceptionally realistic sound. Equipped with high-density memory foam, the headphones provide perfect sealing and adapt seamlessly to heads of all shapes and sizes.


A characteristic which really sets Focal apart is its ability to innovate and push back the limits in the field of speaker drivers, while managing its own industrial process at the production site based in Saint-Etienne, France. The challenge to reproduce experiences worthy of the brand’s best loudspeakers through two new headphones has resulted in a major innovation in the world of headphones (patent pending): the very first completely open back full-range loudspeaker. This world premiere is the result of four years of collaboration between the R&D and production methods teams.


By refusing to accept the compromise of having ports, which would of course allow for numerous tuning possibilities, particularly in the low end, Focal’s priority was to get rid of the distortion typically experienced with this type of open design. The only limit with this concept is the necessity to conceive the headphones from the start around a loudspeaker with a perfect frequency response. The only possibility for sound tuning would come down to the choice of materials and their properties, for example the magnet, the voice coil, the surround or, of course, the dome. There was just one watchword: to have the lightest moving assembly possible in order to be able to reproduce the highest frequencies.

 

REVIEWS:
 

Inner Fidelity - "In the fewest words: shockingly good! They're so stunningly dynamic I had—and still have—a hard time setting the volume. Turn it up too loud and a piano strike will punch out one of your eyeballs; get it set right and everything just pops!


I suppose similar things have happened before, I've fallen to the new toy syndrom and thought a headphone was really good at first...then got poke in the ear with the annoying fault. But my first listening experiences with the Elear seemed different. So much was so right that any remaining tonal imbalance was not very meaningful in the overall experience. The Elears just seemed full-bodied and transparent...I was left to think only of the music dancing in my head.


Oh well...I suppose I must try.


The Elear has excellent overall tonal balance. Bass is slightly low for my tastes, but bass is very tight and punchy, and extension is extraordinarily good for an open dynamic driver headphone. The textural character of string bass, tubas, and large drums is clearly evident in this transparent, undistorted bass. Even though I've got a mild basshead penchant I was in no way left wanting in the low registers.


The transition from bass to midrange is seamless and the midrange sounds liquid, coherent, and amazingly dynamic. Conga drums take on an immediate realism I don't think I've heard before—absolutely eye-blinkingly impactive and harmonically expressive. Were I to niggle, I'd say the upper-midrange/low-treble is slightly low compared to the overall midrange making this a slightly laid back headphone in the presence region...were I to niggle.


But this plays to my penchant for a slightly relaxed sound. Treble above 3kHz is also slightly low in level relative to the midrange baseline, which reinforces this slightly relaxed sound. I don't want to play this up too much; I didn't even hear it 'til I started to compare against other headphones. Listening to the Elear alone, things are so close that your mind accommodates quickly. Other than it's big brother, the Utopia, and maybe the upcoming Ether Flow, this may be the only headphone in this category where my recommendation won't come with a "Yeah, but..." (HD 800 too strident; Ether too thin in the bass; planars to splashy up top) It's just damned good.


"The Focal Elear is a drop-dead gorgeous high-end headphone. Build quality is spectacular; comfort is very good (though the cable is a bit heavy); and the new purpose built aluminum/magnesium M-dome drive is a testament to the technical accumen of Focal.


"Sound quality is superb; this is an extraordinarily dynamic and punchy headphone. Unlike most high-end headphones, the Focal Elear seem to have no Achilles heal. It's very easy to just get wrapped up in the music and be unaware of the headphones themselves. I'd like a dB or two more bass, but the terrific bass tightness seems to make up for it, and a slightly laid back character up top has this headphone pushing almost all of my buttons.


"Oh my yes, these are hitting the "Wall of Fame" with a vengeance. Focal has done an absolutely beautiful job of producing a worthy high-end headphone. They've driven a spike in the diminishing returns curve that's going to have competitors scurrying to find ways to tighten their game up. This headphone is a game changer." - Inner Fidelity. Read more here.



Audiohead - "The Focal Elear is a classy-looking, well-designed headphone with impeccable pedigree.  It has a fun, lush, fatigue-free sound that’s easy to listen to for hours on end.  It’s easy to drive and scales well to all kinds of gear.  While this sound signature has not historically been my flavor of choice, I found myself falling for the Elear the more time I spent with it. All headphones have compromises, and that certainly includes those in the $1000 price range.  Some headphones are defined by their compromises:  shoddy construction or poor ergonomics or glaring flaws in the sonics.  I believe the Elear will be defined by what it’s accomplished despite its compromises:  sturdy construction, comfortable ergonomics, attractive design, appealing sound signature with no glaring faults, etc.  Focal has done a great job of giving us the “full package” at an attainable price point." - Audiohead


Watch the (very comprehensive) video Review on HeadFi

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Impedance - 80 Ohms
  • Sensitivity = 104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
  • THD - <0.3% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
  • Frequency response - 5Hz - 23kHz
  • Transducer - 40mm Aluminum-Magnesium "M" shape dome
  • Weight - 0.99lb (450g)
  • Cable length - 13.1ft (4m)
  • Connectors -1/4“ (6.35mm) stereo Jack connector, 2 x 9⁄64“ (3.5mm) Jack
  • Carrying Case - 326x260x164mm
  • Warranty – Three Years