Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Explanation: In contrast to the full review, the QUICK VIEW only provides a brief tonal and functional overview. Either I haven't been able to spend enough time with the headphones, where the rating has to be taken with a grain of salt, or I don't consider it particularly worthwhile in terms of sound. I will mark which of the two variants applies with "Time", or "Average". The weighting of sound and handling is 2:1.
frequency range: 5 - 23000 Hz | sound pressure level: 104 dB | impedance: 80 Ohm | dynamic
Bass Mids Trebles Stage Imaging
8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5 8
Processing Comfort Earpads Headband Weight
9 8 8 8 450 grams
Price 1000 €
Quick View reason: Time
The FOCAL ELEAR is of the exalted home headphones of the company together with the ELEGIA (closed) still the most favorable representative with scarcely 1000 € RRP, even if the prices vary strongly and one should look around for offers.
The brand FOCAL impresses with its noble design and the use of high-quality materials. In addition, a house signature can be easily identified, which can be described as warm & neutral as far as possible, even if there are exceptions (e.g. STELLIA).
Handling The ELEAR looks more valuable from the outside than it feels. At first sight you might not notice the use of plastic on the headband or the rather "grubby" pads.
Grubby in the sense that they will quickly absorb dust and dirt due to the soft and rough microfiber padding.
My ear slightly bumps against the inner parts (plastic surround of the driver), which becomes a bit unpleasant in the long run.
Nevertheless, the ELEAR is certainly something for the eye as well as in the workmanship excellent and it is very comfortable to wear overall, even if the well padded headband fits tight.
The cable is a bit thick, heavy and long (3m - 3.5mm jack with included 6.3mm adapter). Due to the open design it is certainly nothing for travelling, although with 80 Ohm and a sensitivity of 104 dB it works well on portable players and USB DACs. Due to the double-sided feed (mono jack - 3.5mm) the ELEAR can be operated at a balanced output, with an appropriate cable.
In terms of sound, the ELEAR can be described as warm/neutral. For me there is nothing that stands out particularly, but that doesn't mean anything bad, because it covers the whole frequency spectrum with high quality. I find it convincing, especially in terms of sound.
However, I miss the liveliness and brilliance. It sounds almost boring and too well-behaved, especially in the mids, which lack a bit of bite. Tonally, however, they are correct for me, just not very musical.
The bass is pleasantly present for its neutral alignment, but the kick could be a bit more solid and in sum a bit more direct. So it is of the softer variety and extremely linear.
In the high frequencies the ELEAR has a good transparency and resolution, but here the one-sided emphasis around 6 kHz and the rather high level drop around 4-5 kHz interferes a bit, which makes it seem slightly unbalanced and sometimes almost a bit too bright, even though this is very song dependent.
The separation could be more differentiated due to the muted mids and the stage seems big, but the imaging doesn't fully exploit this potential.
Outro For me the ELEAR is a small FOCAL CLEAR, because they are very similar in sound. But the CLEAR has the upper hand in all areas.
A tonally and technically very good headphone, but you have to like the relaxed and (forgive me profane expression) partly boring sound presentation.
The FOCAL ELEAR is too expensive for me as a complete product, even if price-performance is not considered in the evaluation.
Thanks to K55.ch for providing the headphones and the exciting day in the showroom.