Inevitably Focal have put the full range Beryllium 40mm M dome driver in a premium closed back headphone, it is called the Focal Stellia. The Focal Stellia is everything you want if you’re not too happy with open backed headphones, like the top end beautiful Focal Utopia. I prefer open backed myself but I am able to listen often without external sounds leaking in. There is little doubt in my mind these will be fabulous and these are really high times with Focal really investing in its technology and their 40 years plus experience.
The Focal Stellia features a closed back design on an aluminium yoke (the yoke is derived from the work undertaken for the Utopias) with full grain cognac and mocha leather headband. The exceptional beryllium M dome technology, fed through the full Focal range, from the Sopras downwards, are here, boasting a frequency range of 5Hz to 40kHz, only a fraction of which we can hope to hear. The headphones have a relatively low impedance for more portable use.
The Focal Stellia are terminated at the cup with the 1/8″ locking mechanism (that I guess is the same as the Utopia headphones too).
Accessories include a long (10ft) 4 pin XLR to 1/8″ locking terminals, a shorter (4ft) ‘portable’ 1/8″ jack to locking terminals with an adaptor to a proper sized (imho) 1/4″ jack. There is also the familiar shaped Focal carry case in the cognac/mocha theme.
I’ve only seen images for the Focal Stellia in this ‘cognac’ brown, ‘mocha’ leather colour, I’d prefer black with black if I was in public, I have to say.
I wonder if the next release from Focal will be a Stellia with the Utopia’s carbon fibre yoke instead of the aluminium. I can’t tell you for sure, or what it will be called though, maybe a Stellia Pro?
The Focal Stellia is available this month, I’ll confirm the prices in the Comments below.
Also released this week, under the radar possibly, an amazing headphone amplifier/DAC called the Focal Arche. It has been produced in collaboration with MicroMega, a high-end electronics manufacturer. This looks very exciting, in my view. I love the integrated aluminium headphone mount, inspired by their logo, it is a really nice touch.
The Arche is basically a twin class A amplification solution for the Focal range, apparently offering impedance matching in the menu for the full product range, also a really nice touch. There is a 4 pin XLR and a ‘proper’ sized 1/4″ jack output at the front.
Inside the Arche there are in fact two amplification routes in the box offering impedance support to all headphones from 16-600 Ohms.
- Digital S/PDIF coaxial (RCA)
- Optical digital (TosLink)
- Digital USB (USB-B): standard USB: USB 2.0 / USB 3.0 – USB audio class
There is also an unbalanced analogue RCA input too. The digital-analogue converter is compatible with high-resolution formats (384kHz – DSD 256). There is a USB input at the back for firmware upgrades.
There is balanced 3 Pin output at the back for a ‘proper’ stereo and an RCA output too which is interesting.
The Arche reminds me of the understated but effective Oppo Sonica DAC, I’m sure it will be on the money too.