"Simply Extraordinary," Raves Tyll Hertsens, InnerFidelity.com
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.
"Forget Anything You Think You Know"
"The Elear and Utopia are simply extraordinary," raves Tyll Hertsens, InnerFidelity.com, July 18, 2016. "The sense of dynamism, tonal balance, and smooth clarity of both are, to put it mildly, disorientingly disruptive to my sense of where headphones are at today and in what way and by how much these are better."
"Forget anything you think you know about Focal headphones today. None of the headphones Focal has made before now could have prepared us for Elear," reports Wayde Robson in his Audioholics.com review for June 14, 2016. "In summary the Focal Elear is a great-sounding headphone!"
The Elear and Utopia Story
Elear and Utopia 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.
Vastly Improved Comfort
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.
Pushing the Limits of Speaker Driver Performance
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.
"The Elear and Utopia are simply extraordinary. The sense of dynamism, tonal balance, and smooth clarity of both are, to put it mildly, disorientingly disruptive to my sense of where headphones are at today and in what way and by how much these are better."
- Tyll Hertsens, InnerFidelity.com, July 18, 2016
"Forget anything you think you know about Focal headphones today. None of the headphones Focal has made before now could have prepared us for Elear In summary the Focal Elear is a great-sounding headphone!"
- Wayde Robson, Audioholics.com, June 14, 2016
|Write Your Own Review|
First rate sound = very detail, natural and clear. Bass has just the right balance for me. Extremely well made - they don't feel delicate or fragile - I expect years of thrilling sound from these.
|- Leonard Z, NH|
|Now I Prefer These ...|
Build-quality and performance easily exceeds this price tag. From Hendrix to Ray Charles, big band to intimate trios these sound accurate, articulate and just right. Using with Chord Mojo portable and Woo Audio WA6 SET amps. Also own HiFiman HE500s and HE560s, but now prefer the Elear.
|Better Than My Sennheisers|
Using with Chord Mojo and AQ DragonFly Red and find the Elear easy to drive with either amps. Bass is punchy yet has a perfectly smooth transition to the midrange which adds weight to vocals. Soundstage is better than my Sennheiser HD600s. Highs are brilliant but not quite as good as my Audeze LCD3 zebrawood so I'm giving these only four stars.
|- Headgear 8, NY|
|Impeccable - Thank, Tim!|
Impeccable fit, finish and acoustics. Never spent this much on headphones before but I am darn glad I did. Could not be happier with the purchase. 'Advisor salesman Tim was a treat to work with and I'm recommending him to all my friends.
|- Jason R, ID|
|Get the Elears!|
Superb value! I own Sennheise HD800s and Mr Speaker Ester Cs but for the money I would highly recommend the Elears. Better bass than either the HD800s or Cs, and the mids are very close. The detail of the HD800s but they are more amp sensitive and I have not found the Elears to be sensitive to amplification at all. For all 'round performance - Get the Elears!
|- Clement R, NC|
Great Headphones.....five stars price considered. You will need to spend another 600-1000 dollars to out class these. Match well with Tube Amp and they will reward you with some great sound. They are a little light in the bass for me. They are fast, articulate, with great high end. I like my sound with a little more air and space think Sennhieser or Audeze LCD series Super easy to drive which is big plus if using with a IOS Phone. Pleased with the purchase they can sure rock when you want it.
|My New 'Go-To' Headphones|
I looked high and low and read tons of reviews. I tried Grado GS1000e, Sennheiser HD650, Master & Dynamic MH40, and B&O H6. These are IT for build quality, design/style, comfort, versatility in the context of music genres, and overall acoustics. Closed ear headphones have their place, but if you are really after high fidelity presentation of the music...these open cans are the best that I have come across. It worked well with the various headphone amps I have...tube, hybrid and solid state....and coming straight out of my CD player. The Elear is a tremendously dynamic and musical headphone...an 'all rounder'. The bass is superb...punchy, tight, controlled. The mid's are clear and expansive. The highs are crisp and non-fatiguing. I listen to a lot of Grateful Dead and these are a great match. It's extremely detailed and it really shines on the jazz recordings with very capable sound-staging. For hip hop, It tames the thumping bass rhythms without taking anything away from the music. The Elear will be my 'go-to' headphone for many years to come. I haven't even burned them in thoroughly yet...and should only improve over time. Kudos to Focal for a great product.
|- KK8, CA|
I have been listening to these headphones for about two weeks now and I am thrilled. I have been using a pair of Denon AH-D7000 cans as well as JH Audio Jh16v2 Pros. The Focal Elears are obviously engineered quite differently and sound simply amazing. The sound stage and ambience is enormous and provides a clearly defined spatial representation of the music that is both immersive and expressive. The little details present themselves in a way that I am simply not used to hearing. You can close your eyes and imagine being on the stage or in the studio. So many little nuances...
|- Caveman, IL|
The Focal Elears are very comfortable hp's, first off I'd like to say these headphones are very dynamic sounding, the vocals are very much forward Wow super good treble is excellent, Bass is extremely good and tight almost as good as my LCD 3's and I mean it's very close, The mids are just about the best I've heard on hp's, Everything is well controlled instruments are separated very nicely with these hp's. The Elear really makes the music more enjoyable they are truly superb headphones. Build quality is well only the best, I'm listening to these hp's with a Woo Audio WA22 + a Nuprime Dac-10 just amazing sounding headphones very well worth the price..Enjoy
|- CH, KY|
|Best Headphone Ever|
Really the best headphones I have listened to over the past 5 years. Everything the reviews say they are. Seems to be well balanced and the bass has a texture to it that I have not experienced in the past. Mids and highs are spectacular. Superb micro dynamics. Might be the last pair I purchase. Using with the tube headphone amp and the pairing is really nice. You will not be disappointed if you have a decent amp.
|- Nonesuch, MO|
|Best headphones under $1,000|
You can find full reviews on Head Fi and other audio sites and forums so I'll be brief. I've had my fair share of quality headphones and listened to many others and the Focal Elear is among the best I've heard and it is the best $1000 and under headphone imo. The dynamics are some of the best I've heard and the depth of field and imaging is also fantastic. They are comfortable to wear and build quality is what you'd expect from a $1000 headphone. If you can only buy one headphone and have the money to spend these are it unless you can spend thousands on something like the Utopia. I like them so much I'm going to sell most if not all of my other headphones and that's something I never thought I'd ever do.
|- Dragon 9, DC|