"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
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