Focal Unveils High-End Closed-Back Headphones

Focal, the French maker of high-performance speakers and headphones, today introduced is first closed-back headphone aimed at audiophiles who want to “dive into an intimate sound bubble without worrying about a noisy environment.”

Slated to sell for “under $1,200” when it ships later this month, the Elegia is a follow-up to the Elear ($999), Clear ($1,499), and flagship Utopia ($3,999) open-back headphones, all Sound&Vision Top Pick designees.

The headphones are built around a new generation of “low-compliance electrodynamic transducers capable of operating in a small inner environment while ensuring exceptional dynamics” and a frequency response that extends out to 23 kHz, according to Focal. A vent in each driver is optimized for proper airflow so as not to limit low-frequency reproduction and a second vent in the back of the ear cup is said to extend frequency response and avoid compression by picking up the rear wave coming from the driver’s motor. Focal describes the sonic result as “remarkable linearity and bass articulation.”

The 1.6-inch aluminum-magnesium drivers are frequency-matched to within ±0.5 dB of one another and integrated into the ear cups for a circumaural listening experience that effectively closes off the outside world. Like its open-back counterparts, the Elegia’s drivers feature Focal’s “M”-shaped inverted-dome design, which is said to provide an “ideal combination of lightness, high rigidity, and excellent damping” as well as a large radiating surface.

Each driver is fitted with a super-thin, lightweight surround, said to ensure tight control at the lowest frequencies and highest volumes, and incorporates Focal’s proprietary frameless voice coil for improved signal reproduction

The Elegia has detachable 4-foot cables that terminate with a 3.5mm minijack for use with portable gear; Focal includes a quarter-inch adapter for use with home audio gear. A locking mechanism at the end of each cable keeps the wires firmly attached to the ear cups.

Described as comfortable and ergonomic, the Elegia’s leather-covered headband is designed to mold to the head and the ear cups are covered in memory foam microfiber. The yoke that connects the headband to the ear cups is made of solid aluminum. A thermoformed, rigid carrying case is included.

Specs include a rated impedance of 35 ohms and sensitivity of 105 dB SPL (1 mW @1 kHz).

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