Best Focal Headphone?

I’ve heard tons of different answers from tons of different people.


I think for the asking price I’d say the elex. The clear is great and all but it isn’t planar detail levels to excuse it’s tonality and even though it has ok technical capabilities I could think of a few better things I’d spend my money on in the used price range of the clears. Still haven’t heard the clear MG but have heard great things about them. Stellias were great but way too expensive for what they deliver, IMO. Radiance was basically to my ears just as good as the stellia and a little more to my liking tuning wise for a closed back while being not quite as detailed as the stellias but basically just as good for most things. celestees are great but not nearly as engaging as the radiance or stellias. elex gets you a really good tuning, tons of detail from a dynamic, fantastic staging (not massive, just done well) and superb imaging. all for a fraction of the price of the rest that in my opinion are better done on a lot of planars.

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The best one is the one that matches your preferences. I think they’re all different. The only ones I haven’t heard are the Elegias and Clear MG.

Anyway, Utopia is best for me. But I prefer the bass quantity of the Clear OG.

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Just like others mentioned, definitely based on personal preference but the Focal headphones are generally familiar in sound. For example, Elex is pretty similar to Clear in tuning, but the Clear is a step up from the Elex.

Some say Utopia is the best, but many say the Clear OG is their favorite. Right now, the best “value” would be getting the OG Clear since it’s 500 off the normal price. Clear MG is good, but it’s personal preference on if people like the Clear OG vs Clear MG. Personally I like the OG Clear the best, but I haven’t heard the Stellia. I wasn’t a big fan of Utopia since a bit too bright for my tastes. If people like closed backs, generally the Stellia is the best closed back Focal.

You may be one of the best listeners.
Nevertheless, I find them overpriced.
Above all, there’s a lot of plastic in them that tends to creak over time.
The original replacement pads are also an impertinence - in some cases they charge 80-90$/€ for a pad.

That’s not quite right what Focal is doing, especially with the previous models there were always problems.
I don’t know how it is with the new ones from a quality point of view.
Nevertheless, it is an official price.

There is no question that other manufacturers can do better, and there are plenty of them.
The spare parts are also cheaper and can be repaired more often, even by the driver.
There is a big question mark with Focal in that respect.

If you spend so much money, I think that’s just as important, no matter how good the headphones are.
In the meantime, they have also made a good name for themselves in the scene and such progress must be recognisable.

The Poles have a much better customer service than the French, frankly speaking.
And their products are now well established on the market.
Even if they are cheap, there is a lot of quality to be seen and recognised at the moment.
That’s the funny thing about it, although the French think a lot about sustainability, there’s not much to see.

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I’d say it’s the utopia by far, but the problem is it takes quite a lot of investment in the source chain to get there, I’d actually rather have a clear on any of the sub 1k amps than a utopia, it really is quite picky imo. Same thing if you go even lower, I’d rather have the elex over the clear if you are on more entry level gear tbh. I agree that currently the best value is the og clear considering what they go for now, but it can be an underwhelming experience if your source gear isn’t up to snuff. I’ve not heard the mg so can’t comment on that.

To oversimplify, if you are using a sub 500 stack go for the elex, 1k ish go for the clear, and if you have quite a lot to spend on source gear to actually get what you paid for then go for the utopia

Edit: ah yeah the closed backs. The elegia when it was like 400 bucks was pretty compelling but the mid forward tuning is not for everyone, thankfully not that amp picky compared to other focal (but still moderately picky compared to other options). The stellia is technically capable but personally I’m not really a fan of the tuning and I think it lets it down enough for me to pass on it. Have not heard the celeste so can’t comment there, and have only heard the radiance in passing not enough to really comment, although it did sound like an improved elegia with a more refined tuning


You’ll find lots of opinions on what is the best Focal. I’ve tried the Elex, Elegia, Clear, and Clear MG Pro. I personally prefer the Clear MG Pro to all of those, as it’s warmer and smoother sounding to me and more in line with what you get from the HD650 type of tonality in the treble.
I have not tried the Utopia, but many reviewers say it is somewhat on the lean side at least compared to the Clear, so keep that in mind.

I would totally agree if it’s paired incorrectly, it can get bright, lean, harsh, and very dull/dead sounding on lackluster chains (which admittedly is what most reviewers seem to run these days, for higher end headphones at least), but with a good pairing it’s pretty dead neutral and the above completely goes away, more neutral than a clear imo (and I’d consider the og clear more neutral bright). But it’s likely not going to get as warm as I’ve heard people say the mg is, but haven’t heard so I can’t really comment. All I see around the mg is it seems it’s a love or hate thing compared to the og lol

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At the risk of sounding like a politician, haha, your question has different answers depending on how you mean “best”. If “best” means highest technical performance - things like resolution, staging, etc - then for the most part Focal headphones get better with increasing price. If “best” means “(insert listener here) enjoys it the most” then we have to judge by completely different criteria. What kind of sound are you after?

Yup, I had to trust my ears with the MG because it seems many reviewers don’t really like it. Even if it’s not an improvement over the original from a technical performance standpoint, I’m a sucker for warm + smooth headphones and I don’t like my treble too spicy lol.

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I’ve really been wanting to try one but haven’t gotten around to it, glad you are enjoying it, sounds pretty sweet

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$400 Elegias, bar none… :wink:

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I’ve owned the Elex, OG Clear, and Clear MG, and my favorite was the OG Clear. The Clear MG is still a good headphone, but it’s more muddy-sounding than the OG Clear. I’ve written about this in the Clear MG thread, but the OG and MG sound much more similar if you pad-swap the OG’s pads onto the MG, so there may be an earpad lottery factor as well. (I still preferred the OG over the MG even with the pad swap.)

I recently sold the Clear MG to another forum friend, but I still like keeping the Elex around as a kind of portable headphone. (To clarify, I don’t really use it outdoors, but I use it when I stay at my girlfriend’s place and we’re both working remotely during the day.)

I look forward to hearing a Utopia some time soon!

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Not forget the Celeste at this point.
What i have read is a bit better as the Clear.

Heard the Elex, Elegia and Clear Mg. Liked them least to most in that order.

Focal Elegia at 300ish is about the best deal going in my opinion.