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crenca

Massdrop Focal "Elex"

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1 hour ago, PorkChop said:

Tempted.  Haven't heard the Elears, but I'm a fan of Focal's sound signature and have no doubt they'll sound amazing.

I had the Focal Spirit Pro - signature was very decent albeit maybe slightly weak in the deeper bass.  But the Elear had a big recess between 4 and 5 khz, much like the AudioQuest NightHawk I had.

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crenca   
15 hours ago, PorkChop said:

Tempted.  Haven't heard the Elears, but I'm a fan of Focal's sound signature and have no doubt they'll sound amazing.

 

13 hours ago, dalethorn said:

I had the Focal Spirit Pro - signature was very decent albeit maybe slightly weak in the deeper bass.  But the Elear had a big recess between 4 and 5 khz, much like the AudioQuest NightHawk I had.

 

The Elear sounds really really good - with EQ.  I have said before that they should put a label on the box that says "don't use without DSP".  If you are unable or unwilling to use EQ then your better off with the usual planar suspects.

 

Also, "head-fi TV" confirmed that these are Elear's with Clear pads (and different paint scheme, etc.).

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Mshenay   
19 hours ago, crenca said:

As near as I can tell, this is a Focal Elear with Clear pads (and some different cables) for $800:

 

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-focal-elex-headphones

 

I doubt it's just a pad swapped Elear, the THD measurements are pretty different, but speculation aside the price is good, if it really just is a Pad Swap then Elear owners should rejoice! All they need are a new set of pads to improve their headphones lol

 

Non the less, while I didn't like the Elear... it's flaws were too obvious, the Elex should do very well. Good on Massdrop for launching another well tuned headphone with a super aggressive price! I'm wondering if maybe the "tweaks" performed on the Elear are just mimics to the dampening on the CLEAR plus the pads.

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crenca   
1 hour ago, exdmd said:

If soundstage and imaging is important to you stick with a pair of Senn HD800 or HD800S. I have of pair of Elears gathering dust.

 

I have to admit I am perhaps not you typical HP enthusiast in that I don't think HP's really do "soundstage and imaging" at all.  Stereo simply does not work as designed with he speakers right next to your ears on either side of your head.  This is not to say that the effect is totally lost, but it mostly is and what is left is not right.  Some modern electronic music takes advantage of the skewed "imaging" of HP's and sounds off when played over a two channel...

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crenca   
1 hour ago, Mshenay said:

 

I doubt it's just a pad swapped Elear, the THD measurements are pretty different, but speculation aside the price is good, if it really just is a Pad Swap then Elear owners should rejoice! All they need are a new set of pads to improve their headphones lol

 

Non the less, while I didn't like the Elear... it's flaws were too obvious, the Elex should do very well. Good on Massdrop for launching another well tuned headphone with a super aggressive price! I'm wondering if maybe the "tweaks" performed on the Elear are just mimics to the dampening on the CLEAR plus the pads.

 

Are those apple to apple THD measurements (i.e.  are they both from the same source)?  You could be right, perhaps the Elex has some (or all) of the driver tweaks of the Clear.  If so, it is even more of a bargain.  If it is just external damping then it seems it is just an Elear 2.0

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exdmd   
1 hour ago, crenca said:

 

I have to admit I am perhaps not you typical HP enthusiast in that I don't think HP's really do "soundstage and imaging" at all.  Stereo simply does not work as designed with he speakers right next to your ears on either side of your head.  This is not to say that the effect is totally lost, but it mostly is and what is left is not right.  Some modern electronic music takes advantage of the skewed "imaging" of HP's and sounds off when played over a two channel...

 

You really need to listen to top shelf source files through an excellent DAC and tube amp output to HD800S. You might be surprised.

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Mshenay   
1 hour ago, crenca said:

 

I have to admit I am perhaps not you typical HP enthusiast in that I don't think HP's really do "soundstage and imaging" at all.  Stereo simply does not work as designed with he speakers right next to your ears on either side of your head.  This is not to say that the effect is totally lost, but it mostly is and what is left is not right.  Some modern electronic music takes advantage of the skewed "imaging" of HP's and sounds off when played over a two channel...

 

24 minutes ago, exdmd said:

 

You really need to listen to top shelf source files through an excellent DAC and tube amp output to HD800S. You might be surprised.

 

Both are true, the HD 800 with tracks mastered/recorded binaural and some top of the line hard ware perform really well, but by the same extension a nice speaker set up still... exceeds the best system I've heard built around the HD 800. While the cost is dis-proportionate as with most things in this hobby, speakers do seem to offer better imaging for less and can exceed even the HD 800 with a little effort and fine tuning. But alas, I don't have the living space for a nice speaker set up, so my LSR308s will have to do for now! 

 

1 hour ago, crenca said:

 

Are those apple to apple THD measurements (i.e.  are they both from the same source)?  You could be right, perhaps the Elex has some (or all) of the driver tweaks of the Clear.  If so, it is even more of a bargain.  If it is just external damping then it seems it is just an Elear 2.0

 

Mhm, Jude has measurements for both from his/their measurement rig, his lack of experience aside all other variables should be the same. I get the feeling the Elex is the Elear driver but with many of the tweaks of the Clear no just dampening, but again I have no way of knowing! Though the ears that I trust seem to prefer the Elex over the Elear almost unanimously IT is the "super" HD 6## that the Elear should have been but proved to be... apparently.

 

I'm hoping MD continues to  grow a bi yearly launch of Elex's would be nice, kinda like what they are doing/have done with the HD 6XX and now the HE 4XX 

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crenca   
1 hour ago, exdmd said:

 

You really need to listen to top shelf source files through an excellent DAC and tube amp output to HD800S. You might be surprised.

 

To add to what Mshenay said, I (atypically perhaps) just am not impressed with soundstage/imaging out of any HP rig.  I get it - 800/good tube set up does give a bit in space/width and air, but the "image" is just plain wrong.  I appreciate horsepower, but I like a 911 or an F1 race - not a tractor pull which in fact has "more" horsepower than the former.  Racing is racing, and a tractor pull is...what it is.  "Stereo" and "HeadPhone" is a bit of a contradiction and this is by design.

 

I am a mostly HP high fidelity-ist for all the other things that HP bring to the audio game.  That's just me however...

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Mshenay   
23 minutes ago, crenca said:

 

To add to what Mshenay said, I (atypically perhaps) just am not impressed with soundstage/imaging out of any HP rig.  I get it - 800/good tube set up does give a bit in space/width and air, but the "image" is just plain wrong.  I appreciate horsepower, but I like a 911 or an F1 race - not a tractor pull which in fact has "more" horsepower than the former.  Racing is racing, and a tractor pull is...what it is.  "Stereo" and "HeadPhone" is a bit of a contradiction and this is by design.

 

I am a mostly HP high fidelity-ist for all the other things that HP bring to the audio game.  That's just me however...

 

Good analogy, I've yet to really dabble in speakers. So I learned how to perceive "imaging" in headphones over the years. Spending some time at live shows and being a very limited an modest musician my self, I've never felt the image presented was wrong but I'd imagine hearing a really impressive speaker set up my... change my perception entirely! Sadly the live venue's I've attended may not have been the very best stereo set ups and my own personal musical experience is really limited just small groups in smaller rooms or outside. More intimate settings, I've yet to attend a fully staffed Orchestra that spans across hundreds of feet! So having only listened to recordings of such venue's my mind obviously fills in some gaps, and with a real love for Orchestral music I do like how the HD 800 really opens up the space! My own Near Fields don't even match it, but again my point of reference... the ULTIMATE speaker system I heard was only a pair of Maggie 3.07s in a room that was apparently too small for them [very tall but not to deep]

 

This set up impressed me more with it's tactility and resolve than it's imaging. For I felt no real DRASTIC improvement over the headphones I had at the time. Though I only had some Jazz to listen to... I'm excited to hear an orchestral ensemble on maybe a pair of dynamics in a more fitting room.  These days I not even impressed with how Planar Magnetic headphones "image" 

maggie3.7s.jpg

 

My point being,  as impressed as I am with Headphone imaging, even a bad speaker set up seems to match an AMAZING headphone. I'm in agreement with @crenca, I certainly appreciate an brag  about headphones that have good imaging based on my experince, but I've heard enough from speaker rigs to know... the limits of headphones... Headphones are by their design and nature limited in the image they can present and I'm sure as @crencasays headphones compared to speakers don't and won't sound right. 

 

I'll continue to enjoy my headphones ^^ I'm just hoping I can still enjoy the collection I have once I start to attend those larger venues and get some real experience with how "stereo" can and should sound..

 

As for the Elex, is any one here planning to purchase it? If I didn't have a Pre Fazor LCD 2.2 I might consider it but... between the HD 800 and LCD 2.2 I have I doubt the Elex would get much head time

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exdmd   

I used to listen to speakers exclusively, usually Magnepans driven by Audio Research preamps and amps using vinyl played back on an LP12. I think I can appreciate proper imaging. I no longer listen to speakers or vinyl (lost my vinyl in a fire) and my hobby listening is done through headphones with digital files so I am pretty damn picky about getting the best performance I can eek out of phones. There are not any phones I am aware of that can produce a sound stage that extends outside your head other than the HD800 and HD800s. If there were I would own them. Besides great source files every component in the chain needs to be top shelf. This is not cheap expect to spend five to ten grand minimum for what I consider tuneful listening.

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4 hours ago, crenca said:

 

I have to admit I am perhaps not you typical HP enthusiast in that I don't think HP's really do "soundstage and imaging" at all.  Stereo simply does not work as designed with he speakers right next to your ears on either side of your head.  This is not to say that the effect is totally lost, but it mostly is and what is left is not right.  Some modern electronic music takes advantage of the skewed "imaging" of HP's and sounds off when played over a two channel...

You do realize that your eyes see upside down, physically.  Yet they work.

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1 hour ago, Mshenay said:

 

Good analogy, I've yet to really dabble in speakers. So I learned how to perceive "imaging" in headphones over the years. Spending some time at live shows and being a very limited an modest musician my self, I've never felt the image presented was wrong but I'd imagine hearing a really impressive speaker set up my... change my perception entirely! Sadly the live venue's I've attended may not have been the very best stereo set ups and my own personal musical experience is really limited just small groups in smaller rooms or outside. More intimate settings, I've yet to attend a fully staffed Orchestra that spans across hundreds of feet! So having only listened to recordings of such venue's my mind obviously fills in some gaps, and with a real love for Orchestral music I do like how the HD 800 really opens up the space! My own Near Fields don't even match it, but again my point of reference... the ULTIMATE speaker system I heard was only a pair of Maggie 3.07s in a room that was apparently too small for them [very tall but not to deep]

 

This set up impressed me more with it's tactility and resolve than it's imaging. For I felt no real DRASTIC improvement over the headphones I had at the time. Though I only had some Jazz to listen to... I'm excited to hear an orchestral ensemble on maybe a pair of dynamics in a more fitting room.  These days I not even impressed with how Planar Magnetic headphones "image" 

maggie3.7s.jpg

 

My point being,  as impressed as I am with Headphone imaging, even a bad speaker set up seems to match an AMAZING headphone. I'm in agreement with @crenca, I certainly appreciate an brag  about headphones that have good imaging based on my experince, but I've heard enough from speaker rigs to know... the limits of headphones... Headphones are by their design and nature limited in the image they can present and I'm sure as @crencasays headphones compared to speakers don't and won't sound right. 

 

I'll continue to enjoy my headphones ^^ I'm just hoping I can still enjoy the collection I have once I start to attend those larger venues and get some real experience with how "stereo" can and should sound..

 

As for the Elex, is any one here planning to purchase it? If I didn't have a Pre Fazor LCD 2.2 I might consider it but... between the HD 800 and LCD 2.2 I have I doubt the Elex would get much head time

A "good" speaker setup does two basic things to recordings that many audiophiles love.  1) They bounce the sound around, creating delay (short-duration echos basically) that mimics a larger space, and 2) They mix (smear) the sound, which lessens the effects of harshness in the recording, which in conjunction with the time delays and so on makes the sound more "pleasant".  I see how people would enjoy that, but it's hardly a sonic ideal.

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crenca   
13 minutes ago, dalethorn said:

You do realize that your eyes see upside down, physically.  Yet they work.

 

A better analogy would be if you took your eyes and put them where your ears are (each looking out the side of your head).  You know, like a fish.

 

What would happen to your depth perception?

 

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/stereoscopic-vision

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crenca   
6 minutes ago, dalethorn said:

A "good" speaker setup does two basic things to recordings that many audiophiles love.  1) They bounce the sound around, creating delay (short-duration echos basically) that mimics a larger space, and 2) They mix (smear) the sound, which lessens the effects of harshness in the recording, which in conjunction with the time delays and so on makes the sound more "pleasant".  I see how people would enjoy that, but it's hardly a sonic ideal.

 

 

Too true - one of the many advantages of HP is their precision.

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55 minutes ago, exdmd said:

There are not any phones I am aware of that can produce a sound stage that extends outside your head other than the HD800 and HD800s. If there were I would own them.


Very true. You're echoing my sentiments to a tee!

 

I have built a very high-end chain driving my (SD-modded) HD-800. There are literally no headphones out there that I want to buy to replace them, at any cost. I keep trying out the latest ones at CanJam's and nothing grabs me. Part of it is, of course, music preference. If, like me, you're into classical, especially large orchestral music, there really is no equal to the HD800/HD800S. 

 

The closest I've come to liking are the Focal Utopia and the Abyss. Both do certain things better. But it all comes back to "imaging."

 

55 minutes ago, exdmd said:

Besides great source files every component in the chain needs to be top shelf. This is not cheap expect to spend five to ten grand minimum for what I consider tuneful listening.

 

Also very true! The HD800 is ruthlessly revealing and does not suffer poor electronics gladly. For a while, I had bought a Focal Elear as a companion to it, that I would use for certain genres, especially rock, where the HD800 could sound rather harsh. Well, as I've improved my digital chain, the Elear became superfluous, and I recently sold it.

 

There are rumors of an HD800S follow-on, possibly close-backed. Maybe one day, the HD800 will be surpassed. If so, I'll be eagerly waiting!

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Mshenay   
1 hour ago, austinpop said:


Very true. You're echoing my sentiments to a tee!

 

I have built a very high-end chain driving my (SD-modded) HD-800. There are literally no headphones out there that I want to buy to replace them, at any cost. I keep trying out the latest ones at CanJam's and nothing grabs me. Part of it is, of course, music preference. If, like me, you're into classical, especially large orchestral music, there really is no equal to the HD800/HD800S. 

 

The closest I've come to liking are the Focal Utopia and the Abyss. Both do certain things better. But it all comes back to "imaging."

 

 

Also very true! The HD800 is ruthlessly revealing and does not suffer poor electronics gladly. For a while, I had bought a Focal Elear as a companion to it, that I would use for certain genres, especially rock, where the HD800 could sound rather harsh. Well, as I've improved my digital chain, the Elear became superfluous, and I recently sold it.

 

There are rumors of an HD800S follow-on, possibly close-backed. Maybe one day, the HD800 will be surpassed. If so, I'll be eagerly waiting!

 

I'm sorry to hear you wasted your time with the Elear, even with my lack of experience they never impressed me. An likewise the HD 800 is un-impressive out of the wrong system. My first listen of it with my HM 601 as a source was... dt 880 esque at best. A real let down. Thankfully it scaled nicely at home an I imagine as I improve my own chain it too will improve. As for whether speakers or headphones are better. I've heard impressions for both sides of the story, claiming the latter is never better than the former. I enjoy both and will likely continue to chase after headphones primarily since owning a dozen headphones is easier than owning a dozen sets of speakers. 

 

Non the less, this thread is de-railing and the conversation is moving beyond my scope.  I too have an SDR Modded HD 800 and I enjoy it, even with a "harsh" eSabre Dac I've never found them to be... harsh. Well that's a lie they are, but most of the time a harsh sound is the result of a poorer master, I do have to hunt for better recordings from time to time and sometimes there are none.

 

The Utopia never impressed me, great detail and depth but the bass didn't sit well with my given the price. I'll likely "top out" with the HD 800 before I chase after a Utopia set up, either way getting back to the Elex all posted impressions and measurements suggest it should really be a stellar performer! Here's to hoping it follows through

 

 

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9 hours ago, crenca said:

 

A better analogy would be if you took your eyes and put them where your ears are (each looking out the side of your head).  You know, like a fish.

 

What would happen to your depth perception?

 

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/stereoscopic-vision

 

Fish are great at finding food that darts and tries to evade them.

 

You can divert attention away from the acoustic realities of speaker problems, but it doesn't work with this headphone user.  The presentations are all fiction, but the truth is that good recordings sound awesome on good headphones, just like having a good seat at the concert.

 

Unfortunately, many people listen to bad recordings, and speakers help bury much of the bad.

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exdmd   

Focal is the "flavor of the month" right now and many like me wasted money on Elears due to Tyll putting the Elear on the "Wall of Fame" and retiring the HD800S. If Tyll says so it has to be true correct? Look out for reviewers shilling the Elex I am sure it is coming.

 

If you are really serious about reference quality phones ignore Focal buy the HD800S first and build your system around the phones. Your wallet will thank you.

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crenca   
9 hours ago, dalethorn said:

H

Fish are great at finding food that darts and tries to evade them.

 

You can divert attention away from the acoustic realities of speaker problems, but it doesn't work with this headphone user.  The presentations are all fiction, but the truth is that good recordings sound awesome on good headphones, just like having a good seat at the concert.

 

Unfortunately, many people listen to bad recordings, and speakers help bury much of the bad.

 

 

Dale,

 

I think you are misreading me.  I am in no way denying the " acoustic realities of speaker problems," or the many advantages of HP use.  All I am saying is that one of the few areas where two channel has a clear advantage is the much talked about soundstaging and imaging.  I don't even deny that HP give you a bit of this, but I am claiming (somewhat controversially) is that even what they give you is wrong - it is still "in the head" and not on a soundstage in front of you.  I know that many HP users don't agree with this, but as someone who is a season ticket holder to my local symphony and a jazz fan, I just can't convince myself that the soundstage I hear through HP (even the best of rigs) in any way approaches the soundstage of a well set up two channel when compared to the real thing.  I have never owned a top of the line 800(s) rig (what most HP enthusiasts point to as the archetypical "soundstaging" system) but I have listened to them at dealers/shows/meets and they have not changed my opinion.  Would quality time spent with this rig in my home make a difference?  I am not convinced and have not committed the $ to finding out.

 

All that said, HP for me give such an advantage in other areas that at least 80% of my listening through HP's...

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