Focal Elegia Headphones Lab Report

Lab Report

Friends who travel on public transport more often than I do tell me that large headphones are seen on many fewer fellow passengers now than a few years ago. Nevertheless the Elegia is still clearly aimed at this mobile market and offers a significantly higher voltage sensitivity than its open-back siblings. Focal claims 105dB SPL for 1mW which translates into a high 119.6dB for 1V across its nominal 35ohm impedance – within 0.1dB of the 119.7dB we measured at 1kHz, averaged for the two capsules. This is +5.6dB higher than we extracted from Focal's flagship Utopia [HFN Feb '17], and achieved by a substantial reduction in impedance, the nominal figure falling within our measured min/max figures of 28.0ohm and 52.3ohm (20Hz-20kHz).


The Elegia's unequalised responses (L/R, grey/red; averaged 3rd-octave, black) shows a neutral bass but a lack of the usual presence band reinforcement


Third-octave freq. resp. (red = Harman corrected; cyan = FF corrected; green = DF corrected)

This variation is high enough to cause a significant modification of frequency response if the Elegia is used with a headphone preamp that has a high source impedance – to the tune of 1.13dB for 10ohm and 2.39dB for 30ohm. Uncorrected frequency responses [Graph 1, above] lack the additional (unnecessary?) bass lift we saw in the Dekoni Blue [HFN Feb '19] but there is also less peaking around 3kHz than is usually considered necessary for a neutral tonal balance. So it's little surprise to see that the diffuse-field corrected response [green trace, Graph 2 above] is substantially flat below 2kHz, with just a mild shelving up of bass output, but has quite deep troughs at 4kHz and again at 8kHz, the exposed peak between them perhaps accounting for our reviewer's experience of sibilance.

Not shown, the cumulative spectral decay (CSD) waterfall indicates that the response notch at 3.3kHz and peak at just below 6kHz are both associated with high-Q resonances. Bass extension is excellent, the response not falling to –6dB (re. 200Hz) until well below 20Hz. Also notable is that the Elegia inverts signal polarity – a very rare design/production issue that I've experienced only once previously. KH

Supplied by: Focal-JMlab UK Ltd, Salisbury
0845 660 2680