Focal’s $3,000 Stellia aims to be the best portable headphone money can buy


It was just a few months ago that Focal Audio revealed the Elegia, its first take on a premium pair of closed-back headphones. I liked the Elegia when I reviewed it, but given its $900 price tag and recent release, I thought it would be quite some time before Focal tackled closed-back headphones again.

Boy, was I wrong.

Focal today announced the Stellia, a new flagship closed-back headphone launching in advance of the CanJam NYC headphone show this weekend. At $3,000, this is one of the most expensive pairs of closed-back headphones I’ve seen; even more expensive than the $2,400 Sennheiser HD820 I tested in December. Among Focal’s headphones, it’s second only to the company’s flagship $4,000 Utopia.

That should tell you something about the performance Focal is promising, but naturally, only audio enthusiasts and those with that kind of expendable income need apply.

If the price doesn’t scare you off, Focal promises you’re in for a treat. First, there’s the use of premium materials – including a classy combination of ‘cognac’ and ‘mocha’ leather. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual monochrome utilitarianism of high-end headphones. It also comes with a carrying case and two different types of cables for home and portable use.

Yeah, not everyone will be comfortable walking around with $3,000 headphones, but at least you can. The Stellia has a low 35 Ohm impedance rating and high 106dB sensitivity. If those numbers are mumbo jumbo to you, it basically means the Stellia should be easy to power from most phones – you know, if you still have a headphone jack – or portable players. And if it’s anything like the Elegia, it should also block out a decent amount of ambient sound too.