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Focal Celestee Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Jul 09, 2021 at 10:11 am
Focal Celestee Picture
7.3
Neutral Sound
4.8
Commute/Travel
5.0
Sports/Fitness
5.4
Office
4.3
Wireless Gaming
6.3
Wired Gaming
2.1
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Focal Celestee are premium closed-back audiophile headphones. These sleek navy and copper headphones replace the discontinued Focal Elegia. They have a decently neutral sound profile with a smooth mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments are clear, present, and accurate. Thanks to their well-built design, they're also comfortable for long listening sessions. Their closed-back design can help block out some ambient noise, although they won't isolate you from the rumble of bus or plane engines. However, they struggle to reproduce low-bass, and they have a somewhat dark treble.

Our Verdict

7.3 Neutral Sound

The Focal Celestee are decent for neutral sound. They have a smooth, warm sound profile. While they lack a thumpy low-bass, their mid-range is exceptionally neutral, ensuring that vocals and lead instruments are present, detailed, and clear. However, their treble is underemphasized, so voices sound veiled while sibilants like S and T sounds are dark. Since they have a closed-back design, their passive soundstage is perceived as somewhat small and as coming from inside your head rather than from out in front of you.

Pros
  • Outstanding build quality and very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Small, closed-off passive soundstage.
4.8 Commute/Travel

The Focal Celestee are poor for commute and travel. They have a bulky design, making them tricky to take with you on the go, lack any controls, and don't block out the low rumbles of bus or plane engines, which can be annoying. On the upside, they come with a great carrying case to help protect them. They also have a very comfortable and well-built design.

Pros
  • Outstanding build quality and very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Disappointing noise isolation performance.
  • Small, closed-off passive soundstage.
5.0 Sports/Fitness

The Focal Celestee are disappointing for sports and fitness. They're bulky, have mediocre stability, and their wired design can accidentally snag on something, pulling them off your head. Their ear cups can also trap heat, which could make you sweat more than normal, and although we don't currently test for it, they don't have an IP rating for water resistance. On the upside, they're very comfortable and well-built.

Pros
  • Outstanding build quality and very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Mediocre stability.
  • No IP rating for water resistance.
5.4 Office

The Focal Celestee are inadequate for office use. They leak some audio at high volumes, which may annoy others around you. They also don't support multi-device pairing and lack a microphone, so you won't be able to take calls at work. However, although they're a bit bulky, their fit is very comfortable. They can passively block out office chatter around you.

Pros
  • Outstanding build quality and very comfortable fit.
  • Can passively isolate mid-range noise.
Cons
  • No microphone.
  • Small, closed-off passive soundstage.
  • Leaks some audio at high volumes.
4.3 Wireless Gaming

The Focal Celestee are wired headphones and can't be used wirelessly.

6.3 Wired Gaming

The Focal Celestee are passable for wired gaming. They don't have a microphone, so you won't be able to chat with your teammates, but their 1/8" TRS cable offers a low latency gaming experience.

Pros
  • Outstanding build quality and very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • No microphone.
2.1 Phone Calls

The Focal Celestee don't have a microphone, so you won't be able to take calls.

  • 7.3 Neutral Sound
  • 4.8 Commute/Travel
  • 5.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.4 Office
  • 4.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.3 Wired Gaming
  • 2.1 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jul 09, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 06, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Focal Celestee have a very similar design language to other headphones in this manufacturer's lineup. They have an elegant metal honeycomb grille with Focal's logo in the center. Overall, their navy color scheme with copper accents lends them a sleek and refined look. However, they only come in this color.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.95 lbs
Clamping Force
1 lbs

The Focal Celestee are very comfortable. Like the Focal Clear Mg, they have a well-padded design with large and deep ear cups. However, they're quite heavy and bulky due to their metal design.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
6.0
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 7.1 ยฐC

These headphones have mediocre breathability. Like the Focal Elegia, they trap in some heat and don't really allow air to circulate. While you shouldn't sweat more than usual if you're wearing them while listening to audio at your desk, they can make your ears warm if you're wearing them during physical activity.

5.1
Design
Portability
L 7.8" (19.8 cm)
W 8.5" (21.6 cm)
H 4.1" (10.5 cm)
Volume 273.78 inยณ (4,486.50 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

These headphones aren't very portable. They have a bulky design and don't fold into a more compact form. Their ear cups also can't swivel to lay flat. Luckily, they come with a sturdy carrying case to help protect them when you're on the move.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 9.3" (23.7 cm)
W 9.8" (24.9 cm)
H 4.7" (11.9 cm)
Volume 428.04 inยณ (7,014.30 cmยณ)

The Focal Celestee have a great carrying case. Similar to the Focal Elegia and Focal Clear Mg, the interior is molded to fit these headphones and their cables. There's a carrying handle on the top of the case and a zipper. Overall, it feels very sturdy and solid.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The Focal Celesetee have an outstanding build quality. They're mostly metal with few moving parts, making them feel very high-end and sturdy. The semi-aniline leather padding is soft, while there's microfibre lining inside the ear cups. While not designed for sports, and we don't currently test for it, they lack an IP rating for dust and water resistance.

6.0
Design
Stability

These headphones have mediocre stability. They're not designed for sports or large movements, so they can easily fall off your head. However, if you're wearing them during casual listening sessions, you shouldn't experience any issues with them moving around.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Focal Celestee headphones
  • 1/8" detchable TRS cable
  • 1/4" to 1/8" detchable adapter
  • Carrying case
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-3.01 dB
Treble Amount
-2.4 dB

The Focal Celestee have a smooth, warm sound profile. They have a neutral mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear, accurate, and detailed. However, they lack a bit of low bass, and their treble is a bit dark.

6.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.87 dB

These headphones have an acceptable frequency response consistency. They're prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble delivery, and you may notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or glasses. It's important to take the time to adjust their fit, seal, and positioning each time you use them to get a more consistent sound.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.7
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.86 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
77.72 Hz
Low-Bass
-5.32 dB
Mid-Bass
-2.16 dB
High-Bass
-0.51 dB

The Focal Celestee have good bass accuracy. It's underemphasized across the range, so your mixes lack thump and punch. However, their high bass is only slightly underemphasized, which shouldn't be too noticeable. As a result, vocals and lead instruments lack a touch of warmth. However, their bass delivery can vary due to fit, seal, and positioning. This bass accuracy performance represents the average response, and your experience may vary.

9.2
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.06 dB
Low-Mid
0.57 dB
Mid-Mid
0.45 dB
High-Mid
1.09 dB

The Focal Celestee have outstanding mid accuracy. The range is extremely flat and neutral, so vocals and lead instruments are present, detailed, and clear in your mixes.

6.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.15 dB
Mid-Treble
-2.66 dB
Low-Treble
-3.25 dB
High-Treble
-6.97 dB

These headphones have okay treble accuracy. It's underemphasized across the range, so vocals and lead instruments are veiled while sibilants like cymbals are dark and dull. Note that their treble delivery is sensitive to fit and positioning. This treble accuracy performance represents the average response, and your experience may vary.

7.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.49 dB
Dips
1.59 dB

The Focal Celestee have good peaks and dips performance. There's a small dip in the low-bass, which lessens their thump and rumble, while a small peak in the high-bass to low-mid can make mixes a touch muddy. A couple of peaks in the high-mid and low-treble makes vocals and lead instruments honky and harsh. A dip in the low-treble can also hurt their comprehensibility, while another peak in the mid-treble turns sibilants like S and T sounds piercing.

7.9
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.39
Weighted Phase Mismatch
10.68
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.95
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.92

The Focal Celestee have very good imaging. There are a few spikes in the weighted group delay's bass response, which can result in a slightly loose bass. However, the rest of the response is below the audibility threshold, resulting in transparent treble reproduction. The left and right divers of our unit are also well-matched in phase, frequency, amplitude response. This is important for the proper placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field. While there's a peak in the phase response in the high-treble, it's not audible when listening to music or content. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

4.4
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.82 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.34 dB
PRTF Distance
3.62 dB
Openness
4.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
4.5

The Focal Celestee have a poor passive soundstage, which is expected from closed-back headphones. Their soundstage is perceived as small, closed-off, and as if coming from inside your head, rather than as if coming from speakers placed around you.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.325
WHD @ 100
0.117

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is good. There are a few peaks, particularly in the low-bass and a couple in the treble range at a moderate volume. However, it can be very hard to hear with real-life content. That said, most frequencies fall under acceptable limits, which results in clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test these headphones, and our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
5.1
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-13.81 dB
Bass
-0.1 dB
Mid
-14.45 dB
Treble
-28.32 dB

The noise isolation performance of these headphones is disappointing. They don't block out any bass-range noise like the rumble of bus or plane engines. They do a better job of reducing office chatter and the high-pitched hum of an AC unit, though.

6.1
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
44.4 dB

The Focal Celestee have an acceptable leakage performance. Their leakage is concentrated in the mid to treble range, which can sound somewhat full. If you're listening to audio at high volumes, those around you may be able to hear it.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 3.90 ft (1.19 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The Focal Celestee come with an L/R 1/8" TRS cable. They also come with a 1/4" adapter that you can screw on.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones are only compatible with PCs when using their analog cable. Since they don't have a mic, you can only receive audio.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

The Focal Celestee can only receive audio via an analog connection on PS4 and PS5.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

The Focal Celestee are audio-only compatible with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles via analog.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Focal Celestee come in one color variant: 'Navy'. If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Focal Celestee are high-end audiophile headphones that look similar to other over-ears in this manufacturer's lineup. Just like the Focal Elegia, they have a closed-back design that helps them block out a bit more background noise than audiophile headphones with an open-back enclosure like the HiFiMan Arya. They also have a smooth, warm sound profile with a neutral mid-range, although they can't reproduce as much bass as the Focal Stellia.

If you're looking for more headphones, check out our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones, the best headphones for music, and the best wired headphones.

Focal Elegia

The Focal Celestee are the next generation of closed-back headphones in Focal's line-up, and they replace the discontinued Focal Elegia. Both headphones offer very similar overall performances and share the same comfortable and high-end design. However, the Celestee have a better passive soundstage performance while the Elegia can reproduce more low-bass.

Focal Stellia

The Focal Stellia and the Focal Celestee are similar closed-back audiophile headphones, but the Stellia have a slight edge. Unlike the Celestee, which use aluminum and magnesium alloy drivers, the Stellia's drivers are beryllium. They're able to reproduce bass more accurately, and their treble is more neutral. However, both headphones are very comfortable and have a high-end build.

Focal Clear Mg

The Focal Clear Mg are open-back headphones, while the Focal Celestee have a closed-back design. The Clear Mg can reproduce bass more accurately, and their passive soundstage is more spacious, open, and large, which can help immerse you in your audio. However, the Celestee are better at isolating noise around you and leak less audio.

HiFiMan Sundara 2020

The HiFiMan Sundara 2020 are better headphones for neutral sound than the Focal Celestee. While both headphones are comfortable, the HiFiMan are open-back, planar magnetic headphones. They have more consistent audio reproduction, a more accurate treble response, and a larger, more spacious passive soundstage. However, the Focal Celestee are closed-back headphones with a dynamic transducer and a significantly better build quality.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are better closed-back headphones for neutral sound than the Focal Celestee. The Beyerdynamic have a more neutral default sound profile, a significantly better passive soundstage performance, and are somewhat less prone to inconsistencies in their audio delivery. However, the Focal have a significantly better build quality that reflects their high-end materials, and they're more comfortable.

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