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Focal Stellia Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Updated Apr 10, 2019 at 10:31 am
Focal Stellia Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
5.4
Mixed Usage
7.1
Neutral Sound
5.0
Commute/Travel
5.0
Sports/Fitness
5.6
Office
4.3
Wireless Gaming
6.3
Wired Gaming
2.2
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Focal Stellia are premium closed-back over-ear headphones that are outstandingly well-built. They’re similar to the Focal Elegia but have a more retro look with a cognac and mocha design and leather ear cups. They come with a great hard carrying case and detachable braided cables that include a 1/4" TRS adapter and an XLR cable. Like the Elegia, they’re a bit more versatile than the Focal Elear since their closed-back design isolates a bit more noise; however, they’re still bulky headphones that aren’t the best for use on-the-go, especially since they don’t have a microphone or any in-line controls. That said, they have a well-balanced sound and are comfortable enough to wear for long listening sessions, which makes them a good choice for critical listening.

Our Verdict

5.4 Mixed Usage

The Stellia are mediocre for mixed usage. Although they’re good, comfortable, critical listening headphones, their design isn’t versatile enough to be adequate for any other use case. Their premium build is durable but bulky, which makes these headphones difficult to grab and stash in your bag when you’re on the run to work or heading to the gym. They’re very comfortable, which is great for use at the office or while commuting but they don’t isolate very much noise, so they might not be ideal. Since they’re wired they have no latency, which is great for watching TV or gaming, but they don’t have a microphone or any in-line controls and their short TRS cable is a bit restrictive.

7.1 Neutral Sound

Good for neutral listening. The Focal Stellia have a fairly balanced sound with overall good audio reproduction. They have deep, punchy bass, an even and flat mid-range, and good treble. However, their bass response is sensitive to fit and whether you wear glasses, their mid-range is a bit overemphasized which can make vocals and leads sound slightly forward, and their treble is somewhat veiled, which can negatively affect brightness and detail. Overall, they sound versatile enough to accommodate most genres of music and are comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
5.0 Commute/Travel

The Stellia are subpar for commute or travel. Although they’re very comfortable headphones and come with a great hard carrying case, their isolation performance is mediocre. They isolate more noise than the open-back Focal Elear, but they still let in all the low rumbles of bus and plane engines. They’re also quite bulky and can be cumbersome to carry around. However, if you really appreciate their design and sound performance, they can be used as travel headphones as long as isolation isn’t an issue for you.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
5.0 Sports/Fitness

Poor for sports and fitness. The Stellia are bulky over-ear headphones that don’t have a very stable fit and are likely to fall off if you exercise with them on. They have leather ear pads that reduce breathability and will stain if you sweat while wearing them. They’re also not wireless and their cable is quite thick, so it’ll likely get in your way and could get hooked on something which would yank the headphones off your head.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
5.6 Office

Not bad for office use. The Focal Stellia are very comfortable headphones which means you can wear them for long periods of time without experiencing fatigue. They also do a fair job at reducing office chatter and noises produced by A/C systems. They’re a bit leaky, though, so you might bother your colleagues if you like to listen to your music loudly. You should be fine if you work in a quiet, uncrowded office.

See our Office recommendations
4.3 Wireless Gaming

Inadequate for gaming. The Focal Stellia don’t have a microphone or any controls, which makes them less versatile than headphones with mappable buttons like the Logitech G933 or a great microphone like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro. However, if you don’t require a mic or dedicated controls, the Stellia could be suitable for single-player gaming since they’re very comfortable, have no latency, and sound alright.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
6.3 Wired Gaming
2.2 Phone Calls
  • 5.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.1 Neutral Sound
  • 5.0 Commute/Travel
  • 5.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.6 Office
  • 4.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.3 Wired Gaming
  • 2.2 Phone Calls
Pros
  • Premium design and build quality.
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Bulky design.
  • Bass delivery varies across users. Sensitive to glasses.
  1. Update 3/27/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Focal Stellia look great. They share the same design language as the Focal Elegia but have a more retro look with a cognac and mocha color scheme. The headband is well-padded and covered in full grain cognac leather. The yokes and back of the ear cups are also cognac in color but are made of metal. The ear cups are plush and densely padded with mocha leather covers. The Stellia are reminiscent of vintage leather headphones and have a design that stands out a lot more than that of the Elegia or the Elear.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.98 lbs
Clamping Force
1.0 lbs

The Stellia are very comfortable over-ear headphones. Their headband is well-padded and their ear cups are large and deep. They’re lighter than the Focal Elear and although they are a bit bulky, they don’t feel fatiguing to wear over long periods of time. The leather ear cups feel pleasing on the skin and seal a bit better than the fabric coating of the Focal Elegia, but they may not seal as well on everyone and can create gaps around the ears.

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

These headphones do not have an in-line remote with controls.

5.6
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 7.8 C

Like most closed-back over-ear headphones, the Focal Stellia aren’t very breathable. Their leather ear cups are comfortable but also trap a fair bit of heat around your ears. They won’t be ideal for sports as you will sweat more than usual with these headphones on. It should be noted that these headphones fit somewhat awkwardly on our testing equipment, so we had to find a way to make them fit more tightly, which means the results may be warmer than what you would experience on a normal head with a normal fit.

5.2
Design
Portability
L 8.5 "
W 7.5 "
H 4.1 "
Volume 261 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

Like most over-ear headphones, the Focal Stellia are not very portable. They don’t fold into a more compact format and their ear cups don’t swivel to lay flat. They come with a nice carrying case to protect them when you’re out and about, but it adds additional bulk.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 8.5 "
W 9.5 "
H 4.7 "
Volume 380 Cu. Inches

The Stellia come with a large hard carrying case that helps protect the headphones against scratches, water exposure, and physical damage. The interior is molded to snugly fit the headphones and technically fits the Focal Elegia and Elear as well.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The Focal Stellia are outstandingly well-built headphones. They are made nearly exclusively of metal and have very few moving parts, which makes them feel durable and solid. The ear cup padding and headband have full-grain leather covers, which lends a very high-end feel to the headphones. The cognac leather finish does stain easily, but this is to be expected of a natural leather product. The headphones come with a thick detachable braided cable that can be replaced if broken, but don’t come with extra ear pads like the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO.

6.0
Design
Stability

The Stellia have a stable enough fit to remain on your head during casual or critical listening sessions but won’t be ideal for sports, as expected. If you attempt to run or work out with these headphones, they are likely to fall off. They’re fine otherwise, though, so you shouldn’t have a problem with them wiggling around too much unless you’re making exaggerated movements.

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

  • Focal Stellia headphones
  • 4-foot 1/8” TRS cable
  • 1/4” TRS adapter
  • 10-foot XLR cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manuals with faux leather wallet

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.22 db
Treble Amount
-3.04 db
5.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.1 dB

The Stellia have sub-par frequency response consistency. Their bass delivery is quite consistent across our human subjects, with the exception of the one who wears glasses. If you have a lot of hair between the headphones and your ear, or wear glasses, then you may experience a noticeable drop in bass. The maximum deviation at 20Hz is about 8dB for our human subjects. There’s also a fair amount of inconsistency in the treble range, with up to 10dB of deviation depending on the position of the headphones on our dummy head. This means that your treble response may change as the headphones move around on your head.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.15 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
-3.2 dB
Mid-Bass
0.99 dB
High-Bass
2.06 dB

The Focal Stellia have great bass. Low-frequency extension (LFE) is at 10Hz and low-bass is within about 1dB of our neutral target, which means these headphones have deep and extended bass with an appropriate amount of thump and rumble. This makes them suitable for bass-heavy music like hip-hop, EDM, and film scores. There’s a 3dB bump that begins in mid-bass and continues into high-bass, however, which can make these headphones sound a bit boomy and muddy.

However, it is worth noting that their bass delivery varies significantly across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. This represents the average bass response, and your experience may vary.

9.0
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.33 dB
Low-Mid
-0.7 dB
Mid-Mid
0.71 dB
High-Mid
1.64 dB

The mid-range is great. The response is even and flat throughout the range and is within about 3dB of our target curve. This suggests an overall clear and balanced reproduction of vocals and lead instruments, however, the slight overemphasis in the high-mids results in vocals and leads that may sound a bit forward.

6.9
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.16 dB
Low-Treble
-2.29 dB
Mid-Treble
-3.3 dB
High-Treble
-9.39 dB

The Focal Stellia have good treble performance. The response is relatively well-balanced, which is important for producing accurate vocals and lead instruments. However, it is slightly veiled. The dip from 4kHz to 8kHz will have a small negative effect on the brightness and detail of the vocals and instruments. That said, not everyone experiences treble frequencies the same way so your listening experience may differ.

7.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.52 db
Dips
1.24 db
8.1
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.32
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.13
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.19
Weighted Phase Mismatch
5.18

The imaging performance is very good. Weighted group delay is at 0.32, which is great. The group delay graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the left and right drivers of our test unit were well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase. This is important for the proper placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field. However, these results are only valid for our test unit, and yours may perform differently.

4.6
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.26 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.0 dB
PRTF Distance
6.66 dB
Openness
4.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
4.2

The Stellia have a poor soundstage. The PRTF graph shows that the response doesn’t follow our reference very closely. There’s a limited amount of pinna interaction and activation, and there is no 10kHz notch present either. Since creating a speaker-like soundstage is dependent on the amount and accuracy of pinna interaction, these results suggest the Stellia’s soundstage will be perceived as relatively small and located inside the listener's head. Also, because the Stellia are closed-back headphones, they will feel less open than the open-back Focal Elear.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.1
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.230
WHD @ 100
0.078
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
Isolation
5.7
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-13.77 dB
Bass
0.41 dB
Mid
-14.82 dB
Treble
-28.44 dB

The Stellia have mediocre noise isolation. These headphones don't have active noise cancelling and therefore don’t isolate in the bass range. This means they let in the deep rumbles of bus and airplane engines. They do alright at blocking out speech, isolating in the mid-range by about 15dB. They perform fairly well in the treble range, responsible for sharp sounds like S and T sibilants or A/C fan unit noises, isolating by about 28 dB.

6.3
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
43.49 dB

Their leakage performance is unremarkable. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 500Hz and 5.5kHz, which is a relatively broad spectrum concentrated in the mid and treble ranges. Therefore, their leakage will sound fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds, but not as loud and full as open-back headphones. However, the overall level of the leakage is not too loud. At 100dB SPL, the average leakage at a 1-foot distance was 43dB and peaked at 61dB, which is about the average office noise floor.

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

These headphones don’t have a microphone.

0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A

These headphones don’t have a microphone.

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

These headphones don’t require a battery.

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

There is no companion app for the Focal Stellia.

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

The Stellia don’t support Bluetooth.

Since the Focal Stellia are wired headphones, they have virtually no latency, which is great for gaming or watching videos.

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 4 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The Focal Stellia have a 1/8” TRS connection that provides audio on consoles and PC as well. They also come with a 1/4” adapter and an XLR cable for compatibility with different amps, receivers, or other forms of audio gear.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
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

These headphones don’t come with a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Focal Stellia are remarkably well-crafted critical listening headphones that stand out thanks to the premium materials used in their build. They have a straightforward wired design and well-balanced sound but aren’t very versatile since they don’t block much noise and are a bit bulky. They look great, but may not provide as much value as other models in the Focal lineup. If you’re looking for other high-end headphones for critical listening, check out our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones. See also our recommendations for the best closed-back headphones and the best headphones for studio use.

Focal Elegia
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Focal Stellia and the Focal Elegia are very similar closed-back critical listening headphones. They’re both very well-built, comfortable headphones. The Elegia have a more understated design whereas the Stellia have a retro look that stands out more. Some people may find the leather ear cups of the Stellia more pleasing on the skin and they also come with an XLR cable, which is a nice touch. They sound fairly similar overall, but the Stellia’s bass is a bit punchier and their treble is slightly less underemphasized. Overall, it comes down to personal preference and taste; however, the Elegia provide better value for most. That said, if you’re looking for a more premium listening experience, the Stellia may be worth the investment.

Sennheiser HD 820
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Focal Stellia are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 820. The Stellia are better-built and feel like more premium headphones. The Sennheiser are mostly made of plastic and, although they feel durable, they don’t feel quite as luxurious as the metal and leather build of the Stellia. Both headphones perform reasonably similar sound-wise, but the HD 820 sound a bit boxier. They’re similar headphones otherwise, so your decision will mostly come down to preference.

Focal Elear
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Focal Elear are better critical listening headphones than the Focal Stellia, but the Stellia are a bit more versatile. The Elear are open-back headphones that produce a more spacious soundstage than the Stellia; however, they’re a bit bass-light. Although the Elear provide better value for use in a quiet listening room, the Stellia have deeper bass and also isolate more noise, which is better for use in environments with more ambient noise.

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO are better closed-back critical listening headphones for most people than the Focal Stellia. Their treble response is less veiled, and their bass response is slightly more balanced. They also come with additional ear cups and come with a longer, coiled audio cable. The Stellia do have a more premium look and feel, though, and come with a better carrying case. The Stellia are worth considering if you prefer their more premium design, but the DT 1770 PRO provide better value overall.

Focal Stellia Price

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