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Reviewed on Apr 10, 2019 , Marc Henney, Jake Thauvette, Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

Focal Stellia
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.3
Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.6
Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
5.8
Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
5.4
Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
6.1
Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
6.1
TV
Score components:
5.8
Gaming
Score components:
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.

Test Results
Design 7.1
Sound 7.4
Isolation 6.3
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8
Pros
  • Premium design and build quality.
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Bulky design.
  • Bass delivery varies across users. Sensitive to glasses.

Check Price

7.1

Design

Score components:
Focal Stellia Design Picture

The Focal Stellia are high-end wired closed-back over-ear headphones. They’re outstandingly well-crafted with a premium metal and leather build. The Stellia have a more retro look than the similarly designed Elegia, which makes them stand out a bit more. They have thick padding around the ear cups and headband and are very comfortable headphones. Like the Focal Elegia, the Stellia don’t have a very breathable or portable design but do come with a great hard carrying case for traveling. Although they don’t have an in-line remote with any controls, their closed-back design makes them a bit more versatile than the open-back Focal Elear, and they come with a 1/4” TRS adapter and an XLR cable for use with various forms of audio gear.

Style
Focal Stellia Design Picture 2

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 Comfort
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Focal Stellia Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.98 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
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 Controls
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
What it is: A transparency feature that uses the mics of the headphones to let you hear what is doing on around you without removing them.
When it matters: If you want to be aware of what is going on around you without removing your headphones or while still listening to your audio. This is typically a feature for the noise canceling headphones and passively isolating in-ears that block a lot of noise.
Good value: Yes or adjustable.
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

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

5.7 Breathability
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Focal Stellia Breathability After Picture
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 Portability
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Focal Stellia Portability Picture
L : 8.5 "
W : 7.5 "
H : 4.1 "
Volume : 261 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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 Case
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Focal Stellia Case Picture
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 Build Quality
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Focal Stellia Build Quality Picture

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 Stability
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Focal Stellia Stability Picture

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.

Cable
Focal Stellia Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

The Focal Stellia come with a 4-foot 1/8” TRS cable, an 1/4” TRS adapter and a 10-foot XLR cable.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.4

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Focal Stellia Frequency Response

The Focal Stellia are closed-back over-ears that sound satisfactory overall. They have deep, punchy bass, a well-balanced mid-range, and good treble. However, their bass delivery is inconsistent, especially if you wear glasses. Their mid-range is also overemphasized a bit, which brings vocals and instruments slightly to the front of the mix, and their treble sounds a little veiled. That said, their sound is still versatile for a wide variety of music genres and is particularly well-suited to more vocal-centric music.

8.8 Bass
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Focal Stellia Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.84 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.06 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.98 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.22 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.

8.5 Mid
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Focal Stellia Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.03 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.36 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.92 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.64 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.

7.8 Treble
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Focal Stellia Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.69 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.82 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.51 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.91 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.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
5.7 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Focal Stellia Consistency L Focal Stellia Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
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.

8.1 Imaging
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Focal Stellia Group Delay Focal Stellia Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.32
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.13
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.19
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
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 Soundstage
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
Focal Stellia PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
3.26 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.0 dB
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
6.66 dB
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
4.3
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

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.

8.3 Total Harmonic Distortion
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Focal Stellia Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.713
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.713

The harmonic distortion performance is very good. The amount of THD produced is very low throughout the range. However, the peak around 1kHz could make these frequencies a bit harsh and impure.

6.3

Isolation

Score components:

The Focal Stellia have mediocre isolation performance, which makes them less ideal for use during your daily commute or while traveling than noise cancelling headphones. They will let in the low rumbles of bus and plane engines since they don’t block lower frequencies. They can block a fair amount of ambient chatter if you get a decent seal around your ears, and results will be even better when playing music. However, people surrounding you might hear what you’re listening to in quieter environments. This shouldn't be too much of a problem in moderately loud situations, though, since the overall level of their leakage isn’t too high.

6.3 Noise Isolation
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Focal Stellia Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-13.77 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0.41 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-14.82 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-28.44 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0 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 Leakage
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Focal Stellia Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people to hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
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.

0

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The Focal Stellia are designed for critical listening and don’t have an integrated, in-line, or boom microphone.

0 Recording Quality
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
N/A
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
N/A
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
N/A
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
N/A
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
N/A

These headphones don’t have a microphone.

0 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
N/A

These headphones don’t have a microphone.

0

Active Features

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The Focal Stellia are passive, wired headphones that don’t have a battery nor a companion app.

N/A Battery
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
N/A
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
N/A
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
N/A
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when you're relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
N/A
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
N/A

These headphones don’t require a battery.

0 App Support
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
N/A
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
N/A
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

There is no companion app for the Focal Stellia.

4.8

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:

The Focal Stellia are wired headphones that don’t support Bluetooth wireless, so you’re limited by their 4-foot long TRS cable or their 10-foot XLR cable. They can be connected to PCs and consoles with their 1/8” TRS connection, and they also come with a 1/4” TRS adapter. They have virtually no latency, which is great for watching videos or gaming without a microphone.

0 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC Pairing
Bluetooth Version
What it is: The version of Bluetooth that the headphones support.
When it matters: Newer versions of Bluetooth, when paired with devices that support the same version, may have improved latency and wireless range performance.
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

The Stellia don’t support Bluetooth.

7.2 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog Audio
  • 9% USB Audio
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
OS Compatibility
What it is: Testing the headphones' cable to see which operating system it works with.
When it matters: Some wired headphones don't support all operating systems so this allows you to check if the headphones will work with your device.
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
What it is: When your headphones can play analog media using a standard 1/8" TRS audio jack. Includes using a 1/4" or 1/16" TRS with a 1/8" TRS adapter.
When it matters: For listening to music with devices that have a standard 1/8" TRS audio jack, like an MP3 player, tablet, smartphone or PC.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB Audio
What it is: When your headphones can play digital media using a standard USB connector.
When it matters: For listening to music on a PC. A digital USB adapter can offer some advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC or added software support.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4 controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only

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.

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a specific frequency range or wired headphones that have a proprietary amp.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and personal computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Type
What it is: The type of base/dock the headphones use, whether a USB dongle, charging case or docking station. Wired or wireless.
When it matters: Larger docking stations tend to have more controls and sometimes even customization options while smaller USB dongles are more portable. Charging cases allow you to keep your earbuds charged on-the-go.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source for the base/dock/transmitter.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

These headphones don’t come with a dock.

0 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. We test our obstructed range with a Moto E4 Plus. Results may vary depending on your phone model or Bluetooth source.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
N/A

The Stellia aren’t wireless headphones, so you’re limited by either their 4-foot long TRS cable or their 10-foot XLR cable.

10 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

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

In the box

Focal Stellia In the box Picture

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

Compared to other Headphones

Focal Stellia Compare 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

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

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.

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO

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 Elear

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.

Conclusion

6.3Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
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.
7.6Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Good for critical 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.
5.8Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
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.
5.4Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
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.
6.1Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
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.
6.1TV
Score components:
Passable for TV. The Stellia have a balanced sound that’s well-suited to film scores and TV soundtracks. They’re also very comfortable which is great if you’re watching a long movie. Since they’re wired headphones, you’ll have no latency issues; however, their TRS cable is a bit short. Thankfully, their XLR cable is longer and may be compatible with some home theatre setups.
5.8Gaming
Score components:
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.

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