Massdrop x Focal Elex

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Loves Sex and Records

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    There will be no photos of the product. I think I might stick to this approach, sort of like how I found the best cookbooks to not contain any photos, or very few photos of the food. Have you guys ever noticed how cookbooks that have a lot of photos of the dishes tend to suck and are better off used as coffee table decoration? The cookbooks that contain a bunch of text, small text, are the good ones. They get into the gritty details of cooking technique. Anyway, since I am a totally unknown random loser in audiophiledom with $200 in measurement hardware and software, and not Jude or JA, I only got to keep the Elex for a short period of time before I had to send them off to Japan to Anakchan. In other words, the measurements were rushed, done right before I went to bed.

    Focal Elex Frequency Response (0db line = 100dbSPL)
    Elex FR.png

    Focal Elex CSDs
    Elex L.jpg
    Elex R.jpg

    Focal Elex Harmonic Distortions (at FR measurement levels)
    Elex L HD.jpg
    Elex R HD.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Loves Sex and Records

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    Oh yeah. I should mention that from what I had heard, the Elex is based on the Elear, with the most significant changes to the pads. Again, just what I was told. I haven't read the description of the Massdrop site. You guys can read it yourselves. The pads are kind of a fuzzy fuzz material, not the pleather of the Elear. To get straight to the point, the Elex sounds to me most like a super HD600. Nope, not a super HD650, but rather a super HD600. Well maybe I should qualify this a bit. The tonal balance is similar, but the HD600 still has smoother treble. The Elex's treble sounds rougher. However, the Elex's dynamics, clarity, and transient response is on another level. As for amp synergies, amps that work well with the HD600 should also work well with the Elex. Finally, if you find the HD600 just a tad too bright, you will likely feel the same awy about the Elex. See the comparison with the HD600 (new pads, black screen) below.

    HD600 = BLUE
    ELEX = GREY
    HD600 and Elex FR.png
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Loves Sex and Records

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    Here is a comparison with Elear (with stock pads).

    ELEAR = PURPLE
    ELEX = GREY
    Elex vs Elear FR.png
     
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  4. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    Looks great! If you don't want to spend the $1500 for the Clear this certainly looks like you get really close in performance. Distortion seems marginally worse but not a deal breaker. I'll be getting one if the ship in less than 6 months from now or I'll wait for them to go up for sale later.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Loves Sex and Records

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    So everyone wants to know how the Elex compares to Utopia. Well, at least from an frequency response angle, I can show you:

    UTOPIA = PINK
    ELEX = GREY
    Elex vs Utopia FR.png
     
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  6. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Did it sound like the Utopia at all, tonally?
     
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  7. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    Well this certainly complicates my next headphone purchase. This might be a nice partner in crime for my Eikon.
     
  8. ductrung3993

    ductrung3993 Rando

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    Thank you for the FR comparison with Utopia. I was tempted to ask for it but didnt wanna rush you so i opened the Utopia FR on another tab, aligned them so they matched each other as close as I can then just switch between the 2 tabs to compare. Much better this way lol
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Loves Sex and Records

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    Full disclosure so people do not think I am a Massdrop shill. Sometimes there are things that plots do not show. The Elex started to hit xmax (exceed mechanical travel) at levels just a db or two higher than what the frequency response measurements were taken at. If we look carefully, we see a clue:

    Elex Harmonic Distortions
    Elex distortion.png

    Now this is hardly the end of the world. I am not a measurement extremist. The truth is, this will never present itself as an issue as music has very little energy in its lowest octave. Even the lowest note bass drop on Daft Punk's Doin' It Right is not going to present a problem. However, the Telarc 1812 Overture just might... One thing to note is that I do not remember the Utopia or Elear driver to hit xmax while I was adjusting for the appropriate reference measurement level.

    Now in terms of distortion up to 90hz, we can argue that the Elex is better than that of the HD6XX seen below. Above 90Hz, Elex seems just have just a bit higher overall distortion than the HD6XX, but it's mostly second order. I am not sure what accounts for the superior clarity and blacker background of the Elex compared to HD6**, but it's likely something that might be seen in the burst responses. This is something I plan to explore later this weekend if I can find the time to finish the IR convolution routines.

    HD6XX Harmonic Distortions
    [​IMG]

    Subjectively: still a hint of that middle mid emphasis, but not as much; a bit less upper mid emphasis, a bit more treble emphasis. As a result, and looking at it another way, Elex doesn't seem as lean as Utopia in the bass, but Elex also sounds a bit brighter on the top-end (not upper mid) than Utopia. Utopia seems tuned more like rougher SR009. Elex like rougher HD600.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  10. Serious

    Serious Seriously uninformed pain in the ass

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    Wait, Jude's measurement showed the FR to be pretty much exactly like the Clear, which measured a bit warmer than the Utopia (similar to the IF measurements).

    innerfidelity
    https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/FocalClearsnA1BRQE000013.pdf
    https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/FocalUtopiasnA1BEHG003253.pdf


    vs Utopia at 4:12*
    vs Clear at 5:40

    *Woah, nvm. Those measurements are very different from the measurements from the Clear video. No idea what's going on.

    (measurements at 12:12)

    Measurements also on the Massdrop page

    What does it sound like? A bit brighter than the Utopia like your measurements show? Warmer than the Utopia?

    EDIT: Nvm, you pretty much just answered my questions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Loves Sex and Records

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    Does the Clear use the same type of fuzzy fuzz pads? Just curious. Would be funny (not funny) if the Elex was the Clear in different cosmetics.
     
  12. brencho

    brencho Good Friend (Moderator)

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    It sounds like the pads they're using are similar across the Clear and Elex (perforated fuzzy fuzz) but the drivers are different between the two models.

    haha fastest gun in the west
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
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  13. Serious

    Serious Seriously uninformed pain in the ass

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    According to Jude same earpads, but different driver. The Clear driver moves the resonance a few kHz higher compared to the Elear

    lol, brencho was a few ms quicker
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Loves Sex and Records

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    OK guys. So this is the really cool part, especially for modders. I took one measurement of the Elex on my old style V1 coupler. I know that a few of you guys like to see this measurement because it might be more reflective of treble performance. The V1 coupler uses a foam plate to more closely simulate a free air / anechoic environment that minimizes internal cup reflections.

    Elex CSD foam plate
    Elex foam.jpg

    Pretty darn awesome huh! That's a very well behaved driver.
     
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  15. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Completely agree. Books by Food Network personalities are nothing but pictures to spruce up garbage recipes. Julia Child and Fergus Henderson have zero pictures and they have the best recipes.
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Loves Sex and Records

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    You know who I want to beat the shit out of? Emeril. BAM! I still have my Julia Child paperback.
     
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  17. Serious

    Serious Seriously uninformed pain in the ass

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    Neat, same driver but totally different CSDs due to a different damping scheme it seems. Still has both the 4 and 8kHz driver features, but it's much more damped now.

    Wait, you mean the driver clipped at levels higher than 90db in the subbass? Considering how little excursion headphones need that sounds unlikely to me, but if that's really the case that would be dealbreaker to me. Even the HD600 doesn't hit xmax at that level, it just distorts.
    How did that look in the measurements? What did it sound like in reality?
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Loves Sex and Records

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    Yes. 20Hz-35Hz region hard clipped at 93-94db. Sounded like "click click click click."

    HD600 can seem to do a bit more on the volume knob before clipping, but HD600 does roll off a few db more from 20-35Hz compared to Elex. The Elex is also a far more open design than the HD600. Considering the see-through nature of the area immediately around the Elex driver, the effective baffle of Elex is much smaller compared to the HD600 which has a screen. This very open baffle nature probably also contributes to the Elex / Elear / Clear / Utopia's responsive and dynamic sound.
     
  19. allegro

    allegro Facebook Friend

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    How does sound stage and imaging compare to the other Focal phones?
     
  20. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    Julia Child?!! I have almost all her cookbooks. Cooked my way 3/4 the way through the Art of French Cooking. Headphone and cooking meet? Save the liver!!
     
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