Massdrop x Focal Elex

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by cskippy, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,126
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    A generous headphone enthusiast loaned me his Elex for impressions/measurements. Here are my notes:

    Might be the most tonally correct Focal*.
    Doesn't hit as hard as the Utopia
    Good quantity of mid bass, not a ton of sub bass extension but it's better than most dynamics
    Isn't as clear as Clear or Utopia
    Pretty polite
    They do sound damped by the cloth pads
    I like the aesthetics, very understated
    Nice cables, I think they are the same options as the Clear?

    Upper mids and treble was very impressive to me, cymbals have a very realistic hit and ring. Elex does this better than almost any headphone I've heard (HD650 is also excellent here but presents the information in a more forward manner).

    Like the other Focal offerings, the bass seems a little slower than the very fast mid range and treble. I think the cloth pads are damping the drivers more than the leather pads found on the Utopia. The benefit though is that the overall sound is less forward and metallic like Utopia and the treble is very clean and clear sounding.

    It's hard to say how these sound compared to the Clear. They might be slightly less refined? I know frequency response wise, the Elex takes a step backwards but I actually like the slightly warmer sound.
    Clear had some treble peaks that really wore on me.

    Elex also seems to have quite the improved sound stage. It's less in your head than Utopia, and definitely better than Clear, which I though had the worst sound stage of all the Focals. The sound stage of Elex isn't wide, but this allows the depth to be better conveyed and instruments still have room to breathe.

    I'm very tempted to pick up a pair for bedroom casual listening.

    * I have gone through some major changes to my system so take this with a grain of salt.
    Clear might be a step up but it was fatiguing and very claustrophobic when I listened to it.

    First up, channel matching (it's excellent):
    [​IMG]

    Right Distortion:
    [​IMG]

    Right CSD:
    [​IMG]

    Right Impulse Response:
    [​IMG]

    Right Phase (something I'll be adding for future measurements):
    [​IMG]

    Left Distortion:
    [​IMG]

    Left CSD:
    [​IMG]

    Left Impulse Response:
    [​IMG]

    Left Phase:
    [​IMG]

    Elex vs Elear:
    [​IMG]

    It looks like pads make a huge difference! I couldn't stand Elear but Elex is probably my favorite Focal.
     
  2. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,126
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Now this is interesting....
    [​IMG]

    It doesn't seem like much of a difference between Elex and Clear with FR except around 10kHz but my memory tells a different story. I sure would love to do a side by side comparison in the future.

    Elex vs Utopia:
    [​IMG]

    In listening, Elex was much better balanced with less aggressive and forward sound signature. Measurements seem to say otherwise. I think the cloth pads Elex uses help to control ringing and reflections to make the sound clearer.

    Since I had the pads available, if you ever wondered what $250 pads do to a $700 headphone:
    [​IMG]

    And this is what I really enjoyed, Elex pads on Utopia:
    [​IMG]

    They may or may not measure the same as Clear pads but the black aesthetic means it matches Utopia better and will show less grime and wear. I also thought they felt better than the Clear pads from memory.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018

Share This Page