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G3n3r1c
157
Jul 2, 2018
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Overall: Exceptional clarity and dynamic response. Worth $700 in the current market, but understand what you are buying.
Strengths:
1. Built like a tank, the quality is obvious in all areas. [And attractive IMO.] 2. Extremely resolving of dynamic differences -- this drives some listeners crazy. The Elex let you hear extremely small differences in volume, probably to a greater degree than many original sound engineers. Because of this, some recording sound different or distorted (until your ears adjust). Soft sounds become s-o-f-t while loud sounds may seem OVERWHELMING. This can be described as a "3D" effect, but more likely reflects artifacts induced due to limited dynamic awareness during mastering. After 20-30 hours my brain adjusted and the effect faded, but is still there with A/B comparisons to other headphones. 3. Clean, clean, clean, punchy, full-range, and a generally neutral sound profile. Crystal, glass, ice. Not boomy, not muddy, not bright, not harsh. 4. Includes two high-quality cables: Standard and balanced XLR (4-pin). The second cable would cost $50 to $100 if purchased alone. The Elex do indeed sound better with a balanced DAC/Amp, but you may need to buy an XLR adapter for another $30 to $50.
Neutral or Negative:
1. Sounded a touch brassy/metallic with female voices for the first 20-30 hours. The high end also seemed a bit rough too. I either adapted or they broke in. No longer perceived. 2. These are large headphones with lots of metal. They are on the heavy side for me. 3. Factory replacement ear pads are way too expensive. 4. The case is visually impressive but sharp-edged, bulky, and not practical for routine storage. It's totally useless for transport. 5. At high volumes you can induce a metallic clicking sounds (e.g., bug zapper, stripped gear) as the drivers bottom out rather than distort. Per Focal, this is by design. A standard test track with over-the-top bass is "Why So Serious?" from the The Dark Knight soundtrack (around the 3:30 mark). Please test with a quality source (not Youtube)! My normal listening volume is 8:30 or 9:00 o'clock on my amp; it'll start clicking around 1:00 o'clock. So, it's not close to being an issue for me. It may be an issue for hip-hop fans or bass-heads; they should probably choose warmer headphones anyway.
Jul 2, 2018
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