Initial impressions of this headphone are outstanding. Unfortunately at the moment I do not have my headphone amp handy, so initial impressions are playing apple lossless files though a Dragonfly Red, comparing with my HD700's using tracks I am very familiar with. Volume on the DF Red is maxed, which produces a satisfying listening level on both sets of headphones, but more headroom, let alone an amp with more juice, would make this a better test.
The difference from the HD700 is pretty significant - the Elex seems tighter across the board, with a more airy top end, cleaner bottom end and just a more cohesive sound across the board. The Elex has a more open, effortless sound to it than the HD700. Hard to make too many judgements without listening on better gear, which will come soon, but HD700 is left behind for the moment.
I have an Oppo Sonica DAC, and a DV336SE is on order from MD, shipping early September. I plan already to mod the Darkvoice, parts on order, tubes coming too. I have an RSA SR-71A portable amp here somewhere but I cannot find it at the moment (kicking myself!) Looking forward to some good listening in the near future on the Elex.
I've progressed from K702's to K712's to the HD700's, and now the Elex. HD800's have been a goal for a while now, as I know by reputation that they fit my musical tastes (Orchestra, chorale, jazz, acoustic stuff). Pretty sure the HD700's may be up for sale soon to help get the HD800's, but Elex will be staying for a while :-). It would be interesting to hear from people that have had a chance to compare the Focals to the HD800's.
I will post a follow up when I have more time on these brilliant headphones.
Update: DV336SE came in early, got it running last night with the Sonica and the Elex. After swapping tubes for some old RCAs that I picked up in anticipation of running the DV, I was off and running. Going through a number of my normal test tracks, the thing I realized was that I was listening to a number of them right through the end of the track, the enjoyment level was so high. Also, did not touch the HD700s at all. More to come, working on mods for the DV next...