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Edit: New pair has survived long enough to review the sound!
In summary: I wish Focal would make these reliable, and then keep making them forever.
First pair died within four days, but Drop took care of that quickly. Replacement is still working for the moment.
Buy anything fancier than the HD 600 and I swear almost every option is a gimmick—but not these. Lots of choices with soundstage and "detail" and treble that cuts holes in your eardrums and no upper mids for some reason. But the Elex sounds… mostly correct! Not exactly an HD 600 with more bass extension, but I suspect most people looking for that will be happy with these.
Compared to the currently similarly priced Hifiman Ananda, the Ananda comes across significantly brighter and harsher. That can make the Elex seem to lack detail at first if you're used to that sound, but give it time.
I'm sure I could find the infamous x-max problem if I wanted to, but it hasn't been a real problem for me even with bass-heavy music at mildly irresponsible volumes.
I'm only split on recommending them because drivers failing without serious abuse—especially for a not-remotely-esoteric dynamic headphone and especially almost out of the box—should be almost unheard of.
Mine still haven't arrived. Getting more worried by the minute about this issue. Wonder what the failure has been for this batch.
Obviously I can't say (and I can find no published stats—only one wild motivated guess), but I can say I have never had a headphone driver go out on me before. I've had cables fail, I've had things physically break, and I've had earpads disintegrate. But I've never just lost a voice coil on anything before.
But even a 20% failure rate would leave a lot of angry reviews and 80% happy customers.
From all the Elex purchased on Drop. Only about 7% have reported driver failures on their reviews (I did the math lol). I hope it is indeed that low. It is a bit high even but still within normal rates of tech products.
I think maybe the issue is Focal may be using old Elear drivers without checking to see if the soldering is intact. I don't know why they wouldn't just check to see if the drivers work before packing it up? Maybe they do check, but clearly something is happening either damage during shipping or Focal is half-assing their quality control.
I got lucky with mine, I got mines around New Years & I seen that people had problems with there’s but pulled the trigger anyway & they got here & I love them & then one side stopped working but luckily for me it was just the cable, I was honestly close to getting the beyer dt1990’s until I discovered these
I have definitely seem stories about drivers failing in other Focal products.
$500 is still not cheap, and IMO this would be an unacceptable recurring defect in $20 headphones. (Though to be fair $20 headphones are probably produced at much higher volume by a well-tuned assembly process.) I would be SHOCKED if Focal is still not making massive margins on these.