Showing 1 of 738 conversations about:
Will
6833
Chief Product Officer
Dec 15, 2017
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Hello Friends,
When Focal announced the Elear in 2016, I was on the hype train immediately. A company known for incredible driver design, built off its own research and IP entering the Flagship headphone arena for the first time? It’s incredibly rare (once every 10-15 years, if that) and intriguing.
I saw Jude’s interview with Nicolas and the hype train hit Mach 1. The Elear wasn’t made by an OEM contracted by Focal, it was made by their team in Saint-Étienne, built from the ground up to exacting standards at every level of production. I saw Jude’s measurements... this looks like a super 650... Mach 3. I bought a pair right away. Those were the longest 40 hours of burn-in I’ve done since my first HD800. Put them on, hit play, and... Mach 0. The bass was too strong for me, the mid presence was too weak for me, the FR reminded me of the early 650 when it had a veil and bass distortion. The clarity, transient response, and soundstage was on another level, so the driver technology delivered on everything it promised, but the FR just wasn’t for me.
This spring, discussions around Focal picked up on Massdrop. We started seeing polls asking for Elears and Utopias. The community started to voice their feelings on both within our platform, and the overall sentiment matched closely with my own experience. Folks didn’t like the bass, folks wanted a little more mids (though there was much debate on this, very easy to have too much in the upper midrange), the driver tech was great, but the FR needed to change. Beyond that, the discussions dove into physical characteristics of the headphone. The Elear is heavy, add a thick, rubberized, 4m cable to that (this was on release, it’s been revised down to ~3m since) and you’re hanging a 100g weight from your 450g headphone with the rubberized material catching on everything for those microphonics we all love.
With a detailed community mandate in-hand, we approached Focal this spring, suggesting we work together on a refinement of the Elear, utilizing elements of the Clear to reach these goals:
1. Reduce the bass response to a tasteful ~3 db above neutral 2. Bring up the midrange presence so it’s in line with the rest of the frequency range 3. Change the cable to be lighter and 6ft long 4. Remove the rubberized coating on the cable 5. Simplify the aesthetic with a black on black on gunmetal colorway
Focal was receptive to our proposal and over the next 8 months we worked to achieve these goals. To reduce the bass response and bring up the midrange, we changed the earpads to a similar style as the Clear while tweaking the damping scheme.
We dropped the long rubber cable and replaced it with two cloth covered cables. One is terminated with a 4-pin XLR, one is terminated with a 1/4”, both are 6ft long.
We changed the colorway from the black + silver combination to a black on black with the cable providing a little contrast with black on gunmetal.
Across all our headphone collaborations, I feel we’ve executed the community mandate most completely in the Elex. This is the Massdrop flagship open headphone collaboration.
None of this would be possible without your interest, your discussions, your insights, and your support. Thank you for your continued interest in our collaborations and community designed products.
This drop is limited to 1000 units, all serialized, the first 500 purchases are guaranteed a serial number under 550.
Dec 15, 2017
Crawres
20
Dec 15, 2017
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Oh come on why do you limit this drop to these countries. That makes me really really sad.
Dec 15, 2017
Shit
48
Dec 15, 2017
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" 2. Bring up the midrange presence so it’s in line with the rest of the frequency range "
Was any tuning done specifically for this? Other than bringing bass down, so mids are relatively higher?
Dec 15, 2017
Will
6833
Chief Product Officer
Dec 15, 2017
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Hey Crawres,
I'd love to ship everywhere we normally do, but this is a restriction from Focal.
Dec 15, 2017
Crawres
20
Dec 15, 2017
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That really really sucks. So there wouldn't even this third party shipping thing you did on other drops?
Dec 15, 2017
Will
6833
Chief Product Officer
Dec 15, 2017
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Nah sorry. That's a process we run to accommodate partners who care more about the letter of their distribution agreements than the spirit. This is Focal's first time working with us, so maybe as time goes on we'll be able to open up more destinations.
All that said, there are freight forwarding services you can engage yourself. I don't have any to recommend, but I'd guess the cost is reasonable as a percentage of $800.
Dec 15, 2017
sunnyswh
6
Dec 16, 2017
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can you set an "official" forwarding partner? a bit worried about random forwarding companies.
Dec 16, 2017
TheOmegaCarrot
110
Dec 16, 2017
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Are y'all considering loaning out review units? I would love to get my hands on one of these!
Dec 16, 2017
bsastor
725
Dec 16, 2017
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Really love listening to the french speaking english. Makes everything more premium immediately. Here's my $800, please give me your wonderful headphones. Thank you. I would have said that if i have 800.
Dec 16, 2017
lossendae
31
Dec 16, 2017
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Too much bass ? Did you ever listen to any song on any good speaker ? The fad of open back headphone with little to no bass sounds like an excuse to justify the audiophile price. And those certainly don't don't sound anywhere close to a good set of speakers.
Dec 16, 2017
darth415
13
Dec 16, 2017
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It still has +3db. Thats plenty of bass. Also the rule of thumb is that the bigger the speakers, the easier it is to make them sound good (generally), so of course speakers sound good.
You sound like you really enjoy Skullcandy and beats products?
Dec 16, 2017
hazaric
0
Dec 16, 2017
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Dec 16, 2017
bgbkt
25
Dec 16, 2017
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What's the return policy on this?
Dec 16, 2017
lugnut
101
Dec 16, 2017
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What is the estimated shipping time/schedule ? Thanks
Dec 16, 2017
lossendae
31
Dec 18, 2017
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Ah, I was sure that Beats would come, and no, I don't like them. :)
But I do like dancing, which for some songs needs bass, and that make most open back cans neutrally no fun at all. This was not the case with the original Elear.
Dec 18, 2017
Woot-Zee
50
Dec 18, 2017
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Then, Focal just lost me... it is just as easy. (Not too bad, I may be the only one) :D
Dec 18, 2017
jotry
46
Dec 18, 2017
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This is something I would specifically like to know more about is how the results were achieved to bring the bass down, and the midrange up. Is this solely from the earpad swap to the Clear style earpads, or was there some degree of tuning changes done to achieve this? Reports are indicating it is the earpad swap responsible for this, but some are saying the midrange has been decreased. Clarification from you Will woudl be greatly appreciated!
Dec 18, 2017
Saaq
5
Dec 18, 2017
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isnt focal located in France...?
Dec 18, 2017
david.zamora
102
Dec 18, 2017
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It's ridiculous how ear pads can completely alter the sound signature. You could have a $2k pair of cans and with the wrong ear pads and it wouldn't sound any different than a $200 pair of cans.
Dec 18, 2017
DJAT
251
Dec 18, 2017
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THAT... is so true.
Dec 18, 2017
Will
6833
Chief Product Officer
Dec 18, 2017
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Ear pads are to headphones as rooms are to speakers. That said, your statement is not entirely accurate.
While ear pads play a massive part in shaping the frequency response of a headphone, they do little to change things like transient response, driver dynamics, sound stage presentation, sensations of attack or decay, etc. These are things that relate more directly to the performance of the driver, and a $2000 headphone driver should always stand out in these areas compared to a $200 headphone driver.
The really tricky area is when ear pads change the measurements for some of those things. Does it change the actual performance of the driver? Generally no. Is it possible for them to cause a change in the way measurements look? Absolutely. This is where some inconsistencies between measured performance and subjective performance tend to reveal themselves.
As always, YMMV, but there's some context for you : )
Dec 18, 2017
Pundamilia
6
Dec 18, 2017
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Will the headphone connectors on the balanced cable fit into the jacks on a pair of Elears? Given the cost of balanced cables, including them enhances the value of the drop to anyone with HP amp with balanced outputs, particularly for someone like me who already has a pair of Elears.
Dec 18, 2017
Will
6833
Chief Product Officer
Dec 18, 2017
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Yes, the Elex cables are fully compatible with the Elear.
Dec 18, 2017
bigshel
233
Dec 21, 2017
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Any chance you can convince Focal to let you sell the cables as a drop? Would love to have those for the Elears
Dec 21, 2017
DenonFanboy
745
Dec 21, 2017
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Can't see why they wouldn't, making for pennies and selling for dollars.
Dec 21, 2017
Will
6833
Chief Product Officer
Dec 22, 2017
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Probably at some point in the future, but they're a lot more interested in selling headphones than accessories.
Dec 22, 2017
Will
6833
Chief Product Officer
Dec 22, 2017
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Hey bud,
"can you guys come up with a solution to the shipping limitations? "
If I post an official solution, or even a recommended forwarder, every international Focal distributor is gonna be calling them up, showing them screenshots of how "Massdrop is actively circumventing distribution agreements".
At which point, it will be on Focal to decide if they want to risk being sued by the distributor, losing that business and dealing with potential litigation, or if they want to keep making the Elex with us.
There are many forwarding services with solid reviews, wish I could give you more advice than that.
Dec 22, 2017
DanielFerrer
391
Dec 25, 2017
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But it is a product exclusive to Massdrop... so there should be no problem in that as this product CAN NOT BE BOUGHT ANYWHERE ELSE! Please make it available to ship internationally
Dec 25, 2017
rantng
723
Dec 26, 2017
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There is no return policy. You can't return it if you don't like it for some reason or change your mind. Massdrop only accepts returns/exchanges if there is actually something wrong with the product.
Dec 26, 2017
PirateIce
228
Dec 28, 2017
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Daniel please read the info... Its not up to massdrop, and the availability of this model elsewhere is NOT the only concern of the distributor agreements. You are assuming the ONLY reason to have an agreement like this is to stop ONE model of a headphone from being released at different prices and are NOT REALIZING that THIS could be purchased instead of OTHER focal headphones and... THAT PISSES OF DISTRIBUTORS.
Dec 28, 2017
detlev24
2
Jan 5, 2018
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1. Reduce the bass response to a tasteful ~3 db above neutral Why is that? The Elear is lacking of bass already; see the following frequency response, which is translated to what loudspeakers measured in an anechoic environment would show:
BLUE = measured average frequency response (of many samples) RED = target frequency response [B&K 1974] GREEN = correction https://picload.org/view/ddawrora/focal_elear-before.png.html https://picload.org/view/ddawrorl/focal_elear-correction.png.html
Otherwise, it is an aesthetically very appealing mod! :)
Jan 5, 2018
rhenom
465
Jan 10, 2018
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You are the only person I've ever seen say that the Elear is light on bass. Those graphs don't mean anything to me. Did you LISTEN to the Elear and determine that there wasn't enough bass?
Jan 10, 2018
dasman
373
Feb 12, 2018
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To build on rhenom's message... you really need to listen to the elear without a VST eq'ing the cans (MOST people are not going to spend $250+ to EQ their headphones, while also limiting their listening to a computer). Out of the box, the elear is a bass heavy set of cans.
The sonarworks graph in your link shows a 9db drop between the bass and mids. Also, the sonarworks graph is the only one I've seen that shows such an abrubt rolloff in the sub-bass for the elear. Every other site shows the sub-bass extends much flatter (which matches my impression when I heard it).
The curves in the drop discussion shows a 10db+ mid drop and I've seen graphs online that show close to a 15db drop for the Elear. It's this midrange suckout that accentuates the bass heavy sound of the Elear.
The frequency curves I've seen for the elex show that Focal/MD reduced the bass (still above neutral) and may have done some work to reduce the mid suckout. This should result in a decent improvement and a more neutral headphone... which matches what people that have heard it are reporting (eg., a mini-clear or a more resolving/faster HD600).
For myself, I'd love to hear these next to the Clear. I auditioned the Clear against the Elear a few weeks ago and it was everything I could to to not drop the $1200 and take them out of the store... they were that good.
-------edit-------- For sake of comparison, my daily driver headphones are ZMF Eikon (closed, work); modded HD650 (living room); HD600 & HE4xx (home office).
Feb 12, 2018
MusicLover
429
Feb 13, 2018
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I have the Focal Elear and the Focal Clear Headphones. They are both fantastic and pair well with many amps and even sound very good playing through an IPhone. I do prefer the Clears but both are worth the price they are selling for.
Feb 13, 2018
Seb1
1
Dec 19, 2019
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What about the dampening structure was changed exactly? This is very vague and could just be a factor of the pads being changed be cause changing the pads could be considered making a dampening tweak.
Dec 19, 2019
tuga45
13
Jan 8, 2020
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Hello Will. I am one of those who wants an Elex and can´t because i´m in Europe (Portugal). Please give a name for one of those freight forwarding services that you mencioned. I will give a look at them to see if it´s worth it. Please, thanks.
Jan 8, 2020
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