Stellia Receives 5 Stars from What Hi-Fi

Stellia, Focal’s flagship closed-back high-end headphone, was released earlier this year to resounding applause at the CanJam Global festival in New York and, in the months that have followed, reviewers and end-users alike have set about clamouring to get their hands on a set.

Focal Stellia Unboxed - high end reference headphone reviewed by What Hi-FiLast month the team at arguably one of the most influential and trusted Hi-Fi magazines: What Hi-Fi? put the Focal Stellia to the test in a full up-front review.

What Hi-Fi? previously published a five star review of the flagship open-backed Utopias, and whilst these remain a high-ranking favourite of the publication, they were candid in their admission that open-back designs are less than ideal for the outside world with the possibility of inflicting noise on others around you, as well as environmental sound effecting one’s listening experience:

At home, in a quiet room, given a good enough system, [Utopia] will deliver the finest sound money can buy. Outside of these Goldilocks conditions you can forget it, there’s too much compromise involved – and that’s where the Focal Stellias come in.

During a rundown of the Stellia’s design properties, particular attention was paid to feature heritage passed down from its sibling Utopia model, along with the elaborately engineered ear cups and the carefully considered choice of ear-pad design:

The Stellia’s build is lovely, just as we would expect for a product at this level. The combination of high quality leather, beautifully shaped metal parts and unusual colour blend of mocha and cognac works well, giving the headphones a strong aura of undeniable luxury.

Focal Stellia accessories and cablingFor auditioning material, What Hi-Fi? put the Stellia to work with the likes of Alt-J, Bruce Springsteen, and Tabula Rasa by Estonian composer Arvo Part:

Dynamics are delivered with considerable authority and no small amount of grace. We love how these Focals cope with the ever-building intensity of this piece, but also the way they remain composed and organised. There’s enough refinement to stop things hardening up, yet the smoothness is never taken so far that the emotion in the music is diminished.

Drawing a more direct comparison between the Stellia and Focal’s flagship open-back Utopia headphone, What Hi-Fi? maintained that the Stellia may not have stolen the top spot purely on listening experience alone, but that if a closed-back design was required for more unwieldy environments, the Stellia is hard to beat:

If you must have a closed-back design, these are arguably the best we’ve heard.

Check out the full review from What Hi-Fi here.

To audition the Stellia for yourself and find out what all the fuss is about, head over to the Stellia product page to find your nearest dealer. For all other enquiries relating to Stellia including pricing, availability and specification queries, contact our Hi-Fi Sales team.


Focal's Stellia closed-back reference headphone


  • Posted on 15 May 2019 by Roy Brockington