Enter the Next Generation: Focal Elear Headphone Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Raw frequency response plots show the Elear is quite insensitive to changes in response with movement on the ear. Raw response is almost flat from 60Hz to 600Hz, exhibiting a mild, broad hump of about 2dB between the two frequencies. Fall in response below 60Hz is slow and only down about 2dB from the midrange baseline at 20Hz.

A mild rise from 600Hz to 1kHz is followed by a faster rise to 3.5kHz about 10dB above midrange baseline. This is on the low side of normal for the target curve. Coupled with the rather abrupt fall at 4kHz and subsequent energy having reasonable shape (other than the tall spike at 10kHz) but somewhat on the low side of target as well, I see these plots as echoing my experience that the Elear is a slightly laid-back headphone overall.

30Hz square wave has good shape with only a mild swayback. This is quite a good result for an open acoustic headphone with dynamic driver.

300Hz square wave shows a mild leading edge spike followed by a three cycle ring of ever smaller humps. This is a common shape for some very good sounding headphones; the HD 600 exhibits this. The Focal's response shows subsequent cycles are quite a bit smaller then the HD 600. Ideal response would be a single spike subsequent damped undershoot.

300Hz wave shape is good with an overall flat waveform top, indicating good treble tonal balance.

Both 300Hz square wave and impulse response show narrow band high-frequency ringing. This is probably the high-Q peak seen at 10kHz in the frequency response plots. This type of narrow band ringing can sometimes be obtrusive, and sometimes not. I did hear the ringing around cymbals, but it was at fairly benign level.

THD+noise distortion plots are truly outstanding for a dynamic driver headphone. Some bass distortion does start to kick in below 300Hz when played at 100dBspl at the ear, but it remains below 1%. 100dBspl plot remaining below the 90dBspl plot above 200Hz means this headphone can play very loud without distortion.

Impedance and phase plots show a very strong primary driver resonance at about 50Hz. Impedance rises from a nominal 100 Ohms to 325 Ohms at resonance. These headphones therefor might take on quite a strong bloom at 50Hz when coupled with an amplifier with greater than around 20 Ohm output impedances.

Isolation plot shows little isolation, which is normal for a headphone of this type.

With 96mVrms needed to achieve 90dBspl at the ear, the Elear is fairly efficient for a headphone in this category.

These measurements show Focal has done an excellent job of producing a novel dynamic driver for headphones...right out of the gate. Pretty damned amazing.

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