So, it may have taken a while. But because I became a father (of a beautiful daughter) it has been a lot busier lately than I thought. Ha!
Today we continue with what I enjoy doing, reviewing audio equipment. And not just anything… The Focal Celestee is a beautiful headphone. In both looks and sound. You can read how I experienced the time with these headphones in this review.
Normally I put a list with the specifications here. In this case, I can also just post a picture of the specifications with the new camera (I just have to learn how to edit ;)).
Focal’s portfolio is not only limited to speakers and headphones. Also studio equipment, car audio, and custom integration (in your home, for example).
What Focal does well, in this case, is to include a good hard case with the headphones. In this case, the hard case is not just any case. It’s almost a fashion statement.
Focal supplies the necessary manuals with the Celestee.
The hard case is finished with a fabric. Not only does it feel sturdy but also qualitative. The handle appears to be finished in leather. The Focal logo is nicely displayed but not overpowering.
“LISTEN BEYOND”. Focal’s slogan. Focal’s website also describes; Discover new fields of emotions.
I must confess, headphones like the Focal Celestee in combination with a good AMP do make you hear things you normally don’t hear so easily.
Of course, Focal also supplies the cable with the Celestee. A 1.2-meter cable with a 3.5mm jack and 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter.
What a beautiful thing (Poah! That is my brand).
The Celestee is a closed headphone.
It is also a special design. Inside the rings, the finish of the ear cup appears to be leather.
Well, as a reviewer I am also curious to what extent headphones can be stretched, and in this case, I can tell you that I am very satisfied!
There are 40mm Aluminium-Magnesium “M” shape domes in both ear cups.
As mentioned before, the ear cups are over-ear and, due to the soft fit, they also provide a great sound box around the ear.
The nice thing is, headphones are not necessarily just for indoor use anymore. It has also become a fashion statement. They walk down the street with it. And with such headphones, you are enjoying them immensely both indoors and outdoors.
The Focal logo is depicted on the ear cups, with the type (Celestee) and the two bottom sentences:
“Fabriqué en France” – nice that Fabriqué and France made those headphones.. 😉
No L/R is shown on the sides. You can see that at the bottom. You can also guess from the shape on which side the ear cups belong.
The cables also show which ear cup they belong to.
The Celestee can be extended both short and quite long. So you’ll always have the right fit!
At the end of the cable is a 6.35mm jack (adapter). It also contains a 3.5mm jack.
For testing the Focal Celestee I use the Sennheiser HDV820 amp (connected via USB).
Just to start a little harder; Da Tweekaz – Celebration of Sin. What a nice beat, and not only the song itself… but also how the headphone plays it.
The tones come through well. But not in a way that makes your headphones shake off your ear within half a minute. It is quite special to hear how ‘loud’ these headphones can go – in fact … even with the Sennheiser HDV820 at max I could not detect any distortion.
From hard to something different… Classic. Yes, the Celestee also does that well too.
The bass sounds clear, the bass is also clearly audible. The Celestee produces a lifelike image in my view. The mid and high tones of the piano are also clear. I don’t hear any distortion either. Compared to the HD820 I don’t notice any difference at all.
On to AC/DC Thunderstruck. The instruments sound the way you want to hear them. Guitars, drums, and voice sound ‘nice’. The way you want to hear/listen to it.
** I can’t seem to find a good link for this variant that matches the FLAC I play myself. But, to give you an idea:
In the month that I have been allowed to wear these headphones, I have enjoyed them immensely. Now while I’m writing, I’m listening to Nora En Pure – Come With Me, and it just sounds wonderful. The tones are nice and deep, tight & clear. Just super!
Anyway, in terms of rock, classical, and the like it is clear. It’s a pretty good pair of headphones for that. Whether it’s David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Claude Debussy, or any other kind of music. High or low, the Focal Celestee does what it’s supposed to do.
With almost all headphones you can hear the difference between a FLAC and an MP3. With the Celestee, I could even notice the quality differences between high-quality and ‘bad’ FLACs – and that is of course the intention with such a price. 😉
Initially, I had to get used to the fit of the Focal. The Sennheiser HD820 that I use almost every day is a bit looser and feels more open. Still, I got used to the Celestee very quickly. I had to try hard to hear any differences at all. The Celestee is really in a class of its own.
The clear but also deep tones sound great and on-point in my opinion. The Celestee can also go deeper than the HD820.
You quickly get used to the fit of the Celestee. If it is still too tight, you could, for example, stretch it over an armrest of a sofa overnight. This automatically ensures that it also feels a bit looser.
Celestee’s materials are also very good. The ear cups are soft and also feel soft. You feel that your ears are pressed into a soft cushion.
Bronze and blue are also a beautiful combo in this case! The headphones are just sturdy – even when I stretch them over the pouch.
In terms of music – of course, the most important thing – the Focal Celestee is very much to my liking. I was able to listen to it for quite a few hours in the month and throw quite a lot of music at it. However, I have not encountered any faults.
Compared to the HD820, the Focal Celestee has just a little more bass/kick. The Focal is, therefore ‘just’ more suitable for songs with more kick/bass, etc. Something I listen to regularly myself.
Two downsides of the Celestee, in my view, are the length of the cable. At 1.20m, it’s not gigantic in length. I don’t have my amp (HDV820) directly in front of me, so that distance is quite short. With a corner desk (when I want to move to the left) I literally pull the HDV820 off its spot. But, then you simply order a longer cable and it’s solved.
The headband is also not replaceable. To be honest, I’ve never had to use the headband on any of my headphones. But I can see why one gets cracks or the like after considerable use.
On the other hand, the chance that the headband will break within a short time due to wear also seems very small to me. In this time, the Celestee v3.0 may already be out. 😀
The fact that a hard case is included is a real plus. This way you can be sure that your headphones will remain tidy. The hard case also feels solid and qualitative, which is ideal.
It is that I already have the HDV820 and HD820, otherwise I would have sincerely included these in my search for my ideal set. For someone who is much into music (and especially listening/reviewing) I think that says something.
But; ultimately audio remains a personal choice and experience.
Personally; In terms of choice and experience, I sincerely want the Focal Celestee as a second set of headphones – after all, you can never have enough. My wallet is like an onion at the moment, it’s making me cry. And with the price of € 999, that is quite a thing. Still, compared to the HD820 and other headphones that I’ve had the opportunity to review over the years, they’re not crazy priced.
Despite the downside of the cable and headband, the Focal Celestee is in my opinion a very good Hi-Fi headphone and deserves as far as I am concerned the full 5 stars.