Focal has a new entry-level model in its high-end headphone lineup: The closed-back, over-ear Celestee
The Celestee will replace the well-regarded Elegia headphone.
By Scott Wilkinson
After more than 40 years making outstanding audio products, but less than a decade in the headphone business, Focal quickly established a well-deserved reputation for stellar-sounding cans—albeit at out-of-this-world prices. In 2018, the company introduced the Elegia for a list price of $899, making it the least expensive of Focal’s high-end consumer headphones.
Today, the French audio stalwart introduces the Elegia’s replacement—the Celestee. Like all Focal headphones, the Celestee promises stunning sound quality and superb craftsmanship. Its circumaural (over-the-ear), closed-back earcups house the company’s proprietary 40mm dome diaphragms, dubbed “M-shaped” because of their cross-sectional profile, in this case fabricated from an aluminum/magnesium alloy. Also, they implement sophisticated acoustic treatments that promise to virtually eliminate resonances.
The specs speak for themselves: frequency response from 5Hz to 23kHz, sensitivity of 105dB SPL at 1 mW/1 kHz, and THD of 0.1% at 1kHz/100dB SPL. Also, the Celestee’s low input impedance of 35 ohms allows it to work well with smartphone and high-res portable audio players. Focal touts a tonal balance with deep bass extension and precise mids and highs, which I don’t doubt based on my experience with other Focal headphones.
Of course, comfort has not been neglected. The earpads and headband are covered in semi-aniline (referring to the type of dye used) leather with microfiber on the inner surface of the headband, and the aluminum yoke molds to the shape of your face. In addition, the earpads are said to provide excellent sound isolation—which, again, I can well believe based on my experience.
Stylistically, the color scheme is navy blue with copper accents, colors that carry over to the included hard-shell carrying case and 4-foot cable. The colors were selected in consultation with designer and product colorist Doris Bölck, who says, “Navy is the new black.” This marks the first time that blue has graced a Focal headphone. Overall, the look is clean, modern, and sophisticated.
The Celestee will be available in late February/early March for a list price of $990. That’s certainly not inexpensive, but it’s less than any of Focal’s other over-the-ear consumer headphones. And if its performance is comparable to its predecessor, the Elegia (reviewed here), it will be a worthy successor.