CES 2019 was, as usual, a whirlwind of mayhem, filled mainly by measured sprints from booth to booth and the tapping out of quick keystrokes as I wrote about the latest Atmos soundbars and true wireless headphones.
At some point every year, though, I get to slip away to the Venetian to hear something special, and this year, Focal’s $3,000 closed-back gemstones known as the Stellia stole my heart.
The Stellia headphones, just officially unveiled today as part of this year’s CanJam show in New York City, are an opulent slice of audiophilia from the French headphone maker that wrap you in luxury even before you turn the volume dial clockwise.
When it comes to style, they draw heavily from Focal predecessors like the Elegia and the Utopia, including the same “yoke” mechanical features in the headband that help the cans naturally conform to the shape of your head.
On the interior of the Stellia’s dimpled earpieces, fluffy foam pads are jacketed in smooth leather, while the cognac and mocha finish adorning the model version we got to put our hands on is as elegant and distinctive in person as it looks in the pictures.
It’s notable that the earpads are designed for isolation, as we’re just not used to seeing a pair of headphones at this, shall we say, barrier of entry in a closed-back chassis that’s presumably designed to let you take your high-end sound on the go.