Cases And Accessories

Focal Celestee Headphone Evaluation: True Audio Bliss

“This Focal Celestee offers deep audio bliss.”

  • Sparkling detail

  • Transparent midrange

  • Deep, melodic bass

  • Very dynamic

  • Accurate transients

  • Expensive

  • Unruly headphone cord

The Focal Celestee headphones are certainly great, but for their price, they take a lot more than just good looks. The Celestee are highly sophisticated high-end headphones, but when compared to other high-end headphones, many of which are priced at $ 2,000 or more, the Focal Celestee are more accessible at around $ 1,000. But are they worth it?

Carrying case and accessories

Dan Baker / Digital Trends

The Focal Celestee comes in a fairly plump carrying case, but to be fair, the headphones themselves are quite large. In all honesty, we’re glad they even came on one case because a lot of high-end headphones don’t have any at all. Of course, the case is supposed to protect the headphones, but the Celestee case isn’t just functional – it looks great with its tweed-like fabric and heavy zippers.

Inside the case are the headphones as well as a screw-on 1/4-inch adapter and the headphone cable, which is attached independently to each auricle. The headphone cord itself is certainly of high quality, but it is also quite “sturdy”. And by that we mean “not very flexible”. The cable has a mind of its own which often resulted in it just getting in the way. You have to bypass the cable as it is not intended to work around you. It might break in after a lot of use, but once unpacked, it’s pretty stiff and adamant.

Design and processing quality

Dan Baker / Digital Trends

Dan Baker / Digital Trends

Dan Baker / Digital Trends

Dan Baker / Digital Trends

The Focal Celestee have luxurious padding on the ear cups and are covered with a soft and supple synthetic leather material that matches the color scheme of the headphones. The same synthetic leather material is also found on the headband.

The build quality is excellent.

The exterior of the ear cups combines high quality plastic and metal, and the nub structure is either something you like or dislike – it kind of reminds me of a golf ball, and anything that resembles golf is good for me. The yoke is solid, the headband is solid, and the build quality is excellent.

Comfort

Dan Baker / Digital Trends

The Celestee feels great when you wear it. Sure, they’re bigger headphones with a bit of weight, but given their size, they’re relatively light and certainly not cumbersome. The balanced clamping force and the pressure on the headband make for a pleasantly ergonomic headphone.

How do they sound

Looking good is fine, but with headphones at this price point, sound matters. Because they are high quality and expensive, I tested the Focal Celestee headphones on a variety of devices including straight through a phone’s headphone jack, a DragonFly Cobalt USB DAC / headphone amplifier with PC, and an Antelope Audio Zodiac outboard DAC / headphone amplifier. I’ve used music from a variety of sources such as Apple Music and Spotify, as well as high-resolution tracks from Tidal.

Dan Baker / Digital Trends

The bottom line is that with the Focal Celestee headphones, I felt things I haven’t felt in a long time, and it took me back to when I was able to work in actual recording studios before the pandemic. The Celestee gives an enormous amount of nuances. I could hear audio gems in my favorite songs that I haven’t heard in a while. It’s always a real pleasure to hear details that I’ve either never picked up on before or just forgot. I have experienced this feeling all the time with the Celestee.

With the Focal Celestee headphones, I felt things I hadn’t felt in a long time.

While these are closed-back headphones, you’d swear they’re open-ended. They have a sonic appeal similar to open-back headphones, but have all the benefits of shutting out the sound around you. The passive noise isolation provides an absolutely silent canvas to paint on musically.

The Celestee’s altitude response has a wonderful amount of shine but is very well controlled. It’s got a lot of detail and tonality and texture, but it’s never aggressive. The meat in the middle section is extremely balanced – it doesn’t even flirt with being chesty or nasal. It feels like the singers’ voices are right there in your head.

Dan Baker / Digital Trends

The bass goes deep, with a little oomph for presence, and while it offers a bit more to the beat and bass than perfectly neutral headphones, we found that they sounded perfect. To test the bass, I went straight to Dua Lipa because I understood the beat of the kick drum and the integration into some killer electric bass lines.

It was a pleasure to hear the singer’s vocals perfectly isolated from the bass. Getting that kind of clarity and bass at the same time is a real treat for the ears. And the great thing about Focal Celestee is that they shine with all kinds of music, not just one particular genre.

My attitude

In the end, I am delighted with the Focal Celestee headphones. Sure, they charge a premium price – but they absolutely deserve it. If you’re able to get your hands on a pair of these, indulge yourself. You will not regret it.

Is there a better alternative?

There will always be alternatives in this price range, but I don’t want to say that one will be significantly better than the other. An alternative I would consider would be the Audeze LCD-2, which isn’t quite as sleek but sounds excellent and costs about $ 100 less.

How long do they take?

The Focal Celestee are very well built and, with reasonable care, should hold up well into the future.

guarantee

Focal’s warranty varies by country. Contact your local dealer for more information. Find retailers and distributors here.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you are looking for high-end headphones that will delight you for years to come, the Focal Celestee is the one for you.

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