Product review: Focal Celestee headphones

Focal Celestee

Premium in look and sound, the Focal Celestee headphones will turn heads, including your own.

Open up the packaging and there sits a moulded digital camo case that looks straight out of some futuristic urban warfare. Cradled inside that are the clean lines of a very well-crafted pair of headphones. An understated shade of navy-blue is offset by copper detailing inside and out. The construction is a blend of semi-aniline leather, stainless steel and a minimum of plastic moulding. All together you know these are going to look every bit as good on you as they do on the coffee table. As a premium pair of headphones in the current market, style is an important factor. Social media has weaponised visual representation for brands on a scale they have never had access to before. I mention the latter because these look like an Instagram influencer’s idea of heaven and I think people are going to love these.

Looks however will only get you so far, especially when you are charging premium headphone prices! Focal is quite capable of delivering awe inspiring sound, as their long running Hi-Fi speaker range is a testament to, their Aria 906 are currently some of my favourite speakers out there! When it comes to the Celestees, the transfer of skills appears to be pretty effortless. There is a smoothness to a Focal soundstage, where everything hangs in even balance, comfortably finding a space between ‘in your face’ and enveloping you. These are closed back headphones so expansive sound is something much harder to achieve. The compromise is at play as with any headphone of this design, however if you know your usage is a mix of home and away the Celestees never leave you feeling like you’re missing too much.

Focal Celestee

Focal Celestee (Navy Blue)

Looking under the hood Focal has moved to using a magnesium/ aluminium 40mm driver, this lighter blend of metals aiming for an easier to drive and more effortless sound. I would agree that they achieved this, even running from the likes of the iFi Hipdac the 35 Ohm Celestees are easily driven. The driver is designed in an M shape to deliver the maximum surface to resonate from within the footprint, this delivers an impressive frequency range of 5Hz to 23kHz. Put all that together with careful cabinet design and these really kick out a hell of a tune.

Listening using the Cambridge Audio CXN V2 network music player & CXA81 stereo amplifier I ran through some of my usual demo selections along with some current favourites. Pink Floyd – Money, is certainly more work than play these days the amount it has been used, but as a benchmark it shows impressive stereo sound staging and precision. London Grammar – Strong is another tried and true demo track that has the power to raise the hairs on my arm still on a good system, the Celestees have impressive control with strong vocals without becoming harsh. The Heavy – How do you like me now, puts even the best system to the test with the live recorded fast and loose bass notes, again these headphones hold the timing with ease and the bass never feels lacking or overpowering.

If you are looking for an all-round headphone for everyday use the Celestee should certainly be a contender. The strong design style outside accurately reflects the absolute quality of engineering that has gone on inside. They are incredibly comfortable and well balanced on the head for extended listening. The cabling is robust, replaceable, and with a 3.5mm jack connection it really does show these are designed to be versatile for any user or device.

Find out more about the Focal Celestee headphones.

Author: Joe, Bath store