Over the past decade or so, Focal has released some of the best high-end headphones around. Headphones like the Focal Utopia and Focal Stellia make a serious case for themselves as some of the best headphone options for true audiophiles. But they’re also extremely expensive. That’s where the new closed-back Focal Celestee headphones come in. These headphones aim to offer that beloved Focal quality, with a much lower price tag.
Of course, $1,000 isn’t cheap by any means — but as an audiophile, I can attest that it’s actually pretty reasonable for the kind of quality that you’d expect from a pair of Focal headphones. Do they sacrifice too much to hit this price tag?
No. No, they don’t.
- Stunning design
- Comfortable fit
- Extremely detailed sound
- Nice, deep bass
Focal Celestee design
I have a bit of a confession to make — when the Focal Celestee headphones showed up at my doorstep, I kind of assumed that they were more of the multi-thousand dollar headphones I’ve come to expect from Focal. And that assumption remained even after I opened the box, looked at the headphones, and put them on.
A lot of that has to do with the fact that the headphones still look and feel extremely premium. The headphones are built with a combination of metal and plastic, but all the plastic used is high-quality and well-implemented. Nothing about the headphones looks or feels cheap.
The high quality extends to the ear cups, which are covered with a premium padding and soft-feeling faux leather. That leather is also used under the headband.
The cable used with the headphones is clearly premium, and connects to both sides of the headphones. It’s a little difficult to manage at times, and it’s pretty short too. You’ll get used to it, but you’ll need to ensure that your amplifier or listening device is close by.
The headphones also come with a nice carry case, which is covered in a high-end fabric and leather hanle. The case is far from compact, but it does achieve its goal of protecting the headphones.
Focal Celestee comfort
All that high-end padding and luxurious leather translate to a very comfortable experience overall. The headphones aren’t super lightweight, but then again, we wouldn’t necessarily expect them to be. And, that weight is well-distributed. I was able to wear the headphones for hours without them getting uncomfortable.
Along with the good weight distribution, the headphones have a nice clamp that keeps them on the head, without being too tight.
Focal Celestee sound
Design and comfort are important enough, but the best thing about these headphones is their sound quality. The Focal Celestee headphones sound excellent, with a spacious, detailed sound that will bring a whole new perspective to your listening.
When I first put these headphones on, I actually thought they might be open-back, rather than closed-back — thanks to their incredibly wide soundstage. Pause your music, and you’ll know though — the headphones are good at blocking out the noise around you, without, of course, offering any actual noise cancellation tech.
The bass response is slightly stronger than you might expect from a pair of perfectly neutral headphones, but it’s far from too much, and many will appreciate that slight boost.
But the best thing about the sound quality is the high-end response. Cymbals sound shimmery, while things like percussion and vocal sibilance are detailed and clear. The headphones will help you hear things that you normally wouldn’t — and if you close your eyes, you’ll feel like you’re in the studio. That’s really the mark of a great pair of headphones.
The Focal Celestee headphones may not be as expensive as some of Focal’s other offerings, but they sure sound expensive. They’re comfortable and well-designed, plus they’ll transport you to the music studio with your favorite bands.
At around $1,000, there’s a ton of competition — but these are among the best. It’s worth considering other options from companies like Audeze, which are slightly less expensive. But frankly, you can’t go wrong with these, by any means.
Should I buy the Focal Celestee headphones?
Yes. If you’re an audiophile that wants some of the best-sounding headphones at under $1,000, the Focal Celestee headphones are the way to go.