Focal Stellia Vs. Focal Utopia: Comparing High-End Headphones

When it comes to high-fidelity personal listening, few companies command as much respect as Focal. The French brand has earned a stellar reputation for crafting some of the world’s finest headphones and loudspeakers. Two of their most acclaimed models are the closed-back Stellia and open-back Utopia over-ear headphones.

Both headphones sit at the very top of Focal’s headphone lineup and deliver phenomenal sound quality. However, they have distinct designs, use different driver technology, and excel in different ways.

Keep reading for an in-depth comparison of the Focal Stellia Vs. Utopia to see how they stack up.

A Brief Comparison Table

SpecsFocal StelliaFocal Utopia
Drivers40mm M-shaped pure beryllium dome40mm W-shaped pure beryllium dome
Impedance35 ohms80 ohms
Sensitivity106dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
Frequency Response5Hz – 40kHz5Hz – 50kHz
SoundstageIntimateExtremely spacious
ImagingVery preciseNatural with good precision
Noise IsolationExcellentNone
Weight0.99 lbs1.08 lbs
Cable ConnectorsDual 3.5mmSingle 3.5mm
Color OptionsCognac/BronzeSilver, Black, Red

Overview Of The Focal Stellia

The Focal Stellia was introduced in 2018 as a new closed-back flagship headphone from Focal. It stands out with its sleek design featuring cognac leather and bronze metallic accents. The earcups are made from solid aluminum and enclose 40mm beryllium drivers.

Focal Stellia
Focal Stellia

Some key features and specifications of the Stellia include:

  • Style: Over-ear, closed-back
  • Transducer: 40mm M-shaped pure beryllium dome
  • Impedance: 35 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 106dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
  • Frequency response: 5Hz – 40kHz
  • THD: <0.1% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
  • Net weight (without cables): 0.99 lbs

The Stellia has a gorgeous design befitting a high-end luxury headphone. It also utilizes Focal’s patented M-shaped dome made from pure beryllium. This light and rigid material enables the drivers to respond instantly and accurately to any music signal.

Thanks to the closed-back design, the Stellia provides excellent noise isolation. This allows listeners to immerse themselves fully in their music without distraction, even in noisy environments.

Overview Of The Focal Utopia

The Focal Utopia has been Focal’s flagship open-back headphone since its introduction in 2016. Like the Stellia, it boasts a distinctive design with carbon fiber yokes and perforated microfiber earcups.

Here are some of the Utopia’s key specs:

Focal Utopia
Focal Utopia
  • Style: Over-ear, open-back
  • Transducer: 40mm W-shaped pure beryllium dome
  • Impedance: 80 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
  • Frequency response: 5Hz – 50kHz
  • THD: <0.2% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
  • Net weight (without cables): 1.08 lbs

While the Utopia also utilizes beryllium driver technology, it employs a W-shaped dome design. This aims to optimize and extend the frequency response for greater resolution and clarity across the entire audible range.

Also Read: Comparison Between Skullcandy Crusher EVO and Beats Studio 3

As an open-back headphone, the Utopia provides a more natural, expansive soundstage. You get an incredibly immersive listening experience similar to a pair of high-end speakers. However, this comes at the cost of sound leakage and reduced noise isolation.

Sound Quality Comparison

When it comes to audio performance, both the Stellia and Utopia stand at the apex of headphone engineering. audiophiles praise them for their stunning clarity, resolution, and purity of sound. Let’s break down how they compare in key areas:

Frequency Range

Thanks to the beryllium drivers, both headphones deliver incredible extension at both ends of the audible spectrum. The Stellia offers a frequency response of 5Hz to 40kHz.

Remarkably, the Utopia bests this with a range stretching from 5Hz to 50kHz. Very few headphones can match this level of extension. So the Utopia has the edge for reproducing the lowest bass and highest treble.

Resolution and Detail

The Utopia also takes the lead when it comes to resolution. Its fast, lightweight beryllium domes allow it to respond immediately to the smallest variations in the music signal. This allows you to hear micro-details that get lost on most other headphones.

That said, the Stellia also renders music with spectacular clarity and precision. Its closed-back design gives it a slight edge when it comes to imaging accuracy.

Tonal Balance

Both Focal headphones aim for a neutral tonal balance that doesn’t color the sound. The Utopia specifically targets the “Focal house sound” which is clear and transparent but also smooth and refined.

The Stellia follows a similar tonal philosophy but with slightly more low-end warmth which some listeners may prefer. Ultimately both deliver sound that faithfully represents the source audio.

Soundstage and Imaging

Here’s where their open and closed-back designs clearly differentiate them. With its open construction, the Utopia produces a much larger, more spacious soundstage. Instruments seem to come at you from all directions in a vast 3D space.

The Stellia can’t match this expansive soundstage. But it does provide outstanding imaging precision and separation between instruments. And some may appreciate its more intimate presentation.

Noise Isolation

Thanks to its around-ear seal and closed-back design, the Stellia completely isolates the listener from external noise. This allows you to focus completely on the music without distraction.

Since it’s open-backed, the Utopia offers essentially no passive noise isolation. All ambient noise around you can seep into the sound unless you raise the volume to very loud, potentially damaging levels. This makes the Utopia best suited for listening in quiet spaces.

Design And Build Quality Comparison

Both Focal headphones clearly belong in the upper echelon of headphone craftsmanship. They boast a litany of premium materials including:

  • Beryllium driver domes
  • Perforated microfiber earpads
  • Breathable knit headband
  • Fine leather or carbon fiber accents
  • Precision aluminum and steel parts

However, they do have some significant design differences:


At just under 1 lb, the Stellia is noticeably lighter than the Utopia’s 1.08 lbs. This can make a difference in long-term comfort, especially for those sensitive to heavier headphones.

Earcup Design

The Stellia uses a conventional over-ear, circumaural fit with ample padding to block out sound. The Utopia has shallower earcups and a semi-open design. This gives your ears a bit more room but also allows in more external sound.

Cable Connections

Both headphones use locking 3.5mm connectors to attach the audio cables. However, the Stellia implements two connections for its stereo cables Vs. the Utopia’s single connection.

Color Options

Currently, the Stellia only comes in a silver and brown color scheme. The Utopia offers more choice with silver, black, or red carbon fiber yokes.

Both models are built to last with metal parts and high-quality leather. But the Stellia’s lighter weight and conventional closed-back design may give it an ergonomic advantage for longer listening sessions.

Also Read: Choose Between Focal Clear And Focal Bathys.

What Do Reviewers Say?

The Focal Stellia and Focal Utopia are darlings of the audiophile world. They stand at the peak of what’s currently possible with dynamic driver headphones. But reviewers note some key differences between them:

  • The Utopia provides superior resolution, soundstage, and frequency extension. Its open-back design gives an incredibly natural and spacious presentation.
  • The Stellia offers richer, tighter bass in a more compact package. Its noise isolation is a benefit in loud environments. Imaging is also more precise.
  • Comfort is excellent on both models thanks to the lightweight materials and breathable pads. The Stellia may have an edge for smaller heads due to its lower weight.
  • These headphones demand top-notch sources and amplification to reach their full potential. Underpowered devices can’t control their low impedance properly.

Professional reviews indicate that the Utopia is the superior headphone overall in terms of sound quality. But the Stellia wins points for its transport-friendly closed-back design and gorgeous styling.

Focal Stellia And Utopia – Pros And Cons

Focal Stellia Pros:

  • Impeccable craftsmanship with premium materials
  • Closed-back design provides noise isolation
  • Smooth, refined sound with impactful bass
  • Precise imaging creates an intimate soundstage
  • Lighter weight improves long-term comfort

Focal Stellia Cons:

  • Very expensive, costing over $3,000
  • Not as spacious sounding as open-back models
  • Still quite power hungry despite lower impedance
  • Limited color options

Focal Utopia Pros:

  • Breathtakingly realistic and natural sound
  • Incredible detail reveals every nuance and micro-dynamic
  • Extremely spacious open-back soundstage
  • More customizable look with color options
  • Pushes the limits of headphone frequency response

Focal Utopia Cons:

  • Among the most expensive headphones at around $4,000
  • Totally open design leaks sound in and out
  • Very power hungry – requires a high-end amp
  • Heavier than the Stellia

As you can see, both deliver elite sound quality with some trade-offs depending on your listening requirements. The Utopia takes the crown overall for technical performance while the Stellia offers a more accessible closed-back design.

Also watch the video!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are the Focal Stellia worth it?

For those seeking the ultimate closed-back listening experience, the Stellia absolutely delivers. Its exquisite craftsmanship, premium materials, and transparent yet smooth sound make it a work of art.

Given its high price, it’s most attractive to serious audiophiles rather than casual listeners. But for wealthy headphone aficionados, the Stellia rewards like few others.

Is the Focal Utopia hard to drive?

With 80 ohm impedance and 104dB sensitivity, the Utopia demands a powerful headphone amplifier to reach its full potential. It will play at moderate volumes from lesser devices but you won’t get the dynamics and control needed for proper volume headroom.
Plan on pairing the Utopia with an amp supplying at least one Watt into 80 ohms for best results.

What is the MSRP for Focal Stellia?

The Focal Stellia retails for $3,000 in the United States. However, authorized dealers often sell it for less. Prices around $2,700 are not uncommon if buying from an authorized online retailer.

What is the difference between the old and new Focal Utopia?

In 2020, Focal revised the Utopia with a new color scheme and a few small technical changes. Most notably, they increased the impedance from 80 to 110 ohms. The newer version also got slightly thicker cables and blue accents on the yokes/headband.
However, the key specs and sound remain unchanged. Some owners of the older Utopia feel the original colors and impedance better match their preferences and gear.

Also Read: Is Skullcandy Hesh Evo Better Than Crusher Evo?

The Verdict

In the end, choosing between Focal’s two flagships comes down to your listening environment and budget.

Those seeking ultimate fidelity and realism should spring for the Utopia. Its open-back expansive soundstage and incredible resolution put it in a class of its own. Just be prepared to invest in a reference-level system and listening room to allow it to shine.

For portable use or noisy environments, the Stellia makes more sense. While not quite as technically capable as the Utopia, it still provides rich, accurate sound without compromise thanks to its closed-back design. Its lighter weight also improves comfort if you plan to listen for hours on end.

Either of these headphones stands as an heirloom-quality investment. Whichever you choose, their flawless craftsmanship and state-of-the-art beryllium drivers will reward your ears for years to come.

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