Focal's new Elegia headphones find a balance between sound quality and portability

Focal is a French audio company known mostly for luxury headphones that appeal to audiophiles, like the $3,500 Focal Utopia. One reason Focal has that reputation is because headphones that produce the best music also aren't really designed to be used the way most people use headphones. We wear headphones like Sony's excellent WH-1000XM2 over-ear Bluetooth headphones to listen to music out in public, while riding the subway or chilling at a coffee shop. Open-back headphones tend to let in a lot of sound, and while the music they produce is more natural and dynamic the headphones themselves are better used sitting in a quiet room in your home. The new Focal Elegia headphones aim to change all of this by being Focal's first closed-back headphones that will also create the sort of sound audiophiles love.

The Elegia feature full-range speaker drivers, which Focal says will have "exceptional dynamics" and "precise sound reproduction." These drivers are designed to work in a smaller, closed, inner environment without sacrificing lower frequencies or distorting the sound. The Elegia will also use Focal's M-shaped inverted dome, which is the same on Focal's other headphones like the Clear. The dome design keeps the headphones lightweight while still providing damping and an enhanced listening experience.

They also have a low impedance of 35 Ohms, which is low enough for you to use these headphones with portable music players and smartphones without needing extra equipment. A higher impedance rating like you might see on Beyerdynamic's headphones usually means they are designed to be used at home with advanced audio equipment. In order to make up for not being open-back like the other headphones, the Elegia feature two strategically placed vents to help manage sound balance.

The new Focal Elegia closed-back headphones will be available for around $899 later this month. That's a hefty price, but you could also look into Focal's less expensive offerings like the $299 Focal Listen, or check out other quality headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II that include really good active noise-cancelling.

John Levite

J.D. Levite has been in the deals game since 2012. He has posted daily deals at Gizmodo, The Wirecutter, The Sweethome, and now for Thrifter. He was there for the first Prime Day and has braved the full force of Black Friday. If you cut him, he bleeds savings. But don't try it for real. That's a metaphor.