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Focal Elex HeadphonesFrom $700.00

When looking for a premium set of headphones you have a lot of options these days. Raise the price range to $500-$1000 and the options narrow considerably.

Massdrop and Focal have combined to create the Elex, a $700 monster, but is it right for you?

Focal Elex Specifications

STYLEOpen Back
DRIVER40mm aluminum/magnesium
EAR PADS20mm Microfiber Memory Foam
SENSITIVITY104 dB SPL / 1 mW at 1 kHz
WEIGHT15.9 oz (450 g)
CABLEs6ft: 1/4″ & XLR


elex box & packagingFocal has been making premium products for years and the Elex is no exception.

The packaging has a soft touch leather like feel, and the top of the box is tethered by a black ribbon so it doesn’t fall over. The headphones come surrounded by thick foam for protection, with cutouts for the manual and cable box. This is exactly the type of unboxing experience you would expect from a $700 headphone.

Design & Build Quality

focal elex design buildAs soon as you pick up the Elex, you can tell you are holding a premium product. The casing is made of high quality steel, and the headband well padded and wrapped in super soft leather. These are a beautiful well crafted piece of tech.

The Elex is a true open back headphone. You can see nearly all of its innards through the steel grill. I found them to be more attractive than other popular open back models like the Sennheiser HD660S or Audio Technica ATH line.

Focal & Massdrop did a great job making the vented suede memory foam pads. They both feel great to the touch, and match the matte black design. This material can also be found on the underside of the headband, making it both comfortable and breathable.

Fit & Comfort

focal elex fit & comfortThe Elex are certainly not a light headphone coming in at 450g, which is heavier than most open back models in its class. The weight is distributed evenly though, so unless you have a real issue with heavier headphones this should not be an issue.

Overall I found the headphones to be extremely comfortable. I was able to wear them for hours on end with no signs of fatigue. The pads are somehow both soft feeling, but firm to provide a secure fit

Sound Quality

focal elex test setupSound is where the Elex truly stands out. The advantage of open back headphones is typically wide sound stage. The Elex sound very wide, sound seems to wrap your head in all 360 degrees. These headphones sound more like speakers than any headphone I have heard to this point.

Highs are crystal clear and sparkle, but are never harsh. Their sound signature reminds me of what you typically hear from well refined soft dome tweeters.

The mid-range is ultra smooth. Both male and female vocals sound fantastic.

Lows are solid, depending on what type of music you listen to they may seem a little light. The Elex is certainly not a bass cannon. It is tuned for a more traditional “audiophile” sound. I found the low end to be full, but it doesn’t extend as deep as other models.

The overall sound signature is relatively neutral and uncolored. The Elex does a tremendous job with placement, you can pinpoint where each instrument and sound is coming from.

I found the headphones to be enjoyable across all genres, but Jazz/Classical tracks with a ton of subtle detail really showed how competent the Elex are.


  1. I agree. Just received mine, new on 9/22/20. They clearly reveal what’s going on in a recording. I find them really balanced, with the highs being relaxed. They make for an enjoyable listening experience. I appreciate them more and more as I adjust to their even sound.


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