Blue Microphones Ella Planar Stereo Headphone review

dalethorn

Headphone user
Dec 9, 2012
411
0
16
58
Cleveland TN.
dalethorn.com
#1
I bought the Ella because it looked very futuristic, extremely well built, had planar drivers, and the minimal reviews and comments didn't scare me off. While that doesn't sound terribly exciting, my review doesn't rave about this headphone either, because the price is high ($700 USD) and the sound is rather mid-centric. All that aside, I love this headphone, and I place it above the likes of the AQ NightHawk and other headphones near its price, and very close to the Focal Elear in overall quality and performance.

http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/com...nes-ella-planar-stereo-headphone-review.4470/
 

dalethorn

Headphone user
Dec 9, 2012
411
0
16
58
Cleveland TN.
dalethorn.com
#2
I always follow up on my reviews, but I rarely comment on others, unless I find something I can't validate. I read this on one major review of the Ella:

"With dense arrangements, particularly those with potentially chaotic bass like Kamasi Washington’s Change Of The Guard, the Blue Ellas don’t always seem as composed and calm as they should given their price."

So I bought the album, most of which had fairly weak background bass accompaniment - especially Change of the Guard, and sure enough, the bass as played by the Ella was fairly weak and indistinct. However, these were not ultra deep bass parts (where Ella is shy by a few db), and after evaluating this track with a few more headphones, I find that Ella is playing this music at least as well as my other premium headphones, and in some cases better due to the planar's quicker response.
 
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dalethorn

Headphone user
Dec 9, 2012
411
0
16
58
Cleveland TN.
dalethorn.com
#3
Another followup on another major review that stated:

"With or without the on-board amp engaged, the Ella struggled a bit to build out the (Audeze) EL-8’s spacing and instrumental depth on 24 bit/192kHz tracks like Steely Dan’s Josie. Though they still sounded fantastic, the Ella couldn’t quite recreate moments like the EL-8’s effortless powdery glow in the crash cymbals there."

While I don't have a 192 khz copy of Josie (nor could I find one), my SHM-CD from Japan is a very good copy and sufficient for comparison. The El-8 is undoubtedly a great headphone with an earcup design that produces a superb soundstage, but the Ella's "spacing and instrumental depth" is not lacking at all. As for the "powdery glow" in the cymbals, given the Ella's high frequency extension and the rich upper harmonics produced by the cymbals, the EL-8's upper treble must be tuned brighter than Ella's, which may or may not work with a wide range of music.