Dimensions for Elear DIY Cable Builders

Well...that escalated quickly.

Anticipating incoming Focal Elears, DIYers are already starting to ask about dimensions for cable swaps. Might as well do it while I've got them here.

The above photo shows the diameter of the connector housing at a girthy 9.67mm.


The entry hole in the Elear capsule housing is just over 10mm.


Depth of the hole is 10mm.


There is a detent in the hole. It appears to be a plastic part and pushes in with moderate effort. I can't get my calipers on it but I'd guess it's about 1.3mm in diameter and length.


There is an annular groove around the connector body to engage the detent. It's diameter is 8.67mm.


The 3.5mm TS plug appears to be of normal size. I did confirm that the tip is hot and the sleeve is the return to ground.


I tried to fit a Rean 3.5mm plug I had. It did seem to interfere slightly with the detent, but it did depress the detent and slide in all the way. The fit seemed really nice. I'd suggest the Rean NYS226BG.

SBAF member PoochZag posted that he contacted Focal for additional information and received this information:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding our Focal Elear and Utopia headphones. On the Elear we are using a standard 3.5mm locking connector. The locking portion is a small ball bearing lock that engages into I small ring around the 3.5mm connector. I have included a picture to help explain this protocol.

Regarding the Utopia, we have changed the connectors on both ends. Due to the high quality of this headphone, we have decided to use brand name Neutrik and Lemo connectors. We are using the Neutrik connector on the source ¼” end and the Lemo connectors for the headphone connection. As per the electrical pin outs, I have only been able to play around with the prototypes up to this point.

We are just about to start shipping limited quantities of production models and will have more information in the future. What I can tell you is that we are using a two pin connector that only locks in one direction, and with the prototype units the positive lead was on the outside of the headphone. I’m sorry that I cannot provide any further information at this time, but as I mentioned, I will have more information as we are able to get more hands on with production models.

Happy soldering!

deafdoorknob's picture

thanks Tyll!!

provided that the barrel fits, do aftermarket cables like the ones for Sony MDR-z7 or Beyerdynamics T1/5 G2 work? and would quality be compromised?

much thanks

ButtUglyJeff's picture

I just measured my Sony/Kimber cable, and my poor excuse for a ruler shows slightly larger then 10mm. They're quite chubby because they plug in and then spin on a the threaded barrel or the Z7 connector.

I was bummed when I saw the measurement...

deafdoorknob's picture

I ordered this for my MDR-Z7 as a more rugged alternative to the Kimber... the barrel are slim and fingers crossed they'd work for both the z7 and Elears...

(they are also the most affordable non DIY cable of its type, and there is also a balanced version)


deafdoorknob's picture
tony's picture

Hmm, sounds just like something Car people have to do,
keep working on the darn things.
I'm not bothered by any of it, I see this sort of thing as typical of our Science & Development People.
It's gonna be a little unsettling for the Audiophiles that were the early buyers ( which could be me ) and for the "Cable" people ( which I'm not one of ).
The most interesting thing ( to me ) is Focal's people seem ready and willing to talk to the internet people reporting on all this.

One day, I'd like to ask some focused questions of these Focal design lads. ( something to look forward to ). Maybe one of them will "appear" on a RMAF Seminar Panel.

Tony in Michigan

Johan B's picture

Why modify a cable if the headphone pads have more influence. Its a bit like putting 5 Horsepower extra on a drag racer without doing a tire warm up. Besides ... the whole cable modification is the most unscientific proposal. The is no measured evidence of improvement as the cable lenght (...) and diameter (...) is more influential than the cable configuration. Note that OFC copper is the biggest fraud in the audio world anyway. Sorry for this. I guess I am not an audiophile.

Shardnax's picture

The stock cable is too long and bulky for some people. I'd guess the desire for custom cords is to control length and cut down on weight.

PoochZag's picture

Length, amp termination, material flexibility, aethetics are all reasons many DIYers make their own cables, and it has nothing to do with sound. This is especially true for the Elear which comes with a very thick, long, single ended termination

brause's picture

But you have to break in your OFC cable for 500 hours. The sound is critically bad between hours 100 to 150 I read. Give it time - and make sure that the inner wiring of your headphones also gets replaced with quality cables. I was wondering why my NAD Viso HP50 has such thin cables: they cannot sound good. And I tested different cheap but solidly built cables (stock cable, Monoprice, BlueRigger) with the Beyerdynamic Custom Pro...no difference found. Then I wired two cables together with stereo couplers from Scosche, Monoprice and some Dr. Frankenstein brand from Hongkong. Again, no difference. But don't ask the good people at Schiit headphone amps about cables...they don't give a Schiit. Speaking of....the biggest difference in sound quality when listening to my computer comes from the Schiit Fulla dangle amp. And before I buy an expensive after-market cable and some religious belief, I spend the money on a higher-grade headphone instead. Headphones with aftermarket cables are like trucks with race tires or like horses in lingerie.

OldRoadToad's picture

To know the joy, the ecstasy, of high-end cabling is to realize what it is like to be wrapped within the sonic cocoon that is the musical equivalent of Mother Earth's womb.

Transparencies so transparent, you can see and hear, right through 'em! Musicality that is downright musical! Not since I had the flu in the early 80s and my nose accidentally dripped on a CD and I smeared the organic salve all over the surface, have I sexperienced such a transenmental revolspation.

'n' sheit.

Jumper cables for headphones? I think some of these cables that some people buy/make and use throughout their home system(s) are pretty cool looking but I doubt anyone can hear a difference and that's because there isn't any. What's next, MQA cabling? Ridiculous.

If this causes anyone here to have to fill out a hurt feewings weport then by all means, Tyll can delete it.


tony's picture

I'm turning you in, I hope Bruce Brissom at MIT Cables and Karen Sumner at Transparent Cable have you 'marked ' as a "person of interest", to be carefully watched .
I imagine that you don't even audition Fuses, use Cable trusses, tip-toes or observe the directionality of wire guidelines, whew!
Do you at least clean your CDs with an Audiophile approved sound enhancement liquid ?
I should light a candle for you and say a prayer to my Saint Enid Lunley statue, with the hope of saving your depraved soul.

Tony in Michigan

ps. even a person like yourself should embrace and accept Cramolin contact conditioner, for gods sake!

brause's picture

Hey, every recording studio probably has kilometres/miles of cables...either these are the expensive ones and cost millions - or they are the normal ones and cost hundreds. For an audiophile recording, we have to replace this cheap wiring. But this has never been done - and the recordings are still audiophile. I work around that with a machine that aligns the air molecules in my room so that the hifi sounds better. And I trim the edges of my CDs with a machine that optimizes disc rotation by minimizing air resistance. Back to the cables: they have to be broken in because some electrons are initially stuck between the wire and the shielding...and it takes 500 hours to release them.

tony's picture

Hmm, seems I've discovered another 'Saint' to worship. Can you send me your likeness. I'll have you carved into a statue or would you prefer a 2 Dimensional Oil Painting?, which incense fragrances do you prefer ? ( perhaps Witch-Hazel )

A linear Air Molecule alignment device?, Brilliant, never considered that 'Important' concept. I have some spare manufacturing capacity, perhaps we could join in an effort to provide this improvement for all the 'unwashed' masses of Audiophillia ? Will you be available to be the Marketing Manager?, you'll hafta do the Show Circuit and rub elbows will all your fellows ( what shall we call this niche ? - Tweekers, perhaps? )

I always felt our Air needed a bit of Sparkling-up, your device will provide the needed focus to this important and missing detail.

Your 500 hour concept needs to be published.

Can you present any Clarity to a Question of mine?: Why aren't Recording Studios hanging Rare Earth Magnets from the ceilings of their rooms? We preserve our personal health by wearing magnets, why aren't we preserving music in this manner?

"Birds of the Feather, Flock Together", you warm my ancient Heart, I pray you're not the wrong religion or worse yet - left handed.

Tony in Michigan

ps. I hope you don't live far away, in some god forsaken hell-hole, like Texas but then again the Evangelicals would probably love your Air Device for their Churches, Texas could be a big win!

brause's picture

While I was joking all of the above exists...google it. And the 500 concept has bee published. I like the idea of the modern dog walker: companies that offer the service of breaking in cables. Joke aside, well-made monoprice cables for $3.50 work very well.

Check this one: http://goo.gl/RvOFam

brause's picture

"...Our cables require a total of 400 to 500 hours to completely break-in. If you ordered our 2 day cable break-in service, your cables will arrive with the equivalent of 96 hours on them. If you ordered the extended 5 day break-in, the equivalent of 240 hours will be on them.

The "difficult stage" of the break-in, where the cables might be hard to listen to is between 50 to 100 hours. There can be brief periods however past this point. If you have an evening where they are hard to listen to, do not fret, this will quickly go away. All should be well the next day. When full break-in is reached, there will be no more changes with the sound.

Our cables are meant to be hooked up and left alone. If you later move your cables, 1 to 2 days might be required for them to "settle" into their new positions. If you notice a change in the sound, all will return after the 1 to 2 days. Again, do not fret!..."

brause says: I hope I survive the "difficult stage" with the "hard" listening experience and will later never have to move my cables.

tony's picture

The Morrow Audio "insight" into wire is about as believable as a Trump Rally. I suppose the "wire" people 'might' buy into 'some' of this nonsense but the whole of it is ><)))))'> smelling.
The Morrow Audio Mansion is visible on Google Street View, see how financially successful a Wire Guru can be.
I wonder if Morrow ever did 'Tent Revivals' ?, he seems to be cultivating a 'True Believing' following.

Then again, the Monster Cable guy got his start in Wire!

I'm thinking that the entirety of High End Audio has magnetically migrated into this 'Morrow' concept of high prices, supported by ( and with ) magical thinking.

Who was it, that said: "There's a Sucker born every minute"

Tony in Michigan

ps. I could be entirely wrong in my assessments about all this, an envelope of $100 Bills would probably change my mind, I can be flexible

brause's picture

I was so happy that cheap, well-built cables work well that I ordered a whole bunch from amazon, one after another. For several days, UPS trucks stopped at my house and delivered great sounding cables, at an average price of $3.50 a pop including delivery. What an uplifting experience that was.

Now pity the poor Morrowns who suffer through their 50-100 hours hard listening experience while trying to revive their molten credit cards.

tony's picture

I wonder if you might break-in all those cables and re-sell them ?

Perhaps, re-branding the darn things and charging a proper $$$ three digit price?

I knew of a guy that bought Grado Phono Cartridges, did mods to the darn things and resold em, he even got reviews. He advertised in the Classifieds of the back pages of Audio Magazine. ( that was during the mid 1980s ) The fella was a Card Dealer in Vegas ( his full time job ).

Well, I'm off to read Atomicbob's comments about the Schiit Modi Multibit. Bob has been missing since Dec. last year, I think Ill with a heart condition. I'm gonna ask him about DACs driving headphones directly ( like the Chord folks do with the Mojo ). Schiit say their Modi Dac can drive headphones. Atomicbob is a featured presenter on Head-Fi, an actual Audio Engineering Professional that owns a Laboratory of elaborate Audio Gear. He's well worth reading, he's up in Washington State where the Bottlehead people are.

Tony in Michigan

ps. Atomicbob, Tyll and Bob Katz are the 3 leading intellectuals in our little hobby. Watchnerd might be a possible 4th. ( my opinion )

brause's picture

Tyll's reviews are always very competent, very entertaining, and very useful. Following his reviews, I purchased the NAD Viso HP50 and the Sennheiser Urbanites. And I had the favourably reviewed Senns HD 202 already.

But I also learnt to read between the lines (for examples that some older headphone models are still top notch, e.g. the Senns HD600...which I substituted with the easier to drive HD598s). And I saved lots of money when catching the right sale. In summary, his advice provided me with great headphones (rather cheaply)...and some Hawaii shirts (rather expensively...Canadian Costco does not carry them).

While I have always been a huge fan of Sennheiser (a "very competent company" according to Tyll), he raised my interest in Focal products. But here is the dilemma: When I have such beautifully made cans, I am afraid to put a scratch on them and I also don't know which headphone amp to use to optimize my listening experience. The general question is: how diminishing of a return would it be to go as high?

Remembering the Sony Walkmen in the 80s, I went for the cheaper plastic model as they had the same frequency output as their high-end metal models. My logic then was: when dropping it, the damage is minimized.

Hmm...what first world problems.