It is clear that these aren't your everyday headphones. From their aluminium/magnesium alloy components, to their “low resistance 24 AWG OFC copper” cables, these guys were obviously heavy artillery. Within the box we have a hard carry case; 3 low resistance cables: 3.5mm and 6.35mm stereo jack cables; a XLR 4 pin symmetrical connector; and, of course these handsome headphones.
These are clearly positioned for the high-end audiophile or audio professional market. Slightly out of my league, I was keen to discover what the hype was about.
It’s all well and good to have spectacular packaging and snazzy accessories; if the headphones didn’t match my expectations, then there might have been some tears. The good news: they smashed my expectations and then some (well, lots actually!). These headphones are unreal.
I’m not an audiophile by any means, but I do love music. As such, I won’t go too deep into the technical details within this post.
Firstly, as a baseline, my go-to headphones for my daily commute are my original iPhone buds. These guys do a good job. They’re comfy, they sound good, they’re light, they’re versatile. They’ve always kept me happy.
Until now. The Focal Clear headphones have successfully reset my expectations of audio, and thoroughly corrupted me in the process.
Firstly the sound. I can confirm that the sound is better than the benchmark bud headphones. But how much better? Imagine watching TV on a 90s 30cm CRT screen one day, then jumping up to a 190cm 4k TV the next.
The sound is crisp, deep, contrasting and smooth. The headphones provide a level of detail and texture of sound that, only in retrospect, is completely missing from my buds. And that’s the thing, you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve experienced it.
These headphones are of open back design, which gives a more natural feel to their sound. They give more of the impression that the music is in the room, rather than existing within the headphone space. The headline on the Clear page of the Focal site reads: “THE EMOTION OF INFINITE SPACE...”. Sum’s them up pretty well.
Being big and slightly bulky, one might imagine these to be heavy and uncomfortable. In the case of the Focal Clear, this isn’t true. And that’s due some very clever, premium features:
- Perfectly cushioned, leather wrapped headband
- Swivelling, lightweight aluminium yoke
- Micro-perforated, plush yet firm ear cushions
I’ve experienced hours of continuous comfort whilst listening with these headphones. They really are a pleasure to wear.
These guys will set you back around $2199 here in Australia. Slightly more than your everyday earbuds (to say the least), but that’s a small price to pay if you’re looking for super high-quality audio.
The Round Up
These headphones are awesome! They’ve introduced a whole new dimension to my listening experience. If you’re in the market for high-end headphones, then I’d absolutely push you toward the Focal Clear. They’re comfortable, stylish, of extremely high build quality, and above all, brilliant performers.