The Focal Clear is selling like hotcakes. But it’s not the cheapest headphone out there. So, what makes it so special? Let’s find out in this Focal Clear Headphones Review.
IN the BOX
3m balanced cable (XLR 4-pin)
3m unbalanced cable (1/4″ TRS jack)
1.2m unbalanced cable (1/8″ TRS jack)
1/8″ jack to 1/4″ stereo jack adapter
Hard-shell carrying case provided 9.8″x9.4″x4.7″ (250x240x120mm)
The fit on the Focal Clear feels like a sweet cuddle. The classically round microfiber ear pads are plush and aerated. The luxurious headband has smooth leather at the top, and microfiber at the bottom. For a headphone of this caliber, it’s also very light. As a result, the fit is super comfortable.
The Clear is sturdy. A solid aluminum yoke holds the aluminum/magnesium alloy dome ear cups. And the yoke allows the cups to adjust to the shape of your face. The design on the clear is meant to create a very open feel; the ear pads have micro-perforations to add to the spaciousness. And the M-shaped dome cups are created to give the listener the impression that they are hearing speakers in a room setting. The voice coil has a strong magnetic field, so these babies should sound super snappy.
What defines the Focal Clear? Crystal clear high frequencies, killer transient response, and a giant soundstage.
The bass is tight, dry and restrained. It’s not a an incredibly deep feel. Rather, it’s conservatively designed so as not to overwhelm the rest of the mix. The lows are well separated from the higher frequencies, which becomes especially apparent when listening to messy rock songs. Personally, I think pop and EDM sound great in this range, though I wouldn’t necessarily call it ideal for bass heads who enjoy these genres.
The higher mids are slightly emphasized, while the lower mids are less pronounced. Often, this kind of balance creates a harshness, but I didn’t find that to be the case here. Still, I missed the fullness of the lower mids when listening to rock and pop-rock choruses. That being said, the transient response of these cans is phenomenal. Drums and percussion are super tight and crisp. A gorgeously crystallized sound. The transparency is also out of this world. Vocals and brass, for example, convey the subtlest textures. As a result, it creates a sense of intimacy that is unmatched by other headphones in this price range. In terms of the midrange, I found pop and jazz to be the most enjoyable genres.
The Clear especially excels in the higher frequencies. Listening to Miles Davis, the trumpet is unbelievably transparent, projecting the tiniest details in timbre. And hearing Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major left me with the same impression. Indeed, accuracy is the defining quality in this range.
Wow. The widest soundstage I’ve heard at this price point. Listening to the Clear, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing headphones. Close your eyes, and try out a Coltrane recording; you’ll swear that you’re at the venue. And hearing Sting’s Brand New Day, I felt a ton of width and height. It’s a truly multidimensional experience.
The fastest, clearest and most spacious sound in this echelon of headphones. You can also explore other headphones by Focal here.
Impedance: 55 Ohms
Sensitivity: 104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz THD 0,25% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
Frequency response: 5Hz-28kHz
Loudspeaker: 1.6″ (40mm)
Weight: 0.99lb / 450g
You can order a pair of Focal Clear Open-Back headphones at Audio46.