You wouldn't expect headphones to need any special equipment to work. Both of the new models have counterparts in Focal’s consumer range. Inside, foam inserts hold the headphones in place, and there is a space for your chosen cable. Focal are nothing if not prolific. Not exactly. Best Gear of November 2020. I'd rather have one of this than 5 of cheaper headphones. The biggest difference here is the color; while the Elear came in black, the Clear comes in a tasteful shade of grey, with silver metallic accents. And by the way, if everything we just wrote is complete gobbledygook, we’ve got a full explainer article that breaks down all the common headphone specs we’ve just mentioned, and more. France-based Focal is best known for pro and consumer audio speakers, but the company has, in recent years, moved into all aspects of the headphone market. One of the greatest pleasures we know is blocking out the world's distractions with good pair of headphones. When French speaker manufacturer Focal made the decision to push deep into the headphone market, few would have predicted that they’d have this level of success. The Clear has an impedance of 55ohms and a sensitivity of 104db. His ZMF series, which at the time of writing is about to get a new open-back planar model, is stellar. Want Even More Master Switch? The etched logo in the middle is a sweet finishing touch. The aux cable shouldn’t be overlooked either, wrapped in a heavy-duty woven fabric with a Velcro strap to conveniently wrap up when travelling. All the cables come with nifty velcro straps built in, to help you hold things in place while not in use. Sometimes, you just need to break the bank. The Clear is their first real test of longevity: a headphone that aims to bridge the gap between the company’s high-end models. As mentioned in our Focal Elear review, the French audio company has been innovating in headphone driver tech for some while now. Sorry – we know that probably isn't very helpful advice. Expect nothing different than what comes bundled with the Elegia. The latter is very much a high-end model that is second only to the groundbreaking Utopia: a closed-back, leather-wrapped, $2,999 monster but makes mincemeat of any song you put through it. Focal Clear is more balanced in bass, mids and treble Focal Clear has a touch better detail retrieval and is more dynamic Focal Clear has a tighter bass slam Focal Clear is more engaging to me … if it doesn’t involve any of the following, you probably don’t need to worry about it. Bass levels on the Clear are carefully balanced as well. ​The Clear comes with substantial accessories, and one of the better carry-cases we’ve encountered. Thank you for signing up to Tom's Guide. Focal’s Clear is a departure from my preferred cans. laptops, smartphones, etc. While it is slightly strange that the leather headband has the same padding underneath as the material on the cups, it still looks and feels very good indeed. And this trick, of releasing a slightly more expensive reskinned version, is something that plenty other manufacturers have tried before – to highlight just one example, when Mr Speakers released the very good Ether Flow headphones to replace the original Ether, the design remained largely unchanged. To see how it stacks up, see our list of the best high-end headphones. Up Next NAD VISO HP70 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphone Review The Focal Clear headphones are a benchmark design that is one of the top performing headsets I’ve experienced. If only it was longer. Read full InnerFidelity review here: https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/focal-clear-over-ear-open-headphones This provides some relief when zoning out to playlists for long stretches. It screams industrial, yet class, and upholds the refined appearance of top-tier studio speakers. These are open back headphones Alex. Damn, we're old. When you take the headphones out of the box, you’ll immediately be dazzled with the metallic look and great feel. There was a problem. The Clear … Look no further than the intro to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for confirmation. To simplify the technical jargon, the driver doesn’t just optimize volume levels across different audio sources (e.g. Sheer sonic bliss housed in a luxury shell. According to Focal, the earpads are one of the biggest upgrades that the Clear has over the Elear. December 31, 2017 Luckbad 0. But if you thought the Elegia had its fair share of compromises, the Clear presents the biggest with its noise isolation struggles. The bites of electric guitars and the crisp hit of snare drums really came through, and the headphones showed off some superb dynamics. I find myself turning my head sometimes when listening to music as I'm trying to locate an instrument. While we do think that they don’t sound quite as assured as the Clear, they make up for it by having some of the best soundstage we’ve ever come across. And despite our misgivings about the headband, it’s very comfortable to wear. We haven’t had a close look at the Clear’s drivers – although we have with the ones in the Utopia (full review here), which were heavy enough to kill if you threw one of them with the right amount of force – but what we can say is that they do one hell of a job with your audio. A simple DAC upgrade can do wonders for your audio playback, as for example, a 4K-capable TV might change your movie viewing experience. They are higher quality than the Clear, and a good alternative if you have cash to burn. But it’s the slate-gray finish that gives these headphones their charm. Headphone Impedance And Sensitivity Explained, WAV vs. FLAC vs. MP3: Audio File Formats Explained, breaks down all the common headphone specs we’ve just mentioned. Sensitivity is identical, at 104dB, although the Clear has slightly lower Total Harmonic Distortion (at 0.25%/1kHz to the Elear’s 0.3%/1kHz). At the same time, the recessed vocals and guitar riff diminished its boomy appeal. Honestly? We very happily wore these for hours at a time – the soft earcups never felt like they were going to cause us any discomfort, and the space in the middle is wide enough to accommodate all but the largest of ears. They also have pliant cushioning that doesn’t press up hard against or around the ears. It has a clear vision of speaker drivers and loudspeakers which respect and honor the … Like its older brother, Clear uses a 40mm aluminium-magnesium m-shaped dome driver… Despite its massive … Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, We think they achieved that goal, but if you disagree, here are some viable alternatives. However, not every song showed this level of performance. Both are stuffed with soft foam. At nearly a pound (15.8 ounces), the Clear is in the same weight class as the Elegia, but far heavier than most noise-cancelling headphones. We disagree - they’re good, but advancements have been made since then, and they can sound just a touch thin now. The biggest question we have to answer when reviewing these is: are they worth the extra money when something like the Elear exists? The headband of the Focal Clear Professional headphones is remarkably comfortable. Comparing these to the Elear, the audio specs don’t show a huge amount of difference. They’ve hung in there, easily competing with headphones twice their price. It's a little difficult to say that either of these new models are better or worse than the Clear. Focal Listen Headphones Review. Focal absolutely had to pull out all the stops here, or the entire exercise would have been written off as nothing more than naked profiteering. The Clear delivers refined and classy sound that stands with the best high-end headphones available. It was tough listening to music outside due to all of the environmental interference that made its way onto the soundscape; car horns and construction tools sounded like background effects on hip-hop songs. That’s not hyperbole. We tested these on a variety of amplifiers, ranging from a $99 Schiit Fulla (full review here) to a $10,000 Goldmund Telos 2, and they always performed at the top of their game. End of discussion. Consider this the ultimate explainer. NY 10036. They are just about as simple as audio equipment gets. Obviously, it shares a good deal of the technology developed for the Focal Utopia, which I reviewed in Issue 270, but … My fiancée identified every Jay-Z song I played from about 25 feet away. They’re the elder statesman of the headphone world, with a classic sound that many still claim has yet to be bettered. Paired with a new copper voice coil, these two components are said to improve “dynamics over the entire spectrum,” producing tighter bass and highs. If the Elear didn’t exist, these would be revolutionary. And really…that’s kind of it. Here are some of the best ones of this year. Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips. Focal’s aim to produce a set of headphones that can replicate the openness and response you get from working with a trusted set of monitors is an aspiring concept. The acoustic guitar on Oasis’ “Wonderwall” pulled me in with every strum, but it was the different string arrangements sprinkled throughout the recording that made the listen more enchanting. The best audiophile headphones that we've tested are the Sennheiser HD 800 S. These open-back over-ear headphones look and feel very durable and premium, with a sturdy metal frame … For folks in warmer climates, you mig… ​These headphones may be a little too expensive for some - even with a discount, they’re around $1,300 at the time of writing. Everything you need to know about headphone specs. They are very good for what they do and deliver. So why not take the jump? Everything we do is geared towards creating bigger, better sound. Acapellas really soar on these cans. The ear cups themselves are soft, squashy, and breathable, and also removable in case you need to access the serial number, or swap them out at a later date – a feature we always like to see. This is how you know you got some really good headphones . Price … The Clear ups the ante, sharpening everything we liked about the sound while adding its own special flavour. Both models use the same micro-fiber material, but the Clear’s earcups have perforations to cool down overheated ears. The Clear has a flatter sound signature that reveals the purest details from the most complex recordings. Be warned, if you do decide to go for the Aeolus, you will be in for a long wait – not because they are out of stock, but because each one is handmade to your specifications. Its entry-level Elegia headphones are well constructed, and these pricier cans share similar attributes, but with a more elegant look that stays true to the company’s design pedigree. No? Improves on the original formula of the Elear, while making just enough key differences in audio quality to matter. Nintendo Switch bundle is back in stock at Walmart, The best portable chargers and power banks in 2020, Sound reproduction is stellar on all audio devices, Lack of accessories, controls, and extra features, Noise isolation is practically non-existent. Being indoors didn’t fare any better, as I could hear analysts speaking during live football games with the TV at low volume. It’s a beauty to behold, although I can’t say I preferred the brighter look of Clear over the darker Elear, they’re both … So don’t read too much into it: this is still an exceptionally well-designed pair of headphones. The only other noticeable difference in design between the Elegia and Clear are the earcups. Clear, Focal’s newest reference headphones, are one of the best I have ever reviewed. Again, $1,500 is a lot to ask for any pair of headphones, but an investment worth considering if you want natural-sounding cans that look and sound this good. That’s not a problem that Focal has. Yes. Compared to models like the aforementioned Elear and the Sennheiser HD800s, these more than hold their own. Released in 2017, the Clear … The critics say the Clear gives you 95% of the Utopia sound quality, just as the Elear is said to bring 90-95% of the Clear's sq. For $500 more? The Clear has a firmer headband than the Elegia, but it doesn’t apply the same unwanted pressure atop the head. Raising the headphone volume didn’t fix this issue. You get a 4” cable with a 3.5mm plug for smartphone use, a 10” cable with the standard 6.3mm plug, and you even get a 10” balanced cable with a 4-point XLR connector. I will say that the quality is remarkable on all of these, primarily the case, which can hold extra EDC items, if necessary. 300. Visit our corporate site. The design is bold, and the large, industrial looking cans are unapologetic … But: when it comes down to it, we think the Focal Clear sound more refined and slightly more elegant than their younger sibling, with quantifiable evidence that work has been done to improve the overall experience. When playing bouncy selections like Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” the drums and guitar licks had a striking presence that made vibing along to the record joyous. The perforated earcups do nothing to block out ambient noise and bleed sound as loudly as some portable speakers. Remember the very first iPod from seventeen years ago? Grado Labs PS2000e Headphones. Not with quite as much volume, to be sure, but still solid. It must be said that if you own the former, you’ve got very little reason to buy these, but if you don’t, this could be a very classy entry into the high-end headphone world. The Focal Clear is an over-ear, open acoustic, dynamic driver headphone. Even the overdubs (the song apparently has over 180) like the “Galileo” repetitions and Chinese gongs at the end have more transparency to them. The Sennheiser HD800 is really the classic option here. The central element, with the company logo surrounded by a circle detailing not only the material the driver is constructed from (aluminum-magnesium, since you ask) but also that the headphones were Fabrique en France, feels as well-built and substantial as it did on the Elear. In summary – the Focal … The only thing worse than the noise isolation is the amount of sound these cans bleed. If that’s the case, then the Focal Clear deserves your full attention. Very well said. While I wasn’t able to test the company’s older and more beloved beryllium driver for comparison, I can say that this alternative delivers on its promise. Far from cheap, the Focal Clear sells you on beautiful sound and build quality for a higher-than-normal premium. No open back headphones offer noise isolation and if they do you miss out on what makes open back headphones great. I preferred the LCD-3 and WH-1000xM3 for bass-heavy content, but I also appreciated how well balanced the low end was on these cans. The Focal Clear headphones are a new $1500 open back offering designed and developed in France. Seeing how the Elegia and Clear share the same driver, audio should sound the same, correct? For the past 30-plus years, since I heard my first pair of Stax electrostatics. I’ve always loved the WH-1000xM3’s strong bass performance on mobile devices, but the Clear wasn’t as overpowering on my ears and elevated vocal clarity on the Google Pixel 3 XL. They offer a much wider range of accessories, all of which feel worth owning. Read more about us. The yokes appear shorter as well to ensure a more secure fit. The result? There’s a level of detail that isn’t present in the cheaper (by about $500) Elears, and a certain class and clarity to the low end that we found refreshing. But when I tested them in the store I loved their signature. These may be bulky over ear headphones, but when you’re wearing them, they certainly don’t feel like it. I have those headphones and I have to say they are expensive. Like all of Focal’s high-end line, Clear is an example of headphone design elevated to art. Of all the hundreds of headphone models available today, these are the best. ), but also eliminates the need of any extra hardware like a headphone amp to boost sound. Join the discussion about the Focal Clear at "The HEADPHONE Community".---Buy the Focal Clear on Headphone.com here, at the best price available.---Post Review Note. But if you’re going to make something look identical to its predecessor, and not even change the name beyond a single letter, it doesn’t really add to the illusion that you’ve put a lot of thought into it. That sort of assembly also makes the Focal Clear’s a little cooler on the head than some over-ear products. Sometimes, you need to take a step back, look at how you’re listening to music, and improve it. Focal knows how to create attractive audio hardware. We saw a similar setup with the PSB M4U-8 (full review here), and we rather liked it - it got the job done, without being overly flashy, or getting in the way. Fortunately, we're here to help, with our full guide to this audio topic. And if you take away one thing from this, it's that Focal put out a huge range of headphones, and the one you go for is very much dependent on the size of your wallet, and the way you like your music. The Elear is 80Ω, while the Clear presents at 55Ω (Meaning it’s easier to drive, and requires slightly less power). The headband feels just as comfy with premium leather wrapped around it. Tom's Guide is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. However, the Clear has zero noise isolation and lacks extra features that help personalize your listening experience, which may sway you to consider other expensive models like the Audeze LCD-3. Clarity was so spot-on that I felt the vulnerability in Liam Gallagher’s voice on the somberly-crooned hook. They are expensive for a reason. Priced at $1499, the Clear is intended to be the best option Focal offers for under $1500. For $1,200, you can buy yourself a ZMF Aeolus (full review here), an exquisite pair of open headphones that more than compete with the $1,499 Clear. Focal clear comfort and fit At nearly a pound (15.8 ounces), the Clear is in the same weight class as the Elegia, but far heavier than most noise-cancelling headphones. The headphones are largely built from met… While we did occasionally wish that the mids were just a touch warmer and more forward, the clarity these presented was unmatched in this particular price range. Good news: the Clear don’t just sound good, they sound distinctive. We don’t think they are quite as good as things like the Eikon, but they still do a very solid job, especially for the money you pay. Separation between frequencies was impressive, but it was better on plantar magnetic drivers; the transition from lows to mids was smoother on the Audeze LCD-3. They are surprisingly light, and although they require a fair amount of power to drive properly, they will reward you with clear and elegant sound that takes full advantage of the open back design. All the same, they’re a classic for a reason, and while we think the Clear is slightly better these headphones will satisfy all but the most demanding listeners. Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter! It must be said that if you already own the Elear, you’re not going to get an absolutely enormous upgrade by buying these, and while there are definitely differences, they do share the same sound signature – as you might expect. As with almost all their other models, the Clear feels terrific to wear. At The Master Switch, we spend an awful lot of time thinking about audio. Review written by @Chrono Review unit provided on loan by headphones.com Introduction The Clear is an open-back dynamic headphone designed by Focal that retails for $1,499, and it utilizes Focal’s full-range speaker driver with an ‘M’-shape Aluminum/Magnesium dome. What they had to prove to us was that they represented enough of a leap forward to justify the extra five hundred bucks. Hurry! I’m also fond of the circular cutouts that offer a generous amount of space for listeners with larger ear shapes. Yes, it works, and works well – and if we’re going to stick with an earlier metaphor, it’s not like the iPhone changed substantially between iterations. They are just different. In this review, we break down the Clear’s sound, design, comfort and fit, packaging and accessories, specs and more. The ergonomic design of the Focal Clear … The former costs $899 – significantly less than the Clear – and is marketed as an alternative to the sub-$1,000 open-back Elear headphones. They look absolutely stunning! Focal Clear review: FOCAL’S OPENNESS. Because, again, they are incredibly similar. Obviously, having decent amplification always helped, but even when we listened to them off  simple smartphone, they performed well. Focal Clear Review. The Clear has zero noise isolation. It’s a consistent surprise just how well the HiFiMAN HE1000 V2 headphones have endured over the years. In a really good way. If you like your headphones to have a little bit more of a human touch, if you prefer wood to metal, then give Zach Mehrbach's cans a go. The other main accessory is a terrific carry-case, with a hard, textured surface and a substantial zip running around it, as well as a useful carry handle. The realism and space is just unreal. While I have a penchant for stealth black audio gear, I find the light gray/metallic silver of the Clear an immensely … The perforated earpads maximize comfort by ventilating sweaty ears. Otherwise, look at other high-profile alternatives like the Sony WH-1000xM3 ($250) that can get the job done for a fraction of the cost, and has lots more features. FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSD… There’s no denying that picking the right type of audio to listen to can be crazy confusing. It has an identical weight to the Elear (just under a pound), and the clamping pressure feels perfectly engineered – something to do, no doubt, with those spring-loaded hinges. Klipsch Heritage HP-3 Headphones. In this review, we break down the Clear’s sound, design, … Audio is also more uniform with smoother frequency response. Not only are they … But, in comparison to such a great imaging headphone, Elear wasn’t totally out of its depth which means Focal gets high marks for providing competitive soundstage at this price. It shies away from the standard black-box-with-foam-inserts as seen with the Elear and the Utopia, going for more of a flower-like design that opens out into multiple sections. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. They don’t just look sort of the same; outside of a different colour scheme, they look exactly the same. It’s not that it’s an especially new concept – swappable ear cups have been around since the days of the old Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones, which came out in 2016 (and which you can now buy for under $200, which you should, because they are awesome). Like the Elear, the drivers are 40mm aluminum-magnesium, and are designed in an M shape. But we've tested more headphones from Focal than just about any other company, and that's the way we feel. The low-end isn’t as weighty as other models, but it feels tight and controlled, with enough thump to satisfy most people. They will your weigh you down during commutes. Fine expect noise isolation. These are open-back headphones, with a mesh grille on the outside of the housing, protecting the driver. Certainly enough to satisfy us. Focal… When I did get the chance to pull up Spotify in a private setting, hip-hop songs had more oomph to them. The LCD-3 gave me the same feels, although its low end felt tamer. Focal Clear have plenty of padding for ultimate comfort When you look at the Focal Utopia it jumps out at you. The earpads of the Focal Stellia and Focal Clear have the same size and shape. Epson LS500 4K Laser Projection TV Review… It’s just the truth. 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