Review Focal Clear review: Are these $1,500 headphones worth it?

Apr 10, 2020
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Hi Alex,

I appreciate the review but just a couple notes:

These are, as you mentioned, open-back headphones. This means they do not have any material behind the driver other than the mesh you see, unlike closed-back headphones such as the Elegia. There are reasons for this which you are free to look into, but the point I want to make is that open-back headphones are not designed to, do not, and will not isolate sound. Shine a light through the back, and you will see it in the cup. Sound is completely free to both enter and escape the ear cups; this is common to all open back headphones. If you require sound isolation, whether to block outside sound from getting in or to avoid disturbing other people in the room, you should get closed-back headphones. If that isn't enough, look into noise cancelling headphones. Not for nothing, but the perforated ear pads are also designed to affect the soundstage, not just keep your ears cool.

Additionally, regarding accessories, if you dig around in the packaging a bit more you will likely find another box with a three meter cable ending in a 1/4" TRS jack, and another three meter balanced cable ending in an XLR 4-pin connector. If not, call your dealer because you're missing parts. As for controls for your phone, which I'm assuming is what you were referring to in the "against" column, you're just not going to find those at this level. Extra stuff on the wire can mess with the sound, and the sound is the only focus of this product.

I have a pair of these and a pair of Bose QC35s. They are both very good at what they do, but they do different things. The Bose are great at taking calls, cancelling noise on a plane or a commute, and sounding pretty ok while listening to music streamed from my phone. The Focals are absolutely exceptional at reproducing music beautifully, and nothing else. Both are headphones in the same way that a box truck and a race car are both vehicles. Yeah the truck can probably make it around a track but it'll be nothing like what the car can do, and the car will be absolutely terrible at hauling lumber. Always best to use the right tool for the job.

All the best and hope you're well
 
Aug 14, 2020
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Very well said. I have those headphones and I have to say they are expensive. But when I tested them in the store I loved their signature. They are very good for what they do and deliver. I find myself turning my head sometimes when listening to music as I'm trying to locate an instrument. This is how you know you got some really good headphones 😊. They are expensive for a reason. I'd rather have one of this than 5 of cheaper headphones
 
Aug 14, 2020
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These are open back headphones Alex. Fine expect noise isolation. No open back headphones offer noise isolation and if they do you miss out on what makes open back headphones great.
 
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