Focal Clear “Clipping” at low/moderate volume?

I’m on my second set of Focal Clears in a month. Depending on the track that’s playing, they start clippings between 55-85db. The right ear is usually the culprit, but they both will clip on occasion. Is anyone else having any issues, and if so, have you found a fix for them?
The first set I was worried about getting stuck with a $1499 paperweight, and I sent that pair back maybe a little too soon. The second pair though, I gave given at least a 100hrs of burn in time and I am still having the same issue.
Thought I had better answer the burn-in question before it was asked.

Appreciate some feedback,

Headphones don’t really clip, so one of a few things are potentially going on here …

There’s a mechanical excursion limiter on the Focal driver. That makes a pronounced click/crack sound if you hit it. But unless there’s something else going on, you’re listening at levels that are at least 20 dB shy of where it might even start to be a factor (and then only if the music in question has incredibly high bass/sub-bass levels).

There’s no way that limiter is having an effect at 55 dB.

If you’re using EQ to boost the bass, I could maybe see it at 85 dB, but you’d have to be applying a huge amount of boost there. And if you are using EQ it’s VASTLY more likely that you’re actually getting digital clipping rather than it being the headphone itself (the Clear may make it more audible due to it’s resolution vs. other headphones).

If this was just with one pair of headphones I’d just assume they were faulty. The same issue, at such low levels, with a 2nd pair points elsewhere in the chain.

So let’s start with the basics.

List some tracks that exhibit the problem, and post what DAC, amp you’re using and if you are using any EQ or bass-boost software/hardware (and if so, how they are configured).


Interesting, I have had my Clears for a few months now and never had them “clip” for any reason…usually listen at 75 - 85 dB at best…what exactly doest the “clipping” sound like? Can you take off the headphones and hear anything mechanically hitting “something”?



First, check if the headphone jack is seating correctly in the amp output socket. I’ve had to buy adapters in the past to eliminate static from a poor connection.


I’ve had a grounding issue that resulted in similar circumstances such as a popping sound at any volume level. This may be the culprit. (This was with a planar Headphone)

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It doesn’t sound like there is anything making contact in the headphones, and being open-back, especially these open-back, it’s really hard to tell. I feel no mechanical contact holding them though.
Describing the sound, all I can say is it’s not something that you want to put your ears through once, let alone 2 or 3 times. Its definitely in a range that can cause temporary if not permanent damage to your hearing.