Focal Clear - Official Picture Thread

This is the official thread for pictures of the Focal Clear.


Excellent shots!

I can see why you showed them in black and white … these little buggers are surprisingly tricky to light and photograph in a manner that shows their color properly …

And adding a better shot …


I’m becoming a Focal fan boi it would seem…just missing two…but I think I can be happy with what I have, maybe time to pass along the Elex…


I didn’t realize you’d bought the Clear!

Tonally the Clear and Elex are VERY similar … but the Clear is ahead on technicalities, so would make the Elex superfluous for me (I keep it for comparison purposes … for now).

And it seems you’re having fun with the new camera. Definitely helps with low-light noise performance (ISO 100 or 200 … depending on what MFT currently allows on the slow-end and a tripod makes a big difference over auto-ISO and hand-held - even with Panasonic’s dual-mode IS).


I went on a stupid spending spree for my cake day…plus offer I couldn’t refuse…the devil’s…lol

Picked up a new macmini too…


I think you need a partridge in a pear tree to finish up your cake week.


I need to get that Photoshop subscription… waiting on my Mac mini before I jump on it. Also I need to figure out why I’m taking burst shots all the time…

@DarthPool - Just a heads-up. One of the nice things about the GX85 is that it’s just barely old enough that it works with Lightroom 6 (v6.14 to be exact), which you can buy outright without the subscription. Should also apply for the last photoshop prior to the subscription model as well. It was one of the last camera models that had offline Adobe Raw support.


Do you have the Focal Clear now? Lovely pictures as always.

1 Like

Yes sir! shameless plug is where I picked them and their sister/brother Elegia up from. Really enjoying both! @Torq is right they have the most similarity… I am shocked at how good the Elegia sound for a Closed back, the imaging is really amazing ( I was using them with my Xbox1X playing RDR2, and I pinpointed a cougar attacking a guy down a cliff and in the woods from where I was).


That’s great. Not really a closed back guy as I don’t have a need for them. But if I did the vocals sound like they’re be what I was looking for. Can’t wait to play RDR2. Gotta finish Dragon Quest first though. :grin:

Oh and if I lived in the US, would be my first port of call. The import and taxes we have to pay in UK on what would be expensive purchases wouldn’t make it viable.

1 Like

Man, listening to the Clear through Airist R-2R DAC ->Bottlehead Crack. I love it, I haven’t fully burned in my tubes apparently because I’m picking up some whine here and there, but when the music is in full swing…just amazing. Such a good combo, really good synergy. The BHC adds oomph, too the sweet delivery of the R-2R. Also the volume is barely turned on lol, the BHC has some serious power.

I also was doing some A/B with the Elex, and it is surprisingly close to the Clear. But like @Torq says it’s just not quite there. I’ll probably be moving it along to a more appreciative home in the future.

1 Like

Hmm unplugged my Clears and plugged them back into the BHC and the whine is gone…just inky blackness. Odd feedback loop maybe… whatever, it sounds even more amazing…must go to bed, but this new uninterrupted sound is mesmerizing…one more song then bed.


My first thought when I read that you were running the Clear out of the Crack was …



The Crack/Clear combination is a bit too bass-emphatic for my tastes. Fun, for sure. But the bass gets elevated and bit too enthusiastic for me.

One thing it does illustrate, though it’s audible with the HD800S and the HD650 as well, is a little even-order harmonic distortion in the lowest registers. From an audible perspective, that’ll have the effect of making the bass seem fuller.

Which has me thinking I might just keep my Speedball for my 2nd Crack build. If I understand the designs/circuits correctly, the Speedball should clean up that distortion to an audible degree, which should result in cleaner bass - but also an apparent reduction in its level. And this thing sounds so delicious as-is that I would not want to give that up entirely.

And a few moments reflection on that comment has me wondering if I could put together a Crack in which it was possible to easily switch between the standard design and the Speedball equipped version. When I say easily switched … I mean via one toggle switch …

1 Like

Oh yeah, it is definitely Bass heavy, I think this is a byproduct of all my recent time with my CA Cascade and my brain becoming accustomed to it… I’ll probably stick with my HD800 for further listening…with the occasional HD700 for good measure!

Hmm…I am worried about adding the Speedball then, because like you said…it is a rather enjoyable listen as is. What do you think the whine I’m hearing is? It goes away when I unplug and plug back into the BHC, but will gradually return, it comes off like a feedback issue…maybe a ground issue? I am a complete novice when it comes to Electrical “anything” so I don’t even want to guess at it really.

1 Like

This could be a fun project…

I am pretty much resigned to buying a second unit so I can have both side-by-side. Absent figuring out a way to make the Speedball switchable. The stock Crack is just lovely.

Hard to say.

If it’s a whine vs. a hum, the causes are likely to be very different.

What frequency range do you think it’s at?

It could be as simple to the amp/tubes proximity to other gear.

If unplugging/replugging the headphones has a consistent effect, and it slowly comes back (again. consistently), then it could be an iffy solder-joint on one (or more) of the five sets of capacitor legs. I would reflow each of those joints, just to be on the safe side (make sure to tin the tip of the iron before doing so).

I can tell you that, even with only a dozen hours on it, my unit is fundamentally silent into 300 ohm cans from about 30 seconds after power-on. No hum. No whine. No audible noise. Even at full volume.

Mine is not the quietest at full volume, so I think I should go back through and reflow the joints. But any noise I do have is silent when unplugging and plugging back in, except at high volume…when I get home tonight I’ll re-test it out and see if I can figure out what it actually sounds like… but I’m pretty sure it is a whine that builds up over time. Most definitely due to my novice soldering skills lol…

But even with that it is still an amazing sounding amp…just a joy to listen to.

1 Like

I’d just do all the capacitor connections first.

If that fixes it, stop there.

And it’s worth giving it a quick try with no source connected, and away from anything else electronic before you do that.