Beware, very controversial opinion
— Focal did it again! —
Since 2016, with the Elear & Utopia models, Focal has been bringing headphones onto the market with a certain degree of regularity that are “optically” at least miles ahead of all other competitors. This has also been the case in the past few months with the latest design series.
French and design, a symbiosis that has undoubtedly always been a perfect match.
BUT, now comes an argument that I noticed when I was at school and that I’ve personally questioned again and again ever since. Experience has shown that the most visually attractive person has always been the “magnet” to which many others have attached themselves without really questioning their human as well as intellectual abilities.
It was assumed that “looks good, has to be follow it to be good ”and if enough participate, it has to be right.
In my opinion, this argument also applies to Focal headphones.
— I; Music lover with hat size XXL or 65 in Europe who likes to relax and enjoy the “acoustic art” in his wing chair with a glass of wine and closed eyes and not sit analytically at the PC and every “source of error” in the recording to penetrate. —
So I; have a problem with Focal headphones, i.e. all models in the series. Of course, the following criticism is related to the called price!
So what is objectively being offered?
It starts with unpacking, what is offered there so “shiny and noble” is, in my opinion, a total “blender”, because actually I have to buy an after market cable for every headphone, because even if I use these cables regularly even after 2 years of intensive use, they are still as bulky as an Andalusian mule.
Then I put these headphones on my “skull” and realize that even when the headband is fully expanded, it presses me hard in the middle of my head, it pulls the earlobes inside the auricles upwards and the auricle is whole rather designed for smaller ears.
Now I can widen the headphones, for example by putting them over a couple of books, but then I’m missing a few centimeters in the depth to the ears.
— Then the sound so highly praised by many —
When you listen to music, as it is my habit, you inevitably ask yourself very quickly, why do I feel every time I close my eyes as if the musical performance is being performed in an modern industrial plant.
I really don’t know any other headphones whose sound is presented so “mechanically”. And by that I really mean all Focal models, with slight cuts in the Stellia, which comes across as reasonably “musically”.
Now one could argue that the synergy to the sound chain could play a role, everything from Chord Dave, to the Cayin HA-6, Feliks Audio Euforia MK2, Focal Arche to the AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt, the sound image was steadily “mechanical” every time there was a lack of “naturalness” that every voice and every musical instrument has
These headphones undoubtedly have their “technical” qualities and, if you like, also “dreamlike” frequency curves .
Although I also find the highly praised detail representation in many songs with Clear, at best, average.
If someone wants to know, I can immediately tell them at least 2 dozen songs in which even a Koss KPH30i provides more details in the higher and middle pitches than the Clear.
PS: I’m not claiming that these are technically better than the Clear, god forbid!
In addition, few headphones tend to audio clipping as quickly as these focal drivers, you have to be very careful not to overdrive them in terms of input power and volume .
So if a pair of headphones was overrated for around € 1500, then it was the Focal Clear.
I got mine for € 899 at an anniversary promotion, which seemed like a reasonable offer to me.
However, it is still one of the least used headphones in my portfolio, because it is not really a musical “enjoyment”, at least for me.
— I very much hope that all of these problems will improve significantly with the latest model series, especially with regard to the prices shown.
And this time Focal does not focus mainly on the visual appearance of these headphones. —
So, now “fire open”, beat me for my opinion, but I stand by it.