Second, you want to look for headphones that have noise-canceling capabilities. This will help to minimize distractions and allow you to focus on your work. Third, you want to find headphones that have good sound quality. This will ensure you can hear what you need to focus on in your work.
- 1 Why Do You Need Better Headphones?
- 2 Best Focal Headphones: The Top Earphones And Earbuds For You
- 3 Focal Clear Review — The Best Headphones for Music Production
- 4 Conclusion
Why Do You Need Better Headphones?
You have a taste for the best things in life. This is what has brought you here. You desire greater melodic detail and connection to your music, not just better headphones.
You realize your ears deserve more, and you’re sick of losing out. This important guide to Focal headphones will serve up all of Focal’s products and assist you in selecting the ideal one to unleash the potential hidden in your music library.
Like the famed wines and delicious cuisine of Burgundy, Focal undoubtedly derives and takes much of its influence from its historical birthplace. Like its home, Focal’s rich cultural background has positioned the company to provide something distinctive to audiophiles over the previous four decades.
In the future, the company’s expertise in manufacturing world-class loudspeakers for the world’s greatest sounding mastering studios and listening spaces has uniquely positioned the brand to provide something remarkable to the headphone industry.
Since the debut of its first flagship open-back headphone model, the Utopia, in 2016, the lineup of headphones has grown in tandem with the brand’s global client base. Users are the most aware of the unique features beryllium or magnesium drivers convey to their music.
These materials, used in Focal’s over-the-ear headphones, let brand enthusiasts improve their music appreciation. This is why audiophiles keep returning to the brand for the exceptional craftsmanship and selection of the best materials.
The brand’s material expertise gives beneficial acoustic properties to the sound waves produced by the drivers. When creating outstanding headphones and loudspeakers, the firm knows the importance of materials. It’s no surprise that Focal headphones review have become so well-known for their ability to serve fine detail to the thrilled ears of connoisseurs who value the distinct sound characteristics that high-quality materials offer to their musical excursions.
If you appreciate the finer things in life, you’ve come to the right place. Focal appreciates your sense of style and has a lot to offer.
Best Focal Headphones: The Top Earphones And Earbuds For You
|1||Focal Elegia High-Fidelity...||$448.99||View on Amazon|
|2||Focal Listen Pro Closed-Back...||$299.00 $269.10||View on Amazon|
|3||Focal Stellia Closed-Back...||$2,999.00||View on Amazon|
|4||Focal Clear MG Open-Back...||$1,499.00||View on Amazon|
|5||Focal Celestee High-End...||$999.00||View on Amazon|
|6||Focal Utopia Series 2020...||$4,399.00||View on Amazon|
Focal Clear Mg
- Open-Back Operating Principle
- 55 Ohms Impedance
- Loudspeaker: 40mm all-magnesium ‘M’-shaped driver.
Following in the footsteps of the Focal Clear open-back headphone, the re-tuned Clear Mg features fine chestnut leather and microfiber materials on the headband and ear pads, as well as a cool honeycomb pattern on the ear cups — and, of course, Focal’s special 40mm ‘M’-shaped all Magnesium full-range driver. We were delighted to get Clear Mg to write our review of Focal’s redesigned open-back headphone classic.
The original Focal Clear was one of our best-selling headphones and quickly became our go-to open-back option. Suppose you’re unfamiliar with open-back headphones and their specific benefits. Open-back designs may be recognized by their open drivers (usually with mesh behind the driver), which offer the music a more expansive sensation and a broader soundstage.
The Focal Clear Mg Open-back Headphone performs an excellent job of defining the soundstage while sacrificing low-end. The bass remains tight and distinct without becoming overpowering.
The Focal Clear Mg has a 55 Ohm impedance, which may be powered by a portable audio device or a laptop. However, using a headphone amp to hear their full potential is strongly suggested.
The Clear Mg, included in many Focal headphones, employs an M-shaped inverted dome loudspeaker to generate rich and precise sound. The original Clear had a 40mm driver constructed of magnesium and aluminum and a copper voice coil.
On the other hand, the Focal Clear Mg has been re-tuned with a new speaker driver cone material. Focal created a dome with an all-Magnesium cone for the Clear Mg full-range driver after four years of research and development.
Because of the new alloy, the speaker driver is lighter and more robust than the old aluminum-magnesium driver. This enables the Clear Mg to generate frequencies (5Hz-28kHz) that are below and above human hearing (20Hz-20kHz).
- Perforated microfibre earpads:...
- Headband covered with leather and...
- 'M'-shaped grille following the...
- Solid aluminum yoke which molds to...
- Honeycomb grille for even more open...
We instantly realized how comfy the new Focal Clear Mg is when we tested them! The perforated microfiber memory foam earpads and headbands are meant to fit snugly while being breathable and comfortable. They are not only exceedingly comfortable, but the 1-millimeter micro-perforations assist in creating the illusion of wide space and an expanded soundstage. Like all of the headphones in this comparison, the ear cups have a normal vertical pivot, but the yoke allows them to move laterally to match any head shape.
The sound of the Clear Mg makes them well worth the money. Because the original Clear replicated a clean, effortless, realistic sound, imagine even more impactful music exposing even more exact micro details, realism, and more accurate dynamics hidden in the headphone’s wide-open soundstage. They are extremely well-balanced, meaning no level (bass, treble, or mid) is overdone or boring.
To compare a common configuration to a premium setup, we connected the Focal Clear Mg to the Chord Mojo 2 and then to the Mark Levinson No. 519. We played jazz, acoustic rock, and electronica on both. Jazz was an outstanding genre for us – these headphones can represent the magnificent sound stages in the recordings and minute nuances. However, they sound great with almost every genre we tried. The Clear Mg is for you if you have a keen sense of detail.
Focal’s Celestee headset is another re-tuned design inspired by Focal’s first full-sized closed-back headphones. The objective was to produce an isolating headphone that kept the sound quality of previous models, even drawing components from their structure and materials.
The Focal Celestee was built with portability in mind. They may be powered by a laptop or smartphone due to their impedance of 35 Ohms. The closed-back design isolates you from outside noise no matter where you are.
Although convenient, mobility was not the most significant design consideration when developing these headphones. To be considered a “re-tuned design” on Focal’s first audiophile circum-aural closed-back headphones, the Elegia and the Celestee’s sound had to match and exceed Focal’s expectations.
Celestee has been further polished and re-tuned with a greater focus on the lower-end frequencies — a frequent request from many Elegia owners — and is based on the Focal Elegia regarding driver and dome materials. Focal included their distinctive 40mm ‘M’-shaped Aluminum/Magnesium driver, identical to the Focal Clear Mg loudspeaker.
This driver material is not as high-quality as pure-Beryllium or even all-Magnesium drivers. We think Celestee is a terrific solution for less than $1,000 if you want the Focal sound profile for usage on the move or at home.
- Closed-back headphones for home and...
- Outstanding design fine materials...
- Remarkable sound performance:...
- Low impedance (35 Ohms) to ensure...
The Celestee maintains the same level of detail as the others, but without the same design and driver combination, they don’t have the same soundstage. The Celestee’s architecture makes it warmer and offers articulated low ends.
The Celestee is built similarly to the Clear, with the same yoke and design, but the earpad microfiber material is navy blue. Celestee has navy blue finishes on the earpads, headband, yoke, and ear pads and soft copper detailing on the speaker driver grills, cable connections, and rings.
Overall, they have the same cushioned comfort as the rest of the series and weigh just under a pound, so you won’t get tired of them as you might with heavier high-end headphones.
We put these headphones through their paces with four different power sources: the two from the previous testing (Chord Mojo 2 and Mark Levinson No. 519), an AudioQuest Dragonfly, and a laptop for reference.
We put them through their paces with Elliot Smith’s “Between the Bars,” Jackson Brown’s 1977 live rendition of “Shakey Town” from Running on Empty, Chet Baker’s 1954 recording of “My Funny Valentine,” and a variety of synth and electronic-based tracks. As we move through the sources, the findings gradually improve.
The high-ends were cut off with the laptop, and the bass was weak, making it impossible to present the full Focal sound. After switching to the AQ Dragonfly, those tones begin to emerge, with sharp and clear trebles and accurate bass. When you upgrade to the Mojo 2, the headphones really shine, giving punch and clean vocals that make acoustic tunes feel near and personal.
Mark Levinson No. 519 polished the sound, but it didn’t have the same impact as the others in the lineup, possibly due to their lower impedance or driver qualities.
Overall, the Focal Celestee has an incredibly wide soundstage, uncommon in closed-back headphones, crisp detail, and tight, accurate bass. If you want hefty low-ends, these may not be the headphones for you, but if you prefer warmth, these will be ideal.
Focal Utopia 2020
- Open-Back Operating Principle
- 80 Ohms is the impedance.
- Loudspeaker: 40mm Pure-Beryllium ‘M’-shaped driver.
The Utopia 2020 Kit is Clear Mg’s bigger brother and Focal’s flagship open-back headphones, adding new technology to 35 years of research to make them one of the finest on the market. While these headphones aren’t cheap, they take the concepts from their already fantastic-sounding Clear Mg and push them to the next level!
In addition, the redesigned focal utopia vs stellia package includes several high-end accessories, including a leather owners’ manual wallet, upgraded wires, and a lightweight, robust carrying case comparable to the other headphone cases in the portfolio.
The Utopia 2020, with an impedance of 80 Ohms, requires a headphone amp to reach a listening volume that reveals its jaw-dropping dynamics. The monolayer voice coil, magnets, and Beryllium “M” shape dome combine to make the headphones extremely difficult to drive.
The results demonstrate that headphones can drop down to 5Hz and reach as high as 50kHz, which is considerably beyond our hearing range and even higher than certain studio mics can record. This enables the playing of high registering frequencies, which, while not audible, lend texture to instruments such as pianos, harps, cymbals, and brass instruments.
Aside from the technological breakthroughs in Utopia 2020, they went out of their way to make these headphones some of the most comfortable. What good are good-sounding headphones if you can’t bear wearing them for more than 30 minutes?
- Leather headband including length...
- Carbon fiber yoke specially...
- Open-back ear cups for total...
- Bi-material construction made of...
- 2 shielded Lemo connectors with a...
The Utopia weighs less than a pound and has perforated, ultra-soft lambskin leather on the cushioned ear cups and headband for additional comfort and ventilation. The Utopia also employs carbon fiber in the yoke to counterbalance the weight of the specific motor components.
The sound from these headphones will wow you. These headphones do a fantastic job of reproducing music with incredible detail, but Utopia 2020 provides an experience that most people haven’t heard before. Many may find this ridiculous for headphones, but those who have heard Utopia will agree that they are unlike any other.
We used the same power sources as before when testing the Focal Utopia 2020: the Chord Mojo 2 and the Mark Levinson No. 519. This one was also linked to our Utopia’s Naim V1 DAC/headphone amp.
While all of them provided adequate power to the headphones, allowing them to display excellent clarity and dynamics, Utopia’s full potential was seen when it was linked to the Mark Levinson No. 519 and the Naim V1. The combination of these two immersed us in the music, allowing us to hear intricacies we had never heard before.
The open-back design gave the music a vast, room-filling illusion. Punch Brother’s title tune, “All Ashore,” is one of the unexpected tracks that jump out to us. A banjo begins quietly playing at the beginning of the tune, joined by a mandolin.
The subtleties of the pick softly scratching and popping as it comes off may be heard on the mandolin strings. When tried with different headphones, the sound could be heard, but not with the same level of detail. If you want hyper-realistic, immersive sound and are looking at high-end, open-back headphones, we say go ahead and spend the additional money on the Utopia.
- Closed-Back Operating Principle
- 35 Ohms Impedance
- Loudspeaker: 40mm Pure-Beryllium ‘M’-shaped driver.
The Focal Stellia is Focal’s fresh new, focal closed back headphones design for our final headphone. This is one of the most remarkable headphones we’ve experienced, not just because it’s closed-back. Focal designed them with some of the same portable ideas as the focal radiance vs celestee but went all out with the sound, making these truly exceptional.
While they are expensive ($3,000), they are well worth it if you are a headphone fanatic. The Focal Stellia has the same dome material and form as the $4,000 Focal Utopia 2020 (1.6″/40mm pure Beryllium “M” shape dome), but with the Celestee impedance. The Stellia’s frameless voice coil and closed-back design make it ideal for on-the-go or at-home listening.
- Focal Stellia headphones deliver...
- Incredible dynamics within a pair...
- Each component has been developed...
The design and construction are similar to the other Focal models, but with cognac and mocha finishes and full-grain leather cushions and headbands. These are as comfy as the Utopia 2020, and the general style and color make them stand out. After only one song, these headphones make you want to settle down and listen to the entire album.
We had no idea what to anticipate from a Beryllium-domed closed-back headset. We began testing with the Chord Mojo 2 after letting them break in for around 50 hours and were instantly blown away! We played Pink Floyd’s “Time” and felt we were onto something remarkable.
The ticking clocks and heavy percussion became three-dimensional, revealing every detail. David Gilmour’s voice appears in front of you around 2:20. The Stellia’s low-end is robust and tight without being overbearing, akin to a high-quality floor-standing speaker. At the same time, the highs are crisp and defined without being piercing.
We stepped up to Mark Levinson and played Yosi Horikawa’s “Bubbles” to test the soundstage. The music begins with ping pong balls, marbles, and kickballs bouncing toward you on concrete.
With high-quality headphones, you get a sense of room area and can nearly point to where each bounce is. These headphones’ isolation and detail make you feel like you’re a part of the performance. The Focal Stellia is the way to go if you’re looking for the ideal pair of closed-back headphones.
Focal Clear Review — The Best Headphones for Music Production
Focal Clear / Focal Clear Professional
After my fourth work cancellation due to the Coronavirus epidemic in New York City on March 12th, 2020, I read the writing on the wall. I searched up instructions to Adorama in Manhattan. I knew I’d be confined at home for an extended period. I’d rather be stranded at home with some new headphones.
I had previously listened to various Focal headphones and fell in love with the Focal Clear. So I went to Adorama and got a pair. Then I went to the grocery store and bought rice, beans, and frozen dinners for many months.
Finally, I went home and had a long shower while listening to Donald G. McNeil Jr. describe our impending collective doom on a New York Times podcast.
I have no regrets about the Focals one year later. On the other hand, the frozen dinners lay unopened in my freezer.
The Focal Clear and the Focal Clear Professional are, by all accounts, the same headphones in various colors and with different accessories. So, while focusing on the Focal Clear, all my impressions should apply equally to the Focal Clear Professional.
Build, Design, and Comfort
Like everything else produced by Focal, the Focal Clear is exquisitely designed. Except for the ear cushions, I’ve had mine for about a year and they still look and feel brand new. At $200 per pair, replacement ear pads are prohibitively costly. Sennheiser, for example, sells new pads for its HD 6-line for $50 a pair. In principle, ear cushions significantly influence the sound of a headphone, which is how Focal justifies such a high price.
There are third-party Focal Clear replacement pads available. Still, none of them sound the same as the factory Focal Clear pads, according to objective measurements and subjective assessments by Andrew Park of headphones.com. The pads on my Focal Clear appear worn, but after wearing them for 6+ hours almost every day this year, they still feel and sound the same as they did when I first bought them.
The headband, unlike the ear pads, is not changeable. This is a baffling design problem. To keep the headband as fresh as possible, I ordered this headphone headband (affiliate link), which matches the Focal Clear color scheme wonderfully.
The Clear is unbelievably comfy given its weight. Despite being almost twice the weight of Sennheiser’s HD 6XX, the Clear is virtually as comfy, if not more so, in certain areas. The (expensive to replace) ear cushions are perforated, which, combined with the Clear’s open-back design, likely adds to its breathability.
Comfort has never been an issue in the year that I’ve been using the Clear for recording/mixing/mastering sessions daily. It’s not as comfy as wearing nothing, but it’s a close second.
Eyeglasses appear to have a discernible influence on low-frequency responsiveness. The sub frequencies sound somewhat wrong with glasses on. I circumvent this problem by laying my eyeglass temples on my headphones and ear pads like a lunatic.
Please keep in mind that these are focal open back headphones. This indicates that you are not isolated from your environment. These are helpful for critical listening at home in a quiet room. They are completely improper for usage in public places since 1. everyone can hear what you’re listening to, and 2. The noise of your surroundings makes it impossible to hear what you’re listening to.
Frequency Response / Sound
The Focal Clear is a fitting name. Focal has created a headphone that has been described as neutral, warm, bright, punchy, articulate, and so on. The discrepancies between reviews, I believe, are a tribute to Focal’s achievement of a sweet spot in tuning and resolution with the Clear. The way they recreate audio has an authority to it that I have never heard with other headphones.
The tests above show that the low end begins to drop just under 50 Hz. This makes perfect sense to me. When mixing with the Focal Clear, I sometimes need a second viewpoint to get the sub frequencies of kick drums and bass guitars exactly right. Sennheiser’s latest HD 560S and Hifiman’s Sundara, Ananda, and Arya all outperform the Clear sub-bass performance.
Mixing and mastering engineers these days are very careful not to rely too much on sub-bass to balance a mix since we know that most consumers will listen to music on devices that do not replicate sub frequencies, such as laptops, phones, Bluetooth speakers, computer speakers, earbuds, and so on. As a result, the loss of energy on the Clear below 50 Hz is not as obvious in practice.
The bass dynamics are superb, rivaling that of quality speaker systems, but without the physical effect of strong speaker bass on your chest and torso. The punch rivals any of the headphones listed above, in my opinion. When listening to the opening of Big Thief’s “Mythological Beauty,” there’s an incredible sense of realness or authenticity to the way the kick and snare connect with the environment they’re recorded in.
In terms of texture, I believe the planar magnetic headphones I’ve heard have been more textured in the low end than the Clear (dynamic driver) in a really gratifying sense. When listening to Phoebe Bridgers’ “Halloween,” the nuanced bass end on the Clear sounds cluttered, but the Hifiman Sundara reproduces the three separate baritone guitars more clearly.
I may be used to how the Clear sounds, but I think the mids are nearly perfect. The graph suggests there may be some shortness north of 1 kHz, but that is not how I perceive things. Or maybe it’s just my personal preferences.
Now and again, there are instances of sibilance that border on the disagreeable. I suppose this is a necessary sacrifice to develop a headphone with a frequency response that is close to neutral. When I listen to Rubblebucket’s “Fruity,” the vocal sibilance is a tad hot, about 10 kHz. Unlike my experience with Beyerdynamic open-back headphones, I find that after a few minutes of listening, I adjust to the amount of sibilance.
From the standpoint of music production, I believe this is a useful feature since it will keep your mix’s sibilance in control, at least where the Clear’s treble response is closest to the edge. The Focal Clear’s treble has a certain ‘cleanness’ that is unequaled by any of the headphones above, which sound gritty in contrast.
The soundstage is a huge improvement over Sennheiser’s HD6 series and, in my opinion, a significant improvement over the Hifiman Sundara. It appears like the Focal was aiming for a speaker-like presentation of the music – the stage appears to be in front of you. You’re in the front row, watching the concert rather than being on stage with the band.
Overall, I believe Sundara’s soundstage is more engulfing and engaging. However, I’ve discovered that the Focal Clear’s less engulfing soundstage forces me to work harder to produce a more enveloping mix than the Sundara, making the Clear a potentially more beneficial tool for music creation.
The imagery is also a class reference. When moving from the Clear to another playback system, I’m rarely shocked by the arrangement of pieces in a mix.
Rezence hope you enjoyed this article on the best new focal headphones. Thank you for reading and we hope you found the information helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. You can read more about Best JBL Headphones, Mpow Headphones, Samsung Headphones.
Last update on 2022-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API