The Focal Clear headphones from the front Focal Clear have plenty of padding for ultimate comfort These headphones are kind of large, but comfortable The Focal Clear headphones sitting on a desk These are open-back so you get an amazing soundstage Everything that comes in the box with the Focal Clear headphones Focal is known for its high-end equipment, but it obviously has to seriously impress to warrant the price tag of an eye-watering $4,000. Focal Utopia Review - True Audiophile Perfection Focal has always been at the top of the game when it came to high-end audio products, but before 2012 I … Raising the headphone volume didn’t fix this issue. 92 and the Minnesota Orchestra’s performance of Aaron Copeland’s Symphony No. The physical beauty of these headphones is complemented by their fit and feel. Bass levels on the Clear are carefully balanced as well. Midbass exhibited excellent dynamic punch without muddying vocals or the midrange. The Elegia creates a beautiful, intimate, and rich musical experience. Theo Nicolakis is a C-Level technologist and digital communications professional. They come with a great hard carrying case and detachable braided cables that include a 1/4" TRS adapter and an XLR cable. Price-wise, it’s actually in the middle of the Focal open back lineup, between the more expensive Focal Utopia and the lower priced Focal Elear. The ear pads also did wonders to block out the noise around me. It’s perfectly molded to store, protect, and carry the Elegia wherever you go. I chose to use the Focal cabling for this review, one is a 3-foot cable with 3.5 mm plug and ¼" screw on adapter, while the second set is a 10-foot cable using a 4 pin DIN termination arrangement. With the Fiio X7, I also used the Android Roon app to access files from my music server. Everything about this headset remains premium as well. Impeccable. New York, We were really impressed by the all-round performance of the Spirit Pro phones back then, with, perhaps, the only misgiving being the fit. The LCD-3 gave me the same feels, although its low end felt tamer. I'd rather have one of this than 5 of cheaper headphones. Here’s how Focal thought through the problem. But if you thought the Elegia had its fair share of compromises, the Clear presents the biggest with its noise isolation struggles. Since the Channel Islands amplifier uses a quarter inch headphone jack, I experimented with an adapter to use the longer cable. High-quality, closed-back headphones like these always help me get lost in the music. 3 were majestically rendered. Every time I picked them up, I couldn’t help but stop and admire some new facet. The Elegia should be both on your short list to audition, and your Christmas list to own. This is ensured by pre-punched recesses, a double zipper and a hardy fabric loop that serves as a carry handle. The headband feels just as comfy with premium leather wrapped around it. The Listen Professional headphones from Focal represent the only closed-back phones in the French company’s ‘professional’ range, replacing the now defunct Spirit Pros. Focal Listen Wireless Review. TechHive has reviewed two—the Clear and the Elegia —deeming both to be exceptional, though not inexpensive by any means. These are open back headphones Alex. The Focal Elear are good open-back critical listening headphones. While some models go for a workmanlike design, you’ll find nothing of the sort here – even at this price. Being indoors didn’t fare any better, as I could hear analysts speaking during live football games with the TV at low volume. Focal knows how to create attractive audio hardware. I find myself turning my head sometimes when listening to music as I'm trying to locate an instrument. I used Tidal Hi-Fi exclusively for playing streamed music. In addition to the natural difference between an open- and closed-back design, I felt as though the Focal Clear had more sizzle and shine on the top end, a hair more bottom-end control and dynamics, and slightly more resolution and air around instruments and vocals. French audio brand Focal is known for its super-high-end luxury headphones, with prices to match, and its latest model, the Focal Stellias, are no exception. The aux cable shouldn’t be overlooked either, wrapped in a heavy-duty woven fabric with a Velcro strap to conveniently wrap up when travelling. The Elegia, by contrast delivered more midrange presence and perceived warmth. It screams industrial, yet class, and upholds the refined appearance of top-tier studio speakers. The barrel on the 3.5mm adapter is big—about three times the size as what you’ll find on some other cables. While I wasn’t able to test the company’s older and more beloved beryllium driver for comparison, I can say that this alternative delivers on its promise. When I did get the chance to pull up Spotify in a private setting, hip-hop songs had more oomph to them. You can only marvel at its clean, premium aesthetics, which are almost as pristine as the sound profile. I used a Fiio X7 Mark II and Astell&Kern Kann DAPs for my testing. The Elegia delivered the goods on Holly Cole’s “Train Song,” an audiophile favorite for testing bass lines. The full-range speaker driver includes a vent to manage the balance between the bass and the midbass. Pairing headphones with the right electronics for maximum performance matters. After I whipped up a batch of Coq au Vin and got out a bottle of vintage Bordeaux, I sat down to listen to some Serge Gainsbourg. These open-back circumaural headphones combine the brand’s prestigious craftsmanship and proprietary technologies to recreate the dynamic sound of its loudspeakers. Up Next NAD VISO HP70 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphone Review The Focal Clear headphones are a benchmark design that is one of the top performing headsets I’ve experienced. TechHive helps you find your tech sweet spot. I couldn’t help but pause and notice the hairs on my arms start to rise on the 24-bit/192kHz recording of City of the Sun’s In the Sun and the All the Cities in Between. The earphones have a balanced sound with comfort for long sessions of listening. Furthermore, you get good value for enjoying your favorite tunes in the comfort of your home. Sheer sonic bliss housed in a luxury shell. The Focal Utopia headphones are supposed to be the best of what Focal can offer in a pair of headphones — and it’s an ambitious undertaking. I preferred the LCD-3 and WH-1000xM3 for bass-heavy content, but I also appreciated how well balanced the low end was on these cans. The etched logo in the middle is a sweet finishing touch. Its entry-level Elegia headphones are well constructed, and these pricier cans share similar attributes, but with a more elegant look that stays true to the company’s design pedigree. Acapellas really soar on these cans. I’ve always loved the WH-1000xM3’s strong bass performance on mobile devices, but the Clear wasn’t as overpowering on my ears and elevated vocal clarity on the Google Pixel 3 XL. Focal includes a 3.5mm cable that terminates at a 45-degree angle, a micro-USB charging cable, a neoprene carrying case, and the Focal Listen Wireless headphones—which are available in four colors: black, olive, blue, and purple. Two vents help this headphone deliver outstanding frequency response, rated from 5Hz to 23kHz. The Elegia’s impedance is a mere 35 ohms. The black and silver aluminum and leather accents are breathtaking, with nuances you must see in person to appreciate. The acoustic guitar on Oasis’ “Wonderwall” pulled me in with every strum, but it was the different string arrangements sprinkled throughout the recording that made the listen more enchanting. The color pattern is a perfect match; unfortunately, the cable is also thick and stiff compared to other headphone cables I’ve encountered. Its latest offering, the Focal Clear, borrows technology developed for the Utopia and cuts the price by more than half. These are not headphones designed to be worn outside, and if worn inside, you’ll want to be in a secluded area to fully enjoy them. Focal’s industrial design team paid attention to every detail. The Elegia features a 4mm frameless, copper voice coil and an aluminum/magnesium alloy M-shaped inverted dome. A second vent, located at the back of the ear cup, picks up the rear wave coming from the center of the motor. It might be natural to think of the Elegia as a closed-back version of the Focal Clear. If that’s the case, then the Focal Clear deserves your full attention. However, not every song showed this level of performance. And they don’t just look expensive, they feel it too. However, the Clear has zero noise isolation and lacks extra features that help personalize your listening experience, which may sway you to consider other expensive models like the Audeze LCD-3. Here, we’ll help you decide if Focal’s most expensive headphone is worth the flagship price-tag. The Utopia is Focal’s third headphone and flagship model priced at $4,000. The closed headphones in an ear-enclosing design come with a handy carry box. Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc. Their open design makes them a poor choice for any other use cases as they don’t block any ambient noise and don't have a microphone or wireless technology. Focal says that the M shape gives the dome a larger emissive surface area. Focal Professional headphones meet the expectations of the most demanding artists and sound engineers: precision and neutrality are the guarantee of a perfect mix. At nearly a pound (15.8 ounces), the Clear is in the same weight class as the Elegia, but far heavier than most noise-cancelling headphones. Gorgeous. Freelance contributor, It folds up to … Under the beautiful shell, Focal says that Elegia features a new generation of full-range drivers that can operate in the small space required of a headphone design, while delivering exceptional dynamics and pristine sound reproduction. The yokes appear shorter as well to ensure a more secure fit. Elegia is designed, developed, and assembled in France. Given its stellar audio performance, the Focal Utopia is a fairly efficient headphone at 80 Ohms impedance with 104dB sensitivity specs, so any great headphone amp should do it full justice. This is a headphone for the serious audiophile who wants to make a long-term investment in a reference-grade, closed back headphone. Typical headphones place drivers directly to the sides of your ears. While the Stellia’s 40mm Beryllium dome drive unit is heavily based on that used by the older model, the closed design means that Focal’s engineers have had to rework it considerably. To simplify the technical jargon, the driver doesn’t just optimize volume levels across different audio sources (e.g. This Focal Classic is clearly underrated. I can’t think of another speaker manufacturer that has embraced the headphone movement as … They are very well-built and very comfortable for long listening sessions thanks to well-padded ear cups and headband. Far from cheap, the Focal Clear sells you on beautiful sound and build quality for a higher-than-normal premium. The stylish, dark gray hard case is a thermoformed construction. Elegia comes with just with the 3.5mm connection. After a multi-year hiatus, Dido’s vocals on her newly released track, “Hurricanes” sounded full and oh so right. I had no problem plugging the Elegia into the Fiio X7 Mark II’s cases. Today we’ll be taking a look at the new Focal Radiance, a $1,290 USD closed-back headphone from Focal. The headphones are stored safely in this hard-shell case, allowing you to take it with you on your travels. There was a problem. I will say that the quality is remarkable on all of these, primarily the case, which can hold extra EDC items, if necessary. As a bass reflex for the bigger loudspeaker system, the headphones have room for tuning the back vent … While the Elegia is capable of offering a similar sonic experience for a lower price, the Clear remains the better-looking and sounding pair of headphones. The memory-foam ear pads covered in plush microfiber create a spa-like cocoon. Good examples were Taylor Swift’s “Delicate” and “Look What You Made Me Do” and Lorde’s “Royals,” where bass lines knew their place but weren’t afraid to deliver a swift body blow when called upon. The micro-knurled polishing, meanwhile, gives off a rainbow-hued sheen like the back of a CD. At the suggested retail pricing of $2,199 for the Naim Mu-So for Bentley and $1,300 for the Focal Radiance for Bentley, these new audio products are truly built and priced for the luxury consumer. Look no further than the intro to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for confirmation. This is how you know you got some really good headphones . The Focal Utopia and Clear headphones are tuned to be used in an open configuration – what Focal calls a low acoustic impedance environment. Visit our corporate site. Focal has been building high-end audio products for decades, and Focal Utopia is a high-end headphone manufactured by Focal. There are changes to the surround and motor system aiming to optimise dynamics and detail reso… Its design will turn heads while offering snug comfort on your head. Focal clear comfort and fit At nearly a pound (15.8 ounces), the Clear is in the same weight class as the Elegia, but far heavier than most noise-cancelling headphones. Essentially, these are the closed-back version of the Utopias. Like the Elegia, these cans employ Focal’s proprietary ‘M’-shape aluminum/magnesium driver. The Focal Listen is a full-size wireless headphone with quality design. I much prefer headphones featuring this driver orientation. The screw-on adapter ensures the adapter won’t slide out. Focal Elegia, the company’s first high-end, closed-back headphone, is a winner. The Clear has an impedance of 55ohms and a sensitivity of 104db. I have those headphones and I have to say they are expensive. Please refresh the page and try again. Read our, [ Further reading: The best headphones you can buy ], Rich, lush, musical presentation regardless of genre, Super easy to drive with any smart device, Can't quite match the Focal Clear's sonic clarity. Design? “World’s Best Headphone.” This was the proclamation made by the man who gave me my first job doing headphone reviews, my mentor and predecessor at Innerfidelity, Tyll Hertsens.As a young teenager I remember learning a lot from Tyll and Innerfidelity, and the exciting discussions of his reviews and measurements that made their way onto the forums at head-fi and … The Focal Stellia headphones look like they’d be at home on location at the season’s showing of the new Chanel or YSL line. spiral cable, which extends to a length of 5 metres, and a 1.2-metre long cable are also included. We steer you to products you'll love and show you how to get the most out of them. The case is the same as the one that comes with Focal’s Clear headphones. That cable has a threaded neck capable of accepting the included screw-on 1/4-inch adapter. Focal’s continued foray in high end headphones hits another high note with the Elegia. The Clear has a firmer headband than the Elegia, but it doesn’t apply the same unwanted pressure atop the head. Focal includes three cables with the Clear: one with a balanced XLR plug, one with a 1/4-inch plug, and one terminated in a 3.5mm connector. The latest addition to Focal’s stable of headphones is the Stellia. The lofty $899 asking price delivers an equally lofty and rich musical experience. The Elegias certainly look like a premium pair of headphones. The ultra-strong structure with carbon fiber ensures that the Focal Utopia will last for years on everyday use. And nothing would have torpedoed the Focal Clear headphones faster than having an identical sound signature to their younger brother - the identically-designed Elear. Focal absolutely had to pull out all the stops here, or the entire exercise would have been written off as nothing more than naked profiteering. Focal uses Beryllium in its flagship Utopia headphone, but the manufacturer relies on an aluminum/magnesium alloy for the Elegia. Utopia and Elear are made in France and about to hit the market. The Elegia’s penchant for dynamics enlivened my listening. Orchestral works such as the London Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Haydn’s Symphony No. To give you a background, my in-ear headphones of choice is the $1,000 Shure 846s. Not only is the Elegia easy to drive, the headphone will also perform extremely with ordinary smart devices. When I look back on all the dumb things I did as a kid, surely one of the dumbest was pitching rocks and dirt balls at a wasp nest. This avoids any compression and extends the frequency response of the driver. The black Focal logo on the ear cups is etched in a slightly cratered circle. Tom's Guide is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Disclaimer: The Focal Utopia sent to us for the purposes of this review is a loan sample that was returned after this review. Detail of the high-quality cable included. Focal Elegia, the company’s first high-end, closed-back headphone, is a winner. My take? These characteristics were laid bare on “The Greatest Show” and “From Now On” from the Greatest Showman soundtrack. In just a few short years, Focal has produced both excellent entry-level and uber high-end models, such as the exquisite $4,000 Utopia. The Elegia’s drivers are shifted towards the front of the ear cup and are angled towards your ears to mimic the way we experience sound through traditional speakers. The result? The Good The Focal Listen Wireless has a sturdy design, fits comfortably and snugly, and sounds excellent for a Bluetooth headphone. Again, $1,500 is a lot to ask for any pair of headphones, but an investment worth considering if you want natural-sounding cans that look and sound this good. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Until now, Focal’s flagship over-the-ear headphones—including the $1,499 Clear I reviewed for TechHive last year—have all been open-back models. Yes. When playing bouncy selections like Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” the drums and guitar licks had a striking presence that made vibing along to the record joyous. One of the best things about the Focal headphones we’ve been reviewing is that they have such a great build quality, and the Focal Elegia headphones are no exception to that rule. Today, Focal focuses on more than just top-tier loudspeakers. Despite its massive frame, the Clear does make for a pleasant wear, as long as you limit listening to a reasonable time frame; I recommend 1 to 2 hours max. Focal includes the same high-quality carrying case that comes with the Clear headphone. We got the exclusive on the Elear review sample. The Clear has a flatter sound signature that reveals the purest details from the most complex recordings. As if poor noise isolation didn’t already make these cans impractical for portable use, girth also factors into the equation. Focal has just drastically upped its headphone game with two very high-end models. With each impact, a cloud of wasps rose from the nest. You have to be a serious audio head to consider spending $1,500 on a pair of headphones. The Focal Stellia are a luxury pair of over-ear, closed-back headphones, featuring Focal’s signature beryllium driver, as previously seen on the Focal … The Clear, I felt, was a more outspoken, brutally honest headphone; the Elegia always played the diplomat, tending towards a euphonic musical interpretation. Elegia has angled drivers, positioned towards the front of the headphone, that are visible when looking at the ear cup from the side. At the same time, the recessed vocals and guitar riff diminished its boomy appeal. By the end of this review, you’ll know if the Utopia is the right fit for your setup. To get the full bottom-end oomph this song should produce, however, I had to switch out the Fiio X7’s AM3 amplifier for the AM5 . Was it intriguing to hear The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” without its signature distorted effects? Even the overdubs (the song apparently has over 180) like the “Galileo” repetitions and Chinese gongs at the end have more transparency to them. Focal's first high-end, closed-back headphones are a sonic champion. No open back headphones offer noise isolation and if they do you miss out on what makes open back headphones great. © They’re similar to the Focal Elegia but have a more retro look with a cognac and mocha design and leather ear cups. It will require a lot of force to bend. This design, which is also common to Focal’s Utopia, Clear, and Elear headphones, creates a solid soundstage that feels less “in my head” and more akin to traditional loudspeakers. I felt as though the Elegia had a tighter grip, with less shifting when I turned my head or was on the go. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, Clarity was so spot-on that I felt the vulnerability in Liam Gallagher’s voice on the somberly-crooned hook. The group’s harmonies at the start of the record sound beautiful and crisp; the synthesized vocals have a naturalness to them. My fiancée identified every Jay-Z song I played from about 25 feet away. The perforated earcups do nothing to block out ambient noise and bleed sound as loudly as some portable speakers. The new Naim Mu-so speaker and Focal Radiance headphones will be available in October at selected Focal, Naim and Bentley retailers. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer, Very well said. NY 10036. If only it was longer. The Elegia’s ear cups have a dimpled design. I’m also fond of the circular cutouts that offer a generous amount of space for listeners with larger ear shapes. The Focal Stellia are premium closed-back over-ear headphones that are outstandingly well-built. The Elegia’s cable is the same black and white zebra-styled braid as the cable included with the Clear. I can’t think of another speaker manufacturer that has embraced the headphone movement as effectively as Focal. Seeing how the Elegia and Clear share the same driver, audio should sound the same, correct? I’ve never noticed this when testing popular mid-luxury headphones like the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000xM3. Even though the yokes don’t have the same distinctive arch as the Elegia, they still have a thin and solid frame.

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