Focal Clear Review “White Bread” (English Review)

Writer : Mikku
Price : 1500$
Specification :
Headphone Specifications:

Impedance : 55 ohms
sensitivity : 104db SPL / 1mW @ 1  kHz
THD : 0.25% @1kHz / 100dB SPL
Freq Range : 5 – 28 kHz
Weight : 0.99lb / 450 g

Well first of all I’d like to thank my great friend Theo for letting me trying his new toy, It’s one hella good toy.

Recently Focal has just entered the high end headphone world with Elear and Utopia and they’re back in the game…  those two are impressive headphones, really really good, but I need to say for my own taste.. I love their last product the best… the Focal Clear… I dunno maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really like how it sounds.. “clear” is just feels so plain.. compared to “Elear” or “Utopia” those names are badass. But nevermind since they sounds so good Iol
Build & Fit
It has a different approach comparet to elear and utopia that use black as the main color, Clear is mainly Silver and Grey, and they look more like jewelry and luxurious headphones and not your usual audiophile headphone.. they’re really pretty, in fact I can imagine some jewelry company make a collaboration with focal and make a Focal Clear with diamonds around em.

Now, I didn’t really compare elear and clear head to head but one thing that I notice immediately that the hinges are now more firm and not as creaky as the elear (because I was so annoyed by it), also the headband and earpads are now feels more durable thanks to that alcantara-like material.

It is very comfortable on my head and ears, not heavy at all, soft, and the clamping force is just enough to keep it firm yet not too powerful to give a headache. It is an open headphone, it doesn’t isolate AT ALL, even compared to my Oppo Pm2, pm2 still gives a little bit of isolation.

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Sound

i use my xduoo x10 as my primary source, I hear many kinds of music, starting from jpop, kpop, mainstream western pop, rock, instrumental, orchestra, jazz, vocal, but I gotta say my favorite is the orchestra

Describing focal clear is quite hard, since I found nothing stand out from it….

Sure it has a good quality from bottom to the top.. but nothing is stand out which could be seen as either neutral or some might find it a little boring.

Emm.. maybe I need to say that somehow it reminds me of white bread, it’s bland but could be delicious at the same time… depends on your mood lol

Bass : it’s pretty neutral to my ears, tight, fast and can be punchy when the music demands. Hearing pop music like maroon V or ed Sheeran, I find it quite satisfying and very controlled. It lacks a little bit of body maybe, but overall it’s a satisfying bass for me

Mid : the tricky part, it feels raw, it just feels like what vocals should sound, neutral yet natural, not harsh, but not exactly sweet either. Hearing Diana Krall’s voice feels  like she’s singing with a mic right in front of you, intimate, clear, and raw, it’s the same like hearing il Divo’s Isabel, feels powerful, intimate, but not sweet. So I have mixed feeling around here, it’s great but not really special somehow, don’t get me wrong here… it’s good, balanced, but no wow feeling to it.

Treble : again it feels raw and unprocessed, though it’s not harsh. The timbre is spot on, definitely natural but not really exciting and impactful to your ears.. so again mixed feelings here. I find it lacks a bit of energy while hearing to some solo violin recording

()()dfdfdfocal clear freq response.JPG

(freq response taken from Innerfidelity.com)

The FR really tells us what’s happening here… a liiiiittle bass lift, fairly neutral midrange, dip and rise around upper midrange to treble that give this “not aggressive” yet “not exactly smooth either” feelings

Soundstage, Imaging, Layering :
it has a wide soundstage, really wide actually, but no depth so it’s not really 3d, thanks to that the imaging department is not so good, but layering is really great actually

So yeah…. It’s one of a kind… when it comes to tonal balance alone it might be the greates… I think if you have a heart for neutral headphone this might be the one for you, but it’s not really special in one kind of department… so it’s hard to recommend what kind of music will specifically best in these headphone, since everything feels good enough
Comparison:

VS Elear : elar is much bolder and meatier in lower mid and bass, giving a much warmer taste to it, a little boomier indeed, while clear is faster, more neutral yet more accurate

VS AEON Open : AEON open’s bass is much more impactful, that switching from clear to AEON open actually feels like you’re wearing a basshead headphone, clear is much less exciting than AEON, feels more laidback and balanced

VS Oppo PM2 : Pm2’s bass is actually deeper and more linear, at the same time could feel a bit thinner, while pm2’s midrange for me is among the best, is much smoother, though the treble feels more laidback and rolled off

Conclusion:

Pros : very neutral tuning, abundant of accessories, great looking, quite easy to drive

Cons: nothing is actually special than the tonal balance itself

Reccomended Genre : everything

Score

Build : 9/10
fit : 9/10
Bass : 8/10
mid : 8/10
treble : 8/10
soundstage : 8/10
imaging : 7/10
value : 9/10

Rank : SS

 


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