Focal Bathys - Wireless ANC Over-Ear Headphone
Nov 23, 2022 at 5:37 PM Post #751 of 1,707
Nov 23, 2022 at 11:17 PM Post #752 of 1,707
Welp, pretty sure my two week old Bathys are toast. I just booted them up and the left speaker is crackling faintly. When I turn transparent mode on, that faint crackle becomes a loud crackle - seems like the noise canceling mics are shorted or freaking out. Still in the return window so they’ll go back but extremely concerning that these didn’t even last a month for me before they failed.
 
Nov 24, 2022 at 2:31 PM Post #753 of 1,707
Since head-fi says the Apple AirPods Max is better than the Sennheiser HD800S, these Focal Bathys are as good as headphones like the SR-009?
 
Nov 24, 2022 at 2:33 PM Post #754 of 1,707
Since head-fi says the Apple AirPods Max is better than the Sennheiser HD800S, these Focal Bathys are as good as headphones like the SR-009?
Of course. And Airpods Pro 2 are better than everything else. :)
 
Nov 24, 2022 at 2:43 PM Post #755 of 1,707
Nov 24, 2022 at 3:52 PM Post #756 of 1,707
Welp, pretty sure my two week old Bathys are toast. I just booted them up and the left speaker is crackling faintly. When I turn transparent mode on, that faint crackle becomes a loud crackle - seems like the noise canceling mics are shorted or freaking out. Still in the return window so they’ll go back but extremely concerning that these didn’t even last a month for me before they failed.
It's unfortunate but it happens. It's usually a bad batch where something wen wrong but couldn't be detected by QC. As long as it doesn't happen again I would worry about it.
 
Nov 24, 2022 at 9:46 PM Post #757 of 1,707
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Nov 25, 2022 at 6:27 AM Post #758 of 1,707
Damn it. I decided to keep my B&W PX8 and skip the Bathys. Might need to own them both…
Quoting myself as I couldnt resist picking up an unused second hand Bathys for 500$.

They are really quite good, a little more detailed and clear in the treble than the already great PX8. Sound stage is awesome for a closed back headphone and of course very different from the quite intimate presentation I am used to from PX8. I think I may reach for Bathys when listening to classical, electronic or soundtracks. For all sorts of rock, acoustic guitars, female vocalists Bathys is not bad at all but PX8 has that extra nice mid range and a timbre that make the experience even better to my ears. Also I feel like poor recordings sound less poor on the PX8 for some reason, maybe it is the silky smooth treble or the mids that does this voodoo.

Other than that I already notice that Bathys suffer more from lossy codecs, the AAC implementation seems to be worse than what B&W has achieved. May need to use a BT dongle or simply plug in USB.
Volume steps are ridiculously big.
Build quality is nice but not quite up to the level of B&W PX8, or B&O H95 for that matter.
Comfort is fine but headband will need some after market padding to accomodate longer sessions.

Now I just need a way to hide them from the wife.
 
Nov 26, 2022 at 3:58 AM Post #759 of 1,707
I was able to test the Bathys at a local hifi store (Eglantier Hifi, Belgium) and compare with multiple other headphones. On Bluetooth (Android, AptX) and 3.5mm (Sony WM1Z). After thorough listening, I purchased them. Below some in-store and home impressions and comparisons. Warning: long. Tldr: Bathys are my new best headphones! Get them.

Focal Bathys: looks good, feels good. Swivel mechanism is damped, materials are classy. You see and feel the price. The cables are very basic. Sound (both Bluetooth and 3.5mm) - very good first impression. Clean, detailed without any sibilance, fun bass with sub bass rumble without it being muddy, overbearing or bleeding into the midrange. Mids provide some soundstage and texture in vocals, the first Bluetooth headphone I’ve ever heard capable of doing without sounding “digitally EQ’d”. I haven‘d had previous experience with Focal, but I really like their tuning. On 3.5mm I need to push the volume to 75 on my WM1Z (normal headphones: 40-50). Noise canceling is effective for low frequency and background noises, but voices go straight through. Transparency is like wearing no headphones at all - there is a slight audible hiss in this mode, also on the “soft” mode. No hiss in the “silent” mode. Daft Punk, Doja Cat, Fleetwood Mac, Camila Cabello, Michelle, Coldplay, K/DA…all sounded great. I really like the light-up logo and the DAC mode, on which the sound quality improves slightly but noticeably to me. It works great on my computer and iPad Pro (gaming!!) and also my Sony NW ZX507 (which has usb c as opposed to the wm port of my WM1Z). Comfort is great, even with prescription glasses.

Somy XM4: my daily driver, so nice I bought it twice (beige and white limited edition). I’m a big Sony fan, got the first MDR-1000X all the way to the XM4. I didn’t like the XM5. Overall, I like the Sony house tuning on their headphones and DAPs. The Bluetooth and noise canceling features are more advanced. LDAC is a plus, but honestly I think there is some placebo effect working: if I disregarded what codec was active: AAC, AptX and LDAC all sounded the same. LDAC may be slightly better? But I don’t know if that’s tuning or actually a real effect of the data rate.
Compared to the Bathys, they sound very digital. Boomy and muddy bass and boosted treble, artificial mids. The Bathys ruin the XM4s for me, they are still comfortable and pretty though. I’ll likely still bring these for travel, as they are very common and probably less attention-grabbing. Noise canceling is still better.

B&W PX8: I think these look even prettier than the Bathys, slightly more comfortable but the pads are sweatier for me. Sounded like an upgraded Sony XM4 to me. I miss the Bathys’ sparkle and mid range. There is mid to low treble detail (vocals, cymbals) that’s simply missing in the PX8, to my ears.

Focal Celestee: beautiful set. Sounds almost exactly like the Bathys. Logical because of the similar drivers. Considering the price and added functionally, I think the Bathys is a better deal.

Hifiman Ananda: amazingly comfortable, open. Sounded amazing. The BT version is expensive. But really liked the sound. It is very big though.

Sennheiser HD595: my first audiophile headphones. Oldies but goodies. These actually sound very similar to the Focal headphones, including the Bathys. This is probably a big reason why I like the Bathys: it’s a sound tuning I’m used to and like. Comfort is still next level with those old school velour pads.

Sennheiser Momentum 1: another classic. I almost forgot how small the ear cups are. Somehow these sound more…digital than the Focal Bathys? I think it’s because of the narrow soundstage and slight v-shape tuning. But I still love them.

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless: recently scored it on a steep discount. Got it in white, it’s very pretty. Folds in, very handy, but the case is comically bad. It clamps a bit too hard, painful with glasses, but otherwise stylish and comfortable. Sound has an even more pronounced V shape, but on the “high end” eq (which calms down the bloaty bass) it sounds good. Noticeable hiss. Wonky controls and connectivity, I’ll probably return these.

Massdrop TH-X00: so far, my best headphones. I really hate the tangly long braided cable, but the sound is amazing. Compared to the Bathys, there is a bit more detail in mids and treble. This makes them also a bit more fatiguing to me. I‘ve always thought the soundstage on these is a bit weird.

Focal Clear MG: this is clearly in a higher category, a cut above. It looks and feels like a luxury watch. It’s open, and the sound is amazing. Transparent, punchy. It’s a whole new experience. I was tempted to get this, but the price, open nature (and therefore travel incompatibility) and lack of noise canceling made me decide against it. The Clear MG will be a future goal for me.

All in all, after testing everything and considering all other over ear headphones I have (Sennheiser HD595, Momentum 1 and 3, the Massdrop TH X00, all the Sony XMs,..) - the Focal Bathys are a unique product from Focal that combine a lot of features in a great product at, all things considering, a very competitive price. It’s basically a noise canceling, wireless Bluetooth Celestee that is cheaper than the latter. Overall, they are the best over ear headphones I have. I’m extremely happy with mine!

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Nov 27, 2022 at 6:45 PM Post #761 of 1,707
First review of Bathy, Px8’s and 5909’s


If you are serious about sound, don't even consider these. These are still far behind wired closed backs.
Until someday wireless transmission may transfer CD quality files, BT ANC headphones have almost no comparison to wired headphones.
Yes, I agree bathys is the best BT ANC headphones that sounds closest to wired closed backs, but still miles behind wired closed backs.
 
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Nov 27, 2022 at 7:03 PM Post #762 of 1,707
Focal Celestee: beautiful set. Sounds almost exactly like the Bathys. Logical because of the similar drivers. Considering the price and added functionally, I think the Bathys is a better deal.
If you lean towards features, yes Bathys is the way to go. But in terms of sound, to my ears Celestee is way better sounding than Bathys, scale well on better DACs and block outside noise quite well. Since sound is my top priority, I will sacrifice these features and pay a little extra bucks for Celestee.
 
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Nov 27, 2022 at 9:59 PM Post #763 of 1,707
Would expect it to do so, but I can't guarantee it as I do not have android available. It does work with my iphone as long as I have extra power available and direct from my ipad (it comes with USB-C adapter). Take care to only connect the headphones to only one device when using adaptive though, as I had breakup/dropouts with both dongles when connecting to more than one device at the same time. I do have some issues with the BT-W4 when swapping sample rates (playback stops being transmitted), both on IOS/IPADOS and windows, but no such issues with the BTD 600.
Thank you so much for this information. So when you say you need to power the bluetooth dongle to use with iphone, are you saying that you connect a USB C charger to the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (USB A to the dongle and USB C to power source)? Sorry for the basic (likely obvious) question.
 

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