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Focal Clear headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by mtoc, Oct 1, 2017.
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  1. paul2qute
    It's early days but listening to the clear it's not as clear as the utopia,not sure if it's more in your face with the utopia,I don't feel like I'm missing any information but to my ears it's so much easier listening to the clear without fatigue
  2. franz12
    I like his review. But I need a different perspective.

    I want to hear more impressions/comparisons from 3rd party than ‘owners.’
  3. TSAVJason
    Cool Paul, happy to see you got them. 1) The Nordost is nice neutral pairing. Kinda smooths out the bass a tad. 2) Once they reach voice they are about the coziest headphone I’ve ever heard. Hahaha call it the cuddly ear can by Focal. 3) You had to know the Clear wasn’t going to be as resolving and detailed as the Utopia but still a very respectable headphone :) cheers & congrats
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  4. paul2qute
    If I'm honest I was hoping it would be but in a different way, cuddly is so right,I couldn't handle the Utopia,it was too much just like I hated the Sennheiser 800 HD
  5. up late
    it doesn't look like the clear is doing it for you either
  6. Drewligarchy
    I picked up the Focal Clear Professionals this morning, and I really like them. While obviously more listening is warranted, they are pretty much exactly what I hoped from a tonal perspective.

    I have been on an IEM kick lately, and have been predominantly listening to my 64 audio A18s I got in November. I have listened to these commuting to and from work every day for 4-5 months and they kind of screwed up my other headphones as the tonal balance is so good on them. It's caused my other headphones not to sound right. It could also be that my brain burned in so much to the A18 sound, that I need some time to get readjusted to other sound signatures.

    I put these on and they were really close to what I wanted from a tonal perspective. I only have solid state amps and was listening through an Auralic Taurus Mkii. This made these slightly too hot with some recordings. I then listened through my V281 single-ended, which took a little too much off the treble, and finally my Simaudio 230HAD. That's how I am listening to them right now and it sounds just about perfect.

    This surprises me as I never really have gotten into a dynamic driver headphone (outside of HD600). I had an HD800 for a few days but returned them because they were a bit peaky and my 009 did everything they could do but better. I have a Fostex TH900 but its never been my favorite. While some of my planars and electrostats do things better - these compete with all of them because, at least based on initial impressions, I like the tonality of these the best of all my headphones; they sound a lot like a full size version of the 64 Audio A18.

    I listened to a Utopia very briefly, but it was out of a poor source so never got a good feel for it. If it's any sharper than the clear - I think that would be too much for me. Nonetheless, I'm now very curious about digging into the Focal line a little more and am curious the ways the Utopia surpasses it (if it does overall). I think I will give it another audition. That said, this is definitely a keeper. It's easily the best dynamic headphone I've ever heard.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  7. Luke Thomas
    Try the 281 balanced with the -12 gain selected
  8. Drewligarchy
    Thanks - I don't have a balanced cable yet as I got the Pro's. I'm a big fan of the V281 balanced output so I think I'll get a cable. That said - I am wanting for nothing right now with the 230HAD.
  9. Matro5
    I really to eager buy a big ol' glowing tube amp to power my Clears, but it's hard to justify when I keep reading reports about the synergy with the Mojo.

    I also use Roon, but am not quite sure what you mean by Mojo as an endpoint. Could you give me a quick sketch of your setup with Roon > Mojo > Clear.

  10. MrPanda
    Take a look at Roon labs website for a more detailed description, but Roon lets you configure certain kinds of audio interfaces as "end points" - it lets you easily configure them as separate output devices with their own drivers, settings, DSP, EQ, synchronization settings, etc. You can control the Roon server from PC's, Macs, portable devices, etc and direct the output to any "end point" you have on your system. So any compatible device can be an interface, or audio source across your home network. I haven't tried the Clears with a tube amp, although I have a Schiit Vali 2 hybrid amp. Not sure how well a really low impedance/high sensitivity headphone like the Roon would work with an all-tube amp - maybe someone more experienced can step in and comment? Thanks
  11. NickedWicked
    Anyone know a nice headphone to accompany the Clears? Preferably a warm, musical one I was already giving the AFO a spin but sounded a little bit too bright for me for me and a bit closed in, and the HD 650's I've had for a long time sounds rather odd with my concurrent main amp/dac, but I'm not really interested nor have the money (at the moment) for tube amps or tube rolling, so I'll probably end up selling them. Any suggestions would be welcome!
  12. BunnyNamedCraig
    Something I want to note in what you said is the difference the amp makes on a headphone. For the people that don't have much understanding of synergy (or impedance match), they might buy the Clear and think they are too bright, or sound odd (if driven off OTL amps). You will get someone who went from an HD280 ($100) then make the jump to a Clear and think "Man this headphone sucks, its too bright". In reality they don't realize it could be their amp and source affecting the headphone and they just don't like the pairing. Sometimes the journey of moving up the food chain can give you that knowledge instead of going straight to a $1500 headphone... I'm glad that you were able to find good synergy with the Moon 230HAD, and in no way was this post about you ha. It just made me happy to see someone using different equipment to make sure what the best synergy was:L3000:.
    i'm guessing your looking for another open back? Also, what budget are you thinking about? Also I'm guessing the tuning pads didn't help you with the AFO?
  13. Luke Thomas
    Hifiman or Audeze have more warmth. The warmth of the hifiman 400i is hard to beat for $250
  14. dontfeedphils
    Can't say that I'd refer to the HE-400i as "warm", but YMMV I suppose.
    Jearly410 likes this.
  15. Luke Thomas
    All I know is my 400i thump a lot more than the Utopias.Clears. And 800s
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