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Focal Clear headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by mtoc, Oct 1, 2017.
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  1. dontfeedphils
    You must have strange ears. I understand hearing more bass on the 400i vs HD800, but not against the Utopia, and certainly not against the Clear.
  2. paul2qute
    I'll have a proper listen when I get my Nordost heimdall 2 cable mate,also ordered a vertere usb from my laptop to my Hugo 2 so looking forward to hearing the results,I do like the clear,much easier on the ear
  3. Luke Thomas
    I can’t speak for everyone, but listening with my strange ears. If you want thick warm bass. Go with a planar magnetic headphone. If you want clean detail go with a dynamic driver type.
  4. NickedWicked
    Yeah, I don't mind a bit of isolation or closed backs in general as long as they don't sound too closed in. The black pads were alright still a bit too hot for me compared to the Clear who walks that thin line between too much and too little treble and the white ones sounded really closed in and lost quite some detail (little too much for my liking) as for the budget 1000 euro or dollar max. Also I absolutely adore bass cannot get enough of it as long as it's very controlled, tight and deep and does not leave the other frequency regions to eat dirt but to remain, crystal clear and with plenty of detail.

    I did have a LCD-X a while ago and while I liked it quite a bit despite it's weight although it was again just a bit too hot mostly, fires up my tinnitus in no time so it went back sadly. Might be down to a certain peak in headphones since the Clear barely seems to do that for me. :thinking:
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  5. dontfeedphils
    I don't think it's quite as easy as "planar = warm/more bass" and "dynamic = more detail". In fact, I see the "planar = more bass/warmth" trope parroted on the headphone sub-reddit quite a bit. Then when people pickup planars like the HE-400i, which is known to be bass light and a bit on the bright side, they're let down.

    I'd just try to avoid assigning blanket characteristics based on driver tech.
  6. kino lau
    New toys playing well together...


    tskeng, jtinto, Paulo Abreu and 3 others like this.
  7. TSAVAlan
    Very nice and clean setup!
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  8. Luke Thomas
    They’re all good. Audeze are also quite good if bass is your goal.
  9. kino lau
    Wasn't planning on the new DAC/AMP but it was a great decision.
    jtinto and Mshenay like this.
  10. Mshenay Contributor
    Planars typically have a larger drive diaphragm, literally more surface area to move air with and for bass more surface area is needed for a more visceral bass. But even with a largeer diaphragm if it's not tuned properly and cannot move all that air with low distortion than the bass won't really impress. The HE 4XX is a little hazy in the low end compared to the Focal Clear, so while the sub bass response is more linear the added distortion kinda fuzzs it up. Where as the clear while still having a mid bass hump is cleaner lower so it'll likely be a bit more impressive.

    Now an Audeze LCD 2 has a clean enough low end to surpass the Focal Clear in sub bass presentation but will not be as open nor as spacious

    & regarding the ZMF Eikon VS the Clear, I find the Clear is wider but not deeper... though I have a full Silver Cable on my Eikon. If your a cable believer then you may find a silver upgrade to a Cherry Eikon worthwhile for the cleaner sub bass and deeper more precise image, though if you have no desire to upgrade cables, than the Clear with just it's stock cables is a much better value/option. As it comes with all 3 terminations, VS the Eikon which comes with 1 and will require adapters if you don't already have them. N detail wise... I felt both were fairly equivalent with the Clear being more "spacious" sounding and a bit faster than the Eikon which is fairly intimate in comparison and not quite as "fast" though it's not slow either. Still this is how the Stock Focal Clear/Cable compare to a silver re-Cabled Eikon

    The other benefit of the Clear is pairing, I don't feel it's as picky as some one previously mentioned. Yes Synergy does have an impact but not as much as suggested. The Clear isn't too bright but will sound so if your coming from something as dark/liquid as an HD 650 regardless of your source/amp

    So coming from a $100 headphone the brightness your hearing is more the aggression in presentation than the forwardness of the top end. At least that's how I felt about it when I switched from my E-MU Purpleheart or MDR V6 to the Clear, but then again some of you coming form $100 headphones might not like that aggression, in which case maybe the Elear would be a better transition into totl open backs...

    And I imagine any of the iFi Products would make a great companion to the Focal headphones! The more natural sound signature of the iFi products will pair nicely with Focal's more aggressive presentation as found in the Clear & Utopia
    Wildcatsare1 and Gnomeplay like this.
  11. givemetacos
    ZMF Atticus is exactly that
  12. Mshenay Contributor
    I have to disagree, the Atticus is quite boosted in the mid bass and that boost does de-emphasis other frequencies, it's also lacking a little texture from both sub to mid bass. That boost and slight lack of texture in exchange for body in of it self isn't a bad thing, and frankly compared to the Elear the Atticus is a slight improvement over in my opinion, but the Atticus is a step back from the Clear. Especially if you like a little extra bass but still want some exceptional clarity from top to bottom

    But price wise, the Atticus can be had for a lot less! So in terms of value if you need isolation then I'd still pick an Atticus for a fun listen over the Focals. But if you don't need isolation the Clear is a better choice even compared to the Eikon, because the Eikon really needs a cable upgrade and an amp built for/around it. VS the Clear which sounds very very consistent with both favorable and unfavorable pairings
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  13. Wildcatsare1
    I haven’t heard them, so a huge grain of lt, I have read the Audioquest Nighthawks have a dark, rich tone.
  14. Luke Thomas
    2nd that^
    Wildcatsare1 likes this.
  15. givemetacos
    Wait, he specifically said he wanted a warm, bassy COMPLEMENT to Clear, not a replacement. I have Elear as well, and I think Elear would overlap with Clear way too much and isn't worth owning both together. Plus with Atticus you can use the suede pads to shift the mid-bass boost down towards the sub-bass to smooth it out if you find the mid-bass overwhelming. Also, the Atticus has the ability to be adjusted in character using amps, especially tubes. I'm a huge fan of Atticus as a complement to a more neutral, reference type of headphone like Clear or HD800(S).
    Mshenay likes this.
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