1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

Focal Clear headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by mtoc, Oct 1, 2017.
First
 
Back
199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208
210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219
Next
 
Last
  1. Jearly410
    That’s a pretty condescending tone, especially coming from a dealer. It is well known at this point that the Elears have had issues with crackling drivers, as well as the Utopias to a lesser extent, and now the Clears. With their MSRPs of $1000+ there is an expected level of tolerance which Focal seems to not be able to achieve.
     
    up late likes this.
  2. TSAVJason
    You’re interpretation of my tone is yours and not mine. I don’t do drama nor do I do knee jerk. Oh and I stay away from alt-facts.

    I don’t disagree the Elear has had its issues and I’m very happy to hear the new QC on them is much better than before. I’m also aware that the beginning of the Utopia launch was rough too, although no where near as bad as the Elear launch. Having been the launch partner these are things I was in the middle of.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com./pages/The-Source-AV-Design-Group/153623164648713 http://www.twitter.com/TheSourceAV http://www.instagram.com/Thesourceavdesign http://thesourceav.com/ Products@TheSourceAV.com
    S-O8 likes this.
  3. noplsestar
    You are cynical and think you are cool the way you talk to me. If you were a „normal“ head-fier the maybe that would be ok, but in my opinion it’s definitely not ok and not cool for a official focal dealer. You should take all complaints very serious, who when not you?
    So I urge you to be a bit more sensitive with your wording. It’s not the first time you made a step too far in this regard. If you choose to continue treating some head-fiers who ask questions and criticizes headphones (this is, to some extend what we are doing here - at least when we are not hyping the next new big hp), like ***, then maybe I will take the time and search this thread for all the posts of you that IMO where not ok and send them all together to the focal guys in France and let them decide if they think you represent their company well and if they too think cynicism is the way to treat consumers of focal products. Just my 2c.
     
    Turdski and up late like this.
  4. TSAVJason
    Focal doesn’t think I’m representing them other than as a reseller of their goods nor do I. I’ve never represented myself as representing Focal either other than as a dealer. I take all of my customers complaints very seriously and respond immediately. Had I said something with a remotely intentional tone that caused someone to feel treated badly I would apologize being that it’s never my intention to hurt someone’s feelings.
     
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com./pages/The-Source-AV-Design-Group/153623164648713 http://www.twitter.com/TheSourceAV http://www.instagram.com/Thesourceavdesign http://thesourceav.com/ Products@TheSourceAV.com
  5. TSAVJason
    Here is what I suggest to all that even suspect they have an issue with their headphones of any brand. 1) Call your reseller immediately and report the issue. 2) try to discover if it’s an electronics pairing issue. 3) your dealer should be all over your reported service need like flies on stink by this point. 4) if your dealer isn’t already in the process of making it right, call another dealer for a service access number to the manufacturer to avoid any further inconveniences or delays on getting your product serviced. 5) if your dealer didn’t jump when you needed them to jump change dealers for future purchases. *Remember your dealer was paid to support your sale when you made the purchase. If they don’t support your sale then what was the money you paid them for?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com./pages/The-Source-AV-Design-Group/153623164648713 http://www.twitter.com/TheSourceAV http://www.instagram.com/Thesourceavdesign http://thesourceav.com/ Products@TheSourceAV.com
  6. conquerator2
    I’ve been content with my own HE4XX for quite some time now. It ain’t perfect, but for the asking price it seemed to represent great value. However, I’ve long been curios about three new headphones, the Focal Clear, Audeze LCD-2C and Mr. Speakers AEON open, and today I took advantage of an opportunity to compare them.

    First, I want to thank Audigo, my local headphone retailer, for allowing me to do so. They let me spend over four hours in their music listening corner, where I also got to chat with one of the shop assistants who made this whole experience possible.

    I brought in my home rig, with Audio gd’s R2R11 at the forefront, and my trusty Roland Quad-Capture handling the USB duties (to my ears it sounds a bit better than R2R11’s own USB input). I listened to rock, instrumental music as well as pop and EDM, all carefully selected from my collection of well-mastered tracks that I know well.

    I compared each headphone with one another, trying to match volume as best as I could, and always reset by going back to my trusty HE4XX (or Clear). My genre taste is wide, from contemporary jams to older classics, and I do compose original music, so I did my best to put these headphones through the paces. These impressions are still of my own though, so do take them with a grain of salt please.

    First, let’s talk about the Audeze LCD-2C which, to my knowledge, I expected to sound similarly to the original Fazor-less LCD-2. Regardless of these facts, this headphone managed to impress me and was instantly easy to like. It has a fairly neutral tonality, with a slight treble-lite tuning, which makes them darker than all its competitors. I thought its bass response was fair, with nice texture, if quite not as deep and visceral as I was expecting it to be. Due to its slightly smoothed treble, the listening experience was completely fatigue-free, while taking little away in the way of clarity. In light of this, I was particularly impressed by its vast, spacious soundstage which I absolutely did not see coming. The overall imaging was likewise stellar, with the headphone surprisingly detailed overall. Vocals tended to be a bit more laid-back than I’d like, and lacked a dash of presence in the mix at times. The comfort was surprisingly good, perhaps the best of all headphones compared, and the cable was likewise very nice; wieldy and easy to use. This headphone’s biggest strength to me was the soundstage, its size and how much detail it was able to render despite its (overt) smoothness. My critique then, would also be pointed at this smoothness and how it made the headphone sound a bit soft and unexcited at times, vocals withstanding. As a package though, this Audeze scores high marks from me, and I was contemplating its purchase on the spot (still am). For the asking price, I think Audeze has done a tremendous job!

    Next, let’s talk about the Clear. This is the priciest headphone of the bunch and so my expectations were high. After following its thread closely, I had a certain picture in my head which this headphone did follow, for better, or for worse. Let’s start with the good; and there is lots to love. The tonality is, to my ears, spot on. Highs sparkle with clarity, but stay fatigue-free. The midrange is virtually flat to my ears, which is great as it allows each song to shine through (and it stays extraordinarily even too). The bass was probably the most impressive aspect to my ears, with the viscerality, and overall dynamics even, far above the headphones compared here. The bass had oomph for days, while staying reasonably tight and textured. This headphone sings with clarity just the same as it swoops down with thunderous impact. It is also a fairly revealing headphone, more detailed than its competition, however it is let down by one single aspect; its soundstage. It’s simply put, too small, and for me personally, somewhat belittles the rest of its technicalities that work so well. I subjectively appreciate soundstage width a lot, and it’s one of the aspects I evaluate carefully when I review headphones (yes, soundstage). While I was listening to most every song, enjoying myself in the process, I couldn’t help but think how much better this all would be if there was more space between the notes. This makes busy mixes blend more together than they should, and make spacious recordings sound intimate, and intimate sound narrow. I felt the Clear lost some of its composure when sounds were panned harder to the left or right which I attribute to this soundstage deficiency (they are not blurred per say, but you can only fit so many clearly in a confined space) The build quality is very good, though the comfort overall was a notch below the Audeze (I can’t believe I am saying this) which I attribute to the lack of a suspension-style headband (suspension + deep pads = almost always a win). The cable I wasn’t too thrilled with either, as it is chunkier and ultimately unwieldy compared to the supple LCD2C one. The case is very nice however! So, as should be clear (ha!), I liked almost every aspect of this headphone, notably its incredible dynamics and spot-on overall tonality, but both of which were somewhat brought down a couple notches by an abysmal soundstage (which I felt the Utopia handled much better, despite not being THE largest)… If you don’t care about soundstage, you WILL love this headphone. If you do, this is tough, especially since it did so much just right.

    Moving on, let’s talk about the AEON open! With this one, I too was fairly hyped about, though imagined its tonality might not be for everyone. After auditioning its bigger brother Ether (both the original which I owned, and the Flow), I was expecting that, just slightly scaled down. In some ways, I got that, in others, not so much. As you probably know, they come with filters, and I ended up settling on no filters in the end, as I only had access to one-notch white filters which I felt muffled the sound a bit too much, trading for increased bass presence. The overall sound to my ears sits somewhere between the Clear, which is square neutral, and the LCD2C, which is darker. The soundstage too I felt was square in the middle, with a moderately intimate portrayal of instruments. “This sounds like a great middle ground between the two, then!” you might say. Well, yes and no. I wasn’t a big fan of the tonal balance of the AEON. The bass has decent body and impact, similar to the LCD-2C, so that’s good. However, I found the lower midrange problematic, with a wee too much presence which made the headphone slightly muddy sounding. The rest of the midrange wasn’t as smooth to my ears as that of the others either, and here it is initially smooth but then gets a bit honky higher up, which gave unnatural presence to certain instruments (like pianos or mallets) while making the otherwise smooth vocals sound emphasized when it came to sibilants. For science, I subjected each headphone to the same ordeal at one point where I set the Clear as my starting point (reference) and would then go to each headphone to verify their tonality, and then back to Clear to adjust my ears back to its reference sound. The LCD2C passed this test, sounding simply a bit rolled off in the treble and less dynamic, but without an apparent shift in tonal accuracy. The HE4XX passed this too, merely sounding a bit brighter and more anemic in the bass, but again without obvious colorations. The AEON was the only headphone to fail this test, where right after the Clear, the lower midrange felt bloated and an audible unevenness in the mid-treble transition (sibilants) was apparent. Comfort-wise, it was very good, with the cable similarly awkward to handle like Clear’s. Carrying case was nice too. In the end then, to my ears, it was not able to eclipse any of these other headphones, lacking the smoothness and spaciousness of the LCD2C and the clarity and dynamics of the Clear. Mileage clearly varies on this one, but in light of the other contenders I was expecting a more refined experience.

    Well, now you might be thinking how does a cheaply 4XX tie into this? Well, contrary to my expectations, it turns out not bad at all! To begin with, it is the brightest of these three headphones, though unlike most other HiFiMANs, it never gets painful in the sibilants range (instead, this emphasis is moved higher up, where it is nowhere near as problematic to my ears). It also has the least bass punch, but what it lacks in punch it somewhat makes up in texture. It is only slightly less spacious than the LCD2C (still feels weird to say this), though again it makes that up in (perceived) sparkle and excitement, until they are both murdered by the Clear in this area. In terms of speed and detail retrieval, I thought it went toe to toe with the LCD-2C, though it again fell short of the Clear’s prowess (as I once again ponder what it could do if the soundstage was better). Comfort is quite good overall, though the design is bulkier than the sleek AEON and sleeker still Clear (but not the LCD2C) and the cables they come with are actually good (better than HiFiMAN’s own cables. I wish everyone ditched fabric / textile sleeved cables. They tend to be much less wieldy and keep their shape more / kink). Some time ago, I considered selling these, and after today I am glad I didn’t. I was surprised they did hold their own, taking some of the attributes of the LCD2C (spaciousness) and Clear (Clarity/sparkle) while lacking in others (bass presence and overall precision / cohesion) a teeny bit.

    Overall then, I did enjoy this audition quite a bit, though by the end my ears were very tired, and I stopped writing notes at that point. To my ears, the LCD2C was the easiest headphone to like, while the Clear was the easiest to fall in love with and just enjoy. I am disappointed the AEON did not do it for me, but such is life. I can also now rest easy knowing that the HE4XX is a great price / performance product that harkens back to the old days of HiFiMAN and value. This, coincidentally, piqued my interest about the Sundara and thanks to Audigo, I should be able to have a listen to that in a couple days. I can see myself ending up with either the LCD2C or Sundara when all is done (or both if one of them ends up replacing the HE4XX). It’s good to see that reasonably priced products are still present in the headphone game, which will hopefully stir even more competition in the future. I’ll put a couple useful statistics below to recap as well as summarize some of the important attributes. Thank you for reading!

    Sensitivity (least to most) – HE4XX > AEON > LCD2C > Clear

    Tonality (bright to dark) – HE4XX > Clear > AEON > LCD2C

    Bass Quantity – Clear > AEON > LCD2C > 4XX

    Bass Quality – even, none sounded one-notey or bloated

    Midrange – Clear > LCD2C = HE4XX > AEON

    Treble Quantity – HE4XX > Clear > AEON > LCD2C

    Treble Quality – Clear > HE4XX = LCD2C > AEON

    Clarity – Clear > LCD2C = HE4XX > AEON

    Soundstage – LCD2C > HE4XX > AEON >> Clear

    Imaging – equally good

    Composure – Clear = LCD2C = HE4XX > AEON

    Bang for buck – HE4XX > LCD2C > Clear > AEON

    Overall – Clear > LCD2C = HE4XX > AEON

    upload_2018-3-19_21-32-55.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
    bgbkt, Paulo Abreu, Matro5 and 3 others like this.
  7. TSAVJason
    Being the Clear is listed 1st in your charts 6 times, does that mean your findings are for the Clear being the best of the best of them?
     
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com./pages/The-Source-AV-Design-Group/153623164648713 http://www.twitter.com/TheSourceAV http://www.instagram.com/Thesourceavdesign http://thesourceav.com/ Products@TheSourceAV.com
  8. conquerator2
    Aside from soundstage, yes.
     
  9. TSAVJason
    If I understand your chart correctly, you believe the Clear is the worst of them for soundstage .....right?
     
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com./pages/The-Source-AV-Design-Group/153623164648713 http://www.twitter.com/TheSourceAV http://www.instagram.com/Thesourceavdesign http://thesourceav.com/ Products@TheSourceAV.com
  10. conquerator2
    Correct.
     
  11. jtinto
    Nice review conquerator2 Thanks. I haven't had the chance to compare my Clear to the LCD-2C. I'm LCD-less at the moment.

    I'm doing a fun comparison right now. Using a BHA-1 amp swapping back and forth between Clear, HD800 and iSine 20. The Clear is a nice all-around enjoyable listen with much more bass. The HD800 remains the leader for soundstage and resolution. The iSine continues to blow me away with its ability to scale up with equipment. It presents an airy and wide soundstage with a very neutral and enjoyable presentation, a bit like the Clear.

    I think the LCD-i4 will be in my future...
     
  12. TSAVJason
    How about that! We mostly agree. I’m pretty sure we don’t on the sound stage part but in most of your perspective we do :)
     
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com./pages/The-Source-AV-Design-Group/153623164648713 http://www.twitter.com/TheSourceAV http://www.instagram.com/Thesourceavdesign http://thesourceav.com/ Products@TheSourceAV.com
    Matro5 and conquerator2 like this.
  13. conquerator2
    That's good to hear. And different opinions shape the world too :)
     
    Wildcatsare1 likes this.
  14. franz12

    I used Clear, aeon open, ether c flow, and Sundara. In my experience, mrspeskars products have relatively unique tonality than others. Other products like Clear or Sundara are more 'uncolored.' For that reason, if you A/B their products with others, you might feel its sound is strange.

    Obviously, Sundara was more uncolored than ether c flow in its tonality when I A/Bed them directly. But once my ears adapt to ether c flow sound, it delivered more pleasure than Sundara. The same thing would go for afo (Tyll also mentioned something similar in his recent view on Sundara comparing afo, sundara, lcd2c).

    It was quite astonishing for me to find how our ears adapt after sometime! For that reason, I always spend weeks before I decide whether I enjoy it enough or not. And going back and forth between headphones with different tonality kills musical pleasure and makes me analyze headgears rather than just enjoying music.

    For the same reason, I don't feel like I need to carry more than one or two headphones in my rigs. If my purpose is to just enjoy music, one decent performing headphone is more than enough, as long as I don't start compare it to a more expensive one.

    PS: When I first got Sundara, I was much impressed and planned to sell my ether c flow. After spending 2 weeks with them, Sundara went back straight to Amazon. And to my ears, afo is a clearly better sounding can than ether c flow.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
    llamaluv and jtinto like this.
  15. NickedWicked
    Interesting impression, personally thought the AFO had the worst soundstage, I found the Clear to be quite a bit better in that regard. To put it in perspective in my opinion the Clear also bests the HD 650 in soundstage with a healthy margin although it still is a bit intimate sounding, but nothing too crazy.
     
    bidn likes this.
First
 
Back
199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208
210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219
Next
 
Last

Share This Page