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Focal Clear headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by mtoc, Oct 1, 2017.
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  1. rutter
    I like a snug fit to my head. Not entirely sure it's necessary but I was expecting excellence with Focal and it wasn't what I encountered.

    Mods are deleting some stuff so let me point this out again. LCD-3 vocals I heard to be crap particularly relative to the impressive vocals I heard from the Clear. Due to finding the Clear overall piercing I preferred the sound of the HE-400i through the Questyle dac/amp. It's not a great headphone, but I could at least listen with a significant level of enjoyment. Did not compare the LCD-3 to the HE-400i directly so not sure how relatively crap the LCD-3 vocals sounded to me (I do think even overall I found them poor though, unacceptable). I immediately put that headphone down and moved on.
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
  2. BunnyNamedCraig
    Wow I asked a question an hour ago or so and came back to a lot of discussion!

    I’m guessing by what your saying @rutter is that you like there to be highs but you prefer them to be slightly rolled off, or not as peaky, or generally bright. The LCD3’s darkness is being perceived as what, “lack of detail”? (Sorry I’m on my phone so not trying to mis quote) so I am wondering if the Beyerdynamic Amiron could be a good fit for you. Have you tried that?

    I was thinking maybe the beyer T1v2, but I would suspect the treble would still be too hot... I think that the Amiron might be a good middle ground between solid detail retrieval
    and also not piercing highs if your ears are sensitive to treble. Also, the Amiron I think is a comfortable headphone (as I think of most of the better Beyers)

    Just a thought!

    If the Amiron is too bright then I am curious about the HD800s if the price is acceptable to you.
    cardeli22 likes this.
  3. rutter
    It didn't sound like just the highs though. I've had harsh highs on the HEXv2 with a Mojo, even on the 400i, and I had a DT 770 that gave me fatigue and was too imposing I think in the treble. Those were narrower things. What I experienced with the Clear and Focal headphones in general seemed to apply to everything or was much more general. This is why I'd strongly recommend trying them first if possible, but there are returns. I've written HD800s off due to what seems to be a similar treble issue to the DT770 and underwhelming bass. Wanted to sample them but unfortunately my store didn't have them available.
  4. Iron-Buddha
    I played Darude's Sandstorm over my Clears and it sounded good, just needed more bass to accurately reproduce where this song is normally played, over the PA of a dance club. Maybe that's why you find it piercing? The treble/bass balance is off. By the time you get enough bass, the treble is way too loud. I wouldn't fault the Clears for this, as dance club PA systems are anything but flat. On the other hand, my Vega's do a much better job with the bass. Slams like it should. While they are not tuned to be flat, I always felt they did something to the recording that closer aligns it to live venue. At least for popular music.
    cardeli22 and FrostyP like this.
  5. Wildcatsare1
    Wait, Fang is that you? It’s been awhile, how long have been using the “Rutter” nome de la plume?
  6. rutter
    For me the song is normally played through headphones. I know what it sounds like through headphones. It, and other songs, sounded piercing or over-heightened through the Focal Clear. I don't have an issue with the bass being too little on the Clear. In fact, I like the bass on the Clear. This isn't a subtle thing. I can't figure out why this is coming out of left field for most but what I heard was clear to me, pun intended. If you listen to more energetic music and/or at higher volume these headphones might be unexpected. And no, lowering the volume was no solution. I was ready to jump at the $1200 deal, had already returned my HEXv2 in anticipation of these headphones being a better fit for me, and boy did that turn out not to be the case. Went to the store to listen three different days just to make sure.

    Can you do me a favor? I'd like to get the free hi-res player and IEMs when buying the HEXv2 directly through Hifiman, but they want me to send them photos of my driver's license and both sides of my payment card. I'm hoping an eagle-eyed private investigator like you can get me past this hurdle. Would truly greatly appreciate it.


    It's Dr. Fang. You can refer to your mother by her last name only.

    Turns out that's actually his first name... awkward.
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
  7. herrsmith
    I'm fairly certain that not even dance clubs play Sandstorm any more. It has mostly been relegated to hockey arenas and internet jokes by this point. But I don't judge anyone's taste in music. What moves you, moves you.
    Wildcatsare1 likes this.
  8. rutter
    You're right about that (although I think sporting venues move on as well, so it's mostly the internet "memes" authored by people who aren't the sharpest tools in the shed). As far as I'm concerned, however, it's a classic across genres and time. I think in part people may have heard it too many times, but even so you give it respect recalling for how long it was good. It's just not everyone's cup of tea, which I have a hard time wrapping my head around. I don't listen to it constantly so I still enjoy it.
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  9. rutter
    The location was required, which I found strange. Instead of making it up I decided to protest... sorry for being mostly ignorant though. I've been reading some posts in other threads that discuss sound in detail and I'm definitely not classing up the place. Nonetheless, I do believe cruder impressions can still be very useful, although disproportionately to others without experience.
  10. malifact
    I'm not sure why you are questioning whether I really like the sound signature. I understand from your posts that you didn't like the Clear but you shouldn't be so surprised that others do. Also, I said on the page before my post that I had auditioned the Clear and Utopia.
    cardeli22, joseph69 and dontfeedphils like this.
  11. rutter
    My fault, didn't read the page before. What music do you listen to and like the sound signature?
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  12. malifact
    No worries. I honestly listen to a bit of everything, except classical and country (and I like a few songs from those genres). Mostly pop-rock, hip-hop and R&B. My preferred sound signature is pretty dynamic with clear vocals slightly forward of the music, but not shouty. What is it you don't like exactly about the Clear? I've listened to a lot of headphones recently, so I might have a suggestion. Send me a PM if you prefer.
  13. paul2qute
    Is Rutter as in Michael Rutter the world super bike rider? ??
  14. koiloco
    Between these 2 and the HE-6, I have my needs covered.
    I've been A/B the Clear and HD800 all morning. Still very impressed with the Clear.
    Clear and HD800.jpg
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
    bluenight, carlosgab and Wildcatsare1 like this.
  15. Live with Sound
    Hi everyone, I have a barbaric question. Please don't hate me for it.

    Clear is drawing my attention not only for the obvious reasons but also the impedance. It seems like it might go together with my quad dac LG v20 relatively well. Just wondering if any of you have listened to it with a v20 or v30? Would be great if I can walk around the house without having to stack. I don't want to stack. I'll likely get a micro idsd black soon though, so impressions there together with clear would also be really welcome.

    Appreciate all help! Thank you!
    cardeli22 likes this.
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