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Focal Clear headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by mtoc, Oct 1, 2017.
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  1. snafu1
    Yeah, I have that creaking also.

    On another note I was saddened to see that Tyll Hertsens is retiring from Inner Fidelity and audio reviews in general. I'm going to miss his reviews. It was his enthusiastic review of the Clears that enabled me to discover these great 'phones.
    cardeli22 likes this.
  2. colonelkernel8
    Focal just got back to me and told me to go to my dealer. I did buy them at a local shop, so it looks like I’ll probably end up doing that...I know this was the only pair at that store so it looks like I’ll probably be without the Focals for an extended period of time. What an utterly avoidable problem to have on $1500 headphones...I mean come on, I have headphones a third of this price that are built better in nearly every way. @NickedWicked, FYI.

    Local shop just got back with me. He said he would replace my Focals when they get some more in stock in mid-June. He’s letting me hang on to these in the meantime.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  3. NickedWicked
    I guess it’s a bit unavoidable with premium materials, the Utopia has similar problems with creaking because of it’s carbon.
    Paulo Abreu likes this.
  4. colonelkernel8
    I think it's a fundamental design flaw with how all of these headphones couple to the yoke. There are plenty of instances where this is avoided with other aluminum yokes.

    I think the problem is the springs. They don't need to be there in my opinion.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
    llamaluv likes this.
  5. dontfeedphils
    A small amount of all three models seem to creak or make some sort of noise when moved, I know my Utopia do sometimes.

    Since I'm not dancing around or running when I'm wearing them it isn't an issue for me.
  6. colonelkernel8
    I'm not dancing around. I'm merely moving my head at times, or my mouth. Either will cause the creaking.
  7. Oksaras
    Any thoughts on the Focal Clear versus the LCD-X?
  8. gLer
    Creaking would be the least of my concerns, irritating as it is. How do you guys actually keep your Clear pads and headband from discolouring!?

    I just bought a used Elear, and pretty much have to throw the pads away they’re so grimy. Thankfully the headband and actual ear pad material is still intact, and thankfully on the Elear it’s dark. I have no idea how you Clear owners intend to keep them clean, but with regular use they are going to discolour, or worse. And guess what - headband isn’t replaceable.

    Comfortable as it is, I have no idea who thought using microsuede for the two parts of a headphone that regularly come into contact with oily skin and hair was a good idea!? Either they don’t sweat in France, or the designers completely ignored the practicalities of daily headphone use when they made them.

    There’s a reason why the Utopia (and any other half decent headphone down to $500) is all-leather. At the very least Focal should have done the same for the rest of the models. But not only did they not, they then went and made their $1500 headphones with light grey fabric!

    First thing I did on getting my Elears was order in a pair of Dekoni leather pads. Next I’ll find a solution to protect the headband that doesn’t involve putting a cleaning cloth on my head every time I use them.

    Really Focal, we shouldn’t have to protect our expensive luxury headwear from our heads! Or at least make the headband and pads both replaceable and affordable.

    s4nder likes this.
  9. colonelkernel8
    You can clean this material...it's Alcantara as far as I know, but even if it's a more generic microsuede, it can absolutely be cleaned. I think the leather pads for your Elears are going to change the sound signature in a very significant way.
  10. gLer
    Yes they can be cleaned, but do you really want the hassle?

    And the more you clean them the more they’re going to get worn out. Soon they’ll develop little nodules, and the material itself will thin out. With good quality leather pads and headbands, just the occasional wipe with a wet cloth and, if you want, some leather ‘food’ once in a while to prevent cracking, and they’ll last for years.

    Replacement Elear pads, by the way, cost as much ($150) as premium lambskin pads for my LCD-3. That’s plain and simple price gouging, considering how poor the material actually is.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I think my Elears (and no doubt the Clears) are exceptional headphones. Probably among the best there is right now and perfect for the sound signature I like. Which is why I’m so passionate about sorting out the material issue.

    I’ve already emailed Focal to ask how I can maintain and protect the headband, but have received no reply as yet.

    As for leather pads, they’ve been measured by Dekoni to have almost the same sound as stock, so no issues there. And I guarantee you they’ll be more comfortable and more durable at half the price.

    One day I’ll pick up a pair of Elex pads (when they’re sold separately) and have myself an Elex as well as an Elear with one headphone. Won’t be touching the Clear until they change the fabric.

    Edit: several users on the “other” site reporting headband stains from oily hair that can’t be cleaned. That’s downright unacceptable in a product of this class and price.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  11. Paulo Abreu
    I tried shaking my head and pressing the cups, even at very low volume I can't spot creaking, for sure your replacement unit will be free of that issue. Just as a curiousity, do you have to extend them much? I extend mine 5 or 6 clicks (each side).
  12. koiloco
    I am also at 6 clicks on each side. That fits my noggin perfectly. I've tried at different click extensions and wiggle the cups for any creaking. So far, I haven't had any issue.
  13. devilboy
    I don't mean any disrespect here but I have to ask, how much moving around do you people do?

    When I listen, I sit....
    and I listen....
    and I don't move.
    Actually I only move when it's time to change the music.

    Unless people are doing other things while they have a $1,500 headphone on their head?
    I know some of you use them while you work at your desk, for example.
    But do you need a $1,500 headphone for that?
    Not trying to be a d***. Just wondering.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  14. mahesvara
    To be honest, you said you were not trying to be a d*** but ...

    Some of us use our expensive headphones for both quiet listening and work. Is that not allowed ... ?
  15. devilboy
    Of course it's allowed.
    I mean, I wouldn't want to pay my employees while they were listening to music, but if that's your thing.....
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