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Focal Clear headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by mtoc, Oct 1, 2017.
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  1. nlwouter
    I'm really interested in the dekoni's, but pads always change the sound in some way. How does the dekoni alter the sound on the clears?
  2. AmusedToD
    Not sure who these people are, but preferring synthetic material over natural material for something that goes directly over the head and against the skin makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. But that’s just me. Perhaps the polyester pads on the Clear do not produce heat, but I can live with some leather heat as opposed to polyester/polyurethane resting on my head.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  3. nanaholic
    It makes a lot of sense - just because something is natural doesn’t make it good. In fact lots of things in nature are dangerous or even poisonous, and some people are even allergic to things in nature. Personally I'm very sensitive to wool, if I wear a wool sweater I get itchy all over, and then I start sneezing non stop, so given a choice between a Gortex jacket or a wool sweater I'll take Gortex in a heartbeat.
  4. makne
    You may not prefer it, but it makes a lot of sense in a lot of cases. For example if you went for a run, would you use breathable, "synthetic" clothes or cover yourself in leather?...Saying that "natural" materials are always best whatsoever is just kinda wrong...
    The Clear's material breathes better, is softer, so no wonder a lot of people prefer it comfort-wise. Leather does have a more premium look and may be better for the Utopia sound-wise, but for comfort the Clear wins for me.
  5. AmusedToD
    Well, I wouldn’t run in leather, that’s for sure. But I would’t run in any synthetic material either, I can’t stand it on my skin. So it would be cotton for me.

    Utopia’s pads have better and softer feel, more luxurious that is. And more comfortable! But heck, let’s agree to disagree :)
  6. gLer
    Leather will certainly last longer than microsuede, especially with good care. The Clear pads will also fade/stain over time, which is not a factor with well maintained leather. As for comfort that’s as personal as the choice of headphone and music. Of course you can buy two Clears (or four Elex)for the price of one Utopia, so there’s that... :wink:
  7. AmusedToD
    Yeah, the cleaning part of alcanatara... More synthetics and chemicals to go onto one’s skin.
  8. Phronesis
    After listening to the LCD-3 every day for a couple weeks and really loving it, I was almost afraid to return to the Clear, fearing that it wouldn't be as good as remember and disappoint me. I'm not disappointed! Just as remember it, the Clear is remarkably clear, and uses that clarity to come across as neutral while also adding energetic lows and mids. Probably doesn't make sense to try to judge whether the Clear or LCD-3 is "better," since both are top-notch and different in their own pleasing ways (the Clear doesn't lack bass either, it just has a different shape of bass compared to the LCD-3). HD-800S should be arriving in the next day or two, which I haven't heard before, and it will be interesting to see how it compares.
    Wildcatsare1 and makne like this.
  9. gLer
    Very nice collection you’re building there. The LCD-3 is indeed superb, and by all accounts so is the Clear. You’re playing at the top of the table after all. Yes there are far more expensive headphones than these, but none are significantly better imo. You’re basically at the very edge of the cliff of diminishing returns.

    Have you heard any of the ZMF headphones yet? The Auteur is very much in the company of your open headphones, and the closed backs are probably among the finest of their kind you can buy.

    Enjoy the Senn and look forward to your impressions.
    Matro5 likes this.
  10. Gavin C4
    I can confirm that the clamping force on the Clear is larger than the Utopia. I like the leather pad on the utopia. While the pads on the clear will have small filaments dropping off and fall inside the near the driver. Making the internal of the clear dusty and it is relatively hard to clean. People with OCD would not like it. Hope it would not affect the sound in the long term. Although swapping pads may solve the issue, but changing pads would significantly change the sound. Ear Pads makes a HUGE difference in sound, it is demonstrated in the Massdrop Focal Elex and other Massdrop headphones as they use the Pads for tuning and hitting very nice response curves. A part of success with Massdrop headphones are related to the secret of pads tuning.

    I found that the Clear and Utopia have a difference that I can enjoy both of them with different genres. But I can be satisfied with either one of them. I pair them with a tube amp with slightly warmer tubes, it makes a good blend with Utopia as I don't find any harshness or hot treble. Tried pairing Clear and Utopia on Bryston BHA-1 and the hi hat cymbals are torturing my ears on this combo.

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
    FrostyP and makne like this.
  11. Phronesis
    Agreed that these things are so good it's really diminishing returns beyond them.

    Got the HD800S yesterday, and my first impression is very favorable - better than I expected, and right up there with the LCD-3 and Clear. A true German flagship reference headphone. Based on my impression so far, the signature isn't too far from the Clear, with both of them being very clear and the differences being:

    - Slightly more brightness with the HD800S, which makes it seem a bit more 'live', but the Clear is a bit 'smoother'

    - Bass quality of both is similar, though the Clear is slightly more punchy

    - HD800S has more pronounced stereo separation, which gives a sense of wider/bigger stage for some tracks (but the HD800S sounds very intimate when vocals are at the center with no reverb)

    - The HD800S is a bit less forgiving of poor recordings; with the HD800S, I was surprised to have that experience again of noticing things in tracks I haven't noticed before

    My thought right now is that they're similar enough that no one "needs" to have both the Clear and HD800S, but I'm not giving up the Clear, and likely won't give up the HD800S either, so I'll likely wind up keeping both around.

    Haven't tried any ZMF stuff yet.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
    Ken G and Anaz like this.
  12. jean-luc
    I'm selling mines clear if somebody is interested. I don't want to have several headphones , i prefer mines He6..
  13. makne
    Anyone here tried Ananda? Considering getting a more laid-back pair of headphones to complement the Clear, and wondering if these could be the one. I did really enjoy the HEX V2.

    Also looking a bit on the Auteur, but that’ll be pushing my budget
  14. stenog
    Have you thought about Aeon Open ? It doesn't have a big airy sound if that is important. But low end is very good and easily beat the Hex V2. Note, I didn't really like the Hex, to me they were boring with no impact.

    Aeon Open is warm, smooth and very coherent. It's very dynamic but in a relaxed way, if that makes sense :).
  15. makne
    I am preferably looking for something with a bogger soundstage and «softer» dynamic impact, for when I want a break from the Clear’s powerful impact.

    Haven’t heard the open-back ÆON, won’t be easy to find a demo pair either... I did however hear the closed-back, which was quite dissapointing imo... so not really too hyped about the open-backs either
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