Focal Clear headphones
Mar 8, 2019 at 4:02 PM Post #5,596 of 12,415
I will, with probability greater than 0.50, sell my Clear and keep the Utopia. For me, the latter are truly an "endgame" dynamic for the time-being. And in my current experience, after listening to another set of headphones that I have on hand for a moment or two--with the only possible exception being the Clear, I will invariably advert to the Utopia anyway so, effectively, it amounts to my not touching another set of [dynamic] headphones. Although, I did refrain from using the Utopia [and the Clear] last week, in the process rediscovering and re-appreciating the Martin Logan Mikros 90 and the KingSound H-03.

The TOTL field is still open, though: (i) assembling a worthy front end for the Utopia; (ii) electrostatics; (iii) planars; etc.

: )
I have just stepped up to the Focal Clear from the Hifiman HE 560, which was the step up from the Sennheiser HD 600, which was the step up to open air after loving the sound of the Martin Logan Mikros 90. Still love the sound of those for an on-ear closed (I am getting way to deep down the rabbit hole, but can't seem to help myself!). Have you tried the earpad cover replacement for the Mikros 90? I got some 6 years ago or so, then drove off with that pair on the wheel flare of my Jeep last year! Picked up a sealed pair recently for $70 but can't remember now which earpads I got before.
 
Mar 8, 2019 at 4:35 PM Post #5,597 of 12,415
Hey Everyone, I just received a new pair of Focal Clear Headphones and would like to solicit some advice. I will be using them while streaming Tidal Masters MQA through a Cozoy Astrapi mini dac to a Schiit Asgard 2. The sound is great, but I'm thinking a better DAC would make sense as it is probably the weakest link. I know MQA is probably running at 24/96 as the Cozoy does not support MQA. If I were to buy an MQA enabled DAC, it would supposedly allow for 24/192. Is that jump worth it to narrow my focus to MQA enabled DACs or should I just focus on the best DAC for the money. I have heard good things about the Schiit Mimby as a bargain for Multibit. That DAC is $250, but I could probably push it to $400 at the most right now. Thanks in advance for any replies.

If you can stretch a bit more or save up for a bit longer I would suggest the idsd bl.
It is better than the mimby in my opinion and it has a powerful amp built in as well. Another plus is that you can use it battery operated too and are full MQA decoders. The clears sound really good out of the idsd bl to me.

None of the schiit products do mqa or dsd. They are good products as well but the ifi idsd bl is the swiss army knife of audio. The

They can be found used for a reasonable price. I might put mine up for sale once my Hugo tt2 comes in.
 
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Mar 8, 2019 at 5:11 PM Post #5,598 of 12,415
I have just stepped up to the Focal Clear from the Hifiman HE 560, which was the step up from the Sennheiser HD 600, which was the step up to open air after loving the sound of the Martin Logan Mikros 90. Still love the sound of those for an on-ear closed (I am getting way to deep down the rabbit hole, but can't seem to help myself!). Have you tried the earpad cover replacement for the Mikros 90? I got some 6 years ago or so, then drove off with that pair on the wheel flare of my Jeep last year! Picked up a sealed pair recently for $70 but can't remember now which earpads I got before.
Spoonman2,

HD600-->HE560-->Focal Clear, is pretty much my path of ascendancy, too.

I bought an extra pair of OEM pads for the Mikros 90 way back in the day, so I have not had to try an after-market pair. If you check the Mikros 90 thread, a couple of recent posts have identified some replacement pads.

The Martin Logan Mikros 90 remain my longstanding go-to closed portables. Too bad ML never released a full-sized circumaural pair of headphones. The balance, detail and musicality of the Mikros 90 have a lot in common with my Focals.
 
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Mar 8, 2019 at 7:09 PM Post #5,599 of 12,415
Spoonman2,

HD600-->HE560-->Focal Clear, is pretty much my path of ascendancy, too.

I bought an extra pair of OEM pads for the Mikros 90 way back in the day, so I have not had to try an after-market pair. If you check the Mikros 90 thread, a couple of recent posts have identified some replacement pads.

pataburd,

The Martin Logan Mikros 90 remain my longstanding go-to closed portables. Too bad ML never released a full-sized circumaural pair of headphones. The balance, detail and musicality of the Mikros 90 have a lot in common with my Focals.
Agreed that it is a shame they didn't follow up with full size, would have been very interesting. The one thing I noticed with the stock Mikros 90 was a little subdued bass, but I replaced them with these: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B009GDVTN4/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (found the old order with a little digging). The bass opened up a bit with the added benefit of less sweating on the full leatherette cover. I do remember they were a tight fit and eventually the fabric came out of the middle. Not a huge deal, just was more careful of my ear hygiene! :)
 
Mar 8, 2019 at 7:16 PM Post #5,600 of 12,415
If you can stretch a bit more or save up for a bit longer I would suggest the idsd bl.
It is better than the mimby in my opinion and it has a powerful amp built in as well. Another plus is that you can use it battery operated too and are full MQA decoders. The clears sound really good out of the idsd bl to me.

None of the schiit products do mqa or dsd. They are good products as well but the ifi idsd bl is the swiss army knife of audio. The

They can be found used for a reasonable price. I might put mine up for sale once my Hugo tt2 comes in.


CreditingKarma
,

Thanks for the input, I will do a little research...and perhaps a bit of saving. :beyersmile:
 
Mar 8, 2019 at 8:38 PM Post #5,601 of 12,415
Hey Everyone, I just received a new pair of Focal Clear Headphones and would like to solicit some advice. I will be using them while streaming Tidal Masters MQA through a Cozoy Astrapi mini dac to a Schiit Asgard 2. The sound is great, but I'm thinking a better DAC would make sense as it is probably the weakest link. I know MQA is probably running at 24/96 as the Cozoy does not support MQA. If I were to buy an MQA enabled DAC, it would supposedly allow for 24/192. Is that jump worth it to narrow my focus to MQA enabled DACs or should I just focus on the best DAC for the money. I have heard good things about the Schiit Mimby as a bargain for Multibit. That DAC is $250, but I could probably push it to $400 at the most right now. Thanks in advance for any replies.

Another option to the iFi is the Pro-ject Pre Box S2 Digital which does hardware MQA decoding and is $399 on Amazon. Here's the Head-Fi thread. I don't know much about Pre Box S2 so can't offer an opinion but it should be decent as a DAC based on the specs.
 
Mar 8, 2019 at 11:08 PM Post #5,602 of 12,415
The Loxjie P20 arrived today from Amazon. So far, it's pairing quite nicely with the Focal Clears. I'm just using the AK DAC that's built into my Schiit Fulla 2 at the moment (too lazy to swap over to the SDAC tonight). Tube and tube / hybrid amps have come quite a great way since I had my Little Dot 1 back about 7 years ago. But do keep in mind, I'm trying to be as objective here as I can because I feel that all too often, people tend to hype their purchases in order to justify them. I feel humbled to have such great sound without such a huge investment. The little P20 is giving me a nice level of bass, mids and upper detail. In fact, the level of bass with the Magni 3 would need a few bumps from the Loki to get to where the P20 is playing out of the box with only about 20 minutes of being powered on.

I sold my Utopias after 2 hours of use because I didn't want to have a TOTL headphone at the moment, but I'm pretty pleased right now with the rig I have and the Focal Clear headphones.

Back to some more Brian Simpson. Enjoy the music!

P20 Amp.JPG
 
Mar 8, 2019 at 11:15 PM Post #5,604 of 12,415
The Loxjie P20 arrived today from Amazon. So far, it's pairing quite nicely with the Focal Clears. I'm just using the AK DAC that's built into my Schiit Fulla 2 at the moment (too lazy to swap over to the SDAC tonight). Tube and tube / hybrid amps have come quite a great way since I had my Little Dot 1 back about 7 years ago. But do keep in mind, I'm trying to be as objective here as I can because I feel that all too often, people tend to hype their purchases in order to justify them. I feel humbled to have such great sound without such a huge investment. The little P20 is giving me a nice level of bass, mids and upper detail. In fact, the level of bass with the Magni 3 would need a few bumps from the Loki to get to where the P20 is playing out of the box with only about 20 minutes of being powered on.

I sold my Utopias after 2 hours of use because I didn't want to have a TOTL headphone at the moment, but I'm pretty pleased right now with the rig I have and the Focal Clear headphones.

Back to some more Brian Simpson. Enjoy the music!


that amp caught my eye cos it's balanced and only 99!
 
Mar 9, 2019 at 4:53 AM Post #5,605 of 12,415
I have previously asked in this thread, but asking again because it's lost now! Does anybody use an aftermarket cable with their Clears? I'm interested in potentially "upgrading" but conscious that the stock cable is 24AWG OFC and built like a tank so curious for other's views, or better, impressions of specific cables.

Thanks
 
Mar 9, 2019 at 5:32 AM Post #5,606 of 12,415
Hey Everyone, I just received a new pair of Focal Clear Headphones and would like to solicit some advice. I will be using them while streaming Tidal Masters MQA through a Cozoy Astrapi mini dac to a Schiit Asgard 2. The sound is great, but I'm thinking a better DAC would make sense as it is probably the weakest link. I know MQA is probably running at 24/96 as the Cozoy does not support MQA. If I were to buy an MQA enabled DAC, it would supposedly allow for 24/192. Is that jump worth it to narrow my focus to MQA enabled DACs or should I just focus on the best DAC for the money. I have heard good things about the Schiit Mimby as a bargain for Multibit. That DAC is $250, but I could probably push it to $400 at the most right now. Thanks in advance for any replies.

Hi. My experience with DACs quite is limited, and never tried any Schiit product, but here is what I can say: I have tried the Focal Clears with Fiio M9, Hugo1 and Hugo2. Sound quality improvement was in that order. Same as price, so that was predictable. Important point to me with the comparison is that the Clears are a very good set of headphones that will keep improving their sound even with $1500 DACs. I currently used them with the Hugo2 and the sound is very good. That is well above the $400 you mention, I know. So, at that price, I think it would be worth trying the Chord Mojo or Hugo1 used.
 
Mar 9, 2019 at 5:40 AM Post #5,607 of 12,415
I have previously asked in this thread, but asking again because it's lost now! Does anybody use an aftermarket cable with their Clears? I'm interested in potentially "upgrading" but conscious that the stock cable is 24AWG OFC and built like a tank so curious for other's views, or better, impressions of specific cables.

Thanks

Hi. I see you are in the UK. Me too.

I use this cable, bought in Amazon. I do not notice any sound difference compared to the stock cable, but is much thinner and softer. £15 only and within Prime, so worth trying:

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06XJPBDQC/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Another not-too-expensive option is this one below from Ebay. Have not tried as I am happy with the above one, but it was recommended somewhere in the thread:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Beyerdyn...r-He4xx-2x3-5mm/232980101435?var=532497933832
 
Mar 9, 2019 at 6:13 AM Post #5,608 of 12,415
Hi. My experience with DACs quite is limited, and never tried any Schiit product, but here is what I can say: I have tried the Focal Clears with Fiio M9, Hugo1 and Hugo2. Sound quality improvement was in that order. Same as price, so that was predictable. Important point to me with the comparison is that the Clears are a very good set of headphones that will keep improving their sound even with $1500 DACs. I currently used them with the Hugo2 and the sound is very good. That is well above the $400 you mention, I know. So, at that price, I think it would be worth trying the Chord Mojo or Hugo1 used.

I also use my Clears with Hugo 2, but also found the Mojo to be mightily impressive. Mojo is a bit less refined than its more expensive brother, a bit more exciting and fun but more rough around the edges (i.e. less resolving).
 
Mar 9, 2019 at 6:24 AM Post #5,609 of 12,415
Hi. I see you are in the UK. Me too.

I use this cable, bought in Amazon. I do not notice any sound difference compared to the stock cable, but is much thinner and softer. £15 only and within Prime, so worth trying:

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06XJPBDQC/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Another not-too-expensive option is this one below from Ebay. Have not tried as I am happy with the above one, but it was recommended somewhere in the thread:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Beyerdyn...r-He4xx-2x3-5mm/232980101435?var=532497933832

Thanks for the suggestion. I am looking to upgrade, though, perhaps to something that's silver plated OCC or perhaps just silver. I'm open.
 
Mar 9, 2019 at 7:39 AM Post #5,610 of 12,415
Thanks for the suggestion. I am looking to upgrade, though, perhaps to something that's silver plated OCC or perhaps just silver. I'm open.
I actually bought a new cable for mine made from a mix of silver plated and regular OCC and it veiled the sound compared to the stock cable. Not sure why since it's 23awg. It cost $350 for 15 feet.

I would but from a place with a return policy. I did not.
 

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