Focal Clear headphones
May 21, 2020 at 1:54 PM Post #7,006 of 10,126

Verst

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Clear is probably closest to the HD600 of the three sets you mention. Between the ZMF cans, Auteur are going to be closer to the more neutral HD600 tonality while the Aeolus will exhibit more of the 'ZMF house sound'. Both ZMF sets will be warmer and have bigger bass than the Clear, but (much?) more pronounced from Aeolus.

Keep in mind that ZMF tunings change some depending on the wood used. This seems particularly so for Auteur, although opinions vary as to how significant the differences are, and Zach downplays the effect to some extent.
Never had any ZMF , but to me the Clears are a super HD600 on steroids with the resolution of a HD800.

Thanks for your replies. So the Clears seems like they are a direct upgrade for the HD600, but I'm just afraid they might be too fatiguing due to the resolution. Are the Clears also neutral-slightly warm similar to the HD600 as well? They're just so comfortable to use for long periods of time which is why I haven't upgraded for the last couple of years.
 
May 21, 2020 at 2:29 PM Post #7,007 of 10,126

TheMiddleSky

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Clear is probably closest to the HD600 of the three sets you mention. Between the ZMF cans, Auteur are going to be closer to the more neutral HD600 tonality while the Aeolus will exhibit more of the 'ZMF house sound'. Both ZMF sets will be warmer and have bigger bass than the Clear, but (much?) more pronounced from Aeolus.

Keep in mind that ZMF tunings change some depending on the wood used. This seems particularly so for Auteur, although opinions vary as to how significant the differences are, and Zach downplays the effect to some extent.

x2 with this

Also, a little additional info: Aeolus is the darkest sounding, and Auteur is the brightest from all open back ZMF dynamic driver. Having said that, "ZMF house sound" lean toward neutral to warm. Nothing would sound as thin or bright HD800.

Anyway, in this case, my vote goes to Clear as well to upgrade from HD600 if you want something more similar in character.
 
May 21, 2020 at 2:59 PM Post #7,008 of 10,126

phthora

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Great to hear!

Does anyone wear glasses with these headphones? Does it completely mess up the sound?

I wear what have turned out to be terrible glasses for headphone use. They flare out at the temples quite a bit and break the seal on a lot of headphones. With the Clear, however, that isn't a problem. Glasses or not, they sound the same. I don't lose any of the bass extension or quantity that I do with other cans. This is not so much because they seal properly, it's more that the Clear don't rely on a tight seal to produce bass.

How would yall compare the Clears with the ZMF Auteurs and Aeolus? Currently looking for an upgrade for my HD600 and having a hard time deciding and the Clears seems like a good option, but leaning towards the ZMFs.

The Auteurs are absolutely phenomenal for mids and for vocals. Better than the Verite O in my my opinion. They sound natural, detailed, and true to life in a way that I haven't heard from other headphones. In that sense, they remind me of the HD650, but they also significantly improve upon all the technical aspects of sound. Particularly, the have much greater driver speed, bass extension and control, and soundstage width, all areas that have held me back from truly loving the HD650. By comparison, the Clear has more recessed mids and better extension on both sides of the spectrum. It also offers greater speed and resolution to the sound, but at the expense of seeming less natural. It's has a bit of the flavor of fast planar like the Ananda or Ether Flow. But that is just by comparison. The Clear still has the smoothness and richness that good dynamics do, along with its fantastic impact. The Clear has amazing treble quality, but it does have more quantity than the Auteur as well. Same for the bass. Generally, I listen to the Clear for analytic listening, and the Auteur for relaxation. Both are amazing headphones though.
 
May 21, 2020 at 3:03 PM Post #7,009 of 10,126

LCMusicLover

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...The Clear has amazing treble quality, but it does have more quantity than the Auteur as well. Same for the bass...
Interesting -- not what my ears hear from my Blackwood Auteur. Perhaps amp synergy?
 
May 21, 2020 at 3:08 PM Post #7,010 of 10,126

Verst

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x2 with this

Also, a little additional info: Aeolus is the darkest sounding, and Auteur is the brightest from all open back ZMF dynamic driver. Having said that, "ZMF house sound" lean toward neutral to warm. Nothing would sound as thin or bright HD800.

Anyway, in this case, my vote goes to Clear as well to upgrade from HD600 if you want something more similar in character.

How bout the Hifiman Arya compared to the Clears? Read around for quite a bit but it seems both cans are popular in their own way. Asking about the Aryas as I could get them new for a pretty decent price.

I think I'm looking for something with a neutral-warmish sound with rich mids and great vocals.
 
May 21, 2020 at 3:16 PM Post #7,011 of 10,126

phthora

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Interesting -- not what my ears hear from my Blackwood Auteur. Perhaps amp synergy?

Pads? Wood? Those both make a surprising difference. I heard an Atticus in Manchurian Ash and it was even bassier than mine in Camphor. For what's worth, I got a Teak Auteur with the Eikon perfs on it. I also have those seal-breaking glasses. I use mine with a very neutral SS amp, whereas you're using yours (guessing from your signature) with a tube amp. Might be a result of our preferred volume levels too. Could be several things contributing to that difference. Ignoring those factors for a moment, the Clear manages to roll off less in the sub-bass and has more slam to the bass. Even when measuring the same, I tend to perceive more bass when that's the case.
 
May 21, 2020 at 3:41 PM Post #7,012 of 10,126

Verst

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The Auteurs are absolutely phenomenal for mids and for vocals. Better than the Verite O in my my opinion. They sound natural, detailed, and true to life in a way that I haven't heard from other headphones. In that sense, they remind me of the HD650, but they also significantly improve upon all the technical aspects of sound. Particularly, the have much greater driver speed, bass extension and control, and soundstage width, all areas that have held me back from truly loving the HD650. By comparison, the Clear has more recessed mids and better extension on both sides of the spectrum. It also offers greater speed and resolution to the sound, but at the expense of seeming less natural. It's has a bit of the flavor of fast planar like the Ananda or Ether Flow. But that is just by comparison. The Clear still has the smoothness and richness that good dynamics do, along with its fantastic impact. The Clear has amazing treble quality, but it does have more quantity than the Auteur as well. Same for the bass. Generally, I listen to the Clear for analytic listening, and the Auteur for relaxation. Both are amazing headphones though.

Sounds like the Auteurs are what I'm looking for based on your description... still having a hard time pulling the trigger though. Not sure if I should just buy new or wait for some great deals that get posted occasionally.
 
May 21, 2020 at 3:43 PM Post #7,013 of 10,126

LCMusicLover

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Pads? Wood? Those both make a surprising difference. I heard an Atticus in Manchurian Ash and it was even bassier than mine in Camphor. For what's worth, I got a Teak Auteur with the Eikon perfs on it. I also have those seal-breaking glasses. I use mine with a very neutral SS amp, whereas you're using yours (guessing from your signature) with a tube amp. Might be a result of our preferred volume levels too. Could be several things contributing to that difference. Ignoring those factors for a moment, the Clear manages to roll off less in the sub-bass and has more slam to the bass. Even when measuring the same, I tend to perceive more bass when that's the case.
My amps are Liquid Platinum and DSHA-3F. Interestingly, I've always been on the Auteur perf pads, which I hear as more neutral, with less bass quantity, but better extension. And I really want to hear Auteur in some other woods -- suspecting that there's a big difference and hearing it are two different things. I guess we should take this over to the Auteur thread.

Anyway, your ears/my ears :)
 
May 21, 2020 at 4:31 PM Post #7,014 of 10,126

Guidostrunk

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I don't find them fatiguing at all. Don't let resolution scare you away. They're not a sizzling can like the HD800, HD700, HE560......

There's nothing shrill or hot about the Clears imo.
Thanks for your replies. So the Clears seems like they are a direct upgrade for the HD600, but I'm just afraid they might be too fatiguing due to the resolution. Are the Clears also neutral-slightly warm similar to the HD600 as well? They're just so comfortable to use for long periods of time which is why I haven't upgraded for the last couple of years.
 
May 22, 2020 at 2:50 PM Post #7,017 of 10,126

jaxtrauma

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Wow, no kidding. I'd never read any reviews by either of those websites/people but I expected a little more substance.

"yea, these are amazing, really good bass, really good transients, really good highs. btw they're better than $500 closed backs" - wat?

I appreciate the effort at least, lots of tracks of a wide variety used to try them out but still.



Let's not forget they're using the Utopia headband AND pads with the latter retailing for 250 bucks on their own - I know plenty of Elear owners who purchased them, too, so they actually do sell.

Taking all that into account, if they're an actual, objective, sonic improvement upon the Elear for this price point they'll be a VERY strong offering.


I like 'em
IMG_0954.JPEG
 
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May 22, 2020 at 3:04 PM Post #7,018 of 10,126

TheMiddleSky

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Sounds like the Auteurs are what I'm looking for based on your description... still having a hard time pulling the trigger though. Not sure if I should just buy new or wait for some great deals that get posted occasionally.

Just to add confusion to your statement above, actually I feel Auteur has the "most" lifeless (least engaging) vocal compare to Aeolus and Auteur (it's still zmf, so no HD700 lifeless here). While for Clear, well this Focal great for vocal. I'm the type of person who focus of midrange first, so perhaps I'm a bit nitpicking here.

How bout the Hifiman Arya compared to the Clears? Read around for quite a bit but it seems both cans are popular in their own way. Asking about the Aryas as I could get them new for a pretty decent price.

I think I'm looking for something with a neutral-warmish sound with rich mids and great vocals.

Based on HE1000v2 that I like, my logic said that I will love Arya as well. But unfortunately, no. I can understand if anyone like it, big imaging, airy, black background, good bass extension, sparkle treble while retain smoothness. Arya can impress people in 5 minutes better than ZMF Verite dare I say. However, once I tried it in longer time (30 minutes or more), the midrange in Arya was bugging me. It was just... emotionless to me. I'd choose Auteur at any day compare to Arya.
 
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May 22, 2020 at 3:31 PM Post #7,019 of 10,126

cuiter23

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The wait is killing me. Paid extra for guaranteed next day delivery so I can enjoy them on the weekend...... and doesn't look like its arriving today. This covid-19 is driving me nuts.
 
May 22, 2020 at 3:50 PM Post #7,020 of 10,126

LCMusicLover

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...I feel Auteur has the "most" lifeless (least engaging) vocal compare to Aeolus and Auteur...
Wow! Just WOW!

So exactly not what I hear from my Auteur. Gretchen Peters, Lucinda Williams, Van Morrison, Marvin Gaye ... could go on and on about the vocalists I love listening to via Auteur.

Really is 'your ears/my ears'.
 

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