Focal Clear Mg Review & Measurements
Mar 17, 2021 at 9:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 723
Focal Focal Mg Review & Measurements

NOTE: If you can't see the embedded video above, please CLICK HERE to see the video.


The new open-back Focal Clear Mg replaces what is perhaps Focal's most-loved headphone. We take a close look at the new Focal Clear Mg, including several measurements from the Brüel & Kjær 5128 hearing simulator. We compare the Clear Mg to the headphone it replaces (Focal Clear), as well other well-known headphones.




Click on the following link for more information about the Brüel & Kjær 5128 hearing simulator mentioned in the video: Brüel & Kjær 5128





Focal Clear Mg Review & Measurements - produced by Joe Cwik, Brian Murphy, and Jude Mansilla​
 
Mar 17, 2021 at 9:21 PM Post #2 of 723

bcaulf17

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Wow. Quite surprised it measures so similar to the original Clear through the bass and mids considering some early reviews claim it to be bassier (also assuming the Clear Mg is the same as the Mg Pro). Even the treble is similar throughout.
 
Mar 17, 2021 at 10:13 PM Post #5 of 723

DivineCurrent

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Great review Jude! You describe them pretty much exactly how I hear my MG Pros. Warmer and fuller than the original Clear, and with a smoother and more refined top end. I assume the normal Clear MG has the same drivers as the MG Pro.
 
Mar 17, 2021 at 10:36 PM Post #6 of 723

Dionysus

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Very excited to receive mine on Friday I think they are beautiful thanks Jude.
 
Mar 17, 2021 at 10:45 PM Post #7 of 723

Raziel~

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Wow. Quite surprised it measures so similar to the original Clear through the bass and mids considering some early reviews claim it to be bassier (also assuming the Clear Mg is the same as the Mg Pro). Even the treble is similar throughout.
Yep, same feeling about these measurements and other reviews claimig it to be bassier :thinking:

And I also wondering if it's the same tonal balance as the Pro version as some other reviews also stated them to be different.
Measurement comparison between the 2 would have been interesting.
 
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Mar 17, 2021 at 10:45 PM Post #8 of 723
Wow. Quite surprised it measures so similar to the original Clear through the bass and mids considering some early reviews claim it to be bassier (also assuming the Clear Mg is the same as the Mg Pro). Even the treble is similar throughout.

In terms of their sound, the Clear Mg is identical to the Clear Mg Professional (as the Clear was to the Clear Professional).

Regarding the fuller sound: I do actually hear the Clear Mg as fuller sounding than the Clear. While I tried to explain why in the video, I'm not sure I did as well as I'd have liked, mostly because I'm not sure I know exactly why.

I have a feeling this is similar to the HD800 / H800S comparison -- there are few who'd argue the HD800S sounds more full-bodied than the HD800. Yet depending on which measurements you look at, I've seen some showing a touch more bass with the HD800S, and some showing a touch more with the HD800. Which is true? I think the bass is largely the same, and the measured differences in bass with the HD800 / H800S are likely unit-to-unit variation, measurement-to-measurement variation, etc. The one big difference we can see is in the treble, and it's not altogether massive. Here's a measurement comparing the HD800, HD800S and HD820 I posted some years back:

10161654.jpg
Fig.1 (above): Sennheiser HD800, HD800S, and HD820 frequency response comparison, measured on the GRAS 45CA (RA0401).

Focusing on just the HD800 and HD800S measurements in Fig.1, you'll see that the main difference between them is from 4k Hz to around 6.5 kHz (peaking at around 5.8 kHz), the HD800 measuring with more energy there. Is that the reason for the perceived difference between them, for the fuller-sounding signature of the HD800S? Maybe, yeah. It's certainly at least part of the explanation. (I strongly prefer the HD800S to the HD800, for whatever that's worth.)

I think that may be analogous to what's happening with the Clear and Clear Mg.

Is that the only reason for the perceived differences with either the HD800/HD800S comparison or the Clear/Clear Mg comparison -- why the successors in those pairings sound more full than their forebears? I don't think so.

Regarding the measured treble differences between the Clear and Clear Mg, I think they're significant. As with the HD800/HD800S, the smoothing of the treble is happening somewhere many of us are quite sensitive. Also, there's better extension above 10 kHz.

Great review Jude! You describe them pretty much exactly how I hear my MG Pros. Warmer and fuller than the original Clear, and with a smoother and more refined top end. I assume the normal Clear MG has the same drivers as the MG Pro.

Thank you for the kind words, @DivineCurrent!

Yes, other than packaging and colorway, the Clear Mg and Clear Mg Professional are the same.
 
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Mar 17, 2021 at 11:02 PM Post #9 of 723

Raziel~

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@jude Thank you very much for these measurements and these in-depth explanations.

Since I am new to you, there is one question that intrigues me.
Are the drivers broken in or are these measurements taken directly right out of the box?
 
Mar 17, 2021 at 11:09 PM Post #10 of 723
@jude Thank you very much for these measurements and these in-depth explanations.

Since I am new to you, there is one question that intrigues me.
Are the drivers broken in or are these measurements taken directly right out of the box?

The Clear Mg was measured just before the video, so it had been used. The Clear we have has been around since before its launch, so that one's seen extensive use.
 
Mar 17, 2021 at 11:10 PM Post #11 of 723

Quartzwald

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Yeah, that measurement comparison is eerily similar to the differences between the HD800 and HD800S. Nearly the same throughout (though with a bass shelf for the S) until the treble, where the OG has more energy in a certain region, while the V2 has a bit better extension. Good point about how our perception of the treble affects our perception of the bass.
 
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Mar 17, 2021 at 11:38 PM Post #13 of 723

ValentineLuke

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In terms of their sound, the Clear Mg is identical to the Clear Mg Professional (as the Clear was to the Clear Professional).

Regarding the fuller sound: I do actually hear the Clear Mg as fuller sounding than the Clear. While I tried to explain why in the video, I'm not sure I did as well as I'd have liked, mostly because I'm not sure I know exactly why.

I have a feeling this is similar to the HD800 / H800S comparison -- there are few who'd argue the HD800S sounds more full-bodied than the HD800. Yet depending on which measurements you look at, I've seen some showing a touch more bass with the HD800S, and some showing a touch more with the HD800. Which is true? I think the bass is largely the same, and the measured differences in bass with the HD800 / H800S are likely unit-to-unit variation, measurement-to-measurement variation, etc. The one big difference we can see is in the treble, and it's not altogether massive. Here's a measurement comparing the HD800, HD800S and HD820 I posted some years back:

10161654.jpg
Fig.1 (above): Sennheiser HD800, HD800S, and HD820 frequency response comparison, measured on the GRAS 45CA (RA0401).

Focusing on just the HD800 and HD800S measurements in Fig.1, you'll see that the main difference between them is from 4k Hz to around 6.5 kHz (peaking at around 5.8 kHz), the HD800 measuring with more energy there. Is that the reason for the perceived difference between them, for the fuller-sounding signature of the HD800S? Maybe, yeah. It's certainly at least part of the explanation. (I strongly prefer the HD800S to the HD800, for whatever that's worth.)

I think that may be analogous to what's happening with the Clear and Clear Mg.

Is that the only reason for the perceived differences with either the HD800/HD800S comparison or the Clear/Clear Mg comparison -- why the successors in those pairings sound more full than their forebears? I don't think so.

Regarding the measured treble differences between the Clear and Clear Mg, I think they're significant. As with the HD800/HD800S, the smoothing of the treble is happening somewhere many of us are quite sensitive. Also, there's better extension above 10 kHz.



Thank you for the kind words, @DivineCurrent!

Yes, other than packaging and colorway, the Clear Mg and Clear Mg Professional are the same.
Excellent review and observations. What you stated aligns with my impressions as well. Though the bass isn’t significantly elevated compared to the original Clear, the overall warmer tonality and smoother, less peaked trebles results in a more even FR that can be perceived as richer/fuller.
I think Focal did a great job.
Cheers
 
Mar 17, 2021 at 11:41 PM Post #14 of 723

Raziel~

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The Clear Mg was measured just before the video, so it had been used. The Clear we have has been around since before its launch, so that one's seen extensive use.
OK. So if I understand correctly, that means you redo the measurements for each new reviews.
Thank you sir.

I believe Focal says they have made some improvements to the headband and gimbal design that affects the way the headphone rests and clamps your head. The fuller sound could possibly be attributable to better earcup sealing as opposed to there being an actual change in FR in thse frequencies.
If it's the case, it certainly comes into the equation. Just like a change of material for the drivers or for the padding of the ear pads.
But anyway, all of this changes the frequency response and should be reflected to some degree in the measurements.
 
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Mar 18, 2021 at 12:20 AM Post #15 of 723

DuncanDirkDick

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I believe Focal says they have made some improvements to the headband and gimbal design that affects the way the headphone rests and clamps your head. The fuller sound could possibly be attributable to better earcup sealing as opposed to there being an actual change in FR in thse frequencies.
Thats probably the better argument for me to spend 500$ more over the Clear
 

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