Focal Clear Mg Review & Measurements
Mar 31, 2021 at 9:17 AM Post #244 of 723

adydula

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Posts
3,557
Likes
3,010
After a week of experimenting with 10 amps here and finally getting the Ultravalve 6CA7 amp up and running with a custom voltage divider network I built, I have to say that the results with the new Clear MG Pro's are nothing short of spectacular! It even bests my awesome HPA-1, which is saying alot.

I will make the claim that its "the" best I have ever heard music from headphones....and for me this is a real statement. The match here is well as good as it gets so far...depth of music, layering, imaging, tone, timbre....golly gee its like I have a set of Susvaras here...yes its that good. I could sell all my crap and just keep the Pass Labs HPA1 and the Ultavalve and be done with it period. That marvelous.

Part of the magic is the HPA-1 is the preamp thats feeding the Ultravalve, but the alot of the magic is coming from the amp and its pairing with the headphones.. The amp has three impedance taps, 4, 8 and 16 ohms. Changing between them has a definite affect and I do prefer one over the others. (Using the volume control on the HPA-1).

When I first listened to this setup I thought yes its good but is it good or just different? So I put this away and rotated thru other good amps etc...When I came back to the Clears with the HPA-1 and Ultravalve amp, it was again a big "WOW".

Clarity, accuracy, details top to bottom, very very well balanced sound. Musical. Crystal clear and clean. I did swap out some Russian re-issue signal tubes yesterday with some NOS GE's I had here. This may have impacted the sound somewhat.
These tubes are 6GH8A's.

For a dynamic set of headphones, these indeed take the cake....even the soundstage is wider with this pairing. Yes the other cans I have still have a better or wider soundstage, but its again about as good as it gets for me. The dynamic range, bite, slam with sharp stattcato sounds are stellar.....micro details in the background are not hidden.

The "veil" has been removed!

1617196569794.png


Test Cable, next step is to build a solid interface box, now that I have the magic formula down.

1617196614056.png


1617196751734.png
 
Last edited:
Mar 31, 2021 at 12:53 PM Post #245 of 723
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Posts
4,862
Likes
5,634
After a week of experimenting with 10 amps here and finally getting the Ultravalve 6CA7 amp up and running with a custom voltage divider network I built, I have to say that the results with the new Clear MG Pro's are nothing short of spectacular! It even bests my awesome HPA-1, which is saying alot.

Part of the magic is the HPA-1 is the preamp thats feeding the Ultravalve, but the alot of the magic is coming from the amp and its pairing with the headphones.. The amp has three impedance taps, 4, 8 and 16 ohms. Changing between them has a definite affect and I do prefer one over the others. (Using the volume control on the HPA-1).
How does it sound using the Pass Labs HPA1 only (as opposed to HPA1 as preamp and Ultravalve as the amp)?
 
Mar 31, 2021 at 1:01 PM Post #246 of 723

adydula

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Posts
3,557
Likes
3,010
How does it sound using the Pass Labs HPA1 only (as opposed to HPA1 as preamp and Ultravalve as the amp)?
It sounds almost as like with the HPA1 via the preamp outs...if u level match its close, but my built in bias is telling me that its not as good...as just the HPA1.
IMO it sounds like the HPA1 into the amp seems to have a more open and transparent sound.

And Yes tbh it could all be a well....

But dang its really, really good for sure....I have ab'd this a dozen times not blind ab , but my brain is telling me the combo is the way to go here for me.
 
Mar 31, 2021 at 8:23 PM Post #247 of 723

Dionysus

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Posts
974
Likes
616
A bit random, but I have to say that the inside of the Clear MG cable box smells delicious. Anyone else experiencing this?
I laughed reading this post, had to respond. I personally have not experience this. Hehehe
 
Apr 1, 2021 at 12:24 AM Post #248 of 723

ValentineLuke

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Posts
38
Likes
71
Location
Los Angeles
After a week of experimenting with 10 amps here and finally getting the Ultravalve 6CA7 amp up and running with a custom voltage divider network I built, I have to say that the results with the new Clear MG Pro's are nothing short of spectacular! It even bests my awesome HPA-1, which is saying alot.

I will make the claim that its "the" best I have ever heard music from headphones....and for me this is a real statement. The match here is well as good as it gets so far...depth of music, layering, imaging, tone, timbre....golly gee its like I have a set of Susvaras here...yes its that good. I could sell all my crap and just keep the Pass Labs HPA1 and the Ultavalve and be done with it period. That marvelous.

Part of the magic is the HPA-1 is the preamp thats feeding the Ultravalve, but the alot of the magic is coming from the amp and its pairing with the headphones.. The amp has three impedance taps, 4, 8 and 16 ohms. Changing between them has a definite affect and I do prefer one over the others. (Using the volume control on the HPA-1).

When I first listened to this setup I thought yes its good but is it good or just different? So I put this away and rotated thru other good amps etc...When I came back to the Clears with the HPA-1 and Ultravalve amp, it was again a big "WOW".

Clarity, accuracy, details top to bottom, very very well balanced sound. Musical. Crystal clear and clean. I did swap out some Russian re-issue signal tubes yesterday with some NOS GE's I had here. This may have impacted the sound somewhat.
These tubes are 6GH8A's.

For a dynamic set of headphones, these indeed take the cake....even the soundstage is wider with this pairing. Yes the other cans I have still have a better or wider soundstage, but its again about as good as it gets for me. The dynamic range, bite, slam with sharp stattcato sounds are stellar.....micro details in the background are not hidden.

The "veil" has been removed!

1617196569794.png

Test Cable, next step is to build a solid interface box, now that I have the magic formula down.

1617196614056.png

1617196751734.png
That’s awesom, Alex!

There’s something special when using tubes (especially with an outstanding preamp like your HPA-1) in the signal path. You know that’s my go-to for realism. I’m so glad you’re enjoying your new MG’s. And they’re red! 😜
 
Apr 1, 2021 at 8:13 AM Post #249 of 723

adydula

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Posts
3,557
Likes
3,010
Thanks Chris!

A preamps job is to take a small signal and amplify it up to an industry standard output to properly drive an amplifier. It does this with circuitry that uses a volume pot and other stuff to provide low to high (to that standard) output level of drive to the amp thus providing a "volume" control. (Also there is an impedance thing here as well good or bad).

Back in the day, phono cartridges that physically outputted a signal in the millivolts needed this pre amplification. With a dac input already at 2 or close to 2 volts this job is a bit easier to begin with.

The totally analog preamp in the HPA1 is indeed a very good design...

Enjoy the music!!

Alex
 
Apr 1, 2021 at 11:48 AM Post #250 of 723

Supermessi

New Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Posts
33
Likes
63
Location
Newark, DE
Join the mg club!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0419.jpg
    IMG_0419.jpg
    409.1 KB · Views: 0
Apr 1, 2021 at 4:12 PM Post #251 of 723

der luda

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Posts
253
Likes
227
Location
Vienna
I burned in the MG well, compared the days a little with different cables.
From my point of view, the LavriCable (balanced) is a really fine combination for me, as the MG is surprisingly tuned on the warmer side (compared to the old Clear) ... what I can like 😀

With the LC, it always sounds a little clearer, more space, even finer and thus makes the tones more beautiful and with more information.
The LQI Voda Series UP-OCC Copper also harmonizes fine, if just a little less clear in the finish ... but I love it for its textile feel and its handling.

The MG is my first focal, 'm more at home with magnetostats.
Today I listened to my test playlist on a wonderful day.
I'm already on vacation in our lake house ... and the way it sounded and felt today ... God help me, I almost want to say that was one of my great listening experiences today :relieved:

It also harmonizes with the DX300, which is great
 
Last edited:
Apr 3, 2021 at 10:23 AM Post #254 of 723

Hifiearspeakers

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 7, 2017
Posts
2,585
Likes
3,033
Location
United States
I know we all hear differently and have our own preferences, but the Focal MG sounds absolutely amazing to me. They have very articulate and punchy bass. The midrange and treble sound…clear. I am sensitive to bright headphones and I find these to be very smooth and a little forgiving of bad recordings, yet without losing any clarity. I guess the fact that magnesium is self-damping really lets that quality shine.

You are on the stage with the singer and surrounded by the band. I have never defined a headphone as having a small soundstage based on how close you feel you are to the stage. I prefer to be up on stage right in front of the singer and surrounded by the musicians and instruments. But I want the stage to be wide and spread out. Well these do that in spades. The stage may be right in front of you, but it is not narrow by any means. The HD600/650/660/6XX are vastly more narrow. These image at least as wide as my Verite Open. In fact, I like these so much, I may be selling my Verite soon…

These are built well, look gorgeous, and sound like they look. To my ears, these are underrated.
 
Apr 3, 2021 at 2:09 PM Post #255 of 723

Dionysus

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Posts
974
Likes
616
In all the years in this hobby, there are very few and I’ve found almost none that does so many things so well.
It gets the timber so accurately and so honestly reproduced, that I find the Clear MG to be in rare company.
The Focal Clear MG is the finest all rounder of the stable in my my collection over the years. The treble, bass and midrange are right, the imaging is pin point accurate. The stage isn’t that greatest but man everything else it does so very good, these are keepers for sure.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top