Focal SPIRIT PROFESSIONAL Impressions thread
Dec 15, 2014 at 10:15 PM Post #811 of 1,765

M-13

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Just an update to my whole saga. Focal replaced my FSP within a reasonable time frame. They also tell me there was a problem with the plastic formulation for the first batch of 800 units. Which means the newer FSPs should not have any cracking issues. (This of course is if you believe them). But yeah it looks like they're aware of the issues.
 
I'm moving onto IEMs for now, so I will miss the sound of the FSP dearly...
 
Dec 16, 2014 at 2:02 PM Post #812 of 1,765

remilio

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  Just an update to my whole saga. Focal replaced my FSP within a reasonable time frame. They also tell me there was a problem with the plastic formulation for the first batch of 800 units. Which means the newer FSPs should not have any cracking issues. (This of course is if you believe them). But yeah it looks like they're aware of the issues.
 
I'm moving onto IEMs for now, so I will miss the sound of the FSP dearly...

 
Thanks for your feedback! But... how can I tell if mine from the first batch or not? The serial number on them is not just numbers, it's a mess of numbers and letters 
smile.gif

 
Dec 16, 2014 at 8:07 PM Post #813 of 1,765

M-13

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Thanks for your feedback! But... how can I tell if mine from the first batch or not? The serial number on them is not just numbers, it's a mess of numbers and letters 
smile.gif


Honestly, I have no idea. Plus I'm not quite sure I believe them. Let's hope yours doesn't crack
evil_smiley.gif

 
Anyway, people who are getting fresh stock prolly should feel a little better about the plastic cracking issues.
 
Dec 17, 2014 at 9:17 AM Post #814 of 1,765

djedga

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First post here thought I should as I lurked here a lot while making my decisions.
 
So I jumped on a set of these as an upgrade to an old pair of DT770 Pro 80 ohms which had kicked the bucket.  I wanted a pair of reference headphones for assisting with mixdowns in my home studio (as a mid way solution before upgrading monitors from Alesis M1 520 - which is next on my list of studio wants among other things, I've never quite trusted them).
 
My choices were between the focals, Beyer DT880 Pro and Sennheiser HD600.  My budget wouldn't stretch to the 800's!  Unfortunately I could find nowhere to audition all three.  None of my local audio/music equipment stores stocked the Focals, one had the Sennheiser and one had the Beyers.  I went for the focals on the recommendations including here and from the store I eventually bought them from. So off to the outskirts of London I went to make my purchase (the store which was the most helpful when I spoke on the phone and had some shipped from another store for me to collect the same day).
 
The most important consideration was accuracy in order to better translate mixdowns onto different systems, make EQ decisions etc.  Comfort was less important, as I won't be making whole tracks wearing them, rather donning them to listen to individual sounds to check their suitability for the mix as I go.  I'll continue writing on the monitors, then going back to the cans when mixing down.  Probably wearing for 5-10 minutes every half hour or so when writing and for a couple of hours at a time with regular breaks when mixing down.  Aesthetics were not a consideration in my decision but they look "ok" to me, maybe a bit plasticy in places.  Durability wise I preferred the detachable cable of these over the Beyers although first impression they look a little less rugged than either the Beyers or Sennies in general.
 
They are driven straight from the headphone output of a MOTU 828 Mk2 audio interface.
 
First impressions of the sound..
 
I spent half a day listening to various music through my audio interface and iphone.  Mainly dance music but also some rock, jazz, hip hop, a little classical.  I was immediately pleased with the level of detail I could hear.  Crisp highs, sweet mids and punchy bass (not appearing over hyped in any department and revealing plenty of detail).
 
Bass:  I produce mainly dance music with some electronica so being able to hear the bass clearly is important, but loudness doesn't mean accuracy here.  Determining the balance between kick and bass without it overpowering the rest of the low mids is far more important.  Immediately the bass is less prominent on these than on the DT770's but reveals more detail.  Promising...  I always struggled to translate kicks from my 5" Alesis monitors, and the DT770's didn't assist me as I found them rather muddy in the low end (although loud), however I trusted the Focals straight away (will see how they fair after more burn in).
 
Mids:  I felt I could hear everything in it's space, like the creators of the music intended it to sound.  Very clear and precise.
 
Treble:  Bright and full of air and space without being too harsh.  Lovely listening, after a couple of test mixdowns (more below) I had over-egged the treble a little, but more likely because of me being used to a more hyped sound.
 
In real use:
 
After my half day listening I spent a day in the studio mixing down three tracks.
 
Tweaking existing material:Track one was already mixed down (also already listened to in car / home stereo / ear buds / Decent PA system at a gig).
 
I wasn't totally happy with the sound so this was perfect for adjusting levels, EQ decisions and some compression settings.  I probably had an idea of what I wanted to achieve after hearing it through all those different sources, but I felt comfortable using them and felt I could hear the effect of the adjustments very well.  I also picked up some hum on a stray open input on an audio channel which I had not heard on my monitors at all...helpful!  After finishing up it sounded good through the monitors too and translated well first time in the car/home stereo. and ear buds. Delighted.
 
Fresh mixdowns:  The other two tracks were not mixed at all yet.
 
For each I did quick arrangement then set about mixing.  I found that I was a little on the bright side when these were played via phone/car/home system but the bass and mids were pretty much spot on.  In particular high hats were a little loud/bright but I'm sure this is a case of learning the sound and probably due to the flat response of the headphones vs the augmented treble on my listening sources and monitors.
 
Considering this was day 1 and 2 I am mighty impressed, very happy with the purchase indeed.  Will see how they burn in, but after a couple more sessions I'm confident I will be able to translate mixes just fine.
 
Dec 18, 2014 at 11:59 PM Post #815 of 1,765

Music Alchemist

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Do you guys think a Schiit Magni 2 Uber and Modi 2 Uber would be a good combo for the FSP?
 
I'm about to sell off some of my stuff to finally buy this headphone and was also considering getting rid of my iPod classic in favor of a desktop system. I'm certain it will be a large step up, and I have seen others use high-end amps with the FSP, but I'm unsure about how much amplification it needs to reach its peak.
 
Any insights are appreciated.
 
Dec 19, 2014 at 12:17 AM Post #816 of 1,765

chailee80

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Quote:
  Do you guys think a Schiit Magni 2 Uber and Modi 2 Uber would be a good combo for the FSP?
 
I'm about to sell off some of my stuff to finally buy this headphone and was also considering getting rid of my iPod classic in favor of a desktop system. I'm certain it will be a large step up, and I have seen others use high-end amps with the FSP, but I'm unsure about how much amplification it needs to reach its peak.
 
Any insights are appreciated.


Yeh these cans don't require much amping and sound pretty good out of anything. I paired my spirit pros with my beyerdynamic a200p which is a cool little device that can function as both a portable and desktop dac/amp.
 
Dec 19, 2014 at 12:23 AM Post #817 of 1,765

Music Alchemist

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Yeh these cans don't require much amping and sound pretty good out of anything. I paired my spirit pros with my beyerdynamic a200p which is a cool little device that can function as both a portable and desktop dac/amp.

 
In that case, I hope the high-end amps people loved with it are pointless overkill and the headphones just needed a little more juice than an iPod to reach their peak.
 
Dec 19, 2014 at 12:36 AM Post #818 of 1,765

chailee80

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In that case, I hope the high-end amps people loved with it are pointless overkill and the headphones just needed a little more juice than an iPod to reach their peak.


They get more than loud enough out of an ipod imo, the higher end dacs & amps will squeeze that little bit extra out of them. From my experience i didnt notice much of a difference between my ipad and my other higher end sources.
 
Dec 19, 2014 at 1:00 AM Post #819 of 1,765

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  They get more than loud enough out of an ipod imo, the higher end dacs & amps will squeeze that little bit extra out of them. From my experience i didnt notice much of a difference between my ipad and my other higher end sources.

 
Well, yeah, even a basic laptop can provide sufficient volume; I was just trying to figure out what to get for the best sound quality, and whether more expensive options would make it sound any better. I guess the only way to know for sure is to find out for myself, as I expand my collection. Worst-case scenario: I get stuff that doesn't make the FSP sound any better, but could help with harder-to-drive headphones.
 
Oh, I noticed you have a CMoy as well. I was researching those awhile back.
 
Dec 19, 2014 at 1:31 AM Post #820 of 1,765

chailee80

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Well, yeah, even a basic laptop can provide sufficient volume; I was just trying to figure out what to get for the best sound quality, and whether more expensive options would make it sound any better. I guess the only way to know for sure is to find out for myself, as I expand my collection. Worst-case scenario: I get stuff that doesn't make the FSP sound any better, but could help with harder-to-drive headphones.
 
Oh, I noticed you have a CMoy as well. I was researching those awhile back.


Yeh it all depends on where you draw the line when it comes to price to performance ratio. For me the majority of my music is only 320k mp3s and 256k m4as so i'vé never bothered going high end with my dacs and amps. Something like my a200p or dx50 is more than sufficient for that imo.
I found cmoys to be great value for money, i actually have 3 of them, one to power hard to drive cans, one for my grados and another for portable use.
 
Dec 22, 2014 at 5:05 AM Post #821 of 1,765

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  First post here thought I should as I lurked here a lot while making my decisions.
 
So I jumped on a set of these as an upgrade to an old pair of DT770 Pro 80 ohms which had kicked the bucket.  I wanted a pair of reference headphones for assisting with mixdowns in my home studio (as a mid way solution before upgrading monitors from Alesis M1 520 - which is next on my list of studio wants among other things, I've never quite trusted them).
 
My choices were between the focals, Beyer DT880 Pro and Sennheiser HD600.  My budget wouldn't stretch to the 800's!  Unfortunately I could find nowhere to audition all three.  None of my local audio/music equipment stores stocked the Focals, one had the Sennheiser and one had the Beyers.  I went for the focals on the recommendations including here and from the store I eventually bought them from. So off to the outskirts of London I went to make my purchase (the store which was the most helpful when I spoke on the phone and had some shipped from another store for me to collect the same day).
 
The most important consideration was accuracy in order to better translate mixdowns onto different systems, make EQ decisions etc.  Comfort was less important, as I won't be making whole tracks wearing them, rather donning them to listen to individual sounds to check their suitability for the mix as I go.  I'll continue writing on the monitors, then going back to the cans when mixing down.  Probably wearing for 5-10 minutes every half hour or so when writing and for a couple of hours at a time with regular breaks when mixing down.  Aesthetics were not a consideration in my decision but they look "ok" to me, maybe a bit plasticy in places.  Durability wise I preferred the detachable cable of these over the Beyers although first impression they look a little less rugged than either the Beyers or Sennies in general.
 
They are driven straight from the headphone output of a MOTU 828 Mk2 audio interface.
 
First impressions of the sound..
 
I spent half a day listening to various music through my audio interface and iphone.  Mainly dance music but also some rock, jazz, hip hop, a little classical.  I was immediately pleased with the level of detail I could hear.  Crisp highs, sweet mids and punchy bass (not appearing over hyped in any department and revealing plenty of detail).
 
Bass:  I produce mainly dance music with some electronica so being able to hear the bass clearly is important, but loudness doesn't mean accuracy here.  Determining the balance between kick and bass without it overpowering the rest of the low mids is far more important.  Immediately the bass is less prominent on these than on the DT770's but reveals more detail.  Promising...  I always struggled to translate kicks from my 5" Alesis monitors, and the DT770's didn't assist me as I found them rather muddy in the low end (although loud), however I trusted the Focals straight away (will see how they fair after more burn in).
 
Mids:  I felt I could hear everything in it's space, like the creators of the music intended it to sound.  Very clear and precise.
 
Treble:  Bright and full of air and space without being too harsh.  Lovely listening, after a couple of test mixdowns (more below) I had over-egged the treble a little, but more likely because of me being used to a more hyped sound.
 
In real use:
 
After my half day listening I spent a day in the studio mixing down three tracks.
 
Tweaking existing material:Track one was already mixed down (also already listened to in car / home stereo / ear buds / Decent PA system at a gig).
 
I wasn't totally happy with the sound so this was perfect for adjusting levels, EQ decisions and some compression settings.  I probably had an idea of what I wanted to achieve after hearing it through all those different sources, but I felt comfortable using them and felt I could hear the effect of the adjustments very well.  I also picked up some hum on a stray open input on an audio channel which I had not heard on my monitors at all...helpful!  After finishing up it sounded good through the monitors too and translated well first time in the car/home stereo. and ear buds. Delighted.
 
Fresh mixdowns:  The other two tracks were not mixed at all yet.
 
For each I did quick arrangement then set about mixing.  I found that I was a little on the bright side when these were played via phone/car/home system but the bass and mids were pretty much spot on.  In particular high hats were a little loud/bright but I'm sure this is a case of learning the sound and probably due to the flat response of the headphones vs the augmented treble on my listening sources and monitors.
 
Considering this was day 1 and 2 I am mighty impressed, very happy with the purchase indeed.  Will see how they burn in, but after a couple more sessions I'm confident I will be able to translate mixes just fine.

Interesting take on things, since we are coming from a similar angle. Not surprised the bass is an improvement to the DT770- I can't mix on those, hyped in the low end. In the end I went for the Phonon's, I may yet fall back on these depending on how we get on...
 
Dec 23, 2014 at 5:01 AM Post #822 of 1,765

djedga

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  Interesting take on things, since we are coming from a similar angle. Not surprised the bass is an improvement to the DT770- I can't mix on those, hyped in the low end. In the end I went for the Phonon's, I may yet fall back on these depending on how we get on...

 
Yup the 770's are way over hyped in the lows so I only used them for listening in the end and then they died which gave me an excuse to seek out a pair with a flatter response. I never quite understood why the 770's are often recommended as a good pair for critical listening / reference headphones after I got them.  So far I found the Focals to be much cleaner, not tried or seen the Phonon's before so have no idea how they might compare!
 
My first complete track almost completely mixed down and mastered on these is available for download here if your interested.. (used the monitors a little).
 
https://soundcloud.com/pret-a-ecouter/ian-morbey_extract-of-the-day
 
It's a 320 mp3 but gives you an idea.  I did end up doing about 4 takes until I was happy to post it (which is not unusual for me - I can't help tweaking things to death).
 
To summarize I was definitely closer with the first draft of the mixdown than I have been with monitors alone.  Tweaking was much easier with specific tracks (The bass where I ended up tweaking the synth itself to remove some abrasiveness in the source, and eqing some sub out of the kicks for example).  I struggled most with the high mids and highs which are very different to anything I have ever listened to before but I'm getting there with them.
 
All in all these are helping me to improve my overall sound which can only be a good thing.
 
Dec 30, 2014 at 8:46 AM Post #825 of 1,765

Aerathion

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  This headphone is a beast!! 
The lows are amazing, deep, they have impact but they don't bleed into the mids. 
I'm in love. 

i wouldnt say they are overpowering, when comparing with a basshead headphone, its like: ''where is the bass?''
 
but the truth is, if there is bass, the focals will let you know, they have really great bass if its present int he music.
but it will never give you rumble, when there is none, where other basshead headphones will.
 

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