Focal’s premium headphones aren’t necessarily cheap, but after reviewing the Focal Utopia and Focal Stellia headphones, it’s easy to say that they’re worth the money for the right buyer. But Focal does have some headphones that cost less than $3,000. In fact, it has a few pairs of headphones that cost around half that — like the Focal Clear open-back headphones.
But just because the Focal Clear headphones cost half as much as the Focal Utopia headphones, that certainly doesn’t make them cheap. In fact, at $1,500, these headphones most certainly aren’t cheap. Are they worth the cash? Or do they sacrifice too many features? We put the Focal Clear headphones to the test to find out.
The Focal Clear headphones are unmistakably Focal. That’s to say, while they have a number of different design elements than other Focal headphones, including color offerings, they carry that classic Focal headphones look, the beautiful mesh grills on each ear cup, and so on. When you take the headphones out of the box, you’ll immediately be dazzled with the metallic look and great feel.
The headphones are largely built from metal, and that makes for a very premium look. Coupled with the fact that these headphones feature a nice fabric covering, braided nylon cables, and so on, and you have a pair of headphones that not only looks great, but is clearly nice and strong too.
In the box, apart from the beautifully-designed headphones themselves, you’ll also get a nice hard case and very strong and premium cables. There are three cables in the box, including a one-meter cable with a 1/8-inch connector, a three-meter cable with a 1/4-inch connector, and a three-meter cable with an XLR connector.
The Focal Clear headphones, as mentioned, are built with plenty of padding and quality leather, and as such they’re pretty comfortable for long periods of listening. The headphones feature a nice fabric covering for the headband and ear cups, ensuring that the headphones remain comfortable.
Perhaps the only thing to consider is how heavy the headphones are. At 450 grams, or around 1 pound, the headphones aren’t necessarily light — but considering the padding and nice-feeling materials, we never felt like the headphones were getting too heavy.
If you’re spending $1,500 on a pair of headphones, perhaps the most important thing to consider is how they sound. Thankfully, the Focal Clear headphones sound absolutely incredible. Before you ask, no, they’re not quite on the same level as the Focal Utopia headphones — but they come pretty close, and at half the price.
Bass response on the headphones is tight and precise, and not by any means over the top. The headphones offer plenty of bass response, though thankfully Focal has chosen not to boost bass too much like some of its competitors.
Mid range is nicely tuned too. We would say that there’s a slight emphasis on the low mids, but it’s so slight that the result is simply a warmer sound. High mids are still more than present enough for those that like vocals to nicely cut through a mix.
The highs are, well, clear. High frequencies are super detailed, and instruments are clearly separated in the mix, making for a listening experience in which you’ll discover something new every time you listen.
The Focal Clear headphones are aimed at offering some of what’s special about the $3,000 Focal Utopia headphones while combining it with the much more fun-sounding Focal Elear headphones, and they do that pretty well. The soundstage is nice and wide, making for a natural-sounding listening experience with plenty of space to breathe.
As you might expect, Focal has hit a home run with the Focal Clear headphones. The headphones are beautifully designed, very comfortable, and offer a sound quality that’s perfect for the audiophile looking for something a little more fun. The frequency tweaks are subtle enough to make for a very natural listening experience.
Despite the high price tag, the Focal Clear headphones have a ton going for them — and that’s why we’ve awarded them the Headphone Review Gold Medal.
|Frequency response||5Hz – 28kHz||Active noise cancellation||No|
|Driver size||40mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Driver type||Dynamic||On-ear controls||No|
|Rated impedance||55Ω||Magnet material||Aluminum/magnesium|
|Total harmonic distortion||0.25%||Water resistance||No|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Battery life||N/A|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Wireless distance||N/A|
|Wireless connection||N/A||Cable length||1m-3m|
|Wired connection||1/8″, 1/4″||Case type||Hard case|