Focal is confirming its position as an innovative manufacturer of high-end headphones with the launch of Focal Clear open-back High End headphones. Benefiting from the research and development that went into developing Elear and Utopia headphones, the ambition is to establish Focal Clear as the reference open-back headphones under €2,000.
Focal Clear headphones provide listening worthy of the best speakers. The latest addition to Focal’s top-end headphones range, Clear use the new generation of totally open backed full-range speakers, precisely revealing the tiniest details for ultra-realistic listening. With their design surpassing Focal Elear in terms of openness, Focal Clear make you simply forget that you are wearing headphones. The widely held impression that headphones reduce listening space disappears, thanks to Focal Clear’s open ear cushions. The technologies chosen and the aluminium/magnesium alloy M-profile dome, preserve breadth and dynamics worthy of the best high-fidelity speakers. These headphones will become essential: they come with a hard transport case and three cables providing the best solution for different types of audio equipment.
Clear is equipped with a new generation full-range speaker driver developed by Focal. A frameless copper voice coil with a diameter of 25.5mm, and a height of 5.5mm was also developed. The use of copper gives the voice coil an extremely strong magnetic field, resulting in sound which fully respects the dynamics of the audio signal. The moving part is always under control, even when at full excursion, and the proprietary 75-micronthick suspension capable of high elongation provides
exceptional impulse response, with a break-up level increased to 24kHz. The high frequencies are extremely linear and the transients are totally respected, so Focal Clear headphones is capable of revealing the smallest details of the recording with great precision, providing the listener with ultra-realistic sound. Finally, the 55 Ohms impedance means you can use the device without compromise with portable high-resolution audio players.
Headphones generally sound different to loudspeakers due to the shape of the soundwave created by the speaker driver, and to the listening distance. Whether it’s an inverted dome or a positive dome, a listening distance of barely an inch requires that the shape of the dome be completely redesigned in order to achieve a plane wave in ultra-nearfield listening. Drawing on its 35 years of expertise, Focal has been able to develop a new generation dome launched on Focal Elear and Focal Utopia headphones: the ‘M’-shape inverted dome. Composed of an Aluminum/Magnesium alloy, it offers an ideal combination of lightness, high rigidity and excellent damping. When listening to these headphones, the choice to use the ‘M’-shape dome makes perfect sense ; the power and dynamics are worthy of the best high-fidelity loudspeakers on the market. Focal also wanted to go one step further in this philosophy, by developing headphones with an even better open-back design, so the listener completely forgets they’re wearing them.
Focal developed a headband in which the bend remains constant, regardless of the size of the head. This spreads the weight of the headphones evenly over the head, to prevent pressure on the head or ears, which is often the case with other products. The solid Aluminum yoke developed is also impressive, both in terms of the purity of the design and in terms of comfort. The yoke doesn’t have traditional vertically rotating mechanics, as this has been integrated into the headband. In addition to this, the asymmetry of the attachment points connecting the yoke to the ear cup improves the distribution of pressure, ensuring excellent sealing and optimum comfort.
A key factor for realistic sound through headphones is acoustic impedance. Apart from their weight, users sense the headphones, even open-back models, as a change of space, which translates into a sensation of going from one room to a smaller room. To solve this problem, Focal Clear have been designed with new microfibre ear cushions. Ear pads are as important for headphones as a listening room is for loudspeakers. The 1mm diameter micro-perforations on the outer edge of the ear cushions offer unrivalled openness in this price range. This enhances the feeling of being in a listening room and not listening to headphones. The other advantage of the design is the extreme tolerance to ear cup position, regardless of the user’s head size or shape. This provides sound with unprecedented uniformity, guaranteeing higher levels of performance for everyone. In terms of design, the finish of the ear cushions has been mirrored under the headband, with a blend of grey leather on top and grey microfibre fabric underneath.
Specific connectors for each device
Focal also offers a full range of connectors. Clear comes with three types of cable to ensure that users always have the best solution depending on the device used. The 24 AWG oxygen free copper cables offer very low resistance to deliver sound with utmost transparency.
The first cable measures 4ft (1.2m) and is finished with a 3.5mm stereo jack plug. This cable is generally used for connecting the headphones to portable high-resolution audio players. A 3.5mm jack socket to a 6.35mm jack plug adapter is also supplied so you can use this cable when listening to the headphones at home with your electronics nearby.
The second cable measures 10ft (3m) and is finished with a 6.35mm stereo jack plug.
The third cable, resolutely audiophile, enables users to take advantage of a balanced connection with a 4-point XLR connector.
These three items are covered with a braided-cotton sleeving to prevent any electrostatic charge. As for the headphones, they are equipped with two 3.5mm mono jack sockets which are lockable to secure the connection of the cable to the headphones. The final accessory supplied with Clear is the rigid carrying case. The thermoformed shell is shaped like the headphones, and protects them from impacts and travel-related hazards. It is big enough to fit a 10ft (3m) cable, while still being compact, making it easy to store in a backpack.
High-end reference circumaural headphones for use in quiet environments.
French design and manufacture, exclusive technologies from 35 years of expertise.
Pure, technophile and elegant design, featuring an aluminium yoke and leather headband.
A listening experience very close to that provided by high-fidelity loudspeakers
Comfortable and ergonomic
High-quality design and materials
Excellent performance when connected to portable high-resolution audio players
Supplied with 3 cables to suit all uses
Supplied with a hard-shell carrying case