The French audio maker Focal has achieved it once more. Clear, Focal’s latest reference headphones, are among the best I’ve ever reviewed. It is a superior product for the discerning music lover who calls for the best musical copy attainable.

An over-the-ear (circumaural), open-back design, Clear creates a spacious, enveloping soundscape that should be heard to be believed. Once I first wore them, I famous there was nearly no barrier between me and the surface world. I went backwards and forwards between Clear and Oppo’s PM-2 open-back planar magnetic headphones a number of occasions as some extent of reference. The Focal Clear displayed a superior sensation of openness each time.

Theo Nicolakis / IDG

Mesh across the again of the Focal Clear ear cups depart you utterly open to your environment.

Such a design is a two-edged sword to make sure. Listening in environments with exterior noise or a excessive noise flooring might be difficult. And don’t carry these headphones to the library. Anybody subsequent to you at an affordable distance will simply hear what you’re listening to.

The Focal Clear characteristic an M-shaped, inverted-dome, full-range driver measuring 40mm. Composed of an aluminum/magnesium alloy, the driving force is able to reproducing frequencies from 5Hz to 28kHz—effectively past the vary of human listening to. I discovered that Clear delivered an excellent response throughout your complete frequency vary. The one attainable place the place the SPL ranges got here up a bit brief may be in infrasonic frequencies beneath 20Hz—and even then I am nitpicking.

Made in France

A brand new manufacturing line particularly for Clear in Saint-Etienne, France develops the headphone’s light-weight parts. Focal claims that every pair of Clear headphones options an equivalent frequency response curve of +/-Zero.5dB.

Detail of the Focal Clear's open back ear cup. Theo Nicolakis / IDG

Element of the Focal Clear’s open again ear cup.

Just like the Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature headphones I reviewed final yr, the Clear’s drivers are located towards the entrance—not the aspect. This driver design, additionally widespread to Focal’s Utopia and Elear headphones, creates a strong soundstage in entrance of you, much like conventional loudspeakers. I a lot desire headphones that includes this driver orientation.

Clear’s match is excellent. It’s uncanny how gentle and comparatively pressure-free these headphones really feel given their measurement and 450-gram weight. That pressure-free really feel is by design. The aluminum yoke has distinctive components contributing to their consolation, together with asymmetrical attachment factors. Focal factors out that the scarf’s bend stays fixed no matter an individual’s head measurement. This design spreads out the burden of the headphone evenly, stopping an excessive amount of strain on the ears or head.

Detail of Clear's full range driver without the ear pad. Focal

Element of Clear’s full-range driver, with the ear pad eliminated.

The highest of the scarf is wrapped in grey leather-based with a microfiber underside. The reminiscence foam ear pads are lined in the identical mushy microfiber. The microfiber has 1mm perforations. The perforated ear pads, coupled by the open-back design, by no means made my ears scorching or sweaty—even after hours and hours of carrying them.

Shop with Amazon