Focal Clear Open-back Headphones - Official Thread



Still waiting on my Clears. They’ll be here soon hopefully. I love the look of them.



Aren’t the Elex supposed to be very close in sound to the Clears. I have read a few reviews stating that if you own Elex it’s not a big jump to the Clears. What’s you’re take Tyler.



I’m not Tyler, but I have the Clear and Elex sitting right here.

Tonally they’re fairly close. I think the Clear is slightly more neutral still, but the difference is minimal there. However, the Clear out resolve the Elex both in terms of micro-dynamics and raw detail - assuming your upstream sources are sufficiently resolving/transparent.

If you really want to hear the difference in micro-dynamic resolve then you’ll want to use well recorded, properly mastered (no extreme dynamic range compression) material (so modern pop or rock is pretty. much a non-starter) and ideally from a lossless source. Obviously no headphone can reproduce something that isn’t present in the material it is being fed in the first place!

As for burn-in, which is mentioned further up, my experience was a lot different. There was some roughness to the bass for the first maybe thirty seconds, and after that they haven’t changed noticeably in the “burn-in” time I gave them (sitting on a stand playing music for a week). Neither in listening nor in measurements.

They’re a neutral can … especially compared to the Elear (mentioned above) … so bass-heads or those that want a U-shaped signature should really look elsewhere.

Vs. the Elex, they’re a more technically proficient, tonally similar, can.


@Torq pretty much nails my experience with them on the head (pun intended). I think with more isolated time with them I would appreciate them more. But currently for me the jump in quality isn’t sufficient enough for me to want them in my stable, at this point in my audio bliss journey that is. My most enjoyable cans currently are my HD800 with Super Dupont, they are a hard set to follow for sure… I think once the HD820 comes down in price that will be my preferred closed back(I think I’ll have a long wait ahead of me lol).

I think you will be very pleased with your set by the way, if I didn’t already have the elex the Clears would have been the set I would have gone for.


Not a basshead. This sound right down my street. Thank you once again for your thoughts Ian.



I don’t own the Elex so that’s why I went for the Clears. I really like the Clears look too, which is a bonus. Thanks Tyler your a font of knowledge once again. Hope you’re new jobs going well too. Regards.



Well, breaking in my pair of clears…and I must say having them side by side with the Elex…I agree with @Torq, they are better by ever so much. They are more comfortable, too but not by much. I do prefer the color scheme of the Elex though. I’ll try and give more impressions once I get more head time. I’ll also do one for the Elegia.


Welcome to the Clear club.:grin:. WHAT!!! You prefer the look of the Elex noooooo. :grin:. Nevermind personally I think the Clears are a thing of beauty. But each to their own. This noise that’s supposed to occur if you run them at too loud a volume, I haven’t come across it at all. Have you? Also have you or anyone run the Clears through a balanced setup and if so is there any discernible difference between SE and Balanced? Thanks.


If your sources/amps are up to it, then running the Clears balanced will yield improvements in resolution, micro-dynamics and separation (as well as cross-talk … but the improvement there is really a part of what’s yielding the other benefits).

Power differences aside … just having separate, dedicated, grounds for each headphone channel is typically worth it. Actual differential-balanced drive further up the chain, or having differential-balanced amplification, is a lot less important unless you’re doing long cable-runs or are running in an environment with significant EMI/RFI issues.


Thanks, this I what I figured. Having the balanced cable makes it a no brainer to use balanced when I do get a balanced desktop Amp/Dac. If I had a balanced Amp and separate Dac then the Dac would also need to be balanced too? Am I correct in thinking this.


Not necessarily, though it’s generally preferable to keep the whole chain balanced if you’re going to do it at all. Most balanced amplifiers can take a single-ended input and split the phases internally such that the amplifier can operate in balanced-differential mode.


I have been running the clears balanced out of my RME-ADI2 DAC and Jotun, and they are lovely!

I have run into the noise issue with my Elex before but only once when I first got them, and never again. The Clears I have so far not run into it. The Clears have a better build quality than the Elex, Something I noticed was the Elex pads are just not quite as good, and the cups quality isn’t as spot on/good. Another difference is the Focal aluminum cap sits further out from the cup on the Clears, where the Elex is almost flush with the metal mesh (also noticed on mine [elex] the metal mesh surrounding the cap was not uniform/as nice looking as the Clear).


Isn’t this what the MCTH does? I am unfamiliar with this topic but did notice it doesn’t have balanced in but has a balanced out style plug-in


MCTH has a XLR-4pin connection but it isn’t balanced. It’s still a single amp. They put it in for convenience for people like me who like to not switch out cables all the time :slight_smile:


How long will it be before you reach for the Utopia’s?:grin: I will bet that’s an itch you’d love to scratch. I know I would but unless I sold off a lot of gear (which I am unwilling to do) it’s just going to be an itch left unscratched.


I kind of figured, but I am super swamped with meetings today and didn’t have the time to look into it yet. thank you for the answer!


I don’t think that I need to scratch that itch either at this point. I have heard the Utopias and they are really good, but at this time they can be something to look for a decent deal on, but it would have to be pretty “decent” I have a unwritten rule of not spending more than $1k on any one set of headphones right now, with a few exceptions pushing just over that price.


Nice rule. That’s about my limit or there abouts. It’s way too easy to get carried away. I am always guilty of this. I am way too impulsive. I should take time over such decisions.


My big issue as well as is witnessed over my past few posts of new kit…


Hehe a fellow sufferer. :hugs:. Enjoy the rest of your day. It’s late evening in UK. Gonna get me some rest and get my music on.:sleeping::bed: