Focal Clear Open-back Headphones - Official Thread



Hi everyone, just wanting to know how you’d go about looking after the earpads on the Focal Clear. Searching around I have been told they are Alcantara. This means getting an Alcantara cleaning kit of some description. Also with the headband not being replaceable I have wrapped some material around my headband and secured it with tape. I may look a berk but at least it should keep the headband in pristine condition. Just not sure about how to clean the pads when they do eventually need cleaning. Having never cleaned Alcantara before.


I was thinking the same thing just the other day…especially due to the pricing of new pads, it will be more cost effective to keep them nice. @Torq I am at work so I don’t have access currently to my Elex pads… are they a viable option for new pads for the Focal Clear?..I’m being very lazy here…I think you posted something about this already…to the search bar!!!


Exactly, the price of new pads is astronomical. I am gonna baby these. I know it’s a way off before the pads will need changing but to look after them very carefully makes sense to me. Thing is I have no experience at all with this material with regards cleaning and maintenance.


Elex pads were $59 a while back. I grabbed a set. Only black of course.


I think it’s a microfiber that looks like Alcantara. If it was actually alcantara I’d recommend Sonax (used exactly as directed, with the pads removed from the headphone while you do it).

Sonax will work on most similar fibrous textiles.

However, artificial microfibers are a bit of a pain in the arse. Some you can’t use solvents on, so the standard trick of using rubbing alcohol or a 70% solution of isopropyl and a sponge would be a problem. Some you can’t use water on. And don’t ever use soap on either, as you’ll get horrible marks left behind.

It’s easier with furniture as that usually has a cleaning designation on the tag, indicating if is safe with water, solvent, water or solvents, or dry vacuum only approach.

If you don’t mind the clash of colors, they sound the same.

I think the Clear pads feel a bit better (smoother), but that could be psychological.


Thanks for your input as always I really appreciate it. It’s hard to get a definitive answer regarding the material type. Focal’s website doesn’t seem to state the exact composition of the material, although i didn’t delve deep into the site. Heading over to Head-fi and lots have said it’s Alcantara. Some have quoted their source as being Focal themselves. Colour me confused. The price premium that they charge you’d expect them to be Alcantara but who knows. I may just email Focal and ask.


No, I have the same feelings about this…so unless we are both Psychologically similar I think we can say the Focal Clear pads are of slightly higher quality.

Also good to know…next time the Elex pads go up on Massdrop I’ll pick up a pair (fingers crossed it isn’t a one off drop).


i am interested in these, as i get back into headfi.
sold off alot of my midfi gear awhile back…just have mojo right now
with newly bought hd6xx and recently landed (still being burnt in)
audeze lcd2c…will eventally upgrade to qutest or gumby multibit and the
cavelli liquid platinum or similar.

my worry is the fatigue issues i frequently read by quite a few owners…yes I realize
i should get to a local retailer and have a listen (doing so this wkend) but these ops are from people who’ve bought them and are listening to them longer term than what most of us do at a retailer.

i do love details but also fab bottom end…a tad warm and lush is nice too.
but it seems to be hard to get both in one set of cans for this 1k price point.
(i prefer open cans, for multiple genres)

…still deciding…


I haven’t had any fatigue issue with my clears yet. I usually get it more often with closed backs…but that I think has to do with the pressure inside of closed back headphones. After listening for extended periods with closed backs I get that just walked out of a bar/lounge/live show, ear fatigue/ring, I listen at 60-80db range but over extended period of time that range can cause issue as well. But I have yet to experience the same with my open backs…but YMMV


I haven’t experienced any fatigue whatsoever with my Focal Clears either. They may not be quite as laid back as some of the Audeze offerings but they certainly aren’t fatigue inducing IMHO. What they do give is Clarity by the bucketload along with great all round performance in every category.


Many thanks…am itchin to check em out


My experience with the Clear is that fatigue is only an issue with what I consider to be poor recordings, which might be tolerable with something like a Koss Porta Pro but with a headphone as revealing as the Clear, everything that is wrong with a recording becomes worse. And because of the intimate nature of headphones, there is some music I can only listen to on a speaker system without getting a headache and even then for not too long a period of time. An example of that would be the albums Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory by Oasis. In an interview I read with Owen Morris, who recorded and mastered those albums, he says that he got “the EQ’s right on the edge of distortion for each track.” I think that he went over the edge on several. He also admits that sonically his mixes were not very good.

Perhaps it’s a good idea to also have a headphone that is more forgiving and as you put it, lush and a tad warm for certain types of music and recordings.


I just played Morning Glory with my HiFiMan HE-560, as I happen to be using them right now. Yep, it’s these tracks not the Clear. This album has really swirly high-end distortion cuts like a knife into the brain. Another track that does it to me is Suzanne Vega’s “Woman on the Tier,” with trash can percussion.

That can work, or an inexpensive tube amp can also help smooth things out. See the recently active Loxjie P20 thread.


If anyone is interested in some Clears at a great deal I know a website that has an open box sale for just over $900…They don’t like posting here due to potential conflict of interest…(hint, hint!!!..HINT Mo’flicka!" lol) seriously great deal on an amazing pair of cans.

Hopefully it is ok to post this hint…if not feel free to zap it!


I saw this your post from a few months ago. I loved these yet I sold them too soon. I couldn’t get the Lcd4s out of my head. So I sold and got them. The Clears have never got out of my head. No doubt will buy again soon as in my message earlier about a good deal.


Yeah, I basically have become a Focal fan, my primary listening these days are the Clear/Elegia and HD800(SDR).


@Torq . Oh! Isn’t it all in our head.



At least they used to, snicker, chortle, ho ho ho. Did you know the gift cards are 10% off and you could turn around and use them for a purchase right away? With their blessing?


yes i’m heavily considering adding these to my stable.
would be a nice compliment to the lcd2c and hd6xx i have.


Any good low-end amp dacs for the Focal clears?

I mostly use Tidal hifi and I currently use fiio e17k or topping vx1. Looking at ones at