Highly Advanced Open Back Headphones – "Best I Have Ever Reviewed"
In 2016, Focal launched its Elear and Utopia headphones, featuring a major innovation with the full-range, completely open-back, electrodynamic transducer. This technological feat freed the headphones from any distortion generated by the ports, while ensuring the absence of any subsequent dynamic compression. One year later, Focal is revealing Clear. These circumaural open-back headphones feature a further enhanced speaker driver in addition to a more advanced open back design than Elear. You will completely forget you’re even wearing Clear, and you will be amazed by the feeling of listening to the best loudspeakers on the market.
"It’s difficult to find fault in the acoustic signature of Clear on any level… a great headphone even at its $1K asking price," reports Wayde Robson, Audioholics.com, October 06, 2017.
"Clear, Focal’s newest reference headphones, are one of the best I have ever reviewed. It's a superior product for the discerning music lover who demands the finest musical reproduction possible," notes Theo Nicolakis in his techhive.com review for October 06, 2017
New Generation Full-Range Speaker Driver
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-micron-thick 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 Clear 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.
35 Years of Expertise in the Service of Absolute Acoustics
Headphones generally sound different than 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-near-field listening.
Drawing on its 35 years of expertise, Focal has been able to develop a new generation dome launched with the Elear and 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, you'll find that 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.
Making the Headphones Disappear in Favor of Musical Emotion
A key factor for realistic sound through headphones is acoustic impedance. Apart from their weight, users sense the headphones as a change of space, which translates into a sensation of going from one room to a smaller room.
To solve this problem, Clear has been designed with new micro-fiber 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 of the 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 micro-fiber fabric underneath.
A Unique Design, Combining Comfort Aand High-Quality Materials
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.
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 provide 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 sleeve 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.
"It’s difficult to find fault in the acoustic signature of Clear on any level… a great headphone even at its $1K asking price."
- Wayde Robson, Audioholics.com, October 06, 2017
"Clear, Focal’s newest reference headphones, are one of the best I have ever reviewed. It's a superior product for the discerning music lover who demands the finest musical reproduction possible."
- Theo Nicolakis, techhive.com, October 06, 2017