We saw a similar setup with the PSB M4U-8 (full review here), and we rather liked it - it got the job done, without being overly flashy, or getting in the way. It was clear from the very start that these sounded like a different, newer pair of headphones, thanks no doubt to the tuning work that Focal’s engineers have put in. As it is, they are merely very, very good. The Elear is 80Ω, while the Clear presents at 55Ω (Meaning it’s easier to drive, and requires slightly less power). If you’re spending $1,500 on a pair of headphones, perhaps the most important thing to consider is how they sound. The catch is that it’s sometimes 2 times … The other main accessory is a terrific carry-case, with a hard, textured surface and a substantial zip running around it, as well as a useful carry handle. French audio brand Focal has leveraged tech from its best headphones to create a striking new model in the Clear. To us, it seemed as if Focal were muddying the waters a little bit, succumbing to the iPhone malady of releasing incremental upgrades. These may be bulky over ear headphones, but when you’re wearing them, they certainly don’t feel like it. Rather than a compiled retrospective review, I decided to present stream of consciousness impressions. The two most stand out in our minds are the closed-back Elegia and Stellia. Sensitivity is identical, at 104dB, although the Clear has slightly lower Total Harmonic Distortion (at 0.25%/1kHz to the Elear’s 0.3%/1kHz). The Focal Elear are good open-back critical listening headphones. And despite our misgivings about the headband, it’s very comfortable to wear. Demand is low for COVID-19 antibody drugs but shortages loom. This is to be expected given that the Focal Clear is a very open headphone whereas the Z1R is a closed headphone. These don’t just feel like a simple reskinning of a core concept; rather, they offer definite improvements, and they act as a very effective bridge between the sub—$1,000 Elear and the $3,995 Utopia. As with almost all their other models, the Clear feels terrific to wear. If you like your headphones to have a little bit more of a human touch, if you prefer wood to metal, then give Zach Mehrbach's cans a go. But Focal does have some headphones that cost less than $3,000. The biggest difference here is the color; while the Elear came in black, the Clear comes in a tasteful shade of grey, with silver metallic accents. Focal Clear Review - Still a $1500 benchmark headphone in 2019? Focal are nothing if not prolific. Since the Clear’s debut, Focal released the Elex, which is also almost identical to the Elear. It’s a consistent surprise just how well the HiFiMAN HE1000 V2 headphones have endured over the years. And this trick, of releasing a slightly more expensive reskinned version, is something that plenty other manufacturers have tried before – to highlight just one example, when Mr Speakers released the very good Ether Flow headphones to replace the original Ether, the design remained largely unchanged. Headphone Impedance And Sensitivity Explained, WAV vs. FLAC vs. MP3: Audio File Formats Explained, breaks down all the common headphone specs we’ve just mentioned. But just because the Focal Clear headphones cost half as much as the Focal Utopia headphones, that certainly doesn’t make them cheap. End of discussion. You get a 4” cable with a 3.5mm plug for smartphone use, a 10” cable with the standard 6.3mm plug, and you even get a 10” balanced cable with a 4-point XLR connector. Sometimes, you just need to break the bank. It has a great sense of realism across multiple categories. One of the things that really set the Utopia apart from the competition was just how comfortable it was to wear for long periods. Want Even More Master Switch? Type: DynamicImpedance: 55ΩSensitivity: 104dBWhat We Like: Refined and classy sound, great build and accessories.What We Don't: Very similar to other Focal models, quite expensive.See the Focal Clear. In design terms, these headphones are functionally identical to the Elear. The Clear also offers a slightly wider frequency range, peaking at 28kHz to the Elear’s 23kHz. Focal clear comfort and fit At nearly a pound (15.8 ounces), the Clear is in the same weight class as the Elegia, but far heavier than most noise-cancelling headphones. Focal Clear has a tighter bass slam. The frequency tweaks are subtle enough to make for a very natural listening experience. The Clear is made in France and is intended to be used In a really good way. In our Focal Clear headphones review, we explain how the headphones … At The Master Switch, we spend an awful lot of time thinking about audio. But we've tested more headphones from Focal than just about any other company, and that's the way we feel. Not with quite as much volume, to be sure, but still solid. The Focal Clear headphones are aimed at offering some of what’s special about the $3,000 Focal Utopia headphones while combining it with the much more fun-sounding Focal Elear headphones, and they do that pretty well. Like its older brother, Clear uses a 40mm aluminium-magnesium m-shaped dome driver. ​The Clear comes with substantial accessories, and one of the better carry-cases we’ve encountered. It must be said: Focal definitely don’t skimp on the accessories. We put the Focal Clear headphones to the test to find out. Similar they may be, but there are definite differences. Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter! In this review, we break down the Clear’s sound, design, comfort and fit, packaging and accessories, specs and more. Purchased these headphones from Audio Advice via Amazon. Damn, we're old. Improves on the original formula of the Elear, while making just enough key differences in audio quality to matter. Both the Radiance and the Clear are lightweight, durable and among some of the comfiest headphones, you can buy. It changed the way we listen to music forever - and today, Apple is no longer the market leader. When comparing them to my Sony MDR-Z1R, they certainly sound a bit brighter, with less bass. Of course, the one question that's probably on a lot of minds is whether or not Focal's Utopia headphone is a definitive winner over the Clear. They’ve hung in there, easily competing with headphones twice their price. The Focal Clear is an exquisite-looking and brilliantly executed pair of headphones. Christian has always been fascinated with both music and technology. We got into a lot more detail about how these headphones differ to the Clear in the review above, but we can say that as the price continues to drop, they will continue to be one of the best pairs of headphones currently available. The Focal Clear headphones are unmistakably Focal. Review written by @Chrono Review unit provided on loan by headphones.com Introduction The Clear is an open-back dynamic headphone designed by Focal that retails for $1,499, and it utilizes Focal’s full-range speaker driver with an ‘M’-shape Aluminum/Magnesium dome. Essentially, these are the closed-back version of the Utopias. Sorry – we know that probably isn't very helpful advice. The packaging for the Clear is good, if unspectacular. How do headphones work? The Clear delivers refined and classy sound that stands with the best high-end headphones available. The Clear sounds closer to the Utopia than it does to the Elear. High mids are still more than present enough for those that like vocals to nicely cut through a mix. At 450 grams, or around 1 pound, the headphones aren’t necessarily light — but considering the padding and nice-feeling materials, we neve… While we did occasionally wish that the mids were just a touch warmer and more forward, the clarity these presented was unmatched in this particular price range. It’s a beauty to behold, although I can’t say I preferred the brighter look of Clear over the darker Elear, they’re both stunningly modern designs. Of all the hundreds of headphone models available today, these are the best. Comparing these to the Elear, the audio specs don’t show a huge amount of difference. We think they achieved that goal, but if you disagree, here are some viable alternatives. In fact, it has a few pairs of headphones that cost around half that — like the Focal Clear open-back headphones. if it doesn’t involve any of the following, you probably don’t need to worry about it. And you can, of course, go for the Focal Elear. As you might expect, Focal has hit a home run with the Focal Clear headphones. When you take the headphones out of the box, you’ll immediately be dazzled with the metallic look and great feel. They look absolutely stunning! Other high-end models, like the AUDEZE LCD-4, can be difficult to wear after a couple of hours, on account of the fact that eventually the muscles in your neck stop being able to hold them up. In the box, apart from the beautifully-designed headphones themselves, you’ll also get a nice hard case and very strong and premium cables. Like the Elear, the drivers are 40mm aluminum-magnesium, and are designed in an M shape. Overall, the Focal Clear Professional is a great option for a myriad of folks looking for headphones in this range. Sometimes, you need to take a step back, look at how you’re listening to music, and improve it. The Focal Clear headphones are a benchmark design that is one of the top performing headsets I’ve experienced. Across the entire spectrum, things feel refined and clear – more so than in their predecessor, which was already pretty good. Obviously, having decent amplification always helped, but even when we listened to them off  simple smartphone, they performed well. The headphones feature a nice fabric covering for the headband and ear cups, ensuring that the headphones remain comfortable. While the Stellia’s 40mm Beryllium dome drive unit is heavily based on that used by the older model, the closed design means that Focal’s engineers have had to rework it considerably. What they had to prove to us was that they represented enough of a leap forward to justify the extra five hundred bucks. The subject of this review, however, is the “ Focal Clear ” ($1,499) - an open-backed/open-acoustic, circumaural, dynamic-driver headphone, and the third model to enter Focal’s range. Priced at $1499, the Clear is intended to be the best option Focal offers for under $1500. So don’t read too much into it: this is still an exceptionally well-designed pair of headphones. When we first wrote this review, his lineup consisted of exclusively closed-back models, but that's changed. Utopia sits at the top of Focal’s new line and will carry an MSRP of $4,000. Before you ask, no, they’re not quite on the same level as the Focal Utopia headphones — but they come pretty close, and at half the price. They are just different. We tested these on a variety of amplifiers, ranging from a $99 Schiit Fulla (full review here) to a $10,000 Goldmund Telos 2, and they always performed at the top of their game. There are changes to the surround and motor system aiming to optimise dynamics and detail reso… If anything, there’s an embarrassment of riches here. While it is a little frustrating, it must be said that we don’t consider these points to detract from the overall package all that much. And if you take away one thing from this, it's that Focal put out a huge range of headphones, and the one you go for is very much dependent on the size of your wallet, and the way you like your music. The realism and space is just unreal. He graduated college with a Bachelor of Science in Music Technology, and has been producing music, writing about tech, and trying out new headphones ever since. It took me a few seconds to adjust. Compared to models like the aforementioned Elear and the Sennheiser HD800s, these more than hold their own. Their open design makes them a poor choice for any other use cases as they don’t block any ambient noise and don't have a microphone or wireless technology. The Sennheiser HD800 is really the classic option here. It has an identical weight to the Elear (just under a pound), and the clamping pressure feels perfectly engineered – something to do, no doubt, with those spring-loaded hinges. The Focal Clear headphones, as mentioned, are built with plenty of padding and quality leather, and as such they’re pretty comfortable for long periods of listening. Coupled with the fact that these headphones feature a nice fabric covering, braided nylon cables, and so on, and you have a pair of headphones that not only looks great, but is clearly nice and strong too. More importantly, we spend an awful lot of time thinking about how to improve it. The former costs $899 – significantly less than the Clear – and is marketed as an alternative to the sub-$1,000 open-back Elear headphones. SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless vs. Astro A50: Which gaming headset reigns supreme? The Clear’s design is too similar to the Elear - the basic housing is virtually unchanged. The Focal Clear headphones, as mentioned, are built with plenty of padding and quality leather, and as such they’re pretty comfortable for long periods of listening. Are they worth the cash? It's a superior product for the discerning music lover who demands the … The headphones are largely built from metal, and that makes for a very premium look. A simple DAC upgrade can do wonders for your audio playback, as for example, a 4K-capable TV might change your movie viewing experience. It's a little difficult to say that either of these new models are better or worse than the Clear. Honestly? OPEN CIRCUMAURAL HIGH-FIDELITY HEADPHONES. They don’t just look sort of the same; outside of a different colour scheme, they look exactly the same. You get not one but three different detachable cables, all of which a sheath in a vaguely chequerboard black-and-white pattern, and all of which come with solid metal connectors. As with all Focal products, it feels well built and substantial, but we just can’t help thinking that the design is perhaps a little bit lazy. Bass response on the headphones is tight and precise, and not by any means over the top. There are three cables in the box, including a one-meter cable with a 1/8-inch connector, a three-meter cable with a 1/4-inch connector, and a three-meter cable with an XLR connector. While we did occasionally wish that the mids were just a touch warmer and more forward, the clarity these presented was unmatched in this particular price range. 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