The Focal Clear is, as the name would suggest, clear. With excellent tonal balance, and plenty of detail to boot, Focal have made one incredible headphone.
Aesthetics, Build Quality and Accessories:
The Clear sport a grey and silver colour scheme, which makes them stand out against the mainly black headphones around. They look great in person with the perforated pads and mesh look, they are refined and sophisticated.
The build quality is superb, they are mainly made out of metal with perforated microfibre pads and a mix of leather and microfibre headband. The yokes are aluminium and they just feel extremely well put together when you have them in your hands. They use a recessed 3.5mm detachable cable which means swapping out cables is nice and easy. Overall the Clear are very well put together and I cannot find any weak spots on them.
Accessory wise the Clear comes with a brilliant array of extras. Firstly, they come with a lovely hard case, with heavy duty zip and a leather handle. This case is the perfect size for travel, with room for the headphones and cable.
The Clear are a well built, medium weight headphone. This mean that padding is a must, I find the earpads to be deep and plush and they fit excellently around the ear. But my one minor complaint is the headband padding is a little thin, and this creates a hot spot on the top of my head. But every one has a different shaped head so this will only be an issue for a select few people.
Bass: The bass on the Clear is well controlled and only comes out when called for, it is quite impressive how the lows can really morph to the recording. If there is a subtle sub-bass line, you will hear it, if the mix has complex bass lines the Clear will allow you to pick them apart and hear every detail. They are not boosted down low, this means some may find them lacking a little body, but they make up for that by being well balanced and controlled.
Midrange: Like the rest of the sound, the midrange is open and detailed, expertly handling anything you throw at them. Here you can easily distinguish between different vocal tracks, guitars have the right amount of crunch and body. These really don’t try and flatter you by altering the sound, they try and allow you to enjoy your music through a clear window instead.
Treble: The treble isn’t boosted to give you a false sense of clarity, but it is well aligned with the rest of the sound. It is crystal clear, but never fatiguing, they will show up poor recordings but feed them something well recorded and you’ll be astonished by the level of detail these have.
The Clear do not have the widest of soundstages, but where they make up for it is in the separation and layering. Yes, they won’t give you a concert hall like soundstage, but they will accurately place the instruments and let you easily pick apart the recording.
The Clear have become one of my recent favourites, purely because they offer such a clear and precise sound without fatigue. They allow you to hear all the finer detail in your music, yet at the same time they are easy to listen to and enjoy, exactly what I personally enjoy in a headphone.