I was unable to attend the launch, as I am currently on another continent, but these new reference cans from the French loudspeaker gurus look great.
Clear is Focal’s new circum-aural (over-ear) open-back headphone for audiophiles and represents a new evolution of Focal’s open-back, full-range speaker headphone family.
In 2016, Focal launched the Elear and Utopia headphones. I can attest to both being good at their job at their respective price point. These headphones feature a full-range, completely open-backed electrodynamics transducer.
One year later, Focal has revealed Clear. These new open-back headphones feature an enhanced speaker driver in addition to an upgraded open back design when compared to Elear.
The use of copper gives the voice coil an extremely strong magnetic field. The 55 Ohms of impedance means you can use Clear with portable high-resolution audio players.
The ‘M’–shape aluminium/magnesium dome is equipped with a copper voice coil. This was first seen on the Elear and Utopia headphones. This construction offers an ideal combination of lightness, rigidity and also dampening
Furthermore, the new generation of perforated microfiber ear cushions add to Clear’s open design.
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.
Additionally, the solid Aluminium yoke with its asymmetrical attachment points has been designed to improve the distribution of pressure. This is all thanks to its lack of traditional vertical rotating mechanics, as they have been integrated into the headband.
Moreover, a new production line specifically for Clear in Saint-Etienne (France) develops the light-weight components that live inside Clear. Each pair of headphones features an identical frequency response curve of +/-0.5dB.
The Clear comes bundled with three types of cables. The braided cotton sleeve and 24 AWG oxygen free copper cable offer low resistance, while the two 3.5mm mono jack sockets in the headphones themselves are lockable to secure the connection of the cables.
• A 4ft (1.2m) cable finished with a 3.5mm stereo jack plug
• A 10ft (3m) cable finished with a 6.35mm stereo jack plug
• A 10ft (3m) with a 4-point XLR connector
Finally, the other accessory supplied with Clear is its rigid carrying case.
Ben Jensen, president of Focal North America, enthused:
With Clear, we solidify Focal’s position as key innovators in the manufacturing of high-end headphones. Building off the research used to develop high-end headphones Elear and Utopia, Clear is poised to be the reference open-back headphones under $2,000. Clear completely envelopes the user in musical purity, as one of the best headphones on the market.”
Focal Clear specs at a glance
|Type||Circum-aural open-back headphones|
|Sensitivity||104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz|
|THD||0,25% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL|
|Loudspeaker||1.6-inches (40mm) Aluminum/Magnesium ‘M’-shape dome|
|Weight||0.99lb / 450g|
|Hard-shell carrying case provided||9.8-inchesx9.4-inchesx4.7-inches (250x240x120mm)|
Price and availability
You can get your own Clear right now for £1,399 /$1,499 USD / $1,899 CAD.
I am really interested in finding out how these compare to the now 3 years old, and slightly ‘cheaper’, Oppo PM-1. These have been my benchmark up until now.