Two in the Strike Zone: Focal Spirit Professional and Spirit Classic Page 2

Focal_SpiritProClassic_Photo_InBox

Sound Quality
Neutral is a word we love to throw around...but none of us really know what it means with regard to headphones. Thing is, the moment you hear it—or something quite close to it—you know it. The Focal Spirit Professional is simply one of, if not the most, "neutral" sounding headphones I've ever heard. It's not just me either, check out this thread on Head-Fi, or this one on GearSlutz.com (a pro audio gear forum). Most listeners have the same reaction: "O.M.G! These headphones are sooooo neutral!" Thing is, I've also got the Focal Spirit Classic and the NAD VISO HP50 sitting here on my bench and they too sound quite "neutral"...though a bit different.

I'll describe my subjective experiences in a minute, but I think a nice visual would be helpful. Here's a plot of the compensated frequency response for the Focal Spirit Professional, Spirit Classic, and NAD VISO HP50. Plots are aligned at 350Hz.

Focal_SpiritProClassic_Graph_Compare

The first thing to notice is that all three of these headphones have very similar responses. The NADs have their peak at 8kHz vs. the Focals at 10kHz; I think I could hear this with pink noise, but didn't really notice it with music. The area that I could hear clear tonal differences with music is the region between 400Hz and 2.5kHz—the upper-mid-range/low-treble.

The response of the Spirit Classic through this region is basically a straight line with a downward tilt. I heard the Classic as somewhat relaxed and laid-back sounding relative to the other two headphones—"veiled" would be too strong a word, but it's along those lines. The NAD VISO HP50 sounded very slightly sharp or sparkly relative to the other two. The Spirit Professional seemed to do a very good job straddling the line, but in the end I think it's just a tad too forward sounding. I'll remind the reader that all three of these headphones are quite similar sounding and I'm splitting hairs here, but if I had to characterize the differences between the three I'd say: Spirit Classic=Relaxed; Spirit Professional=Neutral; and NAD VISO HP50=Fun.

One area the Focal headphones seem clearly a notch ahead of the HP50 is in terms of their dynamics—the Focal headphones can PUNCH! It's not quite as obvious on the Classic due to it's slightly laid back character, but both these headphones have excellent dynamics. On the other hand, I found the HP50 had slightly better treble resolution than the Focal cans. Cymbals and brushes on drum skin seems slightly clearer and more organic with the HP50, and the top end seems just a tad more open.

Now that I've thoroughly confused you with all this hair splitting I'll take a step back and talk about their neutrality again. A few days ago in this post about the continuing efforts by Sean Olive and researchers at Harman, I posted this graphic showing the still-under-development target response curve vs. the uncompensated responses of the Focal Spirit Professional and NAD VISO HP50.

In the image above the green dashed line is the frequency response at the ear-drum for an absolutely flat speaker response in a room. The black line is the response "preferred" by listeners showing a broad attenuation of the highs and a bass boost. Both the attenuation of the highs and bass boost are, in part, a natural result of placing flat speakers in a room. Harman researchers chose the bass boost filter to start increasing at around 200Hz as that's the typical transition frequency between modal and reverberant responses of a room, and they felt having the bass turn on at higher frequencies tended to muddy the lower-mid-range too much. You'll notice both the Spirit Professional and HP50 have the bass boost start rolling on at about 400Hz. When listening to low male vocals I do think I heard a bit of excess bloom, but just a bit. So, it's possible that all these cans are slightly accentuated in the 200Hz to 400Hz area.

Also, neither headphone does a great job of following the target curve between 3kHz and 10kHz, though the HP50 does a bit better job. In large measure this is a problematic area for headphone measurements where pinna and ear canal resonances come into play and it's very difficult to know exactly what's going on. I will say though that I experience the HP50 as sounding a bit more "open" and it might be due to the somewhat more elevated response in this region.

Hm...I'm still not sure I'm getting the right ideas across to you, let me try this...

The Focal Spirit Professional was designed as a studio monitor headphone for audio pros. My sense is that it is an exceptionally good headphone in that application. Their excellent tonal balance should allow you to EQ with confidence; their very slightly forward nature will prevent you from punching up the presence region (800Hz-2kHz) unnecessarily. The spectacular resolution of the Sennheiser HD 800 would be the better tool for pros looking for an audio microscope to identifying tiny tweets and chirps in the editing process, but frankly I think the Focal Spirit Professional has far better tonal balance and will be preferable in most studio applications.

The Focal Spirit Classic is a great headphone for relaxed listening. The Spirit Professional is not a forgiving headphone, and may be perceived as a bit fatiguing over time. Many audiophile listeners will prefer the relaxed and impeccably even response of the Spirit Classic.

The NAD VISO HP50 remains an excellent choice. While not quite as even and dynamic as the Focal headphones, the HP50 has slightly better resolution and may be a good choice for audio pros who would trade off a small bit of neutrality (the HP50 sounds just a bit uneven) for a bit better resolution. If you have large ears the HP50 will likely fit you better. I feel the better connectors on the cable and slightly fun EQ (which will make bass and treble a bit more audible in loud environments) of the HP50 make it the preferable can for mobile uses.

Summary
The Focal Spirit Professional is an absolutely brilliant headphone for the audio professional. Excellent neutrality make this a trust-worthy headphone for EQing your mix, and it's excellent dynamics and slightly forward sound will keep you from trying to punch up your tracks excessively. Good isolation and lack of sound bleeding out make these a good headphone for studio musicians as well. The finish on these appears to have excellent durability. Four meter coiled cable will allow you mobility in the studio without cable under foot. These are going up on the "Wall of Fame" as the best audio pro cans I've experienced.

The Focal Spirit Classic provides a truly excellent listening experience for the audiophile. This is a neutral headphone with a very slightly laid-back sound stemming from a very slightly withdrawn presence region (800Hz-3kHz), but the overall impression listening to the Classics is of the music being one cohesive whole—these are an extremely even and coherent sounding headphone. Delivering eye-blinking impact when called for, the dynamics of the Classic is superb. Treble resolution is very good and untarnished by any harshness, but like most closed headphones they do leave a bit to be desired in terms of an open and spacious sound. These are going up on the "Wall of Fame" as an excellent sealed headphone for home and office.

The only cautionary notes I have for these headphones is the somewhat small ear-cup and tight squeeze imposed on your head, both these issues lessen as the headphone breaks in a bit with use but folks with large ears and noggin are advised to try the Focals on for fit before purchase. The NAD VISO HP50 may be a better choice. Also the plug on the end of the short cable with remote is rather large and may be difficult to fit in through protective cases on portable devices.

Video

Resources
Focal home page and Classic and Professional product pages.
Head-Fi Threads here, here, and here.
Gearslutz forum (for audio pros) threads here, and here for general pro headphone recommendations—the Focal Pros are starting to get mentioned a lot!

COMPANY INFO
Focal's US Distributor: Audio Plus Services
156 Lawrence Paquette Industrial Drive
Champlain, NY 12919
For support: mrousseau@audioplusservices.com
800.663.9352
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
Leo's picture

Hi Tyll, excellent write up as usual. I really look forward to your reviews. Well. I'm looking for a new pair of headphones and was wondering how these compare to the Sennheiser HD600s. I have a Ray Samuels Audio SR71A headphone amp fed from my iPod Classic line out. For this kind of setup, which headphone would you recommend? Thanks.

Long time listener's picture

Tyll, let me first say I'm an avid reader of InnerFidelity and that this is an invaluable resource. This site has given me a lot of great information and knowledge.

Secondly, let me say that you're all over the place when it comes to defining what frequencies constitute bass, midrange, and treble, and that (as a decades-long reader of Stereophile and their measurements) you also define them very differently than Stereophile does.

My understanding is that the "presence region" is a narrow band, in the very upper midrange and lower treble, where the ear is most sensitive, defined by Stereophile as about 2-5 Khz. You define it here as 800 - 2000 Hz, then in a later paragraph as 800 - 3000 Hz. That includes virtually all the midrange, which to my understanding is not at all what is intended by the term "presence region." (The notch seen in virtually all headphones between 2 - 6 Khz, to avoid sounding too aggressive, reflects the ears' sensitivity in the presence region.)

In a much earlier review of Sol Republic headphones, you referred to a deep notch at 400 Hz as "Right smack dab in the middle of the mid-range..." Sorry, 400 Hz is upper-bass, lower-midrange. 1000 Hz, a little over an octave higher, would be closer to "right smack in the middle." You also noted in the same review "a rise in distortion which coincides with the mid-range notch ... though I heard it as lower in frequency." You heard it as lower in frequency because it is lower in frequency. You ears were right; your definition of the frequency location wrong.

Your ears are great; your measurements are great. But from my perspective there seems to be some distance between the two at times. Cheers, LTL

 

ms142's picture

Re: Long time listener... I'm not sure your note about midrange is quite right. Remember the violin tunes at 440Hz, and the middle C is 256Hz. Thus it'd be fair to say that the upper bass starts at below 256.

AustinValentine's picture

I could be wrong, but I've always gotten the impression that Tyll is uses definitions of bass/mid/treble that are more or less in line with this Interactive Frequency Chart:

http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display...

Sub-Bass: 10-60Hz; Bass: 60-250Hz; Midrange: 250-2kHz; Treble: 2kHz to 20kHz (with Upper Mids from 2-6kHz). 

It's been my understanding for a while that Stereophile's definitions for these ranges deviate pretty far from both general industry standards and practices. The definitions in their glossary are pretty far out from the norm.

Willakan's picture

The current way that Mr Hertsens refers to sections of the spectrum seems perfectly consistent and reasonable to me. One Head-Fi guide declares that sibilance can be caused by irregularities in any region from 6 to 16 (!) kHz: a bit of precision and consistency with pre-existing definitions is a welcome contrast!

Long time listener's picture

This does make sense, and is pretty close to my thinking:

Sub-Bass: 10-60Hz; Bass: 60-250Hz; Midrange: 250-2kHz; Treble: 2kHz to 20kHz (with Upper Mids from 2-6kHz).

Except that it includes the 2-6kHz range in both the treble and the midrange, which doesn't make sense.

Anyway, by the above definitions, 450 or 500 Hz is not "smack in the middle of the midrange," but is lower midrange, as I said, with 1 Kz a good octave above. And 1 Kz would be roughly the "middle" of the midrange (depending on where you think its upper limit is), also as I pointed out. I still think Tyll is pretty inconsistent, and also needs to figure out what is meant by the presence region.

PierPaoloG's picture

Hi Tyll,

It's strange that you do not take in consideration this HP. In my opinion (and I am not alone, here) it is one of the best closed HP in the field, also compared to the Focals and the NAD.

Any opinion?

Thankssmiley

PP

Tyll Hertsens's picture

...I've contacted Sony to get a pair in for review. I continue to hope as I've also seen a LOT of good comments about the 7520.

John Grandberg's picture

...is that it didn't show up in Sony's USA catalog until very recently. I spoke to their PR people as recently as December, and they had no idea it even existed. Sending them links to the Sony UK or Sony Japan websites is no help - PR firms tend to be engaged on a regional basis, so they aren't inclined to promote "foreign market" models.

Now, I see the 7520 on Sony's USA website, so perhaps it will be easier to get a pair.

Kierkes's picture

I hear stories about both the Spirit Pro's and the 7520's. It will be nice to hear from someone who's heard both.

Paul Williams's picture

Hi Tyll,

Great review and comforting to know you also rate the Focal Spirit Professional. - I bought mine about 3 weeks ago.

I also found the ear pads to be more on-ear than around the ear - but after 3 weeks of use they have become very comfortable and the close fit certainly seems to help the bass. (I still can't wear them with glasses though.)

I also had a better quality cable made-up (partly because I don't like coiled cables) and I felt it improved the sound considerably - clearer definition and cleaner at both bass and treble extremes. It would be interesting to see the effect cables have on the measurement graphs.

Thanks

Paul W

John Grandberg's picture

I have to chime in and say I completely agree with Tyll's assesment here. I covered the Spirit Pro and some other sealed models here, and the Focal was the best of the bunch as far as generally neutral headphones go. If they offered some pads which expanded the fit (similar to XL pads for VMODA M100) I'd be a happy guy. 

 

Can't wait to see what they come out with next. I'd pay good money for this same exact sound in a more upscale frame, with larger earpads. 

xander01's picture

Great review, Tyll.  I'm really impressed/glad to see that the Classic got such fair treatment following your measurements article - other reviewers would be too quick to let their personal preference or application creep in and declare one of the two an outright 'winner'.  Seems we've got a potential HD600vs650 type of tradeoff to debate for some time to come.  Two quick fit/ergo questions: 

Do you understand the internal makeup of the Classic's headband to be equivalent to what we see in the 'uncovered' Pro headband?  [And if so, does it seem like either one is conducive to bending inwards around the 11 & 1 o'clock positions, for improving the on-head looks you critiqued?]

Also, nice to hear about the plans for replacement ear pads - have you any indication from Focal on the potential price level for those sets?  With heavy usage, it makes a big difference in long-term TCO if we're talking about $30 (reasonable) vs the more ridiculous $80 (cost-prohibitive).

Thanks

mikeaj's picture

Now that I think about it, would you mind listing earpad dimensions (inner and outer) on every new review? Maybe you can chuck it in a table with weight and some other physical attributes like cable length. This is important info that is often a bit tricky to find.

ednaz's picture

As someone with the double-whammy of a large hat size head, and ears that match the size of the head, I've had a lot of headphones that I really liked that I could never get adjusted to where they were comfortable.  It's hard to try before buy these days because the big box stores carry mostly fashion-focused headphones, and the few remaining audio shops carry one or two headphones at best. And sometimes trying them in the store doesn't give you a good picture - I tried out the V-Moda LP2, thought it was a fun sound and after 20 minutes standing around in the store listening, bought them.  What I discovered a few days later was that somewhere around an hour or so, my ears start to hurt where they're pressing up against the insides of the pads.

I'd never heard of "presence" before reading this (and some follow up reading), but there's a similar concept in digital image processing.  If you use a "clarity" adjustment, it boosts contrast in the mid and upper mid areas of dynamic range while leaving alone the brightest and darkest areas. It makes for a photo that "pops" - it seems more real and 3D.  Similar to presence tweaking, if you adjust clarity too much, the image will get artificial and crunchy looking.  We're probably wired to be attuned to those mid ranges of sound and sight because that's where all the important survival information lives.

I wonder now if playing around with that presence range is what gives Ultrasone headphones their unique sound signature.

dAd's picture

Tyl:

Another great review and hits head on to what I hear with the Focal Pro and HP-50. While I grabbed the Sony 7520 first, I did take your RMAF advice and picked up the NAD HP-50s as well.  

I like the new perceived response graph from Dr. Olive and thanks for putting it on the site.  I do believe it is more close to what I would call a neutral perception from headphones.  I think the slightly faster and consistent rise of the Spirit Pro vs the HP-50 from about 300-1000 may give the impression of slightly more forward sound of the Pro.  I like both a lot.  

I particularly like your description of the treble of both the NAD and Focal. The Focal does not do anything wrong but the NAD just seems a bit more detailed in the upper region.  Conversely the Sony seems the more detailed in the lower treble.

And I amazed that the dimenionss on some of the best sounding cans in ages are so darn small.  I cannot be the only dumboesque oddity with 68 mm top to lobe ears.  I guess we are supposed to use the natural suppleness of the ear to get a bit taco like and fold them into the cups :)

Thanks for the measurements and impressions, they are very valuable.  Can't wait to see what the 7520 does.  It is may favorite of the bunch but like the NAD and Focals too.

northfaceseen's picture

How do the new sealed Shure's sound compared to the NAD's and Focal's?  I think the Shure's look very comfortable.

MGGWhite's picture

I tried the Shure 1540 and I returned them after 4 days. To me they sound bass enhanced and not that transparent. Boring sound. For sure I did not find the SQ impressive for the price. From the confort, and built quality, they are superb. It is unfortuante teh SQ was not what I expected.

If you buy the Shure be sure to get them from a place with good retyurn policy, just in case you feel about them like I did.

MGGWhite's picture

Great review. Thaks indeed. I am in serch of a portable can with great sound quality but not boosted bass and not rolled off highs. These appear to fit the bill. I have two quick questions:

  • These are low impedance headphones, but I read at other fourms that they are too power hungry to run out of an iPhone. Have you tried to drive these with an iPhone/iPod and how is the sound level, wuality of the presentation?
  • I have at home the Focal Scala Utopia speakers, very dynamic, clear and transparent sound that I love. Which model would you say sounds closer to a Focal Speaker?

Thanks again for your great review.

Stefraki's picture

I am coincidentally on the bus home from work, listening to the Spirit Classic from my Samsung Note2, and I can say they sound exceptionally good, and volume is no problem either. The same can be said of the Sansa Clip +.

Do they sound better from a good hifi or dedicated headphone amp? A little, yes, but that is more to do with the quality of the circuit than the power at hand. They still sound great, and can gwt too loud with no distortion, from a phone.

You will always find people out there saying that x, y, z headphones (that by all specifications should be fine with a phone) absolutely need a powerful amp, in 99% of cases it is gross exaggeration. 

xander01's picture

I was able to find a dealer with a Spirit Pro demo and took my Rockbox'd Clip+ along as I'm kind of in the hunt for exactly this type of studio+mobile headphone.  Maybe that particular mobile cable was a dud, but the TRRS to Clip+ jack connection was really poor & finicky - lots of problems.  No such problem with the coiled cable going into the same jack, but that cable is too big/heavy for mobile use.  I would assume the Pro & Classic mobile cables are identical.

Sound was incredible aside from the mobile cable issue, but I was a little disappointed in the build quality.  Semi-cheap feeling, a little 'creaky', and a weird thing going on in the headband joints between the three segments - they aren't solid and kind of 'open up' when you start to pull the cups apart.  Sort of an asterisk/footnote more than a serious complaint, but something to consider if somebody expects their application to really test that headband's durability.

Stefraki's picture

I have the Spirit Classic rather than Pro, but as you suggested, I assume they have the same TRRS cable - but mine works perfectly with the Sansa Clip + headphone socket.

Maybe they changed the TRS socket they use at some point in production?

The TRS socket on my Just Audio portable amp is another matter though - I need to pull the plug out just a little from the socket for it to work.

AustinValentine's picture

The plug works in my amp, phone, and macbook - but it wiggles considerably in the jack of my Clip Zip and won't play correctly unless it's pushed all the way in.

Best solution, IMO, is to replace the mic/remote cable with a V-Moda Audio Only Cable or a NuForce Transient Cable and call it a day. Both work great.

Byrnie's picture

I only found the 1540's bass to be a little accentuated. I use mine all the time and I love how neutral they sound.

northfaceseen's picture

and in my opinion they are extremely nice sounding.  Compared to my HD650's the mids sound more life like and the treble is more lively.  I do not find the bass all that intrusive into the mids and it seems quite balanced.  My only grip with the SRH1540's is the split headband seems to add 2 points of pressure on my head, and also I have to wear the headband fully extended to fit my ears.  For comparison sake my HD650's are on click 8 of 16 on each side, so I don't believe my head is abnormally large.

TKG's picture

Hi, as a relatively new reader thanks for the reviews.

A few questions. I am looking to upgrade to a decent headphone for home use, preferably over-ear with a neutral sound, definitely not bass-heavy or too harsh/aggressive.

The Focal Spirit are of interest, but more expensive than I was planning to spend, but I could perhaps be persuaded, epsecially as they are going for under Euro 200 at present.

I am currenlty using bargain basement Superlux 668bs plugged into a Fiio E10, listening to PC-based CD rips and streamed music (mainly from Youtube). Also have Shure SE102 IEMs. So would I gain much from a substantial upgrade to something in the Focal Spirit league? Any suggestions for other options?

Thanks for any suggestions

TKG

Tyll Hertsens's picture

You would gain quite a bit.  I'd suggest a look at the NAD VISO HP50 as well...it should be a bit cheaper.

TKG's picture

That was quick! Thanks.

I read the review of the NAD HP50.and they seem of interest, but more expensive (around Euro 300). The Focal Spirit Classic can be had for around Euro 220 currenlty, the Spirit Pro for Euro 200. Others in the same price range are Philips Fidelio X1, L1 (a bit cheaper) and Sennheiser Momentum (Euro 230). I note the AKG K550 is going for Euro 140.

phototristan's picture

Which do you like better? Focal Spirit Classic or NAD HP50 ? 

TKG's picture

A brief update. After much dithering I went for the Spirit Classic.

You weren't kidding about gaining quite a bit! Happy so far after a week of use. Was a little concerned about fit, but no problems there (I have a small/medium sized head), more or less overear and comfortable, even wearing glasses.

My first decent set of headphones so cannot make any meaningful comparisons, but against  the Superlux 668bs the sound is very impressive, great dynamics and punch and good detail resolution. Certain tracks sound fantastic and some are very different from listening on the 668bs. Even managed to finally complete Silver level of Philips Golden Ears challenge having  been stuck midway through, now started on Gold level.

Priidik's picture

Hi, i too could use some help. It seems from impressions/data that i want either Momnetums or Focal Spirit Pro/Classic's for portable use. 

Tyll, from your reviews both seem very good and it does not help me in making a decision. Only the Momentums have fallen off the wall..

I have heard neither, but eventually i will buy one for portable use. Price here seems to be the same too.. 

I can only try out Momentums before buy.

Haven't heared that many great phones to have a good field of reference, sadly.

I have owned/listened for a long time: HD800, ATH M50-s, AKG K701,Hifiman RE400 and RE262,TDK IE800, Ety RE6, long ago briefly tried HD600. 

I enjoy all the listed IEM-s, but couldn't see any reason to hold on to M50-s, whitch others in headphilia seem to enjoy. K701 is collecting dust as well.

I have HD800-s which i enjoy a lot, so am i on the right track when i think Spirit Pro is closer to HD800 than Momnetum is, tonal balance and soundstage wise?

Which will have better acoustical timbre? More natural bass reverb? Better imaging?Better micro-dynamics? 

Any suggestions appreciated.

Tyll Hertsens's picture

Personally, I like the NAD VISO HP50 better than the Focal Spirit Pro...but only by a small margin. The treble of the HP50 is a little more articulate. Also both the Focal and Senn Momentum are a bit small around the ears and fit can be troublesome, the HP50 is better in that regard.

I'm about to post a review of the Shure SRH1540 (today) and I find it a bit closer to the HD 800 sound than the ones mentioned so far.  It's a tad bright for me, but it has excellent resolution and folks who like things a little quicker than me will really like them, I think. I also find them outstanding for lower volume listening. Not good as a headset though as there's no remote/mic on the cable.

noah1i8's picture

For those who want the quick bottom line: MDR-7520 wins by a long shot (at least for me), for mixing and general listening applications.
And I'll apologize in advance for the long post, but hopefully some people find it useful.

So, multiple people have been asking for this comparison. I was one of them until today, when I finally got to make it myself!
I've been using the 7520's for over a year now. Mixing is my main use for them, and I use them a lot - hundreds of hours. They're great, but there's always room for improvement - the low end is a bit hyped, the high end a bit shy, there's something a bit odd in the upper mids, and they're a bit boxy overall.

I was hoping the focals might be a step up. Today I did a shootout between my 7520's, the Spirit Professionals, and the Audeze LCD-XC. Played CD's through an apogee mini-DAC, and files through my iPhone.

I would not be happy mix on the spirits. They had no low end and the upper mids and highs were hyped and fatiguing. I didn't find them accurate at all. Someone might find them useful as an ns10-type headphone reference, but I certainly would not use them as a main reference for a mix (as far as using headphones as your reference goes (but not all of us are always, or even usually, in a position to use a good set of monitors in a good room). The Sony's are way closer to the full range signature of real monitors. Also, I would definitely not listen to them for pleasure. On a more positive note, the size of the cans did not bother be. They didn't fully enclose my ears, but the bottom of the ear pads sat on my ear lobes, so they were just big enough.

The Audeze closed backs were the best I've heard, and improved upon each of the shortcomings I mentioned in the 7520. However, I was surprised at how close the 7520's actually were. I was expecting to put the Audeze's on and think, "WOW, this is another level!" but it was more like, "mhm, yes, these are nice." I guess there's only so much farther closed cans can go after a certain point - diminishing rate of returns and whatnot. DEFINITELY not worth an extra $1400.

Tyll - I see you've done measurements for the LCD-XC's, is there a reason why you haven't done a review? As you can obviously tell by now, I think they'd easily be on the wall of fame.

Mauro's picture

Dear Tyll and all,

Checking the full-size sealed wall of fame for a new headphone, my choice, for my small ears :), have come down to two headphones: Focal Spirit Professional and Sennheiser Momentum (unluckily I cannot find where to buy NAD Viso in my country). I have found both of them for less than 200 euros.

I was more keen to buy the Focals, but I have seen on the Focal product page a lot of complains about some cracks that after some time appear on the plastic.

To Tyll and those that had the chance to try both: is the difference in sound between Momentums and Focals so large? I would prefer to have a more durable product, but I am not sure if the two products are comparable and if the Sennheisers were removed from the Wall of fame selection mostly because of his earlier price and not for sound quality.

Cheers!
Mauro

Mauro's picture

I have found and bought the NAD Viso HP, I will post some comments in the next weeks.
Mauro

Kingcucho's picture

I was convinced because your review about them. So I brought a pair from USA, and here are they, my FOCALSpiritPro !!!!
The first test was, listening to music, and I found such as you described, impressively neutral.
About the confort, I found them a little uncomfortable due the size of earpads and really tight. But I was warned about that, so I forget it quickly about this issue.
Then I decided to measure the frequency response of the headphones and uuuhhh! ....
The frequency response of iquierda differ much from the right. From 300Hz down, the left channel lost, 1dB / octaba approximately. There is a noticeable difference. Is this normal in a professional headphones ?? !!

Daniel Rey
Electronics Technician, Mixing Engineer
Uruguay South America

ina's picture

Tyll, will you be reducing your recommendation to buy because of durability problems others have found with their headphones?

It's happening a lot more with the Professional than the Classic, but both use the same plastic headband. It apparently cracks badly after a few weeks or months of use.

impermanente's picture

Tyll I have to say you are 100% right, these headphones are great, I never heard anything like this as closed cans!
The problem is that I am at my third attempt to buy these cans, this is the second pair I return with the same problem! The left driver rattles at 200 Hz and below (more pronounced at low frequency), this is easy to spot with a sine wave tone at that frequency increasing the volume.
It seems that Focal did not learn the lessons from the Spirit one, after all the presentation and the explanations, they have some serious production problem if they keep doing this and in practice they don't do much to solve the problem.
I am waiting for the third pair (thanks to Amazon) and after that I think I give up on Focal.

What about your pair(s), any problems? Apparently I am in good company regarding this problem.

Jim Tavegia's picture

Mine came on Friday, September 4, and I now have about 25 hours on them. I like them, but they are a darker sounding headphone to me than either my AKGs: K701 or the 271mk2s, both of which I like. maybe they will need longer breakin. I like them, just not as much as I thought.

I do wish they came with a 3 meter straight cord and the coiled cord seems of high quality. It comes with an integrated short, straight cable with the mic switch, but would someone really use this $350 set of cans with their phone?

It may be that for me the quality of the cable might be the difference maker, but the molded plug end that goes into the left headphone can would have to be of a small overall diameter to fit in the hole. The Focal molded plug end is just under .250 inches in diameter. It would be nice if Cardas or AQ made an 1/8" mini stereo cable that fit.

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clash of clans hack

zxceqef12's picture

3ds emulatore
Questo è parte della nostra serie "State of" 2015, un'occhiata a come i cinque principali console (e PC) stanno facendo quest'anno.

nintendo 3ds emulatore

inomsd2's picture

clash of clans trucchi
"Heroes of Paragon" è stato rilasciato per Android e iOS all'inizio di questo mese. "La grafica è decisamente migliore rispetto a quelli che troviamo su scontro tra clan, che il gioco è dotato di unità di intenso vs strategia tattica in tempo reale unità, base vs rune base di combattimento, magiche, incantesimi e molto altro," ha riferito NeuroGadget.

clash of clans hack

navygator's picture

Hello
both have great review... which one is better ? :) what are the difference ?

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