The Focal brand could have been established through development great speakers, but its reputation has clearly been enhanced since headphones have been added to the repertoire in 2012.
Since then, it has produced a string of top of the range contenders that may stand toe-to-toe with the most efficient from the established pageant. Its newest pair is the Clear Mg, high-end, open-backed models that goal to set the standard and be one of the best over-ear headphones at their price. So, are they?
Straight away, these headphones galvanize. They are available luxurious packaging that screams quality and feels every bit the high-priced item. They are impressively trendy, despite the fact that some folks may prefer a extra low-key look.
Focal Clear Mg tech specifications
Type Circum-aural open-back headphones
Driver 40mm ‘M’-shaped magnesium dome
Impedance 55 ohms
Frequency response 5Hz – 28kHz
Cables 1.2m cable with 6.35mm adapter, 3m 4-pin XLR cable
Even so, there’s no denying the high same old of construct and finish. The high quality of the materials is very good, from the leather-based used on the thick, cushioned headscarf to the microfibre cloth on the cosseting earpads. We love the intricate hexagonal steel detailing at the open-backed earcups, not to mention the durable feel of the total construction.
At the center of the Clear Mg is a brand new full-range 40mm magnesium-coned force unit. Magnesium has been chosen for its mix of lightness and stiffness, whilst the use of a sparsely selected encompass helps to keep an eye on damping and resonant behaviour.
You’ll find a difficult carrying case together with a collection of two detachable leads in the plush packaging. There is a 1.2m option with a three.5mm jack (and 6.3mm adaptor equipped), as well as a 3m, 4-pin XLR selection.
While the inclusion of the balanced XLR lead is commendable, we wish the company had also added an extended lead with the three.5mm connector within the field. Many another way suitable headphone amplifiers don’t have a balanced output – our reference Chord Hugo TT2 is a great instance – and from time to time it’s just no longer that handy to take a seat with regards to the machine. It’s conceivable to shop for an extended lead from Focal however that can cost £129 ($190) extra. It's a horny hefty sum for something that are meant to be integrated within the box. At least the cables are of a revised design that transmits less movement noise than before.
In use, the Clear Mg are at ease. They are effectively shaped and inward pressure is company however well-judged. They weigh around 450g, which is par for the direction, but the vast, cushioned scarf and well-designed earpads arrange to unfold that weight well.
A phrase of warning, even though: these Focals are open-backed, meaning they leak moderately numerous sound. If you sit down in the same room as others, they will listen what you’re enjoying. Equally, your listening experience may well be disturbed by any noise folks make – something to bear in mind if you happen to’re making plans on taking those headphones out and about.
An open design is not all unhealthy information, after all. In our enjoy, such an association has a tendency to result in higher transparency and dynamic expression due to the loss of an enclosure and all its innate resonances and undesirable saved power.
Any headphones at this point are likely to be extremely revealing performers, so don’t let the inclusion of a 3.5mm jack and reasonably quick lead tempt you into using your telephone as the primary source. While the Clear Mg have a quite gentle impedance of Fifty five ohms and generous 104dB/W/m sensitivity, this means that they're going to produce first rate quantity ranges in maximum set-ups, you in reality want high quality electronics to justify their expense.
We use our reference Naim ND555/555PS DR track streamer as our main source however have a Technics SL-1000R turntable and Apple MacBook Pro serving as able back-ups. For the amplification, we use Burmester’s 088 pre-amp (equipped with dedicated headphone output) and Chord’s mighty Hugo TT2 desktop DAC. We even have Chord’s Poly/Mojo track player available to look how the Focals perform with a fine quality, portable supply.
The answer turns out to be very well indeed. The Poly/Mojo pairing is detailed and exciting and these Focals make that clear. Initial listening presentations up a quite onerous and sharp edge in the lower treble area, however this eases off in use to go away an etched however informative sound. Still, it’s very best to steer clear of ahead or competitive electronics.
We pay attention to Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 set and enjoy the readability on offer. These headphones definitely are living as much as their name via turning in a elegant yet explicit sound that makes it easy to practice low-level instrumental strands within the busy production. There’s a variety of punch on offer and lows are rendered with grip and texture.
Rhythms are delivered in a surefooted and controlled approach reasonably than with overt exuberance, however there’s still enough in the way of drive to stay us entertained. The total presentation retains an easy-going allure that makes longer listening classes a breeze.
The Focal’s transparency is highlighted through the sizable elevate in efficiency after we transfer to our reference Naim streamer/Burmester amplifier combo. Here, we’re conscious about a better sense of keep an eye on and dynamic expression. There’s clearly even more knowledge and we’re pleased with the way in which the Focals arrange it with keep an eye on and composure.
Tonally, they are full-bodied in a manner that eludes maximum rivals, and this presentation leads to instruments and voices coming through in a more herbal and tasty means. The general stability is just a little on the fuller, rounded side, but not such a lot that it impacts the Focal’s skill to persuade.
We move to a few large-scale classical song within the type of Mahler’s Symphony No.2 ‘Resurrection' and are happy with the Focal’s cast and powerful rendition. It’s uncommon that headphones can keep up a correspondence sonic authority so properly.
Stereo placement is precise and solid, though nonetheless much more in the head than an ordinary set of audio system. The open-backed design provides the Clear Mg an openness and sense of space that each closed-back alternative we’ve tried has clearly lacked.
We benefit from the headphones' skill to keep in touch the orchestra's power and the way in which dynamics construct to a crescendo with out sounding restrained. There’s little obvious sense of the headphones struggling when the music turns into challenging and that speaks extremely in their talent to remain poised underneath force.
Focal has carried out a great process with the Clear Mg. They’re proficient performers that stay comfortable over extended listening periods. Add superb build and finish into the equation and we expect they're right up there with the best on the worth. Highly recommended.
- Sound 5
- Comfort 5
- Build 5
Read our guide to the best over-ear headphones
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