Once I consider Focal, I consider financially unattainable audio merchandise that I might love to have on my ears. With the Focal Listen Wireless, nevertheless, the corporate brings hi-fi audio to shopper cabinets. These cans weigh in at 300g, and have bigger than life ear cups with fabulous sound copy to match. In the event you’re cautious concerning the notion of “high end” Bluetooth; our very personal Chris Thomas in all probability is, too. That stated, these are aptX-compatible and supply impeccable passive noise isolation for an uninterrupted listening expertise.
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Who’re the Focal Listen Wireless for?
- Vegans. Focal has opted for leatherette ear pads. Although leatherette might connote cheapness, this isn’t the case with the Listen Wireless. Each cushions are 22mm thick and are warmth delicate, which means they gained’t make your ears as sweaty as leather-based fashions do.
- Those that want good noise isolation however don’t like lively noise-cancelling headphones. Regardless of their measurement, these aren’t outfitted with ANC know-how, however they handle to successfully filter out environmental brouhaha.
Read Why we believe Great Music Should Come With the Ultimate Earphones.
Focal features a Three.5mm cable that terminates at a 45-degree angle, a micro-USB charging cable, a neoprene carrying case, and the Focal Listen Wireless headphones—which can be found in 4 colours: black, olive, blue, and purple. This will likely err on the aspect of overly important, however for headphones retailing at only one Washington shy of $300, it might have been good to see a hardshell or hybrid case, as an alternative of a squishy neoprene one.
How are Focal Listen Wireless constructed?
If these have been a personality within the Mario world, they’d be Wario. They’re stocky, sturdy, and doubtless wouldn’t be my first selection based mostly on seems alone. From the ear cups, to the ear pads, and even the scarf, every thing concerning the Focal Listen Wireless is chunky. However don’t let the majority idiot you: these really feel a lot lighter than they appear. Plus, the scarf structure is designed to evenly distribute weight, decreasing fatigue.
“Listen beyond” is embossed in all-caps font onto the scarf exterior and is given a shiny end to complement the encompassing matte plastic. Flip the headphones over and also you’ll discover an air-filled silicone rail stretching throughout the scarf inside. This promotes a cushty match that grips the top, with out using hair-shredding metallic elements.
Customary with plastic hinges, the ear cups fold up for transport. Although, you want to pack with warning. The fabric selection is confidence inspiring, however the paint job isn’t. After simply two days of use, the paint began to scratch off from being tossed in my bag. If you need to hold these wanting recent, you’re greatest guess is to use the case—even when it means an additional step when packing or unpacking the headphones.
Every ear cup permits for vertical and horizontal adjustment. Getting the match right here is paramount to good sound. Although not perfect for optimum sound high quality, the Focal Listen Wireless are supremely snug with or with out glasses. And the heat-sensitive ear cups? They assist hold ears cool however don’t anticipate any miracles. For those who reside in a spot like Florida or Louisiana, your ears will nonetheless be sweating.
Poorly positioned playback controls, nice dual-mic system
The playback controls are a little bit of a thriller. Because the buttons are giant, you’d assume that they’d be straightforward to press. I suppose that’s true; besides each time I press both of the quantity toggles, I inadvertently hit the rewind button. To keep away from this, I’ve to consciously assume, “Okay, move your index finger to the outer edge of the ear cup so you don’t replay the last song.”
The controls are efficient; nevertheless, future iterations might profit from consolidated and extra ergonomically positioned controls.
Then again, the omni-directional dual-mic system is implausible. Clear Voice Seize works in tandem with the mics to produce a transparent voice with wonderful ambient noise attenuation. Sadly, there’s one quirk. Each 10 seconds or so, static suggestions is relayed by way of the microphone. It was salient sufficient that most individuals who I examined the mic with requested concerning the static.
“Why should I care about mylar titanium drivers?”
For one, “mylar titanium” simply sounds cool and like one thing that Captain America’s defend would be manufactured from. Apart from that, mylar titanium is a wonderfully light-weight and resilient mixture. Let’s break it down by element: Mylar is derived from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and is a skinny, heat-resistant polyester movie or plastic sheet. It was utilized in NASA’s Venture Echo again in 1960, and continues to be used for area blankets.
Now, titanium is one thing that we’re extra acquainted with. It has the very best strength-to-weight ratio of any component. By reinforcing the mylar with titanium, Focal has created drivers which are constructed to endure. Not solely that, however they effectively reproduce sound with minimal distortion due to the light-weight nature of the mixture.
Focal’s specs for the Listen Wireless state that they afford 20 hours of playback and require three hours for a full cost cycle. Throughout testing with quantity set to 50 %, the battery offered slightly below 21 hours of playback. In case you’re OK with an estimated battery degree readout, that is communicated by way of an icon within the notification bar of your smartphone. Whereas these don’t function any quick-charge capabilities, they do present 240 hours—or 10 days—of standby.
Value noting: the headphones are allowed an prolonged connectivity vary of 15 meters, fairly than the standard 10-meter vary. This labored fairly nicely, even via a couple of layers of partitions. The place the connectivity struggles—as many Bluetooth headphones do—is outdoor. In these situations, connectivity is interrupted about each 5 minutes. Nevertheless, there was by no means an entire drop in connection.
There are a number of methods to join the Focal Listen Wireless to your telephone:
- NFC. That is the simplest means to join as long as your supply gadget is NFC-compatible. With a single faucet of a telephone to the suitable ear cup, you’re prepared to rumble.
- Bluetooth. That is the obvious approach of connecting. Swipe and faucet your means into your telephone’s Bluetooth menu, put the headphones in pairing mode, and choose the Focal Listen Wireless. Because the headphones function by way of Bluetooth four.1, it’s a direct course of.
- You possibly can all the time kick it old-fashioned through the use of the included Three.5mm cable, too. The Focal design staff outfitted the cable with a twist-to-lock mechanism, which is almost equivalent to the one discovered on the Sennheiser 598 CS and Momentum. When utilizing the cable, although, you lose fall perform of playback and quantity controls.
“I hate audio-visual lag. Is latency an issue with these?”
Under no circumstances. Thanks to aptX compatibility (and AAC), the headphones can stream video sans audio-visual hiccups. That stated, your supply system additionally wants to be aptX-compatible. If not, you should still expertise lag because the headphones will fall again to the elementary SBC codec.
How do Focal Listen Wireless sound?
Wonderful for the worth. Not a single facet of the sound signature is exaggerated to the purpose of grotesque copy, however the low-end receives a slight bump and, every so often, you’ll hear disagreeable treble spikes. When you regularly pay attention to classical or people music, you might discover the treble copy to be too emphasised.
The copy of Three-D area is troublesome to grasp, however the Focal Listen Wireless do a advantageous job when it comes to imaging. The trumpets in Really feel It Nonetheless by frustratingly-punctuated band Portugal. The Man are straightforward to separate from the guitar solo that travels up from the 12th fret of the high-E string to the 11th fret of the D string. Not solely that, however the electrical bass—a continuing all through a majority of the music—can be effortlessly separated from the hi-hats and drum kicks.
To interrupt the specs down, the 40mm electrodynamic mylar titanium drivers reproduce a frequency vary of 15Hz – 22kHz. In the event you’re questioning, sure, this extends past that of the human ear, they usually get awfully loud with a most output of 122dB SPL. Warning: Extended publicity to this might undoubtedly injury your listening to, so we advise towards maxing it out.
The low-end is clearly reproduced and articulated; that is straightforward to hear within the intro of Denim Jacket by Maroon 5. The gorgeous resonance of the bass drum is emphasised simply sufficient to stand out from the background instrumentals with out masking Adam Levine’s tenor or the regular beat of snaps all through the track.
Higher referred to as Lorde, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor’s vocals are ahead with minimal masking from the bass in The Lourve. Although vocal fry is a polarizing phenomenon, there’s little question that the Focal Listen Wireless are in a position to adroitly navigate midrange frequencies, as a result of each little bit of rasp can be heard within the copy of Lorde’s voice. That is most obvious within the reiterated lyrics, “half of my wardrobe is on your bedroom floor.”
Although the emphasised treble can be grating, it really works to the good thing about Acutely aware Membership by Vulfpeck. Within the outro, the copy of the piano’s Fm and G# chords are notably pronounced which is sweet as a result of with different headphones, just like the RHA MA750 Wireless, the highs in Acutely aware Membership are almost imperceptible. Moreover, the D7/F# and Dm7/G guitar chords within the outro are simpler to hear as a constructive consequence of the treble emphasis.
No sound leakage right here
That’s proper, identical to Pandora’s field—nicely, earlier than it was opened—nothing is available in or out. Rotating the rotund ear cups permits for anybody to obtain a correct seal, leading to a grade-A job at filtering out environmental noise. Issues like low buzzing air conditioners and followers are straightforward to passively drown out, however greater frequencies—like the feminine voice, which usually ranges from 1.6kHz – 2.5kHz—are more durable to mitigate.
Do you have to purchase them?
When you’ve got the finances and demand at the very least CD-quality audio copy, sure. Focal is a model that many people audiophiles and lovers have grown to love and belief with good cause. The corporate is aware of how to produce top quality merchandise, albeit at a really excessive worth level. Whether or not it’s for comfort or as a result of your telephone producer thought it en Vogue to take away the headphone jack, the Focal Listen Wireless are an outstanding set of Bluetooth cans that may get painfully loud.
Although there are a selection of causes that you simply’d be excited about these, they need to attraction to you for those who want top-end passive noise isolation. Placing these on seems like getting into the Cone of Silence from Get Sensible. Your surroundings fades into the background, which means that you simply get to take pleasure in your music unimpeded. Positive, treble emphasis can be jarring at occasions, however it’s a small worth to pay for such impeccable isolation.