Focal is know for their focus on pro audio and audiophile quality headphones. In fact audiophiles go out of their way to seek out the Focal brand name because of their impeccable reputation for headphones that have a clear, balanced yet warm sound. Headphones like the Focal Elear and Utopia have made an outstanding impression in the world of premium audiophile listening. Until now however the only in-ear headphone that Focal has released is the Sphear, a top-notch earphone that features ample bass without sparing the high fidelity sound that listeners want. But now Focal is hitting the audiophile world with a new set of in-ear headphones called Spark. The Spark comes in two different versions, wired and wireless, and they’ve got a lot to live up to. Luckily I had a chance to get a first listen to both of these brand new in-ear headphones to let you know exactly what you’re in store for… starting with the Focal Spark wired in-ear headphone.
Focal SPARK In-Ear Headphone Review (wired)
IN THE BOX
The contents inside the box with the Focal Spark wired in-ear headphone are as follows:
- Spark Earphone
- 3 different size ear tips
Design / Style / Durability / Fit / Features
The Focal Spark is a fairly small in-ear headphone with a sleek, distinguished design. It’s quite an improvement over the Focal Sphear which sounds incredible but at the cost of being a bit large. Another improvement is the flat “tangle free” cable with inline controls and microphone. It’s worth noting that there’s no separate models for iPhone/Android… it just works.
My only complaint on the design is the straight 3.5mm (1/8″ connector) instead of an L-shape. Since it has inline controls the Focal Spark headphone is clearly meant to be used with a mobile device and most of us put them in a pocket when listening to music on the go. The problem is when you move around you’re putting stress on the cable and the headphone jack which will eventually break if you’re not mindful. It’s not a total deal breaker though. A lot of companies are still doing this and I’m sure it’s because there’s concern over covering other important ports on smartphones as well.
The Focal Spark in-ear wired headphone is truly a comfortable fit. With the compact and light design, the Spark doesn’t threaten to fall out and it doesn’t stick out far.
It’s really no mystery to guess what kind of sound signature Focal would be looking to create with a new in-ear headphone. According to the specs on the box, this 16 Ohm headphone has the standard frequency range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz but as you might expect it sounds quite different than similarly priced earphones with the same frequency range.
Bass (20Hz – 250Hz)
Whenever you use a new in-ear headphone you need to make sure to get a good seal within the ear. Otherwise you’re going to completely miss the intended sound. Especially the bass. This is why you get 3 different size ear tips with the Focal Spark. Once you get that perfect seal… boom there it is. The Focal Spark in-ear headphone does quite well with bass. And it’s not overdone. Instead the bass is tight, balanced and true reference quality. The Spark wired in-ear headphone performed especially well with rock genres and even managed to handle some hard hitting electronic with only the slightest hint of harmonic distortion with extremely low frequencies at high volume.
Mids (250Hz – 4kHz)
The mids are where the Focal Spark really pops. This is what I mean when I say “You Don’t Know What You’re Missing”. Most in ear headphones tend to dial back the mids a bit or get drowned out by the overdone bass. All of a sudden vocals, guitars, even drums and other percussion typically lost in the mix are showing up for the performance. I only found it to be a bit harsh on a couple tracks and frankly this is likely the way the tracks were mixed.
Highs (4kHz – 20kHz +)
The top end is not lost by any means with the Focal Spark wired in-ear headphone. With the bass and mids balanced and steady you don’t miss a thing from cymbals to synth stabs. The Focal Spark pushes crisp high frequencies without sacrificing other frequencies to achieve its’ goal.
To sum it all up, the Focal Spark wired in-ear headphone is the new headphone that may just stir things up for audiophiles in 2017. This light and more compact in-ear headphone from Focal features tight, balanced bass and mids that won’t quit. If you’re sporting some cheap earphone from the dollar store or those stock Apple earbuds you really don’t know what you’re missing. And at a price of under $70 this new in-ear headphone is bound to fly off the shelves and turn average listeners into audiophiles overnight.
Type – in-ear headphones
Impedance – 16 Ohm
Sensitivity – 103dB
THD – <0.3%
Frequency Response – 20Hz – 20kHz
Driver – Electrodynamic
Microphone – Omnidirectional
Net Weight – 14g
Connector – 3.5mm jack
Test the new Focal Spark wired in-ear headphone with the Focal Rock To The Roots Spotify Playlist