This week Focal introduced two new in-ear headphones by the name of Spark that stand to change the world of portable music listening. The first of the Spark series is an affordable wired earphone that’s affordable and sounds amazing. The Spark Wireless in-ear headphone is the one of the series that really has people curious. It’s tough to find a Bluetooth headphone that fits well, works well and sounds great. So lets take a listen to the Focal Spark Wireless in-ear headphone to see if it’s going to be worthy of being called wireless audiophile technology.
Focal Spark Wireless In-Ear Headphone Review
IN THE BOX
The Focal Spark Wireless in-ear headphone comes with the following items in the box:
- 1 Spark wireless in-ear
- 3 pairs of silcone tips (S/M/L)
- 1 USB charging cable
- 1 Battery clip for sports / activities
- 1 Carrying Case
BUILD / FEATURES
The design and look of the Focal Spark wireless in-ear headphone is very similar to the wired version. The aluminum earphone housings are the same design and the small wire that attaches all the electronics and battery is the same flat “tangle free” design.The big difference here is the wireless technology. Inside a couple of small housings are the battery, Bluetooth electronics and smartphone controls. These go behind your neck and stay out of the way while you’re going about your day. The controls for the Focal Spark wireless stay close to the right earpiece giving you easy access to track, volume and phone controls. There’s even an inline mic for phone calls.
The Spark wireless earphone fits just like the wired version. It’s small, relatively discreet and comfortable. The added benefit with the wireless is there’s no headphone jack to mess with and no extra long cable hanging around. The included battery clip can be used to hold the battery to the back of your collar or shirt if you find yourself being very active.
The Focal Spark wireless uses the Bluetooth 4.1 standard and has everything you need to connect to any device capable of transmitting audio via Bluetooth. Most people will be connecting the Spark wireless to their smartphone and I can say it connected to my iPhone 6S just fine. I also tried it with a Fiio X5 (2nd gen) digital audio player and was pleasantly surprised to find that the Spark wireless earphone connected using the AptX audio coded. Very nice. You’ll definitely get the best results with an AptX capable device with hi-res music tracks on board.
The range on the Focal Spark wireless in-ear headphone is good. It meets the same standard I find with most wireless in-ear headphones. At around 20-30 feet you begin to lose signal and will likely get drop outs. Most people however will have this earphone connected to their smartphone and keep it nearbly at all times. By keeping your smartphone on you and within only a couple feet of the Spark wireless you’ll get the best results.
HOW DOES IT SOUND?
The Spark wireless earphone has exactly the same specs as the Spark wired. Everything from 16 Ohms of resistance to the 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range are identical. There’s really one big question on everyones lips regarding the Focal Spark wireless though. “Does the Focal Spark wireless sound as good as the wired?”. The short answer is yes… yes it does. But there’s a little more to it than that so I’ll explain.
As long as your connected and within a reasonable range of your Bluetooth device, you’re going to get exceptional sound from the Focal Spark wireless earphone. In-fact it’s one of the best wireless in-ear headphones I’ve tried in quite some time. Like the Spark wired earphone, the Spark wireless features well balanced bass, crystal clear mids and all the high frequencies you could wish for in a wireless in-ear headphone. You can read my full review of the Focal Spark wired earphone to get a more detailed idea of the sound signature of this amazing little device.
My only complaint, although minor, is that the Spark wireless in-ear headphone doesn’t quite hit the same volume level as the wired version. Honestly most people probably won’t notice and it depends on the music and device you’re listening from. But it is worth noting that I wanted to crank this earphone just a hair more in volume and topped out on several tracks. In all fairness I’ve had this problem on many Bluetooth earphones and it’s likely a limitation of the standard rather than the hardware.
It’s safe to say the Focal Spark wireless in-ear headphone is one of the best Bluetooth earphones I’ve tried so far. And considering it retails for just under $100, the Spark wireless might just be the headphone to shake things up even more than the wired version. Audiophiles and everyday music listeners alike will enjoy the balanced bass and clear mid-range you don’t even get with most wired headphones. Without a doubt, this new headphone deserves a MajorHiFi Gold Award based on it’s balanced, hi-fi sound all packed into a Bluetooth earphone that is compact and comfortable. My recommendation to anyone looking for a great sounding wireless earphone is go out and get one of these Focal Spark wireless earphones. You won’t be disappointed.