Focal already put out a major release this year with the Utopia 2022. It is surprising not only to see another set of headphones from them so soon but one that is not like what the brand usually puts out. Their brand new Bathys headphones are both wireless and noise-canceling. Focal has made wireless headphones in the past with the Listen headphones. The Bathys is set out to be a more ambitious version of those headphones. There’s going to be a crop of new premium wireless headphones appearing in the market soon, with Bowers and Wilkins’s recent news of the PX8 as an example. Some of the most popular Bluetooth headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Sennheiser Momentum 4 don’t go beyond a four hundred dollar price tag. However, the Bathys are priced at $799, making them currently one of the priciest options available. Is the Bathys deserving of such a price?
What You Get
- Bathys over-ear headphones
- Zipper carrying case
- 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable
- USB Type C to Type C cable
- Quick start guide
Look and Feel
In Focal tradition, the Bathys are built with sturdy construction. Its design is completely identifiable as a Focal headphone from the first time you set your eyes on it. Obviously, the Bathys isn’t going to feel like the same level of material quality as the Clear MG or the Celestee, but they still offer a fantastic aesthetic that stands out from every Bluetooth headphone on the market.
Its grille pattern is reminiscent of its high-end selection, even including Focal’s signature medallion centerpiece. It makes all of their headphones appear regal like you’re buying a brand new watch, so I’m glad their wireless model goes for the same feel. What’s neat is that the Bathys actually uses this common piece from their headphones to act as a backlight this time around. For comfort, the Bathys is light and minimizes pressure. Their ear pads have more open space to them that encompasses more of your ear, and still, feature good support when moving your head around.
The Bathys style isn’t the only element of Focal headphones that is carried over, but their interior design as well. You can expect the Bathys to incorporate the same aluminum/magnesium M-shaped dome speaker drivers. If you’re looking for a full high-fidelity experience with this driver, you may want to use the Bathys wired using its 3.5mm or type C connectors. The Bathys even has a special DAC mode for this function that you can switch between the on and off actions.
There are two different modes of its noise-canceling, silence, and soft mode. Silent mode is meant to reduce harsher environmental sounds when you’re listening outside or on a plane. Soft mode is made for enhanced focus in an at-home environment, reducing ambient room noise while lessening its impact on the sound signature. Focal has designed a companion app for the Bathys that I was not able to access, but it is said to have an EQ. I will be updating this review when I have had the chance to test it out.
The Bathys supports Bluetooth version 5.1 and uses SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX Adaptive CODECs. It also features a multipoint connection so you can connect the Bathys to multiple devices. The headphones had fast pairing and I did not experience any dropouts or desyncing.
You will be able to listen to the Bathys for around 30 hours with noise-canceling features on. If the Bathys is in jack mode, you may get a few more extra hours, and if you’re in USB DAC mode you can even get up to ten hours more. They have fast charging, with only fifteen minutes of charge allowing you five hours of playtime.
Bluetooth headphones can have good soundstages, but they’re few and far between. With a brand like this, you’d expect one of the best. Especially with the Bathys being one of the priciest options for wireless headphones around. As it turns out, the Bathys does have one of the best soundstages I’ve heard on Bluetooth over-ear headphones. The stereo image is wide, with instruments in the extreme left or right channels appearing like they are being performed right up against the shell of the ear cups. It’s not just a linear stage either. On the Bathys, you really get to hear the sound elements placed accurately.
Vocals hover slightly above you and kick drums stab at the tip of your throat. This increases the depth in the imaging, making each part of the mix easier to localize in the Bathys bubble of sound. Separation is also a major factor in enhancing the spaciousness of the Bathys. Each section of your tracks will feel meticulously positioned, and the Bathys does a great job highlighting the space in between sound elements. The Bathys does a fantastic job keeping its soundstage controlled and organized. It is one of the best you’ll hear on wireless headphones.
While the Bathys might not have the thick, meaty tones of some wireless headphones, it still has their own way of being gripping. The Bathys offer great depth and clarity to its bass. There’s even some rumble that touches deep in the sub-bass for added texture. With this type of response, you might expect the bass to be more impactful than it is. Instead, the bass of the Bathys reserves itself, never overemphasizing any of its tones. It is the presence and clarity of the bass that makes its profile so enticing. The timbre will feel more realistic to your tracks, offering solid punch and vibration while keeping the frequency content separate in the mix.
The midrange of the Bathy’s is where the sound signature starts to resemble the Celestee the most. Their timbre is consistently dark. Instruments in the low mids forge a lingering cloud that makes a significant impression on performances. While most of the time I do not favor this type of profile, the Bathys does a fantastic job using this tone to its advantage. The Bathys uses its darker presentation to add a considerable drive to its musicality.
I felt it handle heavier tracks with great ferocity, “Made Up Smile” by Dream State being the best example of this during my testing. The combination of blaring electric guitars and synths came through with power, instilling awesome energy that was still presented with clarity. Vocals and the upper midrange are given a fine display as well, but they don’t jump forward in the mix. Their presentation is more in your head compared to most of the instrumentals. They still come through with heightened detail though. Voices come through on the Bathys with good clarity and don’t sit in the background. In terms of their placement, they sit slightly above some of the instrumentation but appear with a flatter surface.
Being a darker sound signature, the highs might not show too much liveliness. However, the Bathys still give them the time of day, with a response that compliments its frequency response with grace. Their timbre is mostly smoothed out but still feels real to most genres. They’re not artificially coated or completely recessed. They lack texture but still feel well represented by natural detail. Cymbals appear lower in gain but are given still given the proper definition to make them easy to identify. High frequencies don’t expand much beyond that but for the intended sound profile, the Bathys showcases great control.
After spending a ton of time with the Bathys, I firmly believe it to be one of a kind. For now, there is no other headphone that blends the experience of premium headphones with Bluetooth. Its build is just as carefully constructed, and its sound is reminiscent of their headphones of the past, particularly the Celestee. If you are in the market for a new pair of Bluetooth headphones and aren’t concerned about price, then look no further. However, you might find the $799 price point a little intimidating. In that case, there are still plenty of options. The Bathys is a Bluetooth headphone for a particular taste, and it might not be for everyone. However, you can’t deny the greatness of its design compared to many wireless headphones on the market.
The Focal Bathys is available for pre-order at Audio46.