When the Focal Clear Professional appeared on my review desk, I was super excited! The Focal Clear is one of my favorite headphones, so I was super curious about this “Pro” version and wondered how it stood up to the other. For this review, I’ll go through the specifics of the Focal Clear Professional, and will write a separate comparison review as I listen side-by-side with the original Clear. Without further idea, let’s get into it with this Focal Clear Professional Review.
Focal Clear Professional Review
In the Box – Focal Clear Professional Review
-Focal Clear Professional headphones
-Rigid, protective carrying case
-curly cable with 6.35 mm connector
-straight cable with 3.5 mm connector
-3.5 mm to 6.35 mm adaptor
-one pair of extra earpads
Specifications – Focal Clear Professional Review
-Impedance: 55 ohms
-Sensitivity: 104 dBSPL / 1 mW @ 1 kHz
-THD: .25% @ 1 kHz / 100 dBSPL
-Frequency Response: 5 Hz- 28 kHZ
-Loudspeaker: 40 mm, M-shaped dome, aluminium/magnesium driver
-Weight: 450 g
Design – Focal Clear Professional Review
The headband of the Focal Clear Professional headphones is remarkably comfortable. It is specifically designed to distribute the weight of the headphones across the entire head so that it feels lighter and more balanced than in would otherwise. On its underside is a layer of soft foam. This foam is coated by perforated microfiber. Then along the sides and top of the foam area, it is coated in leather. The frame and yolks of the headband are made of aluminum. The earcups attach to the yolk via spring loaded screws. As a result, the yolk adjusts automatically to the exact shape of your head. The headband has a bit of flexibility, but doesn’t rely on its flexibility for fitting a variety of head sizes. Rather, it has curved extenders so that as the headband gets longer, it also becomes wider.
The earcups of the Focal Clear Professional headphones are large. They have an open-back design. The drivers are protected by an attractive, black aluminum grill. The outside of the cups are decorated with a shiny Focal logo. Additionally, both earcups have ports where the audio cables connect.
The earpads of the Focal Clear Professional headphones are soft foam. The foam is coated in the same perforated microfiber as the underside of the headband. Additionally, the shape of the pads follows the shape of the cups. As a result, because the cups are large, the pads leave lots of space for a wide variety of ears to fit.
The cables of the Focal Clear Professional are Y-shaped, attaching to both earcups. The Clear Pro comes with two cables, one straight cable with a 3.5 mm connector and one curly cable with a 6.35 mm connector.Their jackets are thick, making the cables quite hefty. Despite this sense of bulkiness, they both are very manageable lengths. As a result, the thickness more so comes across as a contributor to its sense of durability as opposed annoyingness.
Sound – Focal Clear Professional Review
The low frequencies of the Focal Clear Professional headphones are full and extended. They feel even overall, although they have a little bit of a sub region boost. As a result, the headphones reveal the entirety of the low frequency spectrum, giving additionally clarity to the subs. Additionally, the lows come through with an appropriate sense of quickness. Transient low-frequency hits seem to come through effortlessly. Low frequency rich instruments like kick drums, bass guitars, bass synths, and the left hand of pianos have a sense of realism and clarity. Therefore, the headphones provide audibility to the lows while maintaining an appropriate level in the mix.
For example, when I was listening to the song I’m Callin’ by Tennis, the kick drum felt punchy and accurate. I could hear it’s whole sustain clearly. It felt harmonically rich, with plenty of energy in the sub region, while still maintaining an impressive sense of spaciousness around it, away from the bass guitar.
The middle frequencies of the Focal Clear Professional headphones are both thick and detailed. They feel full, yet somehow relaxed. As a result, they come across with a sense of spaciousness and wholeness at the same time, an impressive feat! The low-mids seem to have a small bit of emphasis, making bass guitars, cellos, low horns, and big electric guitars and synths step forward a bit. However, they don’t step on the surrounding areas and maintain their own sense of space. The middle part of the midrange mostly feels even. As a result, midrange-rich instruments sound harmonically complex and maintain a sense of realism. The high-mids have a little bit of an emphasis giving added precedence to vocals.
For example when I was listening to the song No Dad by Taylor Hollingsworth, the fuzzed out guitars had both great detail and texture in their distortion as well as big thickness in their body. These guitars how I imagine the recordists and mixers wanted them to sound. Additionally, Taylor’s vocal sat forward with more clarity than usual. Sometimes in this song, his vocal tends to lean backward in the mix. While there was a still a sense of “rock ‘n’ roll” to it, I could hear his voice clearly.
The high frequencies of the Focal Clear Professional headphones have a sense of air, extension, and delicacy. In a general sense, the high frequencies tend to lean upward toward the upper octave. The lower treble feels slightly cut, contributing to a sense of space in the high end. Additionally, this cut makes the highs considerably relaxed sounding. As a result, they are non fatiguing. In a general sense, the high frequencies of the Focal Clear Professional headphones feel even and full. As a result, they reveal a sense of complexity for high frequency rich instruments like cymbals.
For example, when I was listening to the song So Tender by Keith Jarrett, I could clearly hear the many overtones in the cymbals as the brushes lightly tapped them. As the hits become harder throughout the song, it is effortless to hear the nuance of where the the drummer is hitting the cymbal and the change in tone that ensues.
The soundstage of the Focal Clear Professional has a sense of nuance in all three dimensions. The sense of height feels expensive due to both the sense of high frequency and low frequency extension. The sense of width is wide and accurate. This sense of width doesn’t lack middleground and actually is quite well done because of grounding phantom center. Lastly, the sense of depth, while not expansive feeling, has a great sense of nuance while maintaining intimacy.
For example, when I was listening to the song Fever by Ray Charles featuring Natalie Cole, the upright bass held the center solidly and seemed to be anchored to the bottom of the vertical domain. By contrast, the finger snaps, hand drums, and snare brushes lingered up toward the top of my head, providing expansive length to the height. Panned out to the sides, the midrangy guitar and rhodes give wonderful width to the song. As various layers of guitars and keys play at the same time, along with the strings and horns that come in later, the width feels accurate as they’re placed in various places in the stereo field. Lastly, the sense of depth reveals a beautiful contrast between the closeness of Ray and Natalie’s vocals with the further off drums and guitars. Additionally, because the midrange’s sense of fullness, reverbs and room mics come through clearly, which help contribute to the sense of depth.
Overview- Focal Clear Professional Review
Overall, the Focal Clear Professional is a great option for a myriad of folks looking for headphones in this range. It has a great sense of realism across multiple categories. It feels comfortable to listen to for hours on end, so I’m confident that those who just want to listen to music or those who are making mix decisions would both benefit from using the Focal Clear Pro.
The Focal Clear Professional is available for the best price here: