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Focal Hails A New Mid-Tier Headphone – The “Clear”

Before France-based Focal took a dive into the high end headphone market its appears they took a long hard look at the opportunities within each tier. Maxing out the top-end at a weighty $4k, the Utopia dug deep and ended up making big waves within the industry harnessing a rarely-used material for the driver (beryllium) and solid construction throughout the frame, ear cups and ear pads. Of equal or perhaps even greater impact due to the wider market, the Elear struck hard at the hearts of enthusiasts with a saucy tonal game and a slightly more budget-friendly $1k price tag.

The newest headphone “Clear” splits the group and enters a new tier with a $1,500 cost, but still retains some of the Elear’s external styling. Buffed out with a new silver exterior, the Clear drops the impedance down to 55 ohms (compared to the other two headphones 80 ohm rating) for an acoustic experience that is just a little easier to drive. This is in part thanks to an all new transducer fitted with a full copper voice coil, while the Elear utilized copper-clad aluminum. The “M” shaped driver dome on the Clear is made of Aluminum/Magnesium and the headphone continues the same around-the-ear, open-back traditions of its two brothers.

Perhaps one of biggest adds to the proposition is the inclusion of three cables, all detachable from the earcup. The total package of minijack, 1/4″ and even XLR balanced should fit the bill for any situation an audiophile might find themselves in.

The official launch day reveal landed on the Friday of Rocky Mountain Audiofest last weekend, so expect shipping to start immediately via Focal’s dealer network.

More from the press release:

“The new microfiber ear cushions are to Clear as a listening room is to loudspeakers. The 1mm diameter micro-perforations on the outer edge of the ear cushions offer unrivaled openness, while the band and ear cup position offer the user a comfortable, almost weightless experience, regardless of head size or shape. Bringing out details unprecedented in this price range and enveloping the user in musical emotion, listeners will forget they are even wearing headphones. With a blend of grey leather on the headband and grey microfiber underneath, the design is aesthetically elegant and uniform.

Focal developed a headband in which the bend remains constant, regardless of the size of the head. This spreads the weight of the headphones evenly over the head, to prevent pressure on the head or ears, which is often the case with other products. The solid Aluminum yoke with its asymmetrical attachment points has been designed to improve the distribution of pressure, ensuring excellent sealing and further improving comfort. This is all thanks to its lack of traditional vertical rotating mechanics, as they have been integrated into the headband.

Our commitment to innovation continues with the speaker drivers found in Clear, originally designed for Elear and Utopia. A new production line specifically for Clear in Saint-Etienne (France) develops the light-weight components that live inside Clear. Each pair of headphones features an identical frequency response curve of +/-0.5dB.

This consistency is due to our sophisticated five step driver manufacturing process, after which the transducers are all tested and measured before being paired. We are dedicated to manufacturing only the highest quality products, and this dedication has culminated in Clear.”


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