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Focal Clear Professional Open Headphones $899 + free s/h

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Joined Mar 2006
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#16
How is this compare to Elear? I am not fully impressed with Elear. I like LCD - 2, iSine 20 and EL-8 Closed.
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Joined Nov 2009
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#17
Quote from sadistikjazz :
"luxury items," "disposable income" and "relativity." apparently the 1st two guys in the comments are new to planet earth and never heard of those before.
I'm not taking a side, but are you saying it's "luxury" just because it's expensive? Many would say luxury has more to do with quality.
So.. if these aren't quality to them, "luxury" is moot.
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Joined Mar 2012
Sachmosam
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#18
Quote from pfgiv :
Honestly this is the weirdest and most bizzare post I can never seem to figure out in my 15 years of history browsing Slickdeals. Who in their goddamn right mind is going to spend $40,000 on a car?

I went to car dealerships multiple times, test drove cars that cost upwards of $100,000 dollars, and spent my time trying to figure out any difference I possibly could. I messed around with inline, V, rotary, you name it.

I COULDN'T TELL ANY DAMN DIFFERENCE AT ALL.

Given I am in my 30's now, and I likely have some age related mental capacity loss. But that just doesn't cut it as an excuse for not being able to tell the difference.

Anyhow, just wondering how others actually feel about these kinds of things (And I say this as I look back at my cars, from $1,000 USD first used car to around $18,000 new car - after around that point, it really becomes completely subjective and just plain irrationally crazy).




Do you see how stupid this post reads? It's just as stupid as your actual post.

Just because you see no benefit doesn't mean there isn't a benefit for others. $900 to some people is a joke.
That was an opinion which people are allowed to have. Calling dude stupid for voicing his opinion makes you look like a dick. But maybe that's the norm for you.
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Joined Mar 2011
L5: Journeyman
740 Posts
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#19
Quote from woots :
Environment matters with critical listening. If you're in a convention that is loud (and wearing open backs) it is just not the right place to pass all in judgment on something like that. Also, you lack the comfort and time to really soak things in.

A lot is to be said for having something in front of you to test at your leisure and test again lower end headphones on the same setup. Source quality and even known content also matters. It's hard to control what they are playing at conventions if you're unfamiliar with a song or it is not a favored genre or perhaps a genre that doesn't work well with the headphone (and yes that very much is a thing on the high end headphones)

One would think drop 1-4 grand on a headphone means it's the final stop in audio purchasing since it can play everything perfectly. Definitely not true. Each maker has nuances and even tech difference that play better with some genres and not others. It's why people who are serious about headphone hobby have a few in their collection.

Regarding the age factor. I wouldn't argue that can make a difference, depending on how much ear damage you have had throughout life. However, older age alone does not dictate if you can hear the differences to make a 1 grand headphone worth it or not. I am in my mid 40's and I can hear the differences easily between a top tier headphone and a 1-200 buck headphone (or overly V shaped tuned headphone, like a beats, etc etc. V shape is typically what the masses call "great sounding" which is why they tune for V shape. People want loud bass and punched up highs, neutrality is not popular).

This leads to the last problem. People coming from standard consumer grade headphone their whole life are expecting just more and bigger badder V shape. Then they hit the 1-4k headphone and get something more neutralized in comparison. Bass that doesn't rumble into muddy sounding chatter, but rather sharp all the way down outside your hearing range. It's not uncommon people who go directly from a beats to something like a HD800S and have nothing but hate for it. There are so many stories like this on audio forums from first time buyers who go all in one their first headphone.

Ultimately you have to go through an "retaining" process. You have to get your brain used to not wanting to only hear V shape sound signature. After that your brain can start finding other things to appreciate. You will start listening to extreme details in the mids or highs and picking up on things that you just simply can't hear on lesser headphones (like people talking in the hallway outside of the vocal booth of a recording you heard your whole life but never could hear that until that moment). To be honest most people don't want to do this and never will. I get it. However, if you did take the time you would see the differences.

Also, while some audio purist revile at the idea of using an EQ to change the sound of the headphone. I have always been of the mindset that it's your ears and your property so enjoy it how you see fit. Great headphones can be EQ'd to be that V shape if that's what your after. I also encourage people to retrain their way of listening to appreciate what they have first and they tweak the EQ later to match their sound signature preferences.

Having said all this. Before you ever dare drop 1-4 grand on a headphone. My advice is, first learn what sound signature you prefer. Using that Sennheiser HD800S example is a perfect demonstration of this. A person who loves heavy bass buys this and while the bass is good, it's not a bass heavy can and never will be. It's better for mids and highs (which puts it in a category of being better for jazz and classical and some classic rock)

You need to figure out 1st if you are you a bass head? Do you love rock (mids and highs)? Love classical (very much highs)? Do you wanna hear all those amazing vocal mids? Some people have hearing issues where highs give them migraines or lows make their ear drums hurt. All stuff you need to know!

You can learn this by doing your homework and testing the waters by buying proper 200-500 buck headphone first (people call this stuff mid-fi, but really it serves as end game too for many) and getting a affordable but decent amp/dac setup. There are a lot of hifi headphone communities out there that can help you find proper "mid-fi" cans with different sound signatures. A solid old stand by is the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650 (or the massdrop variant). These are more "mid" centric sound signatures though (not heavy on bass or high, but amazing mids) These are GREAT for training your brain how to appreciate something other than V shape. There are a lot of options in the middle though that are a huge step up from common consumer stuff and are very much "hifi" worthy and can teach you a lot about this hobby first.

Once you learn what sound signatures you love and you decide what you can afford and are interesting in going further... then do it... at least now you can make a smarter purchase with less regret. Buying headphones this expensive without testing them first or even knowing what to expect is a very bad mistake. It's like buying cologne you never smelled, but having the cologne cost 1 grand lol. I am sure you wouldn't do that in a million years either. Consider stuff like this the same.

Learn what you like, then do homework on sound signatures and if you can't test the headphone in person at least you can buy a sound signature that matches your preference.

Going back to the posted headphones though Focal Utopia (their flagship) and Focal Clear do get a lot of love in hifi community. It's not unanimous love, but what in life is. Unlike most headphones these higher end focal headphones tend to do better on a wider range of genres which is a real bonus if you're only buying one high end can. Some people tend to complain about a mid-high distortion that happens on these while others don't notice anything. Just be aware I have seen it come up enough times now in discussions I am convinced it's a thing. Also if you are a fan of sound stage Focals do not have that epic mega sound stage of something like a Senn HD800 so just be aware that they are much closer in. The Utopia tends to be better in this regard while the clears are closer in on the sound stage. It's not deal breaking though unless if you want it. In both cases it's preferences. There are tons of proper reviews out there on Focal clear so just hit up google and be sure to look for pros and cons.
I repped you because you took the time to write this. 👍🏻
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Joined Nov 2010
L9: Master
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#20
How do these compare to the anker q10 for $28.

In all seriousness its a good deal for true audiophiles and musicians.
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Joined Sep 2011
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#21
Quote from jagzjagz :
Honestly this is the weirdest and most bizzare post I can never seem to figure out in my 15 years of history browsing Slickdeals. Who in their goddamn right mind is going to spend $900USD on a pair of headphones?

I went to CES multiple times, tried on headphones that were worth thousands of dollars, and spent my time trying to figure out any difference I possibly could. I messed around with headphone amps, I dialed in and tried open air, covered, electrostatic, you name it.

I COULDN'T TELL ANY DAMN DIFFERENCE AT ALL.

Given I am in my 30's now, and I likely have some age related hearing loss. But that just doesn't cut it as an excuse for not being able to tell the difference.

Anyhow, just wondering how others actually feel about these kinds of things (And I say this as I look back at my headphone collection, from $10 USD headphones to around $250USD - after around that point, it really becomes completely subjective and just plain irrationally crazy).
Just bought 2 pair thanks op!
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Joined Dec 2018
L5: Journeyman
524 Posts
42 Reputation
#22
Quote from jagzjagz :
Honestly this is the weirdest and most bizzare post I can never seem to figure out in my 15 years of history browsing Slickdeals. Who in their goddamn right mind is going to spend $900USD on a pair of headphones?

I went to CES multiple times, tried on headphones that were worth thousands of dollars, and spent my time trying to figure out any difference I possibly could. I messed around with headphone amps, I dialed in and tried open air, covered, electrostatic, you name it.

I COULDN'T TELL ANY DAMN DIFFERENCE AT ALL.

Given I am in my 30's now, and I likely have some age related hearing loss. But that just doesn't cut it as an excuse for not being able to tell the difference.

Anyhow, just wondering how others actually feel about these kinds of things (And I say this as I look back at my headphone collection, from $10 USD headphones to around $250USD - after around that point, it really becomes completely subjective and just plain irrationally crazy).
This guy used binaural ear mics to pic up the differences between Focal Elex and HD800s. Even without it being a 100% representation, I could hear the differences, and I am in my 30s.

Listen for yourself. the song around 12 minutes in really stood out for me.

https://youtu.be/EJ42tplgo7M
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Last edited by Dkizzy February 15, 2020 at 05:15 AM.

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Joined Aug 2017
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#23
i have an elear + elex. i have also read where the clears are 'too clear' meaning too analytical and was a slightly not-so-great experience for some people. should i add these to my wish list for someday?
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Joined Sep 2018
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#24
Quote from jagzjagz :
Honestly this is the weirdest and most bizzare post I can never seem to figure out in my 15 years of history browsing Slickdeals. Who in their goddamn right mind is going to spend $900USD on a pair of headphones?

I went to CES multiple times, tried on headphones that were worth thousands of dollars, and spent my time trying to figure out any difference I possibly could. I messed around with headphone amps, I dialed in and tried open air, covered, electrostatic, you name it.

I COULDN'T TELL ANY DAMN DIFFERENCE AT ALL.

Given I am in my 30's now, and I likely have some age related hearing loss. But that just doesn't cut it as an excuse for not being able to tell the difference.

Anyhow, just wondering how others actually feel about these kinds of things (And I say this as I look back at my headphone collection, from $10 USD headphones to around $250USD - after around that point, it really becomes completely subjective and just plain irrationally crazy).
Well clearly your ears don't know what they're looking for. I can wear a pair of JBLs for 100-200 and hear great quality music. Though when I recorded an album (I play drums sometimes) I used the $2k studio headphones and I could literally hear my sticks hitting the cymbals.

Also I think a lot of it has to due with the mix. When a song or sound is mixed down there are a lot of highs and lows removed from the edit. Probably because they know the gear in any average house will never even be able to hear it.
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Joined Jun 2011
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#25
Repped. In for 20
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Joined May 2015
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#26
i can't afford them
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Joined Sep 2013
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#27
These are highly regarded headphones offered at a really attractive discount from retail price...but, just realize that Adorama is no longer an authorized Focal dealer which means no official warranty support. There are noted issues with Focal's quality control (driver failure and rattling at certain frequencies, squeaky build, etc.) so just keep that in mind before clicking that purchase button.
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Last edited by AFus February 15, 2020 at 06:10 AM.
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Joined May 2007
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#28
I've not been sorry to own the Focal brand, worth every penny.

I chose the Drop Elex and drive them up with a Alex Cavalli Liquid Carbon X amp; nice to have a balanced and SE cable to choose from, but do run balanced with the LCX.

Sadly with this hobby everyone starts out with HPs under $100 and work there way up spending a lot more on in between steps, guess that is how you train your ears and brain...baby steps.
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Joined Jan 2009
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#29
Quote from jagzjagz :
I COULDN'T TELL ANY DAMN DIFFERENCE AT ALL.
In a nutshell, your ears aren't tuned for it. If you eat at a fine dining restaurant, can you break apart the spices that goes into the food as you taste it for the first time? Trained chefs can, but you can't. You have to build a headphone collection and know the subtle differences between each headphone before you can truly appreciate these.
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Joined Nov 2007
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#30
Quote from AFus :
These are highly regarded headphones offered at a really attractive discount from retail price...but, just realize that Adorama is no longer an authorized Focal dealer which means no official warranty support. There are noted issues with Focal's quality control (driver failure and rattling at certain frequencies, squeaky build, etc.) so just keep that in mind before clicking that purchase button.
These aren't as common as people in slickdeals like to talk about.
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