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Focal Clear
Old 25th April 2018
  #1
Focal Clear

Hey guys, I've just bought a pair of Focal Clear's. I demoed them against headphones like LCD-3, Hifiman X etc, but didn't include the most expensive models like Utopia, LCD-4 and Stax's. I find these amazingly good and a good addition to my studio.

So here's the thing, running them from my Antelope Pure 2 I'm definitely getting some sort of bass emphasis, quite a lot it feels like. Running them out of RME UFX is way "flatter" in the bass area, atleast how I hear it. Does anybody have this same experience? I've read that someone had this same thing with tube amps running the Focal Clear, but didn't expect it from my converter headphone amp. Is the headphone amp in my Pure2 too powerful? Is that even a thing for headphones? It's not a huge problem, I can always switch between the UFX and Pure2 and get 2 different flavours, I was just suprised that it was big of a difference.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
Old 18th June 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsNo View Post
Hey guys, I've just bought a pair of Focal Clear's. I demoed them against headphones like LCD-3, Hifiman X etc, but didn't include the most expensive models like Utopia, LCD-4 and Stax's. I find these amazingly good and a good addition to my studio.

So here's the thing, running them from my Antelope Pure 2 I'm definitely getting some sort of bass emphasis, quite a lot it feels like. Running them out of RME UFX is way "flatter" in the bass area, atleast how I hear it. Does anybody have this same experience? I've read that someone had this same thing with tube amps running the Focal Clear, but didn't expect it from my converter headphone amp. Is the headphone amp in my Pure2 too powerful? Is that even a thing for headphones? It's not a huge problem, I can always switch between the UFX and Pure2 and get 2 different flavours, I was just suprised that it was big of a difference.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
The higher the output impedance of your amp the more the bass will be boosted with the clears so ideally you don’t want to use them with an amp designed to drive high impedance headphones. Focal clears are low impedance at 55ohm compared with say sennheiser hd800’s which are 300ohms and require an amp with more power.
Old 18th June 2019
  #3
Try the SPL PhonitorX or Little Labs Monotor. Quite a difference to be heard.
Old 20th June 2019
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsNo View Post
Hey guys, I've just bought a pair of Focal Clear's. I demoed them against headphones like LCD-3, Hifiman X etc, but didn't include the most expensive models like Utopia, LCD-4 and Stax's. I find these amazingly good and a good addition to my studio.

So here's the thing, running them from my Antelope Pure 2 I'm definitely getting some sort of bass emphasis, quite a lot it feels like. Running them out of RME UFX is way "flatter" in the bass area, atleast how I hear it. Does anybody have this same experience? I've read that someone had this same thing with tube amps running the Focal Clear, but didn't expect it from my converter headphone amp. Is the headphone amp in my Pure2 too powerful? Is that even a thing for headphones? It's not a huge problem, I can always switch between the UFX and Pure2 and get 2 different flavours, I was just suprised that it was big of a difference.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
There's a good chance that the bass emphasis comes from the output impedance interacting with your headphone's load. I can't find the output impedance of Pure 2's HP out, but for many interfaces Antelope sadly sticks to the old 120Ohm standard.

The output impedance and your headphone's load impedance essentially forms a voltage divider. Most dynamic driver headphones have a varying impedance, depending on frequency, so the voltage division becomes frequency dependent as well and forms an EQ circuit. The impedance hump of most headphones is around their fundamental resonant frequency (50 to 100Hz) which is where you hear a volume increase.

Hope this helps!
Old 20th June 2019
  #5
Gear Maniac
Yeah it seems like few people understand how impedance mismatches work between the headphone amp and the headphone itself.

I've been using the Focal Elegia for two weeks since I needed a closed-back pair. I've also got the Focal Elex (which are supposed to sound fairly similar to the Clear at half the price). In general the two I've got have a pretty similar sound - Hrodulf, have you had a chance to measure any Elegia pairs yet? I'm curious how they measure up.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrodulf View Post
There's a good chance that the bass emphasis comes from the output impedance interacting with your headphone's load. I can't find the output impedance of Pure 2's HP out, but for many interfaces Antelope sadly sticks to the old 120Ohm standard.

The output impedance and your headphone's load impedance essentially forms a voltage divider. Most dynamic driver headphones have a varying impedance, depending on frequency, so the voltage division becomes frequency dependent as well and forms an EQ circuit. The impedance hump of most headphones is around their fundamental resonant frequency (50 to 100Hz) which is where you hear a volume increase.

Hope this helps!
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