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Most similar sound to Focal Spirit Pro?
Old 15th September 2019
  #1
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Most similar sound to Focal Spirit Pro?

I've seen a few threads about the Focal Spirit Pro's - mostly they are about the breaking band issue (I'm on my second pair, about 18 months in and cracks are appearing) - but I've seen nothing conclusive about finding a suitable sonic alternative. I know the new 'Listen Pro' version exists but apparently they are very different to the Spirit Pro's.

I know there are lots of great headphones in this price range, but they all have different characteristics and I love the sound of these particular headphones, so has anyone found any headphones that can match, or at least come close to how these sound, particularly in the lows and mids? Can be more expensive (or cheaper), I just want them to sound like the Spirit Pro's.
Old 15th September 2019
  #2
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If you like them and already have them, have someone (not Focal) create you a new band. It'll be cheaper in the long run (and if you go back to Focal it'll just break again.) You could probably have the band repurposed from a Sennheiser or AKG model (thinking of ones that are easy to remove wiring)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
If you like them and already have them, have someone (not Focal) create you a new band. It'll be cheaper in the long run (and if you go back to Focal it'll just break again.) You could probably have the band repurposed from a Sennheiser or AKG model (thinking of ones that are easy to remove wiring)
Haven't considered this, I didn't even know it was possible. Can you recommend anyone (in the UK preferably) that does this?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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mamm7215's Avatar
There's a couple of pics here on GS on one of the Spirit Pro threads where someone has done it. No one commercially likely does this so you're on your own I think. My left ear pad just fell off mine and I gorilla-glued it back on. My headband is still good (knock-on-wood) but the separating ear pad is another apparently common thing with these. I like the sound so I'll use my as an extra reference set for now but I'd not buy another set of SPs again. Plus my MDR7506 with Sonarworks are better to mix with, to my ears.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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I can't speak to the UK specifically. Look at HeadFi.org forums and other places. There are a lot of headphone customizers out there (often running etsy shops, etc.) Many of them could "rebuild" your headphones with different bands, etc.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Belated thanks for the replies here, I have a few updates so I thought I'd report back on my findings. My Spirit Pro's went from a hairline crack to a full break last week, so I was given the option to have them replaced with the new Listen Pro's, but I was reluctant to do this without trying them first, so I ordered a pair and held onto my SP's for comparison.

The Listen Pro's are very comfortable, and built much better than the SP's. But the sound quality is an issue. They sound nice for general listening, but they don't sound much like the SP's at all. As far as I can tell, there's a couple of regions around the lows and low mids that are boosted, which makes the high mids dip into the background and they end up sounding small and a bit muffled. It's really noticeable on hi-hats and percussion. I'm a bass player who practices on headphones 99% of the time, so I am very familiar with the sound of my basses and this has made me SUPER anal about my headphone tone. Playing my Fender Jazz Bass through the Listen Pro's gave me fatigue in about 20 minutes, the low / low mid-ish boost made the bass tone sound honky and unnatural, as if I had boosted those frequencies on a bass amp. I may keep the LP's anyway because they're nice, but (as I'm sure it's been discussed here before) they are most certainly not a proper replacement for the SP's.

So then, after a bit of googling, I discovered that some people were saying the NAD Viso HP50's were very close to the SP's in terms of sonic characteristics. They are not really available anywhere in the UK, perhaps one or 2 left on Amazon so I decided to buy a used pair of those to try out, and here are my thoughts on those: 1. They are really ugly (no big deal, home use only). 2. They are huge, way too big for my head, I literally have to wedge something in between the headband and the top of my head to keep them from flopping around. But most importantly 3: Yeah they do totally sound like the SP's. The overall character is very similar, same prominent mids and clean even bottom end, very nice rich tone. There is a bit of difference in the treble - the HP50's are boosted at a slightly higher treble frequency than the SP's, but I can live with that. Overall they sound right to me.

I'm getting the broken SP's replaced by another pair of SP's, because those are still the winners, but only because of the awkward comfort issues with the HP50's. I know Focal were given a hard time here about the SP's, but the fact is the sound of those headphones really hit the spot with a lot of people - I have no idea why Focal decided to change the recipe with the LP's. Yeah, change the design, because it's flawed, but why change the characteristics of the tone?? It now looks like Focal have an inferior headphone, the Listen Pro's, which are cheaper than the SP's, or the insanely expensive Clear Pro's (have not tried those but they cost more than 4x the price of the SP's). Surely there's room there to bring out a pair with the same sonic signature as the SP's, but with the new design. I don't get it.

Anyway that's where I'm at, for anyone who was wondering!
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