Focal Sphear S Closed Back Headphones
|Model Name||Focal spear|
|Headphones Form Factor||In Ear|
About this item
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- Large, 10.8mm dynamic drivers for rich, natural sound
- Bass-reflex system for extended low-end frequency response ported acoustic chamber provides tonal balance
- In-line remote and microphone for controlling music and taking calls with compatible iOS and Android devices
- Connectivity technology : Wired
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|Item Dimensions||6.00 x 2.00 x 3.00 inches||2.95 x 2.36 x 6.69 inches||4.25 x 2.25 x 7.25 inches||0.78 x 0.78 x 0.78 inches||2.50 x 1.12 x 5.80 inches||1.00 x 1.00 x 1.00 inches|
|Item Weight||0.53 ounces||3.53 ounces||0.45 ounces||0.52 ounces||0.16 ounces||0.80 ounces|
|Special Features||In-ear headphones||Universal||lightweight||Microphone, Stereo||lightweight||Android Phone Control, Lightweight, Microphone Feature, Noise Isolation, Universal Phone Control, Volume-Control, iOS Phone Control|
In-ear headphones large, 10.8mm dynamic drivers for rich, natural sound bass-reflex system for extended low-end frequency response ported acoustic chamber provides tonal balance in-line remote and microphone for controlling music and taking calls with compatible iOS and Android devices
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Top reviews from the United States
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Bowers and wilikins C5 series 2 - detailed, laid back sound,lots of bass
Bang and olufsen h3 2nd gen -Detailed, high mid/vocal presence, decent bass
1more Quad driver - Detailed, excellent soundstage, balance sound, clarity is the best, best sounding of the 4
1more Quad > B&O H3 > Focal Sphear >B&W C5
B&O H3 > Focal Sphear > 1more Quad > B&W C5
First, as with all IEM's, these do require the proper fitting tip. Once I got them right, I found the following.
I used Diana Krall's, Departure Bay, Elton John's Someone Saved My Life, Bill Champlin's Sara, and Chicago's God Save The Queen for testing. Listening to Departure Bay, the brushes gliding over the snare were clear as a bell, and her voice was a sultry as it should be. Chicago's God Save The Queen opens with horns, and Walt's Parazaider's sax really rang out. Sara, recorded in 19881 allowed me to listen to digital from the early stages, and Champlin's throaty soulful voice cut through and sound amazing. The opening in Someone Saved My Life Tonight allowed me to really hear the echo of the piano, and the the light pinging of the sticks on the cymbal. The voices were crisp on all of the above tracks.
1. These are a very comfortable fit. You "almost" forget they are in place. They are lightweight, and very easy to get used to. I wore them for 4 hours at work with no uncomfortable feeling. Because the cord is a bit sturdier than I am used to with an iPhone cable, it tended to stay slightly coiled and caught on my keyboard when I moved around. (minor issue I know)
2. The seal is so crucial with these. Not getting the proper tip on initially left the bass lacking, but everyone knows that. Once I got it right, the bottom end was well defined. The mids were a bit crisp for my taste, but nothing so bad you would notice unless you were listening for just that. The highs were clean with just the tiniest bit of hiss, but again nothing too noticeable. iTunes really showed what the files lack when compared to straight off my DAC.
3. Where almost everyone puts the mic on the Right ear line, leave it to the French to put it on the left.
4. I used them while I cut grass, and while my Shures all but remove the noise of the riding lawnmower, the Focal's provided some isolation, but nowhere near the level of the 535's, and they should not be expected to. But, they did well, and I had to increase the volume only slightly to almost drown out the mower.
2 thumbs up for these little gems.
Audiophile-grade earphones are a treat whether you buy the latest models or a pair from 5 years ago; good sound is good sound. With some digging, you can find excellent earphones, like these Focals, at rock-bottom prices.
I won't pretend I know how to review sound equipment, It would probably devolve into jokes about your cochlea. What I do know is that there's no excuse not to buy a pair of buds like these. Don't cheap out on your mattress, condoms or earphones, they're life-altering QoL investments.
Top reviews from other countries
The mic on my Sennheiser M2 Momentum In-Ear broke, so I was looking for the best in-ear headphone under £200 I could find.
- Since I needed headphones that would work on Android, that ruled out RHA T20, since the only version with a mic is for iOS. Ditto for B&W C5 s2, iOS only. If you're looking for a headphone for iPhone, I'd add those two options to the shortlist. If you're using Android...well, your options are fewer.
- The Bose QC 20 come in just under £200, but since I own multiple noise cancelling headphones, including the Bose QC 25, I didn't feel the need for yet another NC headphone. If you don't have a noise cancelling headphone, have £200 to spare and would use them for travel - the Bose QC 20 are a no-brainer.
- I was looking for a well-sounding headphone that does the music justice, giving as life-like representation as possible (can you see how much I'm trying to avoid using the word "audiophile"?). My search limited it to Sennheiser's M2 Momentum In-Ear (to replace the pair I have), or to try the Focal Sphear. After reading many very positive reviews, I decided to give Focal a shot. A decision I'm extremely happy with now.
COMPARED TO SENNHEISER MOMENTUM M2 IN-EAR
(I'll compare with the Sennheiser M2 as a reference, since they've been considered the top model in the £100 segment for years)
- Handles detail much better. A/B testing the intro on Aerosmith's "Janie's got a gun", where there's so much happening...that's when the difference became very apparent. The Focals are talented, very talented.
- Big sound stage, remarkably bigger than others in this price range.
- Power output: due to larger driver size, these can go much louder than my other IEMs. This is especially important if you're using an Android phone (less so on iPhone which has better power output). On my Nexus 6P, the Sennheiser M2s some times can't go loud enough. The Focals are easy to drive, couldn't go full volume.
- Balanced sound that has plenty of power in high, mid, lows...without being fatiguing. In comparison, the M2s are a bit too aggressive in the mids and highs (in Crowded House's "Weather with you", the S-sounds in the vocals became annoyingly harsh).
- Transparent, neutral & lifelike sound: I usually test with Fleetwood Mac's "Rumour", since it's such a well-produced album that it reveals many flaws of headphones. The Focals did so well here, that for a moment I forgot I was using in-ear monitors.
- Engaging: one of the drawbacks with neutral sounding headphones, is that they can sound a bit...bland, for the lack of a better word. The Focal Sphear is on the contrary very engaging. It made "How to disappear completely" from Radiohead's 'Kid A' album sound so great and full, that I forgot I was testing the headphones and got lost in the music.
- Comfortable: these don't go as far in as other IEMs, so they're really comfortable to wear for longer stretches. Comes with 6 different tips (3 silicon and 3 memory foam...I love the latter).
I've loved the Sennheiser Momentum-line (their over-ear model is my go-to for regular outdoor use). The M2 in-ear has been the top rated model by What Hi-Fi in the below £100 price range for a few years now. Sooner or later there comes a time when the torch needs to be passed on. Focal Sphear is the new reigning king, there isn't anything else to be said. These sound like they could be twice the price.
I have Focal Pros and absolutely think they are great, I would give those headphones 5 stars. The reason I have given these earphones 4 stars is, at the moment I have not burned these in, the Sphear have just so very slightly more bass than the Pros. Okay sound is very subjective and we all hear things differently, but it does feel that way to my ears.
They have yet to burn in so I am hoping they may settle down, without becoming more bass heavy.
The bass is not booming at all, it is just slightly raised. Overall, the effect it creates, is a very warm tone. I wouldn’t say these earphones are flat due to this colourisation but all earphones, headphones seem to have their own sound signature either too much bass, or raised mids etc.
The mids are on the raised side but not in the league of Shures with highs highlighting the detail. They sound like Focals which is what I wanted.
Build quality is good, a good solid feel. Packaging was a tad basic but you do get plenty tips. If you wish to purchase an extra set of comply they are comply 160.
The Pros which are over ear headphones have a more flat sound to them in comparison but I believe Focal raised the bass a little more for when out and about to compete with the noise of the outside world.
You do get one Comply pair of each small, medium and large. These are great for noise isolation which I really like with earphones, I must add that, that is not for everyone as some people get a feeling of pressure in the ears. There are silicon tips included too but you won’t get the same seal.
I must add for the price they are truly amazing and when you take into account the price they actually should be 5 stars so I’m being a little harsh
Onto the product, the previous reviews are accurate in stating that the fit is very comfortable. There are 3 different silicone or foam tips separately. The noise isolation with the silicone tips are more than sufficient. There is minimal sound leak from the environment. Meanwhile, I do a fair amount of walking to work. I do not plan on being ran over.
The sound quality is very good. The mids and highs are very crisp. The bass is weaker than some other headphones. This does not bother me at all due to personal preference in the sound desired and the style of music which I prefer. That being said, it would be unfair to suggest that these do not do justice to any genre of music.
One thing to be clear is that these are very high quality in terms of the sound quality. They are certainly performing above their price brackets. I have had Klipsch, Shure and B&W headphones previously. These are, without a doubt, the best in value. There is one drawback - I am now hearing a lot of details which I had never noticed in some tracks that I own. Guess it has changed my opinion on some of these tracks. Be warned. Ha ha.
Features wise it is a single button so no volume control. A slight pain but good enough. The cables feel a little thin so they need to be handled with a little care. There is a good selection of ear plug styles and sizes so everyone should get ones to fit. I have odd eardrums so use a different type in each ear but it works just great.
Now the sound. Wow. Simply wow. Their sound is very similar to the Spirit Pros but in an earphone. Highs and mids are very present and clinical without being tinny or fizzy, like the sounds are right on your tongue. But the bass is the deepest most perfect representation I have heard in an earphone. And I own some Shure in-ear monitors that cost 5 x the price. You don’t need to form a seal in the ear canal in order to get that bass either, you can just sit hem in gently and they sound totally awesome.
In letting friends try them out, in every case as soon as they have a listen I get this look of amazement and disbelief from them and they go order a pair. They sound that good.
So far I have 2 Focal products and they are simply stunning. The best, most accurate and most immersive sounds I have heard. I will be buying more of their products. The Sphears in my opinion would still be worth it at 5 x the price but at under £100 they are a no-brainier for the discerning ear.
I’ve been using them for a month now and still loving every moment. 5 stars!
I found it difficult to get a good fit with the supplied foam and silicone tips as the driver is quite large and the plugs aren't long enough for my ears.
I used the plugs from my old Grado earphones and they fit well and the phones are very comfortable.
There is very little noise isolation which may or may not be important to some.