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Focal develops Listen wireless, Spark wireless earphones out now!
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Focal develops Listen wireless, Spark wireless earphones out now!

by Johnny2017/06/26

You might never have considered Focal headphones; that’s because before the average joe would never be able to afford most of the high-end products on offer. Items such as the Focal Utopia Headphones are on ebay for just under $4,000!

“Last year, Focal took the audio world by surprise with Utopia and Elear high-end headphones, which integrated some very innovative technologies,” said Ben Jensen, president of Focal North America.

Focal have realized that there is a much bigger market out there for those who are on a tighter budget. So not only are we going to see headphones within reach, but also in-ear headphones such as the Focal Spark, which is already up for grabs.

Focal developed portable headphones for an affordable price

Focal aim to take the world by surprise once again by providing high quality audio for an affordable price. To take a leading role, the company will have to outperform well-known headphone brands such as Bose, Sennheiser and Beats.

“With this collection of portable headphones, Focal was focused on developing mainstream mobile products in-line with the brand’s core values, while integrating our mastery of wireless headphones. We want to play a leading role in this growing sector giving the consumer freedom of cables and making 2017 the year of wireless headphones for Focal.” says Ben Jensen, president of Focal North America.

Listen premium over-ear headphones go ‘Wireless’

Focal have just announced the Listen wirelessalmost a year after the success of their wired predecessor. In September last year, French designers got together to release Utopia and $1,000 Elear high-end headphones as well as the cheaper Listen headphones.

Focal Listen Wireless

Focal Listen Wireless headphones

Fortunately, there are a lot of minor improvements aesthetically and internally which will make the device much easier to use. Focal have thought more about making existing products better, this is what audiophiles are looking for.

Related: Radstone Smash EarStudio Target

Listen wireless features in a bombshell

The Listen Wireless has heat sensitive memory foam ear cushions which provide excellent sound isolation. To be portable, the ear-pieces are fold-able just like the Original and look great with the addition of a scratch-resistant, lacquered high Gloss finish.

Focal Listen Wireless folded

Focal Listen Wireless folded

We have 2 Omnidirectional microphones for voice calls which gives “even greater intelligibility of speech and conversations” (No need to shout at Siri). The controls have been fitted onto the ear-cup itself so you can answer calls, skip music tracks etc. If you want higher quality sound, the headphones can also be used with a traditional audio cable. In other words, you don’t have to use Bluetooth if you don’t want to!

The Listen Wireless uses Bluetooth 4.1 instead of wires which can is compatible with AptX. What does that mean? Reddit user Yaroslavm explains:

AptX support: mandatory for playing off desktops/notebooks (including MacBook; Apple notebooks support AAC, but some AAC-only headsets can’t pair in AAC mode, my V-MODA, for instance) and, if you’re lucky enough, from your Android phone.”

What’s really useful is the fact that two devices can be connected simultaneously, e.g. your phone and tablet. After being charged for 3 hours, you can expect up to 20 hours continuous playback with a 15m bluetooth range. For all the features see the Listen Wireless specs sheet.

The Listen Wireless will be available mid to late July in Black high gloss finish for $299.00 USD.

Difference between Original Listen & Listen Wireless?

  1. They’re not Wireless.
  2. The controls are on the cable, not the earcups.
  3. The headband is possibly not as flexible.
  4. Has a ‘hand-painted’ finish.
  5. Doesn’t have ‘Clear Voice’ capture software.
  6. Microphone isn’t built into headphones, is on the cable.

There doesn’t appear to be any difference to sound quality, so if you don’t want all the thrills you can save yourself $50 retail. However, you will be missing out on the upgraded microphone and the benefits of being optionally cable free. For all the features see the Listen Original specs sheet.

The price for the wired Original Listen has dropped from $299 to $249 USD and is currently available for purchase.

New Spark line to tempt earphone lovers

2017 welcomes the launch of the new Focal Spark and Spark wireless after their successful 2015 Sphear in-ear headphones. As mobile devices slowly take over our lives, earphones are increasing in popularity. The French designers are trying to perfect them by improving introducing high quality sound to your average consumer. No longer should it be acceptable to buy earphones from The Pound Shop!

Focal Spark Wireless earphones

Focal Spark Wireless earphones

The Spark & Spark Wireless uses a 9.5mm Mylar driver for a “dynamic and wide frequency response” and comes with a three-button remote control. The omnidirectional microphone is included in both models. Notably, they didn’t go down the Apple Airpods route and kept the connecting cable for the Spark Wireless.

Spark and Spark Wireless are now available in Black and Silver for $69.00 USD and $99.00 USD. We have now reviewed the wired and wireless versions, be sure to read them HERE.

Sphear S Hi-Fi In-Ears up next

Focal Sphear S earphones

Sphear S coming soon!

Maybe 9.5mm drivers aren’t big enough for you? Focal are way ahead with ultra-large Mylar transducers (10.8mm), 1.2mm larger than the Spark Wireless. The Sphear S will be the available mid to late July in Black for $129.00 USD.

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About The Author
Johnny

Johnny is the manager of SoundReview but also writes himself occasionally. Away from the keyboard he likes to keep fit at the gym to balance out the daily toll of vigorous computing.

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