Focal - Focal Elear


Focal Elear: 100% pleasure hi-fi headphones

Aprox. 499€ - see price -

Focal announced in the summer of 2016 the arrival of three headsets, two of which were new: the Elear and Utopia, the first to benefit from a 100% hi-fi approach from the French brand. We had already been impressed by the beautiful neutrality of the Listen, a headset yet nomadic, and as much to say it right away, the Elear is a real success.

Our review


The Focal Elear is both sober and elegant. The shape of the helmet is not innovative, but it spares us the sometimes convoluted design of certain products of this type - hello the HD800S. The manufacturing is nonetheless very well done, down to the smallest details. We mostly find aluminum completed with a few touches of real leather.

As can be seen in some other competing headsets, no XLR connection is possible from the start with the headset. The manufacturer has nevertheless clarified that it can be manufactured on request from the dealer.

The Elear is not the lightest and most flexible in its class. And yet, its weight is really well balanced once the helmet is placed on the head. The pressure points are distributed homogeneously whatever the morphology of the skull and no feeling of discomfort or pinching really appears during long listening sessions.

The very slightly notched hoop of the Elear allows a wide deployment which adapts to almost all the heads (from 32 to 44 cm approximately, by measuring from ear to ear passing by the top of the skull).

This comfort is provided by a judicious choice of materials and by the well-designed design. The perforated pads are airy and soft. They include the ears well without touching the protective grid of the transducer. The asymmetrical hinges of the arch ensure good hold while hugging the top of the head.

The upholstery of the pads is made of lambskin and perforated textile (50/50%) for their acoustic (ergonomic, leather absorption, textile) and ergonomic properties.

If we don't have too much doubt about the durability of the metal part, we are a little bit more skeptical about the fabric of the pads. There were no defects or premature wear during our two week test period, but its appearance is very fluffy. Fortunately, the ear pads are removable, so you can at least change them if something goes wrong.

The Focal Elear is connected via a double mini-jack 3.5 mm cable to 6.35 mm jack of 4 meters. Its great thickness bodes well for longevity. There is very little security to secure the cables to the helmet, but we would have preferred something more firm to secure the helmet in the event of a fall.



The Elear has benefited from a very special design from Focal and the result is really there. The sound rendering is both faithful and precise, the distortion is extremely low and the sound scene reproduced in a natural and detailed manner.

Neutrality enthusiasts will find themselves in this helmet. The accuracy and precision of the bass is amazing. They are exactly where we expect them. The Elear also responds present in the lowest frequencies, unlike some other open headphones. We enjoy a real feeling of depth and pressure on the bass drums, on the bass or on the synths. Its membranes show a very good reactivity in this area, which allows you to enjoy very precise and punchy bass in all circumstances. The rest of the spectrum is in the same vein, although there is a very slight decline in the midrange / high-midrange synonymous with a slightly softer sound. This does not affect the intelligibility of the voices. Their presence is also quite striking, like many other musical sources. The restitution in the treble, airy and defined, is done without artifice; This is a point which can also be confusing if you are used to flattering helmets which bet on an accentuated shine.

There is absolutely no sibilance, even with very demanding pieces on this point.

Measurement of membrane reactivity: square waves at 50 Hz (left) and square waves at 500 Hz (right)

The deployment of the sound stage is also remarkable. The reading of the different layers and the differentiation of the sound sources which compose it are done in all transparency, whatever the musical style or the dynamics of the song listened to. Each piece can be peeled precisely. We feel here an approach similar to that of the Sennheiser HD 800 S, with a real exteriorization of the listening, as this we were in the center of the action. The ultra-open design of the Focal Elear greatly contributes to this result, at the cost of an ultra-significant sensitivity to surrounding noise.

RAS on the side of the distortion, the measurements speak for themselves: the Focal Elear is a real example in this area.



It is a real tour de force that the Elear offers us, and by extension Focal for its first fully hi-fi headphones. The Elear certainly ranks among the essentials by holding hands all its promises: a very good feeling of comfort, a surprising neutrality, a beautiful sound precision, a natural spatialization and a distortion of oblivion gathered in a manufacturing with little onions. What more?