We all know that Focal makes incredible sounding HiFi speakers but their headphones are equally impressive as well. The Focal Clear is a high-end open-back headphone, and with one look at it, you’ll know is good. Like any high-quality headphones, they will also need powerful headphone amps to drive them so that they can sound their absolute best. If you are currently looking for a headphone amplifier to pair with your Focal Clear then look no further.
Before we share with you a list of the best headphone amps that you can go for and partner with your Focal Clear, we should first find out more about these dynamic open-back headphones. We must understand what are their strengths and their sonic characteristics, as using this information, we will be able to find the right headphone amplifier.
Sound Characteristics and Strengths of Focal Clear
The Focal Clear is an audiophile quality circum-aural open-back headphones, the leather headband and the 20mm memory foam ear cushion are also covered with a perforated microfibre fabric which makes wearing this pair of headphones very comfortable. It doesn’t feel as warm and you can probably wear it for a long period of time. The overall aesthetic of the Focal Clear looks luxurious and premium, we definitely wouldn’t mind wearing them outside. The low impedance of 55 Ohms does allow us to have more pairing choices with portable headphone amps and audio players since it is quite easy to drive.
The open-back design does hold back the thought of bringing them outside of the comfort of your home though as it does leak out sound thus disturbing others. The outside environment noises may disturb your listening experience as well. The frequency response of Focal Clear is 5Hz-28kHz, delivered through the 1.6 inch (40mm) Aluminum/Magnesium ‘M’-shape dome drivers. The weight of the Focal Clear does deter the comfort level a little since 450g is not really lightweight. The overall integrity feels sturdy and well built, the metallic structure has that premium feel to it. The Focal Clear comes with a hard-shell carrying case which is pretty neat.
The bass reproduction is exceedingly rich and taut, the very deep low-ends have weight which gave us quite an exhilarating feel. The subterranean bass is prominent and clear but does lack the rumble. Still, the overall low-frequency are musical, never intruding the rest of the frequency or muddle the presentation, the bass is delivered when it should be. The agility and pacing of the midrange reproduction are class-leading, providing you with natural clean sound quality.
The vocals have a tad warmth to them and not to mention the clarity providing us with crisp treble. The realistic resonance of the drums and the plucking of the guitar strings all sounded accurate. The airiness of the Focal Clear provides sweetness to the already smooth-sounding quality. Even at high volumes, there is no strain or excess brightness, the soundstage doesn’t collapse and it is still highly defined. The stereo imaging is impeccable and we love the Focal Clear snappy timings which make listening to our favorite tunes a lot more engaging.
Every nuance of the music details is crystal clear and the subtlest of sound can be heard. The Focal Clear provides a faithful presentation of the music but with a bit more emotion and energy that engages you immediately. The sharp stereo imaging and clarity are just some of their top strengths, and more importantly, these headphones never sounded overly bright. Really impressed by how much details can be dug out by the Clear and still sound good on bad recordings.
The musicality and coherence of the Focal Clear are definitely one of the finest. If we were to nitpick, probably will be the price point, but for this level of high-fidelity sound, it will still worth the investment. Now we have all the necessary information we need, it is time to share with you the best amplifiers that you can pair with your Focal Clear headphones.
Focal Clear Specifications
- Type: Circum-aural open-back headphones
- Driver: 1.6 inch (40mm) Aluminum/Magnesium ‘M’-shape dome
- Frequency response: 5Hz-28kHz
- Impedance: 55 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
- THD: 0,25% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
- Weight: 450g (0.99lbs)
Best Amps to match with Focal Clear
Schitt Audio Jotunheim is probably the best price-vs-performance headphone amp to partner with your Focal Clear headphones. The Jotunheim is more than capable of driving your Focal Clear cans, and with plenty of power to spare. The metallic aesthetic matches well with Focal Clear too. The neutral-sounding nature of the Schitt Audio Jotunheim makes it an ideal amp for Clear, as you get to enjoy more of Focal Clear’s sound signature and characteristics. The bass response is a tad more prominent than neutral though which does gives a little more warmth into the overall sound reproduction.
If it is all about sound quality and spares no expense then you should check out Feliks Audio Elise. Feliks Audio headphone amps have amazing synergy with Focal cans. The Feliks Audio Elise is some of the best headphone amplifiers currently on the market to pair with your Focal Clear, it is able to deliver a wide and deep soundstage. The smooth and warm-sounding characteristics are easy on the ears, allowing you to enjoy long hours of music listening without feeling listener fatigue. If you like full-bodied sound and the warmness of vacuum tubes, you might want to hear them out first.
Schitt Audio Lyr 3 is one of the must-haves for tube loving fans, it brings richness and warmth into the sound quality. The smooth textured music delivery is accompanied by plenty of details and the performing instruments are highly defined. The Schitt Audio Lyr 3 is able to drive your Focal Clear with ease as well. This headphone amp doesn’t bloat up the bass reproduction which is awesome, as this doesn’t overshadow the sweet mids of Lyr 3. You can change the tubes and customize the sound to your taste. If you prefer the Schitt Audio house sound then we suggest not to tube-roll.
The Monolith Liquid Platinum headphone amp designed by Alex Cavalli will be another amazing choice to pair with your Focal Clear. It is one of the top choices due to its powerful and clean sound quality. With the Monolith Liquid Platinum amp, you can be assured that it can power your Focal Clear and unleash its full potential. It matches well in terms of sonic characteristics, as the amp can dig out plenty of details, unraveling all the layers of your favorite music and deliver them out using the clarity of the Focal Clear headphones. You should take the time and effort to audition them, well worth a listen or two.
SPL Phonitor XE is one of the best matching headphone amplifiers to pair with your Focal Clear especially if sound quality is absolutely critical and budget is not an issue. As the flagship model of SPL, you can expect high-end superior sound quality and the ability to drive your Focal Clear to sound their absolute best. The spatial reproduction and airiness are simply superb, it is incredibly detailed and leaves no stones unturned. SPL Phonitor XE is an amazing headphone amp for professionals as well, due to their neutral-sounding nature and transparent sound quality but never sounding clinical which is great.
If you are searching for a high-quality DAC to partner with your Focal Clear, then you might want to take a look at the Schitt Audio Bifrost 2. It is one of the best DAC you can get your hands on and works really well with most amplifiers especially if you are going for Schitt Audio headphone amps. The Gustard X20U DAC is worth your consideration as well, one of the strengths will be the ability to produce a large soundstage which complements the Focal Clear really well and the headphones can fill in the details with their pristine clarity.
The listed headphone amps are some of the best on the market, and you should see which one fits your budget then go-ahead to have an audition with them along with your Focal Clear cans. If you like what you hear then that amplifier should be the one for you. You can also use this list as references when checking out other headphone brands/amps, just remember to audition them first before making any decision. Have fun hunting your headphone amps.