Focal Clear

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by The Alchemist, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. redrich2000

    redrich2000 Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    132
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I had the reverse experience to you guys. I put my Clears used and the previous owner had washed the pads with some nuclear strength fabric softner. I got the dekoni velours and was reasonably happy. Just recently I got a pair of the Drop Elex pads. They are thinner and softer than the stock pads and suddenly the hot spot on my head was back! It must be different for different heads. Sounds like I should try the perf sheepskin though.
     
  2. netforce

    netforce MOT: Headphones.com

    Friend
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,712
    Trophy Points:
    93
    [​IMG]

    The Clear Mg is officially out now. Same price point as the previous Clear and Clear Mg Pro. We got a few pics taken of the Clear Mg in our office.

    [​IMG]

    Cool stuff, haven't heard it yet myself.
     
  3. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,192
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    small island claimed by China
    The new Mg would look great next to my Stellia, but I'm happy with the OG. Any info on the actual "Mg" diaphragm?
    Sounds like if you scratch the membrane, you could end up with some hot ears.

    https://www.moon-audio.com/focal-clear-mg-professional-headphone-review
     
  4. oldschool

    oldschool Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    37
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Bulgaria
    A review of the new Clear Mg by Jude is out on HF. Calls them smoother, fuller sounding. and with more extended treble response after 10 Khz
     
  5. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    908
    Trophy Points:
    93
    What a surprise! The salesman says the new model is better ;)

    Imagine an alternate universe where Dark Jude says:

    Hey guys, audio tech is not like computer tech. Even after 3 years the new Clear Mg is a very very small improvement over the Clear. A difference so small that you could probably get the Clear to sound exactly the same with 1 to 2 db of EQ in a couple of spots.

    That will be the day :D
     
  6. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,192
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    small island claimed by China
    I just washed Elex pads with Savon de Marseille. They came out like new. Going to use my OG Clear pads for a while and then wash. I think you're good as long as you don't damage them. Frequent washing might reduce breakdown of the foam from oils.

    Copy/pasta from here.
     
  7. Orkney

    Orkney Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    51
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I use the soap on my Clears with good results. Also swap in a pair of the leather earpads from my old Utopias which work well on the Clears. And added a spot of dry teflon to the yoke and sliders -- et voila, no more creak.
     
  8. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,192
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    small island claimed by China
    Please explain w/ photos! Stellia creak is driving me crazy!!!

    I've tried spraying dry silicone lube into the headband mech, but doesn't really help. Just leaves a white residue ...
     
  9. insidious meme

    insidious meme Ambivalent Kumquat

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,563
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Sector 8023 of the Third Quadrant
    He could have said the colors looked cooler, and he'd get the Head fi base there running to the Focal site.
     
  10. Orkney

    Orkney Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    51
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I use a dry teflon-based lubricant I've been running for years on my race bikes. Slide the eaerpads to full extension, and use a Q-tip to dab a few drops onto the top of the yoke and "paint" the sliders with a thin layer, being careful to avoid getting any on the headband or ear pads (I wrapped a barkcloth round mine before applying). Then slowly slide the cups back in and out, rotating now and then, maybe ten times or so. Finally, wipe down the residue with water or diluted iso alcohol -- and voila! Creaks will be greatly reduced or gone entirely. You'll be able to make the phones creak if you really work at it, but they shouldn't in any position or activity outside of aggressive head-shaking.

    Hopefully it works and try at your own risk, of course. Has transformed my relationship with these phones, as well as some Senns and Grados that creaked like a Hammer flix coffin containing the young Vincent Price.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Epic Epic x 1
    • List
  11. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2019
    Likes Received:
    2,077
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    NJ
    Responding to @gixxerwimp here from the Clear Mg thread to avoid an off-topic reply there... We were discussing the possibility that replacement pads for the OG Clear may have changed over time, as one person on another forum suggested.

    It could well be that Focal decided to simplify its pad offerings so that the Elex and Clear pads became one and the same, and in gray. If that guy's pads are indeed different, my suspicion - and to be clear, this is just speculation - is that Focal doesn't make its own pads. Perhaps Focal switched to a different supplier of pads and that explains the difference?

    I picked up a pair of Elex pads last week and their texture is different from those of the original Clear. The sound isn't all that different - less sub-bass extension and, as a consequence of that, I think, a slightly brighter overall tonality. But I can't be sure. I'll need more time to compare them (and it seems as though some of the recent Elex pads may have been susceptible to unit-to-unit variations). I've also ordered a new pair of replacement Clear original pads and I'll compare them with my old ones and with my Elex pads to see if my experience matches that other guy's.

    In any case, thank you @gixxerwimp for your impressions of the Clear with the Elex pads previously in this thread; given the potential future scarcity of both pads, it's good to know that the Clear with Elex pads work well together.
     
  12. Orkney

    Orkney Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    51
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Thanks for this info -- I picked up a pair of Utopia pads a while back on closeout after having a tough time finding Clear pads here in Canada and not getting on with the Dekoni versions. The Utopias are a smooth, and incredibly soft leather but otherwise seem to be the same thickness and "yield" as the Clear OG pads. They're a little more comfortable and a whole lot easier to keep clean and I'd say sound at least as good. Not sure how many are around now but another possible candidate for Clear fans, depending on price and availability.

    I plan on keeping the Clears as my everyday all-rounders, so happy to have a set of spare pads and may try to find a set of the Elexs also.
     
  13. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,192
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    small island claimed by China
    I bought some Finish Line and did this to my Stellia (I think the headband mech is the same) and it reduced creaking by 60-70%. A Q-tip didn't apply enough and the lube dried pretty much immediately. So I carefully placed a drop at the top of each yoke, quickly retracted it into the headband, and wiggled side to side, pulling it out click by click. I did this a couple of times for each side to get enough lube in there to reduce the creaking.

    My Stellia also seem to creak where the yokes attach to the cups (I've described winding waxed dental floss into the hinges in the Stellia thread). I put a drop onto each hinge, wiggled, and wiped away the excess. This seemed to help reduce that creaking a bit.

    My Clears have been pretty quiet, but are starting to make some noise so I'll do them next. Thanks @Orkney!
     
  14. StageOne

    StageOne Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2018
    Likes Received:
    904
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    US
    Quick comparison of the Drop Elex pads compared to the Focal Clear pads. I’ve had my Clears for 4 years and the pads are showing signs of wear so I’ve been looking for a set of replacement pads. There has been lots of discussion of the high price of factory replacements and when I saw these come back in stock I decided to try a pair and compare.

    Feel: The stock clears seem to be a little smoother and softer but that could be the years of wear. No huge difference

    Build: Due to the dark fabric of the Drop Elex pads, it’s not obvious, like the stock pads, they have a more dense fabric on the inner/driver half of the pad (see photo) but I don’t notice any other difference. The plastic mount and backing seem the same.

    Weights: There is a small difference but maybe within manufacturing tolerances. Note, I have two pair of the Drop pads and all 4 are 22g.
    Drop: 22g each
    Clear: 22.5/23.0g

    Sound: This is completely subjective and I did 4 songs with the stock pads then switched to the Drop pads and back to stock. I thought I heard a difference on each swap, so I did another cycle with different songs. After this session, I’m confident the pads are sonically the same and I couldn’t tell the difference in an A/B test.

    Overall I’m really pleased and I’d recommend a set for someone looking for Clear replacement pads.

    I don’t have a measurement rig, but if someone that owns a set of Clears or Clears MG does and wants to do a test, let me know.

    Black pads on the Clears OG
    [​IMG]

    Inner Pads
    [​IMG]

    Sides
    [​IMG]


    tl:dr - The Drop pads are a solid replacement for the more expensive Focal pads
     
  15. antdroid

    antdroid Rando

    Joined:
    May 19, 2018
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Location:
    Seattle
    Home Page:
    I picked up a demo loaner unit from headphones.com yesterday of the Clear Mg Pro and I surprisingly had it on my head for many continuous hours last night.

    My initial reaction was that it was warmer, meatier, and also veiled compared to other Focal headphones, and especially against the HD600 and Susvara. The HD600 sounded much thinner, but also more open and airy (not typically what I’d say the HD600 is…)

    That said, despite the small veil, I enjoyed listening to this for hours. It was very comfortable, as well as the laid back presentation was engaging enough but also easy to relax to (or in my case, work to). It reminded me a bit of the Elegia in that sense. It didn’t have the super punchy dynamics of the Elex or Clear even, and didn’t have that crazy resolution of the Utopia, but it was just a laid back presentation.

    The Elegia is a tad mushy though, which I don’t find the case with the Mg Pro, however, like the Elegia, it isn’t as crisp as the Elex was to me, from memory. While it’s thicker sounding, it doesn’t punch as hard, which came as a bit of a surprise given these are Focals. That said, they’re still dynamic sounding and enjoyable, though a lot more intimate than I expected, though not as forward as Utopias, again, from memory.

    It’s not my normal tuning preferences, because I do feel like there’s a bit of veil in the upper mids/presence region, but I can quickly adjust to it, as proven by my 3-4 hours of continuous listening last night. It works better with male vocals than female due to that veil for me, but again, I can deal with it.

    So far, impressions are generally positive, though I do think if I had to have one right now, the original Clear would be a better choice, though given my current stable of headphones, this one could make more sense for me personally.

    Obligatory graph (43AG clone with correction compensations applied)

    [​IMG]
     
  16. oldschool

    oldschool Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    37
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Bulgaria
    My original Clear is more open and "clear" than my HD600, for what I can hear, while also having more presence, warmth and musicality. It is also punchier than HD600.

    I'd say it beats the HD600 on pretty much all accounts, except maybe if you are into particular tonal specifics like (for example) female vocals or such.
     
  17. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,192
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    small island claimed by China
    The extra set of Elex pads I bought came in. They are slightly thinner than the first pair I bought a while back, which in turn were slightly thinner than the stock Clear pads.

    Stock pads vs. Elex pads from late 2018 (both have been used and washed once)
    Clear Elex1.jpg
    First set of Elex pads from above (left) vs. new 2021 Elex pads (right).
    Elex1-2.jpg

    My original impressions when changing from stock to Elex pads was that the latter were slightly less bright. But since recently putting the stock pads back on, I haven't noticed any significant increase in brightness.

    I haven't listened with the new 2021 Elex pads yet, but just found it interesting that they seem to be getting thinner over time. I'm sure they'll sound just fine :cool:
     
  18. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,192
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    small island claimed by China
    Just had a very quick listen and the 2021 Elex pads seem to lack a "fullness" to the sound. Can't really pin down what it is.

    I weighed them and both stock Clear and 2018 Elex pads weigh just over 22 grams, where as the 2021 pads are 20.8 grams. Hmm ...
     
  19. Ti_Leo

    Ti_Leo Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Likes Received:
    193
    Trophy Points:
    33
    @gixxerwimp I had some experience with drop of Elex pads last year (or one pad, then they sent the other pad) and a Elex from older bunch (I believe). I found the pads from older bunch felt a little firmer and had this tactile keyboard switch kind of feeling if I pressed them, while the pads from 2020 drop were a little softer and just linear all the way down when were pressed.

    About the sound, the newer pads definitely had that cold metallic sheen to my ears while older firmer ones had less, or even little.

    So I thought there were two types of Elex pads, and there were quite a few people complaint about lower quality pad(s) from the 2020 drop. But I was hoping that Drop fix the problem...
     
  20. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,192
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    small island claimed by China
    The 2021 Elex pads I just received are firmer and have the "keyboard switch" feeling you mention, whereas the older 2018 Elex pads feel soft and cushiony like the stock Clear pads. So this is kind of the opposite from your experience. The 2021s are also slightly lighter in colour than the 2018s which are very dark black. It would seem that there have been a lot of changes in the materials used by Drop for these pads over the years.
     

Share This Page