Review: Focal Spirit One

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Focal | Over-Ear Headphones | $ 279.00

It seems like many companies that manufacture various audio equipment, from amps, to speakers, or IEMs have decided to take their first steps into the headphone business. Focal is a speaker manufacturer that fits this bill. Recently, they introduced a new headphone, the Spirit One which is supposed to capture the sound of their speakers, and put them into a portable, over-ear package for listening on the go.  

Specifications

  • Driver: 40 mm Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 6 Hz – 22 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 104 dB

In the Box

  • Focal Spirit One
  • Audio Cable
  • Hard Carrying Case
  • Headphone Pouch
  • ¼” Adapter

Design

The Focal Spirit one is a very uniquely designed headphone that is able to both look very handsome, but also stand out in the public eye. Very beautiful textured metal stripes the center of each housing while the left-right indicators, as well as the Focal name, are placed within them. The two-tone color scheme Focal uses is very appealing while the shape remains very unique in many ways.

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Design: ★★★★

Audio

Although a tad bit above warm, the Focal Spirit One do a great job keeping linear. There is a slight mid-bass emphasis on the headphones while the midrange holds up great with a slight warmth to it. The treble is energized, presence, but a little over done at time.

So beginning at the lower portions of the bass, I found the sub-bass to have excellent extension down low. They could be, however, a little overshadowed at times by upper ranges. As we go up, we found the impact to be quick, but strong. The mid-bass offers listeners a tight, accurate punch. Overall, the bass seemed very linear, with great extension, presence wasn’t there 100% of the time though.

The midrange has a warm, inviting sound behind it, but also has a bit of energy up top. The lower-midrange detailing is ample enough despite having a more-laid back sound behind them. The upper instrumentals tend to have a little more energy behind them and have better clarity overall. The vocals have great dynamics being able to dig low, but also get the higher octaves of the human voice to produce both the lush lows, but energetically powerful highs.

As we go up top, we find that the energy and power extends even further. The treble has great extension up top hitting frequencies near the ultrasonic range. The upper highs do a great job with detailing and clarity, but they can be a bit much at times. The lower treble has great presence and extension. Overall, Focal did a great job with not only the treble, but the sound as a whole to create a headphone that sits nicely between accurate and fun.

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

I was really pleased with both the design and sound of the Focal (and comfort too, more on that later). I, however, did find that there were parts of the build quality of the Spirit Ones that were less than satisfactory. Nonetheless, it’s overall good build. The Focal did come packaged with a case for storage when not in use as well as a pouch when on the go.

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The headphones’ housings are composed of mostly plastic with a few pieces of metal down the center for show. The housings seem decent, but don’t have the feeling of toughness behind them. The hinging points on each housing feel looser than they really should while the ball bearing to allow the cups to rotate and fold is made out of plastic. There are a few things Focal could have done to improve the build in this area.

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The headband has a little better feel to it. It has a nice stiffness behind it to make it feel much stronger than the moving parts found on the housings. They are, however, flexible enough to prevent from snapping easily. I do feel the headband is built very well. It has good thickness behind it and seems to have a good balance of firmness and flexibility.

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As we exit each housing, we find that Focal did a great job with the cable. The wires, leading out of the left housings, have a nice fabric exterior. It’s more than thick enough to withstand much torture; it seems very heavy duty. Additionally, they are still very flexible. I really feel Focal hit the nail on the head regarding the cable.

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The jacks of the cable run into minor problems. The problem isn’t the strength of the actual jack itself though. The exterior housing on either end is brushed metal that doesn’t only look great, but is very strong. They don’t have any strain reliefs coming out of either end. This makes me a little weary about the life of the cable. Only time will tell I guess.

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Build: ★★★★

Comfort

The first thing I noticed about the Spirit One was that it had a pretty large clamping force on my small head. Nonetheless, with use, this force went away. The lightweight materials used on the headphones really allow them to be worn for quite a while without any problem. The pads are very thick and soft which allow the headphones to sit very comfortably on your ears. These were designed for on the go listening, they do a great job for that too.

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Comfort: ★★★★

Value

I have to say, this is a pair of headphones I can easily see myself recommending to others looking for a pair of cans in the 300 range. These headphones sell around 280 dollars. For this price, I can actually still recommend them. They are very linear and a joy to use on the go as they do an ample job of isolating. Yes, the build could be pumped up a notch, but everything else is really right on par for a headphone of this caliber. Additionally, Spirit also does have a 3-button remote and mic on the cable for iDevice users.

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Value: ★★★★½

Final Thoughts

I have to say, for their first pair of headphones, Focal did a great job on the Spirit One. They are designed attractively and sound beautiful. They fit their purpose of music on the go very well as they will sit very comfortably on your head. The 280 may seem like a steep price to pay, but with the Spirit One, you won’t be disappointed.

I’d like to thank Focal for the product loan.

Overall Score

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Focal Spirit One

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks Focal for the product sample.
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