A year and a half ago, I saw a few posts and ads about Focal and I was surprised that they went into “In Ears” market with the Focal Sphear. I decided to pull the trigger and bought them, which at the time were $150.
In the audiophile headphone world, the Focal Sphear is often overlooked and not so popular. It is mainly because they aren’t about the hype life. It’s funny but true since Focal only started foraying into the IEM category barely two years ago. Their over-ears headphones lines like the Focal Spirit and Focal Utopia are renowned everywhere.
I have been an audiophile around late elementary to early middle school when I have started this journey. I have had countless IEMs and over-ear cans well over $400 and am picky overall in what ends up being my daily ones. Nowadays, I am focused on the “best bang for your bucks” headphones in order to recommend to my family members and friends with not so deep wallets.
- Wonderful balanced and weighty sound
- Silky smooth dynamics
- Clear vocals
- Great build
- Might require some extra power from amp if you want punchier sound
- Perhaps too warm sounding for some, depending on your EQ preference
Build and Comfort
The build quality of them, many may see as inconsistent. Why do I say this? Because one would expect the nozzle, shell, and cable to be more high-end at the price that they are going for. But keep in mind they come with built-in mic(which I used daily to chat on my PS4) and a universal button for music controls.
On the bright side, Focal had invested in the most important parts – speaker material quality, acoustic enclosure. After constant use and throwing them around, at times scrunching them up in an emergency, there is still no signs of wear and tear. And this is after one and a half year of usage, mind you. Build quality is phenomenal!
Comfort is so seamless and they feel light to put on. This is despite the aluminum shell(maybe I’m wrong but sure seems like it) and their massive 10.8mm Mylar Speakers.
You won’t find the impact like this with other IEMs under these price range. This is because of its patented Bass Reflex system which made it sound like a full-size speaker or a sub. Only the Monster Turbine Copper and Gold series have this.
It has the punch of a full speaker yet controlled without being overpowering or bloated. A drum kick and bass guitar are well separated and detailed and you feel its pounding kick.
With that power, I would have expected the speaker to be bloated to the point where the bass guitar loses itself but not at all.
It has amazing sub-bass end extension but only if song asks for it, unlike some other headphones.
The mids aren’t recessed and have an airiness to them. It is tight and quick to what you throw at it while retaining the richness and clarity.
Now here is the most spectacular part about the headphones – the vocals. They have a very cool, I believe it’s patented, feature – the vocals are always so rich and clear with airiness and presence.
It doesn’t matter if it was a guy or girl singing. Many headphones only sound good with either vocal.
Now I know what you are thinking, this could be a gimmick or perhaps frequency tuning specifically for vocals. However, when you listen to them, you will see that it is beyond that.
The frequency boost for the vocals is accurate to the decimal that there isn’t any bleeding to the lower mids or treble.
You may think, well if the bass and mids are all so good, I’m sure there has to be a flaw somewhere. I found it in the highs.
This is where I feel that they could be extended more but then again I’m a bit of a treble enthusiast. The treble is very nice and present with no sibilance eg. cymbals. It is well controlled with good separation of layers.
Amazing instrument separation with details not being left out or drowned out.
It’s big! This is mainly because of the ultra-large 10.8mm Mylar speakers. I will say that it is the size of a big theater but not concert size.
These are underdogs that are overlooked beyond the audiophile world, while the rest are joining the hype train (lol!) I have been there too. For a sub $100 headphones they are undeniably fantastic!
Now when you visit the official website, you will see the new Sphear S. Honestly they are just repackaged adding the S with no difference so instead, save yourself over 30 bucks and get the regular Sphear. They are durable, comfortable, and above all incredible sound!
Thanks for the honest review of the Focal Spheres. I totally agree with your assessment. What I really like about these headphones is how clear the vocals are. Vocals do not get overwhelmed in the music. Soundstage? Yes, BIG!
Glad I found this sight! Love the reviews.
Difference in sound quality between focal sphere and moondrop starfield?thanks!
Difference between focal sphere and moondrop aria?sound quality
Hm, been interested in these iems couple years ago, but never pulled the trigger and maybe that was mistake.
Any chance for a comparison with Focal Listen Wireless?