focal spirit one headset review – foreword
Update: Focal has upgraded this headset to the Focal Spirit One S.
focal has been in the high end of audio for over 30 years and today makes some truly outstanding loudspeakers. In recent years, they have ventured into the portable audio market, first with the Focal Classic and now we have the Focal Spirit, which is the company’s lowest-priced and most portable set of headphones. Following the simple and elegant design cues of its bigger brothers, the Spirit delivers big sound at a low price.
Reading: Focal spirit one headphone review
the meat of the review
focal spirit one headphones – packaging (8/10)
The packaging is very nice and comes in a nicely designed carton with strong and stylish graphics. open it up and the earphones themselves are contained in an excellent molded hard case. after all, they are well protected and very well presented.
focal spirit one headphones – accessories – (9/10)
For a set of headphones, you’re typically very limited in what you can add to a package that provides additional value and function. Focal have done a good job of creating a good overall package by including that great hard case which is perfect for taking the headphones with you on the go. plus, you get 2 sets of excellent quality detachable cables, one of which provides support for smartphone users.
focal spirit one headphones – appearance and build quality – (8/10)
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The look is very nice, as is the build quality for the most part excellent. the style of the spirit is in line with the design cues of the rest of the focal headphone line, but in this case, it’s scaled back in both materials, finish, and physical size. build quality is good for the most part, but it does disappoint a bit with the cheap plastic used on the actual cup of the controller housing. other than that the headband is great with just the right amount of clamping force making it very comfortable for a long time and this is further enhanced by a set of extremely comfortable ear pads.
focal spirit one headphones – isolation (8/10)
Isolation levels were good. A combination of over-the-ear design, good cushioning and clamping force means the Spirit is a good insulator and works well for both commuting and commuting.
focal spirit one headphones – fit (9/10)
the spirit one is a very comfortable headset with just the right amount of headband clamping force. Plus, they’re surprisingly light, which is a good thing, because after a while you don’t realize they’re still on your head.
focal spirit one headphones – sound quality (8.5/10)
The first thing you notice when you listen to them is how clean and clear the sound they can produce is. Focal uses their own drivers for these headphones so you can be sure that they have carefully created the sound profile. the result is a sound that puts them at the top of the portable headphone category.
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Treble: Treble was a bit lax when considered with the rest of the spectrum in mind. they don’t appear to be as detailed or bright as they could have been, but that’s in comparison to the other frequencies that shine so brightly that the highs are overshadowed.
mids – the mids are the strong point. they put on some lovely, detailed, intimate vocals. they performed well with all instruments in this spectrum, even those in the upper mid region tend to cause problems for some listeners. detail levels are very good and nothing sounds stuffy or stuffy. It’s some of the clearest mids I’ve heard in this price range with female vocalists like Diana Krall coming through as detailed as they should.
Bass: Bass is very tight, providing detailed, punchy bass that also has good levels of extension. It’s not going to compete with many bass monsters in massive amounts of sub-bass, but what it does convey is certainly more on the punchy side of neutral, giving it a nice weight behind more pop-based tunes. more refined tastes are satisfied with the spirit, as the bass is well spaced and fast enough to deal with all heavy strings with aplomb.
overall the sound is excellent i would certainly put it up there with the sennheiser boosts and as an overall package i have to say i actually prefer the focals. it is, of course, a refined, intimate, very clean and clear-sounding headphone.
focal spirit one headset review – conclusion
focal has an excellent line of hearing aids and for the traveler who wants something a little more refined and classy than the more traditional fare, the spirit might be perfect for you. I personally liked them so much that I could end up owning a set and I can’t give them more compliments than that. with the good build quality and great sound, it’s hard not to recommend the Spirit. for under £200 they easily compete with the big boys from sennheiser and beyerdynamic, but for under £150 they can be had right now and they become really hard to ignore.
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