The French audio brand Focal has been busy of late, expanding its quality lineup to include more affordable earphones to complement offerings like the Utopia, a $4,000 pair of headphones. The Good The Focal Sphear is a lightweight, comfortable in-ear headphone that stays in your ears and sounds impressive for the price, with full bass and pleasantly crisp treble. That said, all the other controls work as advertised. But that shouldn’t be mistaken for “bad”. Inside the earpieces, audio is delivered via electrodynamic 9.5mm mylar drivers, with a 15 Ohm impedance. Focal does treble well, the Elear’s best quality was its sublime upper end. Try These Headphones Instead, The Best Earbuds (In-Ear Headphones) for 2021, Cheap AirPod Alternatives: The Best True Wireless Earbuds Under $100. But I feel like there’s a right way to do it, and Focal didn’t get that balance right with these. Their line of higher end over-ears are excellent sounding and well-built tanks and I’ve enjoyed each one I’ve tried. The Focal Spark are light to the point where I would frequently forget that I had them in my shirt or pants pocket. On Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild," the drum loop receives less high-mid presence than it typically does, which has the effect of dulling the attack of the hits slightly. When the design of a pair of headphones or a speaker perfectly matches its function, that product usually gets a high score from me in terms of design. If you scratched three logos off of these headphones, you’d still have another logo. Like I said, I’m a huge fan of anything minimal. If you have more room in your budget and want some excellent-sounding wired in-ears, the Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 remain one of our favorites. Focal Audio's Spark in-ear headphone offers the perfect sound for music from all sources. It certainly has the sonic punch to lead the pack, with its detailed response and solid low-end. At top, unwise listening levels, the drivers do not distort, and at more moderate volumes, the deep lows still have a strong presence, balanced somewhat by the high-mids and highs. Besides my obvious hatred of the branding on these headphones my biggest problem with the way these headphones were built and designed is the control module. Their entry level Spark earbuds cost way less than $4000, but are they any good? French audio company Focal has been creating acoustic equipment since 1979 in the home audio, headphones, car speakers and monitor fields. Powerful bass response that never distorts. There’s not much ceremony here, although in use the se… Video Review The Spark buds are beautifully-built | The Master Switch Design: Focal (pronounced Fo-CAL, by the way - they’re French) sent us two models: the Spark, and its wireless cousin. The cable is also a flat one which helps to avoid tangles which is super helpful if you’re like me and just end up stuffing your headphones in your pocket when you’re done using them. The in-line controls work fine but if you’re on Android you’ll miss out on the ability to return to a previous track. Here, the drums definitely get an extra helping in the bass department, but it's not enough to send things into ridiculous thunder territory. They offer a surprisingly bass-forward audio experience, given Focal's typically more balanced, accurate approach. Full Review: https://www.themasterswitch.com/review-focal-spark PCMag, PCMag.com and PC Magazine are among the federally registered trademarks of Ziff Davis, LLC and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. Which is fine since the company has plenty of other products you can look towards if you want great. The Spark's boosted bass is not unpleasant in the slightest, but it's missing its counterpart in the high-mids and highs—if we're abandoning the idea of a flat, accurate response, we need sculpting everywhere, not just in the lows, to achieve a sense of balance. I don’t want to be a walking advertisement every time I go to the grocery store. Bill Callahan's "Drover," a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives a better sense of the general sound signature. In that same piece however the highs have a nice air around them that never becomes harsh even when it gets much louder towards the end. You can pause or play music by clicking the middle multifunction button, skip to the next track by double clicking it, access your phone’s voice assistant by holding it down, and adjust the volume via the up and down buttons. The Focal Spark Wireless don't cost too much more than the £60 of their wired equivalents. Callahan's baritone vocals also get a heavy dose of low and low-mid presence, bringing out their richness even more than might be necessary. They work best with folk, jazz, and singer-songwriter music. Apple AirPods Max vs. Bose NC 700 vs. Sony WH-1000XM4: Should You Pay More for AirPods? The mids seem a little lackluster to my ears with elements that I know are meant to drive the song forward fading into the background. We’ll be tackling the latter in another review, but for now, let’s talk about the wired version. The Spark looks good and is competitively priced, although the earpiece fit could be improved. They are just what it says there but they’re very accomplished indeed. Now with a pair of headphones like the Utopia in their line-up, you might expect Focal to take the same route towards near perfection with the Spark but the truth is it has a much more of a mainstream sound signature to it. But that shouldn’t be mistaken for “bad”. It performed as expected in many areas and was a bit of a letdown in others, but it was never great at any one thing. the song already has powerful thumping bassnotes throughout and with a little extra attention paid to them they take over. 3:57. It can be both a good and a bad thing with the bass notes in “Home Again” by Michael Kiwanuka being given a warm presence, but the ones in “Fall Creek Boys Choir” by James Blake being a little too much for my taste. The Focal Spark, at $69, represents the opposite end of the the Focal pricing spectrum, a no-frills, wired in-canal pair with an inline remote. At first glance I was sure this would be one of those instances, but then I took the headphones out of the box and was smacked in the face with branding. Our review unit of the Focal Spark arrived in a relatively compact, brown corrugated cardboard box from the company's public relations firm in Miami, Florida, USA. If you happen to have a phone without a headphone jack then don’t lose the dongle (or get something else to plug it into) because otherwise you’re out of luck. (This logo, coincidentally, looks quite a bit like the logo of audio manufacturer MartinLogan, only shifted on its side.) Flat, linguini-esque cabling descends from the earpieces, which feature metallic outer panels emblazoned with the Focal logo. The Focal Spark wired headphones retail for $69, and they are available from Amazon [affiliate link] and other retailers. Verified Purchase. They keep the sleek metallic look found on the original Focal Spark headphones, though obviously the cable instead wraps around your neck. If it stopped there, it would’ve been fine. Whether you’re looking for a spare pair to keep in your bag or are looking to make them your go-to everyday pair of headphones these are a good option that’s just a little rough around the edges. In the box you’ll get the headphones, a small hardshell carrying case for storage, three sets of extra ear tips, and the instruction manual. The French audio brand Focal has been busy of late, expanding its quality lineup to include more affordable earphones to complement offerings like the Utopia, a $4,000 pair of headphones. The earphones sound more balanced on orchestral tracks than with any other genre, but there's still some added bass push. But then you get the name “Focal” stamped in white across the side of the earbud, as well as on the black control module hanging out on the wire, as well as the 3.5mm connector, and even on the small piece of metal at the Y-split. So too, is the Wireless Spark here. Part way down the left cable, you’ll find a small remote, which features a volume u… Just open the box and you’re ready to go. We’re reviewing the silver pair, which has a white cable, but the headphones also come in black. Helpful. Focal, the French leader in professional acoustics, hi–fi and automotive, completes its range of headphones with a brand new in–ear: Spark. The Focal Spark, at $69, represents the opposite end of the the Focal pricing spectrum, a no-frills, wired in-canal pair with an inline remote. As far as connection goes there’s only one option here: a good ‘ol 3.5mm jack. Focal Spark Wireless in-ear headphone review: Audiophile sound at a budget price The French manufacturer's in-ear-headphones will bathe you in intoxicating audiophile sound … Dampen the Din: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 vs. QuietComfort 35 II, Pre-Order Bose's Sport Open Earbuds for $200, Samsung Reveals Galaxy Buds Pro Name on Canadian Storefront. But I digress. 4.0 out of 5 stars Good value. Look, I get it. For those who like visual simplicity for a clean appearance, the Focal Spark has you covered. The lower register instrumentation is pushed forward in the mix, but it doesn't overwhelm the balance, and the bright higher register brass, strings, and vocals are able to maintain their prominence in the mix. It could’ve been that I had high expectations going into this review but I feel like the Focal Spark didn’t floor me in any way. Our brand new earphones, Spark, are our entry-level model, giving customers access to the Focal sound. Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology. Without a doubt the best in-ear headphones in their category, they open the way for fans of streaming music who want to enjoy their favourite songs on the move. There's nothing wrong with the added bass depth, as it's never over the top, but the earphones could use some added high-mid presence to give things more definition and clarity in the highs. 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