The overall tonality of this headphone leans towards the warm side of neutral. It’s not bright or edgy as most ‘neutral’ headphone tends to be, but it has good balance with a little hint of warmth and an overall relaxed signature.
The bass is well-extended and is quite punchy. Doesn’t bleed into the mids and is fairly linear up until the upper midrange and lower treble area. I should say that getting a good seal is a must in order to get the most out of the experience. Depending on the size of your head or ears, this may be a chore in itself based on my experience.
With midrange being fairly linear yet a slight downwards tilt, there is a little bit of lushness in the character of the vocals. Just a little bit that I ultimately feel the description ‘apt’ is just perfect. It’s neither recessed nor forward so if you like listening to male and female vocals, they do sound great with this headphone.
The upper midrange going up is fairly polite and so the instruments in that range have some smoothed out character to it. If you ask me, that’s better than a peaky metallic response that is fatiguing for long listening sessions. For a sealed headphone, I thought the clarity is decent. While it doesn’t match the resolution of open-back headphones, its smooth grain-free treble character is truly a treat!
The soundstage is fairly average and is typical of closed-back headphones. If you’re coming from the M50x, then I don’t think this would be much of an upgrade in terms of spaciousness. It is, after all, a sealed headphone like the M50x. Imaging, I thought, is pretty ok for a sealed headphone. Not too crazy but I’d say it’s slightly better than some sealed headphones that I’ve tried like the M50x, MSR7, Audeze Sine. It doesn’t have a lightning-quick transient response because of it’s laid back character, but it’s no slouch for the price point.
It plays plenty loud from a mobile device and I thought the sound quality really didn’t change much, if at all when plugged into an Aune T1 SE DAC/amp. So you should be good if you’re going to be using it straight out of your laptop/desktop outs.
Now this headphone has been phased out already by Focal but there are still plenty of them available at Amazon and other similar sites. The street price hovers at around $200-$250 from the original of $400 and for that price and purely considering the sound quality that you’re getting, it’s a fantastic value that you’re getting. Definitely a clear step above some of the popular sub $100 and $200 headphones that I’ve tried.
Sadly, comfort and build issues are quite critical here since you don’t want to be using headphones that give you discomfort nor do you want it to not last for a long time. Having said that, if you can try it out on a local store near you then please definitely do. That should take half of the guesswork and just leaves you with build issues to worry from.
Check them out on Amazon where they’re currently retailing for slightly over $200.