What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 19 Mar 2012, 5:12pm

Focal Spirit One

Tested at £200
80100
4

Yet another premium headphone to add to your shortlist

Write your own review

For

  • Feel durable
  • sound refined and detailed

Against

  • Not the most exciting, or dynamic, headphones we’ve heard

Closed-back headphones, constructed from a mixture of aircraft-grade aluminium, leather and rubberised plastic, the Focal Spirit Ones are sturdily made and feel built to last.

Behind the bright red mesh in each ear-cup sits a 40mm mylar/titanium diaphragm driver, a light, rigid unit designed to major on sensitivity and linearity.

The detachable cable resists tangling well and features an iDevice remote control with integrated mic – a little too high up the cable for our liking.

Punchy bass and a detailed midrange
The Focals give a grown-up, controlled and authoritative account of themselves when on the receiving end of a FLAC file of Comet Gain’s If You Ever Walk Out Of My Life.

Low frequencies punch manfully, and variation in tone and texture is impressive.

The midrange is equally well realised, with plenty of detail described and, consequently, real expressiveness.

At the top of the frequency range there’s just a suggestion of brightness, but only at high volumes – otherwise treble sounds are as prudent as everything below them.

The stereo image is fairly compact, but instruments are separated well, and the Focals offer a commendably natural quality to sounds, especially in the midrange.

The only noteworthy drawback is a slight, but palpable, lack of excitement.

For all their powers of resolution, the Spirit Ones never really take flight, and this reticence is coupled with a slight lack of dynamic thrust.

But there’s no doubt these are a viable alternative to the likes of B&W’s P5s.

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