Want headphones for your hi-fi system at home that can also take the challenge of the daily commute? Focal’s new over-ears could be the multi-taskers for you.
The Spirit Classics are quite compact, and their closed-back design means you won’t leak your cheesier tunes all over your neighbours on public transport.
A 1.4m cable with in-line one-button mic for use with smartphones also makes them good for everyday use, although a supplied chunkier 4m cable and 6.3mm jack connector makes them ideal for use with higher-end systems too.
The Focals have a relatively smart – if a little unfussy – design; the whole package has a hot chocolate (bronze) metallic finish.
Memory foam earpads clasp tightly around the ears and – despite making ours a little toasty after a while – are generally snug.
A well-padded headband is a saving grace after a few albums on the trot, too. Give it a yank and it feels solid, yet it’s elastic, so it should fit all head sizes.
The ear cups – partly made out of anodised aluminium - can swivel for greater flexibility, too, although the mechanism sounds a bit clunky in the process.
Inside the cup constructions are 40mm drivers. Focal claims to have used a lighter cone than the market average for faster, more dynamic reproduction – and it seems to have paid off.
When John Williams’s Born on the Fourth of July theme gets going, the Focals run with the score’s fast melodies and fluctuating dynamics.
Violins soar and the gentle strumming of harps seep through the dense recording.
Trumpets, cellos and violins are well mapped across the headstage, making an orderly delivery – although they don’t have as much room to breathe as from more spacious, open-sounding cans.
Shift up to Eminem’s Guilty Conscience, and you don’t have to prick your ears to hear the tonal variations of piano keys in that prominent bassline.
Taut and controlled, it times well from beginning to end, and projects a nice mix of all the elements.
There’s expression and transparency to Dr. Dre and Eminem lyrics, too: the mid-range is convincing, and highs are sweet.
However, bass lacks grunt and we find the Focals a bit soft, lacking the pep and dynamism of class-leading rivals.
If you can want a more laid-back, refined delivery, then the Focal Spirit Classics are a fine example of the quality at this price level.