Focal Spirit One review

Another premium headphone to add to your shortlist, but not the most exciting sound Tested at £200

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Yet another premium headphone to add to your shortlist


  • +

    Feel durable

  • +

    sound refined and detailed


  • -

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

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

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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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test