🔷 Focal Bathys ANC

Well bathys showed up today DOA. Sounds like a mic is out of adjustment because it just rings…not impressed with focal as this is the second headphone that I’ve owned from them that has arrived DOA, first one was an Elex.

Damn that sucks, wonder how that happened. Hopefully you can get a replacement or refund easily

Hopefully, audio 46 sounds like they will help me out but the thing that sucks is it takes a month to get mail. So sending it back could take a month and then another month for the new one to get to me.

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Had the exact same issue. It was LOUD. RMA’d it and got a good unit delivered on Friday. For such a premium looking and sounding headphone brand, their QA sucks!

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Focal Bathys Bluetooth Active Noise Cancelling HiFi Wireless Headphones

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Happy New Year!

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless ANC Headphones vs. Focal Bathys HiFi Bluetooth ANC Headphones!

Well it’s been months and I finally live somewhere that I can ship electronics and batteries in the mail. Today I got my new bathys RMA’d from audio46. I cannot say enough good things about the audio46 crew and their willingness to help me out months after I bought the original set.

Now it’s only been a couple hours but dang these are on the road to being the best sounding BT/ANC headphones I’ve heard.

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It has been a few months since these came out, are you still impressed with them?

As a BT headphone absolutely, they are great and still the best I’ve heard. I will always caution though that focal qc blows and I was lucky enough that audio 46 helped me out with an exchange when the headphone arrived to me doa.

Sorry for the late reply, and thanks for yours! Yes, I feel like I dodged a bullet by getting the Celestee instead and having no issues so far [knock on wood]. I thought about getting another, but living in Asia there is no official place here to go for after service.

This might explain why the Bathys’ price has been slashed by about 300USD so far here, which only knocked off the tariffs that were applied on top the original price; yet still they aren’t selling very well.

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I’m still in the market for a solid BT over-ear headphone, and i’m having a tough time choosing between the Bathys and some AirPods Max.

Obviously one is significantly cheaper, but is that reflected in the audio quality? I haven’t tried either of them in a while, but I know they’re both decent. The Bathys i’m sure are much better, but is it worth the extra $300? Let me know what you think.

Catch them on a sale or used they are worth it under $600. If not I suggest the new Sony’s.

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It would be nice to buy a new pair but at this point I don’t think I really have a choice :joy:

Audio46 did me a huge solid when mine arrived DOA and cannot praise them enough. They waited 3 months for my return since there was a battery shipping ban where I was at. Give them a shout to see if they have any open box deals or even just sales.

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Double post from head-fi that I also want to share with you guys here:

Wireworld Starlight 8 USB 3.1 Audio Cable Review

Alright guys, since I got very intrigued by @LifeAspect ´s and @coldbru ´s mentioning of the Wireworld Starlight 8 USB 3.1 cable, I reached out to the German distributor and asked for an example of the 1 meter cable in exchange for an honest review (using the cable with my Bathys). I was a musician and producer about 15 years ago but changed my career and got a writer … as well as an audiophile listener.

Back then when I had the Focal Stellia in my possession, I already reviewed some cables for other boutique manufacturers, although these (e.g. silver/palladium) cables were priced around 2k $, and so about 10 times as expensive as the Wireworld cable. It was a completely different take as they were cables for analogue signals and I used them with my LGPT Ti DAP. So it was a VERY expensive „portable“ rig I had about two years ago. But back to the Bathys:

When I got these headphones, I mainly used them with the original USB-C cable from Focal (and my Samsung Galaxy s10e).

But first things first: the EQ

I only use them with this EQ


Which is a slight alteration of what @Nomax suggests (thanks again for your findings with your “golden ears”) :+1:

BUT as some albums are mastered rather quietly (such as: Stevie Wonder - Talking Book, Steely Dan - Two Against Nature, Bab Marley and the Wailers albums etc. etc.) I just boosted all frequencies across the whole spectrum for exactly 4 dB, which afterwards looks like this:


I tested it: It sounds the same as above, doesn’t distort etc. It just makes everything louder and gives you more headroom to play with on the mobile phone or laptop. BUT please take care of your ears! Of course you have to make the music quieter when listening to „normal compressed“ modern music. In fact the Focal engineers knew that they had to implement the EQ in a way so that boosting all frequencies doesn’t distort the sound by any way and just makes it … well, louder.

Anyways, this EQ, in my opinion, is what an album should sound like. How would I know that? Well, I spent uncountable hours of my life in studios with recording-, mixing- and mastering-engineers. So at least I know how the albums I produced myself should sound like. This EQ comes closest to that feeling I had back then in the mixing- and mastering studios (and probably also approaches the Harman curve).

So, now that we’ve got that covered, I’d like to get back to the USB cables. With the original Focal USB-C cable, I didn’t find anything to complain about sound wise. But at the same time I sensed that the Bathys could squeeze out more (better sounding) music with the right cable. I came to that conclusion because at the beginning I was listening with an iPhone. I bought an ordinary chi-fi cable (Meenova) from AliExpress with a lightning adapter on one end. It sounded okay-ish. Then I bought the Apple Camera Kit adapter and connected the Focal USB-C to the Apple dongle. Well, what can I say: It sounded better. Then I ditched my iPhone and bought an android phone. And again: It sounded better to directly connect the Bathys with the USB-C to the mobile phone. Then again, when connecting the Focal USB-C with my MacBook Pro it sounded - surprise surprise - even better than with my Samsung mobile. As you see, I heard differences between different devices with different cables AND between different devices with the same cable. So that’s why I thought that an upgrade cable might result in an even better sound. This was the time where I remembered some head-fiers talking about a Wireworld cable. And the rest is … well, not „history“ but this review:

The Starlight 8 USB-C cable just sounds damn „right“. It takes the Bathys to a new level. Not to a „whole“ new level, but a new level nonetheless. And it doesn’t come with its downsides. But the great things first:

The bass frequencies are right there where I want them. And NO, I wouldn’t have achieved that by just raising the bass in the Focal app. I tried, believe me, I tried many many many different EQ profiles over the last few months. You will never get THAT bass. Because I felt that the cable somehow managed to raise the sub-bass beneath 62Hz. And in addition it feels like the mid bass got more punch. It is more THERE. Felt. Not only heard. Again: This wouldn’t have been able by adding more mid-bass to the EQ, which would have resulted in bloated lower mids (also looking at you, dear Stellia).

Continuing to the mids, I have only one mighty word: transparent. And I don’t want nothing else from the mids. They should be present and clean and transparent. Not bloated (lower mids), not piercing (upper mids). But clean. And I get that with the Wireworld cable.

And the highs? They are nicely extended, don’t pierce, don’t sound artificial. I repeat myself, I didn’t get the same results by rising the highs even more in the EQ. It just got artificially sounding. Too much bass isn’t good, in the same way too much highs are not good either (for your ears, for long term listening, for enjoying the music as the „artist intended“ it when recording their songs). All the details are there, but not thrown in your face. A mature tuning.

But the frequencies don’t cover up the whole cake, do they? What about sound as a whole?

What I experienced right away when listening to the Wireworld cable with my test-tracks was the stereo panorama. Man, this cables transforms the Bathys into a 3D sounding headphone. It literally feels like being in the midst of a band. With the singer prominently right in the middle and the left and right sounds going easily beyond the cups. But also the depth increases by quite a margin! I don’t only hear the music in front of me, it rather envelopes me. Separation is great. Macro dynamics as with all Focal headphones superb, but also micro details - with songs that I know by heart - are all there and then some.

Guys, I know, some of you will laugh at me, but yes, this combination beats the Focal Stellia! It does. And not only the Stellia alone (with its stock cables) but also with the combination of the palladium/silver cables I had back then. I don’t have that „rig“ in possession any more, also not the LGPT Ti. But the Bathys with the Wireworld sounds better. I can say that because so many of my favourite albums sound the way they have to. No niggling needed anymore (at least what concerns the sound). And I niggled a lot when listening through my old „rig“ worth about 10k $! And that’s crazy, when considering how „affordable“ the Bathys are in comparison to the Stellia, right? The Stellia always had too much mid-bass that would bleed into the lower mids. It was difficult to tame the upper-mid bump that caused ear-fatigue. And the highs had a metallic sheen that wouldn´t go away. It was a shame for that price (at least when compared to the price of the Bathys). All that is gone with the possibility to EQ the Bathys. And of course the DSP in the right earcup also does the trick. In combination with the Wireworld cable the Bathys soundwise outshines so many headphones it puts a smile on my face. It´s really hard to believe but I trust my ears for over two decades now. This is a killer set!

But I don’t want that review to sound like a miracle (although the cable has its „magic“), and as I am an audio enthusiast as you guys are, of course I will also tell you the downsides of that cable … so you can decide for yourself if it´s worth a shot.

Five things.

  1. It costs about 200 $/€ (for the 1 meter version). For most of us this is a lot. I know. But when you think about the terrific deals right now you get for a new pair of Bathys, then you might take the plunge for that cable in order to hear it how it sounds at its best.
  2. You might or might not like its looks. I like that „technically-engineer“ vibe very much. As said, in the analogue world there are so many cable manufacturers who offer bling bling cables for many thousands of dollars. And I can see how one might like that (because I liked that, too, haha), but this red cable, IMO, gives that „grey“ looking headphones a nice spicy touch.
  3. It has some cable noise, not much more than the original Focal cable. When listening to music I don’t hear anything from the cable when going around so it doesn´t bother me at all. But most of us won´t run around with that cable anyways.
  4. That point might be a real bummer for most of us, it is stiff. Yes. Stiff it is. Why? Because it wasn’t made for the Bathys. We wouldn’t even need the USB 3.1. I guess USB 2.0 would be suffice for high res music. But this is the only Wireworld cable with USB-C on both ends of the cable. Anyhow, this cable isn’t made for jogging. Of course you might use it at your desk, on your couch, or when on commute with the train/plane etc., and you might even use it when moving around the house or for „small“ homework where you don’t have to move a lot. That being said, I also use them when walking around the city, like going from A to B. Does it look weird? I don’t think so. I know, some of you don’t even leave the house with the Bathys. Me personally, I don’t care.
  5. The cable is only available in two lengths: 0.6 meters and 1 meter. I have got the 1 meter version and of course I thought that 1 meter is too short (against the standard length of 1.2 meters). But, to my surprise, it wasn’t. In fact I think 1.2 meters would be too long for this cable. Why? Because - and this correlates to point 4 - this cable doesn’t bend like a „normal“ cable. It has, as you can see from the pics down below, a somewhat flat design. That’s also because the power cord has its own space and therefore doesn’t interfere with the other cords that deliver the signals (which, I reckon, is one of the main plus points that results in that great sound). What I want to say is, that this cable, when „worn“ with the Bathys and my mobile phone in my left back pocket, kind of folds around my body like a spiral. As said above, it isn’t the most flexible cable out there (to put it mildly), as it wasn’t designed for walking around. But it works for me (I am no jogger). So point 5 (the length of the cable) isn’t really a „bad“ thing. I fact I wouldn’t even urge Wireworld to produce 1.2 meter cables (at least not with that cable layout). But if they would achieve to create a USB-C cable that would be more pliable than the Starlight 8, and also won’t compromise on the sound quality, that of course would be great.

I know there are many of you who think a digital signal is a digital signal and why would it sound different on different cables? It´s just 1´s and 0´s that pass that cable, right? Nope, that’s not the case. As I read from another audiophile: USB cables don’t pass 1’s and 0’s, they pass voltage signals which are interpreted as 1’s and 0’s. Voltage below a certain level is interpreted as a 0 and voltage above a certain level is interpreted as a 1. Anything that interferes with the voltage signal can cause the data to be misinterpreted by the DAC …

But I am no engineer or technician. Last time I checked I was just a guy with two ears :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

So, that’s it. I will continue rediscovering all my beloved albums with the Starlight 8 … and I hope you will, too, with or without that cable (… but at least, please, try my EQ I mentioned above with the USB-C connected to the Bathys, preferably connected to your laptop/computer!! Some of you maybe will „miss“ the bloated bass, haha, but as soon as your ears/brains settle in, I am sure you will appreciate that balanced tuning for long listening sessions.)

And now, finally, let’s move on to some pics:


AudioQuest Carbon USB-C Cable Review

Hi there all of you guys who - like me - won’t stop thinking that there could be more to squeeze out of the Bathys. I reached out to AudioQuest and they did send me an example of their 0.75 meter Carbon USB-C to USB-C cable in exchange for an honest review (using the cable with my Bathys and my MacBook Pro as well as my Samsung Galaxy s10e).

For starters I’d like to tell you which EQ I am using:


I do use another one when using the Bathys wireless though … https://www.head-fi.org/threads/foc…arly-impressions.965153/page-63#post-17495082

I always heard differences between USB-C to lightning cables (I hat two different ones back then for my iPhone), and they did sound shockingly different! That’s why I thought maybe I could hear a difference between different USB-C to USB-C cables, too. In addition there are differences to be heard when switching from a mobile phone to the MacBook Pro. There shouldn’t be a difference. It´s all 1s and 0s, right? Well, I don’t believe that any more …

Anyways, let’s start with my findings when listening to the AudioQuest Carbon in comparison to the original Focal USB-C cable :

Overall I would say that I hear some kind of consolidation. The music seems to be a bit more present , tangible. It doesn’t have a different presentation (like the Wireworld I will speak of later on). BUT as the background appears to be blacker when listening to the Carbon, the music might be more palpable. It certainly isn’t a night-and-day-difference though.

Beginning with the bass I’m inclined to say the Carbon has a tiny bit more oomph than the original cable. I, for one, like its bass presentation very much and wouldn’t want to change anything.

The highs are, compared to the Focal cable, a bit softer. I have to admit: That’s something that surprised me a bit. Not that the Caron sounds worse in this department, it´s just a bit more cautious. This also means: One could drive the Bathys a bit louder than previously, which in consequence favours the bass/mids … which isn’t a bad thing per se if one prefers headphones that don’t have too much energy in the upper frequency range. On the other hand: If one prefers a more „airy“ sound, you might want to stick to the original cable.

But what about the mids ? Well, here lies the true charm of the Carbon , at least for me. Because this cable favours voices above all! Which again, might not be what you are searching for when listening to a lot of classical music and instrumental albums where you might want a bigger stage and air. BUT if you are one that favours voices, then you might want to check out this cable. It presents them very beautifully!

Since I did review the Wireworld Starlight 8 a few months back - you can find my findings here:
Of course I’d also like to compare those two upgrade cables:

Alright, the Wireworld has a bigger stage. It sounds grander. But it comes with a cost. Where the information of the left and right signals pan very „left“ and very „right“, there also seems to be some kind of lack in between. At least when compared to the Carbon.

The Carbon has more information in the center stage, and it „renders“ (if one could use that word in a USB cable review) the information very true to the source. The WireWorld cable sounds a tiny bit, just really a tiny bit more woolly, just because the stage is that big in comparison to the stage of the Carbon. And to be honest, I am not sure which sound I really prefer. Of course orchestral music benefits from having „space“. But when listening to a jazz singer I might want to hear the voices as clear as possible. I guess it comes down to your taste. Both cables are similarly priced. Pick your poison !

The downsides?

  1. One word: Price. (About 200 Euros). Of course this is a lot.
  2. It doesn’t sound THAT much different when comparing it to the original Focal cable. It “just” makes it a bit more “better” sounding. (The WireWorld cable did indeed sound different)
  3. The length is either 0.75 meters or 1.5 meters. I chose the first, shorter length because I want to put my smartphone into my left front pocket. It is the perfect length for this carrying version. 1.5 meters would have been to long, even if I would put my mobile phone into my back pocket. Also please don’t forget number 1 (price!)
  4. Compared to the Starlight 8 cable from Wireworld it doesn’t „flash“ any importance. It is, well, black. It is slightly thicker than the original cable, which is a very good thing in my opinion. Also it bends very nicely, is pliable (although not as pliable as the original cable) and also doesn’t have so much microphonics than the WireWorld. But if you are looking for an upgrade cable that also has a bling bling factor, this isn’t it. But I think that most of you guys don’t want/need that anyways because the Bathys itself has enough „importance“ in its looks itself.

BTW: This is the link to the official AudioQuest/Carbon website :

To be true: The Batys sound fantastic with the bluetooth connection. Of course there is a jump to be heard when connecting it with a USB-C cable to the mobile phone (it sounds better to me when connected to an android phone compared to the iPhone with the Camera Kit). And there is another small jump when connecting the Bathys to the Laptop/MacBook Pro. And there is another (this time even smaller) jump when connecting the Bathys with an upgrade USB-C cable to the chosen source, at least to me, where the diminishing return kicks in. BUT the biggest jump (in overall sound quality and transparency and balanced tuning) you will get when applying my suggested EQ (for USB connection) at the beginning of this review. Have fun listening to the Bathys!

And here, at last, some pics:

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