Focal Clear Professional

Anyone had any experience with these?

This Review seems quite positive.

What exactly are the differences from the commercial version?

Interesting to read an audio engineering take on these. But the answer to your question is:

These are identical to the regular grey Focal Clears in every way except for the colour scheme. This was confirmed by the Focal account on Head-Fi in the Clear thread on that site. If you want to dig, you should be able to find the exact message in that thread around the time of the Clear Pro’s launch. My memory is that at the time there was also a difference in the bundled accessories, but that doesn’t seem to be true now.

BTW: a problem with the standard grey Clears is the light colour of the headband and ear pads can darken over time from skin oils. The headband and ear pad colour of the Clear Pros may be marginally darker and so be less revealing. But if you need to clean them be very careful using anything like a cleaning fluid (I think even an Alcantara-specific product). At least one Head-Fi-er found the red dye bleeds like crazy.

… And that recalls another user gripe. Focal replacement ear pads are $200. And there is no replacement headband or headband under-pad option.

Not surprised the audio engineering reviewer hadn’t found the Head-Fi info re Clear and Clear Pro being identical, given how low an opinion the audio engineering community seems to have for the audiophile/audio-enthusiast community. This very anti-audiophile prejudice may be exactly why Focal markets the same product with two different colour schemes. If audio professionals avoid anything associated with audiophile, they would tend to ignore the high-end Focal headphone line. By re-branding the Clears with Focal’s pro colour scheme and the word Professional in their name, Focal may be trying to by-pass this negative association. Other manufacturers might do well to copy this approach.)

Thanks for the very insightful answer! I tried the Clear for about 1h in local shop a few months ago and liked them. The color/usage issue makes sense so I guess I could see myself going for the Professional.

I was not aware of any strife between pro and audiophile crowds. I am quite baffled by the debate between pro and Hi-Fi gear. The ultimate goal here should be how to enjoy music.

What I am trying to say is I decide my gear based first on how it sounds to me and second on how it looks. Relative accuracy in sound reproduction is important as long as I find it enjoyably. But I guess a sound engineer would burn me at the stake? :laughing:

I have an RME ADI2 DAC which I guess comes from a professional environment and I paired it with a Focal Elex. Great comb. My Elex had the pop/crackle issue and I returned it. I am trying to find a replacement, hence the interest in the Clear.

My statements re audio pros disparaging audiophiles/enthusiasts is based on numerous individual anecdotes I’ve come across on-line. But that’s still only a small sample size. It seems to be related to their conviction that audiophiles are easily seduced by what they regard as snake oil products. The ADI-2 Pro/ADI-2 DAC seems indeed to be an example of a product that’s well-regarded in both camps.

The Clear has the same aluminum-magnesium diaphragm as the Elear/Elex but a new voice coil. Several months ago, when researching a purchase, I read through the entire 300+ post Clear thread on Head-Fi. Their were a very few, and quite possibly only one, instances of someone reporting this break-up issue for the Clear. Using Google, this is the only post I could find now: with this last response on the next page:

Would sure hate to say it’s a non-issue for the Clears, but…

1 Like

This is the official explanation from Focal.

I have no personal take on it. I will say that on my Elex the issue showed up too early and at volumes that precluded me to enjoy my music. Since I am in Europe and I could not get a replacement easily (I checked with Massdrop as it appears not all samples have the same sensitivity), I decided tor return for full refund.

If I do go for the Clear Pro, I would get it here in Europe and I could return it until I get a decent sample.

1 Like