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Focal Elear Reference Headphones


Over the years, there are many products from the consumer audio world that have found their way into the studio and stuck there- the ubiquitous Yamaha NS10s are a great example. Even though Yamaha stopped making them over ten years ago, they still occupy space atop many mixers in studios throughout the world. Focal, who already make a very nice studio headphone in the form of the Spirit Pro may well have just created another.

Being well known in the world of high-end hifi, Focal released three new headphones last year for the consumer market - Listen, Elear and Utopia. whilst the Listen were very much audio on the move, both the Elear and Utopia are aimed far more at the discerning music lover. Utopia are a no-expense-spared affair using a combination of Focal's unique knowledge and production capability featuring beryllium drivers, carbon fibre trim, they also carry an eye-watering price at £3499, reflecting the R&D that have gone into them.

The Elear, however, feature many of the technical advancements seen in the Utopia but with slightly less exotic materials which give them a slightly more palatable price tag at £899.

For the money, you get a fantastic performing headphone. From a mixing point of view, they support the full frequency range with an impressively neutral tonal balance. No frequencies ever feel enhanced or hyped but rather that they're what was originally put into the recording. That feeling is also apparent in their reproduction of dynamics- if you're mixing and adjusting compression levels, the Elear are able to reveal and show what even subtle changes are doing to your mix and will let you know when you've gone too far. Similarly, instrument placement and panning is made very easy thanks to their incredibly spacious representation of the sound field. It's very easy to focus on what you need to in a mix and draw out what you need to.

If you have to mix on headphones and can't compromise on the sound, you would do well to take a test drive of the Elear. Similarly, if you've never mixed on headphones, you might find that there is finally a set that perform how you need them to for your work.

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