Focal Clear Mg Measurements, Analysis, Review

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    In a nutshell: Focal has adopted the Audeze sound for the Clear Mg. Think of it as an Audeze, but with a traditional dynamic driver. The upper mids and lower treble are muted. The highs return from the mid-treble onward. There is the tiniest bump at 1kHz. Yup, it's an Audeze (well, the muted upper mids and lower treble isn't as extreme). The Audeze sound is very popular, so this makes total sense.
    PXL_20210320_154051364.jpg

    Focal Clear Mg
    Frequency Response
    MiniDSP EARS w/ SBAF Compensation v3.2
    upload_2021-3-20_10-53-2.png
     
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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
  2. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    I've not gotten ears on the Clear but how muted is this relative to the Elear? Haven't gotten to A/B any Audezes and Focal in store demo settings before (remember when that was a thing that happened a lot...?) so that's about the closest I can think of, though as someone who rather enjoyed a demo of the LCD-2 Classic this is pretty neat.

    Frickin huge departure from the original though, what the hell.
     
  3. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    Maybe the departure won't be so bad for people, like myself, that really disliked the Clears (because of that super metallic treble that was piercing to my ears). Since it's not "full-blown" Audeze, maybe it may become something interesting for some.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
  4. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

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    @purr1n
    Is it zingy/emphasized somewhat like LCD4 above 10k?
    Does it have less metallic timbre than the original Clear or Utopia?
    Do you find anything superior to it compared to the original Clears, or just a different flavour?
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    To be honest, I was really hoping for a shift in the direction of the Utopia's frequency response, maybe something even quite "perfect" without the slight upper mid emphasis of the Utopia. But I get what Focal is trying to do. Like what @Walderstorn said: Clear, despite sounding laid-back, was not quite enough in this direction, may as well go "full" Audeze.

    Here are the flat plate coupler measurements. Note in this case, the EARS and FPC measurements after compensation are quite similar. I will also use the FPC measurements to compare relative FR with other Focals.

    Focal Clear Mg
    Frequency Response
    Flat Plate Coupler w/ Compensation
    upload_2021-3-20_11-23-55.png


    Focal Clear Mg (GRN and RED) vs OG Focal Clear (GRY)
    Frequency Response
    Flat Plate Coupler w/ Compensation
    upload_2021-3-20_11-27-26.png


    Subjectively, Elear was more bassy with mosquitos in the mid to upper highs. Here is the comparison with the Elear.

    Focal Clear Mg (GRN and RED) vs Elear (GRY)
    Frequency Response
    Flat Plate Coupler w/ Compensation
    upload_2021-3-20_11-32-42.png
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not, not "somewhat" zingy in top octave like LCD4. Note that LCD2C and many other Audezes, despite their highs being laid-back, do have a slight peak around 7-8kHz (often seen in FR and CSD). Not so with Clear Mg.

    Actually quite smooth in the upper registers. Definitely less metallic than Utopia and maybe slightly less than OG Clear. Did I find anything else superior compared to the original Clears? Nope. I was hoping Focal would have pushed the technicalities a bit closer to Utopia... but that would not be a smart idea because then it would be too good. It would appear that the Clear Mg is just a different flavor that goes more all-out laid-back.

    I'll get CSDs up and running to check on the behavior of the mids to highs. This will make me a while since I am not totally set up yet at my new place. I need to calibrate relative SPL levels so I get correct distortion numbers too.

    BTW, the low xmax or physical excursion limits are still there. Very easy to have the drivers slam into their limits and go clacky-clack-clack with cranked up bass.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
  7. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    If it is relatively easy and quick, is it possible to get the FR graphs in colors (e.g. primary blue, yellow, etc.) more friendly to the red/green colorblind (8% of male population)...I have been trying to get a handicapper parking sticker for this for years to no avail :p
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I could go blue in place of green. Red must stay because Red = Right color coding.
     
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  9. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    You just read my mind, i was hoping for something in that category but i guess, as you said, it would be too good and it would cannibalize the Utopia sales.
     
  10. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Focal should make a Clear Be for $2200: same FR as OG Clear (for the most part, maybe Stellia upper register to appeal to more peeps) and Stellia-like technicalities and Clear Mg-like build quality.
    Maybe for their 45th anniversary or something...
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Shameless plug for site sponsor Bloom Audio:
    bloom.jpg

    And @tommytakis sent these to me. These waffle cookies were my favorite. A bit harder to find. I may have to go to a Houston H-mart.
    PXL_20210125_151934299.jpg
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    And then a Focal Utopia Ultimate with FR between this hypothetical Clear Be and Utopia for $6600. :p
     
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  13. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    Buying a Focal should be buying a car: Pick your trim level.
     
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  14. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Thanks Marv. Looks like an interesting movement for focal. Perhaps there's high chance that I prefer the changed tonality. Kinda wondering if focal re-defined target consumers for the Clears only or they just wanted to change whole house sounding. Looking forward to seeing what decisions they will make for the 2nd-gen Utopia (likely coming in foreseeable years).

    By the way, any thoughts on ergonomics and cable flexibility, microphonic, etc? I don't see much change on photos, but asking out of curiosity.
     
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  15. oldschool

    oldschool Acquaintance

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    They didn't learn, eh? Funny as some people at HF say there is no distortion this time, but some have reported the same for the OG Clears, too, while for me they clack like hell on certain bassy songs
     
  16. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    Comparing the FR graphs, it seems as though the Clear MG splits the difference in the 4-6K range between the OG Clear and the Elear. Does this matter much to the overall tuning of the headphones?

    I guess I'm wondering if Focal experimented with two distinct presentations in this range, with the Elear and then OG Clear, and then determined that there's a sweet spot with this new Clear? I also tried comparing with the Elex's FR graph; if I'm reading the graph correctly, the Elex was closer to the OG Clear in this range.

    (Sorry if these are poor questions, my understanding of measurements is still rudimentary)
     
  17. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    So if you're into the Audeze sound but you like high impedance OTL's or less than ideal power for planar SET OTP's this would seem to be a win vs. a real Audeze? I assume the bass technicalities on the planars are still the winners even though FR is pretty flat on the Mg
     
  18. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    I believe Focals need some darkness in their FR to sound more natural. Their super sharp transients need some tube love to smooth them or some kind of EQ to lower the upper mid and treble levels slightly. They can not afford to be tuned neutrally and be used with most neutrally tuned SS amps.

    So yeah I think this new tuning is the wise thing to do for their successor to appeal to more people/gear.
     
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  19. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Maybe not. Impedance on these is given as 55 Ohms, same as the OG Clear, which is on the low side for OTLs. Likely their profile in the bass and the consequent sensitivity to amps is also the same. @purr1n , could you check that please?
     
  20. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I'm pretty sure LCD-3 and LCD-4 are over 100Ω. Problem is that they need quite a bit of current to sound good and an OTL just isn't going to provide that.
     

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