Focal Clear Mg Measurements, Analysis, Review

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

  1. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Almost "Made"

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    I'm also listening to hard rock / metal music with the ZMF Aeolus / Verite Closed, and I think you should also add the Grado Hemp to your list. To my ears, the Hemp are better than the OG Clear/Elex with Metal, and they are a very good complement to my ZMF headphones.
     
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The Clear (OG or Mg) are too polite for metal. Grado Hemp or Grado with TTVJ pads all the way.
     
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  3. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Or HE-4.
     
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  4. Huhnkopf

    Huhnkopf Friend

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    RIP my 2 HE4's.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    curious if anyone has listened to CMG on a 3F yet...

    I know the 3F is supposed to be for focals, but the change in impedance and FR make we wonder if it's a good pairing. Thinking that maybe it could be a good complement to Auteur...
     
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  6. Soliloqueen

    Soliloqueen Friend

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    Oh man, someone please talk me out of buying this. I love the 650 but my problem with it is too much energy 2-6khz
     
  7. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    My magic 8 ball says they would pair well. I believe the way 3F supports focals is not by FR (it's neutral indeed) but by transient/responsiveness. Also 3F has been well paired with many laid-back cans (auteur, verite, etc). Maybe a little mid-centric by nature, which CMG would rather benefit from.
     
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  8. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Below just my speculation without any real evidence. Feel free to disregard.

    [​IMG]

    I'm kinda suspecting if CMG was inspired by the "defective" Utopia unit Tyll happened to review years ago (when Focal first entered this audiophile market). Looking back, his review sample was suppressed on 6k and 8khz for unknown reasons, which other production utopias could never reproduce again.

    I remember Tyll was super into Utopia in his review and his description was fairly inconsistent with what utopia owners/lovers said atm. If what I am hearing is its revised/degraded version, his enthusiasm now makes a lot of sense to me. Compare the graph above and this. At least some resemblance seen to my eyes.

    Maybe Focal secretly conducted a few experiments on the defective pair to figure out what happened. They might incorporate lessons learned to come up with a souped-up focal drivers with laid-back voicing, then finally gave birth to CMG in 2021.

    Will they update Utopia eventually? IDK. Maybe sales success/failure would either trigger or close such possibility. I personally want to see such variation though.
     
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  9. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    If Focal wanted a darker sounding Clear, they should have just put an acoustic filter over the driver. Open cell foam is one option, familiar to DIYers, but there are cleaner, sleeker, and thinner materials that could accomplish this.

    Can't say I agree there. I found the Grados with TTVJ considerably more polite, or at least more balanced, than the Clear OG with metal.
     
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  10. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Just out of curiosity, is there any material that doesn't feel restricted? Dan Clark used to do that for his products and I also experimented toilet papers/cloths on my end (when I had hd800), but none worked for my taste as I was eventually frustrated with restricted air flow (even when FR aligns with my preference zone). Since then I wasn't into cloth filters at least as a full cover. I generally found I preferred drivers not covered with front/back damping stuffs.

    But I am far from a skilled expert for that subject matter and experienced only two failure cases (hd800 and aeon flow), so wondering how you view such things.
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Both Clear Mg and OG is worthy of consideration with the Mg having more similar warmth with the HD650 and also being more laid back than the OG, which is slightly laid-back.
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    No. Anytime you cover something or dampen something, you are going to dampen the transient response. A side topic: this is one of the reasons why people like the Focals and Grados. They are the most open headphones around. We're not talking about open back - of which there are many open back headphones - but rather open baffle or leaky baffle.

    The Grados pads are leaky. The Focals have a free-flow mesh screen right immediately around the driver. There is no seal like on the Sennheiser HD6** and HD8** where the metal mesh isn't permeable and the pads seal the air inside moderately well.

    This is why Focals pop so easily with 100db 25Hz signals. The Grados just need a few db more to pop. Not any different from OB speakers suffering from high-excursion.
     
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  13. boomer

    boomer Rando

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    Tyll's Utopias probably had different pads. I bet they switched production pads to reduce driver failures. They will update Utopia when they will update their headphones to bigger drivers.
     
  14. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Almost "Made"

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    To my ears, the Grado Hemp (with the TTVJ flat pads) are more punchy and engaging with metal music versus the original Clear.
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The pads were always the same. Through the grapevine: let's say they had some screw-ups in production/QC. It happens and Focal was new to the high-end headphone game at that time.
     
  16. smileraidcall

    smileraidcall Rando

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    I personally thinks it is a good move to slightly tune the signature. As there are some people getting tube amps to get a slightly warm signature for the OG Clear. Changing the signature by reducing the upper mids and lower treble by a little, while the upper treble comes back for the airy sound. This sound signature allows people to laid back and enjoy the music for a longer period of time.
     
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  17. smileraidcall

    smileraidcall Rando

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    I owned the HD6XX and OG Clear, and it is similar to your description. The HD6XX has a slightly warmer vocal compared to the OG Clear. If the MG Clear is tuned slightly warmer and reduces a bit of lower treble to remove the metalic sound, then it will make the MG clear the Ultimate upgrade for replacing the HD6XX with Focal's technology.
     
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  18. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    Any chance of the Mg Clear getting into the loaner program?
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    That's the plan.
     
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  20. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Not to derail too much, and perhaps this would be best suited for its own topic others could reference in the future...

    What @purr1n said is correct. At the end of the day, it's all about tradeoffs. You'll get more transient speed and dynamics with less stuff in front of a driver. It's up to the listener whether or not this is too detrimental to the tone and timbre. I'm generally more inclined to prefer good tone and timbre over transients and dynamics if forced to choose.

    I generally recommend thin (1-3mm), low-density, open-cell foam, essentially what Sennheiser uses on the HD6X0. This is pretty easy to get for DIYers from sites like Foam Factory (aka Foam By Mail).

    Here's an example. A 1/8" thick, regular, open-cell charcoal foam sheet is like $9: https://www.foambymail.com/CR/solid-charcoal-regular-foam.html

    For a DIYer, a single sheet of that can last you years for mod experiments.

    For manufacturers, there are actual acoustic filters you can purchase, such as these: https://www.saati.com/en/markets/consumer-electronics/acoustics

    They come in a wide variety of filter types and "transparency". I tested out a whole sample book of this stuff and wrote an article about it on Innerfidelity a few years ago.

    Sennheiser appears to use a sort of stainless steel weaved mesh screen for their baffles, which could similarly be used as acoustic filters over a driver too. The smaller the weave, the stronger the acoustic filter. You could probably get something similar here: https://www.utahbiodieselsupply.com/stainlessmesh.php

    Though I'm not sure of the exact metal material, Zach from ZMF has used that to cover drivers on at least one model headphone he sells.

    Of course, you can always get creative and only cover part of the driver with acoustic material, such as how many cut a small hole in the HD650's front-side foam. You may want to keep things symmetrical as a "just in case" measure.

    I used a layer of that charcoal foam over the Clear driver (and just the driver, not the mesh to its side). It really helped smooth out the rough edges with a mild, but agreeable, impact to sharpness, transient speed, and so on. It was still a dynamic and fast-as-hell driver. It's not like it turned into an HD650.

    Toilet paper can be used, as you mentioned, but my experience suggests it needs to be pretty thin (1 or 2-ply max, and cheap stuff like Scotts). It has a more heavy-handed approach than a light foam.

    Cloth materials can be a bit too smothering, in my experience. You can sometimes use a bit of light felt, but often you'll only be able to cover part of the driver.

    Foam isn't inherently better than these materials. It just seems the thinner, lighter material is generally more agreeable in a wide variety of use cases. If the foam is too thick or too dense, you can get some weird effects.

    Nonetheless, front damping is generally something you do after everything else. Think of it more as a way to smooth out wrinkles when no other tuning option gets you exactly where you want to be. Get as close as you can via other methods, and then polish if desired.
     
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