10 February 2018

REVIEW: Focal Listen Wireless Headphones

Listen to this...

If feels like recently we've been reviewing a lot of headphones that have been just okay. You know the kind: affordable, comfortable, good looking, but not that impressive in terms of musical quality. That ends today as we check out a stellar pair of 'phones from France: the Focal Listen Wireless headphones.

This mid-range pair of headphones from Focal are of the over-ear type and use both Bluetooth and a wired connection to hook up to your musical device. Those chunky cans feature memory foam cushions, the headband is flexible and padded, they can fold to fit into the included soft carry case, and the built-in battery supposedly lasts for up to 20 hours.

Charging via Micro USB (cable included - add it to the pile), the Focal Listen Wireless headphones took about two to three hours to fully juice up. After that, there is a simple switch to turn them on, and pairing via Bluetooth was a simple as it should be in 2018. You can also plug in a 3.5mm audio cable (also included) to the forward-angled port on the left can, if Bluetooth isn't an option or preference.

You might already have noticed that we're rushing through the description here, and that is because we're quite keen to get to talking about the sound. Christ, it's bloody good. As soon as the Focal Listen Wireless was paired with a phone we hit up Amazon Music Unlimited and immediately streamed a tonne of tunes of varying genres. We were instantly blown away, especially by the bass reproduction. Deep and resounding doesn't quite cut it - these babies were atomic in scale, prompting us to bring up Netflix to watch something with explosions. As you do.

A couple of Star Trek Discovery episodes later and we were further impressed. The Focal Listen Wireless are impressively immersive, and seem to block out a great deal of ambient noise - without being dedicated noise-cancelling headphones - resulting in a high level of audio detail. Explosions echoed down our spines, while the background hum of starship engines was far more noticeable. Headphones like these really do reveal the amount of effort sound editors put into TV shows and films.

When it came to turning off the Bluetooth and plugging in the audio cable, we were merely doing it to cover all the bases for the review; after all, we're fairly full-time Bluetoothers here at The 'Pit. However, the sound quality didn't drop at all when going wired. In fact, if we're being honest, the wired connection seemed even more present, more rich, and that touch more immersive. Louder too, and without us having fiddled with the volume controls.

So very VERY good headphones. While reviewing them we assumed that had to be a £300+ pair. They ain't, and at time of press Amazon have them for just a touch over £200. In our book, for the quality of sound they reproduce, and for the general build quality and looks, they are more than worth it. And, as we said, they come with a carry case. Yay!


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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