FOCAL SPIRIT ONE
- Pros: The Focal Spirit One combines superb sleek design with an excellent sound performance for a relatively small supra-aural model.
- Cons: Comfort is good but below certain competitors.
- Briefly: Even though Focal is a new brand in the headphones’ market, the manufacturer offers an amazingly successful product with a good look and excellent audio quality. We love it!
- Loudspeakers 40mm
- More colors available
Focal Spirit One Review
The Focal Spirit One is affordable for a headphone designed in US but assembled in China. The Spirit One earphones are slightly larger than those of the Bowers & Wilkins P5, but I prefer the sound of the Spirit One to that of the P5 because it has deeper bass and a more thriving sound. With a good sound performance, soft cushions and a generous two-year warranty, the Focal Spirit One is a must-have for anyone looking for a universal headset.
Design and features
The Focal engineers have made an extra effort to have their Noise reduction headphones adapted to all face and ears, but comfort is still fairly moderate. The fact that the earpieces pivot with two vertical hinges and also on its horizontal axis to equalize the pressure of the pads on your ears is very appreciable.
The intelligent design improves the ear-tightness of the earbuds to increase the insulation of the external environment and maximize bass. My main complaint is that the pressure of the atria is a little too strong in my head, but I suspect that the stiffness decreases over months. The aluminum hinges that bind the earbuds to the headband should also ensure long-term durability compared to the plastic parts used by many other headsets.
The “soft touch” effect of the ear cups and the slightly padded headband gives an impression of luxury. I also appreciate that both earphones clearly point to the right and left. The 40mm Mylar and titanium transducers have an impedance of 32 ohms and ensure high performance at high volume. The headset can, therefore, play as hard as you want from a phone or a walkman.
The Spirit One comes with a detachable cable of one hundred centimeters, covered with fabric and equipped with controls for your Apple smartphone. The metal controls (not the plastic), very well finished and symbolizes the Bluetooth quality of headphones that can be found in this price range. The 2.5mm connector is rather well assembled on the left atrium, but it will enable to unintentionally pull it to detach the cable (it would have been nice to be able to lock it). The ear cups can be folded in the direction of the headband for compact storage, and the accessories include a semi-rigid and padded carrying case, a soft cloth, an airplane adapter and a 3.5 to 6.5mm adapter.
The two-year warranty on parts and maintenance is twice as high as the warranty usually found on other headphones, especially since it is the Focal importer that handles repairs. Keep your invoice or proof of purchase with the packaging. You will need it to enforce the warranty.
The Spirit One has an amazing balance between bass, midrange, and treble. Other headphones in the same price range as the ATH-M50 Audio Technica give a much poorer sound in comparison.
Also, these earphones offer a more detailed sound for a more intense musical experience. I compared the Spirit One and the Bowers & Wilkins P5 with a piece of Amy Winehouse. The P5 flattened the sound, making the experience as flat like when you lower the contrast of television. In defense, the P5 had a warmer tonal balance that some might prefer, but I think the Spirit One has a better sound.
I did all the listening tests with my iPod Classic, but I also tested Spirit One by connecting to a FiiO E17 USB amplifier and a digital-to-analog converter. The extra power boosted the bass, but Spirit One surprisingly produces better quality sound when plugged into the iPod, this is atypical for a headset like this since most headphones do better with an amplifier. Let’s say that the Spirit One already gives its best on a walkman.
Finally, Spirit One performs a good job of isolating the sounds from the outside environment and does not let a lot of sound leak to the others next to you.
No surprises, Focal knew what the audiophiles want and designed a product that meets their expectations. Spirit One does not only score points on its beautiful sound quality, but also on its assembly quality and elegant style.