When In Manila, the Focal name has been a staple for being great speaker makers, moreover, they are widely known locally for car audio enthusiasts. For many years and throughout the globe, Focal has always been greatly known for speakers. Now that they have been entering the portable audio world, eyes are on them in creating a product that would continue on the proud name of Focal into this different niche and market. Focal may be fairly new into the portable audio scene, but with their engineering and experience, oh boy, they kicked-off pretty darn well! Introducing to you, the Focal Spririt One. An award winning headphone from Focal. Let’s get into the details shall we?
Packaging/Build: Here’s the great thing about Focal; I noticed that from entering this new market, they have studied well the needs and wants of consumers. I also believe that they also keep track of other brands in the scene to be able to craft a very good headphone even at this early stage of joining the headphone scene. I believe this as the entire packaging of the Focal Spirit One is phenomenal! It comes in an enclosed sliding hard box, and when you open the box, you find a sleek headphone carrying case that houses the Focal Spirit One and the accessories. It doesn’t stop there, the case inside is made premium. Even the 2 cables that are included (standard and with remote and mic) are sleeved for added style and protection. Yep, you heard it right, 2 cables meaning that the cables is detachable! An airline adapter, a 6.3mm adapter, an adapter for non-3 ring jacks, and even a carrying pouch is included! Talk about a full blown package! It is extremely rare to find a headphone packed with every single adapter or accessory you will ever need. Yep, they are all housed in a shell like carrying case, but still, they are so generous to include a carrying pouch for those who want to go even lighter. This is a packaging that most consumer headphone brands should take note of. Cheers to you Focal!
Going to the build, this headphone is beautiful. Portably beautiful! It is a portable type headphone which can be folded. Yet, the cups are big enough to snug your ears in. Yes, I dislike supra-aural so this fits nicely in the middle. Not too big, not too small. Colors are great and very stylish. I saw the alternate black color and it was a thing of beauty as well. Only issue for me is that, parts of the headphone feels too plastic. But that’s just me.
Sound Quality: Out of the box, these headphones will sound cluttered and the mids are way too forward. Give it around 100 hours burn-in and they become fantastic. Burn is essential always for headphones, though some only develop properly by a little. The Focal Spirit One is different. It really needs burn-in to truly show its potential as burnt-in is really a leap from out of the box. Let’s get into the details now that burn-in is taken cared off; the lows of the Focal Spirit One is far from those in the similar price range. The lows of this headphone digs down the sub-bass deep and in good control. The mid bass is well rounded with a good strong kick but with no bleeding from the bass into the mids. Mid bass is actually more rounded than having more emphasis on kick, giving both the mid-bass and sub-bass more details than just power. For example, a hit on the bass would reveal the resonance than just the thump which is quite impressive for the brand and for the price tag. Moving to the mids, this is where I really like the Focal Spirit One. The mids are smooth and clear, unlike most headphones in this price and in the same target consumers. Most of other brands in this category try to focus on the bass and up-beat music, Focal tries to do far better than this. The mids are smooth and clean with great warmth that resembles a wide and laidback tone that matches great with the bass. Vocals from different genres do shine well. The mids are best with music that focus well on great vocals. Coming to the treble, I find the treble tamed, controlling most of tracks that throw harsh treble. The trade-off of this however, is that some details become too laidback specially when the track is quiet or slow and trying to put the highs up-front. Don’t get me wrong, the highs are clear and there is no early roll-off, just a little laidback in my opinion. But with the smooth and sweet vocals, plus the great detail and control of the lows, this is far from being a deal-breaker. The Focal Spirit One is a ton of fun!
Overall: For this price and for all the other brands targeting the same audience, the Focal Spirit One truly deserves to be award winning! Even against headphones at a higher price that targets the same market, the Focal Spirit One easily pushes them down with the great smooth vocals, deep controlled and detailed bass, and crystal clear highs. For a fun all-arounder with good details and is portable to boot, I’d highly recommend the Focal Spirit One! The Focal Spirit One retails at Php 12,500.00 and can be bought from Egghead Audiohub, Mobile 1, and Rustan’s Department Store.