I’ve wanted a set of these since I first read about them, but no one stocks them locally. Focal that other speaker brand you’ve heard of from France is up to no good business knocking down headphones that should cost 10x the Cost. These Focal Spirits get killer reviews everywhere and for $300 there’s not much you can get in that price range that is better for iPhone headphones.
I weighed up getting a set of Sennheiser Urbanites and a few other Senns because I could “hear” them in store in JB Hi-Fi. No one stocks these locally where I am, in comparison to the Senns in that price range which are horribly bright and pronounced in the highs, these produce a neutral high and midrange sound with just a little bit of a kick in the bass and by “a little” I mean some way, but the reflex is intense, it doesn’t drone, nor does it interfere in any way with your mids and highs the way a Beats headphone might.
I did put on a set of Beats “Studio Monitors” The only comparison I can say in between the three is utterly horrible, and that’s the polite way of saying completely muddy lows that overpower the mids and the highs. At first you’re yeah OK this is alright, its got some fat bass, and then you realise that’s all you’re stuck with. The usual backhanded compliment that goes for Beats headphones.
The main gripe about the Focal Spirits is that they are built with a flimsy collapsible design that is more catered towards being packed away than on your head, and this is true, the hinges aren’t exactly what I would call “strong.” As with most things French you take the good with the bad they are not the best designers in terms of longevity and usability, and you deal with the fact that they’re assembled by Chinese in factories paying well bellow the minimum wage. That said its a disappointment none the less they’re not made in Europe anymore given Focal’s unquestionable power in the audio industry. That said they do retain an unquestionable “premium” look.
They actually come with two cables one with an inline microphone for iPhone and smart phone use the other not, it’s a “tangle free” cable so you can unplug it and do as you wish with it, which also means it doesn’t get in the way. I like this feature in comparison to a lot of other speakers.
Given these are an old line now the price has come down to what is a fair representation of their production cost so I can’t really gripe to much about build quality or comparisons with much more expensive headphones. They will be a significant upgrade to my iPhone speakers over the years. I don’t normally care, but I saw these and it was straight on my “must buy” purchase list and once something ends up on one of my lists it has a funny habit of ending up in my shopping basket.