Focal’s new Clear Mg headphones promise to make a $1.5K classic even better

When the Focal Clear, a pair of premium open-back headphones, was released in 2017, they quickly catapulted themselves to both critical and popular acclaim. They remain one of my all-time favorite headphones.

And now Focal is promising to make them even better with the new $1,490 Clear Mg.

The proof is in the pudding of course, and updates to audiophile classics aren’t always universally loved. Still, the Clear Mg claims to maintain the neutral character of the original while improving dynamics and details with Focal’s latest driver and enclosure technology.

Credit: Focal
Focal’s new Magnesium driver promises even better sound quality.

As you might’ve guessed from the name, the Clear Mg use a new Magnesium dome for the speaker driver, maintaining the M-shape Focals drivers are known for. The original Clear was referred to as an Aluminum/Magnesium alloy, so it seems this time around the company is placing more emphasis on the latter material.

In all, the company claims the new driver is lighter, more rigid, and better damped — all three crucial performance metrics for any speaker driver. Meanwhile, the company has also improved the enclosure with a new honeycomb grille that more closely follows the contours of the drivers and reduces the gap between the driver and grille. This should equate to a wider soundstage and improved high-frequency reproduction, according to the company

Credit: Focal
Focal switched from the neutral grey and silver colorway to a ‘chestnut’ color this year.

While $1,490 is a whole lot of money, (and you don’t need to spend this much to get great sound), it’s also hardly out of the norm for what some die-hard headphone enthusiasts will spend; indeed, I preferred the Clear to some more expensive models out there (including Focal’s own $4,000 Utopia).

We’ll just have to wait for more hands-on impressions to see how they live up to the classics, of course; the headphones will be available at retailers this month.

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Published March 16, 2021 — 14:12 UTC

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