Focal Sphear Review - Experience The Spirit Of Music In A Small Package

To those who aren't familiar, Focal is globally acclaimed maker of high-end Hi-Fidelity audio related equipment for over 30 years. From speakers, home cinema, wireless multimedia, studio items, and custom audio equipment.
Focal Sphear review
Focal Sphear review

Moving forward last year, Focal introduced the Sphear, the only in-ear monitor in their headphone catalog. It promises to deliver the same traditional Focal house sound in a small package. The Sphear is targeted towards individuals who's always on the move that uses their mobile devices without sacrificing much in sound quality.

Gladly, it seems that the company is quite successful in that campaign as the Sphere got a lot of praise globally. Now its time for us to check and see of those claims were true in this review. Let's start.

Note: This works for both PC, Android and iOS devices

Disclaimer: This unit was borrowed from Satchmi Philippines for an honest review

Focal Sphere Specs

Driver type: 10.8 mm Electrodynamic Mylar
Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 KHz
Impedance: 16 ohms 
Sensitivity: 103 dB SPL (1mW@1kHz)
THD (1mW, 50Hz-10kHz): <0.03%
Connectivity: Wired 
Connecting interface: 3.5 mm 
Cable length: 1.2 m
Weight: 15 g
Price: 7,490 Pesos

Unboxing / Accessories

The packaging of Focal Sphear
The packaging of Focal Sphear

Even with its small box, one can tell immediately thay they're in for a premium treat. The packaging contains most of the basic info needed from the basic specs, how to use the monitors, and what's inside the box.
The set of inclusions inside
The set of inclusions inside

Upon opening the box, you'll immediately see Sphear itself then its meaty set of accessories that includes 3 sizes of silicone ear tip, 3 sizes of foam tips, an airplane adapter, and a zippered carrying case.

As expected, it was a solid package from a solid brand. I especially like the foamies they included and the carrying case as it is made of high quality materials.

Build Quality / Design


Glossy shell and filter
 Glossy shell and filter

The Sphear doesn't look like your ordinary in ear monitors as it is a especially designed one. In terms of materials used, it did a fair job by combining a solid stainless steel, rubberized plastic, glossy plastic, and gold plated 3.5 mm jack.

The body is made out of stainless steel as a cover, rubberized plastic frame sandwich in between, and a smooth glossy plastic shell in the inner shell. The cables lower part of the cable is made out of a thicker rubber coating and above the y-splitter there's a thinner cable all the way to the drivers.
The control button and y-splitter
The control button and y-splitter
Single press for stop and play, double press for next song, triple press to back

We also noticed that this monitor has proper strain reliefs from the jack, y-splitter, body of the monitors which adds more confidence about its durability.
Microphone on the left side
The omnidirectional microphone on the left side
A great type of clear microphone for calls that can hear even from a foot afar.
The 3.5 mm gold plated slanted L-jack
The 3.5 mm gold plated slanted L-jack

Speaking of durability, we think that it has enough toughness to withstand daily abuse and occasional light pulls. However, the slightly thinner cables above the splitter doesn't provide me much confidence. Having said that, we suggest to take care of this set properly to ensure longevity.
It looks stylish and elegant at the same time.
Design-wise, it isn't low profile as it can attract a lot of attention in a good way. The Focal emblem in the control part of the splitter and big shells looks stylish and elegant all at the same time.

Comfort / Isolation


Just choose the right tip for you
Just choose the right tip for you

Comfort level on this set feels great. Shallow insertion gave me the best fit, but even if you use a smaller tip for deeper insertion is still fairly comfortable. We'd like to laud Focal for providing high quality silicon or foam tips that doesn't irritate the skin in my ears even if there's sweat after long hours of use. The rounded smooth plastic shell also did the trick. It provided no sharp edges to ensure a great comfort.
As long as you chose the right pair of tips, the comfort level on this set is right up with the best out there regardless of price.
It can be worn either straight down or over-ear depending on your preference. In my case, I just like wearing everything over-ear as it feels more secure in the ears and avoid microphonics. Speaking of microphononics, it is also worth noting that this set has minimal cable noise even if you're walking swiftly.

Isolation-wise, most might think that this set might not be able to provide great level of blocking noise due to its shallow insertion. Fortunately, I can attest that it did a fair job in blocking outside noise. It's actually impressive enough for this type of design. It can make the person talking next to you not hearable at all, but can still make you alert enough to hear loud noises such as horns and shouts.

Then as usual, we always recommend anyone to remove any headphones that isolates when walking in the streets for safety purposes.

Sound Quality

All the positive traits on its build, design, comfort, and isolation is useless if this set won't sound great. The good news is, the Focal Sphear isn't designed to disappoint. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of a better sounding Spirit One, so this set is made to impress.
As a result, I'm impressed with the way the Focal Sphear presented itself to cater every music loving individual.
It presented a well balanced neutral sound signature with a slight tough of warmth that ranks among the nicest blend of tunes I've heard for the price.

The lows isn't overpowering, but pretty rich, and has great realism. While it cannot go super extended compared with "bass enhanced" sets, this is just the right amount of bass that suits my listening preference. We love its level of control, segregation of bass regions, speed, and tightness. Sub-bass is also present when needed.

It's strongest point is probably the mids. It's a master of clarity that makes vocals have like and articulate reference grade presentation. The level of clarity is amazing, it's silky smooth, details are well pronounced, musically tuned, and has proper mature refined sound.

On the other hand, highs is crisp, has proper extension and well separated too. In some tracks, there are times you'll hear proper sparkle, but there are time where hiss is prominent.

It also has big open soundstage, proper separation of tunes and vocals.

Another thing that we liked with the Sphear is its drive-ability. It isn't source picky, can shine even with your favorite Huawei / Samsung / iPhone and almost any other player that anyone intends to use.

Pros - Articulate full sound, presence of Focal's HiFi house sound, clear microphone, beautiful design, great comfort and isolation, proper strain reliefs, gold plated slanted L jack
Cons - Upper cables could be thicker, slight hiss on some tracks

Verdict

If you have the cash to spend, the Sphere is a must consider. It's an in ear monitor that's good enough to offer the classic Focal house sound in a small package and affordable price for the sound.

Even slightly tuned to adapt nicely to the bassy crowd, it is still great set to let anyone experience and be educated on what a properly tuned audiophile sound is.

When compared to the usual similarly priced mainstream audio products, the Sphear is simply a notch or two ahead of the competition. It's even great enough to compete with more expensive offerings, the Sphear sounds that nice.

Plus, it is not all about the speaker quality. The onmidirectional microphone is one of the clearest around and has clever button controls for ease of use.

GIZ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
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