Product review: Focal Sphear S headphones

French speaker makers Focal has updated their award-winning Sphear in-ear headphones. Will these updates see them take the prize again? Read on…

I’m pretty sure almost everyone has a pair of in-ear headphones lying about at home. Whether it’s a free pair from your smartphone or some that you’ve paid for, you’re generally going to have a set that you’ll use from time to time. Heck, you may have more than one… I certainly do. They’re something I use quite often and I’m always looking at new headphones just to see if they’re worth an upgrade, so with the news that the French speaker giant Focal were releasing a new version of their Sphear headphones, I had get hold of a pair and see what they’re like.

The original Sphear headphones were awarded a coveted 5-star review in What Hi-Fi? magazine so I’m expecting big things. They’ve named the update “Sphear S” and I couldn’t wait to get them opened up and see what they’ve done. Hopefully, their experience in producing top quality loudspeakers will come through in these tiny little beauties.

At first glance, you can see there’s a lot of effort that’s gone into the design and feel of these headphones. The stainless steel grille and ring casing ooze quality and there’s a definite robustness that can’t be ignored. That’s even more impressive when you realise these headphones only weigh 15gm. The stainless steel back of each headphone is also finished to a brilliant standard, which looks slick against the black high gloss finish of the housing. The design is superb and very modern looking, giving these headphones a premium feel, but not at a premium price. Add in the fact that you’ve got multiple choices of memory foam earbuds included, alongside a multi-function remote control on board for controlling calls and music, then you really do get a lot for your money.

The Focal Sphear S certainly looks the part but can they hold up on the most important part, sound?

Using 10.8mm electro-dynamic drivers, I expected there to be a smooth and engaging sound, and that’s exactly what I’ve got here. REM’s “Automatic For The People” is streaming through Spotify and within minutes I can tell I’m going to enjoy these. I myself have always used the SoundMagic E10 headphones but these feel like a worthy upgrade if you wanted to spend that bit extra. The bass-reflex systems the Sphear S really helps out as the bass is rich and constant without taking away the smooth and natural sound these possess. It’s like they’ve taken a pair of their loudspeakers, shrunken them down and placed them nicely into a high-quality set of in-ear headphones. They just have a certain feel to them that I don’t really see at this price. If you want to come see and hear them for yourself then come down to Richer Sounds and have a listen.

Click to find out more about the Focal Sphear S headphones.

Author: Bradley, Plymouth store

This article has 1 comment

  1. Great review – interesting to know how they measure up! I definitely have a few pairs of in-ear headphones lying around too and use them frequently with my phone, listening to music on the way to work. But I’m on the lookout for a good pair that’s comfortable and has particularly good sound. Thanks for sharing!