A prominent exhibitor at February’s CanJam NYC 2023 was the French manufacturer Focal, which showed a wide range of its hi-fi headphones but trained a spotlight on two models in particular: the Utopia 2022 ($4,999) and the Bathys ($799).
Mégane Montabonel, product manager for the Focal audio and headphone brands, noted that the company uses its own speaker driver technology based on 40 years of experience in driver development.
The Bathys is Focal’s first-ever wireless active noise-canceling headphone. It features two noise-canceling modes — “Silent,” for use when in environments with high background noise such as planes, and “Soft,” for performance optimization in office and home settings — in addition to a “Transparency” mode that lets the listener tune into surrounding sounds when needed. Montabonel says the company’s patented noise-canceling technology used in Bathys was three years in research and development, achieving an optimum balance between good sound and good noise cancellation. The Bathys headphone provides over 30 hours of battery life on a single charge, and a fast-charging mode can give five additional hours of functionality in only 15 minutes, says the company. A neat visual aesthetic on these headphones is that the outside center of the earcup can be backlit illuminated to highlight Focal’s flame symbol.
The Focal Utopia 2022 headphones carry a new voice coil using a combination of lightweight former-less aluminum and copper. They also boast pure beryllium drivers and an M-shaped driver grill that follows the shape of the dome and driver inside, reducing the gap between, and aiding in linearity frequency response. They further feature a design in tune with the Focal headphone family; the honeycomb design, according to Focal, enables greater driver movement and a more open sound.
Nancy is a contributing editor for Dealerscope.