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The French audio firm Focal has a richly deserved popularity for producing one of the most finest—and most costly—headphones on the planet. TechHive has verified the veracity of that popularity in its critiques of the Sure ($1,490), Elegia (discontinued), Radiance ($1,290), and Stellia ($2,990).
Not one to relaxation on its laurels, Focal strives for ongoing enchancment in its merchandise. Nowadays, the firm announces that it’s changing the Sure mannequin with the Sure Mg, which sells for the identical price of $1,490. I didn’t be succesful to hear the customary Sure, but the unique Sure Mg offers stunningly lovely sound that the truth is lives up to its name.
This overview is fragment of TechHive’s coverage of basically the most straightforward headphones, the build you’ll receive critiques of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s files to the sides you would also light withhold in mind when browsing for this form of product.
Like its progenitor, the Sure Mg is an over-the-ear (circumaural), originate-help headphone. Genuinely, rather than the colour and originate of the outer grille, basically the most straightforward distinction between the Sure and Sure Mg is the composition of the diaphragm. Because the name indicates, the unique diaphragm is pure magnesium; the previous mannequin extinct an aluminum/magnesium alloy. Based entirely on Focal, magnesium makes the diaphragm even lighter and additional inflexible with extra damping than the previous mannequin.
In each objects, the diaphragm is a 40mm “M-shaped” dome, so named for the reason that substandard share resembles the letter “M.” This originate is asserted to enlarge rigidity for extra precision and no more distortion. Also, the Focal-racy frameless pure-copper voice coil reduces the mass even extra. The final consequence is a frequency response from 5Hz to 28kHz (±3 dB) with a THD of 0.25% @ 1kHz/100dB SPL and a sensitivity of 104dB SPL/1mW @ 1kHz. The impedance is 55 ohms, making the Sure Mg reasonably easy to force from a conveyable participant.
The headband and solid-aluminum yoke mechanisms are the identical as came upon on the customary Sure and other excessive-stop headphones from Focal. The consistent curve between these draw is asserted to provide superior comfort without reference to the form and size of the listener’s head. As effectively as, the earpads encompass excessive-resilience memory foam lined with perforated microfiber, while the headband is lined with leather-basically based on the sides and top with microfiber on the underside.
As I talked about earlier, the earcups are originate-help, so that they attain not supply as great isolation from ambient sound as closed-help designs. In a smooth ambiance, on the opposite hand, originate-help earcups can supply a extra expansive sound stage that some listeners beget terminate. The redesigned honeycomb outer grille also contributes to a extra originate sound—the customary Sure had an outer grille that resembled a a diminutive bit tightly woven show screen screen. And Focal claims that the perforations within the microfiber covering the earpads also pork up this attain while offering better tolerance of earcup field on the head. The inner grille is M-shaped, mirroring the form of the diaphragm, which is asserted to consequence in better excessive-frequency reproduction.
Like Focal’s other excessive-stop headphones, the Sure Mg comes with two cables: a 3-meter (10-foot) cable with 4-pin XLR connector intended for dwelling use with an amplifier such because the Focal Arche (discontinued, unique mannequin coming soon) and a 1.2-meter (3-foot) cable with a 3.5mm connector for cellular devices. Also incorporated is a 1/4-scoot adaptor that screws onto the three.5mm rush, which is extra fetch than a snap-on originate.
In but one other similarity with Focal’s other excessive-stop cans, the Sure Mg’s packaging is a slash above. A huge, sturdy field contains the headphone in its inflexible, woven-duvet, colour-matching case alongside side a separate case for the cables. Even the documentation, sparse because it’s, comes in its have folder.
As I’ve come to demand from Focal headphones, the Sure Mg is supremely happy, with huge earpads that match without utter over my reasonably huge ears. Also, the clamping rigidity on my head is terribly low, making it easy to avoid wasting on for hours without fatigue. It absolutely didn’t block ambient noise besides to the closed-help Stellia, but I became once shocked at how great isolation it did provide.
As fashioned, I listened to excessive-determination tracks from Tidal’s Grasp library taking part in from my iPhone XS. I extinct the iFi hip-dac because the DAC and amplifier.
I started with “House Is” by Jacob Collier from his album Djesse Vol. 1. On this be aware, Collier is joined by British vocal ensemble Voces8 in what sounds love a hugely overdubbed choral performance in a huge acoustic dwelling equivalent to a cathedral. There would possibly perhaps be about a huge-low bass drum besides to the voices, which consist of some deep basses and excessive sopranos. The Sure Mg sounded lovely with a neat, enormous sound, no congestion, and neutral tonal balance.
Subsequent, I turned into to for certain one of my all-time well-liked vocal groups, Capture 6. “Evermore” from the album So Frigid is known as a cappella with about a delicate percussion instruments. It makes inventive use of the stereo sound stage, which the Sure Mg rendered superbly with a neat, originate sound. The voices sounded entirely natural, and Alvin Chea’s deep bass voice became once richly rendered.
Guitarist Pat Metheny’s unique album Toll road to the Solar contains an contrivance of Arvo Pärt’s pensive “Für Alina” for 42-string guitar. The sound of that peculiar instrument is rather fabulous, a diminutive bit love a hammer dulcimer being plucked, with deep bass and mute mids and highs. As earlier than, the Sure Mg sounded obvious and originate with comely tonal balance.
For some straight-up rock, I listened to the basic “Exhausting to Take care of” by The Shaded Crowes from Shake Your Money Maker (30th Anniversary Deluxe). It sounded solid and neat on the Sure Mg, with the vocal factual up front. The sound stage wasn’t rather as broad as I’d heard on other tracks, which became once potentially due to the combo.
Spirited on to jazz, I cued up “That’s All” from Diana Krall’s This Dream of You. The instrumentation is easy—piano, guitar, acoustic bass, drums, and naturally, Krall’s implausible voice, which is combined very forward. On the Sure Mg, I can even hear each instrument clearly, including each breath and nuance in her voice, all within a effectively-integrated complete.
Another of my all-time well-liked groups is Steely Dan, so I performed “Gaslighting Abbie” from Two Against Nature. Once extra, the Sure Mg became once a pleasure to hear to, with tight bass and broad sound stage that allowed me to hear deep into the combo.
Hilary Hahn is for certain one of basically the most straightforward classical violinists on the planet, as amply demonstrated by her recording of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1 in D Fundamental, Op. 19, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France below the direction of Mikko Franck on the album Paris. I listened to the third accelerate, which sounded obvious and originate with mountainous dynamic range and a big sound stage on the Sure Mg. The violin became once effectively balanced with the orchestra, and each share became once effectively-delineated but exclusively integrated.
Sooner or later, I brought out the mountainous weapons with Mussorgsky’s Night time on Bald Mountain as recorded by the Weiner Philharmoniker below Gustavo Dudamel for the album Photographs at an Exhibition. The Sure Mg did this broad part full justice with comely dynamic range and a big sound stage. As earlier than, each share and solo instrument became once clearly delineated within a cohesive complete.
Comparison with Focal Stellia, Grado GW100 v2
I became once very extraordinary to examine the originate-help Sure Mg with the closed-help Focal Stellia, which is nearly twice as costly at $2,990. Also, I obvious to examine it with basically the most straightforward other originate-help headphone I had on hand, the Grado GW100 v2. Admittedly, the Grado is great much less costly at $249, but it’s a mountainous-sounding headphone, so what the heck?
I listened to each be aware on all three headphones. In all cases, the Stellia sounded very equivalent to the Sure Mg, rather than that it became once a diminutive bit louder at the identical volume atmosphere, the bass became once a diminutive bit extra pronounced, and the general sound became once correct a diminutive richer and thicker. Also, the sound stage became once not rather as broad, bringing the instruments and voice a diminutive bit nearer in. Mind you, these aren’t complaints, and the diversifications had been minor.
By distinction, the GW100 v2 sounded a diminutive bit lighter and brighter general. Also, it became once an correct bit softer at the identical volume atmosphere with a diminutive bit much less bass, though that became once absolutely not a controversy. And the sound stage became once correct as broad because the Sure Mg’s.
As anticipated, the Stellia offered basically the most isolation from external sounds, while the GW100 v2 offered the least—despite every thing, it’s an on-ear originate with foam earpads, so it offers terminate to no isolation the least bit. The Sure Mg falls between them on this regard, offering extra isolation than the GW100 v2 but lower than the Stellia.
I’m a mountainous fan of Focal’s headphones, and the Sure Mg is for certain no exception. Its name perfectly represents its sound: obvious, neat, and originate with a big sound stage and neutral, accurate tonal balance. It’s also supremely happy. No wonder recording engineers admire it! Genuinely, the Sure Mg will most likely be on hand in a Pro version, which differs from the patron version simplest in colour, incorporated cables, and an additional field of earpads.
At $1,490, the Sure Mg is rather costly, though it’s half the associated fee of the Stellia. Except for for price, the different between them comes all of the vogue down to private want. The Stellia has a a diminutive bit richer sound with a diminutive bit extra bass, which is ready to appeal to many listeners, and it presents better isolation from ambient sounds. But while you beget terminate a extra neutral sound with a a diminutive bit wider sound stage, and that you just will be ready to tolerate much less isolation, the Sure Mg is a clear winner.
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The Focal Sure Mg is an exemplary headphone, with neat, obvious sound, neutral tonal balance, and broad sound stage. Its simplest disadvantage is its excessive put.
- Incredible sound—neat, obvious, originate
- Neutral, accurate tonal balance
- Wide sound stage
- Wide happy