Focal Bathys: An Honest Review
How do you balance a reputation for making the best high-fidelity headphones with the needs of a consumer product line? Travel-focused, wireless headphones with Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) are the latest trend, led by Bose and Sony. Apple has recently entered this emerging market as a premium choice. Audiophile companies are considering how to profit from the headphone trend.
Focal Bathys Specification
|Type||Closed-back wireless headphones with active noise canceling|
|Bluetooth technology||5.1 Multipoint|
|Range||2402MHz – 2480Mhz|
|Battery Life||30 hours Bluetooth Noise Cancelling|
|Voice Assistance||Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa|
|Audio Codecs||SBC, AAC, aptX™ Adaptive, aptX™|
|Connections||Bluetooth / Jack 3.5mm / USB-C|
|Harmonic distortion rate||<0.2% @1kHz|
|Frequency Response||15Hz to 22kHz|
|Other Features||Google Fast Pair|
- Usually great Focused design Bluetooth stability
- Comfortable and light
- Working ANC and Transparent modes
- Buttons are simple.
- Easy app
- Cheap plastic cables are unsuitable
- Plastic parts don’t appear to be Focal-quality.
Because of their mobile nature, wireless ANC headphones should be lightweight and compact. They should be able to keep their ears comfortable and block out ambient noise for long periods, whether commuting by plane or train. ANC is a sound-altering program that is computer-based. Of course, the bandwidth and resolution that Bluetooth can support depend on the specifics of the implementation and the codecs being used. The market price for ANC headphones is currently between USD$300 and USD$500; the new Apple AirPods Max expands this range to USD$550. Focal is aiming to increase that maximum to USD 800.
The Bathys’ yokes are made of lightweight Magnesium, while the headband and ear pads are made of genuine leather, and the remaining parts are made of aluminum and plastic. The Bathys are styled like other Focal products, but they are smaller in every dimension to make traveling easier and more pleasant.
The Bathys may not appear all that different from the company’s other wired headphones if you’re already familiar with those. (And if you aren’t, we apologize in advance for your impending procrastination and unavoidable feelings of envy that you don’t already own every gorgeous pair.) But believe us when we say that Bluetooth headphones with such a high standard of construction and aesthetics are quite unusual, if not unique. They have the same large ovular ear cups as their wired counterparts, with a style distinguished by aluminum holes that anyone who isn’t transphobic will surely like. While Focal is known for adorning its high-end headphones with eye-catching color schemes, the Bathys are among the company’s most conservative offerings thanks to their simple black and silver design.
The headband is strong and cushioned, and the leather ear pads are thick and plush. They are large but seem big and gorgeous, like a baby in the “cute thigh-rolls” stage of development. Not portable enough in size? Certainly not, but you should know that the earcups only fold flat instead of collapsing inside and weigh 350g, 100g more than the Sony WH-1000XM5. We’ll let you weigh in on whether or not the fact that they seem fancier than average wireless headphones is a good thing when it comes to their practicality on public transportation.
Since Mogwai sounds so huge, clear, and substantial over the Focal Bathys, we can’t help but blast it whenever we can. We immediately recognized the company’s signature warm, full-bodied tonal balance, which has proven so popular in the company’s wired headphones. It is paired with excellent clarity, dynamic nuance, and rhythmic ability for the price. Play Ritchie Sacramento by the Glasgow band, and the Bathys’ roomy, open soundstage eats it up, offering equal weight to the vocals by Stuart Braithwaite and the glistening guitars and pounding drum rhythm. Their fullness adds welcome weight to the lower and middle registers without masking the instruments’ textures or high-frequency nuances.
The performance is one of the most interesting we have heard on wireless headphones. Also, suppose you plan on using these as house headphones for extended listening sessions. In that case, you should know that connecting them via the DAC/USB-C connection does improve the overall sound quality. The noise cancellation isn’t too disruptive to the performance, either. If you need it (like we did on two flights during testing), it does a respectable job of canceling ambient noise in the ‘Silent’ setting so you can focus on your music. Don’t count on “absolute silence” like you might experience with a Bose system or a Bathyscaphe.
Focal Bathys can now be purchased for the not-insignificant sum of £699 in the UK. Similar to the price in the United States ($799), these headphones will cost you AUD$ 1199 in Australia.
The Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connection of the Focal Bathys allows for use with various audio formats, including the SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX adaptive codecs. Hard-wired use is possible through USB-C or a 3.5mm analog connector; Focal includes 1.2-meter USB-C to USB-C and 3.5mm to 3.5mm cables, respectively, in the Bathy’s carrying bag. However, they require electricity to function in any arrangement, so it’s good that a single charge of the Bathys will last for about 30 hours when used wirelessly and 35 to 42 hours when hard-wired. You may get another five hours of use from just 15 minutes of charging time.
Connecting the Focal to a digital source with its USB-C port turns the headphones into a D/A converter. Digital audio files up to 24-bit/192 kHz resolution are supported when the Bathys are instructed to function as a DAC through a switch on the right earcup. Regardless of how the sound is loaded onto the device, two 40mm aluminum/magnesium M-shaped dome drivers will deliver it to your ears. Focal claims its speakers can produce sound between 15 Hz and 22 kHz.