Focal is a well known name in the world of studio monitoring. Their speakers speak for themselves, but so do their headphones. Focal's Spirit Professional are among the most attractive studio headphones you can find for under $500. Let's take a closer look and see what makes these so good.
For the most part, Focal has been the type of brand that valued aesthetics about as much as the performance of their products. With that in mind, it is no wonder why Focal Spirit Professional look so good. The overall design is very slim, almost to slim. Frame they chose to go with is simple, mechanical in nature and leaves nothing to guesswork. One side effect of such design is light overall weight due to Focal's choice of materials as well as the way they applied them. The issue most brands run into when pulling off something so slim is the lack of padding. Fortunately for us, Focal has added plenty of padding to Spirit Professional. It doesn't look like much, but it sure works. For a closed back set of headphones, these look extremely attractive. If that's something that matters to you, be sure that Spirit Professional won't disappoint.
In the world of headphones, looking good is far from a primary metric. Once you pop the lid on Focal Spirit Professional, you will find two matching 40mm drivers with Mylar/Titanium membrane. In practical terms, this translates to some 102dB of SPL at 32 Ohms of nominal impedance. Right away you can see where these headphones offer some versatility. The frequency response range is fairly normal but accurate. You are looking at 5Hz to 22kHz range. Stepping back a little, we have to appreciate the build quality. Focal has done an awesome job with their choice of materials. Metal frame with a textured ABS looks and feels great. The only issue we could point out are pleather ear pads instead of velour ones. While it isn't really a deal breaker, you could say that Focal sacrificed a bit of comfort on account of looks.
So far we have seen a good looking design and a set of hardware that's promising. However, when you plug these in and play a mix, you will quickly realize just why they are so popular these days. The general consensus is that Focal Spirit Professional's performance is best described as refreshing. To be precise, the clarity and transparency is all there as you would expect from a pair that costs this much. The thing is, everything sounds fresh and full of life when pushed through Focal Spirit Professionals. On top of that, you can easily drive them without an amplifier. That means editing mixes on the go, monitoring on site and similar. Now lets touch upon the matter of comfort. Fact is that velour beats pleather any day of the weak, but we have to give it to Focal for designing super soft ear pads.
What Focal has created with Spirit Professional is a somewhat unorthodox set of high end headphones. They offer an odd mix of light yet attractive design, amazing performance and good comfort. In our book, that trumps any and all shortcomings these headphones might have. Needless to say, those are rare.