Focal, a French speaker and headphone manufacturer, has unveiled its latest line of mobile headphones: the closed-back, wireless, over-ear Listen Wireless.
“Last year, Focal took the audio world by surprise with Utopia and Elear high-end headphones, which integrated some very innovative technologies,” said Ben Jensen, president of Focal North America. “With this collection of portable headphones, Focal was focused on developing mainstream mobile products in line with the brand’s core values, while integrating our mastery of wireless headphones. We want to play a leading role in this growing sector giving the consumer freedom of cables and making 2017 the year of wireless headphones for Focal.”
Listen Wireless is the wireless version of Focal’s closed-back Listen headphones, and the flagship product of its new range of headphones for the mainstream market. Listen launched last year and was developed from day one with the intention of developing a second, wireless version. In addition to providing better sound, the size of the ear-pieces was specifically designed to integrate Bluetooth technology. Listen Wireless is equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology version 4.1, and is compatible with aptX.
The Listen Wireless’ flexible headband makes the set light, reduces pressure on the head, and increases durability. The memory foam ear cushions made from fabric and leatherette provide isolation. Focal kept the original design of the folding ear pieces, which makes them easy to use and carry around. The set has a scratch-resistant, lacquered black high-gloss finish. The original Listen on the other hand, has a hand-brushed finish. Designed for all sorts of setups, these headphones can also be used with a traditional audio cable.
The headphones offer around 20 hours of listening time, and have a charging time of less than three hours. On standby the battery is estimated to last a total range of 240 hours. It has a reception range of up to 60 feet (15 meters).
The set also is equipped with a dual omnidirectional microphone system running Clear Voice Capture software for improved voice clarity while talking, even in noisy environments. It also uses the NFC technology available on some smartphones equipped with an NFC module for an easy and quick connection.
The controls are located on the ear pieces. The buttons are strategically positioned to enable users to control the functions quickly. The three buttons are grouped into three areas: the on/off and Bluetooth buttons in one area; music and call controls in another; and volume controls in yet another. The controls are simple, leveraging short or long presses.
Voice notifications and different LED colors indicate the status of the headphones, the battery level, pairing, etc. Up to eight different devices can be stored in the memory of Listen Wireless and two devices can be connected simultaneously. This means users can listen to music from a tablet and answer a call from a smartphone at the same time. Listen Wireless is supplied with a USB cable and an audio cable for wired use, or for when Bluetooth connectivity isn’t possible.
Listen Wireless will be available mid to late July in black high gloss finish from retail and online partners for $299 USD ($399 CAD). The price for the wired Listen will drop from $299 to $249 USD and from $399 to $299 CAD beginning June 21.