Focal Clear is No More! Long Live Clear Mg!

Wayde Robson

Wayde Robson

Audioholics Anchorman
In the four years since hitting the market, Focal Clear has gained a reputation as one of the great open-back headphones at any price. Clear will cost you, retailing at $1500, it's not cheap. But for the price, you get your hands on one of the most consistently loved and positively reviewed headphones out there. It's widely valued for its neutral, highly detailed sound-quality, tinged with just enough warmth to keep it an interesting, easygoing listen. That's why it was a surprise to see that Clear has been discontinued and replaced with a slightly improved Clear Mg.

I wonder about the business motivations for these kinds-of decisions. I mean it's great to make an improvement on a solid product, but is it a sign that maybe sales had diminished? Or is there a built-in incentive for manufacturers to switch components and create a new product?

Focal designed a new 40-mm magnesium M-dome driver for Clear Mg, and the French headphone-maker says that all it does is slightly improve the sound with a bit more accuracy and detail, without changing the overall sound profile of the original. Clear Mg brings a new look to Focal's high-end headphone line and a new driver that recently launched in another new headphone, Focal Clear Mg Pro. It turns out that Pro is a retail variant of the same headphone as the Clear Mg. I was surprised to learn from Focal that Clear Mg Pro wasn't specifically tuned to be flatter-sounding for the audio professionals its marketed to. Clear has never been known for having a totally flat frequency response, but I guess they decided its gentle curve works.

In this review I get into the subjective differences between Clear and Clear Mg, at least to my ears. If you were already interested in buying Clear, you now have three choices, for as long original Clear supplies last. Very soon may be a good time to look for retailers that might be discounting the original Clear. I have to guess that once the new ones come in retailers will want to move old stock if demand for Mg is high.

Focal Replaces Clear with All-New Improved Clear Mg Open Back Headphones


Thanks for this review. I'm a happy Clear owner, and the various reviews of the MG and MG Pro have convinced me to stay with what I have rather than pay a lot for only an incremental improvement (which some reviewers find to be a mixed bag).

Just to clarify one point: The Pro and Pro MG aren't "variants" of their non-Pro counterparts. They are exactly the same headphones, but supplied with different-colored pads and different cable choices.


Audioholic Overlord
I'd be calling the pot black [I own a $500 AKG K712 Pro (made in Austria) ], but $1500 for headphones?
One could buy a running car for that kind of money. Well, not a great car, but a running one.
I wasn't looking for too long. Probably one could find a much better deal in the local ads.

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