Focus Bathys: Getting Started

Focus Bathys: Getting Started

While we await our full test, here are the uses of Focal’s Bathys headphones by our colleagues at CNET.com.

Focal, a French brand specializing in audio, is known for its high-end speakers and headphones. Like other big names in the audiophile world, the company is entering the market for wireless headphones with active noise reduction.

After more than three years of development, Bathys (€799) has not only wireless connectivity, but also a built-in DAC (digital-to-analog converter) for wired listening with any computer, smartphone or tablet with a USB-C port.

For Bathys, the Focal was largely inspired by the aesthetics of the Stellia audiophile wired headphones, but with a more compact and lighter design (350 grams). For comparison,AirPods Max. It weighs 384.8 grams.

not as comfortable as before

QuietComfort 45 from Bose or

WH-1000XM5 We found Bathys from Sony to be comfortable to wear during extended listening sessions. It does not tighten your head too much and does not create uncomfortable pressure points.

For those wondering, the name of this helmet comes from the first underwater reconnaissance vehicle, the bathyscaphe. It’s supposed to be Bathys” the embodiment of calm, depth and absolute silence “, according to Focal.

first impressions

We haven’t completed our full test of the bathys yet, but here are some first impressions.

  • Despite being more compact than Focal’s wired headphones, the Bathys are quite impressive. We liked the light touch of the Focal logo on each earbud when the earphones are on, but beware of the energy consumption. Fortunately, you can turn off the lighting.

  • Active noise reduction (RBA) is good if not perfect with low mode and high mode as well as transparency mode.

  • Bathys is Bluetooth 5.1 compatible and handles multipoint connectivity. Therefore, it can be associated with two devices at the same time, such as a smartphone and a computer. We were able to connect it to an iPhone and an Android smartphone without any issues. It supports AptX Adaptive codec on Android and AAC for iPhones.

  • USB-C wired connection with two Android phones and one

    macbook pro
    (you must switch to DAC mode to switch to wired). Focal provided us with a USB-C to Lighting adapter to switch to wired mode with iOS terminals, but this accessory is not included in the box, which is a shame.

  • Switching to wired mode gives a slight improvement in audio quality (it’s best to stream high definition audio files for optimal sound, but it won’t revolutionize the listening experience either). In wired mode, the headphones offer a maximum definition of 24 bit/192 kHz. But the headphones are also very impressive in wireless mode, with excellent clarity, detail and accuracy, and strong, well-defined bass. It creates a wide soundstage (for closed-back headphones) and ensures that every instrument can be heard distinctly in complex pieces where multiple instruments are played in concert. This headset is pretty self-explanatory, meaning it will amplify the flaws of bad recordings and magnify the qualities of the best.

  • Bathys have aluminum-magnesium drivers, while Focal’s high-end wired headphones feature beryllium drivers that, with the right setup, provide even greater clarity and precision.

  • The helmet closes flat (but doesn’t fold) into a nice carrying case. It comes with a standard 3.5mm analog cable along with a USB-C to USB-C cable. Cables are of good quality.

  • We found hands-free calling performance to be satisfactory overall.

  • Our callers said the sound was good and they could hear us clearly in the noisy streets of New York. They heard some background noise, but noise reduction was good. It’s on par with the Master & Dynamic MW75 but doesn’t compete with the Sony WH-1000XM5, which excels in this field.

  • You can activate a voice assistant (Google Assistant, Alexa, Bixby or Siri) with the push of a button.

  • The Android and iOS app has an equalizer for fine-tuning the sound profile. Since these are audiophile headphones, expect a neutral sound profile by default. Depending on what we’re listening to, we turned up the bass a bit.

  • Battery life is solid, with up to 30 hours of fast charging, which brings back 5 hours of use in 15 minutes.

  • The headset cannot be used in passive mode. It needs to be turned on, so if the battery is discharged it will need to be recharged to use.

Temporary result

Bathys, Apple AirPods Max, Master & Dynamic MW75, Mark Levinson No. The 5909 comes to a very high-end Bluetooth headset market, which is already used by many big brands like Bowers and Wilkins PX8. They’re all great headphones, but in terms of pure sound quality, the Focus is perhaps the best of the bunch. We especially liked the built-in digital-to-analog converter and the ability to easily switch from wired to wireless mode.


CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance

Image: David Carnoy/CNET

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