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French company Focal is known for its range of high fidelity audio systems, and it recently came out with its first set of wireless headphones with Active Noise Cancellation, the Bathys. The Focal Bathys are priced at $800, and while they are closest in functionality to Apple's $549 AirPods Max, they're more premium than anything Apple offers.


MacRumors videographer Dan Barbera has been testing out the Focal Bathys to see how they measure up to the AirPods Max and whether they’re worth the premium price.

As a spoiler, these headphones have some of the best sounding wireless audio available, but the Active Noise Cancellation is a little disappointing at this price point. Make sure to watch Dan's video for a full overview of the design, functionality, battery life, and sound quality of the headphones.

Article Link: Video: Testing Focal's High-End $800 Bathys Over-Ear Headphones
 

vegetassj4

macrumors 65816
Oct 16, 2014
1,078
4,611
Holy Stereo!

I saw BAT-hys OVER-EAR HEADPHONES in my notifications, and was expecting to see something like this:
adam_west_batman_a_p.jpg
 
Last edited:

StoneJack

macrumors 68000
Dec 19, 2009
1,962
994
my Audio Technica ATH M20x BT has a great sound, 50 hours of playback on single charge and costs 10% of Focal.
I have Focal speakers in my Toyota, but for headphones, Audio Technica is a great choice.
I also own Audio Technica M20x, M40x, Sennheiser BT 4.50 and Momentum 2 wired, plus Apple's Pro airpods, but Audio Technica M20x BT is probably the best.
 

Gadgetzz

macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2012
8
2
I bought the Grado G100x wireless headphones and love them. Less expensive option for $275
 

Love-hate 🍏 relationship

macrumors 68020
Sep 19, 2021
2,283
2,005
Wonder what the unboxing of these headphones looks like.

Looks great but $800 just for headphones?
The price is way too steep but I get it’s a luxury brand. 😑🤥
Nah it's more about sound quality than luxury (although it probably plays a part)

I mean just like apple products are overpriced due to branding , but also worth it in their own way
 

syklee26

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2005
795
1,903
Wireless can only go so far as bluetooth bandwidth goes. I wouldn’t pay anything more than what I would have to pay for Airpods Max.

With that said, if you want to spend about $8000 for Focal’s wired headphone, it will blow you away. It truly sounds amazing (You will need an amp and lossless files to truly experience it though)
 

dasmb

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2007
321
281
So I'm a big head-fi guy. I've owned high end options from Audeze, Audio-Technica, Hifiman, Grado, B&W, B&O, Oppo & SONY. I prefer closed back phones for listening privately.

Principally, I am interested in audio quality mixed with excellent build quality and comfort. So it may be interesting to know that when the Airpods Max hit the scene, I sold all of my other headphones (except for one pair of electrostatics). Reason was simple: they sounded as good as or better than everything else except the Audeze, they had a very low noise floor meaning I could listen to details at a safer volume (and while moving) and heavy as they were, they were much less cumbersome than the Audeze or most of the other high end wired headphones, which tend to have ludicrous cables and require finicky dongles.

Finally, the connectivity was awfully good. It's not quite magic (and in the early days of the firmware it could be downright bad, with the headphones dropping signal or needing to be reset many times per day), but light years better than every pure bluetooth options I tried.

Over time, the fact that my only option is compressed music has been a bit of a downer, and I do miss the fuller dynamic range and higher resolution of the Audeze. I am very much the intended market for a high end ANC headphone -- but I don't know if I'll be able to buy anything that doesn't have at least as good ANC as the Airpods Max and that included the transparency mode, which on the Max is almost magic compared to the competition. Hearing that the Focal do transparency well is a big plus.

I'm not sure if I will audition these or not. I like the idea of a decent onboard DAC and good transparency, but you can see in this review how bad the performance of the app is, which has me concerned for the experience of switching from wireless to wired modes. These are also rather inexpensive for a Focal headphone, which has me worried that they may have outsourced the build or cheaper out on the drivers.
 

Ion-X

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2017
300
1,420
NYC
I will stick with my $550 AirPods Max thank you very much!

To pay significantly more for a product without the W1 chip for seamless pairing with all Apple products, and with significantly worse active noise cancellation, seems utterly silly.

Some people have more money than sense and I’m sure this brand will find a few marks.
 

Realityck

macrumors 604
Nov 9, 2015
7,883
11,710
Silicon Valley, CA
Focals are always a bit overprice for what you get. These are using standard 40mm aluminum- magnesium speaker drivers. Tons of headphones out there use similar drivers. The integrated DAC is nothing special. It does support SBC, AAC, aptXTM Adaptive, aptXTM which is what Apple should have went for instead of just focusing on AAC. The design looks comfortable to utilize. Personally I would have preferred 40 mm planar as the bass reproduction is phenomenal compared to standard magnetic drivers.
 

Ion-X

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2017
300
1,420
NYC
Over time, the fact that my only option is compressed music has been a bit of a downer, and I do miss the fuller dynamic range and higher resolution of the Audeze.
I definitely hear you on that, and desperately hope Apple will introduce a higher-bitrate codec than 256kbps AAC — but on the other hand, Apple’s fantastic psychoacoustic algorithms accurately preserve the vast majority of dynamic range to make the effective difference rather slight.

I am certainly hoping for a lossless wireless codec, through newer Bluetooth standards or even through a proprietary Apple wireless standard if Bluetooth doesn’t enable sufficiently high bitrate lossless.
 
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