Focal Bathys - Portable Headphones have a New Sound, and It’s Perfection
October 04, 2022
Focal Bathys High-Fidelity Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones Review
By Nathan Miller
The Focal Bathys are some of the best headphones I’ve heard. And I’m not just speaking to the Bluetooth category. Put them in the mix with a set of ultra-performance studio headphones, used by engineers and producers, and the Bathys would be in the conversation—maybe even owning it. They’re the first set of Bluetooth headphones that I would consider Audiophile quality. That’s right, these headphones are special—premium features, incredible detail to sound, and an overall design that is beyond smart and intuitive. I’m very impressed. More on why…
Watch our full Video Review here:
The Focal Bathys are closed-back, hi-definition, premium noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones designed at Focal's headquarters in France. They feature a built-in USB-C DAC, Aluminum-Magnesium drivers, wireless calling, and seamless App integration from Focal featuring a headphone EQ, noise canceling options, and external LED controls. Rated with a 30 hour battery life, and a well-constructed travel case, Focal has added a high-quality Bluetooth endgame headphone to their premium Headphone lineup. The Bathys come with a USB-C cable for charging / DAC use and a 1/8 inch to 1/8 inch headphone jack for analogue sources.
Thoughts on Design
The Bathys feature a similar design to the Clear MG, Celestee, and Clear MG PROs with the honeycomb-design outer shell. The Focal Logos on both ear cups light up with controllable LEDs that will turn heads while lit but will not overwhelm on an overnight flight when the lights go dim. With a streamlined silver and black design, they are the perfect companion for premium audio lovers on the go.
At the ListenUp office in Denver, I had a number of our team members try these on. Here's a few things I heard.
Quality - 'The Bathys look and feel like a premium product. They're really well made. I don't feel like I'm going to break them if they get tossed around inside of a bag'.
Weight - 'They're not too heavy! I was expecting them to be heavier. I feel like I can wear these for hours, no problem.'
Comfort - 'These are pretty comfortable. I like that the headband isn't rough. They're not squeezing my head. These earpads feel nice'
Ease of use - 'I like that the Focal Bathys have actual buttons! There's so many other headphones out there that are going with swipe motions or tapping to make things happen. It's not intuitive. The buttons on the Bathys are perfect. Well placed and easy to understand. I appreciate a high-end headphone with switches!'
Let’s Get To the Sound
I lined up 6 of my favorite headphones to compare to the Bathys. In every comparison, the Bathys won out. I’ve never heard a more clear sounding pair of Bluetooth headphones. It feels like you're in a room with a high-end pair of floorstanding speakers. The soundstage is super wide and detailed, with a clear separation between the bass, mids, and the highs.
Music sounds phenomenal with the Bathys and the USB-C DAC mode really takes the listening to a whole new level. I even tested the Bathys with some movies over Bluetooth and there's no latency with dialogue.
The noise cancellation on the Bathys is exceptional, too. There are 3 different noise canceling modes - Silent, Soft, and Transparency. The Silent mode lets in the least amount of sound, getting rid of background noise and reducing all external interference. The Soft mode allows for some sound to get in while still reducing background noise like fans and outside traffic. The transparency mode enables you to stay connected to your surroundings while still listening to great sound.
Compatible with SBC, AAC, APT-X, and APT-X Adaptive codecs, the Bathys offer a stellar range of performance across all sources that I tested. The built-in USB-DAC mode delivers a resolution of up to 24 Bits / 192kHz. Focal really spent some time perfecting these and the integration with the Focal App is seamless. If you want to change the sound, the App sports a 5 band EQ. If you want to change the look, the Focal App gives you control of the LEDs built into the sides of the headphones.
Focal has absolutely nailed it with these headphones. At $799, these are undoubtedly the best premium Bluetooth headphones for the price. With the built-in USB-C DAC, the listening experience is flawless. My ears are smitten! Highly recommended!