Focal Bathys wireless headphones review – an uncompromised listening experience

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  • VERDICT

The Focal Bathys headphones offer quality inside and out with stunning audio quality that will make audiophiles sit up and take notice.

True fans of audio – the top tier of audiophiles – believe in cables so when Focal released its first pair of wireless noise cancelling wireless earphones – the Focal Bathys – it made a lot of people sit up and take notice.

Including us.

Focal has been producing loudspeakers, car speakers and wired headphones and investing in acoustic research since 1979 so its credentials in the audio space are well established.

It’s a big deal that Focal has finally cut the cord with the Bathys Bluetooth active noise cancelling headphones.

The most ardent audio fans still look down their nose at Bluetooth because it can’t match the resolution of traditional sources like CDs.

But with Bluetooth 5.1 and its compatibility with SBC, AAC, AptX and AptX Adaptive codecs and the fact customers can still connect a cable when they want to, the Focal Bathys wireless noise cancelling headphones have a much wider appeal.

And the headphones don’t just sound good, they look good as well. Wearing them is a statement.

They have retained the traditional design of the Focal wired headphones with what looks like a speaker grille on the outside, magnesium arms and luxuriously padded ear cups and head band.

The Bathys design comes from the Focal open and closed back headphones.

And the flame logo on the outside of the earcups glows when the headphones are on.

There are controls on both ear cups. On the right is the power/pairing button, volume controls and a 3.5mm jack.

On the left is a button that allows users to toggle between noise cancellation and transparency mode when you need to hear what’s going on around you.

What we really liked with how deep the earcups are which makes the noise cancellation even better but also provides a nice amount of space to stage the audio from the 40mm drivers and aluminium/magnesium dome.

And they sound amazing.

There is plenty of power onboard so you don’t have to have them up to full volume to enjoy your music.

It’s good to know there’s plenty of headroom at your disposal for those times when you want to crank it.

And the level of noise cancellation is excellent but it’s about at the same level and quality as the ANC from the cheaper  Sony, Bose and Sennheiser.

We were listening to lossless music on Apple Music and heard a pleasing deep bass with crisp and defined high and mids that offer the level of detail that will be appreciated by even the fussiest listeners.

And don’t forget you can also use USB-DAC mode so you can connect the included USB-C to USB-C cable to your smartphone or audio player.

The Focal Bathys headphones also come with a 3.5mm cable as well to connect to your other sources.

So when you’re connected to a hi-res audio sources like Tidal and Qobuz you’re hearing the full quality of the file and every bit of the audio.

The Focal + Naim companion app offers some control like switching modes as well showing you the battery charge level and an EQ to slightly tweak the sound to your taste.

And it can also deliver any firmware updates – during our review there was an update available and the app made it possible to install it in a few minutes.

Battery life is excellent at more than 30 hours which is enough time to listen all week or on a long flight.

It also has a quick charge mode which adds five hours of listening time after just a 15-minute charge.

The Focal Bathys wireless active noise cancelling headphones are aimed at the higher end of the market with a price tag of $1,199 and they have capabilities beyond cheaper wireless noise cancelling headphones thanks to its wired connectivity as well.

If you’re happy with just listening to your music wirelessly on streaming services then the Focal Bathys may not be for you.

But if you value every note of your music and want to squeeze out every last drop of quality for an uncompromised listening experience, the Focal Bathys are definitely worth the investment.

VERDICT

The Focal Bathys headphones offer quality inside and out with stunning audio quality that will make audiophiles sit up and take notice.

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