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Focal Listen Closed Back Headphones
Designed in France by Focal's acoustics engineers, their Listen closed back headphones ($249) combine all the advantages of premium portable headphones for hours of intense listening pleasure. Excellent noise isolation is guaranteed with the closed-back design and by the large ear cushions which preserve the headphones' acoustic qualities, even in noisy environments. The heat-sensitive, very high-density memory foam ear-pieces offer maximum comfort for the listener. Finally, at the source of Listen's acoustic qualities are the innovative 1.75" (40mm) drivers. Thus, Listen has an extremely dynamic sound, tight bass and remarkable tonal balance. These qualities are what make Listen the ideal traveling companion: listening pleasure, everywhere.
While Focal's excellent flagship Utopia ($3999) and Elear ($999) were making headlines, Focal also launched an excellent and easily attainable consumer headphone with the Listen. This closed-back model offers a fun, slightly v-shaped sound signature and is sensitive enough to be driven by a smartphone, making it a solid travel companion, provided you don't require active noise cancellation. I found the Listen offered a good sense of clarity and quickness for its modest price point and good enough isolation to be considered as a viable option for studio use. A great pair of closed headphones is hard to find. The Focal Listen absolutely delivers!
Recommended by Enjoy the Music.com's Dave Hanson