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NHD: Focal Spirit Professional

straticus

Member
Messages
3,101
I've had the Focal Spirit Pro's for a few weeks now and could not be happier!

Up until a couple of yrs ago I mixed on JBL 4311's. They're super old school but I knew them well and got good mixes from them. Then I decided to try something new and picked up a pair of Adam A7x's. I love mixing on them but was having trouble getting used to the difference in low end compaird to the JBL's. I tried an Adam 10inch sub but didn't bond with it so I quit using it.

I've always liked the sound of the Focal monitors. Then I read about the Spirit Pro headphones and after reading the reviews I decided to try them. Wow! Why didn't I do this sooner!? The frequency spectrum is so nicely balanced!

Getting the low end right has always been an issue for me when mixing. The Sprirt Pro's have solved that problem and I am so stoked! I love mixing on the Adams but getting the low end right used to be a real guessing game. But now, one listen with the Spirit Pro's allows me to get it right, or very close from the beginning.

The Spirit Pro's might be a bit pricey but they're worth every penny. And when you figure in the fact that you're essentially getting another very accurate way to check your mixes, while at the same time, taking the room out of the equation, they seem like a true bargain. Buying the Spirit Pro's is some of the best money I've ever spent on my studio. They're gonna be getting a lot of use! I already don't know what I'd do without them. Highly recommended.
 

Scott Peterson

TGP Co-Founder and Administrator
Staff member
Messages
37,765
Cool to read a real world review on these. They have my attention; and thank you for posting your review!
 

Somniferous

Member
Messages
1,206
I love my set, nice and flat. They did take a good amount of time to burn in, about 2 weeks. They are very honest in their reproduction of the source, which means they can sound bass shy as they lack the normal bass boost most cans have. Very nice transient response as well, but they can get fatiguing for long runs.

I've found that the cable with the mic sounds significantly worse than the coiled cable. I'm not sure why they included it as I don't think they isolate well enough and need to be driven to much to work well as mobile headphones.
 

straticus

Member
Messages
3,101
Sure SP! Happy to do it. After re-reading my post it might sound like the only reason I like the Spirit Pro's is for checking the low end. While that is one of the huge, and most immediate benefits they brought to my mixing, they're great for mixing in general. I never thought I'd say that about a set of headphones.

Somni.....hmmmmmmmm I don't find them to be bass shy at all. The low end isn't hyped, just honest. And that's one of the things I appreciate about them.

I'm not sure what the other cable is for. The online manual says something about hands free phone use or something. Doesn't sound like anything I'd ever use. That one is a puzzle.
 
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Deathmonkey

Member
Messages
2,429
I got a pair based on the glowing Tape Op reviews as well, and they are a welcome addition to the studio. It's great to have a set of cans I know I can trust, and I find them especially useful while tracking. I know that what a guitar sounds like in the Focals is what it's going to sound like at mixdown. They've taken a bit of guesswork out of tracking in an imperfect space, and I use em to check sessions along the way to make sure I'm not making any glaring mistakes.
 

Somniferous

Member
Messages
1,206
I never meant to say they are bass shy, they can just appear that way compared to most headphones. The Spirits are not very forgiving for poorly recorded tracks as they present everything clearly. They are the headphones that I trust the most for checking mixes because they are so true sounding.

I have heard that the Spirit Classics, which aren't available in the US yet, are a bit more of a listening headphone. The are supposed to have a slower transient response (helps with fatigue) with some sweetening done in the lows.
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
Messages
13,566
Getting the low end right has always been an issue for me when mixing. The Sprirt Pro's have solved that problem and I am so stoked! I love mixing on the Adams but getting the low end right used to be a real guessing game. But now, one listen with the Spirit Pro's allows me to get it right, or very close from the beginning.
First of all - I think it is the hardest thing for any recording engineer, and then you have to deal with whatever the mastering engineer decides to do.

But I have to say - when it comes to low end, I can't think of a worse monitor than the 4311s, and I also used them for quite awhile (so I am not denigrating your choice). Back in the 70s they were a "go-to" speaker, like NS-10s are now. Everyone knew they were crap for mixing, but they sounded good on a lot of finished recordings (great punch in the low end) so people figured they were good for mixing.

I am also using Adam 7s now (not the x7s) - funny how the two of us follow similar paths, and I agree it is really hard to find the right bridge between bass and lower midrange. I have mixes I did on a cheap pair of KRKs where I think I achieve better fullness.

Anyway - monitoring is always a really tough choice. Glad you like your headphones. I have the AKG 721s and I also like them. When I use them I wouldn't say I create mixes that I would trust right out of the box, but if I spend an evening mixing on them, when I listen on live monitors the next day I am usually just a few tweaks away from getting what I want.

I had not heard of your model but otherwise I might have tried them. You have me interested now.
 

straticus

Member
Messages
3,101
First of all - I think it is the hardest thing for any recording engineer, and then you have to deal with whatever the mastering engineer decides to do.

But I have to say - when it comes to low end, I can't think of a worse monitor than the 4311s, and I also used them for quite awhile (so I am not denigrating your choice). Back in the 70s they were a "go-to" speaker, like NS-10s are now. Everyone knew they were crap for mixing, but they sounded good on a lot of finished recordings (great punch in the low end) so people figured they were good for mixing.

I am also using Adam 7s now (not the x7s) - funny how the two of us follow similar paths, and I agree it is really hard to find the right bridge between bass and lower midrange. I have mixes I did on a cheap pair of KRKs where I think I achieve better fullness.

Anyway - monitoring is always a really tough choice. Glad you like your headphones. I have the AKG 721s and I also like them. When I use them I wouldn't say I create mixes that I would trust right out of the box, but if I spend an evening mixing on them, when I listen on live monitors the next day I am usually just a few tweaks away from getting what I want.

I had not heard of your model but otherwise I might have tried them. You have me interested now.
Yea, I've heard that the 4311's were never very popular for mixing. But I got to the point where I knew how to get good sounding mixes on them. The only reason I changed was because I wanted to move into the 21st Century and I really liked the idea of smaller self powered monitors. Now that I have the a7x's, I wish I had made that switch sooner.

Now, with the A7x's, the Focal Spirit Pro's and some additional work that I've done on the room, I feel like I'm pretty well set up. :)
 




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