About the Focal Bathys
A new class of Focal noise-canceling headphones
A new class of Focal noise-canceling headphones
Active noise-canceling circuitry removes loud travel distractions so you can focus on pristine Focal sound.
Focal has released wireless noise-canceling headphones in the past, but nothing quite like this. The Bathys over-ear headphones closely resemble the storied line of premium wired headphones from the French audio experts. After auditioning these splendid 'phones, I've found they offer a similar top-shelf sonic experience — along with a lighter design that's packed with on-the-go features.
Bluetooth 5.1 is on board — with hi-fi formats like aptX® Adaptive and aptX HD — so you can play music wirelessly from your phone. Focal uses the same fast-attack 40mm driver design they developed for their revered audiophile headphones, like the Utopia, Clear Mg, or Celestee. And they deliver the best sound I've heard from a set of wireless noise-canceling headphones — expansive, full-bodied, and articulate with a tremendous sense of space.
Deluxe, premium look and feel
These headphones aren't quite as sizeable and robust as Focal's wired audiophile offerings — but they are larger than the average set of over-ears. Still, their weight is nicely distributed, and I could wear them through work shifts without fatigue. Their sturdy, well-padded earcups are held together by an aluminum frame and smooth-sliding magnesium headphone yokes that helps keep the fit secure, yet relaxed.
Real leather covers the outside of the headband while a soft, pleasant microfiber hugs the head. Visually, they look sharp — Focal started with their familiar design motif and added some extra flair and flourishes. Most noticeably, the backlit logo that shines on when paired to your phone. (I got a kick out of the fact that I could dim or turn off the LED light with the Focal & Naim app, a free download for Apple® and Android™.)
Strong noise-canceling circuitry and transparency mode
The Focal Bathys headphones pack neatly into their form-fitting case
Built-in active noise-canceling circuitry uses a series of mics to monitor external sounds and adjusts itself accordingly. This helps set a low noise floor for the drivers to do their thing. The Focal & Naim app lets you toggle between two levels of noise cancellation.
When you need to be aware of your surroundings, push the button on the left earcup to activate "Transparency" mode. It uses the built-in mics to pick up external sounds and voices.
Well-engineered drivers for powerful, nuanced sound with deep bass
In each earcup, you'll find Focal's well-engineered drivers, complete with their acclaimed "M"-shaped diaphragm domes. This special design gives the Aluminum/Magnesium-based drivers a more fluid, effortless movement, which greatly reduces distortion and phase problems. It's why Focal headphones always sound so dynamic and yet controlled, across a wide frequency range.
Here, Focal's tuned their drivers to perform better within the Bathys' closed housings. There are shrewdly placed vents surrounding the glowing Focal logo to release excess energy and avoid distortion. The oversized leather ear pads help further absorb resonances — keeping the powerful bass response tight and linear.
My listening impressions: noise cancellation that preserves (and enhances) sound
I tested the noise cancellation at Crutchfield HQ while we had some remodeling going on. They don't offer the absolute best noise cancellation available, but it is well above average. And I think the Bathys headphones are well-equipped to cancel out travel noises, like the loud drone of a plane engine.
With music playing through the Bathys, I couldn't hear the drilling and sawing from the floor directly below my desk — I was locked into the large Focal soundstage.
Spacious sound with striking precision
And what a thrill it is to experience. Focal often refers to their headphones as "extreme near-field speakers," and I've come to expect an intimate, focused sonic presentation. On the Bathys, the soundstage played out well in front of me and surrounded my head. It's a sound I'd more closely associate with listening to open-back headphones than closed-back.
Thanks to these headphones' precise imaging, music came across deeply layered with breathing room between instruments. This strength was underscored by a wonderful playlist of Italian "library" music that I discovered on Qobuz. These are '60s and '70s TV ad and film scores that were meant to be generic background music but feel like anything but — thanks to an eclectic mix of influences including funk, psychedelic, jazz, and more.
The composers often dabble in several genres within the same song, sometimes all at once. It can be a bit much for lesser headphones to handle, but the Bathys delivered it all with effortless grace. Piero Umiliani's "Caretera Panamericana" is especially complex. Bongos and steel drums sit in the center to establish a swift pace, while distorted synths and guitars stab in from the left. Off to the right, a harp, keyboard, and a flute take turns before all the instruments play at once.
On paper that all seems hectic, with so many sounds competing with one another. But they sound delightfully cohesive within the extra space offered by the Bathys headphones.
Powerful, nuanced, and controlled
All that extra space wouldn't mean much if it took away from the dynamics. Those happen to be a Focal strong suit, though, and loud-to-soft moments came through with realism and presence.
Tonally, the Bathys reminded me a lot of the Clear Mg, with nice balance and subtle bass extension. Even though there's some welcome low-end punch, it isn't loose or boomy — often an inherent problem with the closed-chamber design. Likewise, the highs are airier and more detailed than I normally hear from closed-back headphones.
Of course, a high-end, wired listening rig that includes the Clear Mg or the Utopia will deliver higher resolution. But it is amazing how close Focal has gotten with a set of portable wireless headphones.
Strong, high-quality wireless audio
Music plays wirelessly from your phone via Bluetooth 5.1 — a newer, more reliable version of Bluetooth. I was able to keep my phone on my office desk and walk clear across my basement without audio dropout. Plus, multi-point connection lets you pair two devices at the same time, so you can quickly sync to your phone or laptop.
Battery life and high-res wired listening options
When fully charged, you can listen to these headphones wirelessly for up to 30 hours with noise cancellation. And if you need a quick fuel-up, a 15-minute charge will give you up to five hours of wireless listening. Focal also included cables for optional wired listening, including a 3.5mm miniplug cable.
Just note there's no "passive" listening mode — the headphones need to be charged up even when you listen wired. (And since you're using the circuitry built into the headphones, there's no benefit to connecting to a separate headphone amp.) But you can plug the included USB-C cable into a compatible phone or computer and bypass that device's audio circuitry. The Bathys headphones have an internal DAC that's capable of playing high-resolution audio files.
- Featured in our articles: Best Bluetooth headphones for 2023 and Best noise-canceling headphones for 2023
- over-the-ear, closed-back headphones with adaptive noise cancellation
- Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity for wireless music listening and phone calls
- aptX Adaptive automatically adjusts to prioritize audio quality or low latency, depending on the listening situation
- aptX HD and AAC decoding provide high-quality music streaming from compatible device
- multi-point connection for pairing two devices at once
- made of high-grade materials like leather, aluminum, and magnesium
Active noise cancellation, controls, and mobile app:
- noise-canceling circuitry to minimize external noise
- designed to preserve listening experience by not interfering with audio quality
- dedicated button for toggling through levels of noise cancellation and "Transparency" mode
- Transparency mode turns off noise-canceling so you can hear your surroundings
- earcup controls let you answer calls, play/pause music, and skip songs
- summon Alexa or Google Assistant on your smart phone
- built-in mic system for clear calls in noisy areas
- Focal & Naim app lets you manually adjust noise cancellation and sound
- free download for Apple® and Android™ devices
- power off or choose brightness of LED light on logo
- 40mm dynamic drivers made of high-grade materials
- specially designed "M-shaped" aluminum/magnesium domes deliver wide-range frequency response
- designed, developed, and assembled in Saint-Etienne, France
- drivers positioned in closed-back headphone chamber to emulate the sound of near-field speakers
- specially placed air vents help manage the tonal balance of the bass and midbass
- provide fast, uniform motion for well-balanced sound and low distortion
- built-in DAC and premium headphone amplifier for optimum wireless and wired playback
- supports high-res audio playback with wired USB connection (PCM up to 24-bit/192kHz)
General info and specs:
- built-in rechargeable battery offers up to 30 hours of wireless use with noise cancellation on full charge
- 15-minute quick charge provides enough power for 5 hours of listening
- includes two detachable cables:
- 4-foot 3.5mm mini-to-miniplug listening cable
- 4-foot USB-C to USB-C cable for charging and listening to compatible digital source
- headphones must be powered on, no passive listening
- secure, snug fit with oversized, plush earpads and headband padding
- zippered rigid carrying case included
- THD: <0.2% (1kHz/10mW)
- frequency response: 15-22,000 Hz
- weight: 12.32 ounces
- warranty: 3 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # BATHYS
- Large earcups
- Snug, secure fit
- Good for focused listening
What's in the box:
- Over-ear wireless headphones
- 48" Audio cable (straight 3.5mm plug on one end and angled 3.5mm plug on other end)
- 49" USB cable (USB-C on each end)
- Zippered storage case
- Quick Start Guide
- Focal Brand brochure
Focal Bathys reviews
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More details on the Focal Bathys
Features & specs
|Earcup Width x Height||3.314" x 3.904"|
|Mic For Taking Calls||Yes|
|Voice Assistant Access|
|Frequency Response||15-22.1k Hz|
|Parts Warranty||3 Years|
|Labor Warranty||3 Years|
Overview: Focal's Bathys over-ear wireless headphones feature Bluetooth and Active Noise Cancellation to provide an immersive sound with a wide range of connectivity options. You can utilize the wireless option, or plug in the headphones via a 3.5mm audio cable or a USB-C connection. The headphones have a beautiful Black Silver finish with leather on the ear cushions and headband. The Bathys headphones come with a handsome zippered hard storage case.
Connection Modes: Bathys headphones offer three connection modes:
- Bluetooth: The headphones feature Bluetooth version 5.1 with multipoint, allowing you to connect two devices simultaneously and switch between them. Up to 8 devices can be saved in the headphones' memory. The headphones have a 49-foot (15 meter) wireless range, and support SBC, AAC, aptX™, and aptX™ Adaptive codecs.
- Jack: The Jack mode allows you to listen using the jack cable (4' audio cable with 3.5mm plugs). When the cable is connected, the Bluetooth function will disconnect. The power switch must be in the On position.
- USB-DAC: When using the USB-C cable, the integrated USB-DAC offers audio resolution of up to 24-bit, 192kHz. The power switch should be in the DAC position.
Drivers: Bathys features large Focal's patented 40mm "M"-shaped inverted dome drivers made of aluminum and magnesium. These French-built drivers deliver a dynamic, precise sound reproduction.
Active Noise Cancelling: The headphones have Active Noise Cancelling with two noise reduction and one transparency mode. The Silent mode provides the highest level of noise reduction, and is recommended for noisy environments. The Soft mode reduces low-frequency noise, but allows you to hear some ambient noise. It is best for less noisy environments, such as office or home settings. The Transparency mode allows you to hear ambient noise and have a conversation without removing your headphones, while continuing to listen to your music. You can use ANC while not listening to music by placing the Mode switch in the DAC position. Noise reduction will continue as long as there is battery power. (In the On position, the headphones will go into standby in 15 minutes and shut off ANC.)
Voice Assistants: The Bathys headphones are compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants, as well as the voice assistant that comes on your device (Siri, Bixby). You should choose your desired Voice Assistant in the Focal & Naim app.
Focal & Naim App: The new Focal & Naim app supports the Bathys headphones. In the app, you can choose a noise cancellation mode, view the headphone battery status, select a voice assistant, and adjust the brightness of the ear cup LED. The app also features a 5-band parametric EQ, with Home and Loudness modes and customizable EQ presets. The Focal & Naim app is compatible with Android devices running Android 6.0 and up, and with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch with iOS 13.1 or later.
Design: Bathys's drivers are housed in closed-back ear cups that feature comfortable leather earpads and a leather and microfiber headband. The headphones have curved Black Silver aluminum grilles, and a magnesium yoke that curves to follow the shape of your face. The Focal flame symbol in the center of the earcup is backlit that glows when the headphones are turned on and flashes when charging or pairing. The backlight can be turned off, if desired.
Onboard Controls: Most of the onboard headphone controls are on the right earcup. The mode switch lets you turn the headphones on or off, or activate the DAC mode, plus there are separate Volume Up and Volume Down buttons. Between the volume buttons is a multi-function button that is used for Bluetooth pairing, music controls, and phone controls. A dedicated Voice Assistant button on the right ear cup activates your chosen Voice Assistant. On the left ear cup is a single button for cycling through the ANC modes: Silent, Soft, and Transparency.
Cables: The Focal Bathys headphones come with a 48" audio cable with a straight 3.5mm plug for the right earcup, and an angled 3.5mm plug to the source unit. It also comes with a 49" USB-C cable that is used for the USB DAC mode, and for charging the internal battery.
Battery: The headphones are equipped with a 1060mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The battery fast-charges in approximately 1.5 hours when plugged into a 5V 2A USB-C charging port. The minimum charging output is 5V 300mA. With a fully charged battery, the headphones provides approximately 30 hours of battery life with Bluetooth and Active Noise Cancelling. The battery life is 35 hours in the "Jack" mode (plugged in via the 3.5mm cable), and 42 hours in the USB DAC mode. A 15-minute quick charge provides approximately 5 hours of battery life.
- Frequency Response: 15Hz - 22.1kHz
- THD: <0.2% @ 1 kHz
- Version: 5.1 with multipoint
- Frequency Band: 2404-2480 MHz
- Maximum Output Power: 4.56 dBm (2.86mW)
- Ear Cup Dimensions:
- External: 3.314" W, 3.904" H, 2.344" D
- Internal: 1.874" W, 2.502" H, 0.784" D
- Weight: 12.65 ounces (without cable), 13.1 ounces (with audio cable)
I compared the Focal Bathys with the B&W PX8 and althought the PX8 had a slightly warmer sound with a bit better bass, the overall clarity of the Bathys won me over. I decided to keep the Bathys and send back the PX8 and i could not be much happier.
Ritesh from New Hyde Park