You may not have heard of French audio company Focal, but among audiophiles its speakers and headphones stand in high regard. The Listen Wireless is the company's first crack at a full-size premium Bluetooth headphone.
This $300 model looks similar to the, which I liked a lot, but it has a more eye-catching glossy black finish instead of brushed silver. It folds up to fit in an included neoprene carrying case, and also comes with a cable for those times when you want to go wired.
The headphone feels sturdily built, although at 300 grams it's slightly heavy. While I found it easy enough to wear, it isn't as comfortable as. I do like that Focal's ear pads are equipped with thick, high-quality memory foam, and they managed to seal out a lot of ambient noise Unlike the Bose, however, there's no active noise cancellation.
The headphone has a dedicated on/off switch, which I liked, and it paired and re-paired without a problem, maintaining a steady Bluetooth connection. It doesn't offer multipoint pairing, which means you can't connect two devices at once and switch between them. Some people care about that feature.
I thought it also worked well as a headset for making calls; there's NFC tap-to-pair technology for devices that support it. Battery life is rated at up 20 hours of listening time, which is decent. No complaints there.
Rich, refined sound but a tad bright
Like the wired Listen, this model served up rich, refined sound, with punchy, well-defined bass and relatively open, airy sound for a closed back headphone. The mids sound natural and accurate.
The only problem I have with Focal's sound is that it's a tad bright. It sounded great with some material -- it's designed to be revealing, but that also makes it a little unforgiving. With some tracks that extra bit of presence boost in the treble can lead to a touch too much sizzle and perhaps even some listening fatigue.