CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Focal Listen Wireless review: A premium wireless headphone with refined sound and presence

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
Compare These

The Good The Focal Listen Wireless has a sturdy design, fits comfortably and snugly, and sounds excellent for a Bluetooth headphone. It folds up to fit in an included neoprene case and comes with a cable for wired listening. It also works well for making calls.

The Bad The sound is a tad bright, which can make some music sound harsh. Heavier than some competing models. Lacks active noise cancellation.

The Bottom Line Focal's Listen Wireless is well-built Bluetooth headphone with rich, refined sound imbued with a lot of presence -- perhaps too much for some people.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

Review Sections

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 wired Listen, 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 Bose's QuietComfort 35. 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 Listen Wireless is sturdily built but slightly heavy.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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. 

Best Headphones for 2018

See All
  • Sony WH-1000XM3

    Starting at: $398.00

    The third iteration of the WH-1000X is more comfortable, sounds slightly better and features...

  • Jabra Elite Active 65t

    The sporty version of Jabra's already wireless earphones have a few extras that put it...

  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II

    With a new button that links directly to Google Assistant on your phone, Bose's otherwise...

  • Jabra Elite 65t

    Jabra's new truly wireless earphones are superior to the AirPods in some ways and only...

  • Apple AirPods

    Apple's AirPods still aren't perfect, but a series of small software upgrades have made...

This week on CNET News

Discuss Focal Listen Wireless