Focal is renowned for their audiophile quality audio products with some of their headphones now industry-leading models.  Until now all of their headphones have been wired headphones – after all, that is what produces the best quality sound.  

Now though they have decided to apply their audio expertise to a product designed to meet the growing needs of the headphone market with the inclusion of wireless and portability capabilities.  It may have taken three years, but the new Focal Bathys Bluetooth headphones are worth the wait with Focal incorporating their “high-fidelity sound” into wireless headphones.


The Focal Bathys design is similar to that in their open- and closed-back headphones with magnesium used on the yokes, leather on the headband.  The outside of the earcups include a mesh style design – a look that is synonymous with Focal headphone design – with Focal’s flame logo in the centre.  The Focal logo is backlit and can be changed in brightness or turned off using the new Focal app.  It looks great, as does the overall design of the headphones but I’m not sure why you would bother lighting it up – it will just decrease your battery life.

The black silver colourway of the headphones make them look incredibly classy – and different to all the other full-black headphones on the market.  Finishing off the good-looking design is a stylish carry case which is relatively compact – when compared with Focal’s other headphone cases to allow for better portability.

There are no touch sensitive surfaces on the headphones for media control.  Instead, Focal has opted for the more traditional hardware buttons and every single button is included that you could think of – On, Off, DAC, Assistant, volume up and down, next and previous track, ANC control etc.

Are they comfortable?

The Focal Bathys earcups sit comfortably over the ears with them pressing in enough to make a decent seal but without making them feel uncomfortable on your ears.  The headband is not the most cushioned headband I have used and if you sit it directly on top of your scalp it can be a bit uncomfortable after a while but of you extend it a bit and allow it to barely touch the head – the earcup clamping pressure allows this– then it is much more comfortable and the headphones can be worn for an extended period of time. 

As I type this, I have had them on my head for close to 2 hours with no adverse effects.  The higher end hardware and drivers within the Focal Bathys means that they are a bit heavier than a more mainstream wireless headphone such as the Bose NC700.  The Bose NC700 weighs in at a mere 254 grams and feel (and are) lighter than the Focal Bathys’ 350 grams.  On the other hand, when comparing the two the build and hardware quality of the Focal Bathys feels so much better because of this added weight.


You do need to remember, and after forking out the money for it I doubt you will ever forget, that the Focal Bathys are designed for the modern audiophile.  The audiophile that wants to be mobile but still listen to high fidelity music and as such you would expect the drivers inside each ear cup to be top notch – and they are.

Manufactured in Saint-Étienne in France there is a 15/8″ (40mm) Aluminium-Magnesium speaker drivers in each ear cup to deliver a “deep bass, soft trebles and a clear mid-range for an extremely precise sound.”  That is the marketing hype from Focal but after using them and comparing them to the two sets of Bose wireless headphones I own it isn’t just hype – it’s real.

The sound is just amazing. It’s as if they have moved the entire sound profile and made it deeper, but also giving a crisper mid range.  The deepness of the bass is absolutely amazing – and its good bass, not that rough, imprecise bass that you hear on some cheaper brands.  Of course, Focal has their own sound signature they have aimed for, and it works.  The precise sound Focal has produced with these wireless headphones is better than you would expect from a wireless headphone but here it is.

Wireless is great of course and it does add more use cases but if you also have the time and ability to use a wired connection the Focal Bathys also offer the ability to connect using a 3.5mm headphone jack or for even better-quality sound a USB-C connection that can deliver a USB-DAC mode that enables a resolution of up to 24bits / 192kHz.  Focal Bathys offer the best of wireless but also decent wired solutions.

Plugging the USB-DAC connection into a supporting player – in my case an Astell & Kern media player (review coming in the next couple of days) resulted in a sound that was absolutely mind blowing.  It was only bested by a set of headphones currently sitting on the review bench that are worth closer to $6,000.  For those looking for top quality the Bathys are compatible with SBC, AAC, Apt-X™ and Apt-X™ Adaptive codecs.

“For a better listening quality with Bluetooth, we advise you to listen to music with the available codecs such as AAC for iOS and aptX™ adaptive for Android.”


Remember these are review headphones so I have used them in total for maybe 15 hours or so at the most.  Focal recommends a good burn in period for the drivers of 40-72 hours before you start getting the full quality possible from them.

The Focal Bathys support active noise cancellation and although it is well known that ANC isn’t great for the best quality sound, if you are using the headphones on the go – such as on a plane – a slightly lower quality sound with ANC is better than a sound you cannot hear due to no ANC.  

The app and the hard button on the headphones offer the ability to change the ANC amount from either fully transparent to medium level to full ANC.  If at home in a quiet environment, I’m going to choose no ANC for the higher quality sound (unless the vacuum is running) but if I’m anywhere near any loud noises I’m opting for ANC all the way.

Although they are not marketed as smart headphones, the Focal Bathys do support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant through the hardware button on the right earcup.

There is of course an Android and iOS app that is new to Focal and while it does not have a lot of features it has the main ones you may need – an equaliser and ANC control.  Focal say that unless you are near loud noises there isn’t much need to change the equaliser due to their own tweaking of the sound signature.

Phone calling is of course also supported with the headphones including Clear Voice Capture microphone technology for crystal clear telephone conversations.  Using them for phone calls worked well with the party on the other end able to hear me quite clearly even in a relatively noisy environment.  

Battery life

Bathys offers over 30 hours of Bluetooth ANC use, with its fast-charging function giving you five extra listening hours in just 15 minutes and a full charge in just 90 minutes.  I did manage to run them out eventually at just under the 30 hour mark – maybe an hour or two under.  Given the amount of playing around I did with them while reviewing them that is pretty impressive.

For even longer use you can use the headphone jack mode (35 hours) or the USB-DAC mode (42 hours). Battery life and charge time is not something you have to worry about with the Focal Bathys headphones.

Should you buy them?

There’s an age-old adage — “You get what you pay for” — and with the Focal Bathys that is so accurate. Sure, on paper they look overpriced when compared with more mainstream brands such as Bose and Sony but it depends on what you value. If you are an audiophile and want the portability of a Bluetooth headphone but at the same time a full, rich sound, then the $1,199 is not too much.

Audiophiles often spend thousands of dollars on their speakers and home headphones so to fork out $1,199 for a wireless Bluetooth pair is not that much of a stretch. They sound amazing when compared to the Bose headphones, blowing them out of the water with the quality of the sound produced.

The design is an attractive design, with comfortable earcups and a relatively comfortable headband. Incorporate that with the quality sound with great ANC (if you need that) and you have a high-quality headphone. Unfortunately, now that I’ve used these I’m ruined. I’m not sure I could ever go for a mainstream set of headphones again and my pocket will suffer — but my ears will love it!

For those who simply do not want to spend that much — and it is a lot of money — and don’t want the best possible sound then you probably should stick to the more mainstream brands but if you are an audiophile in search of a quality wireless headphone, look no further than the Focal Bathys. I’m giving them my two thumbs up!

The new Focal Bathys headphones are available now via Addicted To Audio for RRP AUD $1,199 // NZD $1,349.–oc