Focal Spark Wireless in-ear headphone review: Audiophile sound at a budget price

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Many years ago, I listened to a pair of stylish but very expensive tower speakers at a Hi-Fi store in the Boston area. I wasn’t intimately familiar with the French high-end speaker manufacturer Focal (pronounced Fo-CAL) then, but I never forgot the spell-binding sound those speakers produced. Focal is now turning its attention to the mainstream in-ear headphone market with the Spark and Spark Wireless.

This review focuses on the Spark Wireless, the Bluetooth cousin of the wired Spark in-ear-monitor that I’ve also examined (you’ll find that review here). The two share the same bullet-design ear plug with an aluminum finish. Both have 9.5mm electrodynamic mylar drivers; a flat anti-tangle cable tethering the two earbuds; a three button remote with an omnidirectional microphone; a satin finish; and a beautiful, laser-etched Focal logo on the ear plug’s backside.

The Focal Spark Wireless support Bluetooth 4.1. I found them simple and easy to pair with my iPhone 7. Holding down the play/pause button for about four seconds will put the Spark into pairing mode. Connecting to the Spark Wireless was quick and flawless.

Focal Spark Wireless Headphones. Theo Nicolakis

Focal Spark Wireless Headphones.

Smart accessories you’ll actually use

Three pairs of silicone ear tips—small, medium, and large—are included. The ear tips have adequate grip and didn’t fall out of my ears. I was able to get a good, snug fit, which is also essential for proper bass response with in-ear-headphones.

My review pair came in silver and white, though there is a black and silver model available as well. There’s something distinctively French and stylish about the Spark Wireless headphones. The satin aluminum finish on the barrel, accented by a silver back with a slightly beveled edge, both diffuses and reflects light in a distinctive way.

The Spark Wireless includes a carrying case, magnetic clip, microUSB charger, and silicone ear tips. Theo Nicolakis

The Spark Wireless includes a carrying case, a magnetic retention clip, a microUSB charger, and silicone ear tips.

The Spark Wireless comes with the same excellent carrying case that I noted with the wired edition. The mesh pocket in the case’s top lid takes on heightened importance with the Spark Wireless. It’s a perfect place to store the included magnetic battery clip, which acts as a fastening system so you don’t lose the headphones.

The rubber magnetic retainer clip looks like a dumbbell, but with flat circular magnets on each end. A slit in the middle gives you just enough room to push one of the plugs through. Clip the retainer to your shirt collar with the magnets, and it will prevent the loss of the headphones while you’re active. I found the clip to be an exceptional accessory.

The Focal Spark Wireless includes a magnetic clip to prevent your headphones from falling off. Theo Nicolakis

The Focal Spark Wireless includes a magnetic clip to prevent your headphones from falling off.

I deliberately pulled out one of the headphones while running and even let the Spark Wireless dangle. At no time did the magnetic clip budge from my shirt’s collar. When you’re wearing outfits without pockets, the magnetic clip provides a sense of security. If you have a wide collar or a tank top, however, the magnet will be counterproductive due to the Spark’s short cable.You’ll end up pulling on the headphones if you turn your head.

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