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Focal Bathys Bluetooth Headphones – French Fashion And Sound

Focal Bathys is a $699 USD pair of Bluetooth headphones made by Focal, a huge French Company specialized in audiophile products, and those come with a Bluetooth 5.1 connection, 3.5mm Jack input, USB Type-C port for charging and data, and with ANC or Active Noise Canceling. The current pricing makes them the priciest Bluetooth headphones I reviewed to date on Audiophile-Heaven and places them close to the upper midrange ceiling for the price range, so we will be comparing them with HIFIMAN Ananda Nano (599 USD), Sennheiser HD 660S2 (599 USD), Meze 109 PRO (799 USD), and Sennheiser Momentum 4 (338 USD). 



Focal Audio is a huge company from France best known for their outstanding high-end and flagship products, like the Utopia Headphones, which we will hopefully get to review in the future. The company also makes some of the most popular speakers and is known for a bright, vivid sound signature for all their products, and it is a company I did review a product from in the past, namely the Focal Elear headphones, but which did not impress me, as the build quality was lacking for the price point, and they creaked quite a bit. This being said, the tuning was quite nice, although warm and romantic / a bit goofy, so not exactly the signature they are best known for. It will be interesting to see how the Bathys sound compared to everything else we’ve been reviewing and if they are worth the asking price. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases, and using the purchase links in my reviews helps me maintain this website and youtube channel.

Audiophile-Heaven has no affiliation with Focal Audio, and this is an independent work designed to reflect my subjective experience and impressions. 


Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here – https://amzn.to/3I3Qzet

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here – https://amzn.to/42DbfDz

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here – https://amzn.to/3HZE7fB


Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

Focal Bathys surely looks cool, and while most headphones tend to go for the brooding salaryman or the engineer look, Bathys go for the flashy fashion diva look, and can impress anyone seeing them in person. There are fashion accents everywhere, and those are available in two colors, either Black Silver, or Dune (the one we’re reviewing today). The way the company designed the Bathys headphones has been for comfort, and they have a promised battery life of 30 Hours, and they have the drivers made in France by Focal. 

There are three levels of ANC available for the Focal Bathys listener, and those include Soft, Silent or Transparency, being self explanatory. Most of the magic comes from the drivers, and Focal is using the Patented Aluminum / Magnesium M Dome speaker, and the company even made sure to include a USB DAC mode which works up to 24 Bit / 192 kHz, but which can be cumbersome to use as USB Type-C cables are generally hard, short and your USB port can sometimes be a noisy port. 

Focal includes EQ with their headphones, and we have Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (they really should proofread the official website, Amazon Alex is not a thing), along with a transport case that is just gorgeous and offers excellent protection to the headphones. I personally have never used Vocal Assistants and I do not recommend this, due to privacy concerns. The supplied cables are very short, 1.2 meters in length, and while that can work just fine for a line cable, it is comically short for a USB Cable, as my computer needs at least 2 meters of cable between where I am sitting and where the USB outputs at the back are. 

Some review outlets have called the Bathys “The most beautiful headphones” they have ever seen, and I gotta say, they really look nice, and while I personally found them to be fine and nice, my wife was absolutely in love with the design the first time we got them. Focal makes great headphones, but the website is a bit hard to browse for me while I am searching for more information on what is promised for Focal Bathys to offer, but Focal quotes 30 hours of battery life, while I would say they’d be good to go for 16-18 hours with loud listening volumes, Bluetooth, aptX or aptX Adaptive, and with changing the song often. On the bright side, they charge pretty fast, and just 15 minutes of charging will get you almost 5 hours of music playback at lower volumes.  

An interesting aspect is that using the USB DAC does not charge the headphones, but actually drains the battery slowly, and you can get up to 42 hours of battery life using it. The driver is dynamic and the full weight is very low, at 350 grams, with Bathys offering a good subjective impression, no creaking noise in the casing, like Elear had, and with a fairly good comfort. The fit is a bit tight on my medium head, and I need maximum size for the Bathys to fit my head, they won’t fit a head any larger than mine even if marginally so. Having the USB DAC cable on the right side is unusual, and for me uncomfortable, I got used to always having the cable on the left earcup, especially as my PC and for most people the PC will stay on the left. This is basically because most people are right handed and control the mouse with the right hand, so the cable will get in the way if you’re sitting at the PC. There is noticeable crackling and loss of signal if using the Bathys via the USB Type-C USB DAC input, with multiple computers, regardless of the ANC status, and regardless of the PC I am using, I couldn’t get rid of it. There is no such problem for the 3.5mm Line Input. The Focal Naim App does not recognize the Bathys and I have not been able to test EQ or advanced settings with Samsung S23 Ultra, Huawei P30 PRO, or Asus ROG 7 smartphones. You can turn off the ANC completely by keeping the button on the left earcup pressed. 

The Bluetooth algorithms include aptX, aptX Adaptive, but for Samsung S23 Ultra, you only have SBC, as it has LDAC and no aptX. For most of my testing, the sound was considerably better over the USB DAC input, than the Bluetooth mode. In fact, for Bathys in particular, the Bluetooth sound is a bit poor, especially knowing you can have a much better sound if you’re using them via the USB Type-C input or via the Line In. When using the Bathys as a USB DAC, the volume buttons will only control the Windows volume, and they don’t have a separate internal volume. The 3.5mm line in sounds best by far, which indicates that the DAC inside struggles with the sound, as for line in, you still have to have the Bathys turned on and they still consume power, just not using their internal DAC. 

The ANC is superb in effect, it does change the sound a bit, but very little, and it provides an effective 30 – 35 dB of passive noise isolation, sounds superb, and is flagship-grade in effectiveness, you hear literally nothing while wearing the Bathys with ANC active. There is a tiny bit of added noise by the amplifiers inside, there is a tiny bit of background noise and hissing, and Bathys are well designed in the DAC / AMP / Bluetooth receiver stages. There is no USB DAC delay, if you’re using the Focal Bathys with a Type-C cable, and there is no noticeable delay if using them wired with the 3.5mm line input, but there is noticeable delay if using them via Bluetooth, as you’d expect. For Bluetooth, there is a separate internal volume for Focal Bathys, and separate smartphone volume. For the best sonic quality, I suggest setting the smartphone volume to max and controlling the volume on the Bathys.The microphone quality for calls is fair, it takes in a lot of noise from the environment, including wind noise, and other voices of people talking far away from me. The person on the other hand complained about the sound whenever I called, although I could hear them super clear and crisp. There is no passive mode, the line in gets digitized, gets ANC applied, and then gets the signal fed back to the DAC/AMP inside.   


Sound Quality

The overall sound of Focal Bathys is clean, crisp, bright and with a fairly good bass extension, good treble accuracy, and a happy / pleasing tonality, which makes ACG and female voices sound sweet, especially the likes of Hime Hina, emphasizes the upper midrange a bit, and brings the lower midrange back, pushing male voices father away from the listener. Since we could not test any kind of EQ, this I would expect to be the only sound you’d get as a listener, and we will explore it in detail. ANC does not affect the sound much, although between ANC on and Transparency, the music is affected too, with the sound being brighter with transparency turned on, and with a lot of extra noise added to the music, from the microphones getting the transparency to work having a high gain. The maximum volume of Focal Bathys is very loud, they have exceptional control at max volume for clarity, precision, resolution and details, having a crisp and tonally pleasing sound. There is a good sense of space and a wide, holographic soundstage being presented around the listener, and there’s a good sense of dynamics too, despite the internal amplifier and DACs clearly struggling in certain situations, with complex music where there are many instruments playing together, such as in orchestral music. You could say that the signature is V-Shaped, but only the lower midrange is audibly quieter than the rest of the tuning, so it would be a very specific tuning. 

The sound from the Line In, with the electronics in Focal Bathys turned on, is far better than if using their USB DAC input, and this indicates the limitations of the DAC. This being said, for the review I’ve used them in Bluetoth mode, USB DAC mode, and even Line-In Wired mode. The sound is cleanest from the line-in mode, and has the most punchy presentation from the USB DAC mode, but there is that issue where from the USB DAC there’s a disconnect, lost signal, crackling kind of sound at all times, which seems to be connected with GPU usage, as it doesn’t happen as much with Tidal, but happens a lot of I am playing video files. The Bluetooth mode sounds the thickest, smoothest, and has a strong focus on the low end and rolls off the treble in comparison with the other two modes. 

We have a deep, powerful bass which has good control, slow-natural speed and which is ever so slightly dry in character. This means that most music feels fast, the bass decay is short, and it can have a more textured feeling to it than you’d expect, but the quantity is more than enough for rock and metal, although a bit lacking for EDM, Electronic and Pop music. The bass is fuller than with most headphones, sounding satisfying, but it is not as basshead as with Sennheiser Momentum 3. There is a fairly good presentation of nuance and finer changes in bass are represented faithfully, without Focal Bathys forcing a certain type of bass on the listener. 

The midrange is clean, mostly wide and has good instrument separation. The transient reproducing is short and snappy, which gives the feeling of dryness a bit in the mids, but works well for reproducing square waves in electronic music, making this style sound vivid, clear and crisp. Male voices are represented with less emphasis than female voices, male voices always feel a bit distant, while female voices feel closer to the listener. The same effect happens with guitars, which are always forward, while drums are played in the background always, distant from the listener. This gives the feeling of soundstage, but it is always the same kind of soundstage, but it works fairly well for rock, metal, pop and EDM, but not for classical and orchestral music. 

The treble is where things change the most, Bluetooth input has the least treble extension, sounds the smoothest, relaxed and least engaging, while the USB DAC mode sounds the brightest, has the best treble reproduction, with most energy, sparkle and resolution. The wired line in mode has the sound right in between, with great clarity and detail, but also a softer transient response which takes the edge off and makes music sound natural, clean and controlled. For those sensitive to a harsh treble, it can be hard and somewhat harsh sounding from the USB Type-C DAC input, but sounds perfectly natural and refined from the line input or the Bluetooth input. 



Most of the competitors need a DAC or even a DAC/AMP, being open-back, and needing an investment of around 260 USD for the best DAC/AMP combo to get being JDS Labs Atom AMP 2 and Atom DAC 2, or at least 129 USD for FiiO K11, which can drive them well. This offsets the price comparison a bit, and only Momentum 4 is truly bluetooth, and has ANC, the other comparisons being with traditional headphones, but with the price of Focal Bathys, you’d expect them to compete in sonic quality, and a buyer needs to know whether Focal Bathys are a good option. 

Focal Bathys vs Sennheiser Hd 660S2 (699 USD vs 599 USD) – Starting with the build, both headphones are made mostly out of plastic, but 660 S2, while tight, has a better comfort on my head than Bathys, as I still would have more space for adjustment with 660 S2, while with Bathys, I reached the maximum size for adjustment with my head. The overall driving power needed to properly drive 660 S2 is high, but for 129 USD, FiiO K11 can deliver that really well, and you can simply forget about more equipment, while Focal Bathys have ANC and are closed back, isolate you from noise, and have bluetooth. HD 660S2 will not isolate, will actually leak sound, and cannot be enjoyed in public, while Bathys is to be enjoyed anywhere, even if someone is sleeping in the room close to you. The soundstage is about the same size, while 660 S2 has a higher resolution and detail, better clarity, and overall sharper, but less harsh treble, with a more realistic timbre. The bass has a slightly better extension on Focal Bathys, and it is slightly smoother, while 660 S2 has a harder bass, and slightly shallower extension. 

Focal Bathys vs Meze 109 PRO (699 USD vs 799 USD) – Starting with a competitor that is about 100 USD more than the Bathys, 109 PRO has a larger earcup, my ears and head have more space inside of the 109 PRO, they feel better made, and more solid, plus for me they look better as well. The sound of 109 PRO does not exist without a DAC/AMP, but connecting them to the most affordable DAC/AMP with a ton of power that I have, FiiO K11, 109 PRO has a much better clarity, resolution and impact, with a more dynamic sound, better headroom, and a wider soundstage that respects the song and the way it was mixed / mastered better. Focal Bathys will sound brighter in the upper midrange, have less bass extension, but a more relaxed, smoother sound that is easier to enjoy with ACG, Metal and Rock music, while 109 PRO sounds sharper, and doesn’t forgive a bad recording / mix while Focal Bathys can make most music enjoyable. Both are great options, and if you don’t want to invest in a separate DAC/AMP, Bathys is perfectly fine, as long as you don’t have a head larger than mine, as this is the limit for their size adjustment. The ANC on Focal Bathys is HeavenSent for plane trips, while 109 PRO is open back and leaks, does not isolate, and should not be used in public. 

Focal Bathys vs Sennheiser Momentum 4 (699 USD vs 338 USD) – This is the only really fair comparison since both headphones are wireless Bluetooth headphones, and Momentum 4 are super basshead, but both headphones seem to have user reported problems with the USB DAC modes, but while Momentum 4 had some issues with the Line input for me, most users report they work fine, so both headphones work the same in this aspect. The overall comfort of Momentum 4 is better, they are less tight, larger and would fit a larger head better. The design of Focal Bathys is far better, they look better in person, and Focal Bathys is also louder at maximum volume with less distortion. The sound is far thicker, bassier, heavier and sharper as presented by Momentum 4, which exaggerates the overall treble and bass, it is a headphone that likes to deal explosion, impact and a thick sound. Focal Bathys sounds more detailed, cleaner, has a much better resolution, and a more natural sounding midrange. The overall ANC performance is better on Focal Bathys, it does not affect the sound, but both have a somewhat poor microphone that picks up wind noise and unintentional voices from other people rather easily. Focal provides a more audiophile listening experience, for double the price of Momentum 4, but it is tighter on the head, offering a better ANC experience too. Momentum 4 is better if you’re a basshead, or need a larger pair of headphones. 

Focal Bathys vs HIFIMAN Ananda Nano (699 USD vs 599 USD) – This is a really fair comparison, because by the time you’re purchasing FiiO K11, the most affordable source that can drive the Ananda Nano well, they end up costing just 30 USD more than Focal Bathys. When placing them side by side, Ananda Nano is much larger, and my head and ears have more space inside, but Ananda Nano is tight too on my head. Both headphones have fun sound to them, but Ananda Nano has a much more dynamic midrange, cleaner midrange, cleaner treble, wider, more holographic soundstage, better instrument separation, and is generally like a full upgrade in every category, from dynamics all the way to impact compared to Bathys. This being said, Bathys sounds leaner, more relaxed, laid back and smoother, being great if you’re easily fatigued, and the bass is somewhat higher in amount on the Bathys, reaching the sub-bass a bit better than Ananda Nano. The choice is clear, if you need the better resolution and can sacrifice noise isolation, Ananda Nano will deliver the sound you’re looking for, while if you’re looking for a wireless headphone, more bass, and a leaner, more relaxed sound Focal Bathys will give you that French Magic. 


Value and Conclusion

The price point of 699 USD already has many stars, and you can grab some of the best sounding headphones with wires at that price point, even Focal having some darn good sounding models at that price point. While Focal Bathys are currently the best sounding Bluetooth models I heard overall, they lack many of the features I would need to consider them complete, such as a working USB DAC mode that doesn’t have sound dropouts, and LDAC, as Samsung doesn’t implement aptX. This means that they’re mainly a pair of Bluetooth headphones that work well for certain smartphones, you have to make sure you have aptX, and they don’t have aptX Lossless either. The Line in is nice, crisp and clean, but only works with the headphones turned on and will consume battery. 

At the end of the day, if you’re looking for what is currently the most Wireless Bluetooth headphones can offer, if you have a source with aptX, and if you’re ready to spend quite a bit of a premium for the fashionable, cool design they have, Focal Bathys is crisp, clean and clear and overall an excellent headphone I recommend for those always on the go, who can use this hybrid mode of features. 


Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here – https://amzn.to/3I3Qzet

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here – https://amzn.to/42DbfDz

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here – https://amzn.to/3HZE7fB

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Full Playlist used for this review

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  I recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music! The playlists are different for Spotify, Tidal and Youtube, and based on the songs I enjoy and are available on each!




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  1. Geir

    I have the Bathys and got the app to work after removing the app turn of my S23 Ultra off. Startet the phone again and downloaded the app again. Since then no issues with the app.

    1. Gheorghe Dobrescu

      Oh, cool to know it can work this way!

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