Those people who are into headphones are truly a hard crowd to please as there are so many awesome studio headphones out there that new headphones coming out will have to be compared against. Especially when these new headphones don’t have their precious cables. For an extremely long time, many people have decided that noise cancelling wireless headphones are okay but are nowhere near as good at reducing outside sound as wired headphones, which can also offer a much better sound quality as well. 

These opinions on wireless headphones have mostly been right in the previous years, with a few outliers but usually wireless headphones will sound worse than their wired variants. So as a result you will see that lots of people that want this better sound quality, will be carrying their complicated wired headphones, portable headphone amps as well as other accessories sometimes just to get the best sound that they can when they are on the go. 

However, now in our new era of technology, we see established audiophile manufacturers such as Mark Levinson, Bowers & Wilkins as well as Focal trying to challenge this long term opinion on wireless noise-cancelling headphones and make it possible for these audio nerds to get the same quality of sound from these wireless headphones as they’d get from their wired headphones at home. A product from the brand Focal is one that stands out the most, and it is called the Focal Bathys. 

Focal Bathys


  • Great audio fidelity
  • Premium materials and build quality
  • Built in 24-bit/192kHz DAC


  • High price tag
  • No support for Sony’s LDAC codec
  • Noise cancellation is a little worse than other premium ANC headphones

The design

This very expensive pair of headphones has been named after a spherical submersible from last century because it looks like something that you’d imagine yourself pulling out from Poseidon’s desk. When it comes to the exterior design of these headphones, you’ll have spherical cutouts of various shapes and sizes that circle the Focal “F” in the middle of each one of the earcups.

The design

One thing that a lot of those headphones nerds out there will appreciate is that this headphone doesn’t have any finicky touch controls on it. You will have a power switch, which will be located on the bottom of the right hand side ear cup, a DAC mode button as well as three more buttons that will let you control the volume and the play/pause feature, which will also be used for Bluetooth pairing if you long press this button. Then you’ll also have just a single button on your left-hand side ear cup that will let you switch between the ANC modes. 

When you turn these headphones on you’ll notice a white LED that backlights the Focal logo on each of the ear cups, which really gives these headphones an added futuristic aesthetic. If you aren’t into this whole vibe of the logos lighting up then you are able to change them via the Focal app, where you’ll also be able to adjust your EQ and ANC settings. 

Then moving on to the headband of these headphones you’ll be met with an awesome alcantara-like leather underneath the headband, which has been coupled with the headphones soft leather ear pads. Thanks to this premium material, you’ll be able to grip a lot more onto your head while still being able to keep your ears nice and cosy. When you purchase these headphones you’ll also get a gorgeous grey hard case, which has been very nicely designed and has a very accessible storage space for the included charging and 3.5mm cables. With this case you’ll be able to very easily store them in a backpack or carry-on when you aren’t using them. You’ll be able to get about 30 hours of playback time on one full charge. 

Although they aren’t the lightest headphones that you will pick, they are relatively light when compared to other premium wireless noise cancelling headphones, such as the AirPods Max. However, even though these may seem heavy on paper, they have been designed very well and have an amazing balanced feeling when you are wearing them so you don’t even notice the added weight. 

The Sound

The Sound

Focal designs and makes their products with the utmost precision and care, we see this in the fact that they actually hand make their drivers for these headphones in France. The drivers that they use in these headphones have been inspired by the more-expensive models that have been loved by audiophiles, which makes the Focal Bathy truly sound amazing. 

When you are listening to anything on these headphones you’ll notice that the audio, from bottom to low-mid range is buttery smooth. Although these headphones have a pair of drivers that are able to provide an insane amount of detail in its sound it still, surprisingly, has a great EQ curve, which means that you’ll be able to hear music with a clean, wide soundstage. 

When it comes to the noise cancelling performance of these headphones they are good but definitely not as great as some of the latest over-ear models that you can get from Sony and Bose. Although there are other options out there that may be better than these, when it comes to the noise cancelation, they are still great for commutes and daily sounds that you may find irritating and block out. With some headphones with bad ANC algorithms you may feel plugged up and disconnected from the world but these headphones are actually very transparent-sounding. 

These headphones have also been equipped with Bluetooth 5.1, which means that these will be as good as they come when it comes to their wireless connectivity. However, if you are someone that is looking to hear your audio with the ultimate fidelity then it is recommended that you listen via the 3.5 mm jack on the bottom of the right earcup. 

You’ll also be able to use DAC mode and a USB-C cable to listen to these wired for improved audio.  DAC, which stands for “digital to analog converter”, mode is really awesome as it makes these headphones a sort of two in one solution for all the audio nerds out there. When people want to get the most of their audio and really take their listening seriously then they usually bring a portable DAC or headphone amp in order to power their fancy wired headphones since the chips that you find in consumer laptops and cell phones don’t really sound the best. So since the Bathys Focal headphones allows you to tap into the excellent processing inside of it by just plugging them straight into your cell phone, it eliminates the need for any external hardware. 

Final Words

Focal Bathys Headphones

Other than the high price of these headphones there is very little to dislike about them, but this was expected as this brand has been known for making premium headphones that come with a quite hefty price tag. In conclusion, these are amongst the best convenient noise-cancelling wireless headphones for a travelling audio nerd. This is because they sound as amazing as a lot of wired options out there but are a lot easier to take everywhere with you than a high-end wired headphone would be. 

Leo Beamers is an aspiring car collector born and raised just outside of the city in Cape Town and his interests include gaming, fast cars and enjoys cycling on the weekends.

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