The road to nirvana

My journey into Photography, Horology, and Audiophilia

A broken love affair with a Spirit

November 29, 2018

It's no secret that I develop affinity to brands when they make my experience a pleasant one. The product family of Harman became one after my purchase of the Infinity Kappa 200 and Harman Kardon HD750 which led to more spending into the brand, including JBL speakers,  Harman Kardon home theater receiver, and AKG headphones. The first brand I had serious affinity with was JVC, from VHS players to micro component music players, televisions, headphones, video recorders, etc.

As far as headphones are concerned, I'm so biased towards the sonic character of AKG leading to ownership of the K240S (55Ω), including the high-impedance version (K240 Monitor 600Ω), and the K702 that has become my reference headphone. Until I heard a pair of these...


I was an annual car show event that Peugeot is participating in when I saw these Focal headphones in their merchandise cabinet. I gave it a listen thru my Huawei P9 and I liked what I heard but I failed to purchase it because my attention was with something else at that time.

Last July, I took home the Focal Spirit Pro for audition. I drove them with my NAIM Headline 2 and every note produces a nasty grin on my face. I knew that I'm in love all over again.

Focal Spirit Pro

Day two of the audition and I was prepared to inform the dealer that they're not coming back.

Focal Spirit Pro

Then it happened. I've read from numerous reviews that cases of cracking abound and pesters a lot of owners and I was hoping I'm not going to be one of them well, now I am one.

Focal Spirit Pro crack

Just when I thought that this small crack is the last of it, I was given a dose of TV shopping spiel "but wait, there's more..."

Spirit Pro bits

I continue to pick up bits and pieces of broken plastic and it became painfully frustrating. I needed to do something to arrest the breakup of the plastic that Super Glue can never fix by using metal rings cut from a key chain to keep the gap together.

Spirit Pro metal rings

The damage already affects the listening quality as the leak from the left pads are significantly noticeable.

But wait, there's more...

The coiled cable decided to join in the misery and started shredding off as well.

Spirit Pro cable shred

Spirit Pro more cable shred

Currently, the entire length of the coiled cable has random shredding and there seems to be no stopping that ripple. The other straight cable designed for mobile phones is still holding up.

I like the synergy between the NAIM and Focal (same family) that I'm going to fix this Spirit Pro, just thinking of ideas on how the do it. While I was in agony with my headphone set up, I thought of upgrading the DALI Zensor 3 with Focal bookshelf speakers that's how I spent my all souls day this year.