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A photo of the Focal Hadenys on a wooden table top.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
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Focal Hadenys review

A well-built set of cans for the buyer who wants a long-term desk companion.
By

Published onJune 14, 2024

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7.3
Focal Hadenys
The bottom line
The Focal Hadenys are an extremely good set of open-backed headphones that are not only durable, but sound great too. Though the cost is steep, you are getting your money's worth.
SoundGuys recommended badge

Focal Hadenys

The Focal Hadenys are an extremely good set of open-backed headphones that are not only durable, but sound great too. Though the cost is steep, you are getting your money's worth.
Product release date
2024
Price
$699
Dimensions
Headphones: 240 x 210 x 70 mm
Ear cup: 60 x 40 mm
Cable length: 1.25m
Weight
294g
Model Number
Waterproof
What we like
Sound quality
Comfort
Durability
Forgiving to eyeglasses
What we don't like
Price
Mass
7.3
SoundGuys Rating
7.8
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
2.8
6.0
6.0
Durability / Build Quality
7.0
8.0
8.0
Value
6.9
7.0
7.0
Design
9.5
10.0
10.0
Connectivity
6.5
-
0.0
Portability
4.5
-
0.0
Feature
7.9
-
0.0
Comfort
9.8
8.0
8.0
MDAQS rating
Learn more
Timbre
4.7
Distortion
4
Immersiveness
3.9
Overall
4.5

The world of high-end headphones is awash with models that would make any bargain hunter’s face twist in horror. However, to the right buyer: a set of luxury headphones is exactly what they’re looking for. Focal’s latest release, the Focal Hadenys, is just such a set of headphones — but is it worth the $699? Let’s find out.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this Focal Hadenys review: We tested the Focal Hadenys over a period of 1 week. The company provided the unit for this review.

The Focal Hadenys is for high-spending audio lovers looking for a rock-solid, impressive-sounding set of headphones for their HiFi setup or computer.

What’s it like to use the Focal Hadenys?

The Focal Hadenys is a robust set of open-backed metal headphones with cloth ear pads. The headphones are wired-only, and come with a single removable TRS cable that hooks into the left ear cup. Each ear cup swivels flat so the headphones can be stowed in a carrying case — which can hold everything you need for the Focal Hadenys should you need to take them somewhere.

The Focal Hadenys sits in its travel case with removable cable.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The Focal Hadenys folds flat, allowing for easy stowing in a travel case.

Because high-end headphones are typically meant to be suitable for long periods of use, padding is not in short supply with the Focal Hadenys. The fabric skull pad and ear pads are stuffed to the brim with form-fitting foam; necessary when the cans weigh in at 294 grams. The cloth covering of the padding doesn’t catch on eyeglasses arms like leather tends to, so it’s much easier to get a good fit with the Focal Hadenys — an absolute must for best results.

A photo of the Focal Hadenys sitting atop a wooden desk.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Cloth pads and ample foam handle weight well.

Despite the considerable mass of the Focal Hadenys, I was able to use it for many hours at a time with no issue. The padding is more than adequate to handle long listening sessions, and the open backs plus the cloth covering mean that heat doesn’t build up either. These are cans built for long-haul use.

The sliding metal band of the Focal Hadenys.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Sliding metal bands can sometimes catch longer hair.

I will say I got my hair stuck in the band before I shaved my head down a bit, but as I have finer hair, you might not have the same worries as I did. Those with coarser or shorter hair should be completely fine, though.

How does the Focal Hadenys connect?

A photo of the female port of the Focal Hadenys.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
A detachable cable is the single most important durability feature of wired headphones.

The Focal Hadenys connects to its sources via a 3.5mm TRS jack, with an optional screw-on 6.3mm adapter for devices that require the larger connector. Though audiophiles might prefer something with a balanced connection, those just getting their feet wet with higher-end audio will appreciate that the Focal Hadenys works with just about anything with a normal headphone jack. For example, inexpensive USB interfaces, DAC/amp units, headphone jacks, and phone dongles.

As the cable is detachable, if you somehow manage to damage or break it: you can just buy a new one. Heck, add a cable with a microphone while you’re at it if you want. As long as your source device can support it and the ear cup recess doesn’t prevent the jack from connecting fully, you should be fine with pretty much any 3.5mm TRS to 3.5mm TRS cable you find online. As the cable is usually the first thing to break on wired headphones, being able to remove or replace it on a whim is perhaps the most important durability feature a set of wired headphones can have.

Because the Focal Hadenys has a low impedance of 26Ω and a sensitivity of 100dB/mW, you should have no issues getting a usable level out of the Focal Hadenys.

How well does the Focal Hadenys block out noise?

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Open-backed headphones are great for a number of things, but keeping outside noise at bay is not one of them. However, the tradeoff is that you’ll be able to hear things around you at home (a bigger plus than it sounds).

A photo of the open backed ear cups of the Focal Hadenys.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Open backs mean noise ingress; but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Just keep in mind that these headphones — like most other open-backed headphones — leak sound, so if you like to listen to your tunes at a high level, the people around you will be able to hear it too.

How does the Focal Hadenys sound?

The Focal Hadenys sounds really good out of the box, and doesn’t need equalization.

Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Scores (MDAQS)

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Focal Hadenys in Default mode. The Timbre score is 4.7, The Distortion score is 4, the Immersiveness score is 3.9, and the Overall Score is 4.5).
The chart shows how the sound of the Focal Hadenys was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD acoustics.

When a standardized sample was offered to a simulated panel of hundreds of listeners, the mean opinion score (MOS) overall was quite high — meaning most people would likely enjoy the sound of the Focal Hadenys quite a bit. The sub-scores paint a mixed story, but with good results in timbre and distortion; the only “okay” result is immersiveness (and that’s borderline “good” as it is).

Timbre (MOS-T) represents how faithfully the headphones reproduce the frequency spectrum and temporal resolution (timing information).

Distortion (MOS-D) represents non-linearities and added noise: higher scores mean cleaner reproduction.

Immersiveness (MOS-I) represents perceived source width and positioning: how well virtual sound sources are defined in three-dimensional space.

See here for an explanation of MDAQS, how it works, and how it was developed.

Reviewer’s notes

Editor’s note: this review uses a hover-enabled glossary to describe sound quality based on a consensus vocabulary. You can read about it here.

Though the Focal website maintains that you need to “run in” the Hadenys (or “burn-in,” as it’s been known over the years), there’s no evidence that this is actually true. The units sent to us for testing were previously “run in,” but no differences I’ve ever measured from any headphones have conclusively improved from this practice.

The long and short of it is that this “run in” period is sufficiently short enough that you’ll likely not notice any differences if you were to simply listen to your headphones like a normal person. So I strongly suggest doing just that and not worrying about whether or not you’ve “broken in” your headphones enough to enjoy them.

Objective Measurements

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From 50Hz up until about 1.5kHz, the Focal Hadenys follows the SoundGuys Headphone Preference Curve quite closely. Typically, headphones will start to increase emphasis at about that point, but the Focal Hadenys opts for a narrower spike here, centering around 3.7kHz instead. Then the response follows our curve again until 9kHz, where it drops off a bit before recovering a bit.

Overall, this is pretty respectable and worthy of a listen if you’re looking for something new. This is one of those times when the charts look a little worse than the reality of the situation.

Can you use the Focal Hadenys for phone calls?

Because the stock cable for the Focal Hadenys does not have a microphone, you cannot use it for phone calls. You could also pick up a spare cable with a microphone in-line like the Focal Azurys’, but that’s an added cost.

Should you buy the Focal Hadenys?

A photo of the Focal Hadenys on a wooden table top.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
These headphones are quite the lookers.

The Focal Hadenys is extremely needs-serving, and that’s to someone who spends most of their day by a desk, or simply someone with the extra cash lying around to spend nearly $700 on headphones. It will be too rich for most peoples’ blood, and that doesn’t come as much of a surprise. However, if this does describe you, I think you’ll like these headphones quite a lot.

Focal Hadenys
Focal Hadenys
SG recommended
Focal Hadenys
Sound quality • Comfort • Durability
MSRP: $699.00
The Focal Hadenys are an extremely good set of open-backed headphones that are not only durable, but sound great too. Though the cost is steep, you are getting your money's worth.

If you’re a deep-pocketed individual looking for a pair of headphones to last you through the years: the Focal Hadenys is a special product. It sounds great, is very comfortable, and is durable enough to stand the test of time.

What should you get instead of the Focal Hadenys?

Audiophile headphones are a competitive segment, in no small part due to the fact that there’s just an embarrassment of riches when you look at the category as a whole. There are so many open-backed headphones that it’s hard to make direct comparisons that will work well with the Focal Hadenys.

For example, if you wanted to stay within the same price bracket, you could go with something like the Sennheiser HD 660S2 ($499 at Amazon), but that sounds quite a bit different than the cans du jour. Few open-backed headphones emphasize bass to the degree that the Hadenys does, so if you want to save some money: you’re going to have to get handy with an equalizer.

If price is no object, then you have a lot more reading to do. Check out our list of best audiophile headphones for inspiration on alternatives. However, most of the options on this list will not have the same kind of crowd-pleasing sound that the Focal Hadenys does.

Frequently asked questions

The Focal Hadenys uses a 1.25m 3.5mm male TRS to 3.5mm male TRS cable, with a threaded termination to accommodate a 6.3mm adapter.

No.

The Focal Hadenys doesn’t have a microphone, but if you have a standalone mic: the wired connection means little to no latency — a boon to gamers.

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