Focal Spirit One vs Sennheiser Amperior
I have recently managed to audition the Sennheiser Amperior with the help of DarKu. He was really curious about the Focal Spirit One, as I have praised it a lot to him, and I was curious about the Amperior.
So, we had a little “meet” at my house and tested them side by side.
The build quality on Amperior is quite nice. They look sturdy and the metal cups are really nice. Also the headband is exactly like on the old HD25-1 II.
The earpads are not leather any more and this makes them more comfortable and airier, but it takes a little from the isolation. One other thing I observed is that the cable from Amperior is much thinner than Spirit Ones‘ cable which is thicker and better built.
Overall the Sennheiser is more comfortable than the Spirit One and doesn’t press that much on the ears. However, even though the Focals have a tighter more uncomfortable grip, the isolation is quite better with them.
DarKu has slightly bigger ears than I do, and they don’t fit into the cups of spirit one, so they press directly on his ears.
My ears almost fit inside the cups so I don’t find it as uncomfortable as he did.
I did a little comparison on some songs . Both headphones were compared on Burson Conductor.
Amandine Beyer & Gli Incogniti: The Four Seasons L’autunno Allegro
The presentation was very detailed on all spectrum but a little congested. The treble was a little too hot, but overall the song was enjoyable.
Focal Spirit One
They lacked some details compared to the Amperior, but the presentation was a little warmer and the sound a little more open, natural and fuller. The Focal has the necessary spark on the treble but not at all hot or sibilant.
Armin Van Buuren – Sail
Focal Spirit One
The energetic sound of the Spirit One was very nice on this song. The bass is very fast, well extended and punchy. The treble is sparkly and hits the sweet spot, without being bright or sibilant.
The first thing that popped was the bass that seemed to be a little more full, but it was a little looser and not quite as punchy and fast as on the spirit one. The sound is a little more congested, but it has mode details, as the mids seem to be brought more in front and the treble is more present, but quite bright and I find to be a somehow sibilant, and on a long term could get more tiresome.
Leonard Cohen – Teachers
The details are very nice with Amperior. The guitars are right there in your ears and have a nice feel, but the sound is overall congested and the voice of Leonard Cohen was not so natural.
Focal Spirit One
The sound was fuller and had more meat. The guitars had a fuller body, also the voice was more natural and more present.
Michael Jackson – Beat It
Focal Spirit One
I always find myself tapping on this song with the spirit one. The bass is really nice again as I said before : fast, punchy and well extended. Michael voice is nicely presented, even-though it lacks a little texture. The treble is quite good without being bright or sibilant, and this is a bright and sibilant recording compared to others.
The bass lacked some punch compared to the Spirit One and the sound wasn’t as meaty, but the guitars war more present with Amperior. Again the sound was more congested and a little sibilant and bright on the treble. The prat was good on amperior too, but not as fast as with the spirit one. Both headphones did a good job on this song, actually. I still prefer the Spirit One but it may be question of tastes here.
Valerie Joyce: New York Blue – Fever
The Amperior was quite enjoyable on this song. The voice was warm and present and the instruments detailed and present throughout the song.
Focal Spirit one
The sound is overall more controlled, articulate and fuller. The voice was more present and natural, but it lacked some texture compared to the Amperiors. I felt that the sound was a little more opened than the Amperior.
Both headphones are quite good and of course it could resume to a matter of tastes as they have really different sound signatures.
The Focal Spirit One is a dark headphone, with an excellent, well extended, fast and punchy bass (with better bass response), good midrange and sparkly but not hot or sibilant treble.
The sound was fuller and meatier than on Sennheiser Amperior, a little more opened and I felt it had a more balanced sound overall. Actually I think that Amperior has an even more emphasized bass on the 100 hz region.
The Sennheiser Amperior have a little more details on the mids (they have the mids a little elevated compared to the Focals that have the bass elevated a bit) , the bass wasn’t as fast, punchy and well extended as on the Spirit One but it was still quite enjoyable.
It also has a more congested sound than on the Focals, the treble is well defined but it is a little to bright and has a beginning of sibilance.
The voices weren’t as present or natural as with the Spirit One, but they have more texture.
Both headphones are fast and energetic, and the only thing that puts Spirit One in front at this section, is the bass which is faster than the Amperiors’, overall making it an even more energetic headphone.
We both liked both headphones, but for the first time, me and DarKu had different opinions on this matter, as he liked the Amperiors more than the Focal Spirit One, and I clearly liked the latter one better.
The things I liked more on Spirit One:
- better, punchier, faster and better extended bass
- fuller sound
- more natural voices
- better isolation
- the cables’ build quality
- more opened sound than on Amperior
- good treble but not sibilant or bright
Things I liked better on Amperior:
- slightly more details but on the midrange not on the bass
- better transition between the midrange and treble
- a little more texture with voices
- more comfort
For me, the Spirit One remains the best closed portable headphone I have heard until now .