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We've recently released our Test Bench 1.6 update for Headphones! Read the Latency R&D Article to learn more.

Focal Bathys Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Review updated Jan 25, 2024 at 11:46 am
Latest change: Retest Feb 27, 2024 at 04:31 pm
Focal Bathys Wireless Picture
7.8
Neutral Sound
7.6
Commute/Travel
7.1
Sports/Fitness
7.5
Office
5.9
Wireless Gaming
7.0
Wired Gaming
7.0
Phone Calls

The Focal Bathys Wireless are versatile high-end audiophile headphones designed for on-the-go listening. They're Focal's first pair of active noise cancelling headphones, and they also support aptX Adaptive codec for streaming high-quality audio or audio with lower latency via Bluetooth. If you prefer a wired connection, their USB-DAC mode converts digital audio signals from your device into an analog signal up to a resolution of 24 bits/192 kHz. They even have a companion app with a graphic EQ and presets, meaning you can fine-tune their sound to your liking. While they straddle both the casual and audiophile markets, a couple of design and performance choices may not completely satisfy either crowd, especially given their high price point.

Our Verdict

7.8 Neutral Sound

The Focal Bathys are very good for neutral sound. These over-ears have a fairly neutral sound profile, so they're well-suited for a variety of audio genres. They have well-balanced thump, punch, and warmth to their sound, while vocals and instruments sound clear and present, although a bit veiled in the higher frequencies. On the upside, you can customize their sound using their companion app's graphic EQ, presets, and Sound Personalization features. You can also switch to the USB-DAC mode if you want to stream high-resolution audio. If your device supports it, you can use aptX Adaptive via Bluetooth for higher-quality audio.

Pros
  • USB-DAC mode available.
  • Graphic EQ and presets available.
Cons
  • Poor passive soundstage.
7.6 Commute/Travel

The Focal Bathys are good for commute and travel. Although they're bulky, even in their carrying case, the build quality is good, and they fit comfortably, making them suitable for long listening sessions. They have an ANC system to block out some of the low rumble of bus or plane engines, and their battery life easily lasts through long days on the go. If the battery drains, you can't listen to them over a wired connection or while they recharge.

Pros
  • Very good noise isolation performance.
  • Very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Poor passive soundstage.
7.1 Sports/Fitness

The Focal Bathys aren't designed for sports and fitness. They're bulky and heavy and can fall off of your head with moderate head movements. On the upside, their wireless design ensures that there isn't much to snag and pull the headphones off your head, but if you're jostling around, the headphones can be knocked off regardless.

Pros
  • Very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Can fall off of your head with moderate movement.
7.5 Office

The Focal Bathys are good for office use. These over-ears have a very comfortable fit, and their ANC system easily attenuates background noise like coworker chit-chat so you can focus on your work. Even though they have an integrated mic, the recording quality is only passable. On the upside, the headphones support multi-device pairing, so you can connect them to your PC and smartphone simultaneously.

Pros
  • Very good noise isolation performance.
  • Very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Poor passive soundstage.
5.9 Wireless Gaming

The Focal Bathys are Bluetooth headphones. Their latency is likely too high for competitive gaming even when using aptX Adaptive (Low Latency) where compatible, but casual gamers can use it without significant delay.

7.0 Wired Gaming

The Focal Bathys are decent for wired gaming. You can only use them via analog with PlayStation and Xbox consoles. The headphones don't have mic support when connected over analog. When plugged in with the DAC to a PC, you get mic support. Still, they have somewhat noticeable latency over both analog and USB-C, causing slight lip-sync delays. However, if that's not a deal breaker, they have a fairly neutral sound that ensures the clarity of dialogue and instruments. They also have a comfortable fit that's well-suited for long gaming marathons. Due to their closed-back design, their soundstage won't be very immersive, natural, or spacious.

Pros
  • Very comfortable fit.
Cons
  • No mic support via analog connection.
7.0 Phone Calls

The Focal Bathys are decent for phone calls. These over-ears have an integrated mic, but it only offers a passable recording quality, so while you'll be understandable, your voice sounds thin and a bit unnatural. The mic can separate your voice from ambient noise, which is handy when taking a call in a noisy environment. While you can use the headphones for calls when connected over Bluetooth or USB-C, there isn't a mic when you plug in the analog headphone jack. The headphones also have an ANC system; they can reduce a very good amount of ambient noise around you.

Pros
  • Mic has decent noise handling.
Cons
  • No mic support via analog connection.
  • 7.8 Neutral Sound
  • 7.6 Commute/Travel
  • 7.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.5 Office
  • 5.9 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.0 Wired Gaming
  • 7.0 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Feb 27, 2024: Based on user feedback, we've remeasured the dimensions of the carrying case and updated our results with the correct volume. We've now listed the correct volume of 206.46 inยณ (3,383.29 cmยณ).
  2. Updated Jan 31, 2024: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless in Battery.
  3. Updated Jan 25, 2024: We've updated this review to include more information about noise isolation, the comparisons to the Apple AirPods Max, Audeze Maxwell Wireless, and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless. Minor text edits were made throughout the review.
  4. Updated Dec 21, 2023: We've updated these headphones to firmware 1.5.7, which adds the Dynamic EQ preset. We have retested all Sound tests using this EQ preset as it's close to the Harman target. We've also updated Test Settings and App Support to reflect this change.
  5. Updated Nov 02, 2023: The following test groups have been updated following TB 1.6: Wired Connection, Bluetooth Connection, and Wireless Connection (Dongle). There have also been text changes made throughout the review, including to the usages and product comparisons to match these results.
  6. Updated Nov 02, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.6 , which updates how we measure latency. We've updated and renamed the following test groups: Wired Connection, Bluetooth Connection, and Wireless Connection (Dongle). We've also added new codec latency measurements and provided an audio sample of recorded latency.
  7. Updated Jul 20, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless in Frequency Response Consistency.
  8. Updated May 29, 2023: We've retested Bluetooth as these headphones support multi-device pairing.
  9. Updated Feb 09, 2023: Review published.
  10. Updated Feb 03, 2023: Early access published.
  11. Updated Jan 30, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  12. Updated Jan 23, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  13. Updated Jan 19, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Focal Bathys come in two color variants: 'Black/Grey' and 'Dune.' Besides the difference in colorways, nothing suggests their features differ. You can see our model's label here. If you encounter another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Focal Bathys are high-end wireless audiophile headphones designed with casual use in mind. They have a premium design typical of this manufacturer's other offerings, like the Focal Celestee and Focal Clear Mg. Unique to the Focal line, they also have an active noise cancelling system, aptX Adaptive codec support, and a companion app for customizing their neutral sound to your liking, making them more versatile than their strictly audiophile counterparts. While they don't block out quite as much ambient noise as the Apple AirPods Max Wireless, they can still reduce a very good amount of sound around you. Despite their high-end price point, you can't fully turn off their ANC system, which may be a little bothersome for some users.

Check out our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones, the best headphones for music, and the best audiophile headphones.

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless

The Focal Bathys Wireless and the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless are both solid choices if you're looking for wireless audiophile headphones. While both headphones have similarly very good noise isolation performances, the Bowers & Wilkins are more comfortable and better built. Conversely, the Focal have more consistent audio delivery, and their companion app offers a more robust EQ. They also sound more neutral compared to the more bassy Bowers & Wilkins. 

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless

The Focal Bathys Wireless and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless share similar aptX codec compatibilities, USB-C, and analog listening capabilities. By default, the Sennheiser have more rumble in the low end and a more accurate treble response. Plus, they have a significantly better battery life. The Focal have slightly better noise isolation and a more neutral sound profile overall, with a mic that handles noise better than the Sennheiser. The Focal also yield a more predictable sound than the Sennheiser between multiple wears. Both headphones have comprehensive apps for adjusting EQ and ANC levels. A deciding difference for many consumers is that the Sennheiser are priced in a lower bracket, while the Focal sit in a higher price tier.

Audeze Maxwell Wireless

The Focal Bathys Wireless and the Audeze Maxwell Wireless are both premium headphones with neutral sound profiles and very good build quality, but they prioritize different features. For on-the-go, casual use, the Focal perform better, but the Audeze are better suited for gaming. The Audeze have a dedicated boom microphone which produces more natural-sounding speech with better noise handling, and they have a wired or wireless console and PC compatibility. While the Focal can be used for wireless gaming on PCs, if you're using aptX Adaptive, their latency via this connection is higher than the Audeze's when using the wireless dongle. You can use their wired USB-C connection with full audio and mic compatibility, though.

Focal Celestee

If you care about sound, the Focal Celestee are worth checking out over the Focal Bathys Wireless. The Celestee are wired headphones that are better built and more comfortable. They're more prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery but have a more neutral overall sound profile, which some users may prefer. However, the Bathys are worth considering if you're looking for something for more casual use. They're wireless headphones with a USB-DAC mode to raise the volume of your audio. They have a mic and a companion app, so you can adjust their sound to your liking, and they have ANC, so you can block out ambient noise around you.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are better casual-use headphones than the Focal Bathys Wireless. The Sony have a better noise isolation performance and support LDAC, which is this manufacturer's proprietary codec for hi-res audio, and their mic performance is better. They also have a better overall battery performance, and their app offers more features. However, the Focal are more comfortable and better built. Some users may prefer their integrated USB-DAC design.

Focal Elegia

The Focal Bathys are a more well-rounded pair of headphones than the Focal Elegia. If you're looking for more casual use headphones, you'll want to consider the Bathys. They're wireless headphones with USB-DAC mode, which converts a digital audio signal into an analog signal and reduces artifacts in your audio. They also have a more neutral sound profile, a companion app so you can customize their sound to your liking, and noise cancelling to help block background noise around you. That said, the Elegia are wired headphones that are more comfortable and better built.

Apple AirPods Max Wireless

The Apple AirPods Max Wireless and the Focal Bathys are both premium headphones. The Apple prioritize users within the same ecosystem, as they have an H1 chip and iOS-exclusive app support. The Apple also have better noise isolation, although it's adaptive, whereas the Focal utilize ANC presets. While the Apple and Focal have similarly neutral sound profiles, the Focal supply a more accurate bass response. You can easily adjust the EQ and sound settings for the Focal in the companion app. They also have more connectivity options such as aptX Adaptive, USB-C, and analog connections without needing separate adapters. However, there's some latency present when using either wired connection. Comparatively, in addition to supporting Bluetooth, the Apple use a Lightning connection, which has lower latency. That said, this cable isn't included in the box, and you'll need to purchase a Lightning-to-1/8" TRS cable separately. In addition, for a more comfortable fit and a better mic, the Focal are a good choice.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless

The Focal Bathys Wireless are better headphones for most purposes than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless. They're both premium over-ears with great build quality and comfortable fits. However, the Focal have a more neutral, balanced sound and a better noise isolation performance, making them a better choice for office use and for listening to music. However, the Bang & Olufsen have a longer continuous battery life and are slightly more portable, so they're a good choice for long journeys.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless offer better noise cancelling than the Focal Bathys Wireless, especially with low-pitched noises like engine rumbles on buses. The Focal have a more neutral sound profile with dips that veil detail in vocals, while the Sony have better treble accuracy, but the bass frequencies see exaggerations that add bloat to the low end. You can adjust EQ for both headphones in their apps. The Focal have more options like aptX Adaptive (or aptX, AAC, and SBC), analog, or USB-C to connect, while the Sony connect via LDAC (or AAC and SBC) or analog. Your budget and preferred use will determine whether to go with one or the other, as they're pretty different from each other.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless and the Focal Bathys Wireless are casual-use headphones with different strengths, and you may prefer either one. While both headphones are comfortable and have similar levels of noise cancelling, the Bowers & Wilkins have a better overall battery performance. Conversely, the Focal sound more neutral out of the box, which some users may prefer, and are more customizable. Their mic has a better overall performance, and they have a USB-DAC mode, which converts your device's digital audio signal into an analog signal and reduces distortion.

Dyson Zone Wireless

The Focal Bathys Wireless and the Dyson Zone Wireless have different strengths, and depending on your preferences, you may enjoy either one. While both headphones are equally comfortable, the Focal are better built and have the edge regarding noise isolation, thanks to their ANC system. They're also more customizable, thanks to their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. They support multi-device pairing and aptX Adaptive, allowing you to stream high-quality audio with lower latency. Conversely, the Dyson are unique since they have an air purification visor. Their sound profile is slightly more neutral-sounding than the Focal too.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Focal Bathys look quite similar in design to other Focal headphones like the Focal Celestee. However, if you have trypophobia (or a fear of holes), you'll want to avoid looking too closely at them. They have aluminum ear cups with a circular cut-out design. In the middle of the ear cup is the manufacturer's logo, which has a white backlight when using the DAC mode. Our unit is the 'Black/Grey' model, and there's a 'Dune' variant that consists of paler shades of beige but has the same specifications.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.79 lbs
Clamping Force
1.2 lbs

The Focal Bathys are comfortable. They're not exactly lightweight, but they aren't as heavy as other Focal headphones like the Focal Clear Mg. They also have soft padding, which feels good against the skin and distributes the weight well. This ensures you can wear them for long periods without causing a lot of fatigue. They clamp tightly on your head, and if you wear glasses or have a larger head, you'll experience more pressure from the headphones.

7.6
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control Presets
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Multi function + Voice Assistant

The controls are good on the Focal Bathys. They have physical buttons on both ear cups that are easy to use. There are different chimes to let you know when you've registered a command, and there's also a tone when you reach max volume. However, you can't hear the max volume chime if you're already listening to music. That said, it's hard to tell the difference between chimes when switching between ANC modes. There are also no voice prompts when using the controls via USB-DAC mode. The Bathys don't have any way to disable noise cancelling altogether, either.

On the left ear cup:

  • ANC/Transparency button: Cycles between 'Silent' (ANC on), 'Soft' (ANC at moderate strength), and 'Transparency' (transparency mode) when held for two seconds, so you can hear your surroundings without taking off your headphones.

On the right ear cup:

  • '+' and '-' buttons: Adjusts the volume.
  • Voice assistant button: Activates your device's voice assistant.
  • Multi-function button:
    • Single press: Plays and pauses audio.
    • Double press: Skips to the next track.
    • Triple press: Skips to the previous track.
    • Press and hold: Enters Bluetooth pairing.
  • Switch:
    • Slide left or right: Moves between off, DAC (USB audio or only ANC), and on (analog or Bluetooth) modes.

5.7
Design
Portability
L 7.9" (20.0 cm)
W 7.9" (20.0 cm)
H 2.4" (6.0 cm)
Volume 140.90 inยณ (2,308.90 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

The Focal Bathys have middling portability. Although the ear cups can swivel to lay flat, you can't fold them into a more compact form. The headphones come with a case, which makes them easier to stow in a bag or suitcase, but they're still chunky. Without cables to snag if you use Bluetooth, they can hang around your neck easily and fold flat when not in use.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 9.0" (22.8 cm)
W 8.2" (20.9 cm)
H 2.8" (7.1 cm)
Volume 206.46 inยณ (3,383.29 cmยณ)

They come with a great carrying case. It's smaller than other Focal cases, which makes them a bit more portable, although it doesn't feel as premium. The zippered case also feels sturdy and will protect the headphones from water and impact damage. Inside the case is a storage space and a mesh pocket to securely place the cables.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

These headphones have great build quality. Although they look cheaper than other Focal headphones, like the Focal Clear Mg or Focal Celestee, due to their more plasticky ear cup housing, a few of their design choices reflect their premium build. What aligns them with their audiophile counterparts is that their aluminum-magnesium dynamic drivers are made in France, while the headphone frame is made in China. There's leather padding on the ear cups and on top of the headband. The headband is also reinforced with metal and has a soft fabric bottom that's well-padded. Although there have been user concerns regarding the build quality of other Focal headphones, like the headband cracking, we haven't experienced this with our unit. Each ear cup has a mesh vent and the Focal centerpiece lights up when connected via DAC.

7.0
Design
Stability

These over-ears have decent stability. If you're casually listening to music, they won't move around much. That said, if you like to headbang to your favorite tunes, they can fall off if you're not careful.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Focal Bathys headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/8" TRS audio cable
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Hard case
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.1 dB
Treble Amount
-1.58 dB

By using them via Bluetooth and the Dynamic EQ preset (which is a close reference to the Harman target) added in firmware 1.5.7, the Focal Bathys have a neutral sound profile. They deliver satisfying boom, punch, and warmth to mixes. Vocals and instruments are also clear, present, and natural-sounding, but a dip in the low-treble veils their details. Sibilants are also a little dull, leading to a sound with less emphasis on treble than lows. If you prefer a different sound, you can adjust them to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ, presets, and Sound Personalization feature. You can see a comparison of the EQ presets here.

You can also use these headphones wired via 'DAC' mode. Many users have reported that this connection results in the best audio quality. You can see a comparison between Bluetooth, DAC, and analog frequency responses here. Overall, the connection modes don't differ in measured frequency responses. However, one of the notable changes is in volume. The DAC connection delivers a higher volume than Bluetooth. Before firmware update 1.4.2, the headphones would automatically default to 100% volume on PCs when switching to DAC mode, which is very, very loud. It seems like this issue was fixed with this firmware update, but if you encounter it, please let us know in the discussions. In addition, we also experienced a small rattling sound coming from the right driver when connected via analog. It's only audible when using this connection and with low to no audio content playing. This issue could be limited to our unit, though.

7.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.45 dB

The Focal Bathys' frequency response consistency is good. They're more consistent than the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless in the bass range, even if you're wearing glasses or have thick hair. However, they're still prone to deviations in the mids and treble delivery due to positioning and fit. Once you get a good fit, you'll achieve more consistent audio delivery.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
9.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
0.6 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10.29 Hz
Low-Bass
0.73 dB
Mid-Bass
-0.05 dB
High-Bass
-0.51 dB

The bass accuracy is fantastic. Throughout the region, the headphones output a neutral low end without significant exaggeration. As a result, your music sounds as intended by the producer; these headphones are capable of full-bodied rumble, thump, boom, and punch when the music is mixed for that. These headphones reproduce the bass of all kinds of audio sources remarkably.

8.9
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.51 dB
Low-Mid
-0.02 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.9 dB
High-Mid
0.51 dB

These headphones have excellent mid accuracy. The response is mostly flat across the range, resulting in a smooth mids. Vocals and instruments sound present and clear, though a slight dip in the mid-mid nudges vocals and instruments to the back of the mix.

6.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.53 dB
Low-Treble
-3.58 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.68 dB
High-Treble
-5.77 dB

The Focal Bathys' treble accuracy is passable. Nearly the whole range is underemphasized, veiling vocals and instrument harmonics, resulting in diminished detail. Sibilants like 'S' and 'T' sounds are also dull.

7.2
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.65 dB
Dips
1.86 dB

The peaks and dips performance via Bluetooth is satisfactory on the Focal Bathys. These mostly control the bass range and struggle more in the upper mids and treble regions, where differences in consistency are more audible. The bass range is pretty flat, indicating there isn't much deviation from the sound profile in this range. A small bump in the mid-mid affects the right driver more than the left and pushes vocals and instruments to the back of the mix. There's another peak in the high-mid, which makes vocals and instruments sound harsh, but a massive dip in the low-treble veils their details. The low-treble also has a tall peak, so sibilants like hi-hats sound piercing.

If you switch to the USB-DAC mode, you can expect similar peaks and dips performance. However, there's a slight mismatch between the L/R drivers in the Bluetooth's high-mid, which shifts into the DAC's low-treble range and is a bit more noticeable. The right driver is more emphasized, making vocals and instruments harsher than the fairly neutral left driver. However, the rest of the DAC's peaks and dips response is largely the same as the Bluetooth response.

8.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.16
Weighted Phase Mismatch
4.19
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.48
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.03

The Focal Bathys have great imaging via Bluetooth, which isn't surprising. Most of the products we've tested from Focal have well-matched drivers. Our unit is no exception, and the L/R drivers are matched in group delay, ensuring tight bass and transparent treble. They're also well-matched in phase, amplitude, and frequency response, which results in the accurate placement of objects like voices in the stereo image. Even if you switch to the USB-DAC mode, you can expect imaging to perform similarly compared to Bluetooth.

4.7
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.14 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
6.02 dB
PRTF Distance
5.77 dB
Openness
2.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.6

The passive soundstage performance via Bluetooth is poor. Since the Focal Bathys have a closed-back design, their soundstage doesn't feel very open or spacious. While it feels wide, it's also a bit unnatural. Sound seems like it's coming from inside your head rather than from speakers placed in the room around you, which doesn't create a very immersive audio experience.

Using the USB-DAC mode, the passive soundstage results are very similar. Their soundstage feels a bit less open and more like sound is coming from inside your head.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.317
WHD @ 100
0.114

The weighted harmonic distortion performance via Bluetooth is very good. There's a small peak between the low- to mid-treble at normal volumes. However, it can be hard to hear in real-life content. The rest of the frequencies fall within good limits, resulting in fairly clear and pure audio reproduction.

Using the USB-DAC mode, you can expect a similar weighted harmonic distortion performance. Audio is reproduced fairly clearly, although there's still a minor peak in the low- to mid-treble range. This peak, like the one found in our Bluetooth results, is hard to hear with real-life content.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
1.5.7
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
aptX Adaptive, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Dynamic
ANC
Silent
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
7.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-22.71 dB
Noise Cancelling Yes
Bass
-13.95 dB
Mid
-20.49 dB
Treble
-34.2 dB

Unlike most audiophile headphones, the Focal Bathys have an active noise cancelling system and very good noise isolation. Although filtering out the low rumble of car engines isn't their strong suit, they still offer some attenuation of low frequencies when the ANC is on. The headphones reduce ambient chatter and the high-pitched hum of computer fans as well. You can choose two ANC modes: 'Silent,' which is ANC on at full strength, and 'Soft,' for moderate noise cancelling. In addition to ANC, there's a Transparency mode as well.

You can also use ANC while in the DAC mode, and it performs similarly to ANC via Bluetooth. That said, you can see a comparison of all the modes here. Also, our 'ANC Off' measurements are conducted with the headphones turned off because you can't completely turn off ANC on these headphones.

These headphones have a noticeable noise floor (additional noise not present in the source audio that remains even when audio is paused) when the ANC is on. This unwanted noise can annoy some users, especially if you're already sensitive to this kind of sound.

6.9
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
39.93 dB

The Focal Bathys' leakage performance is alright. Leakage is spread across the frequency spectrum but is slightly worse from the mid to treble range. This means the audio bleed sounds somewhat thin. If you listen to audio in a quiet environment, others around you will hear it. However, it won't be too noticeable in a busier space like an office.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes
6.4
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
364.41 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
5.86 dB
HFE
4,763.35 Hz
Weighted THD
0.526
Gain
18.34 dB

The mic has a passable recording quality via Bluetooth. Your voice is understandable, but it sounds thin and a bit unnatural, with an artificial nasal sound depending on how high or low your voice is. If you're using the DAC setting, your voice seems a little muffled and thin. It's still understandable, though. You can hear the recording speech file using this mode here.

While some users have said that sidetone performance has improved after firmware 1.5.7, we didn't test this feature during our original review process, so we aren't currently able to compare this feature's performance pre and post-firmware update.

7.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
26.83 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
7.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
7.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The mic's noise handling performance via Bluetooth is satisfactory. The mic can capture speech, even in noisy environments like a busy street, and it does a better job in this regard than flagship competitors like the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless and Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless. However, some vocal distortion is present.

When using the USB-DAC mode, the noise handling performance is somewhat similar. Your voice doesn't get completely lost in background noise, but it's a bit quieter and harder to hear than via Bluetooth. You can hear the pink noise audio sample here and the subway noise audio sample here.

Active Features
7.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
29.1 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
29.1 hrs
Charge Time
2 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The Focal Bathys have a very good battery performance. The manufacturer advertises them to last 30 hours continuously via Bluetooth, and we measured a similar battery life. While it's not quite as long as the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless, it's still enough to get you through a few workdays without needing to recharge. While you can use them wired, they still need the battery to power their ANC system, which you can't turn off. When listening via the analog headphone jack connection, the battery lasts 35 hours, and over the USB-C DAC, the battery lasts 42 hours, but your experience may vary depending on variables like how high or low you set your volume.

Even though the headphones also seem like they can charge and play audio simultaneously since the LED indicator lights up and suggests that they're charging, the manufacturer notes that you're not supposed to listen to them while charging them. It takes two hours to recharge the headphones from zero charge.

7.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name Focal & Naim
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
Presets
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The Focal & Naim app is good, and you can see a video of how it works here. The app offers a 5-band graphic EQ and presets to adjust the headphone's sound. You need to be playing audio to adjust the EQ, though. Adding to the flexibility of the headphones, Focal adds a Sound Personalization feature to the app version 6.5.1 to adjust the tuning for your unique hearing. In addition to sound customization, you can also check the battery life and audio format, adjust the noise cancelling modes, and update the firmware. You can even adjust the LED logo's brightness. Keep in mind that if you made changes in the app in Bluetooth mode, they'll apply in DAC mode, even though you can't use this connection with the app.

Unfortunately, some users have experienced issues when using the app to update their headphones. When updating to firmware 1.4.2, the app would freeze once the installation had reached 100%. After encountering this issue a couple of times, we uninstalled the app, restarted the phone, and installed the app again, which seemed to solve our issue. If you encounter this issue, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Connectivity
6.7
Connectivity
Wired Connection
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
USB-C
Detachable
Yes
Length
4.17 ft (1.27 m)
Connector
1/8" TRS
Latency - Analog
35.5 ms
Latency - USB
51.5 ms
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Connection USB

The Focal Bathys come with a 1/8" to 1/8" TRS cable and a USB-C to USB-C cable. The USB cable supports audio passthrough but has perceptible latency, so your audio and visuals will be slightly out of sync. However, this won't be an issue if you're using the headphones to only listen to audio.

Using the analog connection results in slightly less latency, but it's still high enough to notice a slight delay. You can hear the recording here. This is because the headphones need to be turned on, even when using an analog connection. They're performing an analog-to-digital conversion, amplifying the source, and possibly adding any EQ customization onto the signal, which adds latency.

8.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth Version
5.1
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
Quick Pair (Android)
No
Quick Pair (iOS)
No
Line Of Sight Range
334.65 ft (102.00 m)
Latency - SBC
283 ms
Latency - aptX
289 ms
Latency - aptX Adaptive (High Quality)
263 ms
Latency - aptX Adaptive (Low Latency)
58 ms
Latency - LDAC
N/A
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Codec aptX Adaptive (Low Latency)
AAC Support
Yes

The Focal Bathys have a great Bluetooth performance. They support multi-device pairing, so you can connect them with up to two devices simultaneously, and they remember up to eight devices, making switching between sources simple. You'll need to pause content on your main device to switch to another one. We also noticed a slight delay when switching between devices. The process was smoother when switching from one phone to another compared to a PC to a phone, but it wasn't completely seamless. However, this is a minor inconvenience.

These over-ears support aptX Adaptive. This codec adjusts to the kind of audio content playing, whether that's streaming hi-res audio with better audio quality or lowering latency when watching videos. That said, they have high latency pretty much across the board when it comes to SBC, aptX, and aptX Adaptive (High Quality), and you'll notice lip sync issues with these codecs. On the other hand, aptX Adaptive (Low Latency) lives up to its name and keeps your audio and visuals more in sync with lower-quality audio. Latency varies as some apps compensate for it, though. While aptX Adaptive is backward compatible with aptX HD, these headphones don't support aptX HD.

0
Connectivity
Wireless Connection (Dongle)
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Latency - Dongle
N/A
Recorded Latency
N/A
Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
Audio + Microphone
Non-BT Wireless
No

You have three ways to connect to a PC with these over-ears. They can connect to PCs via Bluetooth with full audio and mic compatibility. You'll also get full audio and mic compatibility if you connect to a PC using wired USB-DAC. However, while they can connect to PCs via analog, they only support audio using this cable.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can only connect to your PlayStation console via analog 1/8" TRS, and you'll only receive audio. In other words, you can't talk with your teammates.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones only support audio via analog, so you won't be able to talk with your team.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock