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Focal’s first wireless ANC headphones are a high quality luxury pair, with excellent sound, unique aesthetics, long battery life and top-tier call quality. The noise-cancellation could be better, but works well enough for the situations this headphone is likely to be used for. The Focal Bathys are the best-sounding wireless headphones among their illustrious peers.


  • Clear, insightful sound
  • Strong wireless performance
  • Long battery life
  • Excellent call quality
  • Standout looks


  • Beaten for ANC
  • Premium price
  • Use of real leather may not appeal to some

Key Features

  • M-dome driverSound comes through Focal’s 40mm Aluminium-Magnesium ‘M’-shaped dome driver
  • Active Noise-CancellationChoose between ‘Silent’ and ‘Soft’ noise-cancelling modes
  • Dune finishComes in black/silver or in a light shade ‘Dune’ finish


French audio brand Focal has a wide range of headphones but up until a few years ago, all its models were wired. The Focal Bathys is its first wireless ANC headphone.

While Bluetooth headphones have become hugely popular, audio purists will swear that wired headphones still offer the best performance. Bluetooth offers convenience as well as limitations, while the addition of noise-cancellation can affect how headphones sound.

If you’re familiar with Focal, you’ll know it’s not interested in compromising on their mission of bringing out every nuance in music with “precision and clarity”, which leaves me eager to hear how well the Bathys fare.


  • Circular grilles
  • Real leather used
  • High quality construction

Available in black/silver or a dune finish (no relation to the book/film series), the Focal Bathys presents a tasteful, elegant look with its silver accents.

Focus on the middle of the earcup and you’ll spy the brand’s ‘flame’ logo, behind which is a backlight that glows whenever the headphones are powered on. You can keep the backlight on in the app and adjust the brightness for people to gawp as you walk past.

Focal Bathys LED backlight
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Bathys can’t be collapsed and folded, but they can lie flat in the accompanying fabric covered hard case. Inside is a USB-C and 3.5mm cable for wired listening, the former supports resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz.

From a comfort perspective, the Focal Bathys hugs the head and some may feel the pressure around the ears is an imposition. I find the (sizable) ear-padding comfortable enough, and though the headphones are on the heavy side (350g) the clamping force is slight enough for decent comfort levels. Inside the earcup is plenty of space so my ears never felt cramped. That’s a boon given these headphones are ‘travel-friendly’, and furthermore the earpads can be replaced if they get damaged.

Focal Bathys real leather headband
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The yokes (the connecting element between headband and earcups) are made from magnesium, the frame uses aluminium, and the headband incorporates real leather, which may put some off. But the construction and aesthetic is up to a high calibre.

Most of the physical buttons are located on the right earcup, covering playback and volume, power/USB DAC mode and a dedicated voice assistant button; on the left is the noise-cancelling button. The buttons do feel a little rudimentary, and there have been times when the play/pause button hasn’t responded. It’s the only issue I’ve had using these headphones. 

Focal Bathys button layout
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)


  • 30-hour battery life
  • Adjustable ANC
  • Focal & Naim app support

Bathys is a reference to a Bathyscaphe, a free-diving, self-propelled submarine from the 1940s. The reasoning behind the name is the idea of ‘calm, depth and absolute silence’, which is a neat segue into the Bathy’s noise-cancelling performance.

There’s a choice of two modes: Silent and Soft, the latter allowing for some awareness of your surroundings but not to the extent of the Transparency mode. With the Silent mode on, the Focal Bathys’ ANC is good – strong even – but not the best at this price.

Focal Bathys from the side
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

These headphones are designed for travel, but not the grind of the daily commute. They reduce the intensity of sounds rather than dismiss them completely.

Nevertheless, they offer good noise-cancelling on the London Tube, keeping most of the loud noises at bay and ensuring music can still be heard (though no headphone can survive the quick journey from Brixton to Stockwell with all its wits intact, it seems). The silence that these headphones bring is effective, with minimal disruption walking through the streets of London, and though traffic can be heard, with music on interruption is minimal.

It helps that the ‘loudness’ of music is good, so I don’t feel as if I need to raise the volume to mask sounds. The headphones can be affected by bumps in the potholed roads of London a little but not by much.

Focal Bathys hanging
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Where they are less astute is at suppressing people’s voices, which aren’t quiet enough that I can’t hear people talk as they walk past. On a very long flight to China, and comparing them against the Bowers & Wilkins Px8, the Px8 were the more successful in reducing cabin noise, which was louder with the Focals.

The Bathys’ transparency mode is very good: clear and natural. The sounds passed through come across as lifelike for the most part. It’s a little crisp in tone, and there’s perhaps some noise, though I think that’s down to the headphones amplifying sounds. External sounds are louder with the transparency mode on than they are with the headphones off.

Battery life is both easy and hard to quantify. Focal says the Bathys are good for 30 hours battery, but in my tests they seem able to go on and on. Seven hours into a battery drain and they were still at 100%.

A few days later I tried again and three hours later they were still at 100%. On another occasion the headphones dropped to 90% after twenty minutes, but all in all, they’re long lasting, at least with an aptX Adaptive Bluetooth connection. Fast-charging is supported with 15 minutes providing five more hours.

Focal Bathys earpad cushion close up
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

With Bluetooth 5.1 support, the wireless performance is excellent. There was only the briefest stutter walking through Waterloo station, but otherwise it came through that area and Victoria station unscathed. Around London and on public transport it hasn’t run into any issues.

Bluetooth streaming equals SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX Adaptive, and there is Google Fast Pair to connect to Android devices promptly. You also get Bluetooth multipoint for connecting to two devices at once.

If you’re a fan of digital assistants the Focal Bathys has room for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and it has ‘Made for iPhone’ certification so it’s likely to be in sync with Siri too. You’ll need to choose which assistant you want activated in the shared Focal & Naim app.

Focal Bathys Naim app
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The app is easy to navigate, clean in appearance, and with some means to customise the Bathys’ experience. There are EQ presets (Home, Dynamic, Loudness) as well as the ability to create your own in a five-band option.

You can skip that and activate the Mimi Defined Sound Personalisation, which crafts an optimal sound profile for your ears once you’ve gone through a ‘hearing’ test.

Focal Bathys Naim app customisation
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

You can adjust the noise-cancellation and brightness of the LED backlight (Off, Dim, or Bright); check the battery life, what codec you’re streaming in, adjust Sidetone for calls, and perform firmware updates. It’s presented in a simple, accessible manner.

Call quality is among the best. The Focal Bathys picks up and isolates voices well. The person on the other end of the line stated they couldn’t hear anything around me at a food market; while walking past road works and the headphones picked up a drill, but it didn’t distract from what I was saying. Over a twenty minute call, the performance was consistently good.

Focal Bathys earpad cushion
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Sound Quality

  • Clear, detailed, and insightful performance
  • Focal’s M-dome driver
  • Wired support

The Focal Bathys feature the brand’s patented Aluminium/Magnesium “M”-dome driver that it says delivers ‘naturally detailed sound with impact’, with deep bass, soft treble reproduction and a clear mid-range ‘for an extremely precise sound’. That’s a good jumping off point, as it would appear that Focal has achieved much of what it set out to do.

The Bathys offer a crisp, clean, and defined performance without sounding too sharp or too hard. It’s a more natural sound than the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 delivers, as the Focal is the more musical and flowing of the two, to the point where it sounds quite effortless.

Focal Bathys with background
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

They’re perfectly loud at their default volume, but raise it up and there’s more expression to be had from a play of Too Hip to Retire from the Whiplash soundtrack; conveying apt dynamism on both a small and large scale, as well as infusing the track with a bit more energy. The way Focal defines instruments is clean, the timbre of the instruments sounds accurate, the performance is one in which I feel swept away by the Bathys.

Playing Joe Hisashi’s Water Traveller and the Focal presents a more fluid and insightful sound than the Px8, capturing the sweeping movements of the orchestra with more thrust, energy, and boldness; as well as sounding sharper and clearer to the Bowers harder tone.

Focal Bathys Dune
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The more neutral, crisper approach of the Focal extracts a clearer midrange performance from Faye Webster’s Sometimes, describing her voice with more crispness, as well as greater levels of clarity and definition. While with Gregory Porter’s Concorde the Bathys repeats the same trick, capturing his inflections a little better for a more natural presentation.

Switching to the high frequencies with Isfar Sarabski’s Déjà vu, the treble notes are pitched with more neutrality and clarity, the Bathys reproduces the piano in a more delicate manner whereas the Px8 exudes more warmth.

The Focal doesn’t always have its own way with every track. With Whiplash there’s a crisper high frequency performance, but the levels of detail the Bathys and Px8 summon seem similar, and in some parts of the track, the way the Bowers organises the soundstage picks out instruments slightly better than on the Focal.

Focal Bathys earcup close up
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

And I don’t necessarily agree with Focal’s assertion of the Bathys having deep bass. With Busta Rhymes’ Touch It, it doesn’t boast as big a performance as the Px8, though its low frequency performance is clearer.

Another comparison with the excellent Dali IO-12 and the Focal puts in the preferred performance with Janelle Monae’s Can’t Live Without You Love; the Bathys the clearer and better defined of the two, though I’d say that the Dali attempts a more convincing sense of depth with the staging of her voice and backing vocals than the relatively flatter Bathys.

Focal Bathys circular design
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

In terms of bass output against the Dali, that’s an area where the Focal Bathys offers more clarity with Justice’s Genesis but a little less energy.

There’s also the option of listening through the 3.5mm and USB-C cables. The headphones possess the same characteristics as they do with their wireless performance, but with a more refined sense of detail and fidelity.

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Should you buy it?

High quality sound with style and panache

The Focal Bathys offer excellent audio quality, beating the Px8 and Dali IO-12 on that front, and feature terrifically unique looks and strong build quality.

You’re in need of better ANC

If it’s ANC you need, the likes of the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones are better and less expensive.

Final Thoughts

Are the Focal Bathys the best-sounding headphones at their price? I’d say yes, setting their stall out with a performance ladled with clarity, detail, and effortless naturalism. The noise-cancellation isn’t as strong as some rivals but dispenses with ambient sounds well enough. Call quality, wireless performance, and battery life are all excellent.

There are other options such as the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 and Dali IO-12, but another headphone I’ll throw into the ring is the Master & Dynamic MW75. Less expensive at £549/$599 RRP with a crisp and polished performance that makes the Focal Bathys sound smooth by comparison, it has a wider soundstage and stronger bass. Its ANC isn’t the best nor is it laden with features but it’s less expensive.

Focal’s first wireless headphone don’t appear to have compromised much in its goal of high quality sound. The Focal Bathys are excellent premium headphones. For more options, check out our Best Headphones guide.

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How we test

We test every set of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

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Tested across several months

Tested with real world use

Battery drain performed

Wireless and wired connections tested


How long do the Focal Bathys last?

Focal says the Bathys can last for thirty hours, but in our tests on the aptX Adaptive Bluetooth connection, we reckon they can last for longer than that figure.

Full specs

IP rating
Battery Hours
Fast Charging
Release Date
Model Number
Audio Resolution
Driver (s)
Noise Cancellation?
Frequency Range
Headphone Type
Voice Assistant

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