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New Focal Azurys & Hadenys Headphones: Made In France, For Everyone

Focal Azurys and Focal Hadenys

Focal Azurys and Focal Hadenys


  • Product Name: Azurys closed-back headphones, Hadenys open-back headphones
  • Manufacturer: Focal
  • Review Date: May 13, 2024 00:00
  • MSRP: $549 - Azurys, $649 - Hadenys
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!

Focal Azurys Closed-back Headphone

Frequency response (+/- 3dB): 15 Hz - 22 kHz

Harmonic distortion rate: <0,3 % @ 1 kHz / 100 dB SPL

Impedance: 26 Ω

Maximum SPL (peak@1m): 100 dB SPL

Weight: 306 g / 0.67 lb

Focal Hadenys Open-back Headphone

Frequency response (+/- 3dB): 20 Hz - 22 kHz

Harmonic distortion rate: <0,2 % @ 1 kHz / 100 dB SPL

Impedance: 26 Ω

Maximum SPL (peak@1m): 105 dB SPL

Weight: 294 g / 0.65 lb

Focal has introduced two new headphones for the audiophile market: the open-back Hadenys ($699) and the closed-back Azurys ($549). Both are wired, passive headphones that share much of their DNA with highly-regarded models like the Focal Clear Mg and Celestee, but at lower prices. The cost savings can be attributed to the new headphones’ smaller form-factor and slightly less costly driver platform, both inherited directly from Focal’s popular Bathys bluetooth headphone. Focal says that the new Hadenys (ah den ees) and Azurys (ah zur ees) were designed to deliver the French brand’s distinctive expertise and pure, high-fidelity sound to as many people as possible. Both are made in France using patented speaker driver technologies, with an emphasis on comfort and sophisticated aesthetics, according to Focal. Like virtually all open-back headphones, the Hadenys is intended for use mainly at home, while the closed-back Azurys will be the more versatile choice, appropriate for use at home, at the office, or on the go.

Focal Hadenys

The Hadenys offers “an enveloping sound experience, capturing every musical nuance with great richness,” according to Focal. The name is reportedly inspired by the Hadean Eon — the earliest part of Earth’s history, during which the planet was formed. (The Hadean Eon is itself named after the Greek god and ruler of the underworld, Hades.) The headphone’s brown color “evokes a return to source, giving the headphones an organic, timeless style,” according to the company. The brown color and honeycomb grilles give the Hadenys the look of a miniature Clear Mg. I’m curious to know whether they sound anything like the superb Clear Mg, which costs more than double the ask of the Hadenys. What’s certain is that, like its bigger sibling, the Hadenys features genuine leather and breathable woven fabric on the headband and yoke, to provide the wearer with a sensation of comfort and lightness during long listening sessions. Focal describes the sound of the Hadenys as “precise, dynamic, and warm.”

Focal Azurys

The closed-back Azurys is reportedly “aimed at all music enthusiasts and lovers who want to enjoy Focal sound through an accessible product,” and is among the least expensive made-in-France headphones launched by the company to date. The Azurys uses the same overall design and premium materials as the Hadenys – genuine leather, woven fabric, aluminum, magnesium, and so on. But its aesthetic is more youthful to my eye, thanks to its unique blueish hue, which Focal says is inspired by a semi-precious stone called Azurite.

Inside, both the Hadenys and Azurys feature drivers that are designed and crafted in France at Focal’s workshops in Saint-Étienne. These drivers use the same magnet, voice-coil, and aluminum/magnesium M-shaped dome as the Bathys wireless noise-cancelling headphones, which launched to great success in 2022. Despite these common components, the Bathys, Hadenys, and Azurys all have specialized versions of this driver platform with differing venting, damping, and acoustic volumes, according to an informative video from Jude Mansilla of Head-Fi.org. The front panels and ear cushions are also different. Mansilla says that the passive Hadenys and Azurys sound very different from the Bathys. “Purely from an audiophile standpoint,” he says, “they’re both better tuned and more resolving than their active bluetooth ANC sibling, but that should hardly come as a surprise.” The same 40mm M-shaped dome used in the new headphones is also used in the $999 Celestee, which until now has been the go-to recommendation for Focal shoppers looking for a passive, closed-back audiophile headphone under $1,000. At $549, the Azurys may tempt some would-be Celestee buyers looking to save some coin, but they should also attract a new demographic who would never consider spending a grand on headphones. In a day and age when the $549 Apple AirPods Max can be seen adorning the heads of everyday folks (i.e. non-audiophiles), getting a pair of made-in-France audiophile headphones for the same price sounds pretty reasonable — to me, anyway.

Excellent closed-back headphones are not, in my experience, a dime a dozen. And for my taste, the Focal Azurys is exactly that: an excellent closed-back headphone that is very Focal, and also very reasonably priced at just $549. Sonically, while not as resolving to my ears as the Celestee — and certainly not as resolving as the Stellia — (the Azurys) is still very resolving. And actually, I think the Azurys would be more likely to be used in a professional setting than either of its higher-end closed-back siblings because of its tonal balance. The Azurys’s tuning is more even-handed, more neutral.

— Jude Mansilla, Founder of Head-Fi.org 

Focal smaller vs larger

Swivel Ear Cups For Better Portability

Both the Hadenys and Azurys are supplied with a color-matched carrying case and the necessary cables, and both have one big advantage over Focal’s larger models. The ear cups of the Hadenys and Azurys can swivel so that the headphones lie flat inside their cases, making the package much more portable. I had the good fortune to use the Clear Mg and Celestee for several months while working on reviews, and while their carrying cases were well-made and attractive, they took up a huge amount of space in my unusually capacious backpack. These new cans will be much easier to use on the go. One thing that’s worth mentioning is that the Azurys comes with a somewhat dinky 4-foot cable with an in-line remote and microphone. No quarter-inch adapter is included. This type of cable will come in handy for Zoom calls and livestreams, but its design and build don’t seem to “reflect the high performance levels of the headphones it connects to,” according to Mansilla. The Hadenys comes with a more substantial 6-foot cable, terminated in a 3.5mm jack, with an included 1/4-inch adapter. It looks to be more similar to the cables included with Focal’s larger headphones. The good news is that the cables included with both new headphones are detachable; they connect to the headphone’s ear cups via a standard 3.5mm TRS jack, so those interested in aftermarket cables should have plenty of options. Even the most hard-boiled cable skeptic has to admit that aftermarket cables come in handy when the included ones aren’t the right length, or don’t have the right connector for the intended source equipment.

The Hadenys and Azurys represent a new category of passive headphones for Focal. They aim to combine the portability of the Bathys bluetooth headphone with the audiophile bonafides of the brand’s high-end wired offerings, at prices that will make them both appealing and accessible to a wider audience. Add a commendably neutral tuning and Focal’s made-in-France build quality and styling, and you have what look like two more winners from Focal.

More information: Focal High Fidelity Headphones

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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