Focal-Naim has introduced a new feature for its high-end Bathys noise-cancelling headphones: the Mimi Hearing Test is now integrated into the manufacturer’s app. Once the user has conducted the test to assess their hearing, the app will adjust the headphone’s EQ to restore audio details you might no longer be able to hear on your own.
The app plays a series of beeps against a backdrop of random noise, and you tap a button when you hear the beeps. When I ran the test myself, I discovered that—being of a certain age—my ability to hear very high frequencies has declined a bit. I noticed a significant difference once the Focal app tweaked the headphone’s output accordingly.
You can run the test as many times as you like if you’re not satisfied with the results the first time. You can also adjust the intensity of the personalization or disable it entirely if you don’t care for it. Unfortunately, the test doesn’t report exactly which frequencies it has measured, there’s just a 10-bar chart labeled “low pitch” on the left-hand side and “high pitch” on the right.
The Focal Bathys is my favorite high-end noise-cancelling headphone, delivering unparalleled audio performance with such luxury trappings as lambskin-wrapped earcups and headband. The Bathys can also operate as a USB Audio device with a built-in DAC that’s capable of up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution (with a USB-C cable). Wirelessly, Focal’s headphones support the AAC codec for Bluetooth connections to iOS devices and the aptX Adaptive codec for Android users.
As I said in my review last year, active noise cancellation takes a backseat to audio fidelity with the Bathys, but I’m just fine with that compromise (if you want to call it that). The French manufacturer also announced that the Bathys will be available in a new color—Dune—in addition to the black/silver model already on the market. The Bathys came to market with a $799 MSRP, but Focal sliced $100 off that price sometime after launch.