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Fischer Audio FA-003

Posted

Pros: Sound quality, neutral & balanced sound, soundstage, comfortable, carrying case, extra ear pads, PRICE!!!

Cons: No velour pads

Fischer Audio’s FA-003

 

SPEC’S:

  • › Frequency range: 10-26500 Hz
  • › Sensitivity: 105 dB
  • › Impedance: 64 Om
  • › Input power: 120 mW
  • › Length of a cable: 3.0 M
  • › Color: bronze/black
  • › Etc: additional cushions, 6.3mm screw-on jack adapter.

 

EQUIPMENT USED ON THIS REVIEW:

  • Portable set-up: Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed) ->UE Mini2Mini ->RSA Shadow
  • Portable set-up: Ipod 5.5G -> ALO Cotton Dock -> RSA Shadow
  • Home Rig 1: Sony D-25S -> UE Mini2Mini from Line out-> Heed CanAmp
  • Home Rig 2: Denon DCD 1560 CD Player – RCA -> Heed CanAmp
  • My mastering rig

 

BACKGROUND & FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

 

When I received this new package the rush of fear set in. I started to sweat at the thought that my box might be empty and someone may have stolen the headphones that were destined to be reviewed by me. Luckily that wasn’t the case.

 

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When I opened the box I was greeted with the FA-003 among other headphones. The FA-003 came packaged in a cool black carrying case. On opening the case you find the FA-003, the cable, warranty and some replacement cushions. How awesome is it to get replacement cushions along with your initial purchase?!?!?! Kudos to Fischer Audio for that added generosity!

 

003_0.jpg

 

The feel of the FA-003 surprised me. No wonder I thought I had been robbed! These headphones weigh nearly nothing! They look heavy and well built but are surprisingly light. The cushions are soft and the metal coverings look really nice. Just for prep work, I hooked up the FA-003’s on one of my rigs along with my custom test disc and let it be for 48 hours.

 

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THE MUSIC & THOUGHTS ON SOUND:

 

1. Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al from the album “Graceland” 

The sound is just awesome. Detail is there. Air is there. No sibilance. No boomy bass. VERY NICE!

 

2. Paul Simon – Homeless from the album “Graceland” 

The voices sound natural, as natural as my HD-600’s.

 

3. Nat King Cole – Stardust from the DCC release of “Love Is The Thing” 

Nat’s voice  sounds natural, the strings are as airy as they should be but they aren’t bright or suppressed. The sound is very natural. 

 

4. Danny Elfman – This is Halloween from the soundtrack “Nightmare Before Christmas”

The voices are all distinct. Bass is very tight. The soundstage and imaging on this track is better than most and is quite impressive considering they are closed headphones.

 

5. Absolute Silence – custom demo track made by myself.

Except for a slight pop the Clip+ added when the track finished, it was completely dead silent for the entire duration of the track.

6. Bach – Solo Cello Suites from the Mercury Living Presence release feat. Janos Starker
The cello sounds as natural as could be. On par with my HD-600’s. Ambiance and detail are fantastic.


7. Ella Fitzgerald – Sweet & Lovely from the album “Sings Sweet Songs For Swingers”
Nice. Ella comes across very natural. The bass is really tight and extends very naturally.  The dynamics and transients are quick. Imaging is superb. Listened to entire album!


8. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication & Scar Tissue from the album “Californication”
The bass is nice and tight. The distortion and clicks can be heard quite clearly. Very impressive.


9. Lady Gaga – Poker Face from the album “The Fame”
The bass is awesome without being over-powering or bloated. Once again, the bass is very tight with nice extension. Vocals are also very nice. The detail is all there. Nice imaging for such a monoraul sounding track.

 

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

 

Where to start!? I wish I could shake someone’s hand over at Fischer Audio and congratulate them for having such great sounding headphones and IEM’s. Much like the DBA-02, I found myself listening to track after track and album after album. The sound is very neutral while maintaining a touch of fun. I gotta be honest and say that I am rather enamored with the FA-003’s. They are light, comfy and sound fantastic. These are mastering grade headphones and I wouldn’t hesitate for one second to recommend them for such critical sound applications. The sonic picture the FA-003’s painted time after time never failed to impress me. By the way…Ella Fitzgerald on the FA-003’s is like a fine wine at the end of the day – just awesome.

 

The actual FA-003 case is very cool. I hope Fischer Audio decides to keep this packaging as it is very attractive. It’s not only attractive, but it also helps protect your investment and to carry your headphones to Head-Fi meets! I hope to see them keep this packaging with their more expensive headphones and leave the boxes for other models.

 

The actual sound of the FA-003 is very open and sounds like an open headphone design. However, the isolation is very good. I was able to listen to music while my wife was asleep without even a single track waking her up from three feet away. This is truly the best of both worlds. If you have heard an HD-600, then you know for the most part what to expect from the FA-003. It has a very balanced, neutral sound without ever being sibilant or boomy.

 

While waiting for these headphones I was informed that they are often compared to the HD-650’s and that the quality was not considered to be that good because Fischer Audio did not design the actual headphone casing. This would lead to poor bass and a veiled sound. This did bring some concern to me but upon handling them and most importantly, hearing them, I can say that these concerns have no basis whatsoever. They sound nothing like the HD-650’s and are built very well as far as I can tell.

 

The mids are beautifully positioned, front and center right where they should be. Positioning isn’t an issue either as it presents a very accurate soundstage. Soundstage depth is very good as is soundstage width. This in turn makes the FA-003 a very holographic sounding headphone – as good as the HP-1000 in terms of positioning. The treble is smooth and moderately extended without being bright or sibilant. The bass is extended but very tight and controlled. The only time the bass was boomy was when a recording had boomy sounding bass.

 

What about that veiled sound? My response: What about it? It’s none existent in the FA-003. I hate a veiled sound and I am happy to say that there is no veil here.

 

Although the FA-003’s do not require an amp, I would highly recommend you listen to them with an amp. While the volume may be sufficient coming straight out of the Clip+ or an iPod, the authority and presence of the FA-003 only increase when an amp is added in the mix. I felt the FA-003’s had particular synergy with the Heed CanAmp.

 

Another cool thing are the actual headphone cables. They are removable and user replaceable. I can already see a ton of people making custom cables for the FA-003's. They connect at the base of the headphone cups using a mono jack for each side. The cable is soft, provides no microphonics and is held securely in place. A cool design IMHO.

 

THE VERDICT:

 

It will now be harder to pick a favorite headphone: HD-600, HP-1000, FA-003, RS-1, CD-3000, R-10 or others. Yes, this headphone is now one my favorites. Is it the end all, be all? No, but it is worthy of being considered along with other great headphones.

 

It will also be much harder to recommend only one Fischer Audio headphone or IEM to you guys and gals. I was having a hard time before but now, it’s just become harder still. Fischer Audio is really on their game and the products show it. I have no doubt that if these products were better known, they would have no hard time usurping the throne of many famous or popular headphones. Yes…they are that good!

 

The killer as always is the price/performance value of the FA-003’s. MSRP is under $200! If someone told me they paid $600 for the FA-003, I wouldn’t call them liars nor would I call them stupid if they were indeed worth such an amount. Considering the price, the sound and the build quality, everyone here should have a pair of these.

 

The only recommendations I would have for Fischer Audio is to keep the carrying case and maybe include some velour pads along with the attached leather pads instead of a second set of leather pads. Extremely minor quibbles for what I feel are some amazing headphones at an unbelievable price. Now…GO GET A PAIR!

 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

Posted

Pros: Neutral sound signature, incredible value, high detail, good soundstage, no sound leak, good isolation!

Cons: If you are a +20dB basshead, look elsewhere.

These are probably the best value for under $200 if you are looking for neutral, balanced sound.

 

I have just a little bit of experience with headphones; I have owned the M50 and the HD555 and 558, and then I got the Sunrise SW-Xcape and the FA-003.

 

I can confidently say the FA-003 is the epitome of what I've been searching for all this time: a neutral headphone that sounds RIGHT no matter what I throw at it.  But the FA-003 is more than just neutral; it has the most detail among the headphones I've owned, and a great soundstage.

 

It is somewhat hard to gauge neutrality quantitatively, but I can say this: when I listen to music on the FA-003, I just sense that the frequency balance is just right.  Instruments and vocals sound very realistic, and I sense that if I were the mixer, this would be the exact way I would mix the song so that all the parts of the song (the vocals, guitars, drum kit, electronic beat, synth sounds, bass) complement each other without overpowering each other.  And as a result, the whole song just shines.

 

This might be obvious to you, but for me, coming from the HD558 and the M50, which had very different ways of coloring the balance (with some songs this was good), I feel very relieved to hear a headphone that makes anything mastered well sound *right*.  In retrospect, the HD558 was clearly a little too warm in the lower mids to be neutral, and the M50 (which I had the chance to A/B with these) had too much bass emphasis to be neutral.  And I have heard my share of piercing treble in many other headphones.  But I can't find any obvious emphases in the FA003.

 

As for the soundstage presentation, it is excellent.  It sounds like an open can and is MUCH better than many closed cans I've heard, but it's not like the best of the open cans.  The isolation is also very good.  The comfort is also superb.  Some have issues with clamping force... I have not had any since I stretched them on some books.  They feel 90% as comfortable as Bose headphones to me.

 

Overall a superb headphone, the first I've had no small, nagging reservations about recommending.

Posted

Pros: Great Sound, Extra Pads, Pretty Solid Build

Cons: No Velour Pads, A Little Tight When Brand New

Great Headphones, but these are my first high quality headphones so there really is no basis for comparison except for a couple of my friend's headphones that I have tried(Bose, Drebeats, astro). Anyway, these are great, the bass is not that heavy but it is there. If you want a more in depth review about the audio quality look at LFF's review because his review is spot on.

 

I use these to listen to hip-hop, r&b, alternative and they are great. It is very balanced, nothing really overpowers me. I also use them for gaming and these are great for gaming. You could tell if people are coming up behind you and the location of gunshots for FPS games.

 

The build quality is good, but I am careful with my headphones so I would not know it they could stand a beating. They feel pretty sturdy and they come with extra pads but they are leather. The only real con I would have with these headphones is that they clamp on your head pretty tight in the beginning but after two day of use they loosened up and now they are quite comfertable. Also, they do not have velour earpads also but I can live with that.

 

Overall they are Great!

Posted

Pros: Sound quality, comfort, best headphones south of five hundred dollars. Seriously.

Cons: Design kind of bland, lacking the tank-like build quality of the HD25s, requires full burn-in to appreciate

LFF said it best, I just wanted to post a rating. They will take any genre you throw at them with ease, injecting fun while retaining absolute accuracy. After burn in the FA-003s surpassed every other headphone I have tried unamped, becoming the pair I reach for for almost all situations. A must buy!

Posted

Pros: Amazing value for the sound quality you get

Cons: Availability

When I unpackaged these headphones today I was expecting find a nice closed-headphone alternative for my Grado SR125i, but I got more than I bargained for.

 

From percussions, to strings to vocals, it seems that almost every single music track I listen to has a new breath of life. This is similar to the experience I felt when I bought my first Sennheiser earbuds, back when I had a Minidisk, and is something I haven't felt for years. Rather than feeling like I got a small sound upgrade, I feel like I've broken into a new sound-quality threshold that will be hard to match or surpass, unless I invest a considerably larger amount of money.

 

These headphones come with two replaceable ear cushions, one pair being faux-leather and the other being almost velvet-like (feel free to correct me on the type of materials), a HUGE carrying case that I highly doubt I'll ever use (almost as big as a shoe box in terms of dimensions).

 

After I discovered the Koss PortaPro I thought I would never discover another pair of headphones that would offer as great value as they did in terms of sound quality, but I was completely wrong. If these headphones had cost me twice or thrice as much I would still have felt very happy with them. Unless you already own a high-end headphone, I highly highly recommend these.

Posted

Pros: SQ in whole frequency range, neutral and natural sounding, good with large variety of music, case, extra pads now velour, value

Cons: extra velour pads don't have the plastic part that connects and locks the pad to the rest of the headphone

A surprisingly light pair of phones. It sounds great with every genre of music I've thrown at it so far, which is pretty much everything but dubstep, death metal, rap and techno. It hasn't even burnt in much yet, coming in at close to 2 hours by now, yet sounds AMAZING. Detail, soundstage and SQ can be comparable to open headphones twice it's price.

The build quality is quite good; it feels quite sturdy, and everything has that feel of quality to them. They look pretty nice too; I love the brushed metal panels. Isolation is excellent; with the sound turned to about 25% on my laptop, I can't hear a person trying to talk to me from a metre away. Note that they're fairly easy to drive, so 25% on a laptop should be about moderate listening volume, depending on your preferences.

The only thing I'm not happy with is that the included extra earpads, which by the way are mostly velour, with the portion of the ring facing your ears being pleather, don't have the plastic part required for attachment to the headphones. It looks like the plastic part could maybe be removed from the pleather pads, but this seems quite troublesome if even possible without damaging the pads. It detracts from the otherwise generous and well thought out set of accessories that accompanies this very nice pair of headphones.

Posted

Pros: great- clarity, detail, bass, comfort, iso, soundstage. everything is there!

Cons: portable use is not as pleasing as home use due to its size and cable length

i can actually listen to everything with it. whether its music, movie, games, even just for voice chat, it does amazingly.

looking forward for more FA products like the fa-004 or fa-011! i hope their prices dont go up! ^_^ it can go up when i get a job.

best item that i have bought for its price! besides food!

 

Posted

Pros: All rounder , produce good sound

Cons: Only if you are a basshead , then you might need an amp to make it more "bassy"

Everything is good!! Just that i demand for more bass because i was listening to desktop onboard , now i have Asus Essence ST soundcard with headamp to drive them and everything sounds nice to me =D

Posted

Pros: Balanced SS, lush mids, tight bass, good extension both ways, deep soundstage, detailed, comfortable, great isolation, good build quality and more!

Cons: OEM headphone design, ears get a bit hot when listening, fatigue caused by isolation

Introduction/Disclaimer:

 

Not only am I a relatively newbie audiophile, the FA-003 were my first pair of "audiophile" headphones, therefore, I might be slightly based towards it. I originally got the FA-003 for use as a monitoring headphone for my audio engineering work, and used it through my 2 years of study in UK. I have had this pair for around 2+ years now and it's become a my go-to headphones for mixing. While I have gotten much better/more expensive headphones since then, the FA-003 has remained my workhorse pair and my standard to which I compare all other closed headphones to.

 

What I like love...

 

Sound

I used to lay on the couch of my office at night just immersing myself in music with my FA-003 (Cowon J3 > Headstage Arrow). The mids are mesmerizing, sometimes almost as if the vocals were resonating in your throat. God, how I absolutely love the sound of the FA-003, an excitement which wouldn't be replicated until I got my HE-500 paired with Asus E1. Incredibly balanced, non-fatiguing while staying musical and engaging (whatever that means). With a tight, punchy bass and excellent treble extension, it performs well with any genre I throw at it (and my choice headphone for K-pop), a mark of a great pair of reference headphones. I found them relatively forgiving to poorer recordings/mixes/masters.

 

It has a surprising amount of detail, especially for a closed design. Being a closed phone, the soundstage isn't very wide (feels slightly constricted beside open pairs) but it's has a surprising amount depth to it and separates instruments very well.

 

Isolation

FA-003 isolates very well, which may be a bit fatiguing after awhile. Practically no leakage whatsoever.

 

Comfort

The pleather pads are very deep and comfortable and should easy cover your entire ear, it can get a bit warm for prolonged usage though.

 

Build Quality

2 years of abuse and still in excellent condition. The white lettering is unscratched, with everything intact.

 

Gripes

Not the best looking headphone. Wires get stiff after prolonged use. Alternative velour pads might have been nice.

 

Overall Impressions:

Quite an incredible pair of headphones. Very versatile and among the best in terms of fidelity for it's price range. I would recommend these over other studio headphones such as the M-50, SRH440/840 and MDR-7506 for monitoring use or enjoyment.

Posted

Pros: Detailed, Neutral, good for any genre

Cons: Neutral - so not for everyone

Good neutral set. I play them out of a vintage Sony Receiver from the early 80's and it provides plenty of power to push these to their limits. 

Most versatile set of cans I've owned, everything really sounds good with them. I would however not recommend them for Bassheads, they have the extension needed, but not quite the force of presence. I would say vocal reproduction is their strength, and that for their price they're likely the best option for neutral fans. 
 

Fischer Audio FA-003
Description:

Fischer Audio FA-003 Stereo Headphones for Home and Professional Use

Details:
DetailValue
Cord Length2m
Impedance64 Ohm
Additional InformationReplacement ear pads, Storage Case
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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