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REVIEW: Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition

post #1 of 114
Thread Starter 

Fischer Audio’s FA-002W High Edition

****NOTE***

These are my opinions. Please take them as such.

These are strictly subjective impressions based

upon careful and critical listening over an

extended period of time. YMMV.

***NOTE***

 

be8c8901_P1010633.jpeg

 

67a76f25_P1010632.jpeg

 

SPEC’S:

  • › Frequency range: 11-27000 Hz

  • › Sensitivity: 105 dB

  • › Impedance: 200 Om

  • › Length of a cable: 3.0 M

  • › Color: Cherry Wood/black

  • › Etc: additional velour cushions, 6.3mm screw-on jack adapter, 003 cups, carrying case

 

EQUIPMENT USED ON THIS REVIEW:

  • Please see my profile for a list of some of the equipment I own.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Where to start!? The Good? The Bad? The Beautiful? Let’s go in reverse…

 

THE BEAUTIFUL

These headphones are gorgeous. The craftsmanship in the cups is flawless and no matter how many pictures I take…it doesn’t do it justice.

The laser engraving is also skillfully done. The cursive type of “High Edition” looks beautiful, elegant and flawless. Even the guys from Audeze were impressed by the wood and engraving.

These headphones are an absolutely beauty…remaining light and comfortable at the same time.

 

THE BAD

BAD…from Fischer Audio?!...YES!

The FA-002W High Edition is a picky bastard! They are very picky in regards to amp matching. These are not like the regular 003’s or 002w’s in that they will sound good out of most any amp or even some portable players. No. These can sound just awful out of certain amps and downright painful on others. These did not sound good straight out of my portable players. These did not sound good with my EMU-0404 and they did not sound good with most of the neutral amps I have. They sounded bass light, mids slightly peaky and bright but not shrill. Never has a Fischer Audio headphone sounded this bad out of my amps. Why, they sound almost as bad with my amps as the HD-800 did with them…hmmm.

 

THE GOOD

The only decent sound I got from these was with my Heed CanAmp which is tube like in its sound quality. Even then...it was decent. Hmmm….time to find some tube amps….(a few days go by…the magic of reviews…ahh some good tube amps…wait...So. Cal. Meet!!.....Eddie Current…DNA…)…

With a good tube amp these sounded amazing…better than the HD-800 in some regards, “worse” in one. With the proper amp, these headphones shine like few other dynamics do. The bass is articulate, deep, extended and punchy. The mids become those luscious mids that Fischer Audio has become synonymous with and highs are detailed, fast and coherent. These are amazing to listen to on a good tube amp. This is the type of sound I have come to expect from Fischer Audio.

On a nice tube amp, the bass is low, extended and tight. You don’t get the “one-note” bass problem with these headphones like you do with the HD-800. The midrange and highs are very good. The purity of tones as well as the resolution is just wicked good with the right amp. These are the qualities with lead me believe that the FA-002W High Edition can play with the big boys. The part where the FA-002W High Edition falls short in comparison with the HD-800 is in soundstage. The soundstage is not as expansive as it is with the HD-800 but it is still accurate. If you ask me – it’s not a bad compromise at all, especially since the soundstage remains accurate.

 

CONCLUSION

Once again, I wish I could shake someone’s hand over at Fischer Audio and congratulate them for having such great sounding products at affordable prices. This is the first product they have which I feel is finicky but, when paired with the right amp, you will have truly high end sound at a fraction of what you would normally pay…less than 1/3 to be honest. If you have lusted after an HD-800 but could never justify its price or the looks or [insert your excuse here], then pick up the Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition. You will not get the expansive soundstage of the HD-800 but you will get better sound, accurate soundstage and an amazing bargain. Current owners of the FA-002W or FA-003 will be happy to note that Fischer Audio will be selling an external adapter to convert those headphones to High Editions for under $100.00 USD! 

Those of you who usually read my reviews will also notice I didn't list any music this time around. This is because I wanted to keep this review short and specific. I found a lot of variation between set-ups using the same song. If I had listed the music, I would have had to write different descriptions for each set-up. As I said before...the Fischer Audio FA-002W is finicky - probably more so than the HD-800. 

While these can be viewed as the "Poor Mans HD-800", do keep in mind that they need the right amp to sound good. Also keep in mind that I am comparing these to stock HD-800's and not the modded ones owned by Purrin and Anaxilus. The modded HD-800's are clearly superior to both the stock HD-800 and the Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition. I would highly recommend that any of you considering this headphone listen to it before buying it and preferably give it a good listen on your equipment to make sure it mates well. At the recent Southern California meet many people heard the FA-002W High Edition and some did like it very much. Interestingly enough, those that did like it a lot were using tube amps. I can already see that the Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition will be a can that will create polar opposite camps - those that will love them and those that will hate them. Which camp you will fall into will depend greatly on your sound signature preferences and your equipment. If you are a fan of the HD-800 on tubed equipment, then you might just be a fan of the FA-002W High Edition.

With the right amp…HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

If you don’t have the right amp….get the regular Fischer Audio FA-002W or FA-003.

Tube Amps I tried:

Eddie Current Balancing Act and Super 7

Donald North Audio 2A3 -> sounded best with this amp!

Schiit Lyr

post #2 of 114

LFF, another amazing review!  Well done.

 

I'm definitely more interested in the Fischer line after reading this review and your older review about the FA-003 from 2010.

post #3 of 114

Thanks for the review LFF.
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by LFF View Post
 

...Current owners of the FA-002W or FA-003 will be happy to note that Fischer Audio will be selling an external adapter to convert those headphones to High Editions for under $100.00 USD! ...

 

 

Any more info on this?

"external adaptor" sounds like its own pre-amp or something a la stax, or perhaps a resistor adaptor to add impedance? but that would imply the drivers are the same. I'm slighty confused.

post #4 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesMcProgger View Post

Thanks for the review LFF.
 

 

Any more info on this?

"external adaptor" sounds like its own pre-amp or something a la stax, or perhaps a resistor adaptor to add impedance? but that would imply the drivers are the same. I'm slighty confused.


You're not the only one....confused_face_2.gif

 

I don't know much and wasn't told much either. Price isn't final but it will be under $100.00 USD. It's nice that they consider past owners though when they make an upgrade or change. At least they aren't charging 100% more for a slight upgrade.

 

post #5 of 114

Great review. I can't believe I missed these at the meet! I thought I went through most of your best headphones...

post #6 of 114

hmm...it wasnt clearly stated but how did u feel these sound out of a Lyr? U mentioned a good tube amp but would a Lyr be considered one in this situation? XD also very curious about the adapter u mentioned. dont suppose u would do a review on them or update ur 003 review with those? tongue.gif

post #7 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justie View Post

hmm...it wasnt clearly stated but how did u feel these sound out of a Lyr? U mentioned a good tube amp but would a Lyr be considered one in this situation? XD also very curious about the adapter u mentioned. dont suppose u would do a review on them or update ur 003 review with those? tongue.gif



It sounded quite good out of the Lyr IMHO but I don't know what tubes were in it.

 

IMHO, I think that if your Lyr config sounds good with the HD800, it will sound good with the High Edition.

post #8 of 114

Thanks for the review. What is the price of the headphone and where can we buy it? I don't see it on the Gd Audiobase website yet.

 

What are the differences between the FA-002W listed here (http://fischeraudio.com/wood/wood.php), and the High Edition?

 

Is there any other option for the types of wood?


Edited by koonhua90 - 10/27/11 at 1:41am
post #9 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by koonhua90 View Post

Thanks for the review. What is the price of the headphone and where can we buy it? I don't see it on the Gd Audiobase website yet.

 

And what kind of wood is on the headphone? There is a list here, but it seems those are not the High Edition: http://fischeraudio.com/wood/wood.php



The price of the headphone as reviewed is $395.00 USD IIRC. You can contact GD Audiobase via email or for faster delivery and response, you can try Frog Beats in the UK.

 

It should be available in all the wood options currently available but you must ask for it to be a High Edition.

post #10 of 114

I have no idea about the sound but they surely look stunningly beautiful

post #11 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post



The price of the headphone as reviewed is $395.00 USD IIRC. You can contact GD Audiobase via email or for faster delivery and response, you can try Frog Beats in the UK.

 

It should be available in all the wood options currently available but you must ask for it to be a High Edition.



Thanks for the reply. I will get the LCD-3 first, and see how it goes from there. After getting that one, I probably won't have too much cash to spend. Still, I always have a thing for beautiful wooden stuff.

 

At $395 USD, it seems to be cheaper than the FA-002 with the Karelian Birch wooden cup. I guess it should the price will scale according to the types of wooden cup eh?

 

Do the High Edition necessarily sound better than the regular FA-002W? 

 

post #12 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by koonhua90 View Post

Do the High Edition necessarily sound better than the regular FA-002W?

 


As I stated in my review...it depends on the amp. Of the DNA 2A3, most definitely...yes.

 

post #13 of 114

I just bought some FA-002w (first nice pair of cans ever) and they're still on their way, but that adapter sounds very interesting. I can't wait to see if it lives up to making the normal 02w/03 sound like the high edition. popcorn.gif

 

I'm kind of the edge about getting an amp, and had decided to wait a few months and get the FiiO E11 just to see what an amp would do.. I'm guessing an amp that cheap wouldn't pair nicely with the high edition, right?

post #14 of 114

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post

It sounded quite good out of the Lyr IMHO but I don't know what tubes were in it.

 

IMHO, I think that if your Lyr config sounds good with the HD800, it will sound good with the High Edition.


LFF gave me these to listen to at the meet and when plugged into my Lyr I was pretty impressed. I'm not well versed enough to really compare them to top end headphones, but I told LFF what I liked about my K701 and what I thought it was missing and he handed me the Fischer's. Have to say he was spot on. Compared to the K701, more bass while keeping the tight quality, keeps the great mids though is more consistent across the spectrum, and great highs without being piercing. Most notably, they worked with a lot of genres where the K701 definitely doesn't, probably because it is more balanced.

 

Not sure if it was the Lyr's at the meet that he listened to, but I had the GE 6BZ7s in mine. The other Lyr had Japanese tubes in them, but I don't know the exact model.

 

Didn't realize these were so new, but thanks to LFF for letting me listen to them and a lot of others in his collection.

post #15 of 114

Great review!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post

With the right amp…HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

If you don’t have the right amp….get the regular Fischer Audio FA-002W or FA-003.

Tube Amps I tried:

Eddie Current Balancing Act and Super 7

Donald North Audio 2A3 -> sounded best with this amp!

Schiit Lyr


According to this Guide to Full-Size Headphones, "two specific amplifier recommendations would be the Burson Audio HA-160 and HiFiMAN EF-5, both of which gave great results with the Fischer headphones".

 

 

Could you please give some rating to your modified Fostex T50RP ("BEST CLOSED HEADPHONE I HAVE EVER HEARD!") and your Fischer FA-002W HE / FA-002W / FA-003?

 

Thanks

 


Edited by DanBa - 10/27/11 at 1:02pm
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