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REVIEW: Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition - Page 5post #61 of 13110/13/12 at 6:52amHey guys..how does these stack up against a one on one comparision with the hifiman he-400? Both are in same pricerange..as they look like the perfect adversairies against each other...thanks for ur help
Head-Fi's Best Sellerspost #62 of 13111/4/12 at 4:17ampost #63 of 13111/6/12 at 5:24pmpost #64 of 13112/30/12 at 12:42pmpost #65 of 13112/31/12 at 7:54am
i owned a pair of he400..and i can tell u they do perfectly with evanesence and other metal music. th he500 does it even better with a good amp..i understand the fisher audio is a more mellow headphone..good luck with ur searchpost #66 of 1312/2/13 at 6:59pm
Slight thread resurrection...Just ordered a set for myself in bog oak. This will be my first higher end set of headphones. Grabbed a E07k as well to power them on the go. Hopefully with have a chance to post pics when I get them which could be a bit since I am deployed and shipping to an APO.post #67 of 1312/6/13 at 3:23am
Since my Paradox are on tour, I'm in need of a closed phone for home use. I've long been a fan of Fischer Audio.. I also noticed Musica Acoustics had a nice 'closeout' sale going on their FA High Edition phones. Being that this was a perfect opportunity to get my hands on one, I ordered the Karelian Birch FA-002w HE tonight. I always admired the craftsmanship, individuality, & personal touch of the custom-made, OW-series wood cups. Dimitri from MA said the Karelian Birch are gorgeous, too (he has a personal pair for himself). I'm looking forward to hearing these & pitting them head to head with the recently arrived HD800 (which are terrific, btw).
Edited by FlySweep - 2/14/13 at 4:32pmpost #68 of 1312/14/13 at 2:46am
They sound pretty much awesome. I haven't gotten the amp/DAC in yet so running them off of the PC and they still sound about a million times better than my old JVC HA-G770's.
Edited by cdawall - 2/14/13 at 3:13ampost #69 of 1312/14/13 at 11:10ampost #70 of 1312/14/13 at 11:57ampost #71 of 1312/14/13 at 4:19pm
Bog Oak I thought it was one of the better real wood looking woods.Quote:
I was suprised as well it beat the amp here which was is in the US and they shipped from Japan.post #72 of 1312/21/13 at 2:24ampost #73 of 1312/21/13 at 5:37ampost #74 of 1314/10/13 at 3:05am
I've had the lovely Karelian Birch 002w-HE for a couple of months now.. during this time, I've largely kept quiet in regards to impressions cause the HD800 had been getting a lot of my time (when I'm using full sized phones). That being said, I did listen to the HE quite often (I typically listened for not more than an hour and used the same set of tracks/albums) and when it was not being used, I left it to 'burn in.' How many hours do I have on it to date? I'm not sure; I'd approximate somewhere between 75-100 hours.
At the desktop, I've got a transparent DAC (ODAC), a nice tube-buffered DAC/preamp (TubeDAC-11) and a couple of highly regarded amps (the Violectric V200 & Lake People G109) at my disposal. This offered some welcome flexibility in dealing with the HE's 'picky bastard' sensibilities (as Luis so succinctly put it).
While the sound quality was indeed amazing.. there were many times I contemplated selling this phone. It was simply too picky for me to get a firm handle on. At time it was brilliant.. other times, it was exactly as Luis stated in his review: "..bass light, mids slightly peaky, and bright but not shrill." If you don't have the proper upstream gear.. that's EXACTLY how this phone will sound. In fact, there were times where I was amazed to hear a phone that can be this bright without being shrill or harsh. It was quite interesting to experience. I came to believe these phones are actually even more selective than the HD800 in regards to upstream gear! I need to make the distinction here as the HD800 are more resolving, so they'll show the nature of your upstream gear more easily (and starkly).. but the HE seemed to require some very specific qualities in an amp in order to shine.
Even when I had the HE paired with the ODAC, a very nice Amperex tube (in the TD-11), and the TD-11 being fed to the Violectric V200 (or Lake People G109).. the sound was silky smooth, yet still fatiguing. I don't know if it's 'burn in'.. or my ears becoming finally getting accustomed to the sound.. or my amps 'breaking in' (or, perhaps, some holy convergence of all three).. but this week, the HE has, for lack of a better word, 'matured.' And, oh, how beautiful does it sound now. Tonight.. I'm running it off of a small solid state rig (ODAC > Lake People G109).. for the ten to fifteen times I used this same rig with the 002w HE over the past two months, the HE wasn't all that tolerable for more than twenty to thirty minutes. But tonight.. it, inexplicably, sounded noticeably more balanced, vivid, and natural. Again, I'm not sure why this is.. but regardless.. I'm very happy that I'm finally able to hear just what this phone is capable of.
As I noted earlier, I've been using the HD800 quite often the last two months. I don't think the HE is entirely on par with the Senn flagship.. but in more than a few places, it comes frighteningly close. I've got the HE-400 as well.. it's a phone I also love and use quite often (when I'm not in the mood to listen to the HD800). Sound signatures aside, I was amazed to hear how the HE makes the HE-400 sound downright unrefined and grainy (in comparison) more times than not. The HE possesses phenomenal resolving ability.. arguably, as good as I've heard from a dynamic driver (outside of the HD800). I'm left with a childish grin plastered across my face as I marvelled at how clearly & accurately I can hear the most minute details in many of my favorite recordings. More importantly, these details are served up in a natural manner.. not in a cold or clinical way as is often associated with hyper-resolving, detailed phones. The resolving ability isn't quite as silky smooth as the HD800.. but the HE has it's own character and executes it's detail retrieval responsibilities in a way I can wholly appreciate on its own terms.
I'm beginning to experience the jaw dropping 'tonal purity' that AVGuide's 002w-HE review cited on numerous occasions. Pianos, guitars, percussion, horns, vocals.. it all sounds so very lifelike and realistic. Combine that quality with the HE's ability to swing dynamics with excellent speed and precision.. and I'm left indulging my senses in just how vivid and effortless this phone can sound. This combination of 'tonal purity & ability to effortlessly swing dynamics' is something many top tier orthodynamic phones are known for. In fact, ask any 'planar junkie' why they have a hard time going back to 'traditional' dynamic driver-based phones and that's one of the first reasons they'll offer. Undoubtedly, I'm one of them as I've owned the HE-500 & (currently own the) HE-400 & Luis' own wonderful creation, the T50RP Paradox. I was taken aback when I heard this same ability from a 'lowly' (traditional) dynamic driver-based phone. In fact.. I'd say the HE bests the HE-400 and might be on par with the HE-500 in this regard. Another quality the HE shares with some of the best planars out there is a dead silent, inky black background. It's uncanny how sounds appear and disappear into what feels like ether more than any kind of perceivable "canvas."
A few words about the soundstage. Of course, its not on par with something like the HD800.. but I find the 002w HE's soundstage more than satisfying. It's amazingly open sounding for being a closed phone.. and the imaging is pinpoint precise. I'm actually a pretty big stickler for a quality soundstage. Over the time I've spent in this hobby, I've not only learned a lot about headphones,, I've also learned a lot about my own ears and how I hear things. Like many, I consider unnatural peaks and dips in the frequency tuning to be fatiguing.. but I've also learned that my ears (and mind) tend to find a poorly proportioned soundstage to be fatiguing, as well. No matter how accurate or musical a phone can sound, if it has a shallow (depth) or narrow (width) stage, it's not likely to last in my inventory. Bringing this back to the HE.. while its stage isn't as wide as some of the more fabled open phones, it's impressively wide and possess terrific depth. I could listen to this phone for hours on end without feeling claustrophobia creeping in. Mind you, I'm my soundstage apatite is downright spoiled by the HD800.. so far me to be this happy with the HE's stage is saying something. I think what I find most impressive is that the HE utilizes what space it has with total precision as imaging is so accurate and instrument separation is truly top tier.
In all honesty, I had been contemplating selling my Fischer Audio 002w-High Edition for the past two weeks. The first round of my T50RP Paradox tour is nearing completion & I was already looking forward to spending some time with them (before possibly arranging for another tour if enough parties were interested). Something told me to keep listening and to give them more time.. I'm glad sided with intuition as I feel I've been quite handsomely rewarded. These phones are going absolutely nowhere as I've truly fallen in love with them now. All these impressions were just with the ODAC & Lake People G109 (which is a terrific amp.. certainly one of the best ss amps under $1K, IMO). I can't wait to hear them with the V200 & TD-11, again. I'm sincerely not sure if it's some type of break-in that occurred recently, but I definitely find these phones much more enjoyable than I did just a few short weeks ago.. despite using them with the same upstream gear and source material. I've also thinned my 'herd' of phones in the last few months (opting for quality over quantity) so I'm not jumping between a number of phones and 'polluting' my sense of sound & familiarity.
Nearly all my listening these days revolves around the HD800, AUD-8X (custom IEM), and HE-400... I'm glad to be able to add the 002w HE to that list. The HE certainly demands an amp that synergizes with its sound.. but it might not be as picky as I originally suspected. I can confidently say the Lake People G109 is a very capable amp that's able to bring out it the HE's "Fischer Audio" magic.. by extension, you expect the V200 to do even better. Are they they best out there? Probably not.. I sense the HE is capable of some pretty spectacular scaling since Luis used the HE with the heralded DNA & EC amps and said it sounded as good as he's heard. I'm a firm believer in reasonably scaling (the cost of your) upstream gear with the cost of your phones (when you get into summit-fi territory). Sure, there will be exceptions to this rule.. but more often than not, I've found it an effective approach in getting maximum performance-to-value out of your rig. The HE will also reveal poorly recorded material with some serious ruthlessness. It doesn't demand the highest quality masters/mixes to shine (though it will reward your ears with such HQ recordings), just don't expect sparks to fly if you anticipate playing a lot of poorly (or below average) recorded music.
Apologies for the long winded, rambling nature of this post.. you can (partially) attribute it to a sense of relief.. relief that these phones actually delivered on what I hoped they were capable of. If you've got upstream gear that you think is up to the task of playing nice with the HE, I highly recommend trying out this phone. You might come away as impressed as I did.
Edited by FlySweep - 4/10/13 at 3:39ampost #75 of 1314/10/13 at 12:21pm
Thought I might share a couple of photos of the Karelian Birch cups. Sorry for the poor (or lack of) lighting.. will get some nicer shots up later. The cups really are made well with attention to detail. As is the case with many FA full sized phones, the clamp is a little tight out of the box.. but it loosens & adjusts after some time. Also, it's important to have a good clamp with these phones as it does impact the sound quality. If the drivers are positioned too far away from your ears, the mids will sound nasally and thin. Over time though, the pads breakin in a bit and, personally speaking, I find them very very comfortable now...
Edited by FlySweep - 4/10/13 at 12:22pm
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