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Was about to purchase Audio-Technica M50s and saw the Fostex T50RP thread..?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Total beginner here at headphones and IEM.

 

Spent the last three days studying up on everything I could on here, reading ljokerl's threads and reviews on different headphones, and all the terminology.

 

I was going back and forth between the Audio-Technica M50s, the HF5, the Sony MDR-V6, and the Ultrasone HFI-580.

 

Well I finally settled on the Audio-Tech M50s, and had it in my cart..

 

when I noticed a 300+ thread on the Fostex T50RP..

 

I couldn't quite find a summary of the Fostex. As in.. if they are very good stock, or if all the excitement is about their modding capabilities?

 

I noticed mods can be done for under $100 with the Fostex, and this would be comparable to a high-end headphone. Did I read that right?

 

So in summary, I'm ready to purchase the M50, but I'm a sucker for projects that yield something great.

 

Any help would be appreciated!

 

 

Some stats: Would listen from my regular computer/laptop or mp3 player (4gb Ipod nano).

I listen mainly to electronica (house/trance/progressive) and mostly vocal.

 

I do like rock as well and listen to other random genres.

 


Edited by anabolictrance - 11/29/11 at 5:01am
post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anabolictrance View Post

Total beginner here at headphones and IEM.

 

Spent the last three days studying up on everything I could on here, reading ljokerl's threads and reviews on different headphones, and all the terminology.

 

I was going back and forth between the Audio-Technica M50s, the HF5, the Sony MDR-V6, and the Ultrasone HFI-580.

 

Well I finally settled on the Audio-Tech M50s, and had it in my cart..

 

when I noticed a 300+ thread on the Fostex T50RP..

 

I couldn't quite find a summary of the Fostex. As in.. if they are very good stock, or if all the excitement is about their modding capabilities?

 

I noticed mods can be done for under $100 with the Fostex, and this would yield a high-end headphone. Did I read that right?

 

So in summary, I'm ready to purchase the M50, but I'm a sucker for projects that yield something great.

 

Any help would be appreciated!

 

 

Some stats: Would listen from my regular computer/laptop or mp3 player (4gb Ipod nano).

I listen mainly to electronica (house/trance/progressive) and mostly vocal.

 

I do like rock as well and listen to other random genres.

 




actually I seemed to find a thread that summarized things quite well. I don't see an option to delete this thread, so my apologies for cluttering
.

 

If anyone still feels like they want to add in some info, go ahead

post #3 of 19

the fostex t50, and orthos in general, have a rabid following. keep that in mind when reviewing threads on certain headphones. also keep in mind that some peeps with modded headphones start recommending them as best for every possible situation. also plz take with a grain of salt  the 'this headphone is now comparable to a headphone costing this much' comments. these have become way too common around here.

orthos, especially modded and damped, require a very nice amp to shine. running them straight out of an ipod or laptop you would be very underwhelmed and disappointed.

 

yes, i have had a modded t50rp as well as many other orthos. 

post #4 of 19

There's always a catch...amp, rather neutral when modded, non-dynamic drivers, etc

 

For your bassy music taste, M50s should be good. Creative Aurvana Live! is generally regarded as comparable to M50 if you want something similar but cheaper. CAL! is a tad better for games and movies, whereas M50s a tad better for music.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ourfpshero View Post

the fostex t50, and orthos in general, have a rabid following. keep that in mind when reviewing threads on certain headphones. also keep in mind that some peeps with modded headphones start recommending them as best for every possible situation. also plz take with a grain of salt  the 'this headphone is now comparable to a headphone costing this much' comments. these have become way too common around here.

orthos, especially modded and damped, require a very nice amp to shine. running them straight out of an ipod or laptop you would be very underwhelmed and disappointed.

 

yes, i have had a modded t50rp as well as many other orthos. 



Thank you for the advice. I agree



Quote:
Originally Posted by kingpage View Post

There's always a catch...amp, rather neutral when modded, non-dynamic drivers, etc

 

For your bassy music taste, M50s should be good. Creative Aurvana Live! is generally regarded as comparable to M50 if you want something similar but cheaper. CAL! is a tad better for games and movies, whereas M50s a tad better for music.



Thanks, I actually saw another thread on the Brainwavz HM5 pre-order. I think you were posting in that thread avidly. I read up on the Fisher KA-003, and figured I'd take a risk and order these HM5.


I understand there are different drivers in the HM5 even though casing is similar to the KA-003. I guess I just have a feeling these will end up being good headphones.

 

I'm sure I can re-sell them if I don't like them.

 

My next question is on the subject of "neutral". I understand the purpose of everything being neutral for production but do you guys feel that will take away from my casual listening? (Electronica/trance/house/vocals music)

 

I see argument that "warmer" headphones and more lively ones, as you said (M50) would be better, but I guess I'll find out the hard way if being neutral is less enjoyable in my case.

 

Thanks for the responses once again

 

 

post #6 of 19

Coming from CAL! which has very good bass and treble, I was also worried that a neutral pair like FA-006 wouldn't satisfy me. But I find my FA-006 as good as CAL! with better clarity and soundstage, so I guess I'm really a neutral kind of guy after all. So, I preordered the HM5 (FA-003?!).

 

I took the risk of buying FA-006 simply because of this reasoning: neutrality > no one frequency is emphasized > bass and treble (and mids) are properly reproduced. That's not far from the truth. Besides, CAL! was quite balanced to begin with, with a U-shaped signature. I'd also like to think my burn-in methodology has something to do with bringing out the bass in FA-006. I used a special burn-in CD, pink noise and in the end brown noise for bass.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by anabolictrance View Post

 

My next question is on the subject of "neutral". I understand the purpose of everything being neutral for production but do you guys feel that will take away from my casual listening? (Electronica/trance/house/vocals music)

 

As I understand it, neutrality will sound good no matter what genre you throw at it. They will sound as close as how the artists intended the recordings to sound in the first place, without much coloration. But people love colouration; just look at the tube amp crowd.


Edited by kingpage - 11/29/11 at 7:54am
post #7 of 19

I owned the ATH-M50 for a long time (second version, white box) and I now own a pair of Fostex 50RP. They are very different headphones. The M50 is more extended at the extremes. Big, tight bass and nice treble. The 50RP have a lot less bass than the M50, but what's there, is tight and realistic. The midrange on the M50 is very nice. However the midrange on the 50RP is *gorgeous*. I listen to jazz and classical and this kind of silky midrange is everything I was looking for. 

 

Also consider that the M50 are easier to drive, and that the 50RP come with a large jack as default (you will have to purchase a 1/4->1.8 adapter to use them with your laptop).

post #8 of 19

At stock, the T50RP is rather unimpressed. It rolls off the treble pretty early -- I think it starts at around 200hz. There is an emphasized mid-range with some treble roll-off. The planar magnetic driver is underdampened pretty badly, which is why there are such high returns to modding. In all honesty, I would almost never recommend it as stock. Most of their value -is- tied into the modding.

post #9 of 19


While I ignore the merits of modding these headphones, I completely disagree with the post below. They are very impressive headphones just out of the box. This is of course, using a set-up that realises their potential. The roll-off is probably interesting to discuss when looking at the frequency graph, but the sound signature of a headphone is not only based on its frequency response. These have a *beautiful* presentation, at least with Jazz and Classical, imho. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SanjiWatsuki View Post

At stock, the T50RP is rather unimpressed. It rolls off the treble pretty early -- I think it starts at around 200hz. There is an emphasized mid-range with some treble roll-off. The planar magnetic driver is underdampened pretty badly, which is why there are such high returns to modding. In all honesty, I would almost never recommend it as stock. Most of their value -is- tied into the modding.



 

post #10 of 19

 

 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by SanjiWatsuki View Post

At stock, the T50RP is rather unimpressed. It rolls off the treble pretty early -- I think it starts at around 200hz. There is an emphasized mid-range with some treble roll-off. The planar magnetic driver is underdampened pretty badly, which is why there are such high returns to modding. In all honesty, I would almost never recommend it as stock. Most of their value -is- tied into the modding.


 

 

+1

post #11 of 19

Heya,

 

I'm not sure how the T50RP got popular at all. I picked one up, and felt it sounded like an apple. All mids. Damp treble. Weak bass. It was a joke to me. I was like, "Why was this $125?" I don't care that there is a "you can mod it to ...." type thing. That's hokey. This is a poor headphone straight up. It's only reason for popularity is that it's a planar magnetic. And then people modded it because... well, it's terrible as a stock headphone and they wanted to keep a planar magnetic without going over the deep end in cost. That's T50RP in a nut shell. I'd avoid it, unless you are willing to spend enough to get it modded into the "thunderpants" or something. Personally, I don't buy an expensive headphone just to mod it. I like to just buy something complete and done that sounds good right away.

 

The M50 is also a weird headphone, not sure how it got popular either. Built like a tank, but sounds mediocre to me. Good punchy bass, but mids are a little recessed, treble a little harsh, sound stage is a cramped space, it's an uncomfortable headphone to wear, and I'm not too pleased with the style.

 

The FA-003, or HM5, are seriously better headphones. If you're starting out, you cannot go wrong with these for all genres. Please note, the FA-003 (and so the HM5) scale with amplification. They will work fine without an amp. But things actually deepen and tighten on these headphones with some power behind them, even at lower volumes.

 

Very best,

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingpage View Post

Coming from CAL! which has very good bass and treble, I was also worried that a neutral pair like FA-006 wouldn't satisfy me. But I find my FA-006 as good as CAL! with better clarity and soundstage, so I guess I'm really a neutral kind of guy after all. So, I preordered the HM5 (FA-003?!).

 

I took the risk of buying FA-006 simply because of this reasoning: neutrality > no one frequency is emphasized > bass and treble (and mids) are properly reproduced. That's not far from the truth. Besides, CAL! was quite balanced to begin with, with a U-shaped signature. I'd also like to think my burn-in methodology has something to do with bringing out the bass in FA-006. I used a special burn-in CD, pink noise and in the end brown noise for bass.

 

 

 

As I understand it, neutrality will sound good no matter what genre you throw at it. They will sound as close as how the artists intended the recordings to sound in the first place, without much coloration. But people love colouration; just look at the tube amp crowd.



Thank you for the response.

I figured that after years of listening to my $12 Radioshak phones, I owed it to myself to get something that really yields accuracy and balance. So that makes me feel better about ordering the HM5.

 

The special burn-in CD sounds interesting, I'm learning about burn-in at the moment, and didn't realize that certain sounds during the process might possibly manipulate the headphone in your favor. I'll make sure to read more on pink/brown noise.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

I'm not sure how the T50RP got popular at all. I picked one up, and felt it sounded like an apple. All mids. Damp treble. Weak bass. It was a joke to me. I was like, "Why was this $125?" I don't care that there is a "you can mod it to ...." type thing. That's hokey. This is a poor headphone straight up. It's only reason for popularity is that it's a planar magnetic. And then people modded it because... well, it's terrible as a stock headphone and they wanted to keep a planar magnetic without going over the deep end in cost. That's T50RP in a nut shell. I'd avoid it, unless you are willing to spend enough to get it modded into the "thunderpants" or something. Personally, I don't buy an expensive headphone just to mod it. I like to just buy something complete and done that sounds good right away.

 

The M50 is also a weird headphone, not sure how it got popular either. Built like a tank, but sounds mediocre to me. Good punchy bass, but mids are a little recessed, treble a little harsh, sound stage is a cramped space, it's an uncomfortable headphone to wear, and I'm not too pleased with the style.

 

The FA-003, or HM5, are seriously better headphones. If you're starting out, you cannot go wrong with these for all genres. Please note, the FA-003 (and so the HM5) scale with amplification. They will work fine without an amp. But things actually deepen and tighten on these headphones with some power behind them, even at lower volumes.

 

Very best,


Thank you for the very detailed reply. I had decided against the thunderpants or modding in general for that reason. The price was easily surpassing what my original limit of $120-150. (Very easy to do when your shopping for anything I suppose biggrin.gif).

 

So I basically calmed my emotions down and looked at things logically. Thunderpants was around $450 pre-made or $200-$300 to do myself PLUS the amplifier.

 

Besides, I realized I probably didn't have any business looking at modding something, when this would be my first pair of headphones. I should be able to experience a good headphone stock before looking to tweak things.

 

I think the HM5 for $120 is fair, and I can always save for an amp after a month or two of use (HM5 is on pre-order till Dec 19th anyways).

post #13 of 19

What can I say? Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. I find the T50RP fantastic.  It makes for a smooth, relaxed listen and does not get in the way of the music. The mids are gorgeous and eg acoustic jazz (well recorded XRCDs and redbook layers from SACDs for example) sounds fluid, realistic, effortless. Some of my previous headphones (Beyerdynamic DT880 600ohm, Alessandro MS-1) were not as good in that respect. "One man's meat is another man's poison" as they say.

 

Very best,

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

I'm not sure how the T50RP got popular at all. I picked one up, and felt it sounded like an apple. All mids. Damp treble. Weak bass. It was a joke to me. I was like, "Why was this $125?" I don't care that there is a "you can mod it to ...." type thing. That's hokey. This is a poor headphone straight up. It's only reason for popularity is that it's a planar magnetic. And then people modded it because... well, it's terrible as a stock headphone and they wanted to keep a planar magnetic without going over the deep end in cost. That's T50RP in a nut shell. I'd avoid it, unless you are willing to spend enough to get it modded into the "thunderpants" or something. Personally, I don't buy an expensive headphone just to mod it. I like to just buy something complete and done that sounds good right away.

 

The M50 is also a weird headphone, not sure how it got popular either. Built like a tank, but sounds mediocre to me. Good punchy bass, but mids are a little recessed, treble a little harsh, sound stage is a cramped space, it's an uncomfortable headphone to wear, and I'm not too pleased with the style.

 

The FA-003, or HM5, are seriously better headphones. If you're starting out, you cannot go wrong with these for all genres. Please note, the FA-003 (and so the HM5) scale with amplification. They will work fine without an amp. But things actually deepen and tighten on these headphones with some power behind them, even at lower volumes.

 

Very best,



 


Edited by blacknile - 11/30/11 at 5:26am
post #14 of 19

Basically, you're saying the T50RPs are very good with only recordings that centre around the midrange (eg Jazz and Acoustic). The elaborate mods were to make them at least listenable with other music. Unless, you have a lot of money to throw around where you have a pair for each genre or plan (and know how to) to modify them, it is not a good choice (especially for someone who's new to head-fi).

 

The T50RPs are limited from what I have read, they are very mid-centric; just like headphones that are bass-centric or treble-centric, these are the complete opposite of neutral cans which means the opposite of versatility. In speaker terms, any headphones that has a very emphasized range is like having only a (sub)woofer, or only a mid-range, or only a tweeter, in a set up. It may not be bad, but I'd call that incomplete.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anabolictrance View Post

I do like rock as well and listen to other random genres.

 

I don't understand why you (blacknile) keep on saying stock T50RPs are great, given the OP likes to listen to different music genres.


Edited by kingpage - 11/30/11 at 6:49am
post #15 of 19

I own three pairs for T50-RP, one stock for comparison, one modded with materials totally about $120 (that's $120 additional to the $90 I paid for the headphone  and shipping, totally about $210), one modded with materials totally about $50 ($140 total).

 

Stock is fine.  The bass is lacking a bit in quantity, but there is tight quality bass.  There are resonance issues, and the treble isn't as "sparkly" as most other headphones, but I would say that the details are fantastic for headphones costing $90 (you can get them for $75, shipped in the States).

 

My first mod gives the headphones additional bass and more pronounced treble.  Great for rock (I would say 60% of my music is rock), and Jazz.

 

My 2nd mod gives the headphones much more bass (maybe too much, I have to one it down).  It has less detail than mod 1, but more than stock, and is fantastic for pop and hiphop.

 

I am not sure how many people actually heard the T50-RP extensively, but I really can't imagine a $75 - $90 that sounds like they way they are, stock, could be rated poorly at all.  They sound like a decent, if not a good headphone given how much they cost, and is just a fantastic value if you are willing to put in another hour and $50 worth of modding to it.

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