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Fostex TH900 Impressions & Discussion Thread - Page 152

post #2266 of 8042
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

 

A lot of it is relative to where you live. So in the US, yes it's $2000 for the TH-900 and for the LCD-3 (and shockingly, for the RRP of the Ultrasone Edition 8 Limited Edition!!). In Japan, the TH-900s are equivalent of $1807, whilst the LCD-3 is a whopping $2804 in the shops here.

 

Yeah, it's just that the LCD-3 command 2k all day long...and people express concerns over the difference in price over the LCD-2...for obvious reasons.  The sound is better, the comfort is improved, but overall the materials are not a _significant_ upgrade.

 

However, the TH-900s are comparable to the similarly priced LCD-3s but actually USE materials that are in and of themselves very expensive...and people don't understand the price?

 

I know it's the internet.  People love to debate for the sake of debating... but this one seems clear cut to me.  Not only am I getting a sound quality that is comparable to products in the same price range, but the materials are actually better and pricey themselves?  That's actually kind of unheard of.

 

It's rare to find a product that is not only comparable performance wise but also made with better quality materials, and is in fact the same price as it's competition.  This is not to knock the LCD-3.  It's a great headphone.  I love it.  I am receiving my TH-900s tomorrow and I'll be able to compare it personally, but it is obvious based on what I've read and know of the TH-900s that they took what the LCD-3 offers (different sound, I know, but I mean the same playing field sound quality-wise) and put a lot of high quality parts in to it, not just parts, but workmanship, artistry, etc. and then released it at a comparable price...I'll say comparable because as you said, it varies greatly dependent on where you live...

 

Anyways, this isn't meant to be LCD-3 vs. TH-900 (at least not for me) but rather, just about my confusion over how people can try to understand why TH-900 is selling at 2k and did all of this aesthetics work, when in fact the LCD-3 is being sold for around the same price and doesn't have NEAR the same level of workmanship involved in it's creation...  Oh well.  Just me voicing my perspective on the last few pages of this thread.


Edited by tokendog - 11/7/12 at 11:39am
post #2267 of 8042

Brams,

 

Great first post and great insight.

 

Looking forward to your impressions. Though, you hit the nail on the head with one of my hesitations on doing a mod - I can't compare. Thanks for jumping in. Eager to see how it comes out.

post #2268 of 8042
Quote:
Originally Posted by brams View Post

This is my first post, but I have been following this thread for a while. 

 

First of all my thanks to Muppetface and her well written intitial review that prompted me to take a chance on these incredible cans which have now become my favorite after previously owning the LCD2 rev. 1, HD800 and the HE-6.  IMO her review was spot on to what I hear except that I really do not hear the mild midrange suckout that some have.  For me the TH900 does everything I want, but having said that I did send my unit in to Lawton Audio to be modded.  Why?  Inate curiosity. 

 

As an engineer and someone heavily involved in manufacturing and business management I know that all products are a compromise to some extent, many times to hit a price point, sometimes to deal with practicalities in mass manufacturing.  In this case Fostex appears to have put a lot of money into making the cups look pretty (and they are) with the bulk of the audible improvement over the previous Denon units coming from the improved driver.  Given this, basically I am curious to hear what if anything can be done to extend their incredible performance by someone who has had experience doing this with the Denon models on which the unit is closely based.  At this level even subtle changes can make a substantial difference to the listening experience and can at times spell the difference between something that is merely very good or great.  Unfortunately, it is also usually the case that at this level of performance the law of diminishing returns has usually kicked in big time by the time these differences become relevant.  The other thing I have learnt over the years is that you really do not know what you are missing until you hear it.  This is why I really do take the opinions of those with the inclination to amass large equipment collections seriously: they simply have a much better basis for comparison than I ever could.

 

I do not know and have never met Mark Lawton, but after a few exchange of emails and some trepidation on my part I do feel comfortable to let him "have at it".  The fact that I will be able to retain the original cups and cabling was a factor in my decision and I do view the ability to personalize the unit with custom cups as a benefit.  In fact as long as custom cups do not change the signature appreciably, if at all (MF's comments once again are actually reassuring in this regard) I can use the custom cups in public with less fear of scratching the Urushi works of art.  Those who do not like the look of the Urushi cups (irrrespective of the effort and cost to make them: I personally appreciate the workmanship more than I like the look, but it is growing on me) will at least have an option. Incidentally, those into woodworking might appreciate that the custom cups actually do take quite some time to achieve the level of finishing shown on the Lawton Audio website.  I suspect his margin on those items may be slimmer than some believe!

 

What I am having done is the "full monty":  tuning, balanced cabling, leather ear pads and eventually backup cups.  In the spirit if full disclosure I will say up front that for the priviledge of being the first to take a chance with modding the TH900 Mark did offer me a discount on some items.  Will it be an enhanced TH900 after he is done or something that is somehat less then the original?  This remains to be seen and heard. Nevertheless, I am willing to take the chance .. just because I am curious; the same reason why I and I suspect many others keep trying different equipment. 

 

My unit will be completed in a few weeks.  Ironically, I do not know if I will be able to provide valid impressions as I will have no means of comparing the modded unit to the original!  I do hope I still like them though ...

 

Great post and I'm sure when people started modding the Denon D7000s (which at the time were some of the highest priced head phones available) that they had the same fears and reservations as every one else.  It wasn't until someone like yourself took the chance and went in to that new "frontier" that people started to realize that it could result in something better, more comfortable, and worth the effort / price.

 

I know we're all looking forward to seeing the results you get and thanks for taking the time to share it with us.


Edited by tokendog - 11/7/12 at 11:44am
post #2269 of 8042
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

What if the shiny cups result in a very real placebo effect. Or simply makes one feel good and thus more able to relax to enjoy the audible experience?

Wouldn't that be just wonderful?    k701smile.gif

post #2270 of 8042
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

Brams,

 

Great first post and great insight.

 

Looking forward to your impressions. Though, you hit the nail on the head with one of my hesitations on doing a mod - I can't compare. Thanks for jumping in. Eager to see how it comes out.

 

Agreed!

Before I bought MrSpeakers Mad Dogs, I actually bought a T50RP first (which I still have somewhere around the house...) just to compare them both (and yes, differences are very palpable!) But... who does this with 2k+ headphones?!?

 

It's good though that someone "took one for the team". Maybe others will also take the chance and do the same. Who knows if the "mids" become more prominent with the changes or whatnot?!?

post #2271 of 8042
Quote:
Originally Posted by brams View Post

This is my first post, but I have been following this thread for a while. 

 

First of all my thanks to Muppetface and her well written intitial review that prompted me to take a chance on these incredible cans which have now become my favorite after previously owning the LCD2 rev. 1, HD800 and the HE-6.  IMO her review was spot on to what I hear except that I really do not hear the mild midrange suckout that some have.  For me the TH900 does everything I want, but having said that I did send my unit in to Lawton Audio to be modded.  Why?  Inate curiosity. 

 

As an engineer and someone heavily involved in manufacturing and business management I know that all products are a compromise to some extent, many times to hit a price point, sometimes to deal with practicalities in mass manufacturing.  In this case Fostex appears to have put a lot of money into making the cups look pretty (and they are) with the bulk of the audible improvement over the previous Denon units coming from the improved driver.  Given this, basically I am curious to hear what if anything can be done to extend their incredible performance by someone who has had experience doing this with the Denon models on which the unit is closely based.  At this level even subtle changes can make a substantial difference to the listening experience and can at times spell the difference between something that is merely very good or great.  Unfortunately, it is also usually the case that at this level of performance the law of diminishing returns has usually kicked in big time by the time these differences become relevant.  The other thing I have learnt over the years is that you really do not know what you are missing until you hear it.  This is why I really do take the opinions of those with the inclination to amass large equipment collections seriously: they simply have a much better basis for comparison than I ever could.

 

I do not know and have never met Mark Lawton, but after a few exchange of emails and some trepidation on my part I do feel comfortable to let him "have at it".  The fact that I will be able to retain the original cups and cabling was a factor in my decision and I do view the ability to personalize the unit with custom cups as a benefit.  In fact as long as custom cups do not change the signature appreciably, if at all (MF's comments once again are actually reassuring in this regard) I can use the custom cups in public with less fear of scratching the Urushi works of art.  Those who do not like the look of the Urushi cups (irrrespective of the effort and cost to make them: I personally appreciate the workmanship more than I like the look, but it is growing on me) will at least have an option. Incidentally, those into woodworking might appreciate that the custom cups actually do take quite some time to achieve the level of finishing shown on the Lawton Audio website.  I suspect his margin on those items may be slimmer than some believe!

 

What I am having done is the "full monty":  tuning, balanced cabling, leather ear pads and eventually backup cups.  In the spirit if full disclosure I will say up front that for the priviledge of being the first to take a chance with modding the TH900 Mark did offer me a discount on some items.  Will it be an enhanced TH900 after he is done or something that is somehat less then the original?  This remains to be seen and heard. Nevertheless, I am willing to take the chance .. just because I am curious; the same reason why I and I suspect many others keep trying different equipment. 

 

My unit will be completed in a few weeks.  Ironically, I do not know if I will be able to provide valid impressions as I will have no means of comparing the modded unit to the original!  I do hope I still like them though ...

 

Looks like Mark Lawton got his money's worth.

post #2272 of 8042
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokendog View Post

I am really confused.

 

The LCD-3 cost 1,995.  The TH-900 cost 2,000.  Most reviews imply that the TH-900 sounds comparable if not better than the LCD-3...........

 

.............Am I mistaken in my perspective?  I just don't understand why people are analyzing it.  The price point has already been reached before, but without the same level of parts and workmanship put in to it...and people are trying to figure out why?

 

I think the LCD-3 is probably a bad comparison.  If I recall correctly there was a huge negative response to its price amongst most in the community so it probably isn't a very good scientific control.

 

 

Most headphones used to have a more sane relationship between their intrinsic and market value.  The LCD-3 and TH900 irritate me because it feels like a previously trusted manufacturer took a look at the market and was like:

 

How can we double the price of our product?  Wait I know... First, we need really nice wood on there, audiophiles love wood.   Second, bump the diaphragm specs slightly, this will give the apologists some "diminishing returns" ammunition.  Third, profit!  Audiophilia nervosa will take care of the rest.

post #2273 of 8042
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokendog View Post

I am really confused.

 

The LCD-3 cost 1,995.  The TH-900 cost 2,000.  Most reviews imply that the TH-900 sounds comparable if not better than the LCD-3.

 

Most reviews, including my own, imply that while the LCD-3 sound better than the LCD-2s, the performance increase doesn't justify the price increase of $1,000.

 

Yet the TH-900s, which sound comparable, if not better, and have even added an actual design element that in and of itself warrants the drastic price increase (considering urushi work is usually expensive, or so I've seen), and people are making a big deal about the price because of it?

 

I'm thankful that the TH-900s appear to have the sound quality of the LCD-3s, better comfort, and materials that ACTUALLY justify the cost.  

 

A lot of products on the market may give you great performance, but the price of the materials to build it is FAR less than the final asking price... the Fostex seems to give you great performance AND use high quality parts with rare master-level workmanship at the same cost as other newer flagship models.

 

Am I mistaken in my perspective?  I just don't understand why people are analyzing it.  The price point has already been reached before, but without the same level of parts and workmanship put in to it...and people are trying to figure out why?

Nicely put.

post #2274 of 8042
@ Kees, functionality and beauty are not mutually exclusive qualities. A warm coat can be attractive as a consequence of its practical design and the choice of materials used in its construction. I regard the Grado HP1000 as a beautiful example of industrial design, where form follows function. To describe those who appreciate objects for their intrinsic beauty as followers of fashion is harsh - the Urushi lacquering process has been around for a while. ;-) A headphone can look and sound beautiful. I see no need to separate these elements when they combine to create the whole.
Edited by unspool - 11/7/12 at 1:45pm
post #2275 of 8042

Jewelry is a good example.  It does nothing in and of itself.  It's enjoyment is merely the aesthetics alone and people will pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for them every day simply to have that sparkly stone and be able to wear it.

 

I would think that if the TH-900s honestly do enjoy being on the same level as the HD-800s and LCD-3s, then props to Fostex for not only making the audio comparable to others in that price realm, but also making them out of materials that are deserving of such a price.

 

None of the other headphones near or around that price can say the same.  They did it merely on sound alone.  Fostex did it on sound AND aesthetics.  

 

I'd love to pay less for them - who wouldn't?  However, if I am going to pay LCD-3 prices AND be able to get higher quality materials, then that's even better.

 

Anyways, we're beating a dead horse.  And before you debate team captains out there point it out, yes I realize that jewelry can go up in value, but ask your girlfriend or fiancee if that's what she is thinking about when she gives you those dreamy eyes and ask for you to purchase them for her.


Edited by tokendog - 11/7/12 at 2:11pm
post #2276 of 8042
Quote:
Originally Posted by unspool View Post

@ Kees, functionality and beauty are not mutually exclusive qualities. A warm coat can be attractive as a consequence of its practical design and the choice of materials used in its construction. I regard the Grado HP1000 as a beautiful example of industrial design, where form follows function. To describe those who appreciate objects for their intrinsic beauty as followers of fashion is harsh - the Urushi lacquering process has been around for a while. ;-) A headphone can look and sound beautiful. I see no need to separate these elements when they combine to create the whole.

I didn't say form and function are mutually exclusive. 

A coat can be both warm and fashionable (or even beautiful) and headphones can be both beautiful and sound superb. No argument there. 

In the context of the funtionality of the coat: If I ask for a coat to keep me warm, because I'm cold, I don't want to get the advice to "get this one, because it is the most beautiful coat ever made". I don't care if it is beautiful, it must keep me warm. It will never keep me warm because it's beautiful, (altough maybe I'll find it beautiful because it keeps me warm). The beauty can be there or not, it is irrelevant, the fact that it will keep me warm is the only relevant aspect.   

I don't think the TH900 sound better because they have red Urushi lacquered cups and platinum lettering....  The two facts are simply not related, they don't influence each other, they just coexist on the TH900.

post #2277 of 8042

One example of why that was my first post, but all in good fun!  At least use a better looking sock. 

 

As I implied, it is quite possible that this will turn out to have been a bad idea ... but maybe it won't.  The reality is that by next year we will all be on about the next great headphone anyway. 

post #2278 of 8042

Perhaps... but you'll murder your resale value replacing such tremendous cups with Lawton's cups when you inevitably sell it for the next great thing.

post #2279 of 8042
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post

Perhaps... but you'll murder your resale value replacing such tremendous cups with Lawton's cups when you inevitably sell it for the next great thing.

Not necessarily. I'd pay the price if they sound better than the original (and if I happen to have the money).

post #2280 of 8042

So your not winning like Charlie Sheen at this moment?

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