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Fostex TH900 Impressions & Discussion Thread - Page 277

post #4141 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by myap2328 View Post

 

You make it sound like he's in the wrong! I think he is just stating his opinion, don't you think you are a little harsh on songmic?

 

[Edited]

 

I think you may have misunderstood my post.  Or maybe I just need to use different words.  My intent was not to be harsh at all. I was just making it clear that it was his opinion and not a fact that the ZD is the best amp with the TH900s

 

No harm no foul.

post #4142 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil View Post

Haven't read though whole thread so sorry if it's been mentioned already. But do any owners  use the TH900 primarily when listening to western Classical music ( all styles/periods) .

As this is my preferred type of music. I'd be interested to hear from those who prefer the TH900 (and why) to the more commonly mentioned Classical music favored Phones such as Sennheiser HD800,  BeyerDynamic's model ?, Most electrostatics.

Thanks.

My favorites for classical are LCD3s and Stax 009s. Both have a great precision with instruments and firm believable bass foundation and last but not least,

a sense of ambience and atmosphere that you get in a hall. The 009s with a Woo WES has an uncanny sense of being in a concert hall about 15 rows back

with space in front and behind you. The 009s are also very fine with my 007t amp for classical, but the hall effect is better on the Woo.

The LCD3 has a uniquely satisfying bass foundation along with instrument presence that is "just right."

The 009s have finer detail.


Edited by rgs9200m - 4/30/13 at 9:42am
post #4143 of 6802

nicely said. The Stax 009 are exceptional headphones with the right amplifier and good source material.
 

post #4144 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by zardon View Post

nicely said. The Stax 009 are exceptional headphones with the right amplifier and good source material.
 

Thanks Zardon. For the record, I love my 007t/009 combo for what it is. (I always get flack on that.)

post #4145 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post

Thanks Zardon. For the record, I love my 007t/009 combo for what it is. (I always get flack on that.)


No idea why people would give you flack over that. I use a STAX 007TII Kimic Edition daily with STAX009 and a Rega ISIS Valve CD player and wouldn't swap it for the world. superb for world music, acoustic, vocals, classical.

 

You just need to pay less attention to what people are saying and enjoy the music.

post #4146 of 6802

Thanks again Zardon, good advice.

post #4147 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

I think you may have misunderstood my post.  Or maybe I just need to use different words.  My intent was not to be harsh at all. I was just making it clear that it was his opinion and not a fact that the ZD is the best amp with the TH900s

 

No harm no foul.

 

No offense taken, I should've said "I've heard" like you said. In my opinion, there was one solid-state amp that ties the ZDSE in terms of driving the TH900, the recently released Bakoon HPA-21. Different sound signature, but both sound heavenly.

 

However, I personally don't agree with what you said about the TH900 not being a hard headphone to drive. That may be true when it comes to power delivery, thanks to its high sensitivity. In that respect, it is easier to drive than most orthos which require more juice. But the thing is, the TH900 demands not the quantity of amplification, but its quality. I'm sure some of you will disagree with me, but I actually think that the TH900 is a more picky headphone to drive than orthos if you're trying to reach top-of-the-line sonic performance. The fact that orthos need power can actually be an advantage, as they scale pretty well just by plugging them to a high-power amp such as Schiit Lyr, Mjolnir, B22, Burson Soloist, etc. You can hear a lot of difference compared to listening to it straight from an iPod.

 

But when I tried the TH900 with some of these amps, I didn't hear a lot difference and was never truly impressed by most of them. Although it sounded really good even out of an iPod, having a low scalability was actually a disappointing factor for me because it was hard to fill that small gap that left to be desired. Not even Fostex's own HP-A8C did the trick. It was when I heard the Luxman p-1u that I was wowed for the first time. With the ZDSE it was on a whole new level, as enriched the TH900's inherently laid-back mids and threw a deep soundstage the stock closed-back TH900 simply could not. With the HPA-21, it doesn't have the rich mids or soundstage but the sound is much clearer and finer, pleasing to the ear.

 

FYI, these are some the desktop amps I've listened to with the TH900. The followings are my opinion ONLY in regard to their capability of driving the TH900. Take them with a grain of salt.

 

Audioquest Dragonfly: Undoubtedly the best value. Its amp section was preferable to Valhalla or Svetlana 2 IMO.

 

Audinst HUD-MX1: This is what I recommend you have less than $300 to spend on both DAC/amp.

 

Schiit Asgard: Not bad for its price, actually better sounding than Lyr.

 

Schiit Valhalla: Not good, the music sounds muddy.

 

Schiit Lyr: So-so at best, its high power output makes it dangerous to use with the TH900.

 

Svetlana 2: Better than the Valhalla as a tube amp, but not as good as the HA-02.

 

Matrix M-Stage: Best amp I've heard under $500.

 

Burson Soloist: Exceptional clarity, but sometimes sibilant and fatiguing (in a way very solid-state sounding).

 

Musical Fidelity M1HPA: Plainly okay. Can't point out specific flaws, but overall not impressive.

 

Yamamoto HA-02: Warm and musical, great mids and bass (typical tube sound). My 2nd favorite tube amp for the TH900.

 

Sugden HA-4: Clear yet lush sound, satisfying but still somewhat fatiguing.

 

SPL Phonitor: I personally didn't like it, but many of my fellow headphiles really enjoyed this combination.

 

Lehmann Linear SE: Overall pretty good, but a bit boring after extended listening.

 

Fostex HP-A8C: Being a DAC/amp, I haven't rated its performance purely as a headphone amp, but not particularly amazing considering it was designed to drive the TH900.

 

April Music Eximus DP-1: As a DAC/amp, I preferred it to the HP-A8C. For those of you on a budget who cannot afford a separate DAC and amp, this has my best recommendation.

 

Luxman P-1u: Transparent music, glorious sound. Slightly fatiguing.

 

Zana Deux SE: Mother of God. Sweet, rich mids, most expansive and deepest soundstage among all these amps, and the most euphonic, albeit a bit grainy at times. Music is never fatiguing, neither typical solid-state nor tube sound. Proper tube rolling does wonders.

 

Bakoon HPA-21: Probably the best among these in terms of sheer technicalities. Overall extremely good, I can't actually find a fault with this one. It lacks a touch of euphony compared to the ZDSE, but is very clear and finer sounding.

 

BTW I'm curious how other amps would sound with the TH900 compared to the above-mentioned ones. Particularly interested in Yamamoto HA-03, HeadAmp GS-X, ECBA, DNA Stratus, RWA Cassabria, any RudiStor amp, Liquid Fire/Glass/Gold, and so on.

 

If I had to choose one my choice would be either the ZDSE or HPA-21. I kinda regret buying the ZDSE before auditioning the HPA-21, not necessarily because the HPA-21 is better but because I could have contemplated more.

 

If it's any disclaimer, you may notice that some of my favorite gears are made in Korea (such as DP-1, HPA-21) and may assume that I'm biased because of my nationality. Let me assure you that it is not the case; Svetlana 2 is also Korean but I didn't really like it at all. Or am I simply being paranoid by writing this? :p


Edited by songmic - 4/30/13 at 7:36pm
post #4148 of 6802

Very good write up.  That's a lot of amps being compared with 1 headphone.  Looks like you did your homework.  

 

When you said this headphone sounds really good out an ipod kinda is what I'm talking about.  I could never say that about the HD800, LCD-3, HE-6, HD650, T1 and a few others.  Yes, I'm aware these are open headphones, but my point is this is a headphone that's not as picky as some others.  

 

The fact is, it's not hard to drive and it has a very low celling - meaning will not scale high at all IMO, so lower powered amps may be the best fit for it.  However, you are correct the headphone needs quality amps to sound it's best.  In my experience with this headphone, the amp really needs to take the bass by the balls and control it as best as possible.  I've heard it sound muddy on some amps that wasn't up to this task.  Also, the headphone is colored and forgiving when compared to other more neutral and revealing headphones, this is another reason why it will sound pretty good out of an ipod.  

 

Anyway, very good comparisons.

post #4149 of 6802

Indeed, a very nice comparison post. 

post #4150 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by zardon View Post

 

You just need to pay less attention to what people are saying and enjoy the music.

 

Feathers get ruffled here so easily! But wiser words for audio-related forums have never been said. ;)

post #4151 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeskd View Post


As AnakChan has mentioned, the Stax SR-009 is basically superior to the TH-900 in classicial music renditions (and about everything else except for electronica and hard rock). I listen to a lot of romantic classical and modern, ranging from Beethoven to Saint-Saens, and sound tracks made by Hans Zimmer. Everytime I reach for the Stax SR-009 because the clarity and the transparency are second to none. This also includes other genres such as acoustic, and anything with intimate vocals.

 

On the other hand, the TH-900 does everything well but not excellent like the SR-009. If I didn't own the STAX, I would've been satisfied with the Fostex.

I would say that the SR-009s are better than the TH-900s for everything I throw at them. (FWIW, my TH-900 rig is pretty good and I love them, but they are not in the same league). For closed headphones, I haven't found any better. 


Edited by MacedonianHero - 4/30/13 at 5:49pm
post #4152 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

I would say that the SR-009s are better than the TH-900s for everything I throw at them. (FWIW, my TH-900 rig is pretty good and I love them, but they are not in the same league). For closed headphones, I haven't found any better. 

They are not in the same price range either! smily_headphones1.gif
post #4153 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by myap2328 View Post


They are not in the same price range either! smily_headphones1.gif

No they aren't. I would say that comparing them isn't totally fair (price and open vs. closed).

post #4154 of 6802
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

No they aren't. I would say that comparing them isn't totally fair (price and open vs. closed).

 

Btw, I don't think it is the price of the headphones only. Remember, the 009 isn't as easy to power as the TH-900, you need a special amp! 

post #4155 of 6802
...and not just open vs . closed, but dynamic vs. stat.
Edited by MacedonianHero - 4/30/13 at 8:58pm
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