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Review: Fostex TH900 vs Denon D5000

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Review: Fostex TH900 vs Denon D5000
All my listening is done through my Fostex HP-A3 DAC/amp. I've owned the Denon D5000s for about 7 months and listened to them for over 1000 hours in that time period. I've owned the Fostex TH900 for about 1 month and listened to them for about 100 hours.

The Fostex TH900s and Denon D5000s are very similar in timbre due to similar design. They both have a V-shaped sound signature but the TH900 is closer to neutral. If you really enjoy the Denon D5000s and want to upgrade to something with higher quality sound with a flatter frequency response then the Fostex TH900 is ideal.

Comfort: Denon D5000s are more comfortable but only by a small margin. They are lighter and have less clamping force than the TH900. TH900s have slightly more room inside the cups. The D5000s and TH900s are both one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn.

Soundstage: Very similar. I'd give an edge to the Fostex TH900, soundstage seems a little wider, deeper and has better imaging. Both headphones have fantastic soundstage for closed headphones.

Treble: The Denon D5000 treble is a more pronounced and brighter. Switching back and forth between the D5000 and TH900 makes the D5000 treble sound a bit too harsh and unnatural. However, after using the Denon D5000s for longer periods I get used to the treble emphasis and don't find it so harsh. The treble quality on both the D5000 and TH900 are top notch and have fantastic extension. TH900s are a winner in the treble department due to better balance and integration into the rest of the sound spectrum.

Mids/Vocals: The Denon D5000s mids are more recessed in comparison to the TH900s. Vocals on the TH900s are much more rich, detailed and upfront than the D5000s. Vocals on the D5000s have more airiness though (perhaps due to the emphasized treble and less mid-bass). The Denon D5000s mids are very good in their own right but the TH900s are better by a large margin.

Bass: Denon D5000s have more sub-bass emphasis while the TH900s have more mid-bass emphasis. Due to using the D5000s for much longer I’m more used to the D5000s bass so the TH900s mid-bass sounded a bit slow and bloated at first but after a while it sounds more natural. Both the D5000s and TH900s have exceptional bass extension and hit the lowest of the low notes like a subwoofer. I have not heard any other headphone that matches the D5000s and TH900s bass. In terms of bass quality I’d call it even between the D5000s and TH900s.

Other notes: Instrument separation and dynamics is better on the TH900s. Both headphones are relatively easy to drive. The sound straight out of my iPhone 4 is adequate. Using my Fostex HP-A3 DAC/amp significantly improves dynamics and gets volume high enough for movies and games which are usually mixed much softer than music. The Fostex TH900 improves more with a DAC/amp than the Denon D5000. Both headphones are forgiving to low quality music and sources.

Overview:
  • Comfort: D5000 > TH900
  • Soundstage: TH900 > D5000
  • Treble quantity: D5000 > TH900
  • Treble quality: TH900 > D5000
  • Mids quantity: TH900 > D5000
  • Mids quality: TH900 > D5000
  • Mid-bass quantity: TH900 > D5000
  • Sub-bass quantity: D5000 > TH900
  • Bass quality: TH900 = D5000
post #2 of 30

Hi,

Great review. After reading how's the sound like. I would to love hear your opinion on value on the headphone.

BTW, since the phone are about the same size, has anyone thinking of trying the lawton pad on it? 

post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by haquocdung View Post

Hi,
Great review. After reading how's the sound like. I would to love hear your opinion on value on the headphone.
BTW, since the phone are about the same size, has anyone thinking of trying the lawton pad on it? 

The Fostex TH900 indeed sounds like a ~$1800 headphone among the other similarly priced flagships like the Audeze LCD3 and Beyerdynamic T1. The price of the TH900 and D5000 is fair in my opinion.

I don't know how to remove the TH900 pads and I'm afraid I'll tear the fabric if I try.
post #4 of 30

Great review.   Too bad I didn't realize these were $1800 headphones... /cry     hahaha

post #5 of 30

Beautiful headphones, would give them a serious look if they were more priced like the D7000's.  Thanks for the review.

post #6 of 30

one of the best comparisons thread on head-fi .. !! brief informative comparison, well done zowki .. :) i own the D5k and i love them very much, i didn't know they're close to the performance of the mighty Fostex TH-900. why don't try the LCD-2s, after i owned them for couple of days i couldn't listen to the D5k anymore, they were like beats to the LCD-2 ( not to say the D5k is worse, it's just the LCD-2 better ). Treble was smooth as butter and the BASS is like bombing in your ear but without that tiring impact, it hits REALLY hard, i tried it on a receiver with a powerful amp, and now I'm waiting for my D2 amp to give them some nice voltage to shine ( long time, all the way from china .. :P ).

post #7 of 30

Great and informative review, thanks! :D

 

It seems like your findings are quite similar to other TH900 impressions. I too have the D5000 and the D7000, and the midrange is noticably clearer on the D7000, and D5000 is more inclined to sibilance just a little bit. I can only imagine the TH900 taking it to an even higher level smily_headphones1.gif

 

Based on what I've read, maybe the TH900 is not quite worth $2000 for sound quality only, but we're also paying for that lacquered ear cup. My dream goes on...etysmile.gif

post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEDO View Post

one of the best comparisons thread on head-fi .. !! brief informative comparison, well done zowki .. smily_headphones1.gif i own the D5k and i love them very much, i didn't know they're close to the performance of the mighty Fostex TH-900. why don't try the LCD-2s, after i owned them for couple of days i couldn't listen to the D5k anymore, they were like beats to the LCD-2 ( not to say the D5k is worse, it's just the LCD-2 better ). Treble was smooth as butter and the BASS is like bombing in your ear but without that tiring impact, it hits REALLY hard, i tried it on a receiver with a powerful amp, and now I'm waiting for my D2 amp to give them some nice voltage to shine ( long time, all the way from china .. :P ).

I used to own the LCD-2 and I didn't like it because it was too dark, had not enough treble, and very uncomfortable.
post #9 of 30

from somebody who has owned a few Denons and  will like a  set of Fostex, this was very informative. Thanks for sharing

post #10 of 30

Great review!,

I'm a new owner of a pair TH-900, have them for around a week now, along with the new Burson Soloist amp.

Did also go from Denon AH-D5000 to 900's, I agree most of your opinion, although I would say the th-900 is more comfortable than my D5000, but that's on my head..  ^^ I just love the big pads!

 

Rock ON! darthsmile.gif

 

//Tobias

post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by zowki View Post


I used to own the LCD-2 and I didn't like it because it was too dark, had not enough treble, and very uncomfortable.

I agree on them being dark but not enough treble is kind of exaggerating , i mean maybe the previous ones were like that. the details one the version I have are more real and apparent than the T1, i find the treble on them to be just perfect, i think they deserve another chance from you ;)

post #12 of 30

Thanks for the great review!  The TH900 will be on my 2013 list of things to get.

post #13 of 30

thanks for the review

post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by TobbeL View Post

Great review!,

I'm a new owner of a pair TH-900, have them for around a week now, along with the new Burson Soloist amp.

Did also go from Denon AH-D5000 to 900's, I agree most of your opinion, although I would say the th-900 is more comfortable than my D5000, but that's on my head..  ^^ I just love the big pads!

 

Rock ON! darthsmile.gif

 

//Tobias

 How are you finding the TH-900 and Soloist combo?

post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by zowki View Post

 
All my listening is done through my Fostex HP-A3 DAC/amp.

 

Do you think the A3 has enough gain for the TH-900 in your opinion?

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