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Review: Fostex TH900 vs Denon D5000 - Page 2

post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by pablobell View Post

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

I already mentioned this in my review under other notes. The Fostex TH900 is easy to drive so the Fostex HP-A3 provides plenty of gain, it's a bit louder than the Fiio E10 on high gain.. My iPhone 4 provides adequate volume for most music but for quiet recordings, movies, and games I need my Fostex HP-A3 to bring out the dynamics of the TH900.
post #17 of 30


post #18 of 30
I just bought my TH900 today here in Australia for $1495 - I have seen them advertised here for $1550 and up - pricing must be different in US which is unusual because we usually pay through the nose for decent hifi kit here.
post #19 of 30
post #20 of 30
Originally Posted by pablobell View Post

A new review of the HP-A3: http://noblehifi.blogspot.com/2012/12/fostex-hp-a3-review.html


My impressions, exactly!

The author did not talk about the high gain of the unit though. I find it too high and I never use it past 12 o'clock (=5 on the dial) even with the HE-500. With my RE262 iems or my Emotiva Airmotiv-4 powered speakers, I keep it under 10 o'clock (=3) most of the time, which leaves a pretty restricted range for volume control. I have imbalance between 0 ~ 0.5 on the dial, which makes it even more restrictive.


Edit: he actually did, but not in a negative sense: "I was really quite blown away by how much volume is on tap here, considering where that power is coming from".



On a side note: the iBasso DX100 sounded similar to the HP-A3 (tonal balance, clean sound, ...) with a slightly better soundstage (more depth, when the HP-A3 is more left/right) and slightly more impact on the bass. This was with firmware 1.1.7, which, apparently is improved by the new 1.2.7 fw. The only complaint I had was a slightly (again) harsh upper treble, but the unit was brand new and I only kept it one week. The headphone used was HE-500.


Whether the DX100 is worth the extra $400 for a crappy touch screen, 8 hours battery life and a non-responsive UI is another call (the latter might be improved in the future, though).


Those who think (or hear) the DX100 has (very) good audio quality should consider this little DAC/amp combo, it is really, really good and makes for a nice desktop solution (for both headphone and studio monitors)!

Edited by Clemmaster - 12/17/12 at 6:31am
post #21 of 30

The HP-A3 soundstage to my ears doesn't have much depth at all with the Denon D7000s. Width is good though. I guess it had to give something up at this price point and physical size.


My unit has the same level of channel imbalance but it's not an issue for me as I don't listen at very low levels with headphones. Not an issue with the A2's either, as I can set the volume on the back of them to match the HP-A3 nicely.


I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough gain with the HP-A3. The store demo I originally tried was connected to a Windows laptop running foobar (I think it was foobar) and Hotel California wasn't loud enough for me with either the TH900s or the D7000s. The sales guy said that I needed a bigger amp...


Knowing that the D7000's are easy to drive and based on advice in this thread, I ignored him, and bought it anyway. It turns out that it has slightly more than enough gain for me when connected to my own source. I certainly wouldn't buy another amp for the D7000s because this one isn't loud enough. Most of my headphone time is in the 11-1 o'clock region (4-6 on the dial).


I'm still forming an opinion on the tone with this combo. It is very very good though I think. Detailed, neutral, smooth but maybe lacking a touch of bass impact from my perspective.






The perfect size to sit under the screen next to the speaker. Since there is no off button/switch and it stays on even when the computer is in sleep mode, I covered the red LED in black electrical tape (and then pushed it back through then steel panel) to prevent it lighting up the room at night.

post #22 of 30

I have a similar impression regarding the soundstage: it is more left/right and lacks depth a bit. The DX100 adds the missing depth (that was the main difference between the 2).

Edited by Clemmaster - 12/21/12 at 4:28am
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 
Are there any other DAC/amp combos which have better soundstage then the HP-A3 in the same price range and are powered by USB port?
post #24 of 30

I just got a pair of TH900's and have to say that I agree with pretty much everything the original review said (although my D5000's have been Black Dragon modified by Drew Baird so the treble is a little more under control than normal). Great review nonetheless!

post #25 of 30

How's the TH900 with a good portable amp/DAC and an iPhone 5? Would the TH900 be considered the best sounding headphone for this set up or should I go with the Ultrasone edition 8 instead? And any ideas for the best portable amp for this set up? Thanks for your suggestions!

post #26 of 30
The TH900 is a much better headphone than the edition 8. It will sound better even driven off an ipod nano alone.
post #27 of 30

Thanks I appreciate it! I have a portable vamp verza amp with my iPhone. Do you think I should upgrade to either CEntrance HIFI M8 or Cypher Labs Theorem instead? Does the portable amp I use make any big difference in sound quality? I also heard Fostex is coming out with a portable vacuum tube amp. Could that be worth waiting for?

Edited by swedishpat - 12/29/13 at 4:01am
post #28 of 30
I dont have much experience in portable amps but I've tried the Leckerton UHA 6s
Mk 2 and it does a very good job with the TH900 for the price.
post #29 of 30
Originally Posted by zowki View Post

Are there any other DAC/amp combos which have better soundstage then the HP-A3 in the same price range and are powered by USB port?

Take a look at the Burson HA-160DS

It comes at a higher price.
Edited by Croozer - 2/2/14 at 6:26am
post #30 of 30
I loved this review. Thank you for putting the time!
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