So first off i REALLY need to thank Billy of the epic 'Noisy Motel' (www.noisymotel.com.au) for not only being such a great dude, but for bringing in the most interesting, eclectic, and downright amazing selection of personal audio gadgetry and headphones... Thats right, Billy has some of the nicest cans in Australia
So today, as soon as i heard the Fischer FA (F#&!ing Awesome) 011's had arrived, i immediately made an 80's mid air fist pump, slid across my mazda 3 bonnet like magnum pi, and halled ass over to Prahran. Ive been tracking the progress of the FA011's on this forum for a while now, following many threads with special attention to one of the great HeadFi Fischer resources "off the deep end" by the all knowing LFF which can be found here:
When i first heard there was another FA011 coming out, i hoped they would be remenisent of this "golden revision" i kept reading about. Truth is Fischer released a lot of their pre-production work to their suppliers as stock, this in a way was good as they had a chance to use real enthusiasts as a test market and tweak things based on feedback. In another way it sucked if you got one of the less impressive units. When i heard this new revision came with the curly cord, like others here, my mind went straight to that first revision.
At first sight of the pre-sales images i was sent to whet my apetite i noticed a few things. After the cable next of which was the wood finish, it wasnt trick photography, with them now safely in my hands i can confirm the finish all over has REALLY improved! My particular pair had an exaggerated grain which i love, but the plainer pairs also had a cool modern/retro vibe to them, it was hard to play favorites.
Second I noticed the new badge, and lastly what looked like different pad material. Being not overly familiar with the first rev pads i cant confirm or deny any difference, but these are certainly different then some of the other earlier models i am more familiar with. I can now confirm that this time round theres a tight weave wool twill with similar inner "leather?" wall, and more/different padding- these are really quite firm, but being so light and comfortable this REALLY works in their favor! Also not as itchy.
There also seems to be some sort of baffle behind the smartly badged outer mesh, and they have now perfected the inner lining cutouts. Like i said earlier, greatly improved fit and finishes- shmick.
Extras in this package was a kink resistant silicon extension cord for home listening, gold jack adapter, and the usual fantastic freebee padded Fischer zip up case, and hilarious warranty card:
"d) unauthorised modification or misuse;
e) circumstances out of control of Fischer Audio, including, without limitation to, fires, storms, earthquakes, floods, stupidity or maniacal stubbornness. Failure caused by acts of God, fall of asteroid, Martian attack, hungry piranhas and/or swallowing by Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, is covered by Fischer Audio if such accident has been proven."
Now for the important bit, the sound.
[while breaking in, 0-3 hours in]
If your familiar with the aforementioned LFF thread all the better, if not- i recommend the read never the less im going to treat this as a new review, befitting a new revision.
Two things i strongly recommend before even going out to try these gorgeous, revered, and well priced ($169) woodies are:
1/ Take good music with you, and i dont just mean your favorite polka band outro, or Vegas famed Celine Dion impersonator, I mean you need to have good quality files. As good as these cans are, as many light years as they punch above their price point, they wont take kindly to being fed fast food with a plastic spoon... Which brings me to my next point.
2/ The plastic spoon. Amp them properly, they deserve it, and more importantly so do you. Theres good and bad to this particular side of the whole Fischer (and many other manufacturers) range.
The bad is that they are surprisingly hard to power on the go. This doesnt necessarily mean they wont go loud enough riding bare back through your iphone for your fully sick grub-shlep, but it does mean that you need a good amount of juice for a night and day change... And you can believe its night and day! Unamped they were pretty good to nice, amped on a portable c421 (which is only one of my most favoriteset amps in the whole wide world), i was further impressed and grinned widely, but not surprised that the Soundmagic HP100's i picked up at the same time conquered them through the same amp in ways you wouldnt want your girlfriend or mother to see. But hey, the HP100's cost roughly $100 more. When i got home i immediately settled by the WA7, and replayed my same playlist. These didnt budge easily for 160ohm's, I cranked it past 11:00 (extremely loud, on this little powerhouse), then i wound it down a tad... My jaw honestly dropped. I was shocked, were these the same cans? Im not being cute, the absolute difference seemed utterly implausible.
The good in this scenario is the irrational price point they gave these cans considering what you get. A world class set of handcrafted European wooden open cans, with all the trimmings for $169. How does this relate to amping? Well for that kinda coin it allows you leeway to purchase a matching amp. Considering the kind of headphones these compare to in every aspect other than money, should you have opted for another open headphone of similar calibre, let alone ANY other wooden headphone on the market, you would have been up for $275-$1895 and i shudder to mention those higher than even this. Sure we arent all rushing out to buy LCD3's to match our Zegna man scarfs and boat shoes, nor do these sound like LCD3, but you get my point- with the money you "would have" spent you can now afford to purchase a $106-$1726 amplifier you will enjoy with all your cans for years to come!
These headphones are no joke. Ok, they have a little roll off on the high end, with a relatively dark overall signature (again largely depending on file quality) they certainly wont offend those sensitive to sibilance. Apart from the rolled highs they also seem relatively flat with the mids being the star of the show, supported by an excellent representation on the low end. Slightly over capable bass, without any overly obvious coloration to genres that arent flattered by any exaggeration below the waistline. Great staging, separation, and endless unfatigued listening possibilities. These are anything but offensive.
In images, and in person they are as well made as an Eames original, and they will command as much attention and interest as the Facebook Gap test. Amp these cans well, and provide them with good quality music and you have a pocket-friendly-rocket. "like".
Edited by mrbigsby - 3/2/13 at 2:51pm