Well the bug bit me and I have been a bit of a Fischer guy since I first laid eyes on the FA-002W's a couple of years ago. Luckily this deployment I had the ability to pick up a set of those and after that I decided to grab some of their other sets as well.
A little about me, I am currently deployed with the B1-B which may have soured my ears a bit since its a loud little bugger. I apologize ahead of time for picture quality I only have my phone. Musically I can listen to most genre's, but do favor alternative rock.
FA-002W High Edition Special Edition Japan
These are my first foray into mid/hi-fi. After reading the review on here I thought I would give them a try even if I could not locate the non-HE's which would likely be hindered by my low end E07K at the time. They were unluckily a bit muddied, but still quite good sounding with the E07K, with the HA-02 it was a night and day situation. While they made a bright headphone brighter the mid's and low's tightened and any sense of muddiness was lost. A good note on them is the driver does not seem to be outrun by complicated bass arrangements (more on this as the review continues).
These are the Bog Oak cups which use the better amphitheater design. If memory serves correct these are a 7 step cup and Fischer offers a 3, 5 and 7 step each with a unique soundstage and different sound qualities. Build quality is top notch, the wood is beautifully done with no blemishes or splits.
After owning them and wearing them quite a bit they are a bit heavy and tight fitting. Even on the same frame the -003's seems completely different. After about two hours they start to cause my ears to ache and of course with the pleather surround they are non-breathing which leads to a bit of sweating, hot uncomfortability. The band itself seems to tight aswell...
Dimitri at muscaacoustics was nice enough to set me up with a set of FA-003 cups to compare to my -002W's. I am using these cups on the -002W's frame. Sound quality is similar to the -002W's, but lacks some of the soundstage and is a lot heavier on the mids. Both sets are neutral to the t, but the mids are more pronounced with the -003's. The Achille's Heal however is a complicated bass arrangement. These along with the Jubilate's just cannot reproduce them correctly. Anything from that deep double tap in some rock songs to multiple bass guitars. Volbeat's song Boa is one that it is quite noticeable in. You start to loose the mids and some of the highs when it happens. Luckily it is only a few songs that are hurt by it and if you are not paying attention it really isn't bad. With these amp choice did not seem very important they sounded good plugged into either of my amps.
Cup build quality is good. They are not as pretty as the woodies, but they definitely look high end. Same comfort issues as the -002's minus the weight. Instead of 2 hours you can wear them 3-4 before you can feel them really weighing down on you.
The cups are quite a bit thinner than the -002W's and I believe that has something to do with the soundstage being smaller. The -002W's are almost like wearing open ear headphones on the soundstage. Weight difference is noticeable when holding them side by side.
These are a bit of an oddball even for Fischer. The sound is similar to the -003 without the overly pronounced mids. Again it is a neutral sound, but the bass is heavier in a good way. The same inability to recreate complicated bass arrangements exists as with the -003, but not as bad. If I had to chose a genre these were best suited for classic rock comes to mind as well as real country. Pink Floyd seemed to come alive to me with them. The soundstage is wider than the -003's, but not as nice as the -002W's. Just like with the -003's they are not anywhere near as picky about amps as the -002W HE's. The E07K sounds a bit darker than the HA-02, but both sound good. Portable players however should give up now. Depending on what you listen to these can compete with the -002W HE's, but if you play the wrong song they do sound a bit cheaper.
They are probably one of the best looking headphones out there. The look of the wood is outstanding, these are in Paduk.
When it comes to comfort, well these are loose which when added to the weight of the wooden cups makes them seem a bit heavy after a couple of hours. not really uncomfortable just seems like they want to fall off.
Fischer's dark horse. These do not share the typical brightness of higher end headphones. These are not neutral they are a bass heavy headphone. It is not overemphasized like beats nothing like that, just a more powerful bass section. Take the highs of most Fisher headphones and add a subwoofer. They are not bad sounding just not neutral. A $100 gem for those that want the bass and the highs without missing the mids.
Power wise these respond to it. You can plug into a portable device, but don't expect the whole experience. These need power to play the HA-02 and E07K are basically maxed out with these and it seems like they want more.
Unluckily with these the brass was a bit tarnished. It is something easily fixed, but out of the box it is noticeable. Slight fyi with these, Dimitri sent me these damaged (for a lower cost), but I had to resolder the PCB to the driver. No idea if this is a common problem, but it was easily fixed.
These are by far the most comfortable headphone I have worn. The cups seem like they would be to small and shallow, but they are fine. It's a good light weight headphone to wear around, minus the heavy amp requirement.
Of the headphones I have my favorite pair is the Jubilate's for most occasions. Sometimes you need their big brother (FA-002W's) to hear the full shebang, but at the end of the day paying double for them seems over the top. No matter what you go with you will be happy with your purchase as none of them are bad headphones. The woodies also tend to draw stares out and about, even in a closed group like the AB I am currently relegated to. Most of the Beat's fools can't believe the difference in sound quality. I hope I have turned a couple people away from the nasty muddy bass of Beat's to some mid/hi-fi headphones.
Edited by cdawall - 7/3/13 at 6:33am