Pros - Sub bass with passion, transparent and airy, decent isolation for semi open, EASY driven
Cons - None really
The TH900 is magical. It's the hot rod of flagship, makes no apologies, and takes no prisoners IF, you wanna take it that far. This phone just begs to be driven, and it just keeps producing. I find it very polished, yet presents with a bold presence. Perfect for rock, metal, EDM, acoustic, just throw something at it and it will send it back to you will all you want with more to spare. Bass and sub bass is best in the business. I find the mids just right, and vocals and guitars are so on point. Out of the box, the treble can be a little spicy on some material, but give it a few hours, I found it to tame. Couldn't be happier with the Fostex.
Pros - Nice Bass and Great highs with big soundstage, great imaging and great Comfort
Cons - may run into some problems with amps that require higher impedance
Best looking closed headphone on the market that acts just like a open headphone but brings the advantages of a closed headphone such as detail and imaging...
It is combining both worlds and packs it in this beautiful cup.
In my opinion the mids are not recessed or the highs to peaky.
With a warm sounding amp such as Wa7 or marantz dac1 or the bakoon amps this sounds balanced out and very lively ...
You get a stand which is nice but a hard carrying case would have been really nice like the audeze ones instead of a soft pouch
Pros - Musical & Enjoyable; Lovely to hold and behold
Cons - Construction seems to have weaknesses; Expensive for some
I have always enjoyed Denon headphones. They were one of the first I came across when I started listening to full-sized cans. They were lovely and had a very pleasing sonic signature. Then, one day, we all heard that the current beloved Denon series would be discontinued and replaced. That was the first time I heard that Denon did not produce their own headphones but that they were done for them by Fostex.
Then news slowly emerged that Fostex was producing a much better version of the previous top of the line Denon D7000. When photos first came across, we were all stunned by how stunning the new Fostex TH900 looked: the lovely urushi poison ivy lacquer. Everyone in Singapore was eagerly awaiting for the first units to arrive at Jaben, Singapore. I must confess that at point in time, I was not one of them. I was still at the beginning of my audio journey and at that point in time, I will confess that something looked that beautiful and cost that much rightly intimidated me.
When I was eventually persuaded by Claire of Jaben Singapore to try it, it was almost like attending an elaborate tea ceremony. I recall that she had to first roll out some soft felt or microfiber cloth on the counter before taking out the TH900 of the storage case. All this time Claire was wearing white gloves. I was not allowed to touch the TH900: Claire would careful slip it on my head and adjust the ear cups for me. You can imagine how nervous it made me feel. The comic moment came halfway the demo session when my son (when he was young enough to still think it was cool to hang out with his old man at a headphone store) yelled: “Daddy, M is calling!” A moment of panic seized me but fortunately, Claire with admirable speed and calm grace slipped the white gloves back on and glided over effortlessly and removed the headphones from my head. She patiently waited for the phone call to end before smiling and slipping the headphones back on. To cut a long story short, though I loved how full it made the music sound and yet retain delicacy of female vocals, I resisted the TH900 for a few more months before I finally succumbed.
Although I don’t listen to the TH900 as much as I would like, it still has a special place in my little collection of full sized headphones comprising most of the top tier Grados, the LCD 2 & 3, HD700 & 800, Beyerdynamic T1, Hifiman HE-6, HE-5LE, HE-560, HE-500, HE-1000, AKG K702 & K812, Stax SR007 MK1 & MK2.5, SR 009, SR L700, the Final Sonorous X and the Abyss.
Home Desktop Headphone Set Up
To give a bit of context on my observations of my listening impressions of the TH900, my chain comprises an Auralic Aries (with external linear PSU), connected via a Audiquest Diamond USB 3 cable to a Bricasti M1 DAC and then JPS Superconductor V RCA to the Cavalli Liquid Gold. Power cord for the DAC is a Tralucent Uber power cord, and power cord for the Liquid Gold is a JPS Kaptovator power cord. Power to the components of the desktop rig and sources is fed through an Isotek Aquarus and all the power cords use US plugs. Mains power is fed to the Isotek Aquarius via a Tralucent Uber power cord.
My Synology DS 414 and a Seagate Backup Plus HDD (connected directly via USB to the Aries) are powered by the new Plixir Elite BDC Power Supply kindly customized for me by James Soh of Sound Affairs in Singapore. James had also helpfully suggested that I run a separate switch for the audio components away from the wifi access point. The switch is also powered by the Plixir Elite BDC Power Supply that James customized for me. The Aries and the Synology DS414 NAS are connected via the dedicated switch by a pair of Ranko Acoustics OCC audio LAN cables.
The build quality of the TH900 is good as one would expect from a Japanese company. The lovely red urushi lacquered ear cups are just stunning. Although the original version of the TH900 does not come with detachable cables, the cables were made of OFC 7N grade was nice and hefty. It came standard with a ¼ inch plug.
As noted, the cables are not detachable. Firstly, there would be no possibility of cable rolling and, a fortiori, there would be no chance then of running the TH900 balanced without modification. The other situation which I had once was that the ear pad, which is made from artificial leather made from egg shell membrane and therefore very comfortable, suffered deterioration because I had kept the TH900 in a case and there was likely some damp trapped and the leather looked like it had been eaten up by some vermin when I next took it out some time later. Fortunately, the ear pads are easily replaceable. A final issue has been that the way the headband is constructed, there is a stress point where the cups swivel on a joint which has been known in some cases to break.
Comfort and Isolation
As I had indicated above, the TH900 ear pads are very comfortable. And the weight of the headphone is really negligible compared to other TOTL headphones. The clamp force of the headphone was also pretty gentle.
While the TH900 is a closed can, the isolation is not the best. And that is an understatement, in case you missed that…
I do enjoy my music and so I do have around 12 TB of music (I do lose count). The music collection runs the full gamut of genres from medieval church music to Ella Fitzgerald & Frank Sinatra to Diana Krall & Michael Buble, to classic music to contemporary pop.
What I will say is that the TH900 is versatile: it is at least competent with all genres. I derive particular joy from listening to jazz vocals and acoustic vocals on it, especially female vocals. It is really very good with songs like Blame by Calvin Harris featuring John Newsman.
Frankly, it is one of those headphones I will just put on, and hit the play button on the remote of the Aries and just chill out. Easy path to enjoyment.
The TH900 is nicely balanced for most parts: the trebles are extended and sweet, the mids are rich and engaging, the bass is fairly deep yet tight and layered. Do not get me wrong – this is close to but not a reference headphone. There is some coloration: the trebles are noticeably smooth, while vocals seem to be a little enhanced. However, the coloration is slight and only enhances the sonic experience.
Frankly, at the end of the day, despite its impactful bass and sweet trebles, for me the TH900 excels in vocal centric music, particular female vocals. It has a wonderful way of conveying the delicate and nuanced vocals of female singers like Stacey Kent and Alison Krauss. The other thing to note is that while there is quality bass on display with the TH900, it is not a warm headphone.
I currently run my TH900 with the Cavalli Liquid Gold. I find that the oft-repeated accusation that the TH900 is mids-recessed is not borne out. Of course, it could either be that the TH900 opens up more with added driving power, or I am quite accustomed to the sound from balanced headphones and therefore do not expect the TH900 to have forward mids.
Regardless of the then shocking release price of the TH900, it is a lovely pair of headphones, both in terms of looks and sonic signature. It is thoroughly enjoyable and musical.