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  1. ngoshawk
    The Dekoni Blue. It won’t keep you in a blue mood…
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Jan 2, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Affordable.
    When driven, can provide a good sound.
    Heritage.
    Decent enough sound, when properly driven.
    Cons - Plastic.
    another modded T50RP
    Bass can be bloaty.
    Needs proper driving force behind it.
    The Dekoni Blue. It won’t keep you in a blue mood…

    [​IMG]

    From the first rip in Jumpsuit, you are hooked. The depth of bass on Turbo mode through the iFi iDSD micro Black Label will draw you in and throw you down. You feel the thrust of that bass rumble (not shattering like some but controlled) and know the Dekoni Blue means business. This headphone was meant to rock. Straight up business.



    [​IMG]



    The Dekoni Blue and the official mod are the offshoot of the infamous Fostex T50RP, the venerable go-to mod headphone for those on a budget. The T50RP is legendary for its ability to be modified and hold its own against much more expensive headphones. To me, this would be the equivalent of the 70’s muscle car, which is modded to take on the world. I owned a pair of Fostex T40RP Mk2 for a bit of time. I liked its bass presence and performance. I will explain more as to why it has left my stable.



    [​IMG]



    I thank Dekoni for running the Blue tour, and for the inclusion of the Fostex HPA4 BL headphone amp. The two are meant for each other.


    Gear used/compared:

    Focal Elea
    Grado GH-2 Limited
    Thinksound ON-2

    Thebit Opus #2 w/ iFi Micro iDSD Black Label
    Macbook Pro/Fostex HPA4 BL/ iFi Micro iDSD Black Label
    Questyle QP2R solo

    Specs:

    Frequency Range: 15-35,000 Hz
    Nominal Impedance: 50 ohm
    Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 92 dB


    Songs used:

    Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:

    Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
    Coldplay-A Message
    Coldplay-White Shadows
    Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
    Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
    twenty one pilots-Trees
    twenty one pilots-Car Radio
    twenty one pilots-Heathens
    Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
    Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
    Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
    Ziggy Marley-Lighthouse
    Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
    Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
    Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado

    The new twenty one pilots album, Trench


    Fit-n-Finish:

    The Dekoni Blue has the typical Fostex build quality. That means it is plastic but can take abuse as many Fostex headphones make their way into the DJ realm. With a sturdy, but not much padding band, it can bend a good bit so one need not worry about that aspect. Pads are held on by small pleather lips, which slide into narrow slits on the headphone itself. From my past experience with the T40RP mk2, I found that to be a pain. So after one listen with the all-velour, I switched back to the hybrid pad and left them there.

    With a detachable cable that is fairly sturdy, you need not worry about it being Focal Elear constrictor-weight. With a good weight and feel, it is about right. A nice locking mechanism keeps it on, and you cannot mess that up.

    The blue plastic housings are BLUE. Sky blue almost and not bad to look at. They are different than the Fostex phones, as they should be. Nothing too obtuse, or divisive. Overall a decent looking headphone, that will draw a bit of attention to itself, maybe even a query from those in the know, much the way another modifier of the Fostex brand would. Not a bad thing, really.

    With no microphonics whatsoever on the cable, you need not worry about being interrupted by that annoying rub. The only qualm I have regarding the overall finish are the exposed cables coming out of the pads that go into the band. They stick out a bit too much for my comfort.

    As for fit, the Blues are comfortable overall, but I did find after about an hour with glasses and an ear ring they became uncomfortable. To the point where I either had to change headphones or take a break. This was one of the main reasons I sold my T40’s, because they became uncomfortable, even with the lighter pressure than some of my other headphones. Take that as you may, since many have espoused the virtues of the Dekoni fit. I would love to try some of the Dekoni pads on my Elear for a cross comparison.

    ON-2: better bass control. Deeper reach and more of it. Clearer sound-better detail retrieval. A brighter sound signature as well. Better isolation. Less fatiguing. Fit while good tend to slip. Grip pressure is about right. I had less of a problem with the ON-2, than the Blue.

    Grado GH-2 limited ed: more mid forward. Less bass (open back…so). Details on par with ON-2, but less bright. A more “mature” sound, but not as warm as you would think. Vocals are sumptuous. Fit is near ideal as the GH-2 is about as light as a feather. Once music starts, forget about it, except for isolation, which is all but non-existent. I can clearly hear me pecking on the keys. Bass is solid, but no rumble. Simply put, it is there and clear. Heavy cable, which detracts from an otherwise stellar product. Plus, the cable is not detachable. Not a deal breaker to me.


    Further detail:

    Sometimes I peruse all that is written about a product before it arrives. Other times, I don’t. This would be a case of the latter, since I had experience with the T40, and had previously read extensively about the T50 mods. I will admit it was quite fascinating what some had achieved, and I liken the T50 mods to modifying a 70’s American muscle car, whether it be Mustang, Camaro, or Challenger. All have their benefits and some darn fine (and fast!!!) cars have been the result.

    [​IMG]


    So, in that light I did anticipate what Dekoni had done as I heard very good things about the pads they produce as after-market for a variety of headphones. If they could do that to a headphone, then it would be a winner and compete comfortably with the other modded Fostex iterations. So, not having experience other than an ill-fated T20rp mk2 purchase I made as well as the new T40RP mk2 I purchased new, this would be a strict comparison to what I had on hand already.

    Upon receiving, I checked to ensure all was there, and I understood how the critter worked with the included Fostex HPA4BL amp. I also had to dig deep for some interconnects, but that is OK in my book. Once hooked to the QP2R/xCAN combo I lit her up so to speak. Sort of. Not able to draw enough volume, I dragged the Fostex amp out and hooked it into my MBP. That was better. Providing decent power and a good sound, the combo wrought decent enough bass, and clarity, but seemed lacking. I could certainly get the volume high enough, but the sound did not impress me the way I thought.

    Switching to my iFi micro iDSD Black Label afforded me more options with which to hook. Immediately (OK, after tuning to the “Turbo” mode) the sound was more vibrant, richer and fuller. Packing up the Fostex, it would remain in the box for the rest of the test. THEN, I hooked back into my QP2R for a quick listen and all was good. I checked the Shanling M3s as well, and my trusty M5 as well as the Opus #2. All was good. That said, the majority of my time was spent on the BL/MBP combo using either Tidal from my playlist or random bits of work, or Pine Player and the new twenty one pilots album, Trench. This album should immediately be brought into everyone’s queue for testing purposes. A more mature brand of TOP, there is still enough reverence for their history to know and understand this is the next logical iteration of their sound. Fabulous it is, and wrought with such variation of sound, that it alone would be worthy of use for a full-on review of any gear at hand. Good stuff.

    Once the sorting was done, I noticed how the Dekoni needed a good bit of power to successfully play. This is the first set of cans, which has needed the Turbo setting on my Black Label. While I could use normal, the volume needed was such that distortion came into play if I tried to really drive the Blue. Once on Turbo though, no problem. So, find an amp with enough juice to drive them properly lest you do yourself and the Blue a disservice.

    With the BL at slightly less than half volume on Turbo, the sound is deep, rich and near-vibrant. Changing between XBass+ being on or off as well as the 3D+, you could fine tune much the way one would to personalize your critter in hand. With both on, Smithereens sounded light delicate and pronounced. With Tyler’s thumping bass to fill in the sound, you could gain an appreciation for not only the new TOP sound, but for how well the Blue can scale and “adapt” outside of sheer driving rock/metal/edm mode.

    Follow that with the melodious Neon Gravestones, and you begin to understand the tuning Tal & company brought forth in the Blue. The T50RP is good, very good for its price. The Blue is excellent. I thoroughly approve of all tuning aspects and find this a good bargain at the $299 price range. On sale for Black Friday at $199, ramps that up to an excellent value. Smoothing out the typical T50RP “harshness” the Blue provides a very good mellow sound, with an authoritative rumble of bass. Especially when you have a bass switch on an amp.

    I did find the bass a bit overpowering and boomy, with a lack of control on some songs. When I switched the XBass+ off though, the sound came back under better control. Other times I left the switch on, even with that boomy sound just for giggles. Kind of fun, it was.



    Comparisons:

    Dekoni Blue ($299) vs thinksound ON2 ($130):

    The ON2 was a gem I took a flyer on, purchasing a used set. Having not heard it before, I was a bit apprehensive at the purchase. Upon arrival and a listen, that thought quickly left the state of Missouri and is currently floating above the Pacific I believe. As an on-ear, the fit is very different. Made from sustainably-harvested wood, and recycled plastic, I loved the environmental aspect of the ON2. It made sense to me, and I still do not understand why it has not gotten more attention. It is quite good.

    Immediately different between the two was how the mids are presented. Mellow tuning would be the verbiage used for the Blue (another departure from the T50RP). Forward would be one way to put the ON2. Bass quantity is definitely present, and a bit better controlled than the Blue. Rumble is present, but not in the quantity of the Blue. I also think due to the mellow nature of the Blue, that detail representation is a bit better in the ON2. This really isn’t a slight against the Blue, just the way it is. That mellow-er sound draws you in, enveloping you and it is good. The almost-bright characteristic of the ON2 is fabulous, and due to its more portable nature as well as isolation would make a wonderful pair to use on the train. I really like the ON2, and for the price an absolute bargain. Two approaches, two different results, neither bad.


    Dekoni Blue ($299) vs Focal Listen ($249, blowout for $129):

    I will openly admit that my pair of Listen get shoved to the back of the queue too often. Purchased as a comparative tool, I do not bring them out often enough. So as luck would have it, they fit right into this review. If you have been around the planet for the last several years and within the audio world, you know of Focal. First a loudspeaker maker, then branching off into headphones, their Utopia is widely (not without criticism) thought to be one of a handful of the greatest headphones ever produced. Outrageously priced, the sound is of legend. Many purchased a pair simply because…Me? I opted for the more “affordable” option and the Elear. That purchase spurred the purchase of the Listen. In and of itself, the Listen is rather uninspiring. Not really a bass model, nor neutral; it was thought to be Focal’s attempt at drawing the Beat crowd, what with its more affordable price. Relegated now to the wireless version (mine are not), it quickly became the forgotten model. But at that blowout price…another story.

    As an overear, the Listen isn’t that comfortable, or versatile. It can fold quite small for portable/commuting use, which is a benefit. Without the XBass+ or 3D+ on, the Listen becomes quite average. With both on, there is good bass, and a clear treble sound. With mids well behind the ON2, it takes a second in that realm. The Blue bests the Listen in the bass department, and other than the transparency of the Listen, pretty much beats it in all categories. Don’t get me wrong, the Listen is still worth a look at the price now, but there are better options.


    Dekoni Blue ($299) vs Grado GH-2 Limited Edition ($650):

    As part of a TTVJ demo tour, I was lucky enough to audition the GH-2. I liked it so much and appreciated the history behind the brand that I purchased one of Todd’s last pair. I do not regret it at all. Unfortunately, due to my “family” circumstances, using an open-back headphone is not very copacetic with the wife-unit (whom I love very, VERY much). So, other than the odd day alone or review comparison the Grado does not get much love.

    The open back belies the bass, which is present. Rich, full and on par with many semi-open and closed-back headphones make the GH-2 a stellar representative of the Grado brand. My review sung of the virtues of the tune. Details galore, as well as a transparency, which allowed the history of Grado to shine through, there is a reason some follow the brand fanatically. A method that works should not be messed with. I will state that there is a bit of an odd sound regarding the mids which some may not find appealing. I like it simply because it ties the treble to it with aplomb. A bit of sparkle leads to a sound, which contradicts the open nature of the headphone. With decent enough bass, and a fit, which makes the GH-2 feel as if they are all but non-existent on your head make for a winning combo in my mind. Even with that silly Anaconda of a cable. This is a good unit but looked at for completely different reasons. I posit the comparison still holds, as some within the Fostex modded department aspire to bring the price into that range. Thankfully, Dekoni did not.


    Dekoni Blue ($299) vs Focal Elear ($699ish):

    Fashioned as the result of another TTVJ tour, the Elear was my second purchase into the realm of upper-end headphones, after the Grado listed above. I love my Elear and everything about it (except that silly Anaconda cable, which was consequently replaced). I quickly replaced all cables with three sets of LQi cables of the 3.5mm SE, 2.5mm bal and balanced 4-pin XLR variety. It still holds its place in my signature as favorite along with that incredible Apex Pinnacle 2 and the QP2R. Wow, just wow. That said, I believe the comparison is again valid as Dekoni strives to achieve above the level of the T50RP, and based upon all of the comparisons above, it has. Better bass quantity than the Elear it moves ahead. It cannot compete with the detail or clarity of presentation though. It really isn’t meant to, since the price is at least 2x between the two. Where there is better detail retrieval with the Elear, there is better bass in the Blue. Where there is better clarity in the Elear, there is that mesmerizing planar sound. So, you see, the Blue is quite worthy.


    What leave us, thee?

    So, after all of that non-sensical comparison gibberish above, what are we left with? We are left with a pretty doggone decent headphone. One in which a company took an established model and is trying their hand at raising that to the level of other modifiers. With full blessings I might add. And in that regard, the Blue is worthy of consideration should you be looking. I am one of the few who mentioned the fit issues, so it must just be my silly big head. Take that as you will, but know that if you wear glasses, it may be a compromise you make. And it would be OK in the long run, since the Blue is a pretty darn good iteration of the Fostex T50 RP mk3.

    The Dekoni Blue is a wonderful sounding headphone when properly driven. It ticks all the boxes for someone who wants good bass, decent transparency, and a decently-wide soundstage. Under the tutelage of my Black Label, I could make it sing properly and that is a good thing. Well done, Tal & crew.

    I thank Tal & Dekoni for sending their product out on such a lengthy tour, we greatly appreciate the opportunity to peruse the product. And as mentioned I have ended up with a couple of very fine products as a result of tours. Not a bad way to spread the wealth.

    [​IMG]
      DekoniAudio likes this.
  2. Feilong4
    Another T50RP mod: the Blur, I mean the Blue!
    Written by Feilong4
    Published Nov 27, 2018
    2.0/5,
    Pros - The blue color, nice hefty feel, comfortable earpads
    Cons - Overall sound and resolution
    1 - tvdZgwV.jpg

    Babble:


    Disclaimer: I am not endorsed by Dekoni Audio for this review. I did not pay for this product being the nature of a product tour. All I wrote are my honest thoughts on the product.

    First off, a big thank you to Dekoni Audio for the opportunity of being a part of the tour. In this tour, I get to demo a pair of the Dekoni Audio Blue for a week along with a Fostex HP-A4BL DAC/amp. This is my first time being a part of a tour for any headphone, so I’m very excited and thankful!

    I haven’t actually heard many T50RP mods even with the abundant companies that mod them and guides to mod them. I did work on a mod on a T50RP MKIII but had no idea what I was doing and sold them long before I really got into modding. Other than that, the other T50RP mods I’ve listened to are the MrSpeakers Alpha Dog and ZMF Ori.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Preface:

    So I guess as an "about my preferences", I like a warmer sound signature though I don’t like too much mid-bass emphasis. I do like some emphasis in the sub-bass however. I generally like the 2-5 kHz range to be a bit laid-back - helps vocals and overall timbre to sound more warm and natural (or at least to me). I find emphasis in this area to make vocals sound shouty and unnatural. I really dislike being drilled by any sorts of sharp peaks in the treble. So basically, a bit warm and smooth.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Specs:
    • Driver: Planar magnetic, same driver used on the T50RP MK3
    • Impedance: 50 ohms
    • Weight: 320 grams
    • Sensitivity: 92 db/mW (more on that below)
    • Frequency Response: 15Hz - 35kHz
    • Maximum Input: 3000 mW
    • Cable: 2m or about 6.5ft, terminated into a 6.3mm/1/4” jack, comes with an adapter for 3.5mm compatible devices
    Alright so the sensitivity listed here is 92db/mW at 1kHz with 1mW, that means these have the same identical sensitivity listed on the T50RP MK3. However, the sensitivity should be much lower because of the added distance from the earpads. I would think the sensitivity would be from 87-90db/mW. I would recommend a beefy amp to power these things.

    6 - JVnYeRS.jpg

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Build:

    It feels like a T50RP. Actually, there seems to be a bit of heft here in comparison to a stock T50RP. Probably just from the earpads. It has a nice weight to them, and may or may not survive a few drops.

    3 - AkkqeE2.jpg

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Isolation/Leakage:

    These are semi-open as with the original T50RP MK3 in that only the bottom vents are opened. I believe the T20RP MK3 has both top and bottom vents opened and the T40RP MK3 has no vents. The Blue muffle sounds a bit but you’ll still hear your surroundings. These do leak quite a bit because of the semi-open design.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fit & Finish:

    These are, of course, infinitely more comfortable than a stock T50RP with its thick earpads. The surface that actually touches the side of your head is a type of velour (with the provided angled hybrid and “flat” earpads). The headband seems to have a bit of cushion which I don’t remember being on the stock T50RP - it has been a while since I last owned a T50RP, so I don’t remember if it’s the same headband. It does develop a bit of a hotspot on the top of my head. They don’t feel too heavy on my head and the earpads are very comfortable. Clamping force is light but adequate for a good seal which is probably helped immensely by the thick earpads.

    The headband yoke is now coated black which I find to be a handsome and welcomed change. The earcups are now blue as the name of the model would imply - it’s like a “70s diner” kind of blue; I like it.

    4 - HyGAj2X.jpg

    3 - AkkqeE2.jpg

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    Sound:

    For the majority of this review, I used the provided Fostex HP-A4BL for no EQ and my Gustard H10 for EQ (as it can push more power when I lower the pre-amp). I primarily used the “flat” velour Dekoni pads provided with no EQ.

    Unfortunately, I’m going to sound very critical from here on out.

    First Impressions (same with both pads):
    • Midrange is very recessed and overall sound is uneven
    • Bass doesn’t extend well into the sub-bass, rumbles are non-existent
    • Bass is very boomy but doesn’t have much “weight” to them
    • Treble is fairly bright and gets fatiguing after a short while
    • Not very detailed nor clear throughout. Muffled sounding
    • Overall, unnatural sounding.
    Now, my thoughts are more or less the same.

    7 - mDfMbiA.jpg

    Bass:

    The bass here is very odd. These do not extend low very well. I do not hear/feel any rumbling or feel the “weight” or impact of each note - as some sort of reference, I find adequate “weight” or “body” with a linear or slightly raised response going from 100-20 Hz. On the contrary, these have a BIG mid-bass emphasis that creeps up into the midrange. What’s odd to me is that it sounds very bloated andthin at the same time. It’s weird, I know. The overall response of the bass is uneven which I find makes acoustic drums sound unnatural. It kinda works for EDM with the mid-bass bump but again, don’t expect any rumbling or a good ‘hearty’ bass.

    Overall, I don’t like the bass response. It sounds bloated and is not well-rounded. I am led to believe that these were not damped incredibly well or at all.

    Midrange:

    The midrange sounds very recessed. This is partly due to the big mid-bass hump and also, I believe, from added distance given by the thick earpads. Guitars and vocals sound very distant and congested. The response here is not very detailed nor resolving - most likely masked by the heightened bass and treble response.

    Overall, I don’t like the midrange response relative to the bass and treble response. Vocals are muffled and details that fall within this range are either masked or blurred.

    Treble:

    The response here is elevated and fairly harsh. The headphones are fairly bright, and it does get fatiguing over a short period of time. It is very unforgiving, so poorly recorded/mastered tracks will sound unpleasant here. The sense of immediate detail here seems good with its heightened treble response. However, it’s not a very pleasing response as it sounds way too bright and fatiguing.

    Overall, I can’t say I like the treble response here. It does not compliment the midrange well, is sibilant and harsh, and isn’t very pleasing.

    Soundstage/imaging:

    These don’t sound particularly wide. Instrument separation is ok for the most part - I say for the most part because the mid-bass bloat seems to congest and blur the localization of instruments a bit. On that note, imaging is just ok.

    I illustrated what the soundstage would “look like” below:

    Dekoni Audio Blue soundstage comparison - Imgur.jpg

    Pad differences:

    Simply put, the angled hybrid pads give a brighter tone. Vocals are a bit more forward on the angled hybrid pads. Otherwise, there were no sonic differences that I noticed.

    I actually have stock T50RP MK3 pads on hand, and uhh.. I like the sound with these more.. It’s a lot more balanced. Measurements in the link below.

    8 - zyBS1Xc.jpg

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    Measurements

    EQ:


    These don’t take EQ particularly well. I’m getting audible distortion bumping up the lower registers (<30 Hz) even while lowering the pre-amp - I think this may be the driver reaching its limits. The midrange and treble are just screwy.

    It still doesn’t sound very good but here’s my EQ as of writing this:

    Pre-amp: -8db
    • 30 Hz: +4 db, Q: 1, peak filter
    • 50 Hz: +4 db, low-shelf filter
    • 70 Hz: +2 db, low-shelf filter
    • 115 Hz: -5 db, Q: 1.5, peak filter
    • 300 Hz: -8 db, low-shelf filter
    • 375 Hz: -4 db, Q: 1.5, peak filter
    • 700 Hz: +4 db, low-shelf filter
    • 2000 Hz: +2 db, Q: 1, peak filter
    • 2750 Hz: -4 db, Q: 2.5, peak filter
    • 3000 Hz: -6 db, high shelf filter
    • 4000 Hz: -4 db, high shelf filter
    • 4400 Hz: -3 db, Q: 4.32, peak filter
    Alright some of the settings seem counter-intuitive or redundant but that’s just what I got. Measurements in the link above, at the bottom of the album.

    I keep the pre-amp fairly low since I have a couple songs that still manage to peak the clipping meter.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Conclusion/TL;DR:

    To sum up, I did not like the Dekoni Audio Blue. The odd bass response, recessed midrange, and the harsh treble all add up to an unpleasant listening experience. It is not very resolving nor detailed overall - everything just sounds blurred and congested. At the price of 199 USD new, I am disappointed to say that I cannot recommend these. There are competitors that are better below or at that price point. It seems these headphones are marketed to those who wanna dip their toes in planar magnetic headphones, but I’d recommend an HE-400i or HE-4XX for that. Hell, those cost less than the Blue right now! I daresay that I like a stock T50RP MK3 more than the Dekoni Audio Blue, comfort aside.

    As for a suggestion, I would like the mid-bass to be dampened and have better extension, the midrange ironed out (for a less jagged response), and the treble to be smoothed out. I think the frequency response will be better with thinner earpads. These definitely need a re-tuning. The modder in me really wants to take a crack at it but this is just a demo unit so I can’t :wink:

    Please let me know if I made any grammatical errors!

    2 - c9dWT0h.jpg
      hqssui, GREQ and volly like this.
    1. volly
      A fair assessment and well laid out review, thank you!
      volly, Nov 27, 2018
      Feilong4 likes this.
    2. DekoniAudio
      We appreciate your review, & your participation in the tour. Even if we didn’t get to thrill you & earn an instant recommendation, it does give the community a data point to consider and hopefully someone seeking a flat neutral response won’t try these and be disappointed, while someone desiring a warm and full bodied sound may still enjoy what they find in this.
      DekoniAudio, Nov 27, 2018
      audioblog18, trellus and Feilong4 like this.
    3. GREQ
      Great honest review, straight to the point with science to back up your impressions.
      Wish more reviews were like this (RIP innerfidelity)
      GREQ, Nov 28, 2018
      Feilong4, WallofHooligans and volly like this.
  3. Wiljen
    Dekoni Blue - A better t50rp (best Mod I've heard)
    Written by Wiljen
    Published Sep 29, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - improved bass quantity and extension and less grainy treble than stock t50rp
    Cons - shares durability concerns of standard t50rp
    [​IMG]

    Dekoni Blue

    I received the Blue and a Fostex DAC/Amp as part of the Head-fi tour. I have received no compensation of any kind for my review.

    I will start this by saying that after receiving the Blue, I sat and thought about how many Fostex RP variants I own or have owned in the past. I count no less than 6 and I am limiting this number to those that share the original T50 shell. I’ve owned a few more with t-series drivers that had been reshelled by such makers as Mr. Speakers and ZMF but won’t compare to those as I think it unfair to do so.

    Packaging:

    The Dekoni comes packaged nearly exactly the same way the Fostex counterpart does. Simple cardboard box, with headphones and two cables in bubblewrap. Not the most elegant arrangement and if I were shipping long distances a bit of extra padding would be appreciated here. It is a pretty no-frills packaging but at the price point of the Blue, not wholly unexpected.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Build/Fit:

    Those familiar with the RP series will find the Blue to very similar. The Blue does have a serial number displayed on the inside right of the headband that isn’t present on the t50 and I like the subdued black of the sliders and cable between ears when compared to the original. The only other visible difference between the Blue and the t50 is the pads. I have long since replaced the pads on my t50 models with ZMFs or others as the stock pads are somewhat atrocious. Dekoni has done a great job creating a pad for the t50 that is both comfortable, doesn’t overheat, and works well with the sonics of the shell. I traded them for a ZMF pad on my Classics just to see what contribution the pads play in the sound and found the Dekoni to be every bit as good or better than the ZMF pads on both headsets. If you already have an RP series headphone and are not in the market for the Blue do yourself a favor and at least order the pads, you wont be disappointed.

    [​IMG]

    Cable:

    The tour unit shipped with the 6.3mm twist lock cable but again unlike the Fostex counterpart, it is shortened from 9 to 6 feet and the connectors are gold plated instead of chrome(Fostex). Product documents show the Blue in retail form also ships with a 3.5mm cable so I have to assume this went awol on the tour sometime before the blue arrived. I used the standard orange version of the 3.5mm cable from my stock to test with portable sources in the absence of the Dekoni version.



    Drivers:

    Dekoni doesn’t list any changes made to the drivers so I started with the assumption that the Blue would be relatively hard to drive. The fact that a fairly high powered amp was provided for the tour also hinted that Dekoni wanted to make sure the testers had an amp of adequate power to enjoy the blue. For my testing, I used my Burson Fun amp paired with a recent acquisition, the Audio-GD R2R-2 (Birthday gift from SWMBO). This pairing has more than enough power to wring out everything the Blue is capable of and enough detail to really be able to test the limits of the Blue’s resolution. I will say that having not had a chance to audition the little Fostex dac/amp that came with the Blue I was impressed with its output power and ability as well and it was a good match for the Blue within the limits of both. I’ll write up the dac/amp in a separate space.

    For testing with portable gear, I used the Opus #1s and the Xduoo XD-05 with Burson’s V5i op-amp installed. This was the most potent combo I had and if you are going to use the Blue as a portable headphone I would encourage you to investigate either the Xduoo or the iFi BL if budget allows. The Blue is a power sponge and will take everything you can give it.



    Sound:

    Bass:

    Dekoni has outdone themselves and I will readily admit to fighting the urge to take a screwdriver to one of the housings to see what black magic they have done inside. I have always thought one of the faults of the Fostex rp series driver is that it rolls off fairly high up and bass extension cannot be made all that great. I’ve had several pairs that had good bass quantity due to various mods, but never has the bass reached as deep as the 900 series fostex or many other planars (Oppo). Dekoni has found a way to coax every last bit of extension out of the driver and boosted the quantity while still maintaining reasonable clarity. Mid-bass is pushed forward but no perceptible bleed into the mids was present leaving a nice warm signature with adequate bass detail and good impact. Those lamenting the lack of bass in the t50rp will appreciate the angled pads of the Dekoni as they bring a bit more thump.



    Mids:

    Mids on the Blue are mildly recessed when compared to the mid-bass but still enough ahead of the treble to produce an overall warm and slightly dark sounding headphone. Details on the mids are good and parallel what we have come to expect from the RP series. I think Dekoni did very little to tune the mids of the original t50 and that is ok with me as it is one thing the t50 did reasonably well out of the box.



    Treble:

    Dekoni has done something to the treble on the Blue that makes it slightly less fatiguing and notable less grainy than the original T50. This is a subtle change as at first I would have told you that like the mids, they had not altered the sound, but as I listened more, I realized I wasn’t hearing the grainy treble I did at times with the t50 and my ears were not getting nearly as fatigued as they had with the t50 listening session preceeding the blue.



    Soundstage:

    The Blue is very much a t50 when it comes to soundstage as the stage is deeper than wide with acceptable but not spectacular height. I do think the angled pads help deepen the stage a bit but do nothing to widen it and may actually narrow it a bit when compared to flat pads.



    Imaging:

    The Blue images well and with its quick attack and decay some gamers may find the Blue to be a good all-around headphone that can be used both at the gaming system and when listening to their favorite LPs.



    Thoughts:

    Dekoni has smoothed off a lot of the rough edges of the t50 and while some will dismiss it as something they could do at home for half the expense and a couple hours effort, I don’t believe that is the case. I have modded several t50s over the years and can honestly say that none of my home shop versions are as good as the Blue. Some modders may be more skilled than I am but I suspect without a 3d printer to rework the geometry of the baffles, you’d be hard pressed to replicate the Blue.

    Dismissing the fact that the Blue is a t50 variant and looking at it as a standalone for a moment. Blue does a lot right. Bass is good both in quantity and depth, transitions are smooth and flowing, treble is non-fatiguing and overall the warm signature lends itself to prolonged listening sessions. In talking with a friend I said the Blue was nearly as addictive as the Campfire Cascades if not as resolving or quite as extended. I can also draw a comparison between the Blue and the TR-x00 models which puts the Blue in good company. I think regardless of their pedigree, the Blue stands on its own as a very solid $250 headphone and is well worth a look.

    [​IMG]
  4. Army-Firedawg
    An interesting sound for sure.
    Written by Army-Firedawg
    Published Aug 7, 2018
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Detachable cable, easily changeable pads, durable, fun sounding
    Cons - bass bloat, recessed mids, cable running between the two headphones are exposed,


    Arguably one of the most popular headphones to mod ever brought into existence is that of the Fostex T50RP (in insert whatever variant is currently out). I can hear all what ‘say whaaaaaaaa’s out there when I say that I’ve never heard one or any of their mods before. So when Dekoni was starting a tour for their new Blue headphone, I had to put in my name to see if I could end that spell. In addition, I’ve been wanting to see what these Dekoni pads were all about as well. So I’ve now had a week to spend listening to them and both the Elite Hybrid and Elite Velour pads that came with it and am quite excited to share my thoughts on the Dekoni Audio mod of the Fostex T50RP mk3, the Dekoni Blue.


    A little about me

    I would like to say that first and foremost I am NOT an “audiophile” but rather an audio enthusiast. I listen to music to enjoy it. Do I prefer a lossless source? Yes, of course. But I can still be very happy streaming from Pandora or even my YouTube “My Mix” playlist. I also prefer equipment that sounds the best to me personally regardless of what frequency response it has or rather or not it's “sonically accurate” and I always have and shall continue to encourage others to do the same.

    I'm a firefighter for both the civilian and military sector and the cliché of wanting to do this since I was born couldn't be more present with me. I've worked hard over the last several years to earn this position and now it's time for me to work even harder to keep it.

    My interests/hobbies are powerlifting, fishing and relaxing to audio products and reviewing them to help other decide on what products would work for them. Few things make me as an audio enthusiast/review feel more accomplished than when someone tells me that I helped them find the type of sound they've always been looking for.

    Now, the sound signature I personally favor is a relaxing, warm and sensual sound that just drifts me away in the emotional experience of the music being performed. Yes, accuracy is still important but I will happily sacrifice some of that if I'm presented with a clean, warm sound that can wisp me away into an experience that makes me yearn for more.

    My ideal signature are that of respectably forward mids and upper bass range with the bass being controlled but with some slight decay. I like my treble to have nice extension and detail reveal with a smooth roll off up top as to not become harsh in the least. Examples of products that have given me chills and keep giving me the yearning for more feels are the (in no particular order) Bowers & Wilkins P7, Oppo PM-1/2, Empire Ears Hermes VI & Zeus XIV, Audeze LCD-XC, Meze Headphones 99 Classics.

    Equipment used at least some point during the review

    -Amp.(s)

    -Schiit Ragnarok

    -Fostex HPA4BL

    -D.A.C.(s)

    -Schiit Yggdrasil

    -Sources

    -LG V20/HP Pavilion

    -Playing Pandora, YouTube, and various format personal music

    Disclaimer

    I am by no means sponsored by this company or any of its affiliates. They were kind enough to send me a product for an arranged amount of time in exchange for my honest opinion. I am making no monetary compensation for this review.

    The following is my take on the product being reviewed. It is to be taken “with a grain of salt” per say and as I always tell people, it is YOUR opinion that matters. So regardless of my take or view on said product, I highly recommend you listen to it yourself and gauge your own opinion.

    The Opening Experience

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    Why I feel so strongly about the initial unboxing experience

    Please allow me to explain why I feel so strongly about the initial unboxing experience with a product. Maybe it’s due to my southern roots in the hills of eastern Kentucky, but I’ve always been raised under the pretense of when you introduce yourself to someone for the first time you present yourself with confidence, class, character, pride, and competence. You greet the other person with a true warm smile, eye contact and a firm handshake. Anything less or short implies to other person that you either don’t care about them, are too full of yourself, too busy to be bothered by the likes of them, or worse, just generally disrespectful.

    As a consumer, I take this same belief to when I open a new product. Why? Because think about it this way. How else can a company introduce themselves to their customers? How do they present their products? Are they packaged with pride and presented in such a way that makes the listener eager to listen to them? Or maybe they’re just wrapped up and placed in an available space. How about the box itself? Is it bogged down with jargon that says look at this, look what I can do. I’m better than anything on the market and here’s why read this and check out that. Or, is the package clean, simplistic and classy? As if saying to the customer ‘Good day, pleasure to meet your acquaintance. Please give me a listen and allow me to show you what I can do and allow my actions to speak louder than my words.’

    This is why I feel so strongly about the initial presentation of a product, and I feel it’s truly a shame more people don’t. But with all that aside, let’s discuss how this products introduced itself shall we?



    Well. I really don’t have a lot to say about my handshake. It was a very, ‘here you go’ experience. The Dekoni comes in a really nice simplistic blue box with really only some specs on the back and their name on the front, which as you likely know if you keep up with my reviews, I really, personally, enjoy. As you open the box you’re greeted with the startup guide and warranty, then right under that you’re given a pair of extra pads (either Elite Velour or Hybrid [not positive if this comes with all Dekoni Blue’s or just for the tour but the website makes me believe they do]) and the headphone wrapped up in basic bubble wrap. Yup, bubble wrap. And that’s it. I feel like I wasn’t even given a handshake but rather a rep. idly giving out his/her business card to whoever they come across. So to say I was a bit underwhelmed/disappointed would be an understatement.


    Construction

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    Construction is pretty standard by today’s methods. The frame is made of aluminum, or similar material, with the driver housing being plastic. The headband is covered by a thin cushion with the Dekoni logo printed on the top (away from you oddly enough). On top of the driver housing the aux cable is exposed on each cup. I personally don’t like this because I can see it easily getting nicked on something and breaking. The main aux. cable itself is detachable, which is ALWAYS a terrific thing to see (should be standard in my personal opinion). The cable is terminated on the headphone end with a locking 3.5mm male. and the source side terminated in a 6.3mm male but does include a 6.3mm-3.5mm adapter. There’s also little to no microphonics with it either. Rather when I was sitting and listening to them in my chair or walking around with the cord wrapped in my pocket, I never heard any rustling.

    The pads, which is probably the focal point of these headphones, are of course interchangeable. There’s a small slit between the driver housing and frame where there’s just enough room to insert the pads. While you have the pads off you can get a really good look at the interesting diamond shaped planar driver that’s surrounded by a foam like material. Be careful when changing your pads for, at least for me, each time I did these foam pieces liked to fall out.

    So overall, the Dekoni Blue is build pretty averagely and I’ve only 2 complaints to make, 1 major and one minute. The major one is that I really don’t like the exposed wire on the top of the headphones. Similar to that of the Beyerdynamic models, I just find them an unnecessarily high damage risk. The minute complaint I have is that the Dekoni name is printed backwards. When I demo a pair of headphones to someone they’ll often ask “how do I know which is left and right?” And I’ll usually tell them that if the brand name is printed on the top, if you can read the name, that’s how it goes on your head. Well, not with these, there is a L and R on the cups though.


    Comfort

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    The comfort on the Dekoni Blue is alright. I can, and have, worn these for several hour sessions but my ears do grow a little fatigued quicker than I’d like and I often find myself having to readjust the headphone on my ears. I believe my issue is with the headphone itself having a bit tighter of a clamping for than I particularly like because the pads (both Elite Velour and Elite Hybrid) feel great. I did find myself surprised that the really thin headband never became an issue for me.

    To talk about the individual pads for a moment, the Elite Velour pads were a good bit firmer, to my ears, than the Elite Hybrid. Neither let the headphones driver rub against my ears but if you’re wanting a softer feel then the Hybrids will be your friend but if you like a firm/dense feeling pad then you’ll really enjoy the Elite Velours.


    Sound

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    Coming into this completely blind I really didn’t know what to expect. I’ve listened to a fair amount of planar magnetic headphones so I had an idea but I was quite eager to finally hear what the Fostex T50RP (modded of course) was all about. My first impression when I listened to it was, not what I was expecting. The first thing I remember thinking when I heard the Dekoni Blue, w/ the Elite Hybrid pads, is that the bass is most certainly the focus on these and they’re fairly bloated with a predominant V-Shape sound. A good friend of mine likes them as a complement to his HD800 S, and I can definitely understand why, their very fun to listen to. Putting music aside for a little bit, I jumped onto Fortnite to see how they performed with gaming. To save a really long story, not good at all. The bloated bass is REEEAALLLYYY accented with the already bass forward sound effects Fortnite pushes which makes these not too pleasant and very fatiguing. The narrow soundstage also didn’t give me a good competitive advantage either.

    How about movies and TV? Pretty nice honestly. Action movies sounded in your face and exciting. I watch a lot of anime (as I’m sure those of you who keep up with me are aware of haha) and when watching them with the Dekoni Blue, many of them do really well with the “fun” signature of the Blue.

    Right quick, I’d like to touch on the power of the Blue’s. These are a 50ohm headphone with a 92dbl sensitivity. When I seen that I was like oh, these can be easily driven from my phone. I know planars really perform when given juice but these can be driven mobile. Well, though they can be driven, they max out my phone if I don’t have the preamp setting in my poweramp pro app maxed out. And there’s a lot of detail loss too. So don’t let the specs fool you. These really want some juice to perform their best. Do they need HE-6 power? SHOOT NO, but a desktop or competent mobile combi will do the job just fine. But let me talk about more of the individual aspects of the sound so hopefully I can convey what I’m talking about better.


    Treble


    The highs on the Dekoni Blue, I really can’t complain. They come through brilliantly clean and very sparkly. I never got the sense that any detail was being lost. I’ll use violins for an example. I got so much energy from higher toned music that I sometimes got chill bumps. A piece I’ve used several times is “A Moon Filled Sky” by Tenmon (many thanks to my friend @evshrug for finally identifying this artist for me). It’s such an emotional piece that has a violin front and center stage with a piano assisting it. The Dekoni Blue sends every single notes as high and as emotionally filled as if I was there in person listening to the piece. So, to my ears at least, I think Dekoni and Fostex did a great job with their treble. Now, if you switch to the Elite Velour pads, the treble does roll off a bit sooner than on the Elite Hybrids so you won’t get quite as high of an extension.


    Mids


    Most of the planar magnetic headphones I’ve listened to have each had quite impressive (forward) midrange. From all the hype and forums of other mods I figured that the Dekoni Blue would share that sentiment. Listen to the song “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed. The vocals come through cleanly and, from what I can hear at least, accurately; but they’re way recessed. Also listen to “The Prodigy on an Acoustic Guitar” (kinda pretentious title but he is very skilled) or “The Last of the Mohicans” by Luca Stricagnoli. Both are very acoustic heavy pieces and two of which that enjoy very much. But the guitar’s recessed sound through the Dekoni Blue (regardless of which pad you use) just doesn’t bring forth the same calming enjoyment I get from these songs.

    So though I don’t personally care for the midrange of the Dekoni Blue, I’ve also never been a huge fan of heavy V-Shaped sounding headphones either but I do understand their appeal, they’re really fun to listen to. I also, personally, couldn’t tell too much of a difference between the Elite Hybrid and Velour pads in the midrange.



    Bass


    The Dekoni Blue has a really interesting bass. And the way I describe it probably contradicts itself when reading it but it makes sense to me. But the bass has the same control and resolve that I’ve come to expect from planars but at the same time it’s bloated. Listen to the song “Freaks” by Timmy Trumpet, hear how the bass bubbles?


    ‘Umm, Firedawg. Timmy Trumpet and Freaks is hardly an audiophile song. It’s hardly mastered with any skill’


    Well my completely made up arguer, you may or may not be correct, I was using a more extreme example that’s bass focused but fair enough. Also listen to the song “Love in the Dark” or “When We Were Young” by Adele (and though you can listen to them through the YouTube links provided I highly encourage a better source [especially with Adele, she's lovely to listen to]).

    The bass in the Dekoni Blue’s aren’t bad, at all, they’re just interesting. Bloated may not even be the correct term but bubbles doesn’t really sound proper, but regardless, they still maintain that control and depth that planars are known for, ESPECIALLY when given proper amplification. Now, with the Elite Velour pads, the bass is toned down a bit. It still “bubbles” out, but not as much.


    Conclusion

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    To summarize my thoughts on the Dekoni Blue. It’s certainly a fun headphone to listen too and it was nice to finally be able to listen to a Fostex T50RP product (that is actually the only model that Fostex actually makes themselves in house I’ve came to find out which is a pretty cool thing). I would’ve liked a more memorable unboxing but in truth I’m one of the VERY few people who actually care about such things. The design is also that of a “regular” headphone. Something I’ll do when I do go out in public with products I’m reviewing is gauge the reaction from people. It’s not uncommon that I’m asked about a headphone or complemented by how nice they look (and price isn’t a factor for I’ve had this with sub $100 headphones). But the Dekoni Blue’s/Fostex T50RP never got a single look from anyone, and I can see why, they look like a regular “mainstream” inexpensive headphone (look like, not is). Sound is something that I can see a lot of people liking but it didn’t quite do it for me. The sound has its moments but nothing I don’t think will make me remember them. I did however REALLY like the pads and would like to try them on other products.






    Also, make sure to check out my unboxing and review videos. They’re pretty awesome AND you getta put a face to the Army-Firedawg name. If this review helped you out at all please hit that thumbs up button for it really helps me out a lot. Till next time my friends, stay safe.
      selvakumar and volly like this.
    1. selvakumar
      good review and I do get mine before a week what's the amp you are using by the way
      selvakumar, Aug 8, 2018
      DekoniAudio likes this.
    2. Army-Firedawg
      @selvakumar, Everything, equipment wise, I use for a review will always be posted at the top in my "equipment used" spoiler tab. But I used the Fostex HPA4BL combi provided in the tour and the Schiit Ragnarok as my amp and the Schiit Yggdrasil as my dac. I also, for a brief period, used my phone (LG V20).
      Army-Firedawg, Aug 8, 2018
    3. Tony Jimenez
      Did the LG V20 power them enough? I was hoping a Fulla 2 would be enough.
      Tony Jimenez, Sep 28, 2018