1. 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]
  2. 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