Fostex T50RP Closed Ear Stereo Headphones

General Information

The Fostex T50RP utilizes a newly designed development called anRP Diaphragm. This unique Fostex technology employs a copper foil-etched polyimide film to provide resistance to high level input peaks of up to 3000mW combined with a neodynium magnet for high sensitivity and excellent transient handling. These are excellent quality headsets with Regulated Phase, a new transducer technology which offers the finest quality audio reproduction. Fostex headphones are used by professionals on stage and in studios the world over.This combination lifts the quality of the T50RPs audio reproduction above that of the already superb T40RP and T20RP. In short,the T50RP offers perhaps the most natural and uncolored sound yet heardfrom a pair of studio headphones.

Latest reviews

Pros: Very nice sound, good tight bass. Very comfortable
Cons: Oh you are going to need a good amp for this...
At a relatively low price you can enjoy really good sound with these headphones.
It is so popular for good reason, you could customise it to your personal taste, I just swapped out the cables to the Vmoda cable, and swapped the pads for Shure pads.
The FIIO E10K is not able to drive this headphones well.
The SMSL M3 and Grace Design M9xx is able to drive it well.
The sound is very balanced and neutral. Very pleasant headphones to use all day.
Pros: Fast, detailed, crystal clear, great bass quantity and quality
Cons: Midrange is recessed, mid bass a little light,
This is a quickie review... not the standard head-fi thing.
I've been listening to the Mk III T50RP for a week now and I've been able to compare them directly to Sennheiser's Amperior and HD580, Fidelio X2, Grado SR125, Meelec A151, and DreamEarz VOX3 CIEMs. Source is a Fiio X5 HO or LO feeding a Schiit Asgard 2. 
The X2 has been my reference for a year of listening now, and the first time I picked up the T50 I knew I liked it better. Crazy!
I have a thing for fast, neutral headphones. My previous favorite was the Ety HF2, but I no longer have them. I switched to Meelec A151, which are great, but are now just for listening off the phone. Those single driver BA IEMs just have magic in them... the T50 is the closest dynamic headphone I've heard to that single BA sound. There's just so much more bass. Compared to the X2, they're faster, lighter, and have more slam in the bass. Going from the famously veiled (and slow) Senns to the X2, I noticed a slight change in smoothness- the X2 picks up some clarity, speed, and bass extension, which are all great, but wind up being harsher than the Senns. I liked them because they had a similar sound sig to the HD580, just better all around. The T50 has a radically different sound sig, but it's just so fast and clear that I fell in love immediately. The bass extension is like nothing I've heard from headphones except maybe in the VOX3s and those have a whole host of problems. Even the insane bass of the Amperior doesn't come close. These cans are fantastic.
What I'm not sold on is the mids. I like my midrange warm and sweet, but these are a shade too recessed to be called flat, and it's definitely dry. The treble leans closer to the "boom and tizz" side of the spectrum than the hifi slant. From what I can tell, there are mods to "fix" these little issues even if they're designed for the MK II. I can't wait! 
For the price, there's nothing like the T50RP... now to start my mods :)
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Are the mids more recessed than the X2?  I find the X2 mids slightly recessed, so vocals are not as engaging as I'd like.
Pros: Mod-able, cheap, good driver, PLANAR MAGNETIC
Cons: Not comfy stock, too midcentric stock, reverby stock, stock stock stock.
Well, this will be my first review at all on head fi, but the t50rp is not my first audiophile headphone. If one considers the sennheiser hd558 and audiophile headphone, then they would be. It is my first planar magnetic headphone, though. I noticed the enthusiastic modding community of head fi's past and I really got hyped about these headphones. I listen to classical, jazz, progressive rock, and blues almost spread out evenly. I don't touch electronic and seldom listen to hip hop or country. I did most listening out of a creative soundblaster e5, but also tried them on a McIntosh MHA100 amplifier, hifiman ef100, audeze deckard, and auralic tauras, each fed by a sonos connect that cleaned a PC usb output. I listen to high bitrate spotify when I want to listen for pleasure, but critically listen to flac files of songs that I know inside and out on many different rigs. I compared to the hifiman he400i, the grado rs1i, my own sennheiser hd558, and philips fidelio x1s. I bought them for 140 usd shipped and new, but spent around 60 usd in modding materials:
Mrspeakers comfort strap
shure srh840 pads
DBV3 modding materials
I was set on modding them to my hearts content, but I did give them around a weeks worth of listening, and here are my impressions:
The stock Fostex T50RP are a fairly underwhelming, but not insulting headphone. They are midcentric, but I did not notice it too much initially; rather, I remarked at the ethereal black background and transients that stomped on my newly purchased grado sr60. They were surprisingly fast and it struck me as a very beautiful and addicting characteristic. I probably could've been happy with how these sounded stock for 140 usd; they didn't punch too far above that price(I have auditioned a few headphones in my time with the T50RP), but they are totally acceptable at their price point. They sounded much more clear than my sennheiser hd558s, but I never liked the sennheiser house sound anyway: they were always much too veiled and slow for my tastes. They also sounded fairly thin, though, in comparison to the sennheisers. Out of the box, these headphones measure atrociously, and it will show with any listening devoid of the planar wow factor:5e70a82f_T50RPAllStockLeftDriver.png
As you can plainly see, and as I heard, the bass is not only rolled off at the end, but pushed down even in the lower mids. Not only is the bass subdued to the point of nonexistence, but the lower high frequencies roll off VERY early and have a massive dip in the lower treble. The dip surprises me because I found the stock T50RP very forward sounding in the upper mids. I guess it's because the mid range is so accentuated in comparison to the bass and treble. It sounds really weird with most rock music because the percussion is completely gone and taken over by the vocalists and guitars. There is no thump of a kick drum or slam of a snare, cymbals are thin and not impactful either. Not only is the stock frequency an oddball, but the decay of the headphones is nowhere near its potential. I was really impressed with the decay stock, but by the time newplast was mass loaded into the baffles, the speed was unreal at the time. 
So now let's take my impressions of the DBV #3 modded T50RPs on my head playing some sleeping with sirens right now:
The DBV #3 modification aims to raise the bass response into a flat, audeze lcd like bass response, all around fix the treble, and reduce resonance(this will provide quicker transients and a blacker background). Most of these are achieved with the mod. I guess I will start with the bass response, which is absolutely insane to my ears. They are like the audeze lcd line in the sense that it is a very, very linear bass response. It is one of the smoothest progressions I have ever heard out of a pair of headphones, rivaled only by the truly high end planar magnetics. The he400i does not even come close with weaker, more erratic bass. The he400 gets a nod from me simply due to the visceral bass it can produce with truly wonderful extension and a slight midbass hump. When I say midbass hump, do not think dynamics like the hd650, though, it is better supported by the subbass region. Back to the T50RP; they are short of the lcd line in impact. I do not know how or why, but even the audeze lcd 2 will smack these modded T50RPs in bass response. There is just such an impactful weight that is exemplified in every pluck of a string bass and strum of guitar that brings it to a whole other level. No headphones I have demoed come close to the lcd line, but I haven't tried the he-6. Regarding the mid band of the modded T50RPs, they are wonderfully obedient. I say obedient in the sense that they become forward with the demand of the song and lax when the song calls for a laid back presentation. I do not know how exactly, but I suspect it is the relatively linear mid band as well. Brass instruments are fast, a bit too fast for the lower brass IMO, but perfect for the higher registers of a trumpet; I would love for trombones to have a more dramatic and impactful presentation, but their uptight presentation is not something I resent too harshly. The hifiman he400 and 400i impressed in this regard, as well as the lcd 2. A pair of headphones that I find have this issue as well is the philips fidelio x1 due to its mostly recessed mid range. Not only is it too recessed for me, but it is nowhere near as effortless as the planar magnetic mid range of the T50RP. The treble region is the area I have a bit of issue with. It will not extend. Flat out, I will admit that my babies don't do it for me in treble extension, and I think this will be a popular consensus among owners of DBV #3 headphones. They still lack impact and shimmer in cymbals, bells, and chimes. They do wonderfully for full range instruments like the piano and trumpets; their high registers are free of sibilance and still give a properly bright presence. The strings are a different story: I find them very unbalanced. The meatier frequency range of a violin is accentuated because the more nimble bite will not register. If only these had better extension, the frequency response would be nearly perfect for me, but maybe I am a treble head. The upper mids do have proper bite and forwardness, though, so grado lovers rejoice. I would like to end my impressions with the overall presentation of these headphones. They are closed back, and so they are small. They have proper layering and exemplary imaging in the small space that they possess. I am entirely confident in the fact that they image well enough to wipe the floor in an fps, but the soundstage congests seperation in large hall pieces. I find myself gravitating to small ensemble jazz with these headphones. I would love to gravitate to small orchestral pieces as well, but the violins are too dull for me. Cello soloists are meaty and gorgeous, though. The lower register of the cello rumbles with body and it is the one lower mid instrument that portrays emotion extremely well on these headphones. The smaller soundstage is also helpful in preserving the energy of my progressive rock favorites, so the presentation has its ups and downs. I am totally fine with the soundstage tradeoffs considering these are closed backs and don't leak too bad at all. In comparison to the grado rs1, these have a much wider genre bandwith, smoother presentation, less leakage, and similar soundstage. The avid rock and blues listener would no doubt choose the rs1, though, as their forward mids are much more suitable for these genres. It is much more harsh than the T50RP with jazz and classical though, very wrong with large concert hall music. The T50RP also benefit fairly greatly from amping. While the creative soundblaster e5 is suitable, the deckard achieved quite a synergy with these and definitely transferred some of the lcd line's impact to the T50RPs. My conclusion will be short. If you have the money and want to have some modding fun, just buy these. Even if you have your hd800s on your head plugged into the wonderful soloist, just get these. You will appreciate how much potential the driver has to offer and will have some fun on the way to unlocking its potential. I hate that I have to say goodbye to them, but I had to get Mr. Clark's revered Alpha Dogs with these ridiculous prices. Thank you for your time, hope I can write for you again soon.
Thank your for the exhaustive review.  Could you please give a link to your preferred instructions for the DBV #3 mods? 


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