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Fostex TE-07

Rating:
4.5/5,
Tags:
  • Model TE-07 is the first IEM from Fostex that adopts balanced armature type driver, being thoroughly tuned by Fostex headphone engineers, delivering extremely natural and transparent audio performance.

    The TE-07 also features newly designed 6N cable with the same detachable connector compatible with the TE-05, which will be separately sold as ET-

Recent Reviews

  1. 78finn
    Small & Light, Great Build Quality, Refined & Well Balanced Sound
    Written by 78finn
    Published Jan 6, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Small, Good Build Quality, Well Balanced Sound For Most Types of Music, Very Comfortable
    Cons - Expensive, Carry Case Feels Cheap (for the price point), supplied ear tips are cheap but easily replaced / upgraded
    Build Quality
     
    Main housing: Nicely machined, very small, very light weight, all aluminium housing.
     
    Earbuds: Not great, feel cheap, made from very thin silicon and arrived warped. 4 x sizes of silicon earbuds. Not reinventing the wheel, but offer good isolation. The earbuds are very easily replaced with various after market options (foam and silicon). I bought some aftermarket Sony Hybrid ear tips, which improved fitment and isolation dramatically.
     
    Cable: Good quality standard cable. Low noise. The MMCX Connectors that attach to the main housings are non obtrusive and easily detached.
     
    Carry case: Leather, material lined with a magnetic clasp. Feels a bit cheap if I'm 100% honest, but its OK for storage when required.
     
     
    Comfort:
     
    Very very comfortable, no complaints at all. As I have said above, the stock tips are not the best quality and I would highly suggest replacing them. Sony hybrid silicon tips work well, as do Whirlwind Silicon ear tips. The aluminum can be slightly cold at first, but warm up quickly. Very light weight, after a while you forget you have them in. The MMCX connectors are non-obtrusive and sit well against the ear. 
     
    Sound Quality
     
    Overall impression: Not as neutral as advertised in my opinion, definitely a slight leaning towards the lower end. The TE-05 is definitely a flatter, more neutral sounding earphone, which probably makes it better for certain types of music / listening. The TE-07 is warmer, darker, ever so slightly coloured, which I feel makes it a better 'all rounder' than the TE-05. It really depends what you intend to use these earphones for and what type of music you listen to. The majority of music i listen to is electronic, so the slightly extended, warmer bottom end is welcome.
     
    Highs: Detailed, precise, slightly rolled off towards the very top end. Not exhausting or overly bright.
     
    Mids: Full bodied and punchy - take centre stage.
     
    Lows: Fuller (not neutral), warm, precise and not boomy. The lows can also handle being EQ'd all the way down without distorting, which is good if you listen to electronic, EDM etc. This makes the TE-07 quite an accommodating earphone for a wide range of music.
     
    Sub Bass: Present, but as I have already said, not boomy or skull rattling. If you are in the market for a true bass earphone, you should probably look elsewhere. 
     
     
    Modifications:
     
    Replace the standard ear tips is a must in my opinion. The ear tips provided have a standard fitment size / type, so this is easily done.
     
    Many people have complained that the MMCX connectors on the TE-07 are 'non-standard'...which is incorrect. There are several different variations of MMCX connector, so you just have to be careful when choosing an after market cable. Shure cables will not fit the TE-07, but there are plenty of options that can be found on Amazon and Alibaba etc. I will post up some photos of the mods that I have carried out at a later date i.e. just replaced the earbuds & cable.
     
    Final impressions: 
     
    A great, well made, light weight, balanced, 'all-rounder' earphone. Robust, all aluminum build quality and replaceable MMCX cable. Definitely slightly coloured sound...not quite neutral, with a slight leaning towards a warm sounding bottom end and rolled off highs. But I think this just serves to give this earphone a nice sound signature for every day use across a wide range of music. The earphones also handle being EQ'd much lower or much higher (depending on your musical taste), without distortion. They are expensive, but I think worth the money. They are my go to earphone for everyday listening.
      Dopaminer and HiFiChris like this.
  2. HiFiChris
    Balanced but not exhausting
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published Oct 5, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - balanced sound signature, good resolution, good wide and deep soundstage, clean bass
    Cons - cable and eartips don't feel premium, Etymotic ER-4S is better
    Preamble:

    Before I start with my review, I want to thank Fostex International and especially their German distribution Mega Audio (www.megaaudio.de) for getting the chance of auditioning the TE-07.
    Please note that I am neither affiliated with Fostex nor their German distribution.

    Fostex is definitely no unknown name in audiophile circles. Emerged from Foster Electric in 1973, the Japanese company has quickly become one of the most important suppliers and OEM manufacturers for speaker chassis and headphones, but also produces its own products.
    The TE-07 is Fostex’ current In-Ear monitor flagship and equipped with a single Balanced Armature transducer, a concept that is mainly used in higher-priced In-Ears and professional on-stage In-Ear monitors for musicians. Advantages over dynamic earphones are a higher level stability, higher resolution and faster and more precise lows.


    Technical Specifications:

    Type: Balanced armature
    Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
    Impedance: 33 ohm
    Sensitivity: 95 (at 1kHz, 1mW)
    Maximum Input: 5mW
    Plug: 3.5mm, 3P mini plug
    Cable Length: 1.2m
    Accessories: Spare ear tips (XS, S, M, L) and Leather Carrying Case


    Delivery Content:

    Fostex’ In-Ear flagship comes in a sturdy, compact and black-orange coloured package which has got a shiny black structure all around on its matte black surface.
    Besides the product name, there’s a plastic window on the front’s upper left quadrant; the back shows a schematic picture of the IEM and describes its parts. The multilingual technical specifications are on the left side.
    After breaking the transparent seal, the front side, which has got a magnetic flip, can be opened up, and then the earphones and accessories can be taken out by the new owner after the plastic screen has been lifted.
    Besides the In-Ears, there come four pairs of black silicone tips in different sizes and a valuable leather carrying case included.
     

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    Aesthetics, Build Quality:

    The IEMs’ lightweight housings are made of machined aluminium and feature a white “Fostex” logo on each side. My impression of them is that they are valuable and sturdily made. There’s also a tiny hole in each side for venting the transducer and pressure compensation, but it luckily doesn’t have much influence on noise isolation.
    The connectors for the replaceable cables are unobtrusively integrated into the bodies. Fostex uses coaxial MMCX interconnections, but they differ from the regular type that is for example used by Shure, so the company doesn’t guarantee that third party cables will work with the TE-07, but Fostex offers fitting replacement cables in their own product range.
    Talking about the cable: although it seems quite sturdy and is pretty much tangle-free, it is no visual highlight and looks like the cables on earphones that come with cheap MP3 players. I’m also missing a chin slider on it. As compensation, it has got excellent strain relief and a reliable angled 3.5 mm plug.
    The small carrying case that comes included is made of black leather, very sturdily feeling, has got a magnetic flap and is covered by ruby-coloured velvet on the inside. Though, it could have been just a bit bigger or with the opening on its longer side, as the IEMs only just fit in if the cables are rolled up around two or three fingers, and even then space is scarcely present.
    A little disappointing for me were the ear tips, as they are very thin-walled and do actually only come included with cheap In-Ears – the ear tips other companies in the same or even much lower price range are using are quite a lot better.
     

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    Comfort, Isolation:

    Due to their shape, the IEMs can be worn both the regular way with the cables going straight down or over the ears. The latter is easily achievable, very comfy and ensures a better seat and fit, along with reduced microphonics (cable noise).
    Microphonics are moderately present when the cables are worn straight down and decrease even more when being worn over the ears, but I guess they could be even more lowered by using a chin slider.
    Due to their low weight, the IEMs “disappear” after just a short period of time and therefore sit very comfy and securely in my ears.

    Isolation of ambient noise is on a high level, but of lower amount than for example with Shure’s IEMs, which is possible due to the thin-walled ear tips and the bodies’ small vents. Although, it is just a tad below still very-well isolating IEMs like the Logitech UE900, and the TE-07 isolates clearly better than most dynamic earphones which often have got more and bigger vents.


    Sound:

    Sound was mainly evaluated with my iBasso DX90 playing FLAC, Hi-Res and high-quality MP3 files.
    The IEMs were burnt in for at least 50 hours before critical listening took place (just in case).

    Tonality:

    TE-07’s general tonality could be best described as very balanced and could even be called “neutral-ish with darker character”.
    The actual bass, compared to the extremely flat Etymotic ER-4S, is just a slight bit more present of about 3.5 dB. This “emphasis” that couldn’t even be labelled as such is very even and reaches up until the lower middle fundamental tone area, without affecting the upper fundamental tone or lower mids much. Mids are present and to my ears tonally a bit more on the warm and dark side of correct and never intrusive, as the presence area around 2 kHz is moderately lowered, wherefore the IEMs sound a bit relaxed and never exhausting, despite remaining very natural.
    Level starts increasing in the middle highs, with a narrow peak at 7 kHz, which doesn’t sound harsh or piercing because it is of much lower quantity than let’s say the UERM’s. Treble in general is more of a moderate down-sloping character.
    There is some extension in the super highs, but as they evenly roll off from about 12 kHz on, it can be heard that in contrast to many better multi-driver IEMs, the super treble lacks a bit of subtle “sparkling” above 10 kHz, but the TE-07 does quite good for a single-driver BA IEM, as sparkling is present, but less present.
    Using a sine generator, I could detect some sub-bass roll-off below 30 Hz, but it isn’t that important to mention as there is not much going on in the music anyway in this area; and 20 Hz are audible with the Fostex, but less loud than 30 Hz. Joyfully, in contrast to some other single-driver BA earphones, the lows on the TE-07 don’t soften the closer they get to subbass.

    I’d consider the sounding as being well-made and mostly natural and balanced. That slight emphasis in the lows, along with the moderately recessed presence area take strenuousness from the sound, without deviating too much from the ideal neutral response. All in all, sound seems very coherent and is rather of the “relaxed” neutral kind, just like the UE900, which except for a clearly more recessed presence area (wherefore voices appear somewhat veiled) and an about 1 dB more present bass sounds more or less similar to the Fostex.
    Instead of going the “studio-neutral” path of the Etymotic ER-4S, which can sometimes sound unemotional and overwhelming, the TE-07 takes the slightly relaxed “consumer-oriented neutrality” route.

    Resolution:

    There’s not much to say about resolution at this place, as the Fostex’ is, typically for IEMs with BA transducers, on a high level and exceeds most dynamic IEMs in the same price range.
    Speech intelligibility is superb, and therefore tiny details in the mids and singers’ variations are clear and precisely audible. Treble’s resolution is also very high and keyboard-, wind- and bowed instruments are reproduced very realistically and sound natural, with well audible attack of the keys or the bow’s strokes. Solely the peak at 7 kHz adds little metallic-ness to brushes and hi-hats, but without harshness.
    Also typical for Balanced Armature-based In-Ears, lows are fast, precise and arid, but remain a natural body.

    Compared to other single-BA In-Ears, the TE-07’s resolution is higher than the Phonak Audéo PFE 132’s (which by the way has a minimally softening bass). The Fostex unveils more fine details and has got the more natural treble.
    However, the TE-07 has to give in to the Etymotic ER-4S. Though, the Fostex is much more enjoyable with average and bad recordings due to its moderately recessed presence area and doesn’t make them sound like total junk, unlike the unforgiving ER-4S that only shines with excellent recordings.

    Soundstage:

    Just like most single-BA IEMs I’ve heard, the TE-07 has got a coherent and three-dimensional soundstage which has even got a surprisingly wide lateral expansion, but without neglecting depth.
    Single instruments are very cleanly positioned on the imaginary soundstage and layering seems precisely and natural, with an overall good instrument separation.
    Solely with quite fast music, the Fostex’ soundstage seems a little strained.

    TE-07’s soundstage seems definitely more natural than the Phonak’s, and especially more coherent. In my ears, the Phonak’s soundstage sounds a little fragmented, with an unnatural spatial depth.
    The ER-4S’s soundstage is a bit smaller than the TE-07’s, but has got the better and more precise instrument separation.


    Conclusion:

    The Fostex TE-07 is a pretty good single-BA In-Ear which has got a very balanced and natural sound signature that can convince with a high resolution. Soundstage reproduction is very good, precise and spacious; lows aren’t emphasised, but very precise, fast and punchy.
    The build quality of the IEMs themselves is very good, but on the downside are the somewhat fragilely seeming cable, the for the price range improper silicone tips and last but not least the carrying case which seems actually very valuable and sturdy, but is a little unpractical compared to classic hard-cases or zippered cases.
    But that does no harm to the sound quality, which is the most important criteria for me, wherefore the TE-07 still leaves a highly positive impression in overall evaluation.
      qsk78 likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. 78finn
      I don't really agree that the Etymotic ER-4S is "better". I'm not really sure they have the same target audience. The Etymotic ER-4S is somewhat inefficient and power-hungry at a stiff 100 Ohm impedance, so you really are going to need a headphone amp if you plan on pairing these with an iPhone, iPad etc. Which makes the TE-07 far more portable / user friendly. Both fantastic earphones - but aimed at two very different markets I feel...not really a fair comparison to make.
      78finn, Jan 7, 2016
    3. WhiskeyJacks
      Well Chris, I thought it was a good review and comparison's were appreciated from what you have heard and owned. Do you think there are other earphones that are better for the price point for a similar sound, easy to drive, etc.?
      WhiskeyJacks, Jan 26, 2016
    4. HiFiChris
      Finn, I have to admit that it is true, the Fostex is more on the warmer and down-sloping (yet still quite balanced, natural however not 100% neutral) side - with the louse, thin stock tips, seal just wasn't 100% good. Kind of weird that they used slightly thicker and better tips with the TE-02.


      @WhiskeyJacks
       
      At the same price: Shure SE425 - bit on the darker side of neutral but with mediocre treble extension, sound is more neutral (but also more mid-focused) than the Fostex. Good IEM for the price nonetheless, fast and arid bass.

      At a higher price: InEar StageDiver SD-2 - signature is very similar to Fostex', resolution is superior, bass speed is however not really better (SD-2 is back-vented and rather body-focused and slightly slow for a BA-bass) though more detailed. Core strength is its highly natural character with an excellently 3-dimensional soundstage. Price is a bit high for the performance (my triple and quad-drivers in the same price range are quicker and higher resolving) imo, but still worth keeping in mind how natural and 3-dimensional it sounds - I haven't regretted the purchase. For a step up, the SD-2 is a really hot candidate.
      HiFiChris, Jan 26, 2016

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