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Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Review

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jude, Nov 24, 2015.
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  1. jude Administrator
    NOTE:  If you can't see the embedded video above, please CLICK HERE to see the video.

    Produced by Joseph Cwik and Jude Mansilla
     
    Massdrop has collaborated on some cool audio products, like the AKG x Massdrop K7XX and the Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX. In this episode of Head-Fi TV, we take a first look at their latest collaboration: The Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 headphone.
     
    EDIT 2015-11-24 1008 EST: Here's the link to the drop: www.massdrop.com/buy/fostex-x-massdrop-th-x00/
     

     
    Products mentioned in the video:

     
    1. Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 semi-closed around-the-ear headphone
    2. Fostex TH-900 semi-closed around-the-ear headphone
    3. Fostex TH-600 semi-closed around-the-ear headphone
    4. Fostex T40RP Mk3 closed around-the-ear headphone
    5. Fostex T50RP Mk3 semi-closed around-the-ear headphone
    6. Fostex T50RP Mk2 semi-closed around-the-ear headphone
    7. AKG x Massdrop K7XX open-back around-the-ear headphone
    8. Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX DAC/headphone amp
     


     ​

    TH-X00_original_FR.jpg
    (Above) Frequency response: Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Mahogany. (Click on image to see full size.)
     ​
    TH-X00_original_THD.jpg
    (Above) Total harmonic distortion (THD): Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Mahogany. (Click on image to see full size.)​
     ​
    TH-X00_purple_FR.jpg
    (Above) Frequency response: Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Purpleheart. (Click on image to see full size.)​
     ​
    TH-X00_purple_THD.jpg
    (Above) Total harmonic distortion (THD): Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Purplegheart. (Click on image to see full size.)​
     ​
    TH-X00_ebony_FR.jpg
    (Above) Frequency response: Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Ebony. (Click on image to see full size.)
     
    TH-X00_ebony_THD.jpg
    (Above) Total harmonic distortion (THD): Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Ebony. (Click on image to see full size.)
     ​
    TH-X00_original_vs_ebony_vs_purple_FR.jpg
    (Above) Frequency response: Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Mahogany (brown), TH-X00 Purpleheart (purple), TH-X00 Ebony (black).​
    (Click on image to see full size.)​
     ​
    TH-X00_original_vs_ebony_vs_purple_THD.jpg
    (Above) Total harmonic distortion (THD): Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Mahogany (brown), TH-X00 Purpleheart (purple), TH-X00 Ebony (black).
    (Click on image to see full size.)
     ​
    NOTE: The measurements reflect diffuse field correction applied via the APx555's input EQ.​
     ​

     
    Audio measurements were made using:
    1. Audio Precision APx555 audio analyzer
    2. G.R.A.S. 45CA Headphone/Hearing-protector Test Fixture
      1. G.R.A.S. KB0072/KB0073 small pinnae; G.R.A.S. RA0045 IEC 60318-4 ear simulators including G.R.A.S. 40AG microphones; G.R.A.S. 26AS 1/4" microphone preamplifier; G.R.A.S. 12AP microphone power module
    3. Rupert Neve Designs RNHP headphone amplifier
    4. Herzan acoustic enclosure (custom)
     


    We will occasionally post Q&A episodes of Head-Fi TV.  If you want to submit any questions (or comments), you can do so via email to tv@head-fi.org.

     
  2. Bevo
    Yay! I can't wait :)
     
  3. project86 Contributor
    FUJI1660.jpg
     
     
    Another day, another interesting Massdrop exclusive. It seems to be a trend by now. The first collaboration we saw was with AKG, resulting in the hugely popular K7XX. While based on the discontinued K702 65th Anniversary Edition, the K7XX has some customization in terms of colors, along with a major price drop compared to the original. That's always welcome. Next came the K553Pro - now a standard model in the AKG line and available elsewhere, it was nonetheless exclusive to Massdrop for several months upon release, and again had a lower price than elsewhere. See the trend?
     
    Next, Massdrop collaborated with pro audio veterans Grace Design to come up with the Grace m9XX USB DAC/amp. That little dynamo seems to represent the direction Massdrop wants to go with these things - not just rebadging or exclusive early releases (although those may still have their place) but actually working with a designer to create a unique product. And of course releasing it at a very competitive price. 
     
    The latest project is a joint venture between Massdrop and Fostex. While Fostex may be primarily known for their popular line of planar magnetic headphones (beloved by DIY modders), they also make studio monitors and lots of other gear - including the highly regarded TH-600 and TH-900 headphones. Those models are an evolution of the older Denon D7000 family which Fostex actually created for Denon.
     
    Massdrop collaborated with Fostex resulting in a new member of the family which, in keeping with Massdrop's naming conventions, is dubbed the TH-X00. And it's very obviously a sibling of the existing models. We get the same magnesium frame, and the same long 6N oxygen free copper cable with fancy 1/4" termination. Massdrop's version has some variation which distinguish it from either sibling without departing too far from the successful formula. 
     
    FUJI1662.jpg
     
     
    The first, and most obvious difference, is found in the cups. While the TH-600 has black magnesium cups, and the TH-900 uses beautiful Japanese birch maple coated with Urushi lacquer, the TH-X00 cups are mahogany with a clear coat finish. Mahogany is a hardwood with plenty of inherent variation. So each TH-X00 has potential to look somewhat unique - think Audio Technica woodies or the Lawton Audio aftermarket cups, where the theme is always the same but subtle variations do exist. Check out these pics to see how the look has subtle changes based on lighting and angle. These are VERY nice cups, better imho than the original D7000 and up there with some of the better aftermarket options I've seen.
     
    FUJI1659.jpg
     
    FUJI1658.jpg
     
    FUJI1657.jpg
     
    FUJI1655.jpg
     
    FUJI1647.jpg
     
     
     
    The next difference is the driver itself, which I'm told is very similar but not quite identical to the others. All models use drivers sporting 50mm "Biodyna" diaphragms (a Fostex name for bio-cellulose) and powerful neodymium magnets.The TH-900 claims a 1.5 Tesla magnetic flux density for a sensitivity of 100dB/mW, and the TH-600 claims 1 Tesla resulting in 94dB/mW. That's the main difference between them in terms of specs. I'm told the new TH-X00 is rated at "over one Tesla" which may place it somewhere in between the two siblings. Interestingly, sensitivity is listed on the box as being the same as TH-600, so I really don't know what to make of it. 
     
    FUJI1643.jpg
     
    Last but not least is the unique pad design which is completely different from that of the TH-600 and TH-900. While those models use a somewhat thin pad which is generally rounded, the TH-X00 has a thicker, asymmetrical design, angled much like the old JMoney pads if not quite as thick. They may actually be closer to the original Denon pads from the D7000 and family. I'm having trouble recalling those since I almost immediately swapped mine out and never used the stock pads again. In any case, Massdrop says the TH-600/900 pads made a huge contribution to their sound signature; and not necessarily in a good way. These new pads are designed to help "tame" the somewhat bright/harsh top end, making for a more smooth, natural presentation. 
     
     
    FUJI1640.jpg  
    FUJI1641.jpg  

     
     
    LISTENING
    First, let's start with the basics. If you've ever worn the similar Denon or Fostex models you'll know exactly how this goes. They are well made yet very light weight which is refreshing in this world of heavy planar designs. The headband, which at first might not seem particularly well padded, ends up being perfectly comfortable due to the low weight. The adjustment mechanism feels solid, with the yolks using the improved hinge system from the Fostex TH models. Apparently the old Denons were known to fail in rather high numbers (mine never had an issue). That, or they just squeaked like crazy. So Fostex changed the design to use a self lubricating washer - problem solved. 
     
    If you're new to the "family", and looking for a great sealed headphone... be aware that these things don't isolate much. The somewhat loose fit combined with the cup design makes for little sound reduction in either direction. So, you'll hear people talking in the room next to you, and they might hear your music if played loudly. They still don't leak as much sound as a true open headphone. We're talking isolation/leakage just barely surpassing "semi-open" models like the beyerdynamic T1. Keep the volume reasonable and you should have much trouble - just don't expect complete silence and isolation. 
     
    Impedance is 25 ohms meaning these things can be driven comfortably from low power sources. A quality smartphone will sound very respectable (you'll need an adapter for the 1/4" plug though), though it obviously won't unleash the full potential of this headphone. They don't need a powerhouse amp in terms of juice but definitely scale well with more a resolving chain. A higher gain desktop amp may actually be problematic when it comes to range of volume adjustment. I ran into that with a few devices including my Questyle CMA800R which sounded killer but was tricky to dial in "just right". I ended up having excellent results with many of the better integrated DAC/amp units I have on hand. The Questyle CMA800i, B.M.C. UltraDAC, Aurender FLOW, and Anedio D2 all drove the TH-X00 exceedingly well. Those results are clearly linked to all the units having very low output impedance, very low noise, and reasonable gain. And, of course, the Massdrop exclusive Grace Design m9XX was a dynamite pairing. It has all the juice one might need, and that top-mounted volume control is a joy to use. 
     
    FUJI1672.jpg
     
    FUJI1649.jpg
     
    FUJI1654.jpg
     
    Unfortunately, my ears prove somewhat incompatible with these new pads. The initial fit seems cramped, like I have to maneuver my ears in a certain way and almost "tuck" them into place. If not, the rear of the pads sits on the helix of my ear, which is not the most comfortable thing for long term listening. The pads are made of a protein leather which seems very similar to those on the TH-600/900 (which Fostex calls "eggshell membrane"). I didn't have trouble listening to the TH-900 for hours, so I'm thinking it's the shape I have an issue with rather than the material. Massdrop tells me they have not heard any other complaints from other testers so this is likely an issue unique to my big, weird head. If you achieved a good fit with the Denon D2000 and friends, you'll likely be fine with these too.
     
    Having fit issues makes it somewhat tough to judge these as I normally would. I just can't put in the hours of listening required to nail down a final conclusion. So I'll have to temper my excitement a bit. Thus far I REALLY like what I hear though. TH-X00 seems to take everything I loved about my old D7000 as well as the TH-900, fixes a bunch of the problems, and sells it for a much lower price (I'll get to that shortly). What's not to like?
     
    The first thing that strikes me about these things is the bass impact. This was something I loved about my D7000, and loved even more about the TH-900. Yep, it's still here, not at all diminished. It hits hard and goes extremely low, with killer sub-bass extension that few other headphones can match. I like to think of the LCD-2 as having great bass but when I compare the TH-X00 to my LCD-2 (pre-Fazor) I'm surprised to find the Audeze somewhat soft in comparison. A little indistinct, where the Massdrop/Fostex collaboration has more definition, or more meat for lack of a better word. Bassheads will love this sound, though I suspect most "regular" folks will too. This is not the type of droning, overbearing thump that tends to annoy... this is excellent, high quality slam which does not step on the mids in the least. If you listen to classic rock or jazz or grunge or pop, these will sound energetic and fun, not necessarily neutral but not too wacky either. If you play something with more propensity to show off bass - Pendulum, Blackmill, Pinch & Shackleton, that sort of thing - the TH-X00 will rumble like few other headphones - but even then it won't become a one trick pony like a Darth Beyer. The bass gets low and loud but remains controlled and doesn't come at the expense of any other frequency.  
     
    The next aspect I enjoy is how open sounding these are. Completely different from the stereotypical "boxed in" feel of many closed headphones, these things could easily be mistaken for open or at least semi-open cans. Soundstage is large and effortless. It won't compete with my HE-1000 and HD800 but for a "closed" headphone it is among the best I've heard. Imaging is accurate but falls a bit short of the best. Still, nothing to complain about here, these things are impressive. You'll definitely want to drive them from an amp with low output impedance. These are among the lowest impedance full size headphones you'll find, so tube amps are generally not such a good match (though I'm sure exceptions can be found). 
     
    FUJI1670.jpg
     
    Highs are one area where I feel the TH-X00 is actually better than the TH-900. I don't hear the same sharpness around 6 or 7 kHz, yet I also don't feel they have diminished capacity for revealing microdetail. While my Stax or HD800 won't feel threatened by the detail retrieval here, the TH-X00 still digs deep enough to satisfy in most situations. I'd call it a good balance, where cymbals ring out with characteristic splash, and brass instruments have the appropriate amount of "blat". I can see how die-hard TH-900 fans might find this model lacking in excitement... but I could also make a case for them being thrilled that the treble is less splashy without losing much energy overall. It's hard to say as everyone describes the TH-900 a little different. Regardless, I think these will prove less polarizing overall due to their superior technical performance. 
     
    Midrange initially seemed more forward compared to my recollection of the TH-900. After more listening I'm still not sure if that's really the case, or if it's merely a byproduct of the superior treble-to-mid ratio. But when I listen for that characteristic midrange dip from the TH-900, which seemed centered around the critical 500Hz range (give or take), I'm not really hearing it here. Maybe just a touch, but very, very minor. I heard a D7000 not long ago that I really enjoyed, and the owner told me it came from one of the last batches made prior to the line being discontinued. It sounded remarkably better than any D7000 I had heard before. I've heard other reliable sources (Tyll included) mention the same thing. Apparently Fostex got their act together on the later models, resulting in a more linear presentation than before. Well, I'd say the TH-X00 has a lot in common with those. Mids are still lush and creamy, but this time around singers aren't buried quite so deep in the mix. This headphone makes a great counterpoint to the HD800 for those times when I just want to let the music flow. 
     
    Did I mention these things will go for $399? Yep, $399 for what is arguably a better headphone than the $1,299 TH-900. Very likely better, based on my admittedly limited experience, than the TH-600 which after recent price drops still goes for $599. The Denon D7000 was $999 before being retired and this TH-X00 is easily on par with that as well. So we're talking killer value here, without a doubt. 
     
    My only reservation is the earpad fit. They just don't work all that well - FOR MY EARS. Not saying that will apply to anyone else but me. Which makes me curious to read the other reviews once this posts, as I can't reliably say this same sound will be heard by others. I had grand plans to pick up a bunch of different pads and see how they work, but unfortunately I ran out of time. So far all I have is the velour pads from my K7XX which don't fit permanently but do stay in place when worn, as a sort of "proof of concept". They sound different, more neutral in the lows and a tad brighter, but still quite enjoyable. This leads me to believe I'm in for quite an adventure rolling pads. I can't even recall which ones actually fit without too much trouble. Alpha Pads? Beyerdynamic velours and gels? HM5 pads? Surely at least SOME of those will fit well. I may have to try the Lawton angle pads too. I wish I still had my old JMoney pads as those were just about perfect on my D7000. 
     
    In any case, Massdrop and Fostex have achieved something pretty special with this release. I almost feel bad because new TH-600 sales will probably drop like a rock after these come out. Maybe Fostex has plans to retire the 600/900 soon anyway. If you're in the market for a "fun" or "musical" headphone, don't want to spend a fortune, don't want something so ridiculously colored that it only works with a few genres, and aren't willing to put up with major flaws just to get your bass fix, the TH-X00 is absolutely recommended. 
     
    The product page can be found HERE and ordering goes live on Friday the 27th. This drop will be limited to 2000 units.  


     
  4. moedawg140 Contributor
    Review: Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00
     ​
    P8480031.jpg
     
     
    Massdrop has been on a serious roll as of late, releasing audiophile/audio enthusiast products within the last few months that are not only amazing listens but are adequately priced as well.  Massdrop created a collaborative result with $199 AKG – the AKG K7XX, helped to design the $99 CEntrance DACport Slim DAC/Amp combo, helped to design the $499 Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX DAC/Amp, and now, helped to design the Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 premium reference headphone.  Fostex has been creating headphones since 1949 and the construction of their headphones is top-notch, so to have Massdrop collaborate with a company as well-versed as Fostex is a consummated marriage made in audio heaven.
     
    Unboxing with front, back and right side
    IMG_1523.jpg    IMG_1524.jpg    IMG_1525.jpg
     ​
    IMG_1527.jpg    IMG_1529.jpg    IMG_1530.jpg
     
     
    Introduction
     
    My journey to the TH-X00 was an eye-opening experience.  I listened to the Fostex TH-900 at the SchiitShow a few months ago, and liked the presentation out of my QP1R.  I was then told that Massdrop - who was in attendance – had a Fostex and Massdrop collaborative headphone available for listening and was gathering audio enthusiast feedback.  I placed the TH-X00 on my head, listened to my demo track, and was frozen.  I played a few other tracks and all that I could say was “WOW”.  “Wow…wow.  This sounds really good.  The bass is ridiculously good.  Everything sounds so crisp, and the bass!  …How much will this go for?” We are looking at pricing it at around $400 shipped.  “What? Oh man!  That is a crazy price, everyone should get this one!”
     
    Ever since that day, I have been communicating with everyone at Massdrop that I knew, and kept communicating with Will Bright, mastermind with the collaborative effort and fruition of the TH-X00.  It seriously did not matter what the subject was, and Will can attest to this – but I tried to add mention of the TH-X00 into the conversation.  It could be about the DACport Slim.  I will throw a mention of the TH-X00.  It could be about the m9XX.  I will indicate how much I want to listen to the TH-X00 again.  I discussed the design of the cups (which will be covered a little later), and just plain how much I loved how it sounded.  I thank Will for supplying a headphone that is not only one of my favorite headphones that I own, but one of my favorite audio equipment apparatuses that I have every listened to in my life thus far.
     
    Since this is a drop that will be available starting 9am EST on the 27th of November 2015 (on Friday) and will cost $399.99 shipped in the United States.  International shippers can use a forwarding partner for an additional charge of $15.  Here is additional info from Massdrop with regards to international shipping (if you live outside the United States):
     
    Because of strict distribution agreements, Massdrop cannot sell-or-ship this product outside the United States. Understanding that there is demand for this product outside of the US, we have negotiated exclusive pricing with a freight forwarding service to help certain individuals join this drop. If you join, please understand that you are purchasing this product and it will be delivered to a US address. It will then be processed for international shipping by a third-party forwarding company. Tracking will be provided.
     
    At check-out, international orders will be charged $15 for the third party freight forwarding service. You will need to input your shipping address as per a normal drop.
     
    I remember paying around that price when I shipped a Japanese-release-only G-Shock watch to my doorstep, so for Massdrop to charge $15 for a heavier and larger box to an international shipper is truly remarkable in my opinion.
     
     
    IMG_7235.jpg
     
     
     
    All TH-X00s purchased in the first drop will arrive well before Christmas.
     
    All TH-X00s are individually serialized and the first 250 purchasers in the TH-X00 drop are guaranteed a serial number below 300.
     
    This review will go into detail about the TH-X00, but I will also include solutions, as you have hopefully watched the in-depth video review of Jude’s video in the TH-X00 review thread, here.  What solutions?  As the review thread took off, people were discussing the pads, and the cable was mentioned as well.  I took apart the TH-X00 to look for a solution for included cable if people would want to replace or change it and will be showing how to perform the replacement further in the review.
    Let’s go on the journey together to audio bliss…
     
    The TH-X00 paired with the Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX
    IMG_1747.jpg   
     
    The TH-X00 paired with the Questyle Audio QP1R
    IMG_1751.jpg
     
     
    Audio equipment used in the review
     
    DAC/Amps
     
    CEntrance DACport Slim: $99 shipped in the United States
    Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX DAC/Amp: $499 shipped in the United States
     
    Headphones
     
    Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00: $399 shipped in the United States
    Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Ebony: $499 shipped in the United States
    Fostex x Massdrop TH-X00 Purpleheart: $449 shipped in the Unitied States
    HIFIMAN HE1000: $2,999
    Master & Dynamic MH30: $349
    Master & Dynamic MH40: $399
    Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 AEi: $349.95
     
    Mentioned headphones
     
    Audeze LCD-XC: $1,799
    Fostex TH-600: $599.99
    Fostex TH-900: $1,499.99
    MrSpeakers ETHER C: $1,499.99 - $1,649.99 (1/4” 10’ and 4-Pin XLR 10’ DUM Cable)
     
    Sources
     
    iPhone 6 (Space Gray, 128GB):  $849.99 or $399.99 with a 2-Year Contract
    Questyle Audio QP1R Golden and Space Gray: $899 USD 
     
    Software Applications Used
     
    JRiver Media Center 20: $49.98
    Sound Level Analyzer: $4.99
    TIDAL HiFi – Lossless: $20 per month or $10 with student discount
     
    Screwdriver
     
    Picquic 06102 Teeny Turner 7 Bit Micro Driver (Assorted Colors): Currently $7.91 (Amazon)
     
     
    Rewind
     
    A few months ago when I listened to TH-X00, I wrote impressions and added it to my QP1R review.  Here’s the excerpt:
     
    The QP1R drives the upcoming Massdrop TH-X00 to very loud levels.  So much so that at the highest volumes on High gain it can clip, only when low synthetic bass emits. Way too loud to tolerate even for a few seconds. At normal to loud listening volumes there are no issues of clipping.  These are lovely headphones that embody ridiculously thunderous bass.  The massaging effect of the bass may be too much for people, but if you are a lover of bass, these are the ones for you.  This is one headphone to put on your short list regarding subbass as I haven’t heard anything that has as much bass slam aside from the TH-900.  The TH-X00 is for listeners seeking a clear sound, with copious amounts of thunderous bass, a coherent midrange and a non-fatiguing treble.  It’s all good under the mahogany wood!
     
     
    Fast Forward
     
    When I was able to listen to my own TH-X00, I was happy that the version that I heard a few months ago from what I remember did not sound slightly or significantly different to my ears, and that alone made me a very happy audio enthusiast.  The bass, the midrange, the treble, are all cohesive and sublime.  Thank goodness, I said to myself, as I breathed a sigh of relief.
     
     
    Build and aesthetics
     
    According to Will, no structural components of the frame are plastic.  Everything is magnesium alloy. Only plastic part is the washers on either side of the earcups where the yolks attach.  This is self-lubricating plastic to avoid the nasty squeaking that people experienced with the Denon D series.  The magnesium alloy looks stately and splendid.   The earcups are made of mahogany with a clear, glossy finish.  This is natural hardwood that's been turned on a lathe, CNC’d out, and coated with a clear, glossy finish.
     
    Mahogany has a lot of natural variation in the color and every set is one-of-a-kind.  Most of the pairs fall into a medium brown color, some may be quite dark, and a couple could be on the lighter brown side. Some pairs may have natural grain variations like burl or knots (very low probability).  My pair is a medium brown color and the glossy finish leads to different variations of the medium brown color hue, depending on the angle you are holding the cups against ambient lighting.  I discussed with Will that maybe another version can have a limited edition color (possibly even less so than the 2000 unit drop limit the TH-X00 currently has on the Massdrop site).  I was thinking maybe a carbon fiber (I really enjoyed the maroon-carbon-type of cup color design the pre-production ETHER C used before going with the all-carbon cup color design for the production models.
     
    Here’s a picture of the pre-production ETHER C model
    image.jpg
     
    The magnesium alloy construction of the TH-X00 helps with reducing overall weight, as 12.3 oz (350 g) is a very respectable weight and weighs less to considerably less than most higher-fidelity headphones currently available in the market.
     
    IMG_1536.jpg    IMG_1532.jpg
     
    The headband of the TH-X00 has a minimal approach as it is not huge and fluffy like some other models, but has a curve that minimizes the padding needed for the TH-X00 to feel comfortable.
     
    IMG_1537.jpg
     
    The “TH-X00” logo and “Massdrop” logo underneath are silkscreened on the inside of the headband above the left earcup.  The “Do Not Trash” and “CE” logos are on top of the serial number on the inside of the headband above the right earcup.  Left and right markings are on the rear of the headband – making it very easy to tell which side your TH-X00 is: if you do not see the L and R markings, turn the TH-X00 around – simple as that!
     
    "L" marking with logos on left side of TH-X00
    P1000063.jpg
     
    P1000077.jpg
     
    The earpads are made of eggshell protein that allows the headphones to be breathable, as real leather is not breathable.
     
    IMG_1533.jpg
     
    The size is just right, not too small and not too large.  For those with small heads, the TH-X00 may be a little large fitting.
     
    The TH-X00s are made in China, as are the TH-600s, and most components of the TH-900.
     
     
    Fit and Comfort
     
    From top to bottom the TH-X00 exudes comfort:
     
    The headband is my favorite fitting band that I have felt out of the headphones that I listened to with regards to comfort, mainly because the curve is engineered as such so it only puts pressure on the top and a portion of the curve of a human’s head.  As mentioned above these are not the smallest headphones, but also not the largest - so finding a position shouldn’t be very difficult at all to achieve.  There are a total of 8 articulating positions available and are best fitted for those that have larger heads.  I have a medium to large-sized noggin, and one adjustment “click” from fully pressed in is all that I need for comfort.
     
    The earcup housing can swivel a good 45 degrees outward from the front on both sides – to the left on the near side of the left earcup, and to the right on the near side of the right earcup.  The headband is elastic enough to significantly allow the earcup housings to be pulled away from each other about 90 degrees.  The magnesium housing is very sturdy and allows for steadfast and confident swiveling.
     
    P1000084.jpg
     
    The earpads, since they are made out of eggshell protein, are breathable and very comfortable.  The earpads are angled from wider from the back and less wide from the front.  The earpads can adjust position by twisting the earpad (not twisting the earpad base) relative to the earcup housing itself– which is an awesome feature to dial in additional individual comfort.  The earpad opening is shaped like an oval and should fit most ears.   As soon as I saw it for the first time, the Master and Dynamic MH40’s stock earpads came to mind, since it uses a similar oval earpad opening design.  Since I have the Master & Dynamic MH40 I was able to measure them both.
     
    TH-X00 earpad on left, MH40 earpad on right
    IMG_1785.jpg
     
    The TH-X00’s earpad opening’s measurements are: Length = 2 3/8 in, Width = 1 3/8, Depth = 7/16 in (Thinnest side/front of head) and 1 in (Thickest side/rear of head).
    The MH40’s earpad opening’s measurements are: Length =2 3/8 in, Width = 1 3/8, Depth = 12/16 (3/4) in.
     
    Even though both headphone earpad opening’s measurements are very similar in length, width and depth, the fact that the TH-X00 earpads are angled and allow adjustability with its position seems to create an overall larger opening and more comfortable experience than the MH40’s earpad opening that has zero earpad twisting adjustability.  Also, a simple twist of the earpad’s base, and the earpad will come off from the earcup housing for easy replacement if need be. 
     
    Here's another comparison, this time with the 1MORE MK801 earpad
    IMG_6088.jpg
     
    1MORE MK801 Earpad Dimensions
    Inner Diameter: Approx. 33 mm/ 1 5/16 in 
    Outer Diameter: Approx. 66 mm/ 2 5/8 in 
    Depth: Approx. 13 mm/ 1/2 in
    Thickness: Approx. 20 mm/ 25/32 in 
     
    TH-X00 Earpad Dimensions
    Inner Diameter: Approx. 35 mm/ 1 3/8 in 
    Outer Diameter: Approx. 103 mm/ 4 1/8 in 
    Depth: Approx. 11mm/ 7/16 in (Thinnest side/front of head) and 25mm/ 1 in (Thickest side/rear of head).
    Thickness (Thinnest side/front of head): Approx. 19 mm/ 3/4 in 
    Thickness (Thickest side/rear of head): Approx. 28 mm/ 1 1/8 in
     
    The stock earpads are very important to the sound signature of the TH-X00 - If you suspect the stock earpads may be too small for your ears, you can purchase compatible angled pads such as the Alpha pads or HM5 pads, as suggested by Will.
     
    Mr Speaker Alpha pads (genuine lamb-leather: https://mrspeakers.com/shop/uncategorized/alpha-pads-genuine-lamb-leather/.
     
    Brainwavz HM5 velour memory foam pads: http://www.amazon.com/Brainwavz-Velor-Memory-Replacements-Earpads/dp/B00MFDX4YO.
     
    Since the headband is easy to articulate, earcup housing is easily malleable and the stock earpads are breathable, this all in my opinion leads to a not very tight fitting headphone, and as a result I would say the TH-X00 is more of a semi-open back headphone than a closed back headphone since there is leakage on both ends of the audio experience – you can hear around your surrounds pretty easily when the volume is low, and others can hear the music you are listening to if you have the volume at least a low-medium and higher level.
     
     
    The TH-X00 stock cable
    P1000116.jpg
     
    The cable with included carrying pouch
    P1000117.jpg
     
    With my Sennheiser 1/4 and 1/8 in adapter cable ​
    P1000124.jpg
     
    The stock cable is gorgeous with the right amount of sheen, thickness, and embodies a tight sheath and braiding around oxygen free copper.  The black, slightly glossy cable is 10 ft long and has a ¼ in plug.  Since the cable is very long compared to most other headphone manufacturers, it is best for home use than traveling around unless you coil the cabling and use twist-ties or Velcro cable fasteners.   The TH-X00 will come with a 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapter for devices that use the 1/8 in/3.5 mm jacks.  For those who may have an issue with the length of the cable, a cable replacement may be in order.  The directions regarding how to replace the cable are in the 
    How to replace cable​
    section of the review.  The Y connect is simple and is an appropriate length at around 17 inches lower than the lowest portion of the earcup housings – more than enough room for not just your neck, but your chest, to breathe.  The 1/4 in gold-coated stereo phone plug has a beautiful, meticulously machined look to it.  The plug is solid and has a black strain relief, as do the earcups.​
     
    The stock cable 1/4 inch plug
    IMG_1540.jpg
     
    The weight of the headphone is a welcome reprieve from a lot of the higher fidelity headphones available in the market.  Not to pick on anyone *cough LCD-XC, cough, hack!*, but a heavy headphone like that one may be a factor for people to consider a lighter weight headphone, even if the sound of it is very enticing.  I could listen to the TH-X00 for hours just based on the lightweight properties – at only 350 grams without the cable, the headphone is enjoyable and comfortable for long listening sessions or walking around the neighborhood without any significant neck strain either.
     
    Holding onto the TH-X00 at the birthing hospital, listening to music during some of the labor until it's time to put it away and help assist with the arrival of my daughter.
    IMG_1556.jpg
     
    Once you factor in the fact the TH-X00 is relatively lightweight, earpad and earcup customization (Lawton, etc.), nicely curved headband, and the fact the stock earpad are eggshell protein and not real leather with leads to breathability, the TH-X00 is a tremendously comfortable headphone, akin to the comfort level of the lighter weight Sennheiser Momentum 2.0.
     
     
    How to replace cable
     
    Below are the steps regarding how to replace the cable (please click photos for larger versions):
     
    Twist earpad base counter-clockwise and remove earpad.
    P1000088.jpg
     
    Use the Teeny Turner and use the Philips bit to unscrew the four screws on top of the earcup housing.
    P1000090.jpg
     
    Place the removed screws in a safe area (on top of the earpad or inside a clear baggie is sufficient)
    P1000091.jpg
     
    Remove the four screws inside of the earcup housing with a skinny screwdriver such as the Teeny Turner
    P1000093.jpg
     
    The shorter screws are for the outside of the earcup housing, the longer screws are for the inside of the earcup housing
    P1000095.jpg
     
    Keep taking out the screws – also the Teeny Turner has a magnet on the end of each bit so it’s easier to remove the inside housing screws, as shown here
    IMG_1716.jpg
     
    Once the earcup is removed you’ll get this – the inside of the earcup
    P1000096.jpg
     
    Here’s the cable connections – two leads
    IMG_1722.jpg
     
    Desolder and solder in a replacement cable
     
    How it looks without the earcup and earpad
    IMG_1723.jpg
     
    Cable threading location (2 angles)
    IMG_1724.jpg    IMG_1725.jpg
     
    The earpad with screws on top, earcup, Teeny Turner and opened TH-X00 earcup housing
    P1000112.jpg
     
    Make sure the earcup housing’s slots line up with the TH-X00 housing area rivets (4 angles)
    IMG_1727.jpg    IMG_1728.jpg    IMG_1729.jpg    IMG_1730.jpg
     
    Screw in the inside screws
    IMG_1732.jpg
     
    If the driver and earcup falls off, no worries, you can tighten the screws more and push the driver and earcup into the housing area rivets
    IMG_1733.jpg
     
    Tighten the screws on top of the earcup housing
    IMG_1734.jpg
     
    Replace earpad and tighten
    IMG_1736.jpg
     
    The earcup and magnesium alloy retainer should be flush and taut with no play when all is screwed in
    IMG_1738.jpg
     
     
    Disclaimer and hearing factors
     
    The TH-X00 sound impressions are mainly for anyone wanting a point of reference regarding how they more or less pair with the iPhone 6, QP1R and m9XX.  Other sources may vary slightly or greatly as the TH-X00 sounds different enough with these three sources to warrant mentioning.  The TH-X00 will have a warmer and pronounced effect in the overall bass region when pairing with the iPhone 6.  The TH-X00 will have a supremely detailed with slight treble and bass with extended detail when paired with the QP1R.  The TH-X00 will have a more balanced and natural approach to its presentation when paired with the m9XX.
     
    We all hear differently, and our experiences with regards to how our interpretation of what we hear vary greatly.  Some factors that come to mind (and not limited), are: 
     
    Your inner ear and skull’s overall composition: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-unique-vibrations-of-your-skull-affect-how-you-hear-music-654940/?no-ist.
     
    Hearing loss as we age, also known as presbycusishttps://www.ohio.edu/news/months/nov1998/111.html,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbycusis.
     
    Heredity, noise trauma, dietary habits, smoking, hypertension, atherosclerosis, are other factors that affect people’s overall hearing ability.
     
     
    Sound impressions
     
    I won’t go into crazy detail, but just know these are some serious headphones.  They are fun, but can also be relaxing and if you listen, the detail retrieval is incredible.  Vocals shine through and the bass is elegantly presented.  The midrange of the presentation that flows down to the bass, are the two stars of your own show.  Articulate, slightly weighty but incessantly smooth would be what I would describe the presentation to embody.  The entire sound signature is enthralling and worth a listen.  It may not be a recommended headphone for those who are looking for a more neutral sounding signature, but for those that want a creamy smooth, enthralling sound with loads of supremely high quality bass, you can look no further than the TH-X00.  These are overall my favorite headphone aside from the much more expensive HE1000.  For the price – oh my goodness the price, you might as well purchase one.  I always say, especially for mostly expensive-for-what-you-get audio equipment, to purchase it and if you don’t like it, a friend or loved one will adore your gift to them!  Wait – this is supposed to be sound impressions!  I know…my apologies.  I just really want everyone (or at least all 2000) people who purchase the TH-X00 to give them a listen.  My sound impressions may not match yours absolutely and completely, but there is really no denying the enveloping bass and thoroughly engaging midrange with the smooth-as-silk treble.  For the price - again…for the price, should be enough to run to the Massdrop site with your fingers or thumbs and give them a purchase.  Back to the sound impressions: paradise.  Okay a few more words of encouragement.
     
    The treble has been smoothed/tamed from the TH-900, and listening back to back it shows.  The treble of the TH-X00 is comparatively smooth, but is non-fatiguing and quite easy to listen with an increase of extended comfortable listening time as a result.  I enjoy treble that isn’t extended at times, and the TH-X00 does a great job in this regard, no additional installation pads are necessary to tame treble that wasn’t an inherent concern in the first place.
     
    The midrange can be daydream inducing.  The midrange takes center stage, but lets the rest of the cast perform sufficiently and to the best of their abilities as well.  Male and female vocals are truly alive, instruments pluck, strum and wale with fabulous aplomb.  The midrange is quite an amazing feat, especially when factoring in the technical abilities of the over one tesla of magnetic flux density.
     
    The area where the magnetic flux density would come into play would surely be the TH-X00’s bass.  The bass may be stated to be lessened from the TH-900, but it is still the thunderous bass that I love about the Fostex TH-900 as well.  The TH-X00, aside from the TH-900 has the most favorite sounding quality bass that I have ever heard from a headphone.  Deep, hard hitting, but not obnoxiously so.   Tight and controlled with ever so slight reverberation and decay means you can feel the bass as well.  Add in equalization and possibly an amp with bass boost options and you have an audiophile quality basshead headphone in your hands.  Even without the EQ and bass boost, the bass is magnificent.   The bass may not be as accentuated as the Master & Dynamic MH30, but the bass is controlled and tighter sounding when comparing the two.  Addicting – enough for me to think of it for months after listening to the TH-X00 for the first time months ago.
     
    The soundstage is pretty immense for its 50mm driver and stock large earcups that don’t have the tightest of seals.  We are not talking about a seemingly massive soundstage of the open back and much larger drivers of the HIFIMAN HE1000, but the TH-X00 does a better than average job with regards to conveying a believably natural soundstage.  This will be a thick sounding soundstage for some sources, and wide and invigorating for other sources.  Paired with the QP1R the soundstage of the TH-X00 seems to widen compared to most if not all sources that I’ve listened to.  Pinpointing instrument placements in most genres is an easy task, and the detail is natural sounding with smoothness attached to the spatial facets of the TH-X00.
     
    Overall, the auditory presentation of the TH-X00 is lovely and is easy to toe-tap or relax - kick back your feet if you are so inclined – it’s a jack of all trades and master at most.
     
     
    The TH-X00 Modification
     
    I have been enjoying the immensely engaging and palpable sound of the TH-X00 for quite a while, but ever since I laid my eyes on the mahogany headphone, I thought the affixed, non-detachable cable was a little too long for my wants and needs at 10 feet.  I immediately wanted a shorter cable, and thought that making the TH-X00 modified with connectors would be a satisfying experience. 
     
    Where do I start?  For starters I have seen modifications but haven't gone through any type of headphone modifications myself - until this process. I knew for sure that I wanted a shorter cable, and a detachable cable connector in the TH-X00 that did not involve making any physical modifications to the wooden earcups or structural housing as well. 
     
    First, I contacted Ted Allen (@teds headfood) from Headphone Lounge to find out about headphone connectors that could possibly be used for the TH-X00 since I knew Ted made some immaculate headphone cables (I own a couple of his Silver Litz cables - simply amazing). He recommended the HIFIMAN SMC connectors for the modifications after discussing connectors such as 2.5 and 3.5mm terminations. 
     
    During this time, I contacted Brian Goto (@Pingupenguins) from BTG Audio, because I know that he makes great sounding cables (I own a couple of his Starlight cables). On his website I saw that he offered the detachable cable modification of the TH-900, using HD 800-type connectors, but it looked like the earcups were physically modified, so that took that possibility out of the equation for me. 
     
    Wanting more input of what terminations I could use, I contacted Brandon Peterek (@PETEREK) from AudMod on Etsy, and after the first couple of exchanges, I knew he was a person I wanted to do business with, not only because he has a lot of experience modifying a multitude of headphones (check his thread (http://www.head-fi.org/t/779584/peterek-formerly-ccaspertfg-mod-cable-thread/) for various headphones he has modified), but because his communication is fastidious, direct, courteous and eloquent as well.  What I like about people that I communicate with is that they keep me updated about what's going on.  All of my parts took a while to come in (the DHC Nucleotide V3 cable was the main culprit), as well as the holidays played a part in the overall delay, but Mr. Peterek keep me in the loop what was happening.  When I had an issue with the final product, Mr. Peterek was immediate and fixed the issue without any worries.  It's one thing to be courteous when everything goes right before the sale.  However Mr. Peterek was just as courteous and helpful even after the sale and after I received my headphones back from him -- this is what truly makes his customer service first-rate.
     
    With regard to the modification of the TH-X00, Mr. Peterek recommended that I go with the SMC connectors since there won't need to be any modifications done to the wooden earcups. The HD 800 connectors can be installed, but there would be physical modifications that would been to be done (cutting into the wood and frame) - I'll stick with the SMC connectors. 
     
    I wanted to use the stock cable as well so I had him terminate the headphone connectors of the stock cable to SMC so I could use the 10 ft stock cable with the modified TH-X00. 
     
    I wanted a shorter than stock cable that was 5 ft in length, copper, and terminated to SMC connectors.  Mr. Peterek suggested DHC copper "Nucleotide" (24 AWG OCC copper) to be used for the additional cable.  I have had first-hand experience of listening to a DJ Khaled H6 connected to a stock cable and then exchanging with a DHC cable - hearing a positive difference between the two.  I did not hesitate to request the DHC Nucleotide.  
     
    At this point I contemplated if I should keep the TH-X00 stock cable from the driver to the SMC connector or replace it with DHC Nucleotide.  After much deliberation with myself, I decide that going with upgraded wire was an option that I should go for, since I wanted to have a seamless integration from the driver to the Nucleotide 5 ft cable that I would use most all of the time.  I also wanted the thinnest 3.5mm plug that I can find, so I chose the quality 3.5mm DHC Elite mini plug instead of the slightly thicker in diameter Eidolic plugs that I am used to.
     
    The materials that are used for the modification are:
     
    HIFIMAN SMC connectors for the TH-X00 and HIFIMAN SMC connectors for the stock cable and DHC Nucleotide cable.
     
    DHC Nucleotide V3 24awg stranded OCC copper: http://www.doublehelixcables.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=2.
     
    DHC Elite 3.5mm mini plug: http://www.doublehelixcables.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=136.
     
     
    Impressions
     
    Simply amazing.  The TH-X00 sounds as blissful as I remember, and the added benefit of the detachable cable modification is almost a necessity for my wants and needs.  With the addition of the 5 ft Nucleotide cable, I can use the TH-X00 much easier as a portable headphone if I so choose, since I will not have to worry about the management of a 10ft non-detachable cable.  The soldering (Mr. Peterek uses high silver content solder) and the SMC connectors that are connected to the TH-X00 are gloriously beautiful.  The 5 ft cable feels supple and the braiding is something to behold - it often elicits people to touch and look at the cable in awe.  The DHC cable utilizes no Y-connect splitter, so the overall look of the cable is more subtle, and weighs less as well, especially compared to the sleeve-wrapped and thicker stock cable.  The clear over-molding of the SMC connectors at the DHC cable, stock cable (black for left and red for right) and black over-molding at the 3.5mm plug of the DHC cable is tasteful, as PETEREK is blazon over the length of the over-molding.
     
    This is the result of my research and Mr. Peterek's excellent work:
     
    Reterminated Stock Cable with Modified TH-X00 in the Background
    THX001.jpg
     
    Closeups of the DHC Nucleotide V3 Cable
    THX002.jpg
     
    Epic Braiding
    THX003.jpg
     
    DHC Nucleotide V3 Cable with Clear and Black Over-Moldings
    THX004.jpg
     
    Modified TH-X00 Pictures
    THX005.jpg
     
    THX006.jpg
     
    THX007.jpg
     
    THX008.jpg
     
    THX009.jpg
     
    DHC Nucleotide V3 Cable Connected to Modified TH-X00
    THX0010.jpg
     
    Another View
    THX0011.jpg
     
    The Setup
    THX0012.jpg
     
    Driver to SMC Connector Connected with DHC Nucleotide V3 Cable 
    THX0013.jpg
     
    Showing the High Silver Content Solder
    THX0014.jpg
     
    I sincerely thank Mr. Peterek for the services provided, and I wholly recommend @PETEREK to anyone wanting modifications performed to their headphones.
     
    If you would like to experience the same modifcations as I, here are the prices for the services (you can email/PM @PETEREK if you have any questions as well):
     
    Detachable cable SMC modification and reterminating stock cable: $110
     
    5 ft DHC Nucleotide V3 Cable: $105
     
    You can request that Mr. Peterek use higher quality wire between the connectors and drivers for an extra cost.
     

     
    E-MU Ebony earcups (Refers to my TH-X00 Mahogany changed to E-MU earcups, with DHC internal wiring)
    P1000347.jpg
     
    I had the chance to purchase the E-MU Ebony Earcups when they were available at this year's Canlanta, in Atlanta, Georgia.  My friend let me choose the cup style I wanted - one pair was more subtle-looking with no lighter brown swirl, and one pair was a lighter brown swirled version.  I chose the lighter brown swirl version because I thought it looked more interesting and unique.
     
    The E-MU Ebony earcups are heavier than the Mahogany, and may be noticed once you change to the E-MU Earcups from the Mahogany.  Some may barely feel a difference, and some may really feel the diffrence.  Initially I did feel a difference since I could clearly feel the difference in weight when both earcups were off, but got used to the weight after wearing it and carrying it around after a couple of days.  The E-MU Ebony embodies a bassy and textured signature, in addition to the warm and intimate sound Mahogany owners have come to love.  Compared to the Mahogany, the E-MU Ebony has noticable bass response, but may seem slightly boomier in sound, but still sounding very good.  The E-MU Ebony is a good choice if you want even more bass compared to your Mahogany earcups, but may experience slightly less clarity and detail across the frequency spectrum as a result.
     
     
    TH-X00 Ebony
    IMG_8015.jpg
     
    It is no secret, I really adore the TH-X00 Mahogany - ever since I heard the Mahogany at the SchiitShow last year, I knew it was:
     
    One of the best sounding headphones that I've listened to that taylored to my sonic preferences, and:
     
    A headphone that a lot of people were going to enjoy - especially for the price-to-performance ratio.
     
    After changing the Mahogany earcups to the E-MU Ebony earcups, I heard the differences, and liked the increased bass response, but didn't necessarily enjoy the perceived slight loss in ulitmate resolution. 
     
    I received the TH-X00 Ebony headphone to audition, several weeks after listening to my TH-X00 outfitted with the E-MU Ebony earcups.  The TH-X00 Ebony earcups look very dark like the darkest of brown or black, but, when close, you can see not only the lighter brown wood grain and patterns, but you see subtle, classy, yet substantial detail that pictures aren't able to show with superlative success.  Weight between the E-MU Ebony earcups and the TH-X00 Ebony earcups is less obvious than the Mahogany compared to the E-MU Ebony earcups.  The TH-X00 Ebony is slightly heavier than the E-MU Ebony earcups and the TH-X00 Ebony earcups sound and feel denser than the E-MU Ebony earcups.  I was able to hear the difference that the Ebony made over the E-MU Ebony earcups.  Some may think that the difference is from dusk til night, but I hear enough of a difference that it was afternoon to night, to my ears.  The TH-X00 Ebony emits a more smooth sound, with more smooth transitions between all areas of the sound, with bass that was palpable and full of quality texture, but hits just below utter-basshead levels.  Detail is high, transparency and air is further perceived, and you may feel that the TH-X00 has reached another level of performance.  Some might feel the difference isn't that much, and some may feel the difference is immense, as many factors will influence how and what we hear. 
     
    TH-X00 E-MU Ebony and TH-X00 Ebony
    IMG_8012.jpg
     
    By now, I was certain I enjoyed the TH-X00 Ebony more than the E-MU Ebony earcups.  I needed to listen to a Mahogany - and as soon as possible, so I could listen to all three headphones at one listening session to arrive at a better understanding of the three earcups.  I drove my friends @ejong7 and @shiorisekine to Schiit Audio's headquarters (I took them to Mr Speakers and UE the day before - a lot of driving!), and I knew there was a chance I could possibly listen to Schiit Audio's TH-X00 Mahogany because I remember seeing Ms. Martin carrying a pair at this year's CanJam SoCal.  After having a very productive and informative tour from Mr. Stoddard, he had a Mahogany on a headphone stand on his desk.
     
    Me - "Yes! You've got one!  Thank goodness.  May I please listen to it?"
     
    Mr. Stoddard - "Sure!"
     
    Me - "Thanks - I need to listen to yours so I can compare it to this." (I pull out the TH-X00 Ebony)
     
    Mr. Stoddard - "Oh, nice!  Should I get it -- how do you like it?"
     
    I let him know my thoughts, but then I said: "If you want one, make sure to not wait too long to get one, since there will be a 1000 made for the drop".
     
    I listened to and compared the three headphones at the same time:
     
    TH-X00 EM-U Ebony, TH-X00 Mahogany, TH-X00 Ebony (Below represents most what our eyes interpret the look of the headphones)
    IMG_8037.jpg
     ​
    After listening to all three back to back to back, I will say that all three bring sonic flavors to the table that may be preferred over the other.  I feel that there is no one better headphone since each one can be seen as being the best based on different people that listened to the headphones.  With that said, I feel the TH-X00 Ebony is my overall favorite, since it emits a more smoother and detailed sound, with enough bass to satisfy most all people of the world - except for those that must have TACTION-level bass response and visceral performance.  However, the Mahogany is around 100 grams lighter in weight than the TH-X00 Ebony, and doesn't sound completely different to the Mahogany - I can be happy with the Mahogany since I adore how it sounds.  I can also see wanting to listen to the Ebony as well since it does sound more resolute to my ears.  The Mahogany is also less expensive than the TH-X00 Ebony and E-MU Ebony (the price of the earcups) as well.  If you already own a Mahogany, love the sound and don't have the want to purchase the TH-X00 Ebony, then you may have answered your potential purchase question(s) right there.  If you want a different take on the Mahogany sound, want more resolution, air, delicacy and sweetness, then the Ebony, in my opinion, is the ticket.
     
    The TH-X00 Ebony and how it looks on my head
     ​
    The bright lighting shows how there are different variations of the wood (looks black and/or very dark in normal lighting conditions)
    IMG_7956.jpg   ​
     ​
    (Below represents most what our eyes interpret the look of the TH-X00 Ebony)
    IMG_7979.jpg   ​
     ​
    The bright lighting shows how there are different variations of the wood (looks black and/or very dark in normal lighting conditions)
    IMG_7994.jpg
     ​
     
    I'll be listening to the Purpleheart soon with the Ebony, and I'll add my impressions and comparisons in the next section of the review.  I will also have the TH-X00 Ebony in tow for this Saturday's Wikia Meet in San Francisco, California, so if you are attending and want to listen, see me, and you can listen to your heart's content!
     
    For now, the Ebony is the pinnacle of my TH-X00 journey, one that I am happy to be a part of.
     
    Both Ebonies are gorgeous
    P1000363.jpg

     
     
    TH-X00 Purpleheart at the Wikia SF Head-Fi Meet
     
    I was able to listen to all four TH-X00's at the Wikia Head-Fi Meet in San Francisco, CA and exhibit all of the headphones with the help of @CEE TEE bringing a Purpleheart to the meet; thanks for that!  The Purpleheart and all TH-X00 variations were exhibited in a corner of a large table in the Questyle room.  Thanks to @bSquared64 for providing the space!
     
    The Questyle room at Wikia's Headquarters in San Francisco, CA
    IMG_8138.jpg
     
    I spent some time to listen back to back with the Purpleheart and the Mahogany, Ebony, and my E-MU Ebony as well, and even though the sonic differences were not very difficult to distinguish, it further made it really tough to choose a favorite headphone of the bunch.  I know - it may not be what you want to hear ("just pick one!") but it is much more than that.  Every headphone variation had a lot of pros and very few, if at all, cons.  
     
    From top left, clockwise: TH-X00 Ebony, TH-X00 Purpleheart, TH-X00 E-MU Ebony (modified), TH-X00 Mahogany
    IMG_8119.jpg
     
    The Purpleheart is the bassiest of the four, and extends into the treble as well; also weighing less than the Ebony.  This is the choice if you want the most slamming bass of the TH-X00 variants and possibly the closest to the TH-900 sound signature of the four, based on my multiple extended auditions of the TH-900.  
     
    IMG_8136.jpg
     
    The Ebony is the smoothest sounding of the four, but is also the heaviest, with very quality bass and very good reverberating rumble.  This is one that you want to get if you can't foresee minding the extra weight compared to the other TH-X00 variants, and are seeking for the most smooth and possibly resolving TH-X00 in the midrange and midbass areas of the frequency spectrum.
     
    IMG_8137.jpg
     
    The E-MU Ebony is a more raw form of the Mahogany and Ebony since it has slightly less detail than the Mahogany and Ebony.  The E-MU emits a little less bass than the Purpleheart, and is a good choice if you want a little more texture and true grit than the Mahogany.
     
    Using the Mahogany as a metric and a base, it is the more balanced sound of all four, with very good bass, creamy mids and delectable highs.  
     
    Compared to the Purpleheart, the Mahogany is the more buttoned-down approach to a fun sound.  The Purpleheart is the all-out effort to slam with the best of them.  
     
    When you listen to the Purpleheart and E-MU Ebony, you can hear the difference, as the Purpleheart is the slightly bassier headphone and the E-MU Ebony is the more textured headphone.  
     
    Listening to the Purpleheart and Ebony back to back is where you start to have an appreciation for both of the inherent sound signatures, and that's where it gets to be that much more difficult to choose one that ticks all of your boxes.  Now, I'm not saying to purchase two (or am I), but the reason why I have multiple headphones is that I have different moods.  If I'm in the mood for a treble heavy but beautiful sound, I won't pick up a TH-X00, I'll pick up my ENIGMAcoustics Dharma D1000.  If I'm in the mood for an immensely immaculate presentation of audio, I'll pick up my HIFIMAN HE1000 and become lost in the music.  If I'm in the mood for a smooth, fun take on sound, I'll pick up the TH-X00 Ebony and cherish it.  If I'm in the mood for a bassy, V-signature, very vivacious sound, then I'll pick up the Purpleheart. 
     
    Now you've read about the four TH-X00 variants, and one is not better than the other because each headphone has its own qualities that have been brought to the table.  Choose the one that fits your mood:
     
    Purpleheart - most quantity of bass, most fun sound.

    Ebony - smoothest sound with quality bass.

    E-MU - slightly gritty with slightly rolled-off treble and loads of bass.

    Mahogany - tried and true, balanced in all spectrums with engaging bass lift.
     
    Or just catch 'em all.
     
     
    To hype or not to hype
     
    If you believe in hype, then all aboard the hype train!  If you don’t believe in hype, no worries, the TH-X00 is not hype.  It is quite simply the truth, a headphone that sounds utterly marvelous in its presentation, no hype (positive or negative) is necessary at all.  This is one headphone that a lot of people are going to enjoy.  I usually do not make claims like that, but I believe it – the TH-X00 will be a staple for audio enthusiasts and casual listeners alike to love for many years to come, in my opinion. 
     
     
    Is the TH-X00 worth it?
     
    Out of all of the headphones that I have listened to, from the free headphones you get when you board planes, all the way up to the $16,000 and more original Orpheus, for $399, there may never be a headphone again that emits a sound that the TH-X00 does, that may be worth multiple times the amount they are being sold for.  For $500 I would not bat an eye. $1,000 even.  Seriously.  For the $399 it is a startling price for the beautiful sound the TH-X00 produces.
     
    The TH-X00 says:​
    Experience me…”​
    P1000115.jpg
     
     
    Final thoughts
     
    The TH-X00 is the closest to $399 perfection as you are going to get with regards to a headphone.  The TH-X00 expresses immersive presentation, excellent bass, smooth as velvet midrange, suave treble and a soundstage and detail that is above average because of the clarity of the frequencies presented to you.  What more can you ask for?  Add in the price and you should be sold.  Buy one, listen to it and enjoy for years to come.  If not, give it away to friend or loved one so they will like you and love you even more than they already do.
     
    Specifications
     
    1. Fostex x Massdrop
    2. Closed-back design
    3. 50 mm dynamic transducer
    4. Magnesium alloy construction
    5. Mahogany earcups, brilliant gloss finish
    6. Leatherette earpads, matte black
    7. Magnetic flux density: >1 tesla
    8. Impedance: 25 ohms
    9. Sensitivity: 94 dB/mW
    10. Maximum input: 1,800 mW
    11. Frequency response: 5–45,000 Hz
    12. 10 ft (3 m) thick, braided Y cable
    13. 1/4 in (6.3 mm) gold-coated stereo phone plug
    14. Weight, without cable: 12.3 oz (350 g)
    15. Weight, with cable: 17 oz (482 g)
     
    Included
     
    1. Carrying pouch
    2. 2-year warranty
    3. 1/4" to 1/8" adapter (for use with portable devices)
     
  5. Jeff Y
    $399... 'Nuff Said.
     
    AT Khan likes this.
  6. moriez
    Ridiculous nice price [​IMG]
     
  7. inseconds99
    Those ear pads would need to be changed immediately with the biggest Lawton pads available. Thinking about trading my th-900's for a high end dac/amp and buying these.
     
    Karnitool12 likes this.
  8. Fegefeuer
    When will it drop?
     
  9. moriez
    https://www.massdrop.com/buy/fostex-x-massdrop-th-x00
     
    Fegefeuer likes this.
  10. abhinit90
    Cannot wait!!!
     
    All aboard the hype train.
     
    moriez and AT Khan like this.
  11. Fegefeuer
    requested 
     
  12. hekeli
     
    How about some pad measurements?
     
  13. ejong7
    It just missed the boat for me on this one. As a person who owns the TH900, if the X00 was fully closed with great isolation then it would be kind of a no brainer for me. To get the Fostex sound on the go is crazy. But that said to have a sound thats akin to the 600/900 at $399 is simply ridiculous. So for anybody who haven't had a pair of Fostex's just throw your money at Will and Massdrop.
     
  14. ATau
    Wow now this was completely unexpected!
    I'll be lurking on Massdrop until they launch the drop [​IMG]
     
  15. project86 Contributor
     
     
    Good call, I'll jump on that when I get a moment (unless Will from Massdrop happens to have the info handy already and beats me to it).
     
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