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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. elvergun
    I got my THX00 one day ahead of schedule, so I will not the the last one to get the headphone in the US. [​IMG]
    My first impression (really quick since I was on my way out, only half a song) was that the D2000 is better.   My impressions mirrored those of MattTCG, specifically when it came to the bass.   I thought it was a little lose and boomy.  The soundstage was narrower when compared to the D2000.  Something was just off.  
    When I came back, the first thing I did (before even having another listen) was to replace the pads with those I was using with the D2000 (pleather HM5 pads).   Wow, what a difference.   The boom is gone, and the soundstage is now much wider.   I then put the THX00 pads on the D2000 and the bass was increased on the Denon and it sounded a little flabby.  Also, the soundstage became constricted...and something was just off.   For my tastes, the stock pads suck big time.    The HM5 pads are also more comfortable; there is room in there for huge ears.
    I'm going to order another set of pads HM5 for the Fostex ASAP.  
    The THX00 is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.    It sounds at least as good as the D5000 and the D2000 -- you can tell they are all siblings.   I was thinking about purchasing a TH600 when Massdrop released this model.   The THX00 is cheaper and better looking.  I am a happy camper.
    Here are some pictures with the HM5 pads:
  2. mandrake50
    I got mine today. I can't nor want to match all of the eloquent but non-defined  (to me) terms thrown around so far. 
    They sound good to me out of the box. I listened to some old favorites and some nice 192/24 binaural tracks. . I only spent about an hour.
    The headphones so far have a very interesting and welcoming sound signature. Only having read impressions of the other TH Fostex headphones,
    these seem to have attained the goals that were set out. I find non fatiguing highs. The bass is not overbearing, but nice. My nemesis (it aggravates me) sibilance is not a problem.
    Sound stage, which I generally define in fractions of an inch, one way or another, is OK. Lateral better than some closed headphones. Depth, front to back, not impressive, but OK.
     They are worth more head time. Give them some time on my head and with voltage going through them. I will say more later. As of now, I am happy that I got in to the drop.
    BTW the wood is nice. Looking at it in good light shows some nice depth to the grain. Moving them in the light makes the grain almost glitter. The finish has some minor flaws. Not as good as I would do by hand... but these are mass produced.
  3. TMRaven
    Got mine in today. My initial impression is that they're slightly v-shaped as well, but in a tasteful manner. Actually they're more like what Purrin described, and more like a w-shape. So in that manner, I think they're both warm and slightly bright at times-- depending on the recording. Bass isn't as bloated as what early impressions from others lead me to believe. The mid-bass is well controlled and doesn't show much sign of bleeding into the low midrange. Low bass can be a bit tubby, but I actually like it like that, as it gives drier recordings or anything done in a studio a nice wet meaty reverb/foundation. Testing it out on live recordings now in more realistic rooms... hmm, slightly bloated for my tastes but still well within reason. Honestly I blame most of the wooly comments on a lot of the Head-Fi populace that probably doesn't have any idea about a good damping factor when amping.

    I was worried about the upper midrange sounding shouty and plasticky based off the measurements... doesn't seem to be the case; timbre accuracy is nice.

    I do detect some lack of lower midrange presence that the HD800 and PM3 had based off of memory. 

    The wood cups are nice, and mine don't have any blemishes. These things are much lighter than I thought they would be. So light in fact, that the cups almost don't seem like they're actual wood. When tapping on the wooden cups I get a lower pitched ding, but it sounds plasticky from the outside, these are high gloss indeed. That's no complaint, just an observation, and lighter is always better for comfort anyways.

    The earpads aren't as bad as I was led to believe based on other impressions either. My god, the openings are small, but their contour allows for more ear space than what the openings would otherwise indicate. Very much like the old DX000 series based off my memory.

    Anyways those are first minute stream of conscious impressions. I like what I hear so far.
  4. jamor
    I actually like these better than my Philips X2.   They make the X2 sound more veiled.  The THX seems to bring the mids forward a bit more for better guitar in rock music like Live Phish (amazing on these cans).  chunkier riffs.  The X2 is also noticeably more sssssibilant while the THX has much smoother S vocals.  Better Bass than the X2.  Deeper and more capable in the mid range and sub range.   Intimate 1st row soundstage on THX and more veiled wider soundstage on X2. 
  5. KetchupNinja
    They look great with the HM5 pads!  I have a set of hm5 pads ready and the hybrid memory foam pads on the way.  Will give my input as soon as I receive them.
  6. korotnam
    How much would it cost me to convince you to hook a brother up? [​IMG]
  7. lglions
    Just got mine. UPS finally reached the West Coast. SN 250. Breaking them in to get a proper sound.
    From the first try - reasonably comfortable (much better than I expected from reading reviews about earpads). They look extremely classy with well matched wood on both caps.
    Fed them from Oppo HA-2. Happy with the initial sound impressions. Of course, bass is well represented. Pleasant sound signature. But I will reserve my judgement until they will have 24h+ on them. 
    Once they will have few hours on them, will try them with tube amp. 
    Nice, thanks for the pics.
    Other people didn't like the HM5 pads on these. Glad to hear you think they are good.
    Cant wait to get my THX and HM5 hybrid pads.
  9. qsk78
    Has anyone tried Lawton Angel Pads on them?
  10. Sonido
    I finally got a chance to listen to these today thanks to fjrabon and was able to compare them side by side with the TH900. The setup was m9xx as DAC into my Bakoon HPA-01M on current mode. If you search TH900 and Bakoon, you'll find universal praise for this pairing, with many saying it's the best amp for the TH900. As far as mods go, everything was stock for both headphones i.e. pads and cable.

    So how do they compare? Honestly, these are very close in signature, with the TH900 being a bit more V shaped. I think a lot of people misunderstand V shape and think it means drowned out mids. It may be the case for Beats or consumer headphones, but that's not the case for the TH900 imo. Consumer headphones give a bad rep to the V shaped sound because they generally have a mid bass hump that bleeds into the mids. What sets the TH900 apart is how the bass is presented. The bass on the TH900 is more controlled compared to the TH-X00, but most notable to me is the bass boost for the TH900 is in the sub bass, whereas the TH-X00 had more of a mid bass bump. This helps the mids on the TH900 stay coherent and transparent because the mid bass isn't so boosted that it competes with the mids. Even though the mids are less forward compared to the TH-X00, it was still very clear.

    I felt the TH900 was more transparent and seemed to have a blacker background as well. I think this was due to a couple things. First, the TH900 has more treble. It may bother some, but it does not bother me. Also this treble is very refined and not glaring like the treble issue I had with the AKG K812. This adds air and allows you to hear more details. Finally, I found the TH900 to have better soundstage, probably because of the cups. The TH-X00 cups surprised me in that it was quite comfortable. However, I felt it congested the sound compared to the TH900 cups.

    So overall signature the TH900 to me sounds more transparent and refined due to the treble, better soundstage, and less mid bass bump to compete with the mids. The mids on the TH900 is less forward, but not in any way drowned out.

    However, there is one big caveat. The sparkly treble can be polarizing and is fatiguing to some. If that's the case, the TH-X00 is probably the more appropriate headphones for you to listen to. But for those like me who don't have issues with elevated but refined treble similar to the treble of the HD800, then the TH900 are a definite upgrade over the TH-X00. Is it a $900 upgrade? Probably not, at least not in the linear sound quality per dollar sense. I think going from HD600/650 to HD800 is a bigger jump than from TH-X00 to TH900. To me the TH-X00 is 85-90% of the TH900 and you'd be really trying to get that last bit of refinement and transparency. However, I can see this difference in transparency can deter those used to TOTL headphones. I was talking to MattTCG about why he sold his TH-X00 and I'd bet the lesser transparency of the TH-X00 compared to the likes of Ether or HD800 was a major turn off.

    The verdict from me? If you have no issues with elevated refined treble and you have the money to spare, get the TH900. Otherwise the TH-X00 is a damn good value at $400, and imo, easily besting the likes of $600+ headphones like the Audioquest Nighthawk or the Audeze EL8/EL8C, and I don't mean in value here. It's comparable in value to the Hifiman HE-500 I used to have, except the TH-X00 isn't as finicky with amping which adds to the value.
    legcramp, sghound, Wilashort and 7 others like this.
  11. bclark8923
    Pretty much exactly how I feel about the TH-X00 vs TH-900. I'm one of those people though who are sensitive to the treble and had to sell off my TH-900 but these TH-X00 while no longer fatiguing are missing those other elements of detail, transparency, and soundstage. Not a bad headphone for $400 though!
  12. Sound Eq
    would using those pads add a more secure fit that does not fall off your easily than using the regular pads as sometimes i like to push the headband way to the back of my head
  13. Change is Good
    To those who own both the TH-X00 and K7XX, which is the brighter headphone? How does the treble compare between the two?
  14. lmfboy01
    Mine scheduled to arrive Tomorrow! Cant wait!
  15. Liu Junyuan
    Nice comparison to the HE-500. I am listening to the HE-500 now to compare with the Fostex. Both are wonderful headphones, but out of my current setup, I prefer the HE-500. This is a major caveat though, since I have sold all my amps that would pair best with the Fostex and with the HE-500 being very well driven by the LF 339. The Fostex, of course, should thrive best on a nice low output impedance SS amp or a ridiculous EC tube amp. The treble is more extended on the HE-500 but more grainy than the Fostex. Out of my current setup, I prefer mids from the HE-500--bass is comparable on both, though with a more suitable amp, the Fostex might win here. 
    I need to get an affordable SS amp again to let this headphone have a chance. 
    I will say that it sounds excellent from even my phone and the 339, but experience tells me I need to provide it the proper synergy, and I have no doubt I am keeping this headphone.
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