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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. ZoneX23
    Quick question guys: will I be able to enjoy the TH-X00 running FLACs off of my LG V20? I don't have any other amps/equipment ... if this wouldn't be worth it, am I better off getting a different pair of headphones?
  2. bsoplinger
    For that setup and as much as I love my pair of Purpleheart I'd suggest the way less expensive on ear (versus over ear of the full sized TH-X00) Massdrop E-MU Purpleheart. I think I paid $80. They aren't the TH-X00 by any stretch but they really do have the same flavor. And are much nicer for a portable setup which your post implies by mentioning using your mobile phone as a player although you could be planning on using it at home in which case ignore the mobile use part of my answer.

    However to directly answer you, the TH-X00 are rather efficient and your phone can drive them to well over safe listening levels. I feel that they sound better with a more powerful source but they'll sound fine with your phone.

    The drop is inactive now. If you aren't aware of how Massdrop works you just sign up then use the link below and click on the request drop. If Massdrop decides to try a group purchase in the future you get an email notification and can purchase then. They have a decent FAQ section that describes their process well. From what I've seen they have a drop of the E-MU every couple / three months.

    ZoneX23 likes this.
  3. Jdnoss
    The TH-X00 will run just fine on the V20 and you will see a benefit down the road if you add something that has a better current drive. For example mine sound good on my DFB but sound better on my NFB-11. You will have similar results. However the elephant in the room is the cable. It is 10 feet long with an attached 1/4" jack and the adapter they come with is bad news bears for any 3.5mm jack. Hosa make a pretty good one that is right angled, but you may want to look into cable modding them or having someone like PETEREK mod them for you. Personally, I cable modded mine for balanced and I am so much happier with them.
  4. VRacer-111
    They will sound really good from most portable gear. However, they will absolutely come alive and astound with the right matching WARM leaning gear though... BAAAASSSSS, dynamics, lovely mids, clarity, and detail level that simply isn't there without it. Please don't stiffle them with 'neutral' gear if you are trying to get the absolute best out of them - I made that mistake initially...
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  5. Leopanda
    These headphones are not that easy to drive as you can think. Yes, they may sound loud from portable devices, but they will not come close to their best sound without proper amplification.

    Fostex drivers aren't easy, so your amp should be able to output no less than 3W at appropriate impedance to control them well. To tame the sibilance it has to work in A class. And it must have low output impedance to improve the low frequencies.
    These headphones are for home use. I thing you'd better look at meze 99's to run out of a smartphone.
  6. DavidA
    While I have a class A amp (Asgard2 - neutral/bright to me) its not an amp that I'd pair with my TH-600 and previous owned TH-X00 since it seemed to do the opposite of tame sibilance to me. FWIW I've tried them with quite a few amps that had way less than 3W output and to me the TH-X00 sounded quite good such as the headphone output of my UD-301 (100mW) since its a slightly warm sounding amp or my Ember (hybrid - 2W)) amp since it has an adjustable output impedance and to me sounds better with the output impedance set to the middle setting (35 ohms) than the low setting (0.1 ohms). Its not about the "watts" that is important but the synergy between the amp and headphone.
    kukkurovaca likes this.
  7. jsmiller58
    (Long time lurker, first time poster!)

    Well, I am almost in the same situation... I have an LG v30 and the Th-x00 Ebony pair. The Th-x00 are actually, surprisingly, a little hard to drive, with volume being a little muted.

    BUT, as an LG v owner you are in luck! If you are not already aware of it the LG auto detects what is hooked up to it and adjusts, but as in all simple processes, sometimes it needs help.

    Two simple modes are low and high impedance mode - they are as simple as that. If the connected headphones are detected to be high impedance, they will be driven harder by the phone, similarly low impedance headphones won’t be driven as hard.

    The issue is that the Th-x00 are low impedance and yet need to be driven harder to achieve decent volume. In this situation you can take advantage of a third mode - “External Audio Device”. This will drive the headphones harder than low impedance mode. But how do you enter that mode?

    Get a male 3.5mm to 3.5mm female adapter. Plug it into the phone first (WITHOUT the headphone plugged into the other end). THEN plug in the headphone into the other end of the adapter. There you have it - much more power into the headphones!

    To confirm this has worked look at the Quad DAC setting in the Sound settings and it will tell you that an ***“External Audio Device”*** is connected - different than the “Normal” and “High Impedance “ modes.

    There is no particular order to disconnect the thing. But ALWAYS do the connecting in this order (first adapter then the headphone).

    As a note - DO NOT TRY TO TRICK THE PHONE INTO THINKING IT IS IN HIGH IMPEDANCE MODE by putting in series an an adapter that introduces higher impedance - that changes the frequency response of your headphones and they may as well be different cans.

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  8. lengyeljani
    Hi! Which Dekoni pads did you get and how do you find them compared to the original pads? Based on previos experience with other headphone/pad variations and going through moedawg's impressions I have an elite hybrid on it's way. Thinking of trying others as well in future drops.
  9. Hazi59
    I was using the Massdrop offered Dekoni Sheepskin Elite th-x00. After the Lawton driver mod, the treble is clearer, but less fatiguing. It sounds stupid to say that cause most of the time more clarity equals more treble. But I believe the Lawton driver mod significantly reduced distortion and tamed some treble anomalies.

    With that being said, I'm now using ZMF Ori Pads and they indeed sound the best in my opinion. You do lose a tad if the bass quantity, but increase the quality. The mids are still there, just barely effected. But the treble now is perfect in my opinion. The cans just sound great now .
  10. designbykai
    Hey guys,

    Recently picked a pair of these up off ebay. Also got the angled sheepskin HM5 pads and they're AMAZINGLY comfy and to my ears the sound didn't change much although I didn't A/B lots.

    I used to have TH600s years ago and I much prefer these, more relaxed and less piercing metallic treble.
    I do wish they had detachable cables like the TH610's, maybe I'll have to get a mod one day.
    But, I also want to get my hands on some TH900s *one day* and the MKII's have detachedables.

    I still love my Sig DJs but these beautiful babies will be my new daily cans for long use sessions; way more comfortable and open feeling with exceptional sound.

    Does anyone have any Amps suggestions? I used to be more into DACs/Amps but these does I'm just running everything out of my audio interface that I run my studio monitors from (Audient ID4).
    However I'd like to get a dedicated dac/amp for headphones soon.
    I was thinking Schiit or perhaps a tube or a tube/hybrid, like the Cavalli CTH Tube Hybrid that's on Massdrop (ending soon).

    The other sleek-looking gear I'm a fan of is the JDS Labs EL DAC + EL Amp. Or the Element for an all in one.. love that knob. Or the O2 amp.
    Anyone tried these?

    My dream amp is a Woo Audio WA7 fireflies... when I can pony up for the TH900s down the road I think that would be a nice combo :)
    Not just yet though!
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
  11. VRacer-111
    If you really want to make the TH-X00 sing, a warm leaning Class A amp would be my recommendation along with a DAC that compliments it. Didn't particularly care for Schiit Bifrost DAC, too sterile sounding. What I really love with both my bass leaning modded TH-X00PH and more neutral leaning TH-X00'PS' is my Gustard X20U DAC and H10 amp combo... H10 has single and dual socketed opamps...which when swapped out for Burson V6 opamps (Vivid singles and Classic duals) really bring it up a notch from stock, and stock is VERRRY NICE! CLEAN, IMPACTFUL subbass, EXTREMELY impactful, clean, and quick midbass, lovely mids that are weighty/full bodied yet very detailed and full of finesse, and highs that are full of energy and extremely detailed yet not fatiguing. Whole range is extremely dynamic and full of energetic, live sound with the X20U / H10 combo and it works well with all headphone I've tried it with. My previous Schiit Bifrost DAC (4490 version) and Meier Audio JAZZ-ff amp were nowhere near as good sounding - really lacking in the low end and dynamics and overall too thin/sterile sounding.

    Thing is, the Gustard H10 is now discontinued and a stock unit is prone to heat related issues... really needs thermal modding for reliability to be a worthwhile investment, because ZERO warranty. For under $300 new I got them for, the H10 is an awesome sounding amp though, even more spectacular once you swap out to Burson V6 opamps. Been listening to a borrowed pair of Focal Elears I'm currently demoing on my H10 amps. if it weren't for the weird highs of the Elear and it's overall more in-your-face presentation, you could almost think you were listening to my STAX L300 setup with Mjolnir Audio energizer and NAD C275BEE stereo amp being fed from the Gustard X20U DAC. The BASS, detail, clarity, and DYANAMICS are all INSANE with Elear on the H10 with V6 Vivid singles and V6 Classic duals.. a little more normal and less detailed sounding on H10 using the stock opamps.

    And if it hasn't already been done, before anything else get the Lawton Audio D.I.Y Tune up kit for driver dampening...you think the TH-X00 sounds good stock? Wait until you actually clear up the sound and bring out much better instrument separation and vocal clarity by dampening the driver frame. Just the driver pieces are wanted though, not the cup dampening as it really affects the bass in a none positive manner...unless you hate the stock bass and want it 'neutered'... You can specify that you only want the driver dampening when ordering and save on cost as well, ~$30 vs ~$50...
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
    koover and chellity like this.
  12. Hazi59
    I use an Audio GD NFB-11, which I consider neutral...but it is class A and my mahogany's SING on that thing. The Schiit Stack i gave made them brighter with less oomph in the bass.
  13. designbykai
    Thanks!! I think I will give this tune up a shot. And also thx for the amp recommendations, I'll check those out.
  14. Hyde00
    Hey this is Hyde from Massdrop, I think I was chatting with you on Massdrop regarding Lawton driver only dampening on the Ebony TH-X00 thread.

    So to recap, I had E-Mu Teak which I did the driver + cup dampening all at once, so at that point it was too hard to tell which did what. Even when I later removed the cup dampening and at that point it was hard to compare before and after. I later purchased a TH-X00 and then did the driver only mod only. And at that point I did a bit of listening before I applied the mod so now we have a baseline for comparison.

    Is it me or after the Lawton driver only mod I find it become a little bit more V shaped. Treble got a little bit emphasized (I guess it gives the feeling of more detailed?) and bass got a little bit punchier (though might have got slightly less clean?).

    Relatively it feels like vocal got a bit more recessed.

    Am I crazy or am I the only one hearing this? This is a one way mod so there is no way to go back (unless I rip off the mod but then it will ruined the adhesive) to compare to "before" again. So I'm basing all this from memory but does anyone else feel the same way? I guess I'm just a little bit sensitive to changes to female vocal volumes when listening.

    (By the way the test is done on all stock TH-X00 and only with Lawton driver only mod)

    Ahhhh this is good to know, because generally we assume it's 25 ohm so it should be fairly easy to drive.

    But you're saying to drive it properly we'd actually need a fairly powerful amp? Hmmmm maybe it's time for me to buy a real amp. I've been just listening them off my USB powered DAC/AMP.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  15. Leopanda
    Hi Hyde,

    I didn't find the headphones to become more V shaped after doing a mod. And bass definitely became clearer than stock.
    I think the reason was in the cups sitting loose and you just screwed them tight, or maybe same thing with pads. If you put your stock earpads on with a little gap between them and the housing (place only 3 pins in the holes instead of 4) you will get noticeably less punch but more clarity.

    I am surprised that you find vocals being recessed. The best thing I like with driver dampening is that vocals are very transparent and audible. Didn't you break the white paper material when applying the mod?

    A better amp will get much more juice out of your headphones. I'd say just take your fostex and go have a listen to several amps somewhere in a local audio shop.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
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