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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. Dadbeh
    how does it compare with LCD-2C in terms of bass?
  2. VRacer-111
    Planars have excellent bass, but the TH-X00PH has BASS...have not heard the 2C, but compared to a regular LCD-2 or modded M1060, the TH-X00PH walks all over them in terms of energy, impact, and subbass presence - punches them in the face then kicks them when they're down - no contest. TH-X00PH digs deep and hits HARD, not quite as articulate or refined but still fairly detailed and quick. Mine peaks at 40Hz, right in the middle of the subbass region:


    M1060 and LCD-2 sound anemic and thin in comparison...
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
    HungryPanda and Dadbeh like this.
  3. gLer
    +1. I’ve owned the TH-X00, then sold it for the LCD-2, LCD-3 and ZMF Atticus. I can tell you I still miss that unmistakable Fostex visceral punch. I chuckle every time I read a review of a headphone like the HD650 that even mentions the word ‘punch’ because quite frankly, once you’ve heard a Fostex, very few headphones can claim anything of the sort (let alone the anaemic HD650).

    Don’t get me wrong - the LCD-2 and even more so the LCD-3 have deep, extended and full bass, with a reasonable kick and admittedly much better quality and control than the mid-fi Fostex. Even the Atticus - known for its powerful bass and slam - won’t go two rounds with the Fostex.

    The Fostex is a bit of a one-trick pony in that regard, but the trick is so good I still sometimes wish I had a Fostex to call on for my punchy bass fix.
  4. Eylrik
    Well, I've owned the thx00ph for a few months now and could not resist to the lcd2c hype recently.
    So from my perspective, there is no point comparing. As always it is a matter of taste. Quite different philosophy.

    The thx00 is so much fun, great slam, extremely bassy (however not of the best texture), extremely detailed, very focused but with a decent soundstage. Beautiful wood cups. Also light and confortable with the right pads (zmf or dekoni lambskin/sheepskin pads). Pair very well with the ifi idsd micro black label.

    The Lcd2c is fantastic, not as demonstrative as the thx00 of course, but with such an amazing imaging. These headphones are dark yes, but they sound so well balanced and coherent (for my ears at least). Love the tonality and texture. They also scale very very well (try the Questyle CMA400i or any audio gd) and are much better suited for jazz, rock and classical in my opinion. Beautiful and soooo well built (but heavy).

    Thx00 ph is like a BMW M2 while lcd2c is an Aston Martin DB9.
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
    interweb-tech likes this.
  5. Eylrik

    Sexy Purple!
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
    Purplezorz and Pahani like this.
  6. SilverEars
    I received @VRacer-111 's modded TH-X00 Palo Santo.

    Upon initial listen, I noticed tonal differences from my Ebony. TH-X00 Palo Santo has toned down the bass quite a lot, bass seems at a level of neutral than mine(Ebony is not neutral bass). The Ebony emphasizes subs, but the lower to mid bass are still significant in quantity. There is a bit more warmth to the Ebony in the mids, and the Palo Santo sounds like mids is a bit recessed and on the cold side. I hear greater level of treble energy at 5-7k. I think centered around 6k. Definately emphases treble articulation. The Ebony in comparison doesn't reach as high in the treble, or stick out to the level, and sounds like there is more 1-3k energy with the Ebony. I think Palo Santo sounds opposite of the Ebony. Ebony has more emphasis in the bass, and treble doesn't rise as much(it's actually on the smoother side), but Palo Santo has much reduction in bass, and has more of a rise in the treble. So, they both have V-shape to degree and in opposite ways, but I find that Ebony is more filled in the mids as the mids come out more(it actually sounds mid forward), and Palo Santo, due to the 5-7k emphasis, mids comes off a bit recessed.

    Ebony to me sounds mid forward so, it's hard to put it as purely a V-shape(although you have more of a bass rise and slight treble emphasis as well) response.

    VRacer-111, you probably prefer more treble than I do. I consider the Palo Santo to be on the bright side. I also thought EMU-Teak has more treble energy than I prefer(In comparison to Ebony), but I don't believe Teak is on the same level as your Palo Santo. Palo Santo treble is a bit forward as well, and It's treble punchiness reminds me a bit of HD800(S), in which I'm not a fan of due to this characteristic of elevated forward treble that punches.

    This is my initial impression that stood out so far.
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  7. Eylrik
    Thanks for your impressions. I was hesitating between palo santo and ebony replacement cups so I might get away from the
    Palo Santo (even if they look gorgeous)...
  8. VRacer-111
    Interesting. I've never have heard Ebonies, the description of them sounds nice. What equipment are you using to drive them again? My setup I've been using is a fairly warm leaning and dynamic amp with smooth, neutral DAC. I agree they bring the treble and I don't mind treble as long as it's not like Focal Elear treble - HD700 treble is fine to me. The modded Palo Santo are definitely more focused in the mids and highs than my modded Purplehearts which are the warmer and richer sounding can that is more bass focused. Maybe you might like the Purplehearts afterall... the Palo Santos are the more neutral, and detailed brighter sounding can... which is what I was going for with the suede ZMF Ori pads chosen for it.
  9. SilverEars
    I'm driving it out of Gumby>Bryston BHA-1. You should try out the Ebony and hear how's mids compare. I find that it has more mid presence and not as much treble presence, it's fairly balanced besides a bit of subwoofer effect(in which I don't mind, it is what makes dynamic drivers, particularly the Fostex TH series stand out in terms of low response) which is noticibly significant compared to pretty much all planars except HEK(which had a bit of sub presence comparatively to other planars, but Ebony is greater with lower mid bass presence as well). But, Ebony's bass I wouldn't say is that signficant to be a bit much, it's to the level that it's fun sounding for music that has the particular bass(in which it brings out), and mids sound a bit forward that vocal track come out. So, with all this, I find it to be a good balanced headphone for regular use as it's not fatiguing or anything.

    One down-side I can think of is that, it doesn't seem that great for heavy rock. The bio-cellulose is great with bass, but doesn't seem to be advantageous in speed. I think planars are better for speed, but I still like it with majority of genre of music with these. It's quite likeable.

    I don't hear any major dips, but there is slight more warmth than neutral at the mids closest to bass, so lower-mids, but I can't consider it wholly warm mids though.

    Jude's measurements show the relative differences between the cups, and Ebony does seem to be most balanced(it's more of a smoother transition comparatively from the other two of the upper mids to lower treble). The graph looks like heavy peaks, and you'd think heavy treble quantity, and bright, but it's not what I hear. It's not a level of fatigue, but also at a good treble level for articulation. Perhaps it is peaky, but not forward peaky, not punchy(in which I thought was the case with the Palo Santo). Treble doesn't feel like it's offensive(in which I would coincide with fatiguing treble).

    8950332 (1).jpg
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  10. Richter Di
  11. Eylrik
    Has anyone tried to re-lacquer the cups of the thx00? It seems that despite my care and efforts, there are a number of small scratches here and there...
    Would be good also to preserve the fostex logo...
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  12. Vipu
    I really want some TH-X00 PH to myself, I think, I love bass and listen mostly very bass heavy electric music.
    Any idea when is the next drop gonna come? I have been waiting them to appear and people say they are dropping very often but now that I am committed to getting them they are nowhere to be seen.
  13. SilverEars
    I've seen you around in other threads, particularly the STAX thread I often seen your posts. By the tuning of your Palo Santo, I can only guess that you like STAX tuning. SR-009 has pretty similar tuning, at least in the treble(it's pretty bass-lite, not much meat in the low-end). Your mod, Palo Santo is close to the treble of SR-009, but SR-009 doesn't sound forward or get punchy in treble, but it definately sounds emphasized, particularly with such a lean low-end and mids.

    I've been enjoying jazz tracks out of the Ebony. Low-end warmth and the particular type of bass works well with the jazz genre.
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  14. VRacer-111
    While I do like the SR009 more than the SR007, I was just wanting a differently tuned TH-X00 with the Palo Santo and those ZMF Ori suede pads. I do love my L300 Limiteds though... more than any Omega I've heard. And while I do prefer my modded Purplehearts over the Palo Santos, I still really do like the Palo Santos as well. I pretty much like most any headphones except for boring and bland neutral ones... like the K7XX.
    DavidA likes this.
  15. Pahani
    *raises my hand* Also on the Stax + Fostex train here! Though I don't have different X00 versions to compare, like Vracer does, and I haven't heard the Omegas.

    L700 + Purplehearts are a pairing that will satisfy me for a number of years, I think :)
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