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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. CoFire
    I have the ZMF Eikon pads and own both the Mahogany and PH. The Eikon pads are far more comfortable than the stock pads and they do diffuse the bass and smooth the highs compared to stock. The mids are still present. The diffusion comes primarily because they don't have built in attenuators. Once you add attenuators the bass bump is back. Compared to stock, the mid bass bump is slightly less but this allows the impression of more subbass. The treble is similar. The mids are clearer. I prefer this signature and the comfort.

    I've been curious about the Ori pads and over the years, both pads have had favorable reviews. I don't have any desire to get the Ori pads other than curiosity.
    matti55 likes this.
  2. muscleking
    it turned out that the earpad is not rotated properly, before i was complaining doesn't fit my ear. now i can put ear in no problem even still touch everywhere lol. so most likely will not need to change pads. wait for a deal i guess. hard to find these custom earpads in canada right now.
  3. Malfunkt
    Finally have had a chance to borrow a set of these. Compared the AH-D2000 (two pairs) I've owned in the past, the TH-X00 mahogany is overall not as balanced sounding - it is much more v-shaped and the bass is quite boomy. The D2000 pads, once broken in are more comfortable and spacious for the ears. The TH-X00 pads for my ears are firm, and they just fit. After wearing for a bit, it actually isn't too bad.

    That said, the Th-X00 is more spacious and still has the hallmarks of the biocell driver. I found I would want to avoid using the TH-X00 for anything that has a relentless, pounding beat. Contrary to what most people say that these are great for EDM / electronic, I think a tighter more balanced bass is. My reference for electronic music would be using something such as MDR-7550. For drum n bass, however, the slower deep subtones work favourably.

    I actually got the most enjoyment of using these with very dynamic material, such as classical and jazz. Of course, they are brilliant for movie score. I fun pair of cans for certain. Lots of personality.
  4. kuutan
    When the opportunity arises, I hope you'll consider giving the TH610 a try too if you hadn't already.
    Malfunkt likes this.
  5. VRacer-111
    I agree the AH-D2000 is more overall balanced sounding. The highs are my main issue with a stock D2000 vs TH-X00, much prefer the highs of my Purplehearts over my D2000s, and the subbass and bass impact. Mods also make the TH-X00 noticeably cleaner and more detailed than a slightly modded D2000, with a much better quality bass and instrument separation. My favorite headphone for EDM/electronic music is the Argon Mk3, has many qualities of the TH-X00 but is much better balanced and excells over it in all areas except subbass impact. Has much better extension with more punch and greater speed and detail, and still a full sound.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
    Malfunkt likes this.
  6. lengyeljani
    apparently Massdrop is not supporting with replacement parts after the warranty period, so I was looking for original replacement earpads. I found some over at amazon for ~80$ but that is just craaazy. Is somebody aware of other solutions for reasonable prices preferably within EU?
  7. Purplezorz
    These guys used to have the Dekoni replacements: http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/dek...op-x-fostex-th-x00-headphones-epx-x00-sk.html

    It says out of stock ATM, but I'm pretty sure they'd be able to get 'em in.
  8. lengyeljani
    Those are sheepskin pads, but thanks anyway, you brought Dekoni to my attention... I may buy their protein leather pads as replacement of the original ones.
    Purplezorz likes this.
  9. CoFire
    I much prefer the ZMF Eikon over the stock for comfort and sound signature. It takes a dB or two off the mid bass, brings up subbass a little and overall sounds better. I bet if you post a WTB in EU area, you'd likely find some candidates for sale. Oh yes, most importantly, if you switch to Eikon or ANY other pad, you have to insert, buy or make some attenuation rings.
  10. theangelboy
    I finally got my hands on a TR-X00 Purpleheart this past week. My Lawton driver dampening mod should be here tomorrow. Overall I'm liking the sound (especially dat BASS! :beyersmile:) although they do sound a little congested to me (my Elear with Elex pads has spoiled me, I think) but I'm guessing that the Lawton mod should improve that. The two major things that I dislike are the stock cable and ear pads. The cable has the single worst microphonics I have ever heard on a headphone cable. I'm really glad that I didn't get the TH version and be stuck with that noisy cable. I got a third party Sennheiser cable but the pins are further apart than they are supposed to be, and while it works, it makes me worried that it will damage the cup connector over time. So I'm still looking for the decent cable on the cheap (<$50). I don't really want to fork over $100+ for a custom cable. However, the cable is much less of a problem compared to the pads.

    The pads have two problems: material and comfort. Comfort-wise I can only wear them for a few hours before my ears start to hurt; the ear holes are too small and the foam is too hard. As for material, I absolutely loathe pleather. If you look at my headphone stable I have swapped out every pleather pad for some form of velour or microsuede pad. So the pleather pad material needs to go. I knew going in that this wasn't a headphone that I could slap a velour pad on and call it a day since I wanted to maintain the bass. I can confirm that after doing some basic pad rolling that velour or hybrid changes this headphone into a super V-shaped mess (with attenuation rings) or puts it in treble hell (without the rings). Microsuede would be my first choice of material (the now-extinct Audeze Vegans are my ideal pad in terms of comfort) but I'm considering genuine leather since I'm slightly apprehensive about the suede pads losing all of that wonderful bass.

    ZMF and Brainwavz both now have microsuede options, although the Brainwavz pads only come in flat varieties and after previously mentioned pad rolling I did it seems that this headphone does benefit quite a bit from angled pads (if anyone has tried those Brainwavz pads I would love to hear what you think). That leaves the ZMF Ori or Eikon. The ZMF Ori seems like it would be the best physical fit for the Purplehearts since it has a very similar diameter to the stock pads but I have seen some say that the Eikon pad has a better sound signature than the Ori pad on the Fostex but the looseness of the fit worries me a little. I don't want my pads sliding off.

    The venerable @VRacer-111 did a nice pad comparison that included both the sheepskin and suede versions of the Ori pad on the TH-X00 but I haven't seen any detailed posts directly comparing both the Ori and the Eikon pads on the Fostex. Any help on that comparison would be pretty helpful. Also a direct question for VRacer, you mentioned that the bass was reduced on the suede Ori pad vs. the leather version. Was this comparison made using the same half-moon attenuation rings that I saw you post about at one point or did you increase the coverage of the ring to try and compensate for the loss of bass?

    I also have a couple of questions on pad materials that I haven't found solid answers on. I have never actually tried a genuine leather earpad so how does it compare pleather and microsuede? Given how much I hate pleather I don't feel super confident blindly getting a $60-$70 leather earpad. Does leather actually breathe better than pleather? I don't like sweaty ears. I also don't like the sealed resonance that pleather pads have, where all exterior sounds have that boomy quality. How is leather compared in that respect? And lastly, I wear glasses so pleather pads "fart" excessively when they shift on my glasses. Hopefully you know the sounds I'm talking about. Does leather do this too?

    TL;DR version:
    Need better pads, debating between the Ori and Eikon pads (suede versions, probably) and would appreciate some comparisons (both fit and sound), preferably on a Purpleheart.
    Also how do genuine leather earpads compare to pleather ones in terms of breathability, sealed resonance, and "fart" noise factor?
    Bonus question: <$50 cable recommendations for TR-X00, 5-8 ft length.
    Double bonus question: Sound impressions of the new Brainwavz microsuede pads on the TH-X00.

    Thanks in advance for the help! :beyersmile:
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
  11. Jason Nugent
    Hey some quick answers to your questions. I have the Mahogany so bear that in mind.

    I have tried ZMF Ori Suede and Lambskin, ZMF Eikon Suede and Lamskin, Dekoni Protein, all with and without the Dekoni attenuation rings. And of course the stock pads.

    I have landed on the ZMF Ori Suede for comfort and sound (with Dekoni attenuation rings) You get a way bigger sound stage, THICK bass, a bit recessed mids, but I think it suits the signature I'm going for. The Ori size is perfect and plenty big enough for me (and I think I have pretty big ears). The Eikons fit rather loosely and while they are quite comfy I much prefer the solid fit that the Ori provides. And overall I much prefer the feel of suede/alcantara/microfiber type pads, especially for longer listening sessions.

    My second favorite pads are the Dekoni Protein Leather (without attenuation rings). I randomly bought these on a massdrop when I bought the attenuation rings (because you had to get pads with them and these were the cheapes). But these are great. They have a similar fit to the stock, being low profile and soft leather, but they give your ears a bit more room. It's a nice alternative from the wide sound stage and laid-back feel of the suede. I find the bass gets decreased with these, the highs get a bit accentuated from my impressions, so they provide a bit of a more intimate, detailed, mid-forward signature.

    FYI. I also have the ZMF pilot pad, but honestly I don't think it needs it. These aren't super heavy, I haven't ever had a problem with the stock band, and the pilot pad forces you extend the adjustments a lot. If you have a big head it may not fit.

    Cables I'm not sure I've seen any good options under $50. I purchased a Periapt XLR cable and it was $100. It's because the connectors are non-standard and only have very few, if only one, source.. at least from what I understand. If anyone finds something I'd be interested as well.
    theangelboy likes this.
  12. theangelboy
    Thank you for the detailed reply! That's definitely another point for the Ori suede, which is where I'm leaning right now. Also, I got the same impression about the cable connectors. I emailed Periapt about the price discrepancy between there Senn and Fostex cables and they said it was because of the connector price. I think I found their source on Aliexpress too. It was $1200 for 50 pair so that's $24 a pair which is ridiculous! I'm sure it only costs the manufacturer a few cents to make it.
  13. CoFire
    For what is worth, I have the Mahogany and Purpleheart and have rolled Alpha pads, stock, Brainwavz Leather (gotta ck type), TH600/TH900 and ZMF Eikon with and without Dekoni attenuators. Quickly, I preferred the ZMF pads, they calmed the mid bass hump, projected subbass and kept most of the rest of the signature intact. The comfort is night and day! ZMF all the way. I can do a more indepth comparison of requested.

    What I'm really interested in are the changes from the Lawton driver only mods on the PH. Been toying with that idea for awhile. Not so interested in don't it to the Mahogany.
    theangelboy likes this.
  14. theangelboy
    Well, I just did the Lawton mod on my Purpleheart and I can safely tell you that their are no downsides to doing the mod. The kit itself was pretty nice, I even got an extra piece (I'm assuming in case I messed up) but I did have to cut about a half inch off of both pieces that go around the side of the drivers, which I thought was weird. Sound-wise the mod is a general improvement across the board. The whole spectrum is clearer and more precise with no more congestion. If finally sounds like a $500 headphone. It doesn't change the sound signature, just improves it, which is the most impressive thing to me. Everything else is stock at the moment. While it's a big improvement so I'm glad I did it and I'm happy to support a small business, it kinda makes me mad that this isn't how it comes from the factory. I can't see a reason why it shouldn't. That would have saved me $35.

    Thanks for the info on your pad rolling experience, ZMF definitely seems the way to go. And I would probably be happy with either the Ori or Eikon, I just need to decide, I guess.
  15. Pahani
    Yes to ZMF pads (Ori lambskin myself)
    Yes to Lawton driver mods
    Yes to ZMF Pilot Pad (larger noggins need not apply though)
    And finally......
    Yes to a Stax setup as a neutral-ish "complimentary" pair to marry up with your Fostex.

    I'm not a critical listener, so can't tell you specifics of the sound changes. And of course, all of us hear differently anyway. But if you do all of the above, most people would be happy, I think.
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