Looking for an FA-003 alternative, ideally at the $200 or below price-point
May 16, 2015 at 9:38 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

DCofficehack

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Long time no see, forum members. I once spent tons of time on this site researching my IEM purchase a few years ago and ended up with a pair of Fischer DBA-02s. I LOVE them. I remember reading, too, that the FA-003 was, like the DBA-02, a hands-down best in the $200 and below category for someone interested in a close-can with a neutral sound. I listen to all kinds of music but esp. classical, where any hint of a boosted bass is totally inappropriate. I want Janos Starker's cello to sound like Janos Starker's cello.
 
Anyway, I recently decided that the IEMs were bothering my ears and I wanted to get some full-sized cans to use at the office and reserve the IEMs for travelling (they're awesome in airplanes by the way...who needs noise cancellation with that kind of sound isolation?). So the obvious purchase to make was the FA-003...but guess what? They now list for about $350, which is more than I care to pay.
 
So, what else?
 
Thanks!
 
ps. I intend just to plug it into my MacBook or iPhone, unless someone could make the case that I absolutely have to go spend money on an amp...but I'd rather not.
 
May 16, 2015 at 11:53 PM Post #2 of 17

DCofficehack

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PPS..Just read about the Brainwavz HM5...might very well be the ticket, although it's hard for me to take anything with such a name (Brainwavz) seriously. Any other recs?
 
May 17, 2015 at 1:08 AM Post #3 of 17

Claritas

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HM5 is the same as the original FA003 (not the later Ti version); so is XPT100.

If you want a step up in closed phones and have some sort of amp, ZMF v1 ($250). Best luck!
 
May 17, 2015 at 10:14 AM Post #4 of 17

DCofficehack

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HM5 is the same as the original FA003 (not the later Ti version); so is XPT100.

If you want a step up in closed phones and have some sort of amp, ZMF v1 ($250). Best luck!

Thanks.
 
I think I'll give either the HM5 or the XPT100 a whirl. Almost seems to good to be true.
 
I wish I could opt for an open-backed headphone, but I'll be in an office setting.
 
May 17, 2015 at 4:55 PM Post #6 of 17

DCofficehack

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I think the XPT100/HM5 are a great headphone for $100. For $200, look into the Soundmagic HP100/HP150. :)


Oh, great, more options :) the reviews on the hp100 look great. Worth the extra $$$ compared to t


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May 17, 2015 at 4:57 PM Post #7 of 17

DCofficehack

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Crap.. Didn't mean to do that. Anyway, worth the extra $$$ compared to the 003 clones?


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May 17, 2015 at 9:08 PM Post #9 of 17

DCofficehack

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Any thoughts on the relative merits of the Beyer DT660, which lists for $204? It seems to be well regarded for classical music, for closed cans.
 
May 17, 2015 at 9:25 PM Post #11 of 17

DCofficehack

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May 17, 2015 at 10:50 PM Post #12 of 17

Claritas

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Yup, those are the problem with M50x. Pads are a little narrow too. I doubt M40x has better soundstage, and it also uses the same pads.

I wouldn't write off HP100. It measures pretty well: http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SoundMAGICHP100.pdf and might get better with the right mods. Try to find out how deep the pads are though . . .
 
May 17, 2015 at 11:11 PM Post #13 of 17

DCofficehack

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Thanks for the help. So it's the XPT100 or the HP100s. I'm tempted to go for the cheaper option (the XPT100), with the idea of banking the savings for a subsequent purchase of an amp...although the fact that the HP100s allegedly fold is a plus...
 
I started this adventure in the world of quality audio equipment with an initial purchase 5 years ago of a pair of Senn HD448s. They were a major leap ahead of the crap I had been using (think $20 gear purchased at a Radio Shack), but I totally lost interest after I decided to pick up some IEMs for portability and got my DBA-002s. Compared to the Fischer IEMs, the HD448 sound was "correct" but dull and uninteresting. I found myself having to play with the iTunes eq in order to perk up the sound, but I didn't like doing that because I feared messing with the accuracy. I reckoned that good headphones should obviate the need to 'modify' the sound by using an eq. Certainly with the DBA-002s, I've never felt the need to boost anything.
 
Now I have to migrate back to full-sized cans for use at my desk (I listen to music almost all day if for no other reason than to cut out distracting phone conversations going on around me), and in a sick way I feel grateful that a friend broke my HD448s; otherwise I'd feel obliged to go back to them rather than spend more money.  By the way, I lost my DBA-002s during a trip abroad and immediately bought another pair, the Mk2s.
 
May 18, 2015 at 9:33 AM Post #14 of 17

DCofficehack

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I found an amusingly devastating review of the ATH-M50, with the punchline being, more or less: if you actually like to listen to music, go buy an XPT100/HM5.
 
 
May 18, 2015 at 10:58 AM Post #15 of 17

cel4145

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I found an amusingly devastating review of the ATH-M50, with the punchline being, more or less: if you actually like to listen to music, go buy an XPT100/HM5.


I have the M50s and prefer them to the XPT100/HM5.

So now you understand. Headphone choice is a bit about personal preference :wink:
 

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