Replacement for sibilant Fostex TH610 (Aeon/Nightowl/T5P/MDR-Z1R)
Jan 5, 2018 at 10:05 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7


New Head-Fier
Jan 1, 2012
Sydney, Australia
Hi guys, hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year.

Years ago I owned Denon AHD2000's which were love at first sound, my favourites of all time. Sadly they are no longer with us... I recently pulled the trigger on the Fostex 610 hoping these would wow me as the Denons did after hearing comparisons... And so far I am disappointed.

To me the 610s are artificial sounding, way too bright and at times a flat out sibilant mess... S's and T's in a lot of songs make me wince and I get fatigued after only a few songs, and yes they are burnt in.

I am looking for a replacement. I am about sub bass, I love impact and sound you can feel (in a good way) and I love removable cables. I HATE sibilance and harshness.

I am considering the Mr Speakers Aeon (no bass?), AudioQ Nightowl, Sony MDR-Z1R and the Beyer T5P (also sibilant?). Was looking at Shure 1540s but heard they are too analytical and not geared for casual listening.

Very very open to other suggestions and advice on the above choices. Closed preferably, semi open at maximum and over ear a must. Will be running direct from a fiio and ibasso DAP a lot of the time so they need to be somewhat easy to drive and have max 6ft cable available.

Thank you everyone. Reading reviews is so frustrating...the same products get loved in one then hated in the next...
Jan 5, 2018 at 10:30 AM Post #2 of 7
You can try buying the Fostex TH-X00 or E-MU variant in Ebony. The wood smooths over the top end. Same Fostex bass as well.

Otherwise, if money is not an issue, then I would obviously say MDR-Z1R. I love mine and also drive it from a DX200. It's a bit revealing, but you can easily make it even smoother with a different amp module and/or a pure copper aftermarket cable for those really poor recordings.

As for the others:
  • The closed back Aeon's may not be what you are looking for. I personally didn't like them, but I've heard the open back are much better/smoother. These are semi-open I believe.
  • The NightOwls have plenty bass, but may be harsh on the treble and sibilance depending on the song.
  • Haven't heard the others...
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Jan 5, 2018 at 10:58 AM Post #3 of 7
I'd recommend the semi-closed (95%) closed Mod House Audio Argon.
It is a planar modification of a Fostex T-50 MKIII (originally modified from MKII).
The sound signature is focused on sub-bass rumble and soundstage width. The mid-range is neutral and the highs are ever-so-slightly present.
What is nice is that you can focus on certain subtle sound differences with different pad options.

Here is more info if you are interested:

EDIT: I've auditioned the NightOwl and the bass is mainly focused in the mid-range.
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Jan 5, 2018 at 11:22 AM Post #4 of 7
By the way, you don't feel that the Denon 2000 was harsh or sibilant?
Jan 5, 2018 at 5:07 PM Post #5 of 7
Sounds like you are underpowering the TH-610, hence why they are sibilant.

Never did I find them to be harsh, bright or sibilant.

Try something easier to drive next :)
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Jan 5, 2018 at 6:24 PM Post #6 of 7
I don't remember the Denons being sibilant or harsh at all... To me they were just right. It's been about 3 years since I listened.

To be honest I'm over listening to everything through my M50X's and don't want to EQ my entire library to control the 610s.

I should mention I'm in Australia so sending anything to the US for modding is a last resort.

Would $1400 US be a good price for the Sonys?
Mar 3, 2022 at 6:04 PM Post #7 of 7
Sounds like you are underpowering the TH-610, hence why they are sibilant.

Never did I find them to be harsh, bright or sibilant.

Try something easier to drive next :)
I find them harsh and sibilant and power them from a Jotunheim. I also agree with OP about them sounding artificial. Sound the same from all 3 of my amps. Jotunheim, Burson Audio Play and Audiolab 6000a.

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