Review Tago Studio T3-01
Mar 18, 2020 at 4:55 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 81


New Head-Fier
Feb 19, 2020
Hi all,

so, as you can see by the amount of posts I have that I am not a longtime member in the audiophile scene. Before we start, I think its wise to introduce myself and how I got into the audiophile scene.

So my journey once started with the standard crap quality earphones that everybody had when they were like 13 or 14 years old from sony, panasonic, jvc etc. It was the era where MP3 was just hitting the market with the first devices that could hold, brace yourself, 128MB!! OMG!... different times right? :) So i was the first one in my school that actually had a mp3 player, albeit with crap quality audio and earphones. So after someone mentioned me that I should buy sennheiser earphones, I bought one from a local store and it opened my world! the sennheisers who were only like 20 euros at that time, had such a huge different and better sound than anything else on the market that was within my budget that I never left sennheiser in those days. As i crew older, i had less time to listen to music anywhere and ended up with earphones that were delivered with my mobile phones, be it xiaomi piston, oneplus bullets, etc. And those were actually not bad at all too.
So time went by and I joined a new company for work and learned to know one of my collegues who is a audiophile ever since he was born. He introduced me to (for me) super high end headphones and inears like the Focal Stelia, Inear Promission X and more. One day he mentioned that there is a place in the center of Amsterdam where you can go and listen to a lot of different high end headphones, very comfortably witouth being urged to buy anything. That place was called Headphone Auditions So after a while of persuing me to go there, I did. I went with my collegue and got in the store and went upstairs where there was a wall full of all kind of high end quality headphines, amps of all kinds spreaded around the room and everything else you could ever wish for. This place was amazing! The owner is a very nice guy with a no-nonsense atitude who is completly honest about audio and gear and does not try to sell you anything, take your time, listen and enjoy.
So I asked the owner, to give me the experience of audiophile and let him decide which headphones I should listen to and in which order. So he setup a couple of headphones in line going from relatively cheap to the most expensive and some of the best that there are in the world including:
- Abyss AB-1266 Phi CC
- Hifiman Arya
- Focal Elear
- Audeze LCD (dont know which version it was anymore)
- Hifiman Ananda
- RAAL Requisit SR1a
and some more.

So to this day I have listened to the above headphones but also:
- Warwick Acoustics Sonoma
- ZMF Auteur
- Inear Promission X
- Inear ProPhile 8
- Meze Rai Penta
- Sennheiser HD800S, 820S
- Focal Elegia
- Hifiman Susvara, Sundara
- Abyss Diana
- Sennheiser HE 1
- Several Audeze headphones

I asked the owner, If he had to choose 1 close back headphones that he would choose himself for everyday use like public transport, office, etc for around 1k which one would he chose? He chose Tago T3-01!
He let me listen to it, and after hearing all those other headphones, I quickly understood why... This thing is really really nice for this price! And this is what this topic is about. The Tago T3-01 studio headphones.

By the way, my current equipment is now: Tago T3-01, Sennheiser HD700s (this thing is 100x better than the 800 and 820..), Inear Stagediver 5 in mahogony, Audioquest dragonfly cobalt, Chord Mojo.

Now the review itself. The Tago is created by the Tako Studio in Japan in collaboration with Tokumi and several professionals in the audio world.


Today, music is transmitted mostly by computers and smart phones. However, we think headphones and earphones would be the final gateway to send the true essence and the dynamics of music.
The goal was to precisely deliver the intended sounds created by sound professionals; and to create original headphones at “TAGO STUDIO” where the requests and ideas of professional music recording engineers and top artists are accumulated.

This project began with the collaboration with “TOKUMI” , a company engaged in manufacturing headphones for many years and is also based in the city of Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture.
A professional recording studio “TAGO STUDIO”.
A highly experienced headphone manufacturer “TOKUMI”.
In the city of music “TAKASAKI”, sound professionals got together and created this・・・


With the strong desire to “preserve the live recording culture of sealing human passions”, the studio for professionals was created by music composer/producer Kunio Tago and Takasaki City.
TAGO STUDIO is dedicated to seeking and cultivating new talents to establish “TAKASAKI Sound”.

A ODM manufacturer of headphones and earphones which is based in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture. The company’s main mission is to provide “good sounds” and it has a long experience of creating sounds of top quality.
It provides a one-stop service of designing, planning, developing, creating trial models, producing parts, assembling, and packing and shipping to produce headphones and earphones on a commercial basis.

The search for ultimate natural sound
「T3-01」was designed to be used in the studios for professionals where the level of demands are exclusively high. In order to exactly realize the sound created by recording engineers and artists, our goal was to gain the extremely natural sounds. Furthermore, with the high durability for long-term use, a good fit to reduce the discomfort for users, replaceable accessories for permanent, each and every part was carefully designed and the best materials was carefully selected to satisfy the uncompromising demands of sound creators.

The Beautiful Grain and the Beautiful Sound
The iconic housing part was made of solid Japanese maple tree. This part was crafted by skillful timber craftsmen of Oak Village of Hida Takayama, who have spent many years handling various kinds of trees for furniture and architecture. To make full use of the solid wood, it was carefully designed to convey the the natural texture and the grain of wood and the warmth of the nature at the same time. Commonly used for musical instruments, maple timber gives you the advantage of precise and natural sounds for sound monitoring. With the high skills of craftsmen and special materials, 「T3-01」obtained the the more beautiful look and sounds than ever before.

Silk Protein Coat
Silk Protein Coat
「T3-01」 carries high spec newly developed 40mm driver unit and its diaphragm is coated with Silk Protein; a deliverable from the joint work with Gunma Prefectural Textile Industrial Laboratory. This coating technique was made true by refining and liquidizing traditional Gunma silk to be adaptable for the diaphragm with high technology. With the traditional material and the new idea, natural and good streching sound quality was created."

And now how I have experienced the headphones after a couple of weeks. Burn in has been done for approx 100 hours.

The headphone comes in a normal cardboard box . Inside the box you will find the warranty card, 2 documents about the headphone itself and 1 document that is completely japanese so i have no idea what this paper is. Immediatly you will notice the Japanese high level of quality. Even the papers itself are from high quality, thick, japanese papers. I have always loved the japanese quality in their works and products and this headphone is no different.
The headphone itself is in a, I think leather?, travel bag that also has a place for the cable.

Build quality:
The build quality is superb! The cups of the headphone are made out of wood and as i've heard they are completely handmade by a master crafstman (not unusual for Japenese ofcourse). The ear cushions are made of velour and I think some kind of memory foam. The headband itself is made out of some kind of very hard foam wrapped in a leather and mesh fabric, I have modded this part and will tell you more about it later on in the comfort part. The frame of the headphone is made out of stainless steel and the adjustment of the cups is smooth and witouth a click mechanism. The whole piece feels very solid and of high quality in every part of it. For this pricepoint, amazing!

The foam in the earcushion have a very good isolation from the oustide world. So in a busy or noisy environment, they are doing their job very well!

Woven cable that has a 3.5mm/6.3mm on one side and 2 3.5mm on the other side. Gold plated and stuff, dont know much more about it.

The earcushions themselves are very comfortable. But the headband on the other hand... not really. The headband part is filled with some kind of gray very hard foam. I took the headband off and opened the stitches on the left and right side of it. Removed the hard foam out of it and replaced it with a softer foam called Pantera 170. Which is normally used in matrasses. It was a bit of work and wiggeling to get it back in again and then stitching the whole again. But the results are amazing! It is now very very comfortable and you dont even feel the headphone anymore on your head when listening for hours and hours! Succes!

Now the important stuff, the sound!

Again, I am not a pro audiophile with 10 amps, 5 pre-amps, 200 headphones etc etc. I will not be using terms like mid-high, bla bla bla. To be honest I have no idea what they mean for most of the time since its a personal opinion and evey ear is different so..

The Tago is advertised as a neutral balanced studio headphones

The lows are very nice. They are punchy where needed and not overwhelming the mids and highs. They are deep and give you an feeling that you listening to real monitors in a proper setup. They feel big, deep and engaging. I am not a bass head, I like everything to be in balance and this headphone is delivering it so far!

The mids are clear. The vocals are emphasized. The mids are a little bit on the low side in comparison to the vocals and base but it is easy to listen to.

The highs are clear, I think some treble has a weight in this. There is no sibblance or high pitched frequencies that are unpleasant to listen to, and im quitte sensitive for this as I get fatiqued quitte fast. This headphone is not giving me that feeling and I can listen to it for hours and hours.

The soundstage is not the most widest or deepest there is. The stage is on average width and bit bigger in the depth. Instrument seperation is very easy and precise, especially when listening to jazz. Even tho these are closed backs, they feel a little bit more airy than expected. It does not give you a cramped feeling like some of the closed backs.

The Tago is an easy device to listen to. It has a bit warmth to it and the balance is quitte nice. On a daily basis, this should be your beater/daily wear. Driving this headphone is very easy as your mobile phone or pc/notebook can drive it very easily. If you want to get the most out of then hook it up to your amp of choice. I only have the mojo and DF cobalt. Both of them are performing very nice with this headphone. The headphone is quitte engaging and has so far let me hear details in my songs that I've never heard before.

In comparisons:
Hifiman Arya
, I love this headphone. it sounded so nice in balance with warmth. I think the Tago is the closed back, less airy version of this one.
Inear PP8, I didnt like this inear at all. It is so analytical and clynical that songs get really crappy to listen to if you are not analyzing it and/or being an sound engineer. My collegue agreed with me and thats one of the reason why he bought the Promission X and I the stagediver 5.
Focal Stelia, the stelia is in a different league. But the problem with the stelia is that you need a very very good amp etc to drive it properly and get the sound of it that it can deliver. You will be in the range of 10k euros for a combo set, including the stelia, to do this. Is it worth the money? Not in my opinion.
Audeze's, dont know why people are so hyped for these. They really are not THAT great....
Abyss 1266, whole different league again. And the price point?..
Sennheiser HE 1, what a ****ing crappy setup this is... I've never heard sound this bad coming from a setup that costs 60k... The hifiman headphone all performed much better than this one.

In my honest opinion:
If I had 100 milion euros and could buy everything I wanted from the things I've tried, what would I buy? Just being honest here and choosing the right value for money"
- Tago's
- Inear Promission X
- Hifiman Arya
- couple of different amps for home use
- audioquest dragonfly

There, you have it. Not even the Abyss who sounded amazing or the Focals. The Tago is delivering that much of a value for money and just cannot be beat in the price bracket that I dont even consider those, even if I had the money!

For those interested: Stefan from Headphone Auditions has a sale on all of the Tago models:

He was the first to bring the Tago Studio to Europe being their only dealer outside of Japan.
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Mar 24, 2020 at 4:27 AM Post #4 of 81
thanks fellas. If you can get your hands on them then go for it! for the price point, they are delivering an unmatched value.

With this whole corona situation and everybody being forced to work from home, they have become my daily headphones. Keeps the kids noise outside and a lovely sound
Mar 25, 2020 at 4:50 AM Post #5 of 81
Nice review mate, now i wonder if earpads replaceable easily !? Do they glued or just easy to attach/detach like focal for example ?!
Apr 15, 2020 at 4:22 AM Post #10 of 81
I just bought a pair of them, outstanding headphones! Anybody knows if there are other headphones' pads that are compatible with the Tago's? I find the Tago's to be too thin to me, my ears touch the inner foam... Thanks!
Apr 15, 2020 at 4:46 AM Post #11 of 81
I am also interested in replacement pads. Not because of comfort, but because eventually they will wear out. So it's nice to know we can extend the lifetime of these wonderful phones.

BTW My ears are also touching the foam. To me that is not a problem at all. After a couple of minutes it feels quite comfy to me. Like a pair of nice ear warmers -- without getting my ears overly warm :wink: Usually headphones with too-small pads (like Sony 1000x) really annoy me after an hour or so. Not the Tago.
Apr 15, 2020 at 6:35 AM Post #12 of 81
In my case it is not so much a matter of being less comfortable, but a matter of sound: my only complaint with the Tago is that the soundstage is always quite upfront (in your face) and very L-R, and that is probably due to the drivers being quite close to the ears, I’m sure deeper and angled pads would bring a clear improvement in sound!
Jan 8, 2021 at 2:40 PM Post #13 of 81
Interesting hp, how do they pair with DAPs and all in all are they portable then somehow?
Jan 19, 2021 at 7:48 AM Post #15 of 81
I use it daily with my sony nw-zx300 (unbalanced) and dragonfly cobalt, both nice pairings. Tago doesn’t need much power to sound nice.

No matter what you pair them with they sound amazing. Chord mojo, dragonfly red, M11 pro or even 3.5mm IPad output it does not really matter.
Outstanding for jazz with spot on imaging, detail and tonality.

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