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Shure SRH440 vs. Fostex T50RP vs Fischer Audio FA-004 - Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by anothern00b, Dec 16, 2010.
  1. AnotherN00b
    So I've been on a quest to find the "best" budget headphone for listening to music at work and after trying many competitors (M50, HD280, HD555, K240S, DJ100) I finally decided on the Shure SRH440s and am reasonably happy with that decision based on what I've tried so far (though I do find them a little bright and would prefer a wider more open soundstage). My quest so far is documented in this thread: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/527533/my-budget-headphone-odyssey-hd555-vs-srh440-vs-k240s-vs-dj100
    However, I've been camping out on head-fi constantly for the past few weeks and in my endless research have come across these other two budget closed headphones that sound absolutely phenomenal according to some reports. So before I give up my search and settling for the 440s (I like them, I really do!) I just thought I'd just see if anyone thinks one of these other models would be a vastly superior headphone for my needs. I'm especially interested in the Fostex T50RPs though I'm not sure I can drive them sufficiently and am not sure how much modding would be required to make them live up to their potential.
    Music: Large collection of mostly rock and jazz of many varieties with some old school soul/funk, library music, vocals, country, blues, folk etc. mixed in. I don't listen to much electronica, hip-hop, and other contemporary bass-heavy music but I do appreciate controlled, impactful bass as long as it doesn't color the rest of the sound as I found with the M-50s. Some of my music is poorly recorded and/or poorly sourced so I wouldn't mind a "forgiving" headphone though I do want at least as much accuracy, detail and clarity as the 440s.
    Usage: I will be using these all day at work so I do want a phone that is closed and comfortable (I wear glasses while at work and the 440s are bearable but not the most comfortable phones by any stretch). Portability is a plus, but not required. 
    Amp/Dac: I do not currently own a headphone amp but am planning on purchasing a budget amp/dac for use with my work PC. I am looking at the FiiO E7 and possibly the uDac-2 (other recommendations under $100?). So again I'm not sure that this will work with the Fostex or not.
    Can anyone offer an informed opinion on the relative quality of the Fostex T50RP or Fischer Audio FA-004 compared to the Shure SRH440?
    Thanks for any feedback!!
  2. rhythmdevils
    comfort and soundstage are not the Fostex's biggest strengths, so if that's what you're looking for, don't get them.  I would get them if you are looking for a fast, detailed and realistic sound with no harshness in the treble. 
  3. AnotherN00b
    Thanks for the reply --- as long as they're no less comfortable than the shures I'll be fine if the sound quality (accuracy, detail, frequency repsonse, smoothness) is better; since people are comparing them to $500+ phones I'm guessing it is. I like an open sound but again, if the soundstage is at least comparable to the 440s no complaint.
    I guess my main concern is that my budget dac/amp isn't going to be sufficient for the fostex. Does anyone have an opinion on whether the T50RP will sound at least as good as the SRH440s with some simple modifications and a budget dac/amp like the FiiO E7? It would probably be another year before I can purchase any more audio gear like an E9 amp so I want to have the best phones for my meager budget in the meantime.
  4. rhythmdevils
    if you like the ortho sound, I think they sound great out of an ipod.  They do need a lot of power, and sound better with an amp, but it's not night and day, it just improves on what is already there with an ipod IMO. 
    But I believe the T50rp is sura-aural so they sit on the ears.  That's how all the old Fostex are, but the T50 has different pads so I'm not sure. 
  5. VulgarDisplay
    The t50rp is a great budget can, but I would only recommend it to people with some audio experience.  The first problem that most people who are new to headphones will encounter is that it has a 1/4" jack and not a 3.5mm.  The second problem is that in their stock formation they don't sound very good at all.  It can take a lot or a little work to tune them to your tastes.  Luckily all I had to do was add mass to the baffles and cups and a single layer of felt.  This was after I had already found different pads to use with the headphone. 
    You need to be prepared to spend anywhere from $50-100 dollars on good earpads for the t50rp's because they will have the biggest effect on the overall sound and comfort.  To get the sound that people rave about you might have to mod them out of your budget. 
  6. Kukuk
    I absolutely loved the T50RP's. They sound so incredibly good with classical music in particular. Just in their stock configuration I thought they outclassed the HD600's I heard.
    They were really something special, and a phenomenal buy for the $75 they cost online. Even if they cost 3x as much I'd still think they were a killer deal.
  7. AnotherN00b
    Thanks for all the feedback -- I'm going to try to audition them at the local Guitar Center. I have no problem with some basic modifications like adding felt/and or dampening clay to the cups/baffles and replacing the pads to make them sound better. I've been looking at the threads discussing some of the mods people are doing.
    VD: what earpads did you use; I've seen references to O2 pads, not sure what else works with these.
  8. VulgarDisplay
    I'm not sure what source you plan on using at guitar center, but just remember that the t50rp has a 1/4" jack so you will need an adapter to hook it to most MP3 players that use a 3.5mm jack.  
  9. AnotherN00b
    Thanks for the heads-up VD; I will have to use my iPhone unless I want to listen to Lady GaGa but I just found out that they're out of stock, even online :frowning2:
  10. lejaz


    Yeah, thanks in large part to Head-fi![​IMG]  Can't get them til Feb 1 according to music 123.
  11. AnotherN00b


    Damn you head-fi! You always leave me wanting more than I can have; stop playing with me!
  12. lejaz


  13. Chimaobi
    I'd love to hear if anyone has a take on the 440's vs the FA-004's. Just got the 440's in the mail, and am trying them out now. A bit worried about comfort so far, but circumaural just can't go wrong....??
  14. dsf3g
    I've got the Shures. They do sound nice (to my untrained ear) but they are VERY heavy, and that can detract from the music after a while. Honestly, I'd probably not buy them again if I had the choice.
  15. Chimaobi
    Actually, I am thinking the same thing.

    Sound is great, but seeing that they are studio targeted, they are bulky and heavy. Comfortwise, the size does play a part. They sit nice and snug, pads are soft, they don't clamp hard and I can't hear any hiss.
    But still... something isn't right. These are xtra large cans, and they don't isolate well (makes me wonder how much noise open cans must make).
    Has me wishing for the FA-004's now. But man, these shure sound great :D
    - Cheers

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