- High detail sound, neutrality;
- Detachable cable;
- Isodynamic driver;
- Strength and simplicity of construction;
- Profitable price.
- They require a powerful sound source.
Fostex T50RP MK3 Professional Studio Headphones, Semi-Open Headphones: Feature and Specifications as mentioned on Amazon
- Refined Fostex proprietary Regular Phase (RP) diaphragm driver using copper foil etched polyimide film and powerful neodymium magnet
- Maximum input level of 3000mW to comply with various professional uses
- Semi-open for flat and clear sound
- Low repulsion ear pad and head pad for maximum comfort
- Comes with 3m 1/4-inch plug detachable cable for best serviceability and 1.2m mini plug cable for portable audio use
Fostex T50RP MK3 Professional Studio Headphones, Semi-Open Headphones: A Complete Review
Packaging: Fostex T50RP MK3
Headphones Fostex T50RP MK3 came to me in ordinary cardboard packaging, decorated brightly, but simply, with a lot of technical information on the back. The Japanese are peculiar people, and they have their own concepts of beauty, often not coinciding with ours, moreover, Fostex headphones are positioned as a professional tool, they are selected according to technical parameters and the ability to solve work problems, and not by the beauty of the wrap, and for The packaging fits perfectly for this purpose. True, it’s a little embarrassing that inside the cardboard there is no protection of the headphones from physical impact during transportation, except for bubbled polyethylene, but apparently the headphones are quite reliable and the manufacturer found it sufficient to reach the buyer in its original form.
Equipment: Fostex T50RP MK3
The standard package includes:
- Orange cable 1.2 meters long with 3.5 mm jack;
- 3 meter long black cable with 6.3 mm jack;
Design: Fostex T50RP MK3
The Fostex T50RP MK3 is a full-size, square-shaped isodynamic driver with the original Regular Phase Technology, which has been recognized by professionals for its significant contribution to creating an honest, detailed sound experience for Fostex headphones.
The headphone bowls are made of plastic, which among audiophiles is sometimes perceived as a design flaw, but in this case it plays a positive role. If the bowls are correctly designed in terms of control of sound resonance and the correct material is used, from the point of view of sound perception, this makes sense. In addition, the plastic is lightweight, and the Fostex T50RP MK3 is positioned as a professional tool, which implies the daily use of headphones for many hours in a row, and the lightweight design contributes to convenience and comfort.
A half-open acoustic camera is used in the headphones, which allows a compromise between sound insulation and a good spatial perception of sound.
The half-open design allows you to get a slight decrease in the volume of ambient noise without significant damage to the sound quality, while having a noticeable imaginary music scene, well felt both in breadth and in depth. Of course, fully open headphones for this parameter are preferable, but a half-open camera is enough for full-fledged professional work without noticeable potential impairment of sound perception.
The bowls are attached to the metal fork with a ball joint, which allows you to comfortably lie on the ear and head of any shape without the need for a long and accurate fit.
The metal fork holding the bowl is attached to the headband through a plastic holder, inside which it moves along its axis, which allows you to adjust the length of the headband in a wide range. Usually, when I get on-ear or full-size headphones, I immediately check how wide it is to expand the headband, and some models even at the maximum allowable adjustment are small for me. Nature rewarded me with a big head, but in the case of the Fostex T50RP MK3 I did not notice this at all, the separation margin remained substantial, I am sure that the headphones will suit everyone without exception.
The headband is made of elastic metal plate, which is lined on both sides with soft artificial leather with a soft lining.
The size of the extension is adjusted using metal forks attached to it, because the headband performs only the function of a power frame.
With ear cushions, Fostex engineers decided to conduct an experiment; full-size headphones with their similar design, combining a large diameter and an overhead type, are rarely found.
The thickness of the ear pads is small, but they are unusually wide, and only in the center of the cup is a small depression for the edge of the auricle. Ear pads lie on the front of the ear, like on-ear headphones, but the back is bent around like traditional models. The resulting hybrid in the first minutes of listening is surprising and seems unusual, but after listening to the headphones for several days in a row, I’m used to landing, it even seems comfortable, although not ideal for me.
The ear pads are made of artificial leather, they have a large area of contact with the ears and head, so on a hot summer day or with prolonged work in the studio, your ears will sweat.
I liked the similar design of the ear pads, but I can’t call it ideal, it is suitable for long-term work, but it may not be suitable for everyone, and it is advisable to try on the headphones before buying.
Fostex T50RP MK3 comes with 2 cables with 3.5 mm and 6.3 mm jack. Typically, the manufacturer puts two cables so that it is possible to connect the headphones to a mobile source with a short cable, and to a stationary long one.
I think this was done for the same purpose now, but the headphones have a feature that will not allow them to be used with ordinary phones or many compact players – the isodynamic driver requires a large source power.
Therefore, a regular phone is not guaranteed to cope with the task, like most portable players, and even not every external audio interface can provide enough power for them. For example, the Sennheiser GSX 1200 Pro was not able to give the necessary power for these headphones to work, even at maximum set power they sounded quiet and faded.
The cables are thick, durable, with plastic jacks, in home or studio conditions, it will be possible to disable them only intentionally.
We came to the most interesting in the Fostex T50RP MK3 – the isodynamic driver.
The first thing that is curious is the price, competitors do not offer headphones with similar drivers for a similar price, despite the fact that they sound just as expressive and believable. It turns out that Fostex are alone in this niche. It would be a disaster if the headphones played mediocre, however, Fostex managed to create a unique product that combines an amazing price, isodynamic driver and excellent sound quality.
The second thing you need to pay attention to is the technology, Fostex created its own membrane production technology for the driver, which was called “RP Diaphragm” or “Regular Phase Technology”.
The idea of RP is to reduce the peaks (on the frequency response graph) at medium and high frequencies that are present on almost all headphones, the diaphragm of the isodynamic driver of which is made according to the traditional scheme, making the sound more natural and pleasant to perceive.
RP uses a polyimide film on etched copper foil, which creates resistance to high-level input peaks with a power of up to 3000 mW, and thanks to a neodymium magnet, sensitivity is enhanced and an excellent impulse response is provided, and the shape of the conductive paths has a complex zigzag shape, which allows achieving better control over the movement of the diaphragm.
But remember, to hear and unleash the full potential of the Fostex T50RP MK3, you need a powerful headphone amplifier, if you connect them to an insufficiently powerful source, the sound will be sluggish and unemotional.
Therefore, if you somewhere see comments on the Internet that the Fostex T50RP MK3 does not sound expressive and mediocre, be aware that the commentator connected them to a weak source and they did not work properly.
Are Fostex T50RP MK3 Comfortable?
Fostex T50RP MK3 are positioned as a professional tool, in this case, the requirements for comfort and ergonomics are increasing. It is assumed that the headphones will be used every day for many hours and no one, even the most patient person, will be able to perform the job efficiently if the instrument irritates him.
During testing, I listened to the Fostex T50RP MK3 without discomfort for four consecutive hours, and my ears did not feel tired. True, I adjusted the headband several times until I found its ideal position.
However, the unique form of ear pads makes itself felt, and you need to have a habit for them. After a couple of days of listening, I stopped paying attention to them, but in the first few hours the sensations distracted me from the music.
It is possible to wear the Fostex T50RP MK3 on the street, but the force of pressing them to the head is average, so a sharp movement of the head or a short run can displace them and they will fall to the ground.
These are headphones for home or studio use and are well suited for these purposes.
Sound in computer games
I can’t get around the sound of the Fostex T50RP MK3 in games, I wrote many times that computer games have become a mass culture, they are like music in almost every house, in almost every heart, and I can check the sound of professional headphones in them – the temptation is great.
I will not describe in detail the feelings in each of the games, I will only indicate that I listened to them in the following titles: Alien Isolation, Escape From Tarkov, Battlefield 4, SOMA, Anthem and Overwatch.
In general, the sensations are extremely positive, a half-open acoustic camera gives accurate information about the sound in space, which gives a tangible advantage during games against other players. Information is a weapon, and the headphones became my secret agent in the camp of the enemy, because I knew in advance about his intentions, their opponent, without knowing it, betrayed me with a noise.
With the low frequencies, which are important in games, because they allow you to hear powerful special effects from explosions, shots and the sound of futuristic mechanisms, everything is in order. The bass turned out to be powerful, but detailed, layered, did not drown out sounds at medium frequencies, through shots and explosions I continued to hear the movements of the enemy, which often allowed me to emerge victorious from an unequal battle.
The level of immersion in the atmosphere, especially with regard to Alien Isolation and SOMA games, turned out to be amazing, in particularly tense gaming moments I completely forgot that I was sitting at home with headphones, it seemed to me that I was wandering around the Sevastopol space station, trying not to get caught by the insidious “ Alien ”for lunch.
As for the lack of games, I note that if you play with friends using voice communication, the sound from the headphones will often get on the air, because they are half-open, so you either have to carefully adjust the microphone sensitivity and distance from you, or make the sound in the headphones quieter. But if you play alone, there’s nothing to complain about, the sound of the Fostex T50RP MK3 in games provides excellent.
Sound quality when playing music: Fostex T50RP MK3
Speaking about the sound quality of the Fostex T50RP MK3, it must be kept in mind that this model is difficult to directly compare with competitors in the same price category, but using the traditional dynamic driver.
Different technologies give different results, and it is not for nothing that the manufacturer positions the T50RP as professional headphones – they allow you to hear small details and shades of sound more effective than dynamic counterparts, and therefore are well suited for monitoring or information, but will they give pleasure to the music lover who, wearing them, if he sits in a comfortable chair with a glass of whiskey in his hands on a cold winter evening, turns on his favorite music, this is an open question.
We tested the headphones paired with the Fostex HP-A4 amplifier.
Listening to the familiar tracks for a long time, I noticed that they sound different, in more detail, louder and with more neutrality, if I may say so. The headphones have almost no character, although their frequency response is not flat, when they listen, they give an honest and even sound, which makes listening to your favorite music an exciting process, but not always delivering the very pleasure that we are waiting for.
It becomes especially sad to listen to music compressed in mp3 format up to 256 kb / s, artifacts are instantly noticeable, the dynamic range is narrowed, and the instruments sound muffled and faded. But it’s worth listening to the same melody in good quality, as the headphones play it in a completely different way: vigorously, lively and with pleasure.
When playing complex musical works, when many instruments sound at the same time, it is possible to hear each of them separately, they do not merge into porridge and do not drown each other out, it gives pleasure, but for those who were acquainted with inexpensive headphones with dynamic before acquaintance with the Fostex T50RP MK3 driver, a new dimension in music will open.
But among the enthusiastic epithets, I will notice a nuance that I personally did not really like, although from a professional point of view, it is probably appropriate. Headphones like loud instruments such as cymbals or cymbals, which is why the T50RP is often used by sound engineers and musicians to monitor sound in a live concert. This reveals the great advantage of the isodynamic driver – with an increase in volume there is no distortion in the sound, which helps to work effectively in a noisy environment.
It seems to me that they especially enjoy playing them, putting their soul into them, but for my hearing it turned out to be a bit much, I like a slightly more muffled sound, for example, like the Meze 99 Classic. Therefore, if you do not like when the headphones can give a spark, and are not going to work professionally with sound, probably the Fostex T50RP MK3 is not your choice. I note that the brightness of the sound does not crush and does not sound distorted, the headphones can easily cope with such a sound, it is detailed, deep and soulful, but for my hearing this turned out to be abundant.
Headphones can easily cope with low frequencies, however, it must be taken into account that they are best given sounds with a frequency of up to 80 Hz, everything below is perfectly audible, but it is not accented, as is often the case with dynamic headphones. This makes the bass more natural and closer to the nature of live performance than to the synthetic deep sound of electronic music. At the same time, the low frequencies sound smooth, dynamic and with excellent detail, albeit slightly lacking in depth.
Mid frequencies are the hobby of the Fostex T50RP MK3, they sound smooth, natural and very detailed. The resolution is great, when listening to long-known tunes you are guaranteed to hear new nuances and shades of sound that you have not noticed before. Thanks to the isodynamic driver, there is no sense of blurring or smoothing of sharp corners in the sound; you hear sound with excellent resolution and high attack and decay speeds, which makes familiar tracks open from a new angle.
High frequencies are given to the headphones without difficulty, they are clean, bright, they feel the air and the heady aroma of freedom of expression. However, it seemed to me that in comparison with the middle frequencies, the high ones have a slight accent somewhere at a frequency of 6 kHz, which gives the feeling of high detail of the music as a whole, but at the same time, if the melody is intentionally mixed in a light and light style, the headphones can make it unnecessarily voiced, at least for my hearing. Otherwise, I did not notice any problems. I did not hear distortions or sibilants.
Conclusion: Should you buy Fostex T50RP MK3?
The Fostex T50RP MK3 headphones are an excellent example of when people who are guided not by marketing considerations, but by the desire to make a small revolution put their hands on the design of affordable professional headphones.
The Fostex T50RP MK3 has outstanding sound characteristics, a high level of comfort and an almost non-alternative ability to reproduce at its price a detailed and neutral sound, sufficient for serious professional work, but at the same time giving pleasure to an ordinary listener who decided to bet on a rare model with mysterious isodynamic Drivers and did not fail.
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