CanJam at RMAF 2015 Showstopper: Fostex T50RP T40RP and T20RP Mk3 Line Refresh
I've heard a number of the previous versions of this headphone, and I've heard a number of modified versions of this headphones, but I would have never expected a Fostex refresh on this very old headphone design to sound this good. Wow!
According to Kris McDougall, who represented the line at the show, the driver remains unchanged, with all the improvements occurring in the capsule acoustics. Oddly, the web site claims a "Newly developed RP Diaphragm with copper foil etched polyimide film and neodynium magnet construction for accurate and natural acoustic sound reproduction." Skimming this Head-Fi.org thread where a couple of people have opened up the cans, it does seem the drivers appear fundamentally unchanged but do have some changes to the vent damping of the driver. Reported conversations with Fostex personal also confirm a fundamentally unchanged driver.
The headphones in this new line are priced at $159. The T50RP is semi-open; the T40RP is sealed; and the T20RP is open. I have done a full set of measurements for the T50RP Mk3, and they're significantly better than the previous version. While the bass rolls off pretty steeply below 100Hz, the listening impression is of much improved bass response relative to the earlier model, and much improved tonal balance overall, to my ears. I made a quick raw frequency response measurement of all three for comparison shown below.
Personally, I felt the T50PRP was the most neutral of the lot; a review of the line is planned. One thing to be well aware of, these are very inefficient headphones. Included with purchase are two cables: one 3 meters long, and the other 1.2 meters long, which Kris identified as for "mobile use." These headphones are far too inefficient for phones, and the cable uses the same locking connector needed at the earpiece on both ends, making it ver difficult to reach through the protective case on a phone.
But for home use, or use portably with dedicated amp, these are far better than the previous model. It's going to be very interesting to see if DIYers can markedly improve on the sound. Another contest, perhaps?