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.

CanJamRMAF2015_Fostex_Plot_Initialplots

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?

COMMENTS
OldRoadToad's picture

I am very much interested in these new 'phones primarily for two reasons. Their ability to reproduce music in a manner which will bring a smile to my life and their looks.

People say looks don't matter but I think otherwise. What is the very first thing we notice about some one or some thing?

Their looks.

There's a song called "The Look of Love". I look forward to hearing Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 version of it through these beauties.

I eagerly await the review of any or all of them. Thank you!

Three Toes of Fury's picture

Howdy sir...did you get to listen to the T40RP mk3 closed model?
How did they sound? If you do get a pair and end up reviewing, i'd be interested in sound comparison against similar cost/quality sealed headphones (like Sennheiser Momentum).

Thanks for the show reports!

Peace .n. Living in Stereo

3ToF

Ste's picture

I was planning to buy one next week or so (can't right now cause I'm traveling) but now that Tyll said he likes the headphone prices are gonna go up... darn it!!

Mad_Economist's picture

...but the ear side of the baffle has been changed pretty significantly too. There's a ring - well, a square, really - of foam around the driver, and less material between the driver and the ear. Hope you do end up doing an MK3 contest, I can't wait to see what folks end up doing with the new model, and I'd have one or two to send in myself.

merlinpmartell39500's picture

Past my time, I was reading somewhat in the same category and I to come across this site which I found it good. It looked interesting and I decided to scrutinize every contents and I read yours.. It was absolutely worth it and I liked it loads. wilson

crimsun's picture

The price/value ratio (currently < US$150!!) for the T50RP mk3 is unbelievable. Highly recommended for a pretty neutral (hint of bass and good treble extension), semi-open, and clear set of cans. The bumps around 10kHz (treble) can be EQed.

To my preference, they're well paired with an iFi micro iDSD (normal or turbo modes; I prefer the latter) or a Resonessence Herus into a Vorzuege VorzAMP Pure II/II+ (medium gain). I actually think that the Chord Hugo does not pair as well with them (T50RP mk3's 50 Ohm impedance being a bit more difficult to drive than, say, the Philips Fidelio X2/27, OPPO PM-3, or Audeze LCD-XC) and prefer the iFi micro iDSD pairing.

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