Massdrop x Fostex TR-X00 Mahogany Headphones

Massdrop x Fostex TR-X00 Mahogany Headphones

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Product Description
When the Massdrop community asked for a closed-back headphone that redefined price-to-performance expectations, the TH-X00 was our answer. Made in collaboration with Fostex, a brand that’s produced innovative audio gear since 1949, these headphones feature mahogany ear cups, a magnesium alloy frame, Fostex’s signature biodynamic drivers, and a highly reviewed sound signature Read More
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All of our reviews are from verified customers.
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WALRUSWHISKERS
49
Aug 1, 2018
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Great headphones and they are some of the most beautiful cans out there! I am one of the few that has all 3 (ebony, mahogany and the purpleheart). The Purplehearts won me over so I had to get all 3 to see the differences. They really are all different. These aren't as bass heavy as the purplehearts, but I'd still call them a basshead type headphone. They do a great job with a lot of different music types. They do have very clear mids and work better with rock music than the purplehearts.
I think out of the 3 I may like the ebony the best, but to be honest you can't go wrong either way. I guess I would say that if you're into rock / metal, get these. Rap / EDM / Bass heavy music, get the purplehearts. The Ebony are something different. They seem to be the most close to neutral out of the 3. So each of them is good in their own way. I love all three of these guys. So well crafted, they look like a work of art. I drool every time I look at them!
Fairingrey
100
Dec 30, 2018
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Amazing headphone. Excellent choice if you're looking for a fun, v-shaped/w-shaped headphone. Also one of the few Foster 443742 variants that you can actually afford at nearly half the price of its' competitors. I hear you can purchase the E-MU Teak (retail is $850 as of this review) at the Massdrop price ($450) if you email their support, but availability may be spotty. Meanwhile, you can buy this at $420 and get it shipped the next day, so that's really nice. There are other variants of this headphone that Massdrop x Fostex also produces: the Ebony ($520) and Purpleheart ($470), which come with different cups. The popular word seems to be that the Ebony is the most smooth and subtle-sounding of the variants (less v-shaped than the others), with the Purpleheart being the most intensely v-shaped. Mahogany being in the middle. You can read various reviews online and make the decision for yourself. Both vary in availability from time to time, but I recommend you check out the reviews there also. In my opinion though, you'll be satisfied with any of the choices -- while they do have different cups, they are exactly the same headphone. Same driver, same housing, same everything else. And on that note, it is also quite straightforward to perform modifications on, which gives it a decent popularity in aftermarket parts:
  • You can get replacement earpads which will affect the sound and comfort to varying degrees. The most popular aftermarket ones are probably the Dekoni Premium Pads that are also offered here on Massdrop (they make earpads specifically for the TH-X00/TR-X00, here's a review of them). I own the fenestrated sheepskin pads with the attenuation rings, and as someone that wears glasses, the comfort is a significant improvement from the stock pads, although the sound does change quite a bit (I'll address this in the review over there). If you use ZMF Ori pads (which are also pretty popular), I would recommend you make your own custom attenuation rings as the raw sound may be a bit too unpleasant, and the earhole design on the original pads exists for a reason.
  • You can also replace the earcups. Lawton seems to be one of the few aftermarket vendors that offers replacement wood cups for this headphone and its' variants but do keep in mind they are really expensive. As mentioned in the SBAF thread, it's not recommended, and I agree. It's something to keep in mind if you're holding out for another variant because you want the TR-X00 that's perfect for you.
  • This doesn't apply to the TR-X00 as it already comes with a removable cable that uses the same connector as the TH909, TH900mk2, and TH610, but it wasn't difficult to make a detachable cable mod given some basic soldering skills.
I own the original mahogany TH-X00 from the first drop (3+ years), but for most intents and purposes it should be considered the same headphone sans removable cable. It's been my daily driver since I got it, and I remember using it for everything (music, videos, gaming, etc). I gave my other spare headphones (AKG K7XX) to my brother since I didn't want them to gather dust, because I kept using these so much. They sound great. Definitely quite a basshead headphone with tight, crunchy bass with great decay, but doesn't lack in tonality in the mids and highs. Sub-bass is also freaking amazing. Great for most genres, but excels in bringing out the joy in EDM and pop tracks. Try listening to RL Grime, QUIX, Just A Gent or something similar and you'll feel a real satisfaction from that tight low end. Imaging is quite good for a semi-open/'closed' headphone too, so you can use this for gaming. That low end will make explosions and gunfire sound real beefy too. It doesn't really leak too badly either, though this will also depend on what earpads you're using. The comfort is quite nice in stock -- clamp is nice and firm but not uncomfortable, stock earpads tend to get a little warm during sessions. Build quality is pretty good and the mahogany in particular looks quite gorgeous. The hinge design is something to be careful about since it is a little delicate, but I've never had a problem with it. As with many things that cost ~$400+, it'd be best to exercise some caution. Always try to lay them down somewhere where they won't fall when you aren't using them. I suggest folding the complimentary carrying pouch into a fourth and leaving the headphones on top if you don't have a stand. Cable's kinda long (and which makes it unsuitable for portable use despite its' high sensitivity and low impedance) but it is really chunky and durable. I ran over it accidentally with one of my chair's casters once but it turned out fine. Given it was over carpet, but still. On that note, you don't really need an amp for these, but as with most desktop headphones they do get a good performance benefit out of one, even if slight. So with that $100 USD you're not spending on something more expensive, if you don't have an amp yet, go purchase a JDS Labs Atom and be happy with your life. Plus you'll be able to run them a bit louder for those party hard sessions. If there's one headphone that you'd have to own at this price range, this one should definitely be one of the top contenders. It's very enjoyable, and its the kind of headphone that prior to its' release was hard to get ahold of. Denon no longer manufactures the AH-D5000/7000 (instead opting for a new driver they've developed in the AH-D5200/7200 which is kinda "eh" in comparison), and as mentioned before the E-MU Teak's availability can be spotty. And if you're considering an OG Fostex TH-series, you probably know what you want already (though I don't consider them great contenders given that this headphone exists, and at higher price points you should really consider a ZMF Aeolus or Atticus).
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SchiitHead024
11
Aug 19, 2019
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Very nice cans with a few drawbacks
4/5 for bassheads who ALSO don't mind using an equalizer or people who just want EDM cans 3/5 for anyone not using an equalizer or SOLELY using this for EDM 2/5 for everyday listeners with no equalizer, at high volumes these hurt the ears in some cases First of all I'd like to preface this with saying I bought a Loki from my namesake to go with these headphones and I'd probably be a lot less happy with them otherwise. The sound is pretty amazing, bass is quite clear, mids sound great, highs are a bit on the brighter side but with a bit of tuning they sound far better. If you're buying these headphones I'm going to assume you're a bass lover so that's really what my star rating is focused on, how good the bass sounds and how much/little it effects or drowns out the other sounds, it performs amazingly in this regard. Mids sound a bit recessed, the detail is good but at this price range it could be better, if you're coming from a pair of 6XX cans this might be noticeable to you but I'd say they are in the same class. It's not that it sounds BAD in comparison, it's just that the mids pop a bit less with the TR-X00. This is again, after using a Loki to tune them a bit. Flipping off the tuning leads to this issue being magnified quite a bit and I'm not sure if I would be able to recommend these for every day listening if you have no way to tune your sound. High end is just too loud for me, my Loki's high end adjustment knob is forever at the 9 o'clock position which isn't a huge change but keep in mind I LIKE a V shape sound and without it I find myself wondering why on Earth every snare drum and cymbal sound hurts my ears at high volume. Take it down a bit and it's a beautiful thing, the bass is still why I'd buy these headphones but the definition in the high ends is a pretty close second too. Now...when it comes to things NOT related to sound (mainly design) these LOOK great and...well that's about it. The hinge on them is flimsy, I fear putting any pressure on them and rightfully so judging by the stories of people breaking them. The cord has begun to twist and the proprietary plug makes replacements a pain to buy. You can always buy from this manufacturer but when they stop making them...well I hope you like to solder and cut 400$ products because if not these are destined for the bin. They also have a large connector, if you add a 3.5mm adaptor it becomes even larger, not sure using your new phone is in the cards even if it could drive these to a decent volume, it'll work but make sure not to hook anything on your 3" long connector or you may lose your headphone port. The earpads are leather and yeah, they make you sweat. The construction uses a fair amount of glue and the screws used a VERY small, screw into plastic, and could easily be stripped so I'd advise against taking them apart often. All in all not very good for 420$ and I've already cannablized my old DT990s ear pads and headband cushion for a marked improvement in comfort. Overall I'd say this is a 4 star pair of headphones IF you have a decent equalizer (software or hardware would be fine), the build quality isn't SO bad that I'd take off more than a star with the hinges being the really iffy thing. The bass is just outstanding and IMO worth it to true bass heads. If you are buying these with no plans on altering the sound or if the idea of using an equalizer sounds like blasphemy to you...you'd probably be happier with a pair of 6XX, at best these are a 3/5 for all day listening without some way to reign in the highs. EDM is going to be the exception of course but even then I feel like a pair of 6XX with a Loki is going to give you 85% of what these can do, the 15% being all in the base where these cans really shine. If saving that 100$ doesn't matter to you these are still very nice cans, just way more sibilant than I'd like and it has a tendency to make high volumes unpleasant.
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Moshball
54
Oct 6, 2018
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I've been using the X00, on and off, for 3 years. I swap them out for listening with other headphones and earphones, including Beyer T1, Shure 1840, Emu (ebony), ZMF Ori (red sandalwood), and 64 ears V8 - so, my reflections are based on these other sounds too.
For another perspective, here is a more audiophile oriented review I wrote on reddit a couple of years back: https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/3xb60j/thx00_review/
The X00 being my cheapest headphones at this time, perform admirably compared with the others. As such, I believe they are good value, though not necessarily priced well for absolute beginners given the 2018 pricing at this time. The X00 certainly does punch above its price tier, though, and I feel they sound better than more expensive headphones such as Fostex's own 900 and stuff like Night Hawk.
The X00 are warm, with great bass, easy & intimate mids, clear but rolled-off highs. They are less V-shaped compared with other headphones from Fostex and Denon based on the same dynamic driver, and IMO, has a much better sound than modern Fostex offerings which tend to have bloated bass, being poorly balanced. The sound signature is a huge improvement on Fostex's own house-sound, from a hi-fi perspective - fun, punchy, warm, somewhat lush, but not OTT or too coloured.
Resolution and separation is middle of the road, but then again they are used side-by-side with the Beyer T1. Sound-stage is surprisingly wide and relatively deep for a closed headphone, but it's not airy and certainly not at the quality of higher end open-phones.
The sound then, is for musical enjoyment rather than critical listening or monitoring. The X00 sets a good example for dynamic sound!
The X00 is easy to drive too, certainly much much much less power hungry compared to my T1 and Ori, and only marginally more demanding of portable power than IEMs. For example, I am getting great results using the X00 on my Pixel 2 phone via a HTC usb c DAC dongle, and of course it works well with my Sony and HiFi-Man digital players too. Still, the sound does benefit from good amping, even if it doesn't scale up like Senn's and Beyer's.
The build quality was rather nice. The wood cups were fantastic, and as you can see in the photo below, the mahogany was well selected with decorative grain. For a sub-500 headphone, really couldn't ask for better.
What I didn't like about the X00 are two things - the cable and the ear pads. The stock cable was terribly difficult to use, being prone to twists and tangling. I ended up getting my X00 recabled with much nicer copper wiring (internal and braided external). Now that the cable is replaceable, not an issue any longer. Though, the X00 does sound tighter and more resolving with a cabling upgrade. The ear pads...well, that's subjective. I have big ears, and the partial fit configuration of the earpads are not the most comfortable - but also not uncomfortable enough to shell out more money for aftermarket pads.
All in all, one of the nicest headphones under <$1000. A worthwhile buy even for audiophiles and more advanced headphone enthusiasts.
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Dartha
0
Jul 23, 2019
hi, i just bought the same headphones, and i intend to use it with LG V30. would it be enough to use the full potential of these headphones? if not could you recommend any DAC / Amp for this. also i have noticed that nowadays there are many usb c DAC dongles available. can i use any of that with my Pc?. thanks
coachclams
16
Apr 20, 2019
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These are great headphones but they are held together by these two tiny screws which are the first components to fail. After 2 years of service, one of the cups fell off because one of the screws had snapped in half, leaving the lower half embedded inside the metal hardware that supports the cup. Massdrop will not provide you with replacement parts and the closest fostex replacement part is sold by some 3rd party at an egregious markup, which needs to be filed down to fit into the massdrop version. All in all, for a $400 headphone it probably should have lasted longer, and for massdrop's usually impeccable customer service to fall short is saddening.
Fencehopping
10
May 11, 2019
Mine also failed the exact same way right at the 2 year mark. Very disappointed. Customer supports response was this: "While I can understand your frustrations, thank you for understanding our policies as well. I am sorry that we don't have a better resolution for you."
ZZ_UPenn
257
Oct 23, 2019
Thanks for your candid review. I was very tempted to buy a pair with the discounted price, but hold off because of the questionable build quality. In my opinion, it does not matter how great they sound if they will break in 2 years and there is no easy way to repair. Such a deal breaker!
Cyranis
15
Jan 1, 2019
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Screw broke off in the earcup shaft. Apparently it happens all the time. What a disappointment these headphones are.
Cyranis
15
Jan 3, 2019
There is a replacement part but it's $20+shipping ($10+) and you need to grind it down.
VPD2
4
Jul 15, 2020
Can you list where to get replacement parts? This just happened to mine. Thanks!
Jam1e
11
Feb 10, 2019
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Super comfortable. Beautiful sound. Matched with a decent DAC, these phones will give you a great listening experience. Why 3 stars then? Build quality. Upon removing the headphones, the point where the ear-piece hanger attaches to the headband snapped clean off, revealing a surprising display of poor/questionable manufacturing. What's so surprising is that the materials themselves are great - plush cups, beautiful hardwood ears , and solid feel to the expand/retract adjustable band. For $400+ headphones with such nice sound and materials, it's hard for me to recommend due to the prevalence of this product's Achilles heal. I've submitted a help ticket with customer support in hopes that this can get resolved, either with a replacement set or parts. I will update this review with how it gets handled.
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axtran
58
Feb 21, 2019
This has been an issue with the design of the headphones for more than a decade (they affected the original Denon D-series, which was OEM'd by Fostex).
zdaee741
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Oct 22, 2019
Did you ever get this resolved?
Karimk
55
May 28, 2019
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Very good bass. Nice clarity. Looks amazing. To me, this was very uncomfortable. I tried every pad there is; if it fixes the comfort, it ruins the sound. Buying a short cable is a must, the cable this comes with is massive and a hassle to deal with. It's a V-shape headphone, so the mids are recessed, and the highsssssss can get painful. If you like EDM, this might be good for you, however, most modern music is very compressed, so the highs on these might be too much. It spent more time on stand looking pretty, than on my head, which is not ideal. Still good overall, but can't say I'd recommend it.
cwelton17
105
Mar 15, 2019
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TL:DR; Ultimately I feel like these headphones are not worth the $419 I spent on them. There's other products I've spent far less money on that I enjoy far more. I'm a novice so I have a hard time writing in detail about headphones other than "I like it, I don't like it" but here we go. I always end up preferring my Dekoni Blues (primarily for hip-hop and bass heavy genres) or Senn 6XX headphones which were both only $200. If the TR-XOO were sold at the same price I don't think I'd be as disappointed. I've had them for 6 months now. First of all, these headphones should be sold with a cable that ends in a standard 3.5mm termination. These headphones are very easy to drive and half the time they sound better running straight out of my iPhone 6 rather than through an amp (although it works nicely with my NX3s portable amp and bass boost). If I'm being really cynical, I'd almost think that Massdrop sells it with a 10 foot 1/4in termination to uhhh imply to newbies that they need an amp to go along with these headphones which in my experience is not true at all. I ordered a 4 foot cable with a 3.5mm termination to use instead of the stock. In my opinion, the TR-X00 don't respond much to amplification and they certainly don't "scale up" the way that the 6XX do. Sound: Yes these headphones can rumble fairly well and with EQ you can push the bass pretty far. When it comes to bass extension, they beat out my Dekoni Blues. On the EDM track "Faceless" by Plain Sight, the TR-X00 can pick up some deep, deep rumbles that the Dekoni Blues just kind of pass over. But when listening on the TR-X00 it's like always end up turning up the volume too loud to get the sound I want and when I take them off I realize my ears are kind of ringing, I think it's probably because I end up pushing the treble too loud trying to chase the bass impact. I never have that kind of problem with the Dekoni Blues, they are fun but never unpleasant. One of my favorite tracks right now is the Dillon Francis remix of Cardi B's "I Like It" and I don't know... I just prefer the Dekoni Blues every time over the TR-X00. The TR-X00 plays rock music pretty well also, heavier tracks like "If You Do, If You Don't" by Cartel or "The More I Sleep The Less I Dream" by We Were Promised Jetpacks sound good. But again, they just aren't preferred over the 6XX or Dekoni Blues. Basically the 6XX are great all-rounders for in my opinion and I just pick the Dekonis when I want more low end, but very rarely do I think "I should grab the Fostex for this track". Honestly even in hip-hop genres I'd still choose the 6XX over the TR-X00 just because they are more pleasant overall. Fit: For reference, my head is larger than average I think. These are pretty unwieldy headphones and not great for on the go. I replaced the stock pads with Dekoni Elite Hybrid pads which are thicker than the original and make it significantly easier to keep these cans on my head. The headband isn't great, but I can wear them for about 2 hours before feeling uncomfortable which seems ok. As I mentioned earlier, these headphones do NOT need an amplifier and run well off a smart phone but for on-the-go listening they just aren't realistic. I'd much rather use one of my IEMs. (Speaking of, my DMGs paired with my NX3s can get some pretty good bass all on it's own at since I only paid $90 for those it feels like much better). Imaging(?) Now there's one area where I do like the TR-X00 and I think that would be called imaging? In the song "Little Taste of Heaven" by Leach there are sound elements that move side to side and the TR-X00 seems to handle that really well. As in, the way those sounds move around my head is quite satisfying in a way that the 6XX and Blues can't match. And while I use my headphones mainly for music, sometimes I do listen to ASMR and I'll say the TR-X00 seems to be good for that. Obviously, I don't really have the vocab to really describe what I'm hearing here but hopefully that makes sense. However considering my other personal dislikes, it doesn't mean much overall. Conclusion: My biggest gripe with these headphones is when I compare "The amount I spent vs how well I enjoy them" is that I personally don't feel like I'm getting good value for my money. There's other products I've spent far less money on that I enjoy far more. Honestly I'd even reach for my KPH30i before these cans. Maybe I should have done more research but there's only so much I can do when shopping online. Anyway I seem to be in the minority here and maybe I'll change my mind down the line but as always, maybe someone will find my vague and newbie review helpful :)
hyunchong02
19
Mar 26, 2019
I think a two star is a bit harsh just for not being able to compete with the HD 6xx of all headphones in value. The HD 6xx is identical to the HD 650 and those originally retailed for $500.
cwelton17
105
May 14, 2019
Fair enough about the 6XX. But then again based on how I defined the rating criteria ("The amount I spent vs how well I enjoy them"), then I think the rating stands. It especially doesn't help that since I've written this review, I've gotten my hands on the Meze 99 Noir and I'm absolutely loving them. I far prefer the $200 99 noir to the $400 TH-X00 and (I would think) are more direct competitors.
Calebthelion
27
Oct 17, 2018
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So just some context, I'm still fairly new to the hi-fi audio but have found myself diving fairly deep at decent pace. I currently trade between the AKG k702, DT990, HD6XX, and now the TR-X00 and power them using the JDS Labs Element, Modi2u+Magni2u or Modi2u+Valhalla 2 (tube).
Comfort: Pretty darn good, they felt comfortable right off the bat. They have low clamping pressure, soft (fairly breathable) earpads, and not nearly as heavy as I assumed they'd be with the wood. Headband, though light on padding, is also surprisingly comfortable. They aren't at the level that you forget they're there but you're not gonna be rushing to take them off when nothing is playing.
Looks: Just look at that mohagany... gorgeous, though you might not feel comfortable wearing them out in public as subtle they are not. I also really wish they came with a different cable, it's just unwieldy, but at least it's removable.
Sound: This is where they really get me. The bass/sub-bass extension is just fantastic and feels punchy and clear without much bleed into the mids. The treble is definitely present but not harsh and sibilant like some other headphones *cough* DT990 *cough* I know. The mids are slightly recessed but clear. Overall they're just so enjoyable for me to listen too for just about everything I've thrown at them. They really sound amazing on tubes but are so easy to drive that they even sound great on my iphone 7+. The one thing I would change would be the soundstage, I just wish it was a bit wider though that might be asking a bit much of a <$1k pair of closed backs.
Value: They're without a doubt the most (to me) enjoyable <$1k pair of headphones I have had the privilege of listening to, not to mention their look and feel just being top-notch.
Azeendeen
66
Nov 5, 2018
thx for the reply
Hyde
908
Jan 5, 2019
Totally agree about the sound stage on the TH-X00, I love everything about the TH-X00 (perfect tonality for my taste) except I wish the sound stage is a bit wider. All the other variants (Denon AH-D2000, E-Mu Teak, TH-X00 Ebony) that I owned all have wider sound stage. But TH-X00 is my favourite in terms of tonality. Oh I've been eyeing the HD6XX, for someone who owns the TH-X00 Mahogany would you recommend me getting the HD6XX? I listen to mostly female fronted rock, pop, and acoustic songs. Thanks!
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