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djfluffkins
132
Dec 19, 2017
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I've already joined the drop, but I'm still wavering. Is there anyone who owns Fostex TH-X00s (Purpleheart preferred) and Focal Elears/Clears who can talk specifically about how they compare?
I've got a pretty decent collection of cans but the Fostex are probably the peak in terms of pricing for non-IEMs. I'm wondering if it's a big enough difference that it's worth getting.
Thanks!
Dec 19, 2017
Vigrith
4075
Audiophile Moderator
Dec 19, 2017
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I mean... the X00 are closed backs and these are open backs. That alone is a pretty specific and crass difference.
Dec 19, 2017
djfluffkins
132
Dec 19, 2017
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Agreed, That being said, the soundstage on the Fostex are better than some open backs I've heard. The face that the Elex is tuning down the bass also makes me think they are bass competitors to semi-closed backs (maybe I'm wrong).
Dec 19, 2017
Vigrith
4075
Audiophile Moderator
Dec 19, 2017
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Yea my response was a little vague, I apologise, I've only tested the X00 for a couple days in the past so I can't speak with certainty but here's my more detailed take - the Fostex' bass is really visceral and thumpy, especially the Purple Heart's (which are the ones I had for a bit), the Focal house sound is not like that; bass is present and extends extremely low but it's not a subwoofer kind of bass, more like what you'd experience through a really good pair of near(er) field monitors like the KEF LS50s. Quality over quantity for the Focal here.
Fostex has always had a problem with treble, their headphones can sound very strident and shrill up top and I did find the X00 a little too piercing (though bare in mind my hearing is sensitive) with string instruments and certain cymbals. The Focals are much cleaner up top whilst being much tamer in nature, and also in a more natural way. Fostex headphones are always a little artificial in the way they push their "detail" out, akin the HD800. Not something I'm a fan of.
Mid range is pretty good on the X00 as I recall, the Focal's is very pleasant in an HD650 kinda way. If Massdrop's tuning of the Elex fixes the upper midrange and transitions as Will has said they will then this will be their forte, in my opinion.
TLDR: the X00 quite a specific pair of headphones, they're very uppity - if you wanna jam out to EDM or trance or any other sort of bassy genre of music for a while then they're great. However, for prolonged and more eclectic use the Focal will win very handily. They might even be better for the aforementioned genres, it really depends on how you like your music.
Dec 19, 2017
djfluffkins
132
Dec 19, 2017
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How do you feel like the Focal sound (in general) compares to the HD800? I tried the HD 800 and 800S at some point and found them clear but less fun. I wasn't in control of the tracks or the interface, and I was newer to listening to higher end headphones at the time so I probably didn't have as good of a basis of comparison as I do now.
I generally agree with the Fostex comments. I use them as a good all around for everyday use, but if I'm specifically listening to a certain type of music I'll usually swap to something else.
Thanks for the additional clarity though (pun intended).
Dec 19, 2017
gyams
72
Dec 20, 2017
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hard to compare, as one is open and one is closed. the fostex will have more bass...the focal will sound more "spacious". depends what sort of sound you like, whether an open headphone is suitable for your needs...etc etc etc. so many variables
Dec 20, 2017
djfluffkins
132
Dec 20, 2017
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There's definitely a range of soundstage, bass and other parameters that vary between open and closed but the signature of actual headphones vary beyond just open and closed.
I have open backs that don't have the soundstage of the Fostex (I'd say DT990s are comparable) and I have some that kick it's ass.
Dynamics, clarity, imaging, detail and depth at different frequency ranges.
I bought into the "neutral response is the best" mindset because people told me that's what I should like. It was only later after experiencing more sounds/headphones that I realized I much rather prefer V-Shaped for every day listening.
tl:dr, I'm not asking which one is better, I'm asking what people's experience has been in the differences and which they prefer and why.
Dec 20, 2017
gyams
72
Dec 20, 2017
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i love the denon/fostex. having owned the D7000 and the th-900, they are my favorite closed headphones and the detail in the th-900 is as good as the hd800 (which i've never loved...sennheisers in general have never moved me). plus, the fostex is more "fun" than the hd800. i prefer V-shaped headphones for most listening...i have a modded pair of AKG K501 for jazz, but otherwise older headphones like the grado sr200 still remain one of my favorites (more neutral than grados that came after it, but still w/the V-shaped signature).
the elears are really really good. just not good enough for me that i ever wanted to own them at that price range ($1000...i know they can be had for $800 new now). i would rather have a pair of hifiman he-6 or vintage grado rs1...because the he-6 when driven properly are so so good and detailed and almost perfect to my ears...and the vintage rs1 is so smooth yet punchy and versatile. but to each his/her own...
Dec 20, 2017
caliphonia
65
Dec 20, 2017
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Very different type of cans for different types of listening. If you want bass and that thumping energy, I doubt the Focal can match the Fostex. From Inner Fidelity:
" The Elear has excellent overall tonal balance. Bass is slightly low for my tastes, but bass is very tight and punchy, and extension is extraordinarily good for an open dynamic driver headphone. The textural character of string bass, tubas, and large drums is clearly evident in this transparent, undistorted bass. Even though I've got a mild basshead penchant I was in no way left wanting in the low registers." Read more at https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/enter-next-generation-focal-elear-headphone-page-2#VPX7EgzlL7sX0gPI.99
I doubt any open cans can match a quality closed can for thumping bass. You really need both the Focal and Fostex.
Dec 20, 2017
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