Today I jumped at the opportunity to test out the $249 Dekoni Audio Blue. Some readers will know the Blue as a modified version of the Fostex T50RP marketed by Dekoni Audio. Dekoni already pulls down mad props for their earpad lineup, offering replacement pads for various models in velour, PU Leather, and sheepskin. But when it comes to headphones, does Dekoni deliver? And is that premo price legit for a dressed up T50RP?
The Dekoni Blue comes packaged with one coiled cable and one straight cable. No other accessories accompany the headphones.
Out of the box, the Dekoni still retains the same basic design of the Fostex T50RP – the major giveaways are the Blue’s iconic color scheme and angled earpads, as well as the Dekoni branding.
Driver design remains largely unchanged, though Dekoni does claim to have made other unspecified “proprietary changes” to the original Fostex design.
Frequency Range: 15-35,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 50 ohm
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 92 dB
The specs given above mirror the original Fostex model, as Dekoni doesn’t supply any technical specifications for the Blue. Frequency range on the Fostex T50RP is listed as 15-35,000 hertz, but the Dekoni Blue actually sounds closer to a 10-30,000 Hz (or even 5-25,000 Hz) headphone. The impedance remains the same between the two models, as does sound pressure level. These headphones will work adequately with no amplification, but amplification really makes a world of difference with the Blue. Feed this baby a little juice and hear it soar. Volume is a modest 92 decibels – another reason I might recommend amplification.
The dekoni blue features a low end with plenty of detail. Low-end fidelity remains impressive; even at this price, I wasn’t expecting the Dekoni Blue to sound this good. Bass lands with impact and energy aplenty. Slightly exaggerated due to the angled earpads, the lows on the Blue seem more precise and more emotive than the T50RP.
When it comes to the mids, they might sound slightly recessed – not that they really are, but the intense lows may easily overshadow this part of the frequency range. Here a stock T50RP might have an edge on the Dekoni Blue – if the Fostex T50RP does anything right, it’s the mids. And while the Dekoni actually has the same mids, the seem buried underneath a large and expansive low end.
Highs on the Dekoni Blue skew a bit bright, but offer a good definition and resolution. Note for note, the highs here appears identical to those of the Fostex. However, on the T50RP, those same highs can seem almost fatiguing. In contrast, the low-end-heavy sound signature of the Dekoni Blue seems to soften and mesh with that high end, resulting in a smoother, more dynamic sound.
Soundstage in the Dekoni borrows a certain level of depth from the design of the Fostex T50RP. However, thanks to the Blue’s thick angled earpads and emphasized low end, that soundstage comes across as being DEEP.
Some prospective listeners may pass up the Dekoni Audio Blue as a souped-up version of the T50RP. However, at $249, this headphone more than carries its weight, laying down a rich and dynamic sound that sucks you in.
While the angled pads do emphasize and extend the bass response, they also lend themselves to longer listening sessions where comfort is key. The forgiving PU leather pads on the Dekoni may be of special interest to those users who wear glasses – and who may experience more discomfort with stock Fostex earpads.
If you prefer a sound with less bass and more emphasis on mids and highs, you should skip the Dekoni Blue and instead consider the Audio Technical ATH-MSR7 (also $249).
Those who need a more even-keeled sound would perhaps benefit more from a midrange Shure, like the SRH940 (at $299).
But for bass? Or for a more dynamic sound? Forget about it! The Dekoni Audio Blue kicks ass and takes names where bass response is concerned. And that high end? Talk about a match made in heaven.
But wait, Carroll – is there any scenario where the original Fostex T50RP would be a smarter buy? Sure, but only if you need a studio monitor. If you are looking for a headphone for pure music enjoyment, True Blue, baby.
As an upgraded, improved version of the Fostex T50RP, the Dekoni Blue succeeds on every level. But as a $249 headphone in its own right, this makeover model is sheer audio bliss.