The Fostex TH900MK2 is a headphone that has seen a lot of life since its original release in 2012, partly because Fostex is always seeking to make improvements. It’s received various color changes and tuning tweaks over the years, including the well received TH900 mk2. Now we have the TH900mk2 Pearl White edition, which is strictly limited.
While you may think a new coat of paint might not be enough to justify this purchase, there are also some small changes in the sound that this reviewer contends make a world of difference.
What’s in the Box?
When you take a look at the box, you may first think it’s a mix up since the packaging is exactly identical to that of the last version - right down to displaying the previous color.
Off the bat you’ll see that the packaging is pretty huge, and that’s because there’s room for not one, but two different boxes inside. The smaller box contains a very nice heavy duty stand that will act as great storage and display for your premium headphones. Naturally, the bigger box contains your limited edition headphones themselves, as well as detachable 7N Grade OFC Cable.
Design and Fit
Once again, in terms of design these are going to look nearly identical to the previous model save for a new paint job. However, the new white color is actually reflective of some sophisticated craftsmanship. The new color is the result of a custom Urushi Lacquer that undergoes special treatment and sits atop a Japanese Cherry birch housing. This is topped off with a tasteful gold Fostex logo etched on each ear cup that makes each pair feel hand crafted and truly one of a kind.
The earpads here are made of protein leather made from eggshell membrane for maximum comfort, and they are totally successful in this regard. Despite the bulk, these fit very comfortably and they actually feel much lighter than I thought just from looking at them. These fit really nicely on the head with very little adjustment needed, if any at all.
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These headphones are just as impressive under the hood, featuring a neodymium magnetic circuit that is uniquely designed around a magnetic repulsion system. These feature to 1.5 tesla magnetic flux to allow for a much wider and more robust dynamic range than many of its counterparts
These also feature a proprietary Biodyna diaphragm for reproduction that is fine, sensitive and ultra high resolution. One of the key differences if you’re looking to justify this purchase beyond the limited edition color is the specialized anniversary tuning. These feature a slight adjustment in sound signature to smooth out the low end and make the headphone a little more focused.
These are a low impedance headphone coming in at just 25 ohms, but it is probably abundantly clear to anyone taking a look at these that you’re going to want to pair these with a decent amp to get the most out of them. It’s also important to note that the cable here is a quarter inch end, so you will need an outboard device to connect to your favorite music player.
Now onto the all important sound, these headphones really punch above their weight when it comes to being a closed back unit. Every track here features a great sense of separation and spaciousness, both between individual parts and at the outer layers of top and bottom of the image. The stereo field is nice and wide, and layers clean and distinct, with a very accurate sense of weight and space, and effects like pans work brilliantly here.
I spoke a little bit earlier about some of the changes made to the low end here, and these are undoubtedly quite successful in my opinion. The low end is clear, resonant and dynamic in a way that rivals most other high end closed back headphones. The driver here is fast, and it makes all the difference, delivering bass frequencies that are powerful yet very articulate. The anniversary tuning really makes the case for these limited editions here, as the sub bass presence is more pronounced in a way that keeps your tracks punchier and livelier this time around.
The mid range features a bit of a drop off here in sheer clarity, but there’s still a great amount of detail offered by the listening experience. Naturally, low mids will inherit a lot of that great character from some of those lower bass frequencies - including a subtle lift that is achieved without dissolving into excessive warmth. As you move up to the higher mids, these are noticeably a bit more recessed and overall take on an airer, more laid back quality in the entire sound profile. Mids are somewhat subdued, but overall very pleasant and not at all lacking.
The highs here round out this headphone nicely with a great amount of lushness and very solid resonance as well. That anniversary tuning has toned down some of the rough edges that existed at the extremes of the high register in the previous model, and this is definitely an improvement overall. High frequencies are more concentrated and forward pressed than the mids, but they still achieve an airy effect that fits well into the overall sonic picture and makes these a joy for something like ambient soundscape.
The TH 900 mk2 is an already fantastic model that has only gotten better with this limited edition release.This is a truly fine set of cans with terrific bass response, pleasant mids, and nice airy resonant highs. If you didn’t love the sound signature of these the first time around, these may not before you. But if you are a fan of the gorgeous new color, and want an even more tightened and refined sound signature, then get these before they’re gone.
You can order Fostex TH900MK2 Pearl White (limited edition) at Audio46.