I was able to try a Fostex can back when Massdrop released its collaboration with the brand sometime mid last year with the TH-X00. I instantly fell for the can, what with the rich bass punch that is one of a kind: clean, tight, forceful. But, apart from that fact, the can offers such a wide range that was so immensely enjoying considering the number of things you get to hear out of it.
Then there was the T50RP, Fostex’s entry level planar magnetic can that has been a favorite of most enthusiasts due to its highly modifiable nature. For its price, it is no wonder that a lot flocked to get themselves a pair that was modded into different versions such as the Mr. Speakers Alpha Dogs, various mods from ZMF Planars, and mods from Mayflower Electronics which pretty much tells you how well received the T50RP is by both enthusiasts or DIY folks.
I wasn’t expecting a huge difference between TH-X00 and TH-610 so I never bothered to try it. However, a friend in the person of JP Castillo decided on disposing his but allowed me to try it first before releasing the cans. You see, I am not the type to back out of such opportunities regardless of my beliefs so I went on to give it a try. Thank God I did, else I would have not known how well tuned the can is.
Let’s go through it, shall we?
Wood. I love wood. Especially those which acts as cups for my cans. With the TH-610, the walnut cups indeed looked extra charming and added that premium look to an otherwise affordable pair of cans. A little polishing on the edges of the walnut cups could have been great, but then I guess the rough edges actually gave a bit of that authentic wood feel on the cups. At the center rests the ever classic branding of Fostex.
The yokes are very much similar to those of TH-X00, what with its dual aluminum rods sliding in and out to adjust to your head, with each marked to allow proper alignment of cups.
One of the issues I have is the headband. Sure it is comfortable enough, but the way it is covered by pleather makes you wonder how long before it wears out. If you touch and press the top edges of the cans, you can feel the aluminum band inside the headband. Seems sturdy for me, only that the aluminum feels a bit thin and sharp, so I would suggest extra care when using the cans. On the weight side, the headphone’s balance is well distributed to both cups, making it perhaps one of the most comfortable cans I have tried.
Perhaps the biggest thing about the build of the TH-610 in comparison to the TH-600 or the TH-X00 is the detachable 2-pin cables. The TH-610 sports detachable 2-pin similar to those of the Senheisser HD600/650/6XX series. This makes it easier for DIY folks as well as those who wishes for some accessibility to replacement accessories in case the cable wears out.
Overall, the TH-610 has an excellent build. Not perfect, but is still quite spectacular.
Personally, I liked how the sub bass is quite extensive for the TH-610. Bass sounded good, lean and punchy, and is quite perfect for bass heavy tracks. Apart from this, the can is also capable of yielding good, clean highs depending on the source being used. Scalability is unquestionable, as the can is capable of yielding such excellent sound and ranges based on the source. The can is capable of yielding excellent, dynamic range and then some.
To prove the point, let me go through my observations using my trusty old laptop and the Asus Xonar Essence One.
Love’s Divine (Seal, Best 1991-2004)
The rumbling thunder at the beginning of the track is quite very distinct. Piano keys are crisp. Seal’s signature voice is resonant and very breathy using the TH-610. Highs through the piano keys and the cymbals is of healthy dose but is not overwhelming nor too bright. Bass rumbles are quite exquisite, sub-bass extending to such excellent depth that I immensely enjoyed. Just to be clear, the cans are far from the brutishly bassy; it has that good measure of fine, classy punch of bass that would appeal to people with different level of tolerance on bass.
What About Love (Heart, These Dreams – Greatest Hits)
Cymbals are very lively, each crash sounded crisp. Ann Wilson’s voice stood out quite well. Bass is, as with the first test track, sounded solid and pronounced. The mix of instruments create quite a good melody but is presented in a fairly excellent manner with excellent imaging.
Monkey Wrench (Foo Fighters, The Colour And The Shape)
The TH-610 presented the guitars on the track in such a full and crisp manner. Dave Grohl’s voice doesn’t seem too forward but is highly discernible and distinct in spite of the rich texture of the instruments. I liked the distorted effects of Foo Fighter’s signature style.
Perhaps the greatest thing about the can is its imaging. This has quite a wide dynamic range that is often found in high end cans. While this can is priced lower than a TOTL can, I would say the TH-610 can give its higher-priced competitions a run for their money. If I were to be asked, I would immediately recommend this to my friends. Heck, I would even go for it if I am permitted to, it is just too bad that someone beat me to it.