In the world of headphones, few models have been more modded than the Fostex T50RP. Manufactured by Japanese audio giant Fostex, the T50RP has been redesigned and rebadged commercially as the Dekoni Blue. Further variations on the T50RP driver exist under the Fostex brand name, too. But perhaps the biggest source of mods – the larger headphone community as a whole – has until now been less navigable. Enter online headphone powerhouse Drop, with the new DROP + FOSTEX T-X0 II – a faithful take on the T50RP sound with some slight tweaks and a full kit for tweaking the sound even further. But at $180, just how much a steal can this kit be?
DROP + FOSTEX T-X0 II Review
The T-X0 II comes in a plain white cardboard box. A removable 6.6 ft (2 m) cable is also included, terminating in a 1/4 in stereo plug. But completing this kit, you also get two sets of earpads and foam dampers. Here’s the breakdown:
- one set of fake leather earpads
- a pair of velour earpads
- one set of 15 lb/ft3 density foam inserts (these come pre-installed on the headphone)
- two 10 lb/ft3 foam inserts
By mixing and matching the earpads and foam inserts, you get four different sound profiles to choose from. Each combination tweaks the sound of the T-X0 II’s planar magnetic driver, allowing a listener to experiment with the sound.
And, while all those accessories are a nice touch, the T-X0 II appears very well-built, too. A rugged rawhide suspension-style headband provides decent comfort, and the over-ear pads completely cover my giant elephantine ears. Over the top of the rawhide headband, a heavy-duty rubberized band bears Fostex branding. And if there’s one fault to the fit of this headphone, it’s the top-heavy design that causes the earphones to shift on my head whenever I tilt my head back.
This one misgiving aside, the solid build and relative comfort of the Drop + Fostex T-X0 II do much to recommend it.
In terms of the low end, the Drop + Fostex T-X0 II delivers an impressive listening experience. In addition to a highly detailed and articulate low end, there’s a solid bass impact here that lands with weight and emphatically punctuates the sound. Rock and hip-hop take on a primal sense of depth, while electronica and pop music still benefit from this precise and emotive low end.
Here the T-X0 II displays a solid if slightly-forward presentation that serves up vocals with excellent contrast and articulation. While instrumentation still sounds detailed and three dimensional, the vocal content on most test tracks still manages to steal the show. Clean and clear, the sound here avoids any compression or distortion and opts instead for a densely luscious profile that works well with the intense low end.
In the high end, the T-X0 II feels just slightly rolled off (when using the stock configuration of fake leather earpads and the 15 lb/ft3 density foam inserts). Instrumentation feels slightly blunted without the usual verve in the high end that would normally accompany the highest violins or a brazen sax. Instead, this slight roll off subdues instrumentation while taking a slight edge off of any female vocals. Overall, these smooth highs work well with the overall low-end-heavy sound of the T-X0 II right out of the box, before switching pads or foam to adjust sound.
There’s some good soundstage at play here, thanks to a good sense of depth and an impression of placement. While not as expansive-sounding as a pair of open-back over-ears, like a Grado SR200e, the T-X0 II still offers enough room between individual instruments and keeps them distinct against one another. All in all, this is a decent soundstage, especially coming from a closed-back Fostex.
Swapping out the fake leather pads and 15 lb/ft3 density foam for the velour pads and 10 lb foam results in a totally different but refreshing sound. With mids and highs elevated and bass just a bit more dubdued, it’s an even richer and more-rewarding sound for vocal-heavy tracks. But this is just one variation on the sound. You can see frequency response charts for all four combinations here.
Personally, I’m fairly impressed with this aspect of the Drop + Fostex T-X0 II. I’ve long wanted to mod a pair of the T50RPs, but lacking the time to actually sit down and do any modding, this kit is a great alternative that still allows a listener to experiment with variations in sound.
If you’re searching for a solid Fostex Headphone that fulfills the desire to mod a pair of headphones without all the nitty gritty particulars, the Drop + Fostex T-X0 II is for you. Capable of four different sounds, it allows any listener the option to modify the sound without removing even a single screw.
Straight from the box, it exhibits a fairly warm if rolled-off sound, and one that still delivers a strong midrange. As such, it’s a solid option for fans of rock, hip-hop, electronica, pop, and jazz.
Still, the ability to change the earpads and foam inserts means you shouldn’t preclude this headphone from other types of music, either. At $180, the T-X0 II offers a solid buy for someone who wants the ability to play around with their sound, and who already enjoys the Fostex fit.
Personally, I’d much rather have the Beyerdynamic DT 770 32 ohm at this price, but that’s mostly because the T-X0 II fits me a little weird and shifts on my head every time I move my head back or forward.
With its four-headphones-in-one philosophy and solid build, the Drop + Fostex T-X0 II offer a solid value for its $180 price tag. While a little dark and relaxed right out of the box, the ability to tweak the sound of this headphone remains an integral facet to that value proposition. All in all, it offers a compelling choice for anyone who ever wanted to mod themselves a pair of T50RPs without going through all the trouble.
Get the Drop + Fostrex T-X0 II for the best price here: