The Fostex TE-07 is more than a year old, yet still stands at the summit of the Fostex in-ear lineup. That being said, for a $249 earphone, how does it stack up against its competition?
Fostex TE-07 Review
The TE-07 comes with a carrying case and some eartips – extra small, small, medium, and large. There’s a little bit of literature in the box, too.
These earphones utilized a removable 4 ft (1.2 m) cable. The earpieces, while a little large, are still comfortable. The medium silicon tips fit well, but if you’re a fan of Comply foam tips, you should be able to find a pair that fit this size of headphone.
Type: Balanced armature
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Impedance: 33 ohm
Sensitivity: 95 (at 1kHz, 1mW)
Maximum Input: 5mW
Plug: 3.5mm, 3P mini plug
Cable Length: 1.2m
Accessories: Spare ear tips (XS, S, M, L) and Leather Carrying Case
From the specs, we can tell that the TE-07 offers a fairly standard frequency range of 20-20000 hertz, with a lower sensitivity of just 95 decibels.
The low end on the TE-07, in one word, would be best described as “underperforming.” It’s not particularly detailed, and the bass is loose and ill-controlled. The shallowness of that bass is only outdone by the general lack of control, which results in a sloppy and bleeding low end that muddles with male and female vocals alike.
Where mids are concerned, we start to see an improvement in the sound of this headphone. There’s good detail in there – sometimes bordering on great detail. It does well with some male vocals (the voices of Tom DeLonge and Stevie Nicks stood out as particularly well-handled during my listening session).
Ah, the high end. THIS is where the Fostex TE-07 really excels. While perhaps the slightest bit “bright” sounding, the overall effect is pleasant to euphoric.
The TE-07 offers real soundstage – the space and depth to instruments is freaking amazing. Of course, on tracks with lots of bass, the sound is less articulate in general, and this can greatly impede the soundstage. If you listen to a lot of rock, and especially if your listening to rock that has low-frequency male vocals, you may feel a lack of soundstage. But moving to something with a wider array of instruments (read classical music), I saw a definite sense of space and distance between violins, keyboards, and horns.
This headphone is an odd beast, and one that is sure to polarize those who undertake the not-so-easy task of reviewing it. It isn’t the earphone for everyone, and I’d even go so far to say that it is simply an earphone for a very particular someone. If you love classical music, or acoustic, or female vocals, this headphone is very much for you. It’s built well, it’s comfortable, and when paired with these musical tastes, the experience is a very, very pleasant one. Even when compared to earphones that cost $399 or more, it is still a robust performer – for classical, acoustic, or female vocals. The beautiful high end, and a lack of competing low-frequency notes will compensate for this earphones deficient bass, while highlighting the things it is best at.
If you’re after bass, let these headphones go. If you’re after that budget-friendly all-rounder, again, let these headphones go. In both cases, the Fostex TE-07 is not for you. It’s a fantastic headphone for instrumental music – especially when it comes to strings. And female vocals are amazing as well. But where bass and low end-detail are concerned, this headphone kind of screws itself over. Maybe this would change after some burn-in, and I honestly hope it might. And even though it’s not completely unlistenable straight-from-the-box when paired with bassier music, the real application for this earphone lies elsewhere.
You can find the earphones for the best price here:
Audio 46 (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get 10% off)