It's a Headphones Thing

A Headphones Reviews Blog

REVIEW: Fostex TH-7B

Fostex is a Japanese studio equipment and personal audio manufacturer, founded in 1973 by Foster Electronics, which are one of the biggest OEM headphones/IEMs companies in the world. Most people may not know, but Fostex is the company that produces the “notorious” Apple iBuds, the earbuds that are packaged with all of Apple’s audio products.

I would like to thank Hiroaki for the review sample.

Before we start, here are the Fostex TH-7B’s technical specifications:

  • Impedance: 70 ohm
  • Sensitivity: 98dB/mW
  • Max input level: 100mW
  • Weight: 260g

Packaging: The TH-7B comes in a very impressive big purple plastic box, which can also be used as a storage case for the headphones. On the box there’s an illustration of a monkey wearing the TH-7B, drawn by the Japanese artist D[di:] (inside of the package, there’s a postcard with another drawing by her, this time of a cat wearing the Fostex TH-5B headphones). When seeing that package for the first time, it gave me a very good first impression on the box’s content.

 

The extension cable and the postcard

Accessories: The TH-7B is packaged only with a 1.5 Meter extension cable with a 6.5mm jack. A carrying case would’ve been nice, even more since almost all of the TH-7B’s competitors do come with a one; it’s pretty much a standard in the TH-7B’s price range. The amount of the accessories which come with the TH-7B are very disappointing, the rating is 4/10.

Build Quality and Design: The Headphones are made of rough black plastic, with almost no touch of matte, and it looks quite “old school”, a thing that can make sense when it comes in mind that the TH-7B is a redesign of Fostex’s older T-7 headphones, which look quite similar to the TH-7B. There are some small purple plastic parts on the headphones, probably added to make them look more current and fashionable.  The headband is stuffed with soft leather like fabric, which is very pleasant to touch. The pads are pretty soft and well crafted. The size adjustment sliders are very well constructed; it’s very easy to adjust the size to your head. The cable continues the purple touch of the headphones. It’s pretty thick although it’s a bit too hard. It ends with a straight metal plated 3.5mm jack, a thing which I’ve found to be quite weird, because these days, almost all of the headphones come with a gold plated jack. Overall, the building quality is good and well constructed. The rating is 8/10.

Portability: The TH-7B is bigger than AKG’s K518, and they do not have any folding ways and they do not come with a case.  Due to all of these reasons, I would say that they would be better to use while not on the go. The rating is 5/10.

Comfort: For the first few minutes, the TH-7B is very comfortable to wear, but a few minutes later, you start to feel their weight – 260 Grams, which isn’t too heavy, but isn’t too light neither. The weight isn’t divisible equally; most of the weight goes to the headband, which makes your noggin to hurt 40 minutes after the start of your listening session. The comfort isn’t as bad as the AKG K518’s comfort, but it’s still a down point for the TH-7B. If not the weight, these were one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever used: The leather like pads are so soft, there’s almost no clamping force, etc.  The rating is 7.5/10.

Isolation: If you need headphones which isolate quite well, you should probably look at your other options, as these don’t do so. These are called by Fostex “Semi Open Headphones”, so it’s pretty acceptable. Due to the venting holes in the middle of the cups’ rare side, the isolation isn’t quite good, although it’s a lot better than the isolation that some of the open headphones offer.

Sound Quality: The TH-7B’s sound signature is smooth, with a good treble extension. The sound is pretty balanced, and the bass might feel not so full for some of the users.

The Bass isn’t boomy and not too punchy either, it isn’t a thing which the TH-7B does well. It lacks the body and the weight that it needs to sound good. When adding some bass boost equalization, the bass sounds fuller and better, but it does come on the account of the clarity and the clearness, which are already lacking in the TH-7B’s bass, especially because of the hump in the mid bass.

The Mids unlike the bass, are pretty clean and do not lack any clarity. They’re very smooth and give a quite flat response.  They’re not very forward, but I would not say that they’re laid back.

The Treble isn’t very bright, but not too dark either. Like the Midrange, it’s smooth too and it’s very clear and clean. It can sound very dry sometimes, but amplifying does help it in some ways.  There’s some sibilance, but not in a very big amount.

The Sound-Stage is pretty wide and big. The imaging is three dimensional and deep, and the instrument separation is quite good.

The rating is 7/10. The rating is in ratio to the price the TH-7B is being retailed in.

In Conclusion, The TH-7B offers a pretty flat and neutral sound, which may be too dry for a one, but this could be fixed when amplifying it. The building quality is great, and the comfort isn’t that bad. The overall score is 8/10.

Pros: Neutrality, Great Building Quality.

Cons: Weight, May sound too dry for some, the bass lacks some body and weight.

The Fostex TH-7B can be bought from various sellers for around 60$ to 80$.

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