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Fostex TH7BK Headphone Review - Staying Sober for the Studio

"The Fostex TH7BK is good value as a tool for use in the studio, and can be used as a general listening headphone too."
Fostex TH7

Fostex TH7BK Studio Headphone Review

The Fostex TH7BK seems to be a revision of the former model, the TH7BB. However, the older TH7BB had a semi-open design whereas the new TH7BK is closed. This lends itself better to the studio applications it's designed for, but the 1.2m cable may require an extension cable. The TH7BK can be used for portable applications but will require a little help with amplification if being used with most handsets.

Pros:

  • Decent low cost studio cans
  • Good for monitoring

Cons:

  • Cable could be longer for studio use

Fostex TH7BK

Design and Appearance

The Fostex TH7BK is exactly like its older counterpart in terms of looks; it's a plain design which doesn't draw attention and doesn't want it either. There is nothing unattractive about it, but it's not going to suit you if you are planning on making an impression!

The plastic material has a rubberised coating of some sort, giving a matt finish all over.

Durability and Build Quality

Build quality is satisfactory, but the TH7BK is not designed for particularly heavy use. Sit on these and you'll be looking for new headphones, but with care these will last for a good while.

Comfort

The TH7BK might be classed as an over-ear model but things are a little snug in there; if your ears are on the large side, they might also be partly on the outside, but most should be fine.

Fostex TH7BK

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Sound Characteristics

The Fostex TH7BK is designed to be a low cost solution for project studios and the like; the overall sound signature is fairly flat and dry, but with enough to work as a headphone for listening to music as an end user too.

  • Bass

Bass is not as emphasised as with most consumer headphones, but is well controlled and fits in with the rest of the presentation. It starts low and gives a bit of a thump, but no bruises are formed.

  • Mids

The midrange is clear and fully present without any troublesome peaks. Very good for monitoring and spotting details; vocals are clear enough but there is a slight raspy quality to them. Similarly, harmonics are not as clear as with higher priced offerings from Fostex, affecting imaging a little.

  • Treble:

Treble is clear too, but as with the midrange there is a grainy element to it. These are under £70, so it's not meant as a criticism so much as a description of the sound. Hi hats and cymbals still sound good, but with an element of 'rock 'n roll' roughness about them.

  • Soundstage and Separation

Soundstage depends on the production; some genres can seem a little flat and narrow, but others widen out quite a bit, such as classical. Given that these headphones were designed for monitoring and the like, this is not really an issue.

Separation is fairly good; everything has its place in the mix but it's not completely distinct all the time.

Music genres good for and why

From the standpoint of an end user rather than a studio user, the Fostex TH7BK works well with electronic, dance and similar genres. Live music, classical and acoustic performances may seem a little two-dimensional however.

Fostex TH7BK

Summary

The Fostex TH7BK is good value as a tool for use in the studio, and can be used as a general listening headphone too. Any criticisms regarding the sound involve the TH7BK's perceived use as an 'end user' headphone and so should be taken with a grain of salt; this model is not primarily designed for that purpose.

About Shaun Gostelow

Shaun is co-founder of hifiheadphones.co.uk and spends most of his time dealing with the business side of running the store, but still loves listening to music with headphones just the same as ever.
Follow Shaun on Google+
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