Fostex TH-610 Review: Delivers smooth and realistic sound with minimum distortion

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The Fostex TH-610 is equipped with 50mm dynamic drivers with Biodyna biocellulose membranes and a powerful magnetic system with an induction of 1 Tesla (10,000 Gauss), which, according to the manufacturer, will provide smooth, realistic sound with a minimum of distortion and a wide range of reproducible frequencies. The cups are made of natural wood, to be exact, black walnut. Detachable cable made of oxygen-free copper, with fabric braid.

Few people are not familiar with the Japanese company Fostex, but just in case, a small historical reference: it has been on the sound market for more than 40 years (one of the pioneers of Regular phase) and specializes in equipment for acoustic systems. It is all the more interesting to take a closer look at her headphones.

In fact, the headphones have become a follower of the famous TH-600, and judging by the similarity of the headphones with the Massdrop TH-X00, it is clear which model was taken as the basis for creating the Fostex TH-610. However, the TH-X00 received a SuperBestAudioFriends nomination in the headphone of the year nomination, so it’s even good.

Not to say that the absence of anything significant in the box besides the headphones themselves surprised us – this approach is characteristic not only of Fostex, but also of many other manufacturers of closed dynamic headphones. A detachable cable, a carrying case and the Fostex TH-610 themselves, which we will now look at in more detail.

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While the Fostex TH-600 cups were made of magnesium alloy, in the new model the manufacturer decided to replace it with black walnut wood with a matte finish. The use of wood in headphones can hardly be called a step back: this material will continue to be popular for a long time, and not only among audiophiles. The ear cushions are made of soft natural leather, fit comfortably to your ears, pleasant and do not cause irritation or sweating, as is typical for some headphones with leather ear cushions. The headband is wide and flexible, it is also trimmed with genuine leather. Due to the decent width, you can easily wear headphones with glasses, adjusting so that nothing will press on your ears.

Thanks to this combination of materials, Fostex TH-610 looks expensive, it is not every day that you come across black walnut wood on the street. Headphones sit comfortably on the head, one feels not so much size as weight: the headphones themselves weigh 375 g plus a three-meter cable weighing 120 g. The cable here, by the way, is not only long and two-pin, but also wear-resistant, the contact part is rhodium-plated. Optionally, it changes to a balanced ET-H3.0N7BL cable with a four-pin XLR connector – a feature borrowed from the Fostex TH-900 MK2.

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The Fostex TH-610 also boasts 50mm dynamic emitters with biocellulose membranes, dubbed Biodyna. Special attention should be paid to the neodymium magnet system with an induction of 1 T – all this allowed Fostex to achieve low distortion and wide dynamic range. Low specific gravity and high modulus of elasticity provide a twofold increase in wave propagation speed.

The reversible detachable cable conductors are made from Hitachi HiFC pure copper. The material contains a small amount of titanium and has a high conductivity, which does not affect the flexibility and ductility in any way. According to the latest characteristics, it is not inferior to oxygen-free copper with 6N purification, where the copper content is 99.999999%. Rhodium-plated connectors protect against oxidation.

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The TH-610 offers excellent portable compatibility with a low impedance of 25 ohms. A wide frequency range up to 45 kHz and high sensitivity are a couple more advantages to Fostex’s karma. In terms of sound characteristics, it would be obvious to compare the Fostex TH-610 with the TH-600 or the same Massdrop TH-X00.

However, as it turned out, only the design was borrowed from the latter: in terms of sound, the headphone, a more balanced version of the TH-600. Unlike its predecessor, the TH-610 does not have a serious emphasis on bass, but high frequencies are well felt. They do not have a serious peak like the Fostex TH-900 Mk2 , and this is good news.

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In general, the headphones sound like a full-fledged representative of the top (premium) segment – the stage is voluminous, the instruments work out perfectly. Both rock with electronic music and hip-hop come in with a bang (you shouldn’t expect deep bass here, though). Since the assessment of the sound is a purely subjective thing, let’s say one thing: you have to try. Despite the handwriting that is not quite usual for Fostex, many will like the headphones. If you want to change something, there is an opportunity, so to speak, to “customize the sound” by replacing the cable with another. But this, perhaps, will only be done by true audiophiles.

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Conclusion

Due to its weight and dimensions, the Fostex TH-610 are not designed for you to walk down the street with them every day. Actually, the manufacturer himself indirectly asserts this when he puts a three-meter cable in the box. Therefore, these headphones are created more likely for home (well, or work, although for some it’s the same thing). Enthusiasts, of course, manage to wind up a long cable in their pocket, but such a solution is unlikely to be appreciated by everyone.

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