Dekoni Audio is pleased to share a “deep dive” look into our Fostex TH-900 line of Earpads, specifically tuned to elevate your listening experience.
We start with comfort, using our soft, high density, slow rebound memory foam for an extra plush experience that conforms to the shape of your face (and accommodates glasses stems). Like all our earpads, they are offered in a wide range of fabric options, including Elite Sheepskin, Elite Fenestrated Sheepskin, Elite Velour, and our Elite Hybrid pads. We ensured the pads mount just as securely as the stock pads. Finally, we shaped and measured the pads to tune the sound and share a preview of how they sound compared to stock pads.
In our measurements, we aren’t using compensation except to cancel out the ear response of our microphone dummy head. We have been fortunate to have acquired a certain well-known Audio Precision-based measurement rig, and will continue to keep the measurements coming! Some measurements by others are made with adjustments to reflect the effect that the shape of a generic inner and outer ear will have on the sound waves – we don’t do that, because as every experienced audio enthusiast knows, we all have different ears! So, as part of a series of Dekoni Describes posts, we will walk our readers through understanding our graphs.
The first thing to understand about an uncompensated graph is that it will sound different to the listener than the graph will show. For one, we haven’t smoothed our graphs, so there are many peaks and valleys that would have been lost information, but also there are other factors, such as the human’s extra sensitivity to vocals, and that the shape of our ears and depth of our ear canals can actually amplify certain frequencies. For the purposes of swapping earpads, it is enough to say that a flat line along the 0 dB line wouldn’t sound “good” on these uncompensated graphs, and mainly we want to focus on how a Dekoni pad compares to the Stock pad. With our measurements, we used the Fostex TH-900 Mark 2, which comes Stock with Fostex’s Protein Leather.
We use supple, natural Sheepskin that is the softest and most breathable available today, available in solid or Fenestrated. With our solid Sheepskin, overall we see a similar shaped frequency response and only a small deviation from stock, where the biggest change is a bit less energy around the bass and subbass range. Keep in mind it is harder for ear-sized microphones to accurately “hear” the lowest bass notes, and the little “bowl” in the midrange between 1kHz and 5 kHz is normal, because without it, vocals would sound “shouty” and louder than the extended frequencies!
Our Fenestrated Sheepskin is also similar in shape to the stock pad, though the midrange is elevated and more “forward” relative to stock, except near 3k-4k Hz which is very close to stock. This creates a more intimate presentation, great for people who enjoy Bio-Cellulose drivers yet wish for a more upfront presentation that focuses on vocals, guitars, violins, and ought to please the band Oppenheimer (check out their album names). Fenestrations are also airy in that they allow some more heat to escape through the pads. Your mileage may vary, so it’s up to your ears (everyone’s is different!) to decide which of these raw, uncompensated graphs correlates with a sound that is more neutral to you!
Our Elite Velour has a higher thread count and tighter weave than typical velour pads, soft and breathable but as you can see there is no loss of foundational bass – in fact it traces very similar to the Fenestrated Sheepskin pads on this headphone, with just a bit more subbass. In fact, this is a great opportunity to choose based on your comfort preference for cloth or leather, contrary to most velours which lose low end and high end pitch quantity that leave a bare midrange.
Our Hybrid pads, which are sealed with solid Sheepskin on the outside face, neutral Fenestrated Sheepskin on the inner face, and comfortable with Velour on the face facing your face, may at first seem to have the most bass sensitivity, but if you consider that the difference between the highest dB of the bass to the lowest dB of midrange is 16 dB on both raw graphs, the Hybrid actually has a close correlation to the stock pad, with moderately less energy in the 400-500 Hz midbass range for people that find the TH-900 too warm and thick sounding.
The subjective factor of experiencing headphones and ear pads matters the most, of course. If it sounds good, it is good! One great feature of Fostex’s pad mount design is the relative ease of changing pads, so pads can be changed on a whim. We listen with our pads for several revisions before release, and we want to thank the reviewers and our patrons on Head-Fi and other platforms who have shared their experiences. Real user experience is the best judge, and we thank everyone who has tried to describe their experience!
Dekoni TH-900 pads attach to the Fostex TH-900 mk1 and mk2, TH-909, TH-600 and 610, are another option for Drop.com’s TH- and TR-X00 of every wood variety, as well as headphones from other companies such as Denon D7000, D5000, D2000 and EMU Teak. Dekoni TH-900 pads are available now at our fine dealers internationally and dekoniaudio.com through the following links: