Once I'd got all done with the TH-900 Mk II, Fostex offered to send me their TH-610 and HPA-4BL DAC/amplifier for review. I just got back from being out of town to a lot of products on my desk, but I'm working through them individually.
I'll start with the design. The earcups are made of black walnut, with a tasteful matte finish. They come across to me as generally very understated, but still beautiful, with the natural finish of the earcups highlighting the wood, not the process applied to the wood. They use the same two-pin connector on each earcup that the TH-900 Mk II does, with the same 1/4" TRS auxiliary connector, although this time it has a matte finish, just like the earcups.
The headphones share a hinge with the TH-900 as well (the commonalities will become a theme throughout this post), as well as the same click adjustment system. However, the pads used are different, with a rectangular enclosure as opposed to the circular ones on the TH-900. These strike me as much more comfortable, with a more appropriate clamping pressure that seems to better distribute the weight of the headphones.
The cable itself is of the same high-quality that the TH-900's was, with a heavy, relatively stiff fabric wrapping the entire length. I don't foresee any issues with this, as it is still pliable on the whole, and resistant to kinking and twisting.
Now, the sound. I have only had a very cursory listen to these as of now, so I implore you that these impressions be taken lightly until I have had the listening time for a full review.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I'll get to the commentary. The bass on these is full and absolutely slamming. On songs like Run the Jewel's "Legend Has It", the bass-line inspires head-banging. Moving to the mids, they aren't so much recessed as they are veiled. This is something that I noticed pretty much immediately, with detail taking a back-seat in this range. However, I can't say how this will affect my final opinion on them as I simply have not had enough time with them yet. The treble is not emphasized, but I haven't noticed anything distasteful about it. It isn't as airy as the TH-900, but it certainly isn't offensive, near as I can tell. Maybe that is just my ears, as I know the treble that these headphones produce is the subject of much derision, but that's just the way that this hobby is.
I'll be certain to spend a lot of time with these over the next three weeks and offer a much more holistic and conclusive review at the end of the period.