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Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary

Semi-open, orthodynamic model especially for use in the studio

In a nutshell

The special model Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary has a semi-open design and orthodynamic drive, the drivers from the larger T60RP model along with wider ear pads and a more elegant headband. They also offer flawless handling and fine-resolution sound.

Pros:
  • Orthodynamic drivers
  • High-quality features
  • Detailed treble and mids sound
  • Straightforward handling
  • Balanced connection cable
Cons:
  • No carrying bag
  • Distortion with strong transients even at medium volume
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As the name of the Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary already suggests, these semi-open, circumaural headphones are a special edition. They were released to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese manufacturer and are limited to 900 units. And within that time, Fostex have now been offering headphones for professional studio use for 30 years.

With their regular phase technology, the RP series aims to provide exceptionally detailed audio reproduction for recording and mixing. These headphones combine technology from the standard series version and the next model up, the T60RP.

The Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary package

In addition to the headphones, the Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary edition come with two interchangeable cables. The first is a headphone cable around 2 metres long, which ends in a 3.5mm stereo jack. The other is a balanced 4-pole cable around 120cm long, which is equipped with a 2.5mm TRRS plug. A plug adapter is also included, and this allows the 3.5mm jack plug to be connected to a 6.3mm jack socket. The contact surfaces of the cable and the adapter are gold-plated. This serves to protect against corrosion. As this is a special model, I would have hoped for a bag for transport and storage, but unfortunately, this is not included.

Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary – Construction and materials

The components of the Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary are mostly black in colour. The gold-coloured struts, which are used to guide the headband when adjusting the size, make a striking exception. Almost all the lettering is in yellow/gold to match this colour. The company logo is emblazoned on both sides in the shade of orange typical of Fostex.

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The special edition differs from the regular model, for example, in terms of the drivers. The diaphragms from the next model upT60RP are used here. The Anniversary Edition also features different ear pads. Instead of the flatter version of the standard edition, extra-wide pads made of artificial leather are used to provide greater comfort.

The materials inside the earcups have been improved for damping, and this should further reduce potential resonances. I think it’s a shame that in the anniversary edition of the headphones, the audio cable routed through the headband is no longer covered in fabric. However, the quality of the headband has been improved considerably. Here, a genuine leather strip is used, and this is flanked above by a rubber arch. This ensures both an extraordinary look and an equally extraordinary feel.

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Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary – Technology and specifications

The Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary incorporates the patented technology typical of the RP series. A copper foil etched onto polyimide film is used for the cone. Together with the powerful neodymium magnets, the driver’s orthodynamic technology is designed to deliver an especially detailed reproduction.

It also reproduces audio in the transmission range from 15 Hz to 35 kHz. Its audio spectrum, therefore, extends beyond typical human hearing in both the bass and treble ranges. In this sense, these headphones offer a sound range that, in practice, should not technically limit the user’s listening experience. With a maximum sound pressure level of 92 dB SPL, the T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary does not break any new ground in terms of volume. However, in combination with its impedance of 50 ohms, it does not require too much voltage to achieve this volume. Accordingly, it can still be used with low-voltage headphone outputs, such as those found on audio interfaces and laptops.

Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary – Handling

The size adjustment of the Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary is smoothly variable and covers a large adjustment range, so these headphones can be worn by people with heads that are very small to very large without any problems. The redesigned ear pads ensure high wearing comfort. Your ears are pleasantly surrounded by the wide pads and do not sweat under them. The fit of the pair we tested was secure. Nevertheless, the wearer should avoid fast, jerky head movements, but the contact pressure of these headphones feels comfortable even when worn for long periods of time.

The bayonet lock on the socket means that the interchangeable cable’s connection was well secured against slipping out. There was, therefore, virtually nothing to criticise about the comfortable handling of these headphones.

Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary – Sound

The Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary delivered a sound that was primarily characterised by finely resolving highs and an open super high-frequency range. If you like sonic detail, these headphones are the perfect tool for you. At the other end of the frequency spectrum, they offered the user a rather discreet but sufficiently perceptible reproduction of low bass. Above this, a rather restrained bass range was present. You can tease out a little more here by boosting low frequencies. However, this did not apply to higher volumes.

This version of the T50RP-Mk3 was also differentiated in the mid-range, although its sound could become tiring when listening to music with intense mid-range frequencies, such as heavy metal. Here, the guitars took centre stage alongside the vocals. These headphones reproduced transients as defined pulses. At higher volumes, however, they responded to stronger dynamic impulses with distortion. Unfortunately, this significantly limited their dynamic range. This was a shame because the sound of the Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary provided very pleasant fine resolution, offering a correspondingly high subjective signal resolution and a vivid stereo impression, so the sound should appeal to many music fans.

Conclusion

The Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary is a special model of orthodynamic, semi-open headphones that are visually striking, and not just because of the use of the colour gold. They have wider ear pads compared to the standard headphones, and the elaborate headband construction makes the anniversary edition very eye-catching and increases wearing comfort. This was complemented by consistently pleasant handling, where the upper rubber headband felt very special.

The sonic trademarks of these headphones are restrained bass and differentiated mids with detailed and wide trebles. However, when it comes to volume, they don’t break any new ground. You also have to forgive the fact that this special model has a rather old-fashioned design and lacks a carrying bag.

With a semi-open, circumaural design, the Anniversary version is suitable for many applications where crosstalk is not an issue, such as editing, mixing and mastering or as monitoring headphones when recording in separate rooms. However, prospective customers should bear in mind that a mix with centre-emphasised headphones like these can lead to under-represented mids. Having said that, they particularly offer great potential for critical monitoring. Thanks to the differentiated sound reproduction and fine resolution, the slightly higher purchase price of the Fostex T50RP-Mk3 50th Anniversary compared to the standard model was absolutely fine by me.

3 months ago by Carsten Kaiser
  • Rating: 4.13
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOver-ear
  • Typesemi-open
  • Transducer principleorthodynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)15 - 35.000 Hz
  • Impedance50 ohms
  • Sound pressure level (SPL)@ 1kHz, 1mW: 92dB dB
  • Weight without cable379 g
  • Cable length200 cm

What's in the box

  • 3.5 mm cable (unbalanced)
  • 2.5 mm TRRS (balanced)
  • 6.35mm stereo jack

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