These TM2 cable-free in-ears from Fostex offer a long runtime and not only support Bluetooth standard 5.0, but also use high-quality audio codecs with aptX and the AAC format. In terms of sound, these headphones have a neutral, acoustic focus similar to wired studio headphones, while a touch interface and multifunction buttons are used as controls with Android and iOS devices.
The modular in-ear system consists of three parts: the Bluetooth receiver module, a connection cable and the 6mm driver, each connected by MMCX connectors. Advantageously, the module can also be used as a Bluetooth adapter for wired in-ears with the corresponding connector, which should particularly appeal to musicians with high-quality customised OEMs. Fostex also offers connecting cables with 2-pin plugs for CIEM and FitEar systems as accessories. From a purely visual point of view, these headphones look a bit clumsy and, at 11 grams per side, are not lightweight. It also takes a little practice to put them in. Nevertheless, they are highly adaptable and the fit is comfortable even during prolonged use, as the ear hook design relieves pressure in the ear canal. At the same time, the system appears robust, especially since they are water-resistant in accordance with IPX5, which makes cleaning them easy and should mean they last longer.
The headphones charging station is a generously sized case, which is supplied with power via the included USB cable and has no integrated battery. While one charging cycle takes a good hour, the runtime of these in-ears is over ten hours even at a higher level, which is a respectable result compared to other wireless systems. However, the case emits an unpleasant acrid smell when opened, which is why we’d recommended you air out the case for a few hours when first opened.
Device control and app connection
The TM2s support the classic master-slave connection (Legacy) as well as the newer True Wireless Stereo Plus mode (TWS Plus). They offered an extremely stable wireless connection in combination with various iOS and Android devices, but the maximum range of seven metres within an urban environment was not particularly wide. Full mono operation is also possible on both sides as the headphones each have a touch-sensitive surface, a button and a microphone. While the volume can be regulated by swiping movements on the surface of the housing, the multifunction button is used to control playback as well as answer and end telephone calls. In addition, a double press of the button allows the user to skip forward and a triple press allows the user to skip backwards. The same applies to scrolling within a track: the button is pushed and held to get to the required point. The remote reacts reliably, even if the button does feel rather stiff and requires a certain amount of effort to operate. It is also noticeable that speech intelligibility is impaired by noise when telephoning, especially since the position of the microphones is not ideal which means that your own voice is reproduced quite quietly.
In addition, the free “Fostex TM App” offers a landscape sound function, so that the desired proportion of outside noise you can hear can be adjusted according to suit the situation. As the in-ear system has good shielding, this feature is quite helpful for outdoor use and allows you to orientate yourself. However, the amplification of ambient noise is also accompanied by a noise that increases with the degree of outdoor perception. Along with a separate battery status display for each earpiece, the app also offers the option of firmware updates.
The TM2 has been designed without embellishments so that they create an impression of professional quality, with sober and honest sound. Although the stereo panorama appears dense and compact rather than spacious, individual signals are easy to locate because they are clearly separated and staggered. Tight, well-defined but slim basses are reproduced very confidently right down to the low frequencies, while the detailed mid-range reproduction scores points with its simple, smooth clarity. The high frequencies are also stable right up to the highest levels and sound largely objective. However, slight weaknesses become apparent at high levels as, in my opinion, there is a tendency to bite. Apart from that, these headphones are characterised by a straightforward balance that will remind you of classic studio headphones, and the output is not low either, so there are plenty of reserves. One shortcoming, however, is the existence of background noise, which is noticeable in when a completely silent environment during quiet passages. Apart from that, the sound quality these headphones offer meets the ambitions of even the most demanding listener.
The Fostex TM2 offers clear, linear playback without gimmickry, with both iOS and Android users benefiting from the support of high-quality audio codecs. The modular in-ear system is also suitable for wired (customised) IEMs via wireless, which gives particular added value. Particularly since the Bluetooth receiver module, which serves as an adapter, has long-lasting batteries and provides a stable connection that is not susceptible to interference. However, the existence of background noise is certainly worthy of criticism.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 40.000 Hz
- Impedance16 ohms
- Weight without cable2x 11g; incl. case: 148 g
What's in the box
- Bluetooth receiver module
- Connection cable with MMCX connectors
- 6 mm Fostex drivers
- Eartips in three sizes (S/M/L)
- USB charging cable
- Imitation leather bag
- Transport case
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX
- BT version: 5.0
- Left / right side can be used independently (e.g. for calls)
- Connection of third party in-ears possible
- Optional accessories: ET-TM2MMCX connection cable with MMCX connector; ET-TM2C2P connection cable with 2-pin connector for CIEM; ET-TM2F2P connection cable with 2-pin connector for FitEar