These are my opinions. Please take them as such.
These are strictly subjective impressions based
upon careful and critical listening over an
extended period of time. YMMV.
- › Frequency range: 11-27000 Hz
- › Sensitivity: 105 dB
- › Impedance: 200 Om
- › Length of a cable: 3.0 M
- › Color: Cherry Wood/black
- › Etc: additional velour cushions, 6.3mm screw-on jack adapter, 003 cups, carrying case
EQUIPMENT USED ON THIS REVIEW:
- Please see my profile for a list of some of the equipment I own.
Where to start!? The Good? The Bad? The Beautiful? Let’s go in reverse…
These headphones are gorgeous. The craftsmanship in the cups is flawless and no matter how many pictures I take…it doesn’t do it justice.
The laser engraving is also skillfully done. The cursive type of “High Edition” looks beautiful, elegant and flawless. Even the guys from Audeze were impressed by the wood and engraving.
These headphones are an absolutely beauty…remaining light and comfortable at the same time.
BAD…from Fischer Audio?!…YES!
The FA-002W High Edition is a picky bastard! They are very picky in regards to amp matching. These are not like the regular 003’s or 002w’s in that they will sound good out of most any amp or even some portable players. No. These can sound just awful out of certain amps and downright painful on others. These did not sound good straight out of my portable players. These did not sound good with my EMU-0404 and they did not sound good with most of the neutral amps I have. They sounded bass light, mids slightly peaky and bright but not shrill. Never has a Fischer Audio headphone sounded this bad out of my amps. Why, they sound almost as bad with my amps as the HD-800 did with them…hmmm.
The only decent sound I got from these was with my Heed CanAmp which is tube like in its sound quality. Even then…it was decent. Hmmm….time to find some tube amps….(a few days go by…the magic of reviews…ahh some good tube amps…wait…So. Cal. Meet!!…..Eddie Current…DNA…)…
With a good tube amp these sounded amazing…better than the HD-800 in some regards, “worse” in one. With the proper amp, these headphones shine like few other dynamics do. The bass is articulate, deep, extended and punchy. The mids become those luscious mids that Fischer Audio has become synonymous with and highs are detailed, fast and coherent. These are amazing to listen to on a good tube amp. This is the type of sound I have come to expect from Fischer Audio.
On a nice tube amp, the bass is low, extended and tight. You don’t get the “one-note” bass problem with these headphones like you do with the HD-800. The midrange and highs are very good. The purity of tones as well as the resolution is just wicked good with the right amp. These are the qualities with lead me believe that the FA-002W High Edition can play with the big boys. The part where the FA-002W High Edition falls short in comparison with the HD-800 is in soundstage. The soundstage is not as expansive as it is with the HD-800 but it is still accurate. If you ask me – it’s not a bad compromise at all, especially since the soundstage remains accurate.
Once again, I wish I could shake someone’s hand over at Fischer Audio and congratulate them for having such great sounding products at affordable prices. This is the first product they have which I feel is finicky but, when paired with the right amp, you will have truly high end sound at a fraction of what you would normally pay…less than 1/3 to be honest. If you have lusted after an HD-800 but could never justify its price or the looks or [insert your excuse here], then pick up the Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition. You will not get the expansive soundstage of the HD-800 but you will get better sound, accurate soundstage and an amazing bargain. Current owners of the FA-002W or FA-003 will be happy to note that Fischer Audio will be selling an external adapter to convert those headphones to High Editions for under $100.00 USD!
Those of you who usually read my reviews will also notice I didn’t list any music this time around. This is because I wanted to keep this review short and specific. I found a lot of variation between set-ups using the same song. If I had listed the music, I would have had to write different descriptions for each set-up. As I said before…the Fischer Audio FA-002W is finicky – probably more so than the HD-800.
While these can be viewed as the “Poor Mans HD-800”, do keep in mind that they need the right amp to sound good. Also keep in mind that I am comparing these to stock HD-800’s and not the modded ones owned by Purrin and Anaxilus. The modded HD-800’s are clearly superior to both the stock HD-800 and the Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition. I would highly recommend that any of you considering this headphone listen to it before buying it and preferably give it a good listen on your equipment to make sure it mates well. At the recent Southern California meet many people heard the FA-002W High Edition and some did like it very much. Interestingly enough, those that did like it a lot were using tube amps. I can already see that the Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition will be a can that will create polar opposite camps – those that will love them and those that will hate them. Which camp you will fall into will depend greatly on your sound signature preferences and your equipment. If you are a fan of the HD-800 on tubed equipment, then you might just be a fan of the FA-002W High Edition.
With the right amp…HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
If you don’t have the right amp….get the regular Fischer Audio FA-002W or FA-003.
Tube Amps I tried:
Eddie Current Balancing Act and Super 7
Donald North Audio 2A3 -> sounded best with this amp!