Packaging & Accessories: 8/10

Build Quality: 9/10
Design & Look: 10/10
Microphonics (higher ratings means lower cable noise): 6/10
Isolation: 6/10
Comfort: 9/10
Audio Quality: 7/10
Value: 9.5/10
My final Rating: 8.5/10

Purchase Date: June 2014
Purchase Price: £37

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Earphones

First of all I would like to thank Sergey for sending me these out to review.
You can find out more information about the 6mm Bullet and purchase it on Fischer’s website.

I had previously reviewed the Fischer Audio Silver Bullet’s, which look very similar to these 6mm bullets (let alone having the same word in their title) – with that said, they were never a progression of the older bullets nor are they similar in any way, in almost every single aspect.

Packaging, accessories, box content, overall first impressions (look wise)

The packaging that is provided with the FA 6mm Bullet looks like something you could see on the shelves of high-street stores. Good job on the packaging from Fischer!

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - PackagingFischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Packaging

The contents of the package are decent, although not perfect. In the package you get the following:
-S, M, L silicone tips
-M dual flange tips
-Shirt clip
-Carrying pouch

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Tips and shirt clip


The accessories to me feel a little mixed. It seems weird to not get more dual flange tips, when one size has already been included. With that said at its given price range the rest is great – especially the pouch which I really love for carrying around the earphones in.

Overall first impressions:
Overall I was impressed by the initial package it comes in and liked what I found within the package for its given price range.

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Contents

Build Quality

The build quality of these earphones is absolutely spectacular. I really love it from top to bottom.
The earphones are terminated with a right angled gold plated 3.5mm jack and their wire is an extremely light and flexible wire.

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Jack

The wire is especially nice as it doesn’t get tangled and has a nice “smooth” feel to it. It’s hard to describe and weird to bring up in an audio review, but the cable really feels nice in hand. With that said, it unfortunately has quite a bit of cable noise – and thus to eliminate this, you have to wear the earphones over-the-ear to eliminate it. As you do this, the splitter that is used to split the left and right channel comes further up your chest and unfortunately is a little high for my preference. Thus, it can be a little annoyance to some, but it is something I observed when wearing them.

Other than that, the earphones are very well built and it is especially seen by the construction of their housing. What I love about the housing is their “bullet” design – just like the FA Silver Bullets had – the looks are really well done. Furthermore, the left and right indicator is very well done, by a small ring around the earphones showing blue for left and red for right. A very small touch, but it makes a huge difference to a consumer – and being one of them I really love it. More products in the FA range and other earphones out there really need to have this small left and right colour touch to them, in order to make it easier for consumers to find which channel goes where.

I should also mention that the weight of the silver bullets is really light, meaning it is quite comfortable to wear!
overall, the build quality is superb, especially at its price range – really pleased!

Now the overall look, comfort and isolation

The looks are simply stunning to me – from the cable to the earphone’s housing themselves. Everything looks great and Fischer Audio have done an excellent job in this domain. I can’t quite emphasise how much I love them. I really did like the Silver Bullets, but the 6mm Bullets do a better job, in reproducing this “bullet” look.

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Port



Due to the size and nature of these earphones, the isolation is not that great. They have a small port on them (which I presume is for the bass and soundstage), and thus coupled with the physical size of the earphones, the 6mm Bullets aren’t that effecting at blocking out external noise.

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Straight down

Finally the comfort:
As these earphones are very small, they fit nice and snug in my ears. Alongside that, their overall weight as an earphone is very light. Thus the comfort levels are absolutely top! The only problem I had with it is the fact that I had to wear them over-the-ear to avoid microphonics and thus this mean that the splitter was further up my chest (just by my chin) – and thus why the 6mm bullets didn’t get a flying 10/10.

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Splitter


Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Over-the-ear

Sound Quality

The sound quality had a lot to live up to to the silver bullets and in fact to the other products in the FA line-up. The 6mm bullets were decent but nothing spectacular. Due to their size, they were, in my honest opinion limited to shine. Their soundstage was very narrow and the lows were very tame.

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Driver

The mid-bass was existent but not at all controlling. The sub-bass was also poor. Despite it trying, you could hear it stopping and cutting off the low-end frequencies after a certain extension in certain low-end pounding songs.
The bass is thus decent, but definitely not something I would shout about. The silver bullets to me really did pronounce a nice low-end, that not only had a good slam but also had an amazing extension. That’s the price you (6mm bullets) pay for looking fabulous!

The mids are its strongest point – the mids are not veiled nor really over emphasised. I really do feel the mids are excellent, especially at its price point.
The highs on the other hand were a little give or take – despite being good, you can hear them roll off. Furthermore, at times I felt that the earphones were a little too sibilant and that comes from over accentuated highs.

The soundstage I feel is what let them down more than anything. However, this is due to the size of the housing and thus the driver itself. There’s been very few earphones that have a small housing that have actually been able to produce a nice soundstage. This model unfortauntely wasn’t one of those exclusive rare-to-find earphones. The soudnstage sounded muffled and more so, the separation of the instruments wasn’t great. It still is decent and above average for its size, but when compared to other earphones, notably the FA Silver Bullets, there’s a huge difference.

Sound Quality Ratings
Lows: 7/10
Mids: 8/10
Highs: 7.5/10
Soundstage: 6/10

Conclusions and final thoughts

Fischer Audio 6mm Bullets - Earphones

Overall, I loved the small-factor design that the 6mm Bullets bring to the table. They’re an above average earphone to own and coupled with its design and looks, I would definitely recommend them to people looking for earphones that are small but yet very precise in their mids.

Hope you enjoyed my review!

Headphones Review

Before we started, I’ll like to thank Fischer Audio for the review sample.

I must confess I am not much of a portable headphone user these days when I have access to a good collection of IEM. I guess the same can be said to most portable headphone user these days, especially among the younger generation. You’ll find less and less people on the street with headband or clip-on headphone but more with IEM and earbuds. It reflects the trend of miniaturization in the audio world where equipments that were once considered very portable now being classified as big and bulky. We are spoiled by technology, no doubt. Here comes FA’s oldskool’70s, a rigid supra-aural design that resembles the old time stock headphone that came with your PCDP (that’s assuming you are old enough to even own a PCDP).  I must admit that this type of styling has some strange attraction to a person like me, who grew up using one of these. But does it perform? We will see.





Frequency range: 20-20000 Hz

Sensitivity: 112 dB

Impedance: 35 Om

Input power: 100 mW

Cable length: 1.25 M


Gears for review: Sansa Fuze / PC->3MOVE




Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality

Without a doubt, Oldskool’70s has the fanciest packaging compared to other FA products, even to most other similar products. I guess it is no need to be shy about it. After all, it is supposed to give the user a taste of the 70’s. The actual box that holds the headphone has an outer paper sleeve with the headphone proudly printed on the front. The basic color of the whole packaging is fiery red. The headphone itself is held in the box by a piece of paper with silvery printed words. Does it really a retro way of packaging things as people did in the 70s? I don’t know, but it is definitely very classy.

As far as accessories are concerned, all you get just a soft pouch. While I don’t think there is any other accessory that will be very help for a portable headphone, I think an extra pair of foam pad will be a great idea. The foam pad on the headphone is extra thick and marked with the FA brand. It will be difficult to find a generic foam pad replacement with such thickness.




While the overall design is obviously trying to be retro, the build quality needs not be. The back of the transducer housing is made out of aluminum (so is the left/right color button on each side) and appears to have a fully sealed back design. The headband is stainless steel and the two arms that the transducers housing attached to are thick plastic. Since there are very little moving parts (as compared to a foldable design), there is very little thing that can go wrong with it. The only odd thing is the position of where the cable leaves the housing, which is at an angle facing backward (as opposite to just straight down), though I don’t find it to be any trouble at all. The cable is semi-flat. It is not very flat like those on Monster Beat Tour or JAYS’ a-JAYS, but  more like rectangular in cross section. The straight mini plug is iPhone friendly. Overall, the build quality is very solid.




Sound Quality

While I am personally more of an analytical listener when it comes to IEM, I actually do enjoy a warmer sounding supra-aural headphone. Since there is very little isolation to speak of, plus the fact that I generally use my headphone on-the-move, micro detail will be hard to notice anyway.  In situation like that, I would rather just rock out with the music instead of being peaky on detail. On that notion, OldSkool’70s perhaps is not my preferred on-the-move cans, but it works out rather well in a more stationary situation.

The headphone has a sound signature that is not easy for me to describe – if you ever heard a pair Alessandro MS-1 (or a pair of lower end Grado), you would know it has a kind of generally neutral to slightly lean, airy sound with bright, analytical treble and quick bass -which many like to describe as a fun “Grado’ish” sound. If I would to describe Oldskool’70s sound signature, it would be ‘MS-1 with forwarded mid and good soundstage’ cause that is how I feel about it right after I A/B’ed it with my old MS-1. Treble is crisp and bright, extends very well , full of sparkle and detail. Mid is forward with a sweet vocal but a little leaner on the lower end. Bass is tight, fast hitting and quite impactful, but lacks just a little warm. Soundstage is a strong point. Though it is not the widest soundstage that I have heard on supra-aural headphone, it is still better than most consider it has more of a closed back design.




A few things to note: First, Oldskool’70s scales rather well with a good source as it is rather revealing. Second, it responds well to EQ. As I said, I like a little warm with supra-aural headphone when I am on-the-move, so I give a little bass bump EQ to Oldskool’70s and it actually sounds very close to what I like (more easy going) and doesn’t degrade the overall SQ at all.

When compared to other portable headphones I have, Cresyn C550H, Sennheiser PX200, and Koss KSC75, Oldskool’70s is unmistakably more resolving, more big cans like instead of tuning toward portable use (i.e. stronger bass, warmer bottom) like the others.





As a portable headphone, Oldskool’70s is a little too revealing (and perhaps too hi-fi in a way) for my preference of an easy going sound. However, it serves me well as a stationary headphone. I dare to say I even prefer it over MS-1 in the matter. While I can’t say it has a better price/performance ratio than a $15 KSC75, it is still very well worth the MSRP of $62 (could be a little higher depends on where you are) and thus, recommended.

I guess with everyone in this hobby there is one earphone that changed the way you perceived headphones, a reason why we end up dedicating a lot of time and money trying to figure out not only what is the best headphone but the best one for our personal tastes and the best set up to really make it sing. Well my first expensive buy in headphones was a pair of Beats Pros and they left such a sour taste in my mouth I am surprised I kept going but I was persistent and thought surely there had to be earphones that are really going to be a step up, a pair I can really tell the difference with. Well that first experience came in a pair or Fischer Audio DBA-02s that I still own to this day. Now I was in touch with Fischer Audio and for a long time they promised a new IEM flagship, something with 3 Balanced Armature drivers and after a long wait, it is finally upon us in the name of the TBA-04, standing for Triple Balanced Armature and the 04 is because it is the fourth in their balanced armature line (two singles and a double) and it is the most expensive IEM that Fischer have ever released coming in at around £200. What is quite interesting is what the 3 armature drivers are getting up to as they have gone for a similar method to what Sony employed and that is using one driver for the full range and then using the additional two drivers to overlap. Now Fischer have not said if there is two single units or a dual unit on top of the full range driver or what part of the frequency response they are helping out in but it is interesting none the less.

The design is cool, the housing have a ceramic look to them, something I find quite appealing although I do worry how long I will be able to keep the white housings squeaky clean. The only tiny niggle is that looking up close to them the seams are quite apparent and that takes a little bit of the expensive look away but oh well. As for the cable I have always found the braided cable really neat looking and it was one of the things the originally drew me to the DBA-02, yes I was that shallow! However the use of the braided cable, the same one as the DBA-02, leaves me very confused as it is a major issue with the DBA, a reason mine are pretty much broke and also the reason Fischer done a MK2 of the DBA with a new cable. I am not sure why they have reverted back to the old cable after all the positive impressions on the MK2 cable. This cable starts off all floppy and flexible and seems strong enough but over time it goes very brittle and then starts to crack exposing the inside of the wires. It also is just hard to use when the cable does not really bend and just snaps when you try and bend it any way. There is not really a true strain relief either which is a bit iffy leading onto the cable that concerns me already. The housings do seem strong enough though so that’s good and the strain reliefs on both the y-split and the straight jack are good and we do also have a cable cinch on these so there are some things to smile about.

In the little box you get with the TBA-04 they do no scamper with what you get, they give you all you will need get started with the earphones. First of all you get a nice round clamshell case to keep them nice and safe in. You also get a pair of ear guides and a shirt clip for better fit and then rest are pairs of tips, in which is fairly wide variety. You get some standard silicone tips in 3 sizes, some firmer silicone tips in two sizes, some more silicone tips that are like the one you get from Sony with the foam inside and then a pair of triple flange. So foam tips would have really finished of the package but I still don’t see anyone not getting an ideal seal with all of that!

The comfort is pretty much all you can ask for with these, they have no weight to them, fit nicely over your ear without any stupid memory wire and the design is ergonomic with it fitting snug in your ear, not sticking out and fitting at a comfortable depth in your ear. They are not as tiny as the DBA but they are still what I would categorize as a small earphone and I do not think the size with these or the overall comfort will be a problem for anyone.

Isolation is fairly good although these do not insert the deepest unless you using these with the triple flanges which obviously has a deeper seal and large isolation. I have been getting the best sound with some single flanges and while isolation has not been a problem with me having all the sound blocked out in some noisy environments, they are not at CIEM or Etymotic level.

The sound of this actually reminds me of the Tandem more than it does the DBA-02 with that you have a very mid centric, mellow and smooth sound. It certainly gets rid of that extreme analytical signature of the DBA and also does away with the cold that come with the sound and these is much more easy going as well as being tame on the ears. Now I am not quite sure too what extent it impresses me because while the DBA was not for everyone, it stupidly detailed sound really did impress if you liked it. Now this leaves the over detailed, clarity orientated sound and while this is still got a lot of detailing, it gets closed to a mainstream sound. The thing is if people didn’t get the original DBA, one of there biggest issues would have been a “lack of bass” because they were very neutral and the thing is, while these have more mid-bass, they still lack a solid sub-bass and the mid-bass is a bit lack luster in its impact. Fortunately the midrange is very luxurious and the treble is smooth and detailed if just a little early to roll of.

Going into more detail the bass is pleasant, it does not do anything to offend in anyway but it’s just a bit weak, doesn’t have any flare, doesn’t deliver when needed or have that detail that some better earphones have. It is fairly fast though and gets from one not to another quickly and as well as that does have some decay that does not make it seem anemic, it has a good balanced of the two things. It also does not interrupt with the midrange as you can imagine. The sub-bass both rolls of early, lacks details and feeling and generally can be worked on heavily. It just feels a bit empty, like you can sometimes be missing a bit of the music, especially when you switch on some of the bassier music in my collection. You know me, I am far from a bass head so when I have a desire for some more sub-bass I think it is worth noting.

The midrange is delicious in that it is detailed, very balanced, very smooth and easy to listen too. This all being said I do question them at times and do find them just a bit different. Now the reason for this is that they are very balanced in throughout the midrange instead of having the usual presence range boost that gives the effect of clarity, that extra lush-ness to female vocals and general airiness and height to vocals. Without that everything sounds just a bit flat I guess, especially female vocals that lack a bit of power and emotion. This being said the midrange as a whole is the front running of this earphone, is always very clear, details flow neatly and they instruments sound organic if a bit light.

The treble is as I have said smooth and easy. It does not have sibilance, it is not harsh, it does not have the crystal clear sound, which allows for every instrument to be so real you cannot almost see it, nor does it have extension way past your hearing is capable. IT just follows on from the smooth upper midrange and that’s how it stays. It is still detailed for sure, it just does not have the crystal qualities. It also lack just a little bit of sparkle to it, you do not get that easily audible snare drum or cymbal crash, you can hear them, they just do not pierce over the rest of the music.

The rolled off bass and not the most extended treble do come together with the forward midrange as a very tight cohesive package even if these are certainly an different listen and one that is not for everyone, I mean I can see a lot of people turning there noses up at these but then I no a fair few will also be over the moon. The presentation is well separated and has all right width but do not expect these to be any sort of soundstage kings. They are overall very fast and do not ever struggle with fast passages. Sometimes when I am listening to this I find them wonderful, they get the music, Lenny Kravitz “Heaven Help” was just amazing and so was Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” but sometimes I just did not get the earphones, they didn’t synergies with the genre of music at all and just did not understand them. I mean “Cold Sweat” by Thin Lizzy was almost garbage for no apparent reason.

These earphones did really cause me to have mixed feeling towards them and with their price I am fooled again because I do listen to them like I would a much more expensive earphone most of the time and when they disappoint it may well be because they set the bar so high at over times. They do face fierce competition for sure though with the likes of the HiFiMAN RE-400 being close (and cheaper) and the FAD Heaven II not quite offering as much but being over 100 pound cheaper. That being said they do also show up a lot of the price competitors such as the NOCS NS800 and FAD Adagio V. I guess one people will be curious about if how they stand up too the very popular hybrids, the T-PEOS H-200 and the DUNU DN-1000 and they are completely different earphones. These are much clearer, do treble smoother and mids more detailed but they do not pack nowhere near as much bass so they are different earphones for sure.

Now do you like smooth music, do you mind a little less bass but want amazing clear midrange, smooth treble and accurate imaging and instrument separation in a confident physical package, then these may very well be just what your after.


Fischer Audio unveiled its new triple balanced armature IEM recently and the press’s went wild. FA has been known to be a great value audiophile company for a long time now. So many wondered if the TBA-04 was the same. Their full size studio line came out to glowing reviews, so is this the same? Today, Panda Tech Review, gives you a look at the Fischer Audio TBA-04. Let’s see how it is.

Notice- This is a unit provided to me by Fischer Audio.

Build (Driver / Cable / Termination):

The build is a bit disappointing on the TBA-04. It’s entire body is plastic. Not extremely hard plastic like the kind that is hard to tell from metal, and that is very heavy. It’s the lightweight, shiny kind. This of course plays into the need for a lightweight unit as the way it fits into the ear. But it is still a bit unacceptable looking at it. There are many other products today that use just the suction force of the IEM to keep the unit in place that still have better quality driver build than this $300 unit. The plastic actually looks almost like modeling pieces stiched together. The nozzle itself is also plastic, and what seems to be proprietary from the looks of it due to how small it is compared to most nozzles. (I believe). The wire termination, and cable strain relief is also quite mediocre. It’s a twist type of cable that has good flexibility and apparent well made, but I highly question its long term life. The cable, although of good flexibility, and of solid wiring, isn’t braided exactly with sleeves and fancy material. It is also quite thin. The wire is not removable and uses extremely thin wire strain reliefs on it. The termination plug(3.5mm plug that inserts into your device) itself is also very simplistic, and minimal. Not too much fancy design. Small, short plastic is what describes the termination. Not too glorious, you may think considering all I have said. And you are right, but its not all like that. We need a bit of analyzation to see the good side.

So there’s the bad, what’s the good with the build? Everything is in fact well done on the build. This means that the letters, the colors, and design is all accurate, and high quality. The fit is ergonomic for most ears and plays into how and where the cable should exit the unit. It’s a very smooth and somewhat wrap around driver fit in that the driver isn’t extremely horizontally outsticking like say a TF10. The wire’s flexibility, design, and wire termination although minimal and questionable, works extremely well with the style of the TBA-04 which is small, somewhat artistic and great sounding.  If you are wondering what this means, well imagine if the TBA04 had a very thick single nonbraided cable with a thick strain relief component. You probably are now thinking that it will probably be weird to with such a light and ergonomic driver, but with thick, full size class cabling. And that is exactly the type of analyzation that one may try to make as to why the build quality isn’t up to what they may feel about a $300 UIEM.

So there are the two sides. Panda Tech Review believes in presenting both sides of the arguments before offering its full opinion as a way to give its readers the full idea of what the unit is like.

Panda Tech Review’s opinion on the build of the unit is that while it is fitting for the unit, it is a bit lackluster for a unit of its cost and usable style(portable).  Portable units need to have a decent amount of build quality, every day use durability, and the ability to possibly be sat on, have a backpack on top of it, etc. With my inspection of the TBA 04, and its build qualities, this is unfulfilled. Unless the plastic and wire and its entire system uses has some incredible build technology or has some inner ‘exoskeleton’ I didn’t know about. I do not believe the quality of materials, and its build is a good representation of a $300 unit.

Unboxing Video

Extensive Review Video

(Don’t want to read and would rather ‘watch’ the entire review?)


Usability and Unit Fit:

The build largely plays a role into the unit fit. The arched, almost old style vacuum cleaner style of the TBA-04’s produces a cozy fit for most people. The wide assortement of tips onto its slightly more proprietary(believed) tips make it so that the tips fit on the nozzle quite well. Some IEM’s come with tips that don’t fit too well entirely. There are no included Comply’s, not that I think most Comply’s can fit on the very narrow and thin nozzle. I would love to have a foam mold tip, but the silicone that the unit already comes with is working extremely well. Driver suction doesn’t happen too often, and the fit is often good with me.


The thin cable, chin slider, and minimal plug termination all play a role in how well the TBA-04’s are on the go. The apparent durability(no sign of wear yet) as mentioned above is lacking, but this light construction does make the TBA’s extremely portable. You usually have a slight annoyance with the ‘thick’ IEM cables that have some weight. The TBA’s largely do not have this problem. The wire is like hair almost and is light to the point where some parts of the cable will actually keep it’s ‘bend’ naturally and won’t entirely fall down under the weight of gravity. The small plug also allows it to easily plug into many mobile devices. Especially mobile devices with bulky cases that have narrow 3.5mm insertion jacks.

Overall, the usability and fit capabilities of the TBA are very good. The light cable and how effortless it physically feels makes me want to use them a lot. Of course, this is offset by the durability and build.



The light cable, over ear fit, and neck slider with the double braided cables make it so that there is close to no microphonics with the TBA 04’s. Microphonics for those new here are the noise that cables make when you move around.


Isolation and Leak:

The good fit and balanced armature drivers make it so. The isolation is very good with the TBA’s if you have a good fit. Good to the point that for me and my fit, I had some problems with some friends when they couldn’t contact me from my doorway when I had the TBA’s in. The leak is a bit more problematic. I believe the plastic thin construction has something to do with it. In a somewhat quiet room. At medium to loud volumes. You can hear the high freq squeak of the TBA’s. This is of course only if the room is very quiet and if you are listening at medium to loud volumes.


Amp Requirement and Driveability:

The TBA-04 does not need an amp for drivability or compatibility problems for most devices. There is no extra noise or other noticeable problems of impedance misbalance when used with an iPhone. The iPhone’s power is also overly adequate for the TBA’s. The sound of the TBA04 with the iPhone 4S(arguably the best sounding iPhone direct headphone out) is also quite good by itself already. But of course, amp enthusiasts and users go right ahead.



The Fischer Audio TBA-04 UIEM was tested with the custom Project-H unit, FiiO X3, iPod 2G and iPhone 4S. There are a plethora of other amps it could have been tested with. But I felt it fitting and enough to just rely on the Project-H  as that is my current baseline. And because this isn’t really an amp comparison review. Cirrus Logic Flagship DAC(CS4398) and Burr Brown high precision operation amplifiers(OPA 2134) were thus the main chips used in this review. The TBA’s were tested on pure settings with no EQ or any changes UNLESS noted in the review where I did apply some.


Sound Quality Section:


The highs are presented when they are needed. They aren’t extremely sharp nor are they rolled off too much. This is the quality that one would usually want in music enjoyment equipment. It’s the studio headphones that generally give you the slightly harsher highs as a way to ‘hear’ and correct the instrument. Thankfully, the TBA is not like this. This gives it the chance to produce a pleasureable listening experience. I found that that the highs were there when the song required a high note to be hit, but otherwise, everything ‘high’ was relied upon in the upper mid frequencies with the guitars. With songs that usually produce a good high frequency response, the TBA’s were a bit disappointing to me in that the highs weren’t as present as I remembered them to be with equipment like an LCD 3. However, looking deeper into it, one can also say that there is no shame in a headphone being slightly different. For, this is just a quality of many different headphones. Some wish to present the frequencies better, while others wish to dilute it down and have it be a back player. And the highs on the TBA are exactly that, they are the cherry on top of the ice cream or the kid with the cymbals or triangle in a band. They aren’t always overly present in the song with the TBA, but when its needed. The TBA’s present them beautifully and with great detail and clarity. The texture isn’t as full as I wish it to be. For those that wish to know a bit more about texture, it can be explained as presence, how well the high itself is presented. In the sense that is the high note just a high frequency sonic production without any actual ‘human’ presence in it that a computer can make(think radio noise). Or does it actually have presence and sound like something a human produced with its extremely slight fluctuations and degree of sound. The TBA’s accomplish the detail and clarity in the slight fluctuation of sound in that it definitely sounds like something that was ‘produced’ or made. Instead of a computer program with instructions to produce a signal at 11KHz+.

Mid Instruments:

Mid instruments are probably one of my most favorite part of the TBA-04’s. The mid frequency range here is balanced quite well. It doesn’t have the upper mid spike that many IEM’s have. Many IEM’s use that spike to produce share cymbals and snares and to make instruments and vocals more exciting. This is often botched. The end result then is harsh and metallic presentation of instruments that hurt your ear after a period of time. If you have read any of my other reviews, you would note that I often talk of how I am sensitive to those upper mid spikes and harshness in general.

I can say now, that the TBA’s present instruments beautifully and naturally. Of course, a headphone doesn’t always need to present something naturally. Some present them in ways that appeal to people or as a way to mimic the natural sound differently. The TBA’s go for the slightly more uninteresting idea of what the mids should sound like as if you were listening to it in an auditorium. Where instrumental separation, clarity, and detail are key. This may not be as big of an attention getter as high raised snare hits are if the manufacturer was to give it a treble boost, but its much more enjoyable as an audiophile unit. Especially one in the price range that the TBA-04 sits at. The instruments are separated well from the vocals. They have their own space typically behind and to the left and right of the vocals. This increase in mid frequency based imaging is quite enjoyable for when you listen to live performances or opera’s.


The vocals of the TBA 04’s are a bit light, and lack the full presence that one would typically expect when you think of naturalism. The typical human voice is grittier, a bit deeper, and more full than what the TBA-04 gives. This more ‘light’ presentation of the vocals may go hand in hand with the TBA’s focus on instrumental quality in the mids. The full human vocal fidelity is not entirely captured by the TBA-04. Of course, I never expected it to, especially at only $300. This is something I would expect from the LCD-3(of which it does indeed delivers). The light, and energetic presentation of the vocals are already more than I can ask for. The clarity of the vocals are on quite a high level. They aren’t veiled and are forward and present. The detail however relates back to the lightness I described above, where the mid and lower vocal portions don’t have the full weight of what the human voice would sound like. The upper vocal representation and detail is quite amazing, but the mid and low vocal areas, do need a bit more help. I however have no qualms personally at the cost. It is just something noticed and noted in this review.


You probably could already tell, but don’t expect any boom boom from the TBA-04 even with it’s triple balanced armature design. The mid bass presence and ability is extremely good however. Let me explain more, the mid bass thump has quite the ability to produce a detailed and ‘loud’ but not too impactful mid bass driving force. This is only in songs that have sections where there is an extreme mid bass note in them. As I have tested with EQ settings of the bass. The TBA’s respond very well to a bass EQ. You can get these to be more universal with genres by applying roughly a +5(or more) bass EQ. Some IEM’s don’t respond to EQ well, but the TBA’s were able to handle bass EQ’s with little to no distortion. The bass thump was a bit more muddy with some reverb rumble. But for the most part, it reacts well. However, going back to a no EQ sound. The sub bass and mid bass offer little to no help for most songs. Even if it has the ability to. Rap, hip hop, pop for the most part all fall on its back and sound bad because of the lack of bass. It’s almost nauseating. The mid bass does have potential even without the EQ, but this is extremely rare and only happens on sections of a song that have extreme mid bass notes written in like I mentioned above. I would not buy this IEM if you are a bass fan.



This is actually one of the most important sections of the review. We can say all we want about individual frequency presentation, but that doesn’t matter too too much right? It’s the overall picture.

The overall sound signature of the TBA-04 is that its light sounding with a focus on the mids. The highs and lows are tucked away but presented when need to be. The signature is airy, and open(but not too big of a soundstage or overall imaging) with a clean/clear air to it.

The genres that perform best with the TBA 04(probably the most important part) are musicals, operas, classical music, some forms of classic rock, some forms of country. The more bass heavy or ‘thick’ genres do not work very well with the TBA’s. Even with something like an EQ.



Freq Range: 20 Hz to 19,000Hz

Sensitivity: 114dB

Impedance: 23 Ohms

Maximum power input: 60mW

Cable Length: 1.25m

Drivers: Triple Balanced Armature

Driver material: plastic



Build Quality: 6/10

Usability and Fit: 9/10

Isolation and Leak: 8.5/10 (some high freq leakage)

Microphonics: 9/10

Sound Quality: 8.5/10

Overall: 8/10


An excellent successor to the DBA-02 mk II

Pros: Mids, highs, accessories, build quality, comfort,
Cons: Worldwide availability, bass, straight 3.5mm jack, needs to be ideally driven with an amp

Packaging & Accessories: 9/10
Build Quality: 9/10
Design & Look: 8/10
Microphonics (higher ratings means lower cable noise): 9/10
Isolation: 8/10
Comfort: 9/10
Audio Quality: 9.5/10
Value: 9/10
My final Rating: 9.5/10

Purchase Date: 2013
Purchase Price: £185 / $300

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - Earphones

First of all I would like to thank Serge from Fischer Audio for sending me out the TBA-04′s on their release. I took some time doing this review as I wanted to get a good amount of personal listening done, to the music I’m used to. More so, I wanted to get used to the Fischer Audio sound signature again, as I had a good impression of the different type of sound the FA earphones have to offer over other earphones.

In this review, I will refer to the TBA-04′s as the TBA and their younger brothers the DBA-02 mk II’s as the DBA’s. A full review of the DBA’s can be found here, a read of the review can serve as a useful reference for those who aren’t accustom to some of the traits of the DBA’s.


Packaging, accessories, box content, overall first impressions (look wise)

For my initial impressions and unboxing video of the TBA-04′s – Click here

The packaging of the TBA-04′s reminded me very much of the DBA-02′s, in fact it looked identical – by not only the looks, but also the contents within the packaging.

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - BoxFischer Audio TBA-04 - Box details

The accessories were vast, as expected after my experiences with other FA earphones, especially the DBA-02 mk II. The accessories were in fact identical to what was found in the DBA-02′s, which had the following:
-Ear guides
-Silicone tips (S,M,L)
-Silicone tips with inner foam ring (S,M,L)
-Clear tips x2
-Triple flange tips x1
-Shirt clip

As much as I loved the accessories, I was quite disappointed not to find anything different or additional in the TBA-04′s. For example, it would have been nice to get some foam tips included, dual flangue tips and possibly some more triple flangue tips.
Despite the above, the accessories are very much excellent, but it is just a shame that there was no distinction between the two earphones. Especially seeing as the TBA’s are £60 more expensive. With that said, it does still impress me and does the job very much better than a lot of other earphones that can be found in the market today.
I have and will always be a big fan of the included carrying pouch, that’s included with the DBA’s and there was no difference with the pouch included with the TBA’s.

Overall first impressions:
Overall, I was a little disappointed that Fischer Audio copy and pasted everything that they had in the DBA’s over to the TBA’s, but with that said, it is still a good array of things included within the package.

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - Package Contents

Build Quality

The build quality of the TBA-04′s is quite good, from top to bottom. However, I did find a few points of concern with the build quality which I was a little worried about.
First of all the wire – I quite like the fact the wire is braided however it does feel a little loose at times. With wear and tear, I’m not too sure about the choice of a braided cable by Fischer Audio. To add to the concern, the wire is terminated with a straight gold plated 3.5mm jack, rather than a right angled one. I feel that if users were to pull the earphones jack out by the cable, after a certain amount of time, it will come undone. Furthermore, the termination on the earphones themselves, where the wire has a small strain relief, I found to be a little worrying if it were to be yanked out of your ears suddenly, by pulling it against its natural direction it is intended to go.

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - Cable Management

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - Splitter

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - Jack
Other than that, the build quality is quite good. I especially like the lightweight nature of the earphones – which means that listening to them for an extended period of time isn’t fatiguing. I also like that on the earphones themselves there is a clear right and left indicator – this makes it very easy to see which side each earphone should go.

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - Left and right indicator


Overall, the build quality is very good, and does certainly shine through the product, but certain aspects of it left me slightly disappointed. I wish there was more attention to detail in that respect with the earphones, especially seeing as they are Fischer’s new top of the line earphones.
I should also point out that there was barely any microphonics as the earphones are worn over-the-ear. I did notice a very small amount of microphonics, but it was quite negligible.

Now the overall look, comfort and isolation

The looks can be taken in two ways – either you like the white colour, or you don’t. Unfortunately for me, I don’t like their bright white colour. This is extremely subjective and comes down to taste, but it would have been nice if Fischer had different colour shells to offer. A black coloured earphone for me would have been much more appealing or even a see-through shell would have been very cool indeed.

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - In-ear look

Other than that the earphones are reasonably discrete and don’t stick out too much – thus meaning the looks and the design is still very good.
I should point out that the TBA’s nozzle is quite long, like the one found in the Shure range and the DBA’s.

The isolation of the earphones was good – especially with the provided inner foam ring ear tips, which give you a little better isolation over the normal silicone ear tips. They also didn’t leak any noise, due to the earphones not needing any sort of air to move the drivers, unlike dynamic driver earphones that often have a port located on the earphones.

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - In-ear look

Finally the comfort:
The comfort was very much excellent. The earphones, as stated above were light on the ears and could be worn for long periods of time.

Sound Quality

The sound quality is what was the most intriguing for me when I opened the box – I couldn’t wait to hear them as the DBA’s really had impressed me a lot, despite having a few points that were concerning (ie the sibilance and the lack of bass).
The TBA’s I found were a natural successor of the DBA’s – Fisher must have taken the DBA’s as a benchmark and improved it. The highs were refined and thus no longer made the earphones sibilant, the lows were drastically improved and the mids kept their rich sound.
Thus, the TBA’s to my ears were an improved DBA set of earphones. Which, after having been extremely popular with the DBA’s I think Fisher made the right decision. If these had a bit more bass extension, I think these would hit the nail on the head, especially at their price point of £185.

Important note about the sound quality:
I should mention that the sound signature, in my opinion, changed a little since the DBA’s. The DBA’s used to be like a flipped V shaped signature. Mid centric, highs rolled off ever so slightly especially due to the sibilance making you reduce the volume you listen to your earphones at and lacking lows.
The TBA’s on the other hand have a more flat line frequency response – which makes them a much more favourable earphone for audiophiles out there.

Another important factor is that I found the TBA’s really benefited from an amp. When I paired them up with my ZO2 or my EHP-O2D, I found that the earphones came to life a little more.

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - Nozzle

The lows were improved over the DBA’s, however I did find that it did lack extension and thus didn’t really hit some of the low end frequencies. When compared to my PFE232′s, the PFE’s were able to deliver a better extension – thus making the PFE’s better in terms of extension and thus the quality of the bass tones. Despite being a dual BA driver itself, it was still able to provide excellent bass. The TBA’s on the other hand didn’t have much quantity of bass and their extension also lacked, however when paired with my DigiZoid ZO2 the bass quantity really increased and thus became a lot more present. This was nice to see as the DBA’s to my ears weren’t really capable of this, whereas the TBA’s with that extra driver could deliver in the bass department if called upon. So to summarise the lows, don’t expect to be blown away from the bass, but coming from the DBA’s I think you’ll be extremely satisfied and pleasantly surprised that the TBA’s don’t sacrifice an inch of mids quality and yet deliver a bigger blow than the DBA’s is able to do.

The mids and highs are simply perfect. I think they really shine through with an amp – but they share the mids that are present in the DBA’s, almost like they went unchanged, which is a great thing.
Mids are thus excellent – very precise, vocals that really shine through and overall an excellent sounding earphone for listening back to mid centric songs.
The highs are improved over the DBA’s – they only needed a little fine tuning and I think Fisher Audio nailed it. They reduced the sibilance of the earphones by reducing the peaks the DBA’s had and also extended them. Meaning there is no roll off of the high that I noted in my DBA review. This means the highs are more precise, better present and furthermore much more pleasant.

The soundstage hasn’t improved over the DBA’s – It still sounds excellent – has great separation, but lacks depth and width, mainly due to its plastic and small construction.

Sound Quality Ratings
Lows: 7.5/10
Mids: 10/10
Highs: 10/10
Soundstage: 8/10

Fischer Audio TBA-04 - Design and Looks

Conclusions and final thoughts

In conclusion the TBA-04′s are an excellent successor to the DBA-02 mk II’s. I feel that a lot of the qualities have been ported over to the TBA’s and yet they have been improved with the inclusion of that extra BA driver. Turning it from a dual to a triple balanced armature driver.
Fischer really did a good job in this respect to keep previous customers happy with a similar sounding earphone, but also made it so that it offers something more.

Would I recommend this for £185 – definitely. It is one of the best all-rounded (yet slightly mid centric) earphones I’ve heard. Despite it not being quite to my tastes, as I prefer a more V shaped signature earphone, I do definitely think this is a lot of earphone for the money. If I was a DBA owner, and you feel you’re lacking extra bass extension and feel that you could do with listening to something that’s less sibilant and has a little more of a flat sound signature, then you should definitely consider investing in the TBA-04′s. With that said, with the extra price tag, £60 extra is quite a bit to pay for that little additional tweak in sound and refinement. It just all comes down to you evaluating your previous purchase or comparing it to other £180 earphones in the market.
What I loved about the DBA’s is the fact that they were so cheap for the amazing sound they produced. With the TBA’s being in a different price category, it makes them a little harder to recommend and jump upon, due to their similar sound to the DBA’s and lack of additional extras included.

Hope you enjoyed my review!

The Russians Are Coming

Fischer Audio FA-002W Master Series High Edition Headphones

Fischer Audio is a relatively new European headphone manufacturer whose performance aspirations are high, but whose products are not yet well known in the U.S. Judging by the sample of the firm’s flagship Master-Series FA-002W High Edition headphone ($395) reviewed here, however, Fischer is a name that headphone enthusiasts will want to get to know, and for all the right reasons. But first, some background is in order.

The Fischer Audio web site ( says only that the firm “was born when the expertise of four professionals decided to join forces.” As best we can tell, at least one of those professionals was German, as the official name of the firm is—in traditional German style—Fischer Audio, GmbH. However, it is also apparent that the firm has roots (and, it would seem, manufacturing headquarters) in Russia, since our review sample ‘phones shipped from an office in St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation. Accordingly, documentation for the FA-002W headphones came printed in Russian (complete with the obligator Cyrillic alphabet) and in English.

As you might expect, you can see both German and Russian influences in the FA-002W ‘phones, which offer both a clear, precise sound and a certain fineness of fit and finish that reminded me of upper-tier designs from German firms such as Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser, yet also exude wonderfully Russian qualities of soulfulness and strength. Indeed, the overall vibe of the Fischers reminded me of some of the rugged yet elegant and sophisticated Russian submariner’s wristwatches I’ve admired in the past. When you first lift the FA-002W’s from their padded travel case, then, you can’t help but feel that you’re holding headphones of substance whose beauty runs more than skin deep (there is nothing flimsy or cheaply-built in this product).

The FA-002W is a closed-back headphone whose ear cups are precisely machined from exotic hardwoods (several options are available) and that offers high sensitivity (105dB) and presents–in the special High Edition model–a medium-to-high impedance load (200 Ohms). Fischer also offers a lower impedance version of the FA-002W plus an open-back version called the FA-002, but for now we will focus on the closed-back High Edition model. As you’ll see in a moment, the FA-002W High Edition makes an impressive entry in this keenly contested market segment.


• Closed-back design: The FA-002W is a closed-back design featuring precisely machined hardwood ear cups. According to Fischer 23 different wood options are possible, many of which will be offered in the USA, including Rosewood, Zebrawood, Snakewood, Bubinga, Karelian Birch, Paduk, and more. Our samples came in a lovely dark red hardwood called Amaranth.

• Headband/Frame: The adjustable headband of the FA-002W features what appears to be a beefy spring-steel top strap that fastens via robust mounting brackets to articulated, molded thermoplastic ear cup “arms,” which are finished in gloss metallic gray. The only potential drawback I could see was these arms allow the ear cups to swivel vertically, but not from side-to-side. As mentioned above, the headphone looks and feels sturdy and very well built, as if meant to stand up to years of use.

• Leather Padding in All the Right Places: The top strap of the FA-002W features a nicely made leather pad whose inner surface features a fabric liner that gently caresses the top of your head. The ear cups, in turn, feature soft, thick, leather-covered ear pads that are extremely comfortable to wear and that achieve a much better than usual degree of isolation from external noises. The only price to pay for this sense of isolation, however, is that clamping pressures with this headphone are higher than many others in its class—though not to a degree that I personally found at all uncomfortable. So, let’s simply say the fit is “snug.” Our review samples came with an alternative set of fabric-covered ear pads, recognizing that some prefer the feel of fabric to leather.

• Signal cables/connectors: Fischer provides a detachable, 3.5-meter “Y-shaped signal cable. The cable features a gold-plated 3.5mm plug and a threaded ¼-inch phone plug adapter, also gold-plated.

• Case: The FA-002W comes with a heavily padded, canvas-covered travel case. How sturdy is it? Let’s just put it this way: The Fischer headphones shipped in this case, with no outer box whatsoever, within a thin, plastic Russian Federation postal pouch, and made it all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia to Austin, TX without the slightest hint of damage.

• Warranty: Never let it be said that the Russians and/or Germans lack a sense of humor. On the Fischer Warranty card, the company includes a brief list of types of product failure not covered by the warranty, including these:

“…circumstances out of the control of Fischer Audio, including, with out limitation, fires, storms, earthquakes, floods, stupidity or maniacal stubbornness. Failure caused by the acts of God, fall of asteroid, Martian attacks, hungry piranhas and/or swallowing by Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts of Traal, is covered by Fischer Audio if such accident has been proven.”

Hey, you can’t make this stuff up.


One of the things I learned early on is that the “characteristic sound” of the FA-002W tends to be somewhat more amplifier-dependent than is the case with some other headphones in its price class. On paper, nothing would suggest that the Fischers are difficult to drive, though their impedance rating of the High Edition model is higher than some, but in practice they worked significantly better with some amplifiers than others, meaning it will be worth your while to spend time finding a good match. Two specific amplifier recommendations would be the Burson Audio HA-160 and HiFiMAN EF-5, both of which gave great results with the Fischer headphones.

Heard at their best, the FA-002W’s turn out to be one of the most impressive offerings in the sub-$700 price class. Here’s why. For starters, the Fischers give you everything you would expect from a fine closed-back design, such as very effective noise isolation and taut, deep, well-controlled bass. At the same time, however, the Fischer’s somehow manage to produce the sort of vibrant, transparent, and dynamically free-flowing sound that many listeners associate with today’s better open-back designs. If you’ve bought in to the myth that closed-back ‘phones invariably sound a bit compressed and overly tightly constrained, the Fischers will quickly make you change your mind, in part because their sound is remarkably open and fine-grained—especially so in light of their less-than-stratospheric price.

Highlights include terrific purity of timbres and some of the finest resolution we’ve heard from any dynamic driver-based (as opposed to planar magnetic driver-equipped) headphone in this class. These qualities are further underscored, as you might expect, by the very quiet listening backgrounds these closed-back ‘phones provide. Frequency response is very smooth, though I think some listeners might perceive the FA-002W’s overall tonal balance to be tipped just slightly to the warmer (or “darker”) end of the audio spectrum. This perception is influenced by the fact that—if you choose your amplifier carefully—the Fischer’s’ bass will be quite deeply extended and powerful, though never loose sounding or under-damped. Similarly, the headphones’ highs are, or at least can be with the right amplifier, pleasantly extended yet almost eerily smooth. Listeners who equate faint traces of treble edginess with “accurate highs” may mistake the Fischer’s’ smoothness for treble rolloff, which I think is not the case.

One point I would like to emphasize is that the FA-002W’s midrange presentation is remarkably energetic, dynamically expressive, and alive. I believe this is partly attributable to the headphone’s midrange transient speed, which is excellent, but also attributable to the apparent ease with which the headphone delivers “energy on demand” when high-powered transient sounds come along. Two good examples might be the almost volcanic eruptions of sound that occur, say, when a snare drum is struck forcefully or an electric guitar is plucked vigorously. Under such circumstances, the Fischers speak with real authority and punch, making some competitors sound almost “choked” by comparison. Some might feel, in fact, that the Fischer’s’ transient response can be—especially in the midrange—a little overwrought at times (though I find this problem arises only when using amplifiers that are inadequate to drive the FA-002W in the first place). Even so, the power and force with which midrange transients ramp up in energy can be a little unnerving at first—though I personally feel this is also a quality that helps make the Fischers consistently expressive and enjoyable over the long haul.

Put all of these qualities together and you have what we regard as one of the most compelling mid-priced headphones we have heard in a long time.


We could probably cite dozens of examples to illustrate the sonic qualities we sketched above, but in hopes of being concise we’ll limit ourselves to just two.

To hear both the subtlety and sheer power of the FA-002W on display at the same time, play “Tin Pan Alley” from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Couldn’t Stand The Weather [Sony Legacy]. On this track Vaughan’s famous backing band Double Trouble provides percussion work that is at once subtle and delicate, yet high in impact, plus rock-solid low-frequency bass guitar support. But most of all, you’ll hear the full range of both Stevie Ray Vaughan’s voice and his famous Fender Stratocaster guitar, which has perhaps never been captured more powerfully or eloquently than on this track.

Listen carefully to the way the Fischer’s handle the sound of the drum kit, and you’ll be floored by how distinctively they present (and effortlessly they differentiate) the voices of each individual drum and cymbal. Where some headphones leave you somewhat in the dark as to how players are managing the dynamics of their instruments, the FA-002W’s show you exactly what is going on. On the bass guitar, the Fischers reveal both the instrument’s sheer depth and weight, while also showing you bassist Tommy Shannon’s deft touch and timing on the fingerboard, which means the right supporting notes always appear at precisely the right moments and with just the right level of emphasis (or de-emphasis, as the situation warrants).

But it is Stevie Ray’s Stratocaster that steals the show, in part because the Fischers are able to show how the instrument can—in the master blues man’s hands—speak with soft, almost subliminal runs of notes and trills at one moment, and then turn on a dime to fairly explode with fierce outbursts of sound in the next moment. In it’s ability to capture stark dynamic contrasts like these, the FA-002W High Edition reminds more than a little of the sound of today’s superb planar magnetic headphones, which are real champs in this area. Sure, most headphones manage to get louder when electric guitars are cranked up, but they don’t always capture the explosive rise in energy and acoustic power as immediately or as effectively as the Fischers do. Given the veritable guitarist’s “master class” that Stevie Ray Vaughan put on in this track, its almost inevitable to fall under the Fischer’s’ spell, so that even if you plan to listen to “Tin Pan Alley” for just a few minutes, you may wind up listening to it from end to end, simply because the sound is addictive and compelling.

Next, let me reference another audiophile favorite that showcases many of the FA-002W’s strengths: namely, the jazz standard “Bye Bye Blackbird” from Patricia Barber’s Nightclub[Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, SACD]. This is a track that, admittedly, tends to sound very good on most headphones, but what the Fischer’s made be realize all over again is how very intimate and realistic the MFSL/SACD version of this record really is. Literally everything about this recording is not merely good (or even very good), but downright great—as the FA-002W helps you realize. If you listen carefully, which the Fischers certainly invite you to do, you’ll hear distinct variations in touch as Barber’s fingers work across the piano keyboard, subtle variations in finger pressure, attack, and release as Marc Johnson works his magic over the fingerboard of his acoustic bass, and the sure, deft, precise and yet expressive feel that percussionist Adam Nussbaum supplies as he crafts the rhythms that drive the song forward. My point, here, is that you don’t just hear instruments at play, per se, but rather hear the ultra-subtle sonic cues that let you know these performers are listening intently to one another and responding accordingly—together creating a group sound that is greater than the sum of its parts. It takes a very fine headphone to let you hear this kind of group expression, craftsmanship and communication, and it is one of the things separates truly fine headphones from merely good ones.

Most of all, though, listen to the way the Fischers capture the intricacies of phrasing, articulation, enunciation, and tone that Barber brings to her vocal lines in this song. Like many writers, I suppose, I’ve sometimes used the words “smoky” or “sultry” to describe Barber’s voice, but the Fischer’s invite you to make finer distinctions than that—revealing delicate shades of tonality that show why, where, and how Barber shapes her vocals to convey those qualities of “smokiness” or “sultriness.” All of this is perhaps a roundabout way of saying that the Fischer ‘phones have sufficient resolving power and finesse to take you deep within the innermost recesses of recordings to see what really makes the music tick.


Consider this headphone if: you want a mid-priced, high performance, closed-back headphone that combines the best sonic elements of both closed-back and open-back designs. Consider this headphone if you like the idea of a headphone that is for the most part accurate, yet never sterile-sounding or overly tightly constrained. This headphone offers extremely good resolution and fine-grained sound for the money, and is—or with the right amp can be—extremely dynamically expressive. In short, one of the best mid-priced high-end ‘phones we’ve heard in a long time.

Look further if: you want a relatively light headphone; the FA-002W is comfortable, but a little too hefty for some tastes. Also look further if you aren’t prepared to match this headphone with an amp that can do it justice (the FA-002W tends to sound a bit thin, edgy and somewhat midrange-forward when driven by inadequate amps). Finally, look elsewhere if you prefer to stick with familiar and time-tested brands; Fischer is a comparatively “new kid on the block,” though one we think you’ll want to know better.

Ratings (relative to comparably priced headphones)

Tonal Balance: 9.5 (somewhat amplifier dependent)
Clarity: 9.5
Dynamics: 10
Comfort/Fit: 10
Sensitivity: 9.5 (but even so, the FA-002W is amplifier sensitive)
Noise Isolation: 9.5
Value: 9.5-10 (though only time will tell if Fischer products deliver the kind of unit-to-unit consistency and quality that are expected in this class)


The Fischer FA-002W is a wonderful debut product, and one that has immediately become one of our favorite dynamic driver-equipped designs in this price class.

We hadn’t received the FA-002W at the time we prepared Playback’s recent Editors’ Choice listings for headphones, but if we had it would certainly have won a place on our “Headphones Priced Between $250-$699” list. They’re that good.


Fischer Audio Master Series FA-002W Headphone
Frequency Response: 11Hz – 27kHz
Drivers: Details not specified
Sensitivity: 105dB (no reference power level specified)
Impedance: 200 Ohms
Weight: Not specified.
Warranty: One year, parts and labor.


The Fischer Audio FA-011s have an existing following of fans. They’re known for their price / performance ratio and their bass performance in particular. So what happens when they create a limited edition version of the famed FA-011?


  • Style: Open
  • Frequency response:  18 – 22,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB
  • Impedance: 160 ohm
  • Cable length: 2.5m
  • Connector: 3.5mm


Upgrades over the standard FA-011

  • Exotic timber cups
  • Upgraded, shielded cable
  • New logo badge
  • Velour pads (more on this later)
  • APE-03 frequency filter


The LEs grabbed my attention at a Head-Fi meet here in Melbourne. Having listened to HE-500s, HE-6s, and my own HD650s during the day, I was really impressed with the LEs when I tried them. I’m not suggesting they’re better than the planar magnetics from HiFiMan and I’m not comparing them here, but in the company of outstanding gear the LEs shone for what they offer. The LEs are priced at around $480 so they’re nearly twice the price of the stock FA-011s, but they’re a upgraded in a lot of ways.

DPP_0001cWithout taking anything away from the outstanding FA-011s, the LEs are a brilliant upgrade. The wood used for the cups is beautiful, exotic and comes in 5 different varieties. The cable is much higher quality, and the APE-03 frequency filter refines the aggressive FA-011 sound to make it more balanced without sacrificing any of the dynamics and energy the 011s are known for. With just a brief listen I was impressed at how close in overall sound quality these came to the HD650s which cost about $70 more and are recognised as a benchmark headphone across the industry. The LEs aren’t better than the HD650s – they’re different. I’ll explain in more detail later, but the short version is that I turn to the HD650s for some things and the LEs for others – splitting them is a matter of preference and music style, not performance. I’d peg the LE as a more aggressive and dynamic equal of the HD650.

Truly Limited

Only 40 LEs were produced worldwide – 10 per timber for 4 timbers. Noisy Motel scored 12 of the 40 for Australia. There may be more being wrangled down here to Australia (via the Noisy Motel), but it will some of the original 40 units so these are a truly exclusive headphone!

Design & Comfort

The design and comfort of the LEs is almost identical to the stock FA-011s. They’re well put together (albeit with some slight variations as a result of being hand-made) and the materials all feel excellent. The design uses a sprung headband suspended below 2 rubber-clad metal bands which also house the cable from the left ear cup to the right. The cups are hinged for rotation inwards / outwards, but not any rotation. The design doesn’t really need anything more though as comfort is very good as is (possibly with different earpads) . DPP_0004cThe LEs come with a new / different velour earpad which also has a fine acoustic mesh across the centre of the driver. Unfortunately, the LE pads are a bit thinner than the stock pads and become quite uncomfortable after a 1-2 hour listening session. This is because they don’t hold the cups far enough from my ears and leave the inside of the cup pressing against the outer edges of my ear. Thankfully, Billy from Noisy Motel was able to provide some replacement earpads from the stock FA-011s which instantly solved the problem and are very easy to fit with no tools or impact on headphones.

DPP_0006cI have to say that I LOVE the upgraded cable on the LEs. It’s thick and heavy so it doesn’t tangle or get caught under my office chair wheels. It makes the LEs less portable, but they’re an open headphone so chances are you won’t walk around with them playing anyway (except at home and then it doesn’t matter). I don’t know if the core materials are any better than the stock 011s, but it looks good and feels good (and the headphones sound great so the cable can’t be too bad) so I’m happy!


DPP_0007cIt’s really hard to sum up the sound of the FA-011 LEs. They’re aggressive and “in-your-face”, but manage to do this without ever getting obnoxious, sibilant or fatiguing. The bass from the LEs is outstanding in terms of both texture, presence and extension. The bass goes low, is quick and tight, and has plenty of body. The top end is resolving and detailed, but not blistering. The mids are realistic, smooth and natural – not enhanced or emphasised at all to my ears. The LEs are a little confusing in that they separate sounds really well. There is no doubt where each instrument and performer is within the soundstage, but the soundstage is quite small. It extends roughly to the outside edge of each earpiece and doesn’t have a lot of height or depth. That said, it rarely feels crowded. One of my favourite test tracks is “Good Excuse” by John Butler Trio particularly because the recording allows some nice vertical (top / bottom) layers in the sound as well as the normal horizontal (left / right) layers. The LEs don’t really exhibit any vertical layering the way say the Unique Melody Miracles do, but Good Excuse is still a really enjoyable track to listen to on the LEs. Perhaps the most impressive attribute of the LEs is their ability to handle everything I’ve tried them with. They have the bass impact to rumble and thump when required, but also the detail and resolution for the subtleties and texture of more refined acoustic and classical tracks. If I had to criticize the LEs in any way, it’d be a slight glassy-ness or edge on some acoustic guitar tracks. The edge doesn’t sound natural because it’s not exactly how a guitar really sounds. It doesn’t sound bad or artificial (like some Ultrasones have that artificial metallic twang to the upper registers), but it just sounds like the sound has been altered ever-so-slightly from its natural sound.

HD650 vs FA-011 LE Comparison

HD650 outer packagingI bought the LEs after listening to my HD650s all day. That, and the fact that they’re in the same price ballpark make it an obvious comparison so here are some thoughts based on some track-specific comparisons. I’m focussing on what stood out to me during each track rather than a blow-by-blow description of each headphone’s sound. Please refer to my HD650 review if you’d like more information about the specifics of the HD650.

Stuffy – Arne Domnerus from Jazz at the Pawnshop (192kHz / 24-bit)

This is a great recording in a jazz club so there’s plenty of ambience and space in the recording. There are also plenty of natural textures and resonance in the sound so it’s easy to hear how naturally the headphones portray all the instruments and the space around them.

  • HD650s – more space and ambience let’s you hear the jazz club surrounds, but the sound is a little muted in comparison to the LEs.
  • FA-011 LEs – cleaner highs and details – cymbals have texture and presence and the piano is more “present” in the sound mix, but at the expense of some ambience.

Switching between the 2 headphones I preferred the sound signature of the LEs. I’ve never before been a supporter of the Sennheiser “veil” description, but I can kind of understand it now. I don’t think the HD650s are bad by any stretch (they’re a wonderful headphone) – their laid back presentation is a large part of their charm and the space and ambience they create in the soundstage is brilliant, but there are times that I crave the clarity and definition of a can like the LEs.

Sinking Stone – Alison Krauss & Union Station from Paper Airplane (96kHz / 24-bit)

This track is light on bass and high on acoustic sounds in the upper mid-range which is possibly the weak point for the LEs.

  • LEs – as expected, the LEs sound a little glassy and fragile with this track, but shows better textures in the vocals. In particular, the male backing vocal is more noticeable and clear, but isn’t enhanced or pushed forward, just well-placed and separated from the other sounds.
  • HD650s – creamier mids and slightly more enjoyable overall even though the backing vocal isn’t quite as well separated. For tracks like this I would always reach for the HD650s.

The summary is pretty clear here. The HD650 excels with the acoustic instruments (guitars, etc.) and vocals while the LE is a bit glassy despite being wonderfully detailed.

Within – Daft Punk from Random Access Memories (44.1kHz / 16-bit)

This track has a nice range of different sounds including piano (always tough to recreate authentically), drums and other percussion, deep bass, and electronic vocals.

  • HD650s – once again the HD650s create more space and on this track also separate the vocals really well so they’re prominent and clear.
  • LEs – the snare is alive and the bass has presence and impact. The chimes have sparkle and clarity that the HD650s can’t match.

The LEs won this battle on the strength of their bass and treble performance. This track covers the whole range so completely that the HD650s sound a little bland in comparison to the LEs’ outstanding extension in the bass. The space and ambience of the HD650s don’t have enough impact in a track like this to offset the frequency range performance.

Good Excuse – John Butler Trio from Grand National (44.1kHz / 16-bit)

  • LEs – layering and textures are excellent. Excellent separation of percussion, piano, and other instruments
  • HD650s – I can’t believe I’m using this word, but they sound a bit veiled (in comparison only). The HD650s are smooth and present more space, but lack some impact down low. The details merge together a bit compared to the LEs, but I think a lot of that is due to the fact that much of the detail in this track comes from acoustic guitars and percussion.

The LEs performed surprisingly well on this track given the heavy use of acoustic guitars and other instruments that dwell in the upper mid-range that can be the LEs weak point. I think the full-range sound in this track off-sets the potentially glassy upper registers of the FA-011 LE.

It’s really important to note here that the HD650 improves significantly on Crack!

What I mean by that is that these tests were conducted driving both headphones from the Audio-gd NFB-5.2. My normal amplifier for the HD650s is the Bottlehead Crack and it has a magic synergy with the HD650s. When I tested the HD650s on this same track but using the Crack, the results were quite different. I would probably still choose the LEs for their bass response and detail, but the separation of instruments and textures became much better with the HD650 / Crack combination.

Violin Concerto in G Major – Marianne Thorsen / Trondheim Solistene from HD Tracks (96kHz / 24-bit)

I thought it was important to test these 2 on some really well recorded classical music. An orchestral or chamber group presents a lot of similar information all at once (i.e. multiple similar instruments versus guitar, drums, bass, etc. which are all different). This makes it a different sound experience. Oh, and because a lot of people like to listen to classical so I thought they’s like the comparison.

  • LEs – the sound is more natural, clean and resolving, but like standing on the conductor’s podium where there’s not a lot of space between me and all the musicians
  • HD650s – much better sense of space, but not as intimate – I feel removed and placed back in the audience somewhere

This was a great test to finish on because it sums up these 2 headphones perfectly. The LEs once again presented more detail, texture and clarity – a more dynamic overall experience, but I felt like I was listening to a good set of headphones – I couldn’t get completely lost in the music. The HD650s once again excelled with the space and ambiance they presented. I felt like I was in the audience listening to the performance which was great, but I felt like I was a couple of rows too far back and that the sound was being muffled slightly by the people and seats in front of me.


This has been a slightly frustrating review because it’s shown me that the ultimate headphone in the $400-ish price range is actually a combination of the HD650 and FA-011 LE. The HD650 outperforms the LE in terms of soundstage size and ambiance while the FA-011 LE outperforms the HD650 in terms of detail, clarity and overall frequency balance (including its awesome bass response!)

So what does that mean for this review and for my headphone collection?

DPP_0002cIt means I will happily keep both headphones in my collection. The HD650s have earned an unassailable place in audiophile lore for good reason. They’re not a perfect headphone from a technical perspective, but they are wonderfully easy to listen to and create an amazing ambiance in the music.

The FA-011 LEs, the star of this show, are an incredibly enjoyable headphone. They perform at every part of the frequency range, they provide superb bass impact, texture and speed, and great detail and clarity. Perhaps most amazing is their ability to do all this without causing any fatigue. Yes, they’re in-you-face and aggressive, but in the most likable way somehow. I haven’t enjoyed bright, analytical headphones for a while now because of some treble sensitivity, but the LEs manage to deliver all their detail and clarity without any fatigue or discomfort.

I think there are some great headphones around this price point (HD6X0, HE-400, DT880, etc.) and the LEs definitely deserve a seat at that table. They are enjoyable, dynamic and revealing, but never inducing of fatigue or discomfort. The provided pads are best changed for stock pads if possible for more physical comfort, but it’s a simple switch.

I would recommend these to people wanting an open headphone which doesn’t sacrifice on bass or overall tonal balance (i.e. they’re not bass monsters, just brilliantly balanced across all frequencies). I wouldn’t recommend them to people seeking large soundstages, but I know some prefer the intimacy of a tighter stage. Remember the LEs don’t lack separation and layering of sounds, just overall space in the soundstage. They are everything the stock FA-011s are known for only better in every way!

In the last few years, “Fischer Audio” (On this review, I’ll refer to them also as FA), a Russian Headphones & Earphones company, had been a quite common name in the audio discussion boards. Earlier this year, I reviewed their flagship IEM, the DBA-02 MKII, which I was very impressed with, and I hope that their product that I’ll be reviewing today would be as satisfying as the DBAs. This review is going to be about the highest dynamic-driver based IEMs in their range; the Dual-Dynamic “Tandem”. This is actually my first pair of DDs (Dual-Dynamics), so honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect from these.

Technical Specifications:

Driver(s): 2X 9mm Dynamic Drivers

Frequency Response: 20-20000Hz

Sensitivity: 105dB

Impedance: 36 Ohm

Maximum Power Input: 65mW

Cable Length: 1.2m

Packaging: The Tandems arrive in a quite small purple-black colored packaging. It has a picture of the Tandems on its front, while there are some explanations on the Dual-Driver technology which is used in these IEMs next to two plastic windows, which provide us with a first view of the tandems and of the included soft pouch.

The packaging’s rare side has the Tandem’s frequency response graph and the product’s technical specifications in several languages. I actually like this kind of packaging more than the DBA-02 MKII’s one, since the Tandem’s packaging looks more retail-ish and professional.

Accessories: As expected, FA provides us here with fewer accessories than the ones that they provide with the DBAs, but I do feel that the included accessories are quite good. First, they provide us with a velvet-like pouch, which isn’t really going to protect your IEMs against crushes, but more against scratches and scuffs. Of course that the case which was provided to me with the DBAs is a lot better, but this one is decent too. So the pouch is quite basic, but that is nothing that can be said about the included tips-assortment.

there are 7 pairs of small-bore tips included

the other 3 pairs are generic large-bore ones

FA includes a variety of 10 pairs of ear-tips, in order to ensure that the user would be able to improve the comfort and sound easily, without having to buy additional “after-market” ear-tips. There’s a single pair of “Medium” sized triple flanges, another pair is of “Medium” sized double-flanges, while four other pairs are “Extra Small”, “Small” (Pre-Installed on the IEMs), “Medium”, “Large”& “Extra Large” sized single-flanges, all of which are small-bore ones. The three left pairs are generic large-bore single flanges, in “Small”, “Medium” & “Large” sizes.

there are no strain reliefs, which is bad for the long-term

Building Quality & Design: I feel that Tandems are quite well built, apart from a few flaws, most of them being quite minor. Design wise, they are quite low-profile, nothing outstanding or flashy. The housings are fully made of black plastic, besides a large circle on each of them (A red circle on the right earpiece and a blue one on the left earpiece), which replaces the traditional left and right printed signifiers. The major part of the housings is glossy, while the smaller part is matte. The nozzles are covered with protective-metal-meshes, while there is a tiny venting-hole in the IEMs’ back. The biggest flaw in the building-quality of these is the lack of strain-reliefs between the housings to the cable. I find it a bit troublesome and dangerous because the cable enters directly into the housings without anything that protects it from bending or being torn. The y-split is very small and low-profile, and there’s also a chin-slider, which I think is an essential part in every IEM. I quite like the cloth-coated cable because it isn’t too thick or stiff, but it also feels quite durable and it’s pretty flexible in comparison to other cloth-coated cables. It ends with a 45 degrees angled gold plated jack, which doesn’t feel like the strongest, toughest or most durable one, but it does look like it’ll do its job fine.

Comfort & Fit: The fit is a bit tricky with these, even though there are more than enough pairs of tips included. The main reason is the housings’ unusual oval shape and their quite large size too. I ended up finding that the small sized small bore tips, which were already installed on the IEMs are the best for me in regards to sound-quality, while the medium small-bore ones were better for me comfort-wise. Talking about comfort, these are ok when finding the right tips, but I feel that they would’ve been a bit more comfortable to me if my ears were bigger (my ears are actually quite small). The insertion depth depends on what tips you choose to use, but overall, the Tandem’s insertion depth is about average. These IEMs are made to be worn with the cable down, but I found them to be comfortable enough when wearing them over-the-ear too, despite the fact that the cable is a cloth-coated one (which usually makes this wearing style quite un-possible).

Isolation & Microphonics: Due to the venting-hole in the housings’ back, the isolation isn’t quite good, honestly; when using the triple-flanges and getting a deeper insertion depth, it increases by a bit, but that’s quite it, to summarize. When worn with the cable down there’s quite a bit of noise coming from the cloth-coated-cable (not as much as on the Audiofly AF78s or Etymotic HF5s though), but when using the chin-slider, it is reduced by a bit, and it is reduced by even more when wearing these over the ears.

Sound: Before testing these IEMs, I gave them a burn-in period of around 60 hours, during which and after I didn’t notice any major changes.With dual-dynamic drivers inside, the Tandem posses a thick, warm, mid-centric and smooth sound.

the FR-Graph (taken from the packaging)

Bass: The Tandems have a bit more than the average amount of bass. It isn’t really powerful and its impact lacks a bit in my opinion. It’s quite soft and rolls of a bit too early, while its speed is quite decent. I did not find the Tandem to be able to produce a punchy enough bass, a thing which I was a bit disappointed with.

Midrange: As I already mentioned, the Tandems are mid-centric. The mids are thick (they might be a bit too thick, in my opinion), warm and quite lush, while it feels that the vocals aren’t as sweet and energetic as I would’ve liked them to be; similarly to the lows, also the mids appear to be on the soft side. The mids have a beautiful and excellent timbre, plus they’re very well textured and layered too. I find the mids to be pretty detailed, but also not too forgiving due to that, so bad recordings would not sound really good on these.

Treble: The highs are on the leaner, smoother and more laid back side. They extended nicely, but the highest frequencies seem to be a bit more laid back than the whole treble. It doesn’t have too much crisp or sparkle, and it also lacks some energy, but on the other side, it is never sibilant at all too.

Sound-Stage & Imaging: The Tandems have a quite good sound-stage. Mostly noticeable is the great depth, which gives the sound a three-dimensional feeling. The imaging is more than decent, while the instrument separation is very satisfying, due to the awesome layering.

Final Conclusions

My thoughts on the Tandems are positive, I feel that they’re a worth considering pair of IEMs if your budget is around $100if you are a vocal-lover/mid-head which likes a relaxing and laid-back sound. Otherwise, you might find their sound to be a bit too thick or soft. Besides that, they come with a nice amount of accessories, and a quite good building-quality, but if you are looking for isolation, please look elsewhere.

Where to Buy? The Fischer Audio Tandem Dual-DriverIEMs have a price-tag of $100-$130, and they can be purchased from FA’s authorized, which a list of can be found here. As always, I would recommend European customers to purchase these from “Top Dog Headphones“, a UK-based FA dealer.

*I’d like to thank Fischer Audio for the review unit.


When I saw these I thought what the hell? Fischer Audio I have always respected and loved, mainly because of the DBA-02, which was my first truly great IEM. Everything else of theirs looked good, they had great reviews and apparently most of their other stuff sounded great and it was all aimed at the head-fi community, if they were full headphones they were classy even if plastic and if not, they would be wood. So then I saw a thread introducing these I thought, are these bright plastic monstrosities really a product of my beloved Fischer Audio. Well it turned out so. Well from there design it was clear what they aimed at doing and that was to compete with the beats by dre and Skullcandy range of products with the bright colours and I was hoping that they may do this by giving a balanced more reference sound. The price was also competitive at around £45 so a lot cheaper than the beats line and also a lot of Skullcandy products. So could they replicate the Fischer sound I love into a more teenager and fashionable (for young people) design.

Being a previous owner of both the beats solo HD and the pro’s I actually was interested. So here is what I though of these.



The set-up I have used is a bit different to normal, as I have started using a new portable rig, which is the Hippo CriCri amplifier connected through a LOD to an iPod Nano 3G with Apple Lossless and MP3 on it.

I also used my old set-ups of my iPhone 4, Cowon J3 (with FLAC) and my iMac with my Objective 2 amplifier.


Build Quality/Design

To most of you all you have to do is look at the pictures and you have already either moved on from the review or said euugh. That’s the effect it had on me but then maybe 12 year olds will be pumping their fists and the, stand out colours, plastic and tacky look and of course the weird logos which say ‘wicked queen’ which I see as them trying to appeal to girls. The cups also rotate inwards so that they can fold.


The cable has a straight ‘I’ plug jack, which has a good housing to it with a nice strain relief, this is terminated with a gold plated plug. The cable is nicely thick as it makes it strong but also is not to think to be annoying. It enters nicely into the headphone were there is a strain relief. The housing are a weak and cheap feeling plastic, not like what you get with beats but what you get with the Skullcandies. We have pleather headband, which is nice, and it is on a metal axis so you can adjust the size of them and that moves really smoothly. The overall build seems all right but far from indestructible and when I straighten the headband out to see flexibility I get some unconvincing creaks.



You will not be receiving anything more than the headphones in the huge colorful box not even a case. I found this strange, as because they are clearly aiming at younger people, surely they want to open up and find loads of goodies like you do with the beats line and most Skullcandies.


Now these have pleather pads on the cups and a pleather headband, which is soft and does not apply too much pressure. These also do not have to big a clamping force although granted it is more than the Sennheiser HD580 but coming from the beats pro it is great and these should not fatigue for a good while. The one niggle is that your ear does sit inside the cup but is squashed a tiny but also rests on the driver due to a really shallow fit inside the cup and I would like a bit more room.


Even with the best seal you can get with these you do not get the best isolation which is rather disappointing for a over the headphone and especially one that is closed. It is not a patch on the beats pro but still handily is better than an open headphone like my HD580 or semi-open like my Superlux HD681. If you crank the volume up enough most quiet noises should disappear but shouting easily gets inside.

Microphonics (Cable Noise)

There handily is no cable noise on these.


By what I am about to write I do not want to cause any upsets or arguments as this topic can be seen as a sour subject. These have had roughly 100 hours now of use and burn in combined. As burn in is not scientifically proven this all could be mental and happening in my head but in the case that it does happen I recommend burning them in as in my personal experience I have noted improvements which have a massive impact on my enjoyment factor, so dint make any irrational decisions after listening to them out the box.

Soundstage and instrument separation

The soundstage is surprisingly open and fairly wide and involving consuming and enveloping you in the sound. In fact these are much more open in soundstage than any of the beats or any close headphone i have ever heard, i keep having to check that these are not open backed. The presentation is actually also very nice while the passage is slow and the instruments are separated from one another and they really do use the width of the soundstage and the two channels of the headphones to affect which is nice to be seen done.

As you can guess from the first paragraph these have poor instrument separation and while everything is slow its is really nice but as soon as it speeds up everything compresses uncontrollably and everything sort of swirls around the vocals.


So moving onto bass and do they have a bass emphasis like me and you probably expected but hope not for and we…. DO have a mid-bass emphasis. The mid-bass is dull, poorly textures and spiked with a fairly large quantity. It is however not the boomiest bass in the world and why it can be at times it hits hard and controlled most of the time. In all honesty it is not far of the level of mid-bass you get with the beats pro but it is just not fast enough to engage you although bass heads will be impressed by the huge impact that these have.

Now the sub-bass is rather impressive and these get really low and can deliver some rumble which is pleasant and not what I expected and the sub-bass is not over shadowed or out performed by the mid-bass.


Aah the mids and now I can confirm your guesses, recessed (slightly), veiled and warm. I will start by saying they are not recessed enough that sometimes you may not hear vocals or anything like that but it is the veil that really causes suffering. While the DBA-02 have the most transparent mids I have ever come across and the details are just mind blowing. Well take the polar opposite of that, details are really not the Wicked Queens thing in the mids especially and that is mainly due to the entire veil. The tone of these is warm and it does make strings pleasant and drums nice enough, in fact the drums are close to great and remind me of the realism you get with the Vsonic GR07 drums but both male and female vocals are both to flat and soft and they and the rest of the headphone are just boring. The mids are however very smooth and although the flat vocals do sound okay and not nasally or pitchy. To be honest the mids could have been a lot worse and most IEMs I have been getting with this sort of signature have just tragic mids were you can not hear the vocals and you can ALWAYS here them with these which is great.


The highs as expected finish of the signature and are quite badly rolled of and there is a complete lack of sparkle because of that. They are also equally not detailed and although the presence is not and it is behind the bass and the headphonessound dark, in fact I am so reminiscent of memories of my beats pro when I listen to them. They highs are however really smooth and only rarely sibilant (I do not know how as they do not seem to have any sort of peak). Again as I said they are not too recessed and guitar solos do still get through and symbol crashes can be still heard. There is also a rather weird short decay on the trebles.


If I still had my beats pro then these would happily go pound to pound with them and I paid £330 for them and these are only £45, in fact thinking about it they may even be better than the beats pro as these have slightly more free and forward mids (yes veiled but comparing with the beats is something else. Their sound however is always really full which is good thing and never feels empty. For £45 it is actually a fairly nice headphone, especially when comparing it to similar priced IEMs like the Brainwavs M2 and I would have this over them all day long. I am not going to recommend it your every go head-fier unless you actually liked the beats pro as you may be surprised by these but to maybe a young beats/Skullcandy fan checking this site out. I really do think however if Fischer Audios marketing can get these out their and let the beats fans know about these and make them cool by celebs wearing these then they may make the way into the mainstream market.

So as a quick summary i have heard every headphone in the Beats line and these handily trash them in pretty much ever sonic aspect and they are also very fun to listen too, just not hi-fi enough for me and most likely you but then their price is only £45.

This can be purchased from Top Dog Headphones in the UK.

I would like to thank Fischer Audio for supplying me with this review sample, I will write as honest a review possible.

All opinions expressed are my own, others may not agree.

These received over 50 hours of burn, no real difference was noticed,

Gear Used:

IPod Classic 160gb (rockboxed) – Fischer Audio Wicked Queen

IPod Classic 160gb (rockboxed) – Fiio L3 – JDS Labs C421 (AD8620) – Fischer Audio Wicked Queen


Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Sensitivity: 101dB

Impedance: 40Ω

Max power input: 100mW

Price: $60

Fischer Audio Wicked Queen

Packaging, Accessories and Build quality:

Packaging is very bright and stands out, I have these in green, and the packaging is bright green too. It has a cardboard body with a plastic inlay showing the headphones, very simple and it looks nice, but getting them out is another story, I basically had to destroy the plastic inner box to get to the headphones. Maybe an easier to open box would be better.

Accessories, what accessories? Nothing is included with these headphones, which is a shame, maybe at least a fabric carry pouch or something. Nothing is included, only the headphones and a users guide.

Build quality, well what can I say, these are more geared towards teenage girls I think, as they are called wicked queen. The headphones are basically all plastic, and cheap plastic at that, the adjustable arms are metal reinforced at least. These don’t feel like they will break that quickly, but the plastic really doesn’t inspire much confidence. The plates on the side that say wicked queen are metal, and the cable is 3M long and is of good thickness, and strain relief is fine on both jack and entry to the cups. The length is a bit longso not great for portable use as the box says portable headphones.

Comfort and Isolation:

Comfort is fairly good, the pads are a bit stiff and shallow, but may soften up after more use, the headband pad is also a bit too stiff, so you can feel the pressure on the top of your head. But these are light, so they are still comfortable for general use, but not for long listening sessions. The pads are spacious but a little shallow and these should also fit anyone.

Isolation is not very good for a portable headphone, and you can still hear things around you, but leakage is not a problem.

Fischer Audio Wicked Queen


I will split this into the usual 3 categories, and then write a conclusion.


Well as these are more style over sound, I was expecting lots of muddy bass, not what I found. What these have is actually a satisfactory amount of bass, not overwhelming or anything, and to my surprise the bass is fairly well defined. Being articulate and punchy, with good extension, but not great. There is more mid bass punch than sub bass rumble. I did notice one thing though, there is a weird resonance on some bass frequencies, I’m thinking some dampening in the cups could resolve this. Also the bass is quite slow in recovery so not very good for fast paced music.


Well I was also expecting recessed mids, warmed up by the lows. As the lows are not as prominent as I thought they would be, there is very little warming up of the mids, and also the mids cut through the mix with good clarity. You can even hear singers take breaths whilst singing. There is a little bit of sibilance in the upper mids, but nothing serious. I am impressed by the mids from these, they are not as lush smooth and natural as I would have liked, but not bad for the price, and the type of headphone these are, the mids can be a little edgy and sharp sometimes.


Also surprisingly present, but not the best in definition and detail. The highs become very splashy and metallic, but at least they are there. The highs really help these sound actually quite good, as no part of the spectrum is really lacking in anything. Cymbals shimmer and extend nicely, but never becoming bright or harsh.

Soundstage, Imaging and Instrument separation:

Soundstage is very average but I didn’t expect it to be large. But everything is very well positioned in the space it does have. Imaging is very well done, with both channels working to create a very nice image of the whole sound, and placement of individual instruments. Instrument separation is quite good, the sound does become congested on faster tracks, and it is also a slightly warm headphone, but instruments are generally well separated.

Fischer Audio Wicked Queen


Well, I must say I wasn’t expecting much of headphones that look like these, but I will say that I am surprised, based on sound only, I would recommend these actually. Not a bloated bassy mess, as most consumer aimed headphones are, these have quite a balanced sound, with very acceptable mids and highs, and bass that does not overpower the rest of the sound. They do have a slightly warm sound, but fair well with most genres, where slower acoustic music actually sounds very good.

I hope you enjoyed this review, comments are welcome.

Tracks Used:

Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)

Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)

Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)

Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)

Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)

Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)

Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)

The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)

Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)

The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)

A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)

Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)

Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)

Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)

Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)

We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)

Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)

Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)

Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)

Photos taken by: Felix Speller