Gear Used:

Dell XPS15 > JDS Labs Element > FA-003ti


Cups: $196.00

Pads: $54

FA-003 ti

Packaging, Build quality, Comfort and Isolation:

Packaging is simple, the cups come in a small card box, with the type of wood written on the end, they also come with wood screws as the original ones for the plastic cups are not suitable, they come well protected and I have no problems with the packaging, as these are supplied as an accessory.

The leather pads came in a bag, not retail packaging so I cannot comment on the packaging.

Build quality, firstly I have been told this particular pair of cups are a prototype before they started making them under their sister company Kennerton. All the wooden cups are handmade and unique, the inner part of the cups is stepped and also has spikes to help absorb and reflect sound waves.

The cups are not varnished which gives them a much more natural feel and look, and they are superbly finished with only one slight blemish (to be expected for the prototype pair) right at the top of one of the cups (barely visible once installed).

FA-003 ti

These cups, being Bog Oak are very solid, but I would also take care of such a headphone, as they are a thing of beauty and wood is susceptible to scratches.

The pads are made from genuine lambskin leather and smell lovely (you cannot beat the smell of genuine leather). There are no physical blemishes on the pads, and they feel very well made and should hopefully last a long time with some care and maintenance.

FA-003 ti

Comfort wise, the wood cups add a little weight but nothing I found to be too uncomfortable for long listening sessions, the headband pad could be a little better padded for added comfort though. The pads are very spacious, my ears never touched the drivers and I found my ears could breathe better with these pads over the synthetic leather pads, compared to the velour pads, I find these compliment the sound better than the velour pads, and are just as comfortable.

Isolation is similar to stock and perfect for blocking out outside noise at home, you could use them for portable usage but the headphones are quite large and you would look a little odd, but if you want to show off your fancy wood, feel free.

FA-003 ti


Well cups and pads can make quite a big difference, but the same essential sound is still there usually. The pads on their own didn’t change the sound very much compared to the synthetic leather pads, but are a lot more comfortable.

The main difference came with the change of cups, the stock sound is incredible for the price, but doesn’t have the widest of soundstage or airiest of sound. Stock they are balanced and have good definition and detail retrieval, with the Bog Oak cups I found the soundstage to widen substantially and to have a much more open and expansive sound.

This also lead to an increase in instrument separation and air, but I did find that the lows became a little uneven during certain tracks. This is not on all tracks though, however I did find the stock cups to have more controlled lows but not as articulate, in terms of presentation, not quantity.

The lows are better separated and bass guitar is very articulate, mids are spot on and where they should be with no substantial warming from the lows, nor sibilance up top.

I find the highs to be a little more crisp and to extend slightly better.

FA-003 ti

Overall the sound is very open and well separated with good detail retrieval, they sound great with most genres but to some people they might sound a tad thin. This is very track dependent though, as some tracks have plenty of body. For a closed back headphone, these probably have the largest soundstage I have heard in a closed back design, very spacious and airy.

I would not say these are the best for sitting back and relaxing as they are quite engaging and detailed, rather than smooth and sweet.

The sound takes a little time to get used to if you are used to the stock cups, but in my opinion they are improved with the wood cups, brings them on to a new level.

The pads are also very good, soft and comfortable with no big change in sound compared to the synthetic leather pads.

Sound Perfection Rating: 9/10 (well priced handmade accessories, that bring the FA-003ti up a level in terms of detail and space)

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FA-011 – headphones reviews

(German version)

Neben den Traditionsherstellern aus Deutschland und Österreich kommen die Kopfhörer auf dem deutschen Markt größtenteils aus dem fernen Osten. Die Firma Headsound aus Berlin importiert mit den Kopfhörern von Fischer Audio zur Abwechslung russische Produkte.

Der Fischer FA-011 ist ein Kopfhörer für Liebhaber. Den meist perfekt maschinell gefertigten Fernost-Produkten setzt er russische Handarbeit entgegen. Das Ergebnis ist nicht immer perfekt, hat aber auf jeden Fall Charakter. Die Schalen der Ohrkapseln bestehen aus Holz, was bei unserem schwarzen Testmuster leider nicht so zur Geltung kommt. Die Gelenke und der Kopfbügel sind in erster Linie stabil, den Mechanismus mit dem sich automatisch anpassenden Kopfband kennt man von anderen Herstellern als zuverlässige Konstruktion. Insgesamt ist der FA-011 so richtig gute alte Schule. Was die Passform betrifft, ist daran nichts auszusetzen. Der FA-011 ist nicht der leichteste, doch das breite Kopfband und die weichen Ohrpolster lassen so schnell keine Ermüdungserscheinungen aufkommen. Auch der Klang hat einen nostalgischen Touch. So haben Kopfhörer vor dem aktuell vorherrschenden, durch Beats by Dr. Dre geprägten, Kopfhörer-Sound geklungen: solide und unaufgeregt. Der Bass des offenen Systems drängt sich nicht in den Vordergrund, die Mitten klingen entspannt und der Hochton wird nie aggressiv. Insgesamt ein schlüssiges, eingängiges Klangbild.


Der Fischer FA-011 ist auf jeden Fall originell und punktet mit seinem nostalgischen Charme. Sicher kein Kopfhörer für jeden, doch er wird auf jeden Fall seine Liebhaber finden.

Headphones Review FA-011 Hi-Grade Monitoring

Steve Guttenberg/CNET

It seems like most of the world’s best headphones come from the US, Germany, and Japan, but after listening to the Fischer FA-011 I’m tempted to add Russia to the list. It’s hand-assembled there with a mix of Russian-and foreign-made parts. There’s a lot less plastic in the FA-011 than I usually see in affordably priced headphones like this one.

It’s a full-size, on-ear design, with a self-adjusting headband that ensures a super comfortable fit, the real beech wood ear cups look sharp, but the 40mm driver, and 160 Ohm impedance don’t hint at the greatness of the FA-011’s sound. The headband isn’t hinged, and the ear cups don’t fold flat, but the headphone comes with a sturdy, heavily padded carry case.

The coiled cable isn’t user-replaceable, and the headphone’s sensitivity is moderate, so even with myiPod Classic‘s volume turned up all the way the FA-011 didn’t get very loud. It was loud enough for me, but if you crave volume, you’ll need a separate headphone amp.

Bass, mids, and highs are smooth, distortion low, and the soundstage is wide open. Listening to Antonio Sanchez’ explosive drum solos on the “Birdman” soundtrack, the FA-011’s bass punch and low-end power blew me away. Dynamics were visceral, and the cymbal crashes’ sizzle were soft. I’m reviewing the latest version of the FA-011, older models had a much brighter sound than this sample.

My Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphone sounds brighter than the FA-011, so even ragged MP3s go down easy. When I stopped comparing and just listened for pleasure the sound wasn’t lacking in detail. One thing is certain: the M50x plays a lot louder at the same volume setting on my iPod, it’s a lot easier to drive than the FA-011.

My NAD Viso HP50 headphones also sounded more immediate, brighter, and played louder than the FA-011, but it sounded more open and spacious than the Viso HP50 and M50x.

Plugging the FA-011 into my Schiit Lyr 2 amplifier (review to come) tapped more of the headphone’s true potential. Dynamic oomph improved and bass definition firmed up, and overall clarity benefited from the change from portable to home amp.

So while I enjoyed the FA-011’s comfort, potent bass, and sweet, easygoing sound, I can’t recommend it to those who will use it with a phone and like high volume and crisp detail.

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!

Packaging & Accessories: 10/10
Build Quality: 10/10
Design & Look: 9/10
Isolation: 9/10
Comfort: 5/10
Audio Quality: 8/10
Value: 8/10
My final Rating: 8/10

Purchase Date: July 2012
Purchase Price: £245

First of all I would like to thank the lovely Tanya, from Fischer Audio for sending me out the FA-002W Master Series High Edition Headphones!
Before getting into the review I would like to say that Fischer Audio was to me, an unknown, but yet a very established brand in Asia. Thus it came to my delight when I found these earphones being listed around the EU a little more; For example, the FA-002W’s can be bought from Top Dog Headphones, who are also an authorised dealer!

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

For my initial impressions and unboxing video – Click here

The packaging of the FA-002W’s was very nice and it doubled up as a carrying case. The case itself is very good indeed, as it has an inner foam material protecting the headphones. The case also is quite handy to have as it also can be carried around, due to the inclusion of a little strap that allows you to carry the case with you.

The accessories that come with the headphones are just right. As the headphones are made to be used indoors, due to the long cable, and the quite bulky size of them, it wouldn’t make sense to have a carrying pouch. Thus the case is great for storing the headphones at home, and protecting them. There is also included a 1/4 to 3.5mm adapter, and a pair of extra pads (more on the pads later). Finally there is the warranty and manual included too.

Overall first impressions:
Overall, my first impressions of the headphones were very good, especially with the look and finish of the headphones themselves. I quite liked the carrying case too, as it proved to come in very handy when storing the headphones at home, and more so carrying it outside the house.

Build Quality

The build quality of the FA-002W’s is incredible. These headphones are really built to last, as the whole construction of the headband assembly feels sturdy and more so not flimsy like the Denon AH-D2000’s that I own.

The removable cable is also a very nice feature of the headphones, as this allows the users to play around with cable size. The left and right indicator of both the wire and the headphones is clearly marked with blue and red colours respectively.

The wire itself is very long, but well built and well terminated with a 3.5mm, gold plated jack, and as said above, finished with colour coded sides.

The headband itself, apart from being sturdy is actually also very much comfortable, with nice leather padding situated at the top of the headband, and the inner lining (where it sits on your head) made out of a soft and stretchable material.

The assembly of the headphones is made out of a plastic material, that seems to be protected with a rubber-esk material. Which means that it provides a nice surface and good finish to the product. There is also left and right indicators “painted” on the side of the headphones, which makes it very easy to distinguish left from right.

I also found the adjustment of the headphones very well done, with markings indicating how much they had been opened. This is ideal and great for adjusting the headphones to your head.

Another thing to look at is the ear pads. The ear pads are interchangeable, and are done so very easily by simply twisting the ear pad and removing the ear pad with its plastic ring from the headphone’s driver. To change ear pads, it is very much easy to do so by carefully removing the plastic ring and applying it to the new set of ear pads.

Last but not least, the build quality of the wooden cups themselves, is immaculate. Here we can see the beautiful workmanship of Fischer Audio coming into play. The wooden cups are well made and very nicely engraved with the Fisher Audio logo and information of the headphones.

Overall the build quality is one of the best headphones I have had, or even in comparison to some I have tried. The build quality has a lot going for it, and should really be admired for the overall attention to detail that FA has put in.

Now the overall look, comfort and isolation

The look of the headphones, on their own is very beautiful. They look as my mother said: “for a professional executive, who has a strong passion for audio”. The wooden finish gives these headphones a look of master-class. The overall finish as well makes these headphones look quite elegant and classy.

It should be noted however that these headphones are huge on one’s head. They really do stick out, and you can see why these are made for indoors use.

The isolation of the headphones is very good too. This is mainly because of the quite strong clamp, making the headphones stick to your head. Also due to the fact that these are close-back cans, it means that there is little to no music that is leaked or entered. I felt these are one of the best passive noise cancelling headphones I have tried.

Finally the comfort:
The comfort is something that really annoyed me. Due to the size of the headphones, and its ear pads, it means that the overall clamp on your head is quite substantial. I felt uncomfortable wearing these for over 1hr due to that very reason. More so, with glasses it becomes even more apparent of the strong clamp. After 2hrs of listening to these with glasses on, I had a terrible pain above my ear, due to the ear pads pushing against my head, where my glasses were situated.
I gather this does depend from head to head, as all head sizes are different, however for me, I found these vastly uncomfortable, especially seeing as these are made to be used for long period of time (as they aren’t made for portability, but for indoor use. Thus meaning you should be using them on your head whilst being indoors, and that often means using them for several hours).

The pads themselves however are comfortable. I would strongly suggest using the leather-esk pads, as they don’t irritate you for long periods of listening. However, I did find the velvet-esk pads to be more comfortable regarding the clamping force. So it really was a hit and miss of which pad to use.

Overall, the comfort for me was the biggest let down of the headphones. They weren’t comfortable to wear, and I was even “forced” to use the velvet-esk pads instead of the leather-esk ones, simply because they were a slight bit softer on my head.

Sound Quality

The sound quality of the FA-002W’s is quite intriguing. I found them to be very much source and amp dependant, in other words, pairing this up with something not strong enough to drive them, would lead you to wanting more for the headphones, and putting this to an amp that’s not “made” for it, would lead to a very unnatural sound reproduction.
Thus these headphones were very picky, but when sourced and amped correctly, these shined. That said, the sound signature was very open, mainly due to the soundstage feeling very deep (due to the wooden cups). The FA’s were also quite sibilant with an emphasis on the mids and highs. Meaning at times the headphones were actually unbearable to listen to, and also very hard to tell if the reproduction of sound was accurate. I also felt that the lows were completely missing – it felt as if they had no bass, and literally no sub-bass, almost reminiscent to the DBA02-MKII’s

The lows on the FA-002W’s I felt was the weakest factor of the sound quality. I felt there was no real punch or detail to the bass: The sub-bass is non-existent, and I felt that the extension of the lows wasn’t very well pronounced. The mid-bass is a little more present, however its extremely faint, and not really worth mentioning. I feel the emphasis of bass wasn’t on FA’s list, which I’m sure some people, like the mid-centric folk will prefer.

The mids and highs are very much accurate, however at times I felt that the highs were a bit too sibilant and the mids were a little bit too accentuated in their reproduction. Thus at times, with different amps/sources, it felt as if the sound wasn’t natural, and sometimes even unbearable to listen to. It is a point to bear in mind, however not a point to critisize, as when paired perfectly with the right things, the FA-002W’s becomes very much enjoyable and extremely accurate to listen to.

The soundstage I felt was very deep, and sounded vast. I quite enjoyed listening to these, however at times it felt the sound was too far from my ear. That said, the soundstage is overall very well presented and very much enjoyable. The onyl reason I dropped 0.5 in its rating was the fact that it felt a little too deep at times, unlike open-back headphones which sound very open.

Sound Quality Ratings
Lows: 5.5/10
Mids: 9/10
Highs: 9/10
Soundstage: 9.5/10

Conclusions and final thoughts

Overall, I couldn’t give these headphones more than a 8/10 overall rating, despite them being very accurate in the mids and highs. This is because they were so source and amp dependant that most would give up and end up returning the headphones. If you are one of those that has managed to properly pair it with an amp or source that works for you, then congratulations. I felt I could match these to my setup, such as with the EPH-O2D, however felt at times it wasn’t that perfect, and enjoyable in comparison to my Denon AH-D2000’s for example.

I did want to run this through different setups and make other people try it, and after letting other people listen to the FA-002W’s they had the same perception as me regarding the source and amp selection, and more so with the sound quality factors of these headphones. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to think that. I also had the chance to run this through some very expensive headphone amps, and found them to be much better detailed and overall sounding in comparison to your “average” amp and source.

The value for money is there on these headphones, especially with the whole package in mind. I would like to have seen FA concentrate on making these a little more generic and not super specialised in their reproduction.

Hope you enjoyed my review!


Me dispongo a presentaros los Fischer Jubilate Master Series, unos auriculares de una marca por todos conocida que hará las delicias de algunos de vosotros, ya sea por el acabado, por su sonoridad o por ambas. En primer lugar he de agradecer el trato con Fischer, en particular a Tanya, quien me atendió siempre con un trato exquisito durante toda nuestra correspondencia. Esta marca procedente de Rusia, me ha dado el placer de probar estos “pequeñines” que llamaron mi atención desde el primer momento en que los vi en Head fi… Os animáis a descubrirlos conmigo a fondo??? Vamos alla!!!

Desembalaje y Presentación:

La presentación típica de Fischer, en un gran estuche para tenerlos entre algodones y súper cuidados mientras no los usas. Como podéis ver en una pequeña etiqueta que traen se adjunta el color de madera que traen ya que hay varios al gusto del cliente, todo un detalle:

En este caso los mios son los Tiama como podeis comprobar; os dejo la gama entera para que se os pongan los dientes largos viendo los distintos tonos!!! Lo siguiente es retirar la cinta que trae y abrir el estuche y nos encontramos los Jubilate y un par de extras que son de agradecer como podemos ver en la foto y comentaremos a continuación:

Nos encontramos por fin con los auriculares que en este caso traen puestas unas almohadillas aterciopeladas comodísimas (y muy calentitas para el invierno que esta llegando), otras de recambio que diría que sino son de piel, son de una poli piel muy buena y por ultimo y debajo de estas ultimas un cable larguísimo que te servirá para moverte sin dificultad mientras las utilizas. Aquí os dejo todo lo que se incluye:

Calidad de Construcción:

La calidad de construcción es buenísima, se ven robustos, sobre todo con lo que le aporta el acabado de las copas en madera aunque esta claro, los dota de un poco más de peso de lo habitual pero para nada exagerado. La estructura de estos auriculares me recuerda exactamente a mis antiguos AKG K512 MKII, la cual era también fuerte pero estos la verdad tienen un toque de calidad que aquellos carecían totalmente, salvando la diferencia de precio.

Lo primero y que si me ha gustado y mucho es que el cable es extraíble con lo cual se evita perder los auriculares si se te estropea el cable. Hablando del cable como veis es larguísimo, y comienza en un jack de 3.5mm, bien rematado pero sin muchas florituras; el cable no es demasiado gordo y quizás es de lo menos reseñable del pack que nos manda Fischer, aun así esta bien acabado y suficiente para su cometido asíque tampoco es criticable. Este, acaba en otro jack de 3.5mm que se enchufa en los Jubilate y también comentar que trae la clavija de adaptación a jack de 6.3mm.

Las copas acabados en madera son simplemente geniales, y como podéis comprobar son grandes pero no enormes como los de los K550 aunque eso si mas abultados hacia fuera. Continuando hacia el arco, vemos que tienen una banda de material plástico de tacto agradable para adaptarse y sujetarse perfectamente a la cabeza de cada uno con el grabado “Master Series”. Por ultimo el arco si se toca con cuidado se puede notar como es una varilla plana de metal para darle consistencia y con la elasticidad precisa, recubierta de un tubo plástico negro.

Datos Técnicos:

Rango de frecuencia: 10- 22000 Hz
Sensibilidad: 103dB
Impedancia: 165 Ohmios
Largo de cable: 3m
Jack: 3.5mm o 6.3mm

Calidad de Sonido:

Bueno y llegamos a la parte interesante del tema: como suenan estos Jubilate. Las expectativas son altas, ya que pertenecen a las Master Series de Fischer por lo cual su calidad debería ser indudable; además y como habréis intuido son cerrados por tanto tendremos que saber si resultan agobiantes o amplios en la escena sonora, asíque vamos a ver que nos ofrecen.

Comentaros también, que han sido rodados más de 50 horas y la mejoría ha sido notable, y también como podéis ver en la foto y como en mis reviews anteriores, el equipo utilizado ha sido mi iPod Touch 4G acoplado al JDS Labs C421 por un cable Fiio E9. A partir de la próxima cambiare a mi nuevo equipo.


El detalle es bueno tirando a alto, se le escapan pocas notas y matices a estos auriculares; la escena sonora es cercana pero sin estar pegada a ti y la amplitud es buena para ser cerrados, podría decirse que están a medio camino entre unos cerrados clásicos y unos cerrados de sonido abierto como los AKG K550. Lo que me sorprende de ellos sobre todo es lo equilibrados que están, ningún grave, medio o agudo sobresale por encima del resto mas de lo debido si la canción no lo requiere, y por tanto esto hace que sean bastante aptos tanto para aquellos que le gusta el medio, como el grave sin olvidarse de el agudo, por tanto son bastante completos en este sentido.


Son contenidos, sin desmesurarse pero se dejan sentir en todo momento. Son secos y no muy calidos pero tampoco te perforan el oído sino que dan pequeños “golpecitos” que llaman a despertar a tu tímpano de una forma alegre. Como nota personal aunque a mi me gustan los graves marcados, fuertes y calidos, estos me han sorprendido y me han gustado ya que no se hacen pesados para largas escuchas y además no desaparecen en ninguna circunstancia. Muy bien la verdad.


Los medios de estos Jubilate son muy entrañables y me explico: te llaman timidamente a que los disfrutes quizás porque están un poco mas en primer plano que el resto de frecuencias, y lo hacen de una manera suave pero protagonista, sabiendo del equilibrio de los Fischer pero queriendo llamar tu atención. Son alegres y dulces y si te gustan los medios no te defraudaran.


Frescos y divertidos, no se dejan tapar ni por medios ni graves,  a pesar  de ser unos auriculares cerrados, y le dan aun más alegría a la canción. Eso si, llegan a tonos altos por tanto igual a alguna persona pueden hacérsele algo “agudos” de mas, pero como dije anteriormente y me reitero, para mi gusto el equilibrio y detalle es muy bueno.


En conjunto sonoramente hablando pocas pegas les puedo poner a estos Fischer: son equilibrados, limpios, detallados y si tienes un amplificador te lo agradecerán mucho, tanto ellos como tus oídos. Igual no son unos auriculares que destaquen en un apartado sonoro pero si que lo hacen gratamente en el conjunto, y son cerrados si, pero el sonido no se agolpa dentro de las paredes de los drivers a pesar de aislar muy bien las almohadillas, por tanto creo que la impresión es positiva luego de este apartado.

Opinión Personal:

Después de horas escuchándolos y probándolos puedo decir que el resultado es muy satisfactorio y estoy encantado con ellos ya que llamaron mi curiosidad por la estética y al final se han ganado mi respeto en el aspecto sonoro. Son bastante exclusivos no solo por el acabado en madera sino porque en España aun no los hay ni en el resto de la Union Europea (que yo los haya encontrado), si los quieres tendrás que irte al mercado ingles o estadounidense y rondan los 150 euros al cambio siempre y cuando estén dispuestos a mandarlos. Os dejo el enlace oficial de Fischer por si queréis echarles un vistazo.

Por ultimo comentaros que si tenéis la oportunidad de probarlos, hacedlo y si podéis también me gustaría que como siempre compartierais vuestras impresiones en el hilo para enriquecer esta review y sobre todo aprender yo también de vosotros, compañeros.

Nada más por mi parte, espero que haya sido de vuestro agrado y que os hayan gustado tanto estos Jubilate Master Series como a mí,
Un saludo a todos y a vuestro servicio,

WairX  :silbar:


These are my opinions. Please take them as such.

These are strictly subjective impressions based

upon careful and critical listening over an

extended period of time. YMMV.







  • › Frequency range: 11-27000 Hz
  • › Sensitivity: 105 dB
  • › Impedance: 200 Om
  • › Length of a cable: 3.0 M
  • › Color: Cherry Wood/black
  • › Etc: additional velour cushions, 6.3mm screw-on jack adapter, 003 cups, carrying case


  • Please see my profile for a list of some of the equipment I own.



Where to start!? The Good? The Bad? The Beautiful? Let’s go in reverse…


These headphones are gorgeous. The craftsmanship in the cups is flawless and no matter how many pictures I take…it doesn’t do it justice.

The laser engraving is also skillfully done. The cursive type of “High Edition” looks beautiful, elegant and flawless. Even the guys from Audeze were impressed by the wood and engraving.

These headphones are an absolutely beauty…remaining light and comfortable at the same time.


BAD…from Fischer Audio?!…YES!

The FA-002W High Edition is a picky bastard! They are very picky in regards to amp matching. These are not like the regular 003’s or 002w’s in that they will sound good out of most any amp or even some portable players. No. These can sound just awful out of certain amps and downright painful on others. These did not sound good straight out of my portable players. These did not sound good with my EMU-0404 and they did not sound good with most of the neutral amps I have. They sounded bass light, mids slightly peaky and bright but not shrill. Never has a Fischer Audio headphone sounded this bad out of my amps. Why, they sound almost as bad with my amps as the HD-800 did with them…hmmm.


The only decent sound I got from these was with my Heed CanAmp which is tube like in its sound quality. Even then…it was decent. Hmmm….time to find some tube amps….(a few days go by…the magic of reviews…ahh some good tube amps…wait…So. Cal. Meet!!…..Eddie Current…DNA…)…

With a good tube amp these sounded amazing…better than the HD-800 in some regards, “worse” in one. With the proper amp, these headphones shine like few other dynamics do. The bass is articulate, deep, extended and punchy. The mids become those luscious mids that Fischer Audio has become synonymous with and highs are detailed, fast and coherent. These are amazing to listen to on a good tube amp. This is the type of sound I have come to expect from Fischer Audio.

On a nice tube amp, the bass is low, extended and tight. You don’t get the “one-note” bass problem with these headphones like you do with the HD-800. The midrange and highs are very good. The purity of tones as well as the resolution is just wicked good with the right amp. These are the qualities with lead me believe that the FA-002W High Edition can play with the big boys. The part where the FA-002W High Edition falls short in comparison with the HD-800 is in soundstage. The soundstage is not as expansive as it is with the HD-800 but it is still accurate. If you ask me – it’s not a bad compromise at all, especially since the soundstage remains accurate.


Once again, I wish I could shake someone’s hand over at Fischer Audio and congratulate them for having such great sounding products at affordable prices. This is the first product they have which I feel is finicky but, when paired with the right amp, you will have truly high end sound at a fraction of what you would normally pay…less than 1/3 to be honest. If you have lusted after an HD-800 but could never justify its price or the looks or [insert your excuse here], then pick up the Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition. You will not get the expansive soundstage of the HD-800 but you will get better sound, accurate soundstage and an amazing bargain. Current owners of the FA-002W or FA-003 will be happy to note that Fischer Audio will be selling an external adapter to convert those headphones to High Editions for under $100.00 USD!

Those of you who usually read my reviews will also notice I didn’t list any music this time around. This is because I wanted to keep this review short and specific. I found a lot of variation between set-ups using the same song. If I had listed the music, I would have had to write different descriptions for each set-up. As I said before…the Fischer Audio FA-002W is finicky – probably more so than the HD-800.

While these can be viewed as the “Poor Mans HD-800”, do keep in mind that they need the right amp to sound good. Also keep in mind that I am comparing these to stock HD-800’s and not the modded ones owned by Purrin and Anaxilus. The modded HD-800’s are clearly superior to both the stock HD-800 and the Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition. I would highly recommend that any of you considering this headphone listen to it before buying it and preferably give it a good listen on your equipment to make sure it mates well. At the recent Southern California meet many people heard the FA-002W High Edition and some did like it very much. Interestingly enough, those that did like it a lot were using tube amps. I can already see that the Fischer Audio FA-002W High Edition will be a can that will create polar opposite camps – those that will love them and those that will hate them. Which camp you will fall into will depend greatly on your sound signature preferences and your equipment. If you are a fan of the HD-800 on tubed equipment, then you might just be a fan of the FA-002W High Edition.


If you don’t have the right amp….get the regular Fischer Audio FA-002W or FA-003.

Tube Amps I tried:

Eddie Current Balancing Act and Super 7

Donald North Audio 2A3 -> sounded best with this amp!

Schiit Lyr

Will Sumsuch DJ – Producer Fischer Audio JUBILATE Headphones Review

By Will Sumsuch DJ


I was honored to be allowed to test out the Fischer Audio Jubilate Master SeriesHeadphones this week. Straight out of the lovely box I was struck by their beautiful design and craftsmanship. The headphones are surprisingly light and feel incredibly well balanced and comfortable, essential for long sessions. What began as a quick late night listening test swiftly turned into a music production session, and before I knew it, it was 4am and I’d composed and roughly mixed a new track using the headphones. The detail on high frequency sound is incredible, the mid is smooth and low frequencies are warm, subtle and understated. The closed design means it’s easy to get completely lost in music, but unlike a lot of similar models I felt no sense of claustrophobia, and quickly forgot I was even wearing them.

Having composed and roughly mixed a track using these headphones, the ultimate test came the next day when I checked the mix on my studio monitors. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The detail and quality of the Jubilate Master Series speaks volumes, all the frequencies in my track were well balanced and nothing stood out in the mix.

Overall I have to say the results were better than the headphones I normally work with.

I cannot recommend these beautiful headphones enough to anyone who cares about detail, sparkle and subtlety in their listening experience. If you’re looking for something loud, brash and punchy with a huge amounts of bass then these are not for you, but then I would imagine the classy design (and lack of endorsement from a celebrity) would have put you off anyway.

The natural wood is a huge plus point for me; I feel that using warm, natural materials is more important than ever in this cold, digital age. From the body of a guitar to the paper driver in a Funktion One speaker, wood will always give more life to music than plastic and metal.

I have fallen in love with these headphones, and will be buying a pair, and I don’t think I can give a better endorsement than that!

Read original version at Top Dog Headphones Blog

DJ Jeff Daniels Reviews the Fischer Audio JUBILATE Headphones


I was sent a pair of the Jubilate Master Series headphones to review for Top Dog Headphones. After opening the boxed package I findmyself in the company of a well padded nylon zip bag, vastly impressed with this I slowly unzip the bag to unveil a stunning looking pair of finely crafted wooden headphones.


I plug in the single cable and the studio listening session begins. Immediately after placing the headphones on ones head I feel a sense of comfort as the cups sit nice and snug on ones ears.

As soon as I hit play and the music starts all background sound disappears and the cross pollination begins. With eyes closed I sit back in the chair. As the track slowly builds you can feel and hear the deep rich sound quality and clarity from the Master series, very impressive, and their qualities especially evident, painting a beautiful, comforting picture. The bass or low end is quite smooth without being unobtrusive, the trebles / highs come through clearly, speaking the same language, as do the mids (These are truly jaw-dropping headphones, providing a heavyweight performance to the listener)

Depending on what music/audio you decide to listen to, or working in the studio on your own productions, you will be able to pick out so many different sounds and qualities, IE: Vocals, acoustics, highly rhythmic drumming, ambient/balearic, jazz & dance all different kinds of music and moods.

If you’re looking for heavy pounding bass heavy cans, then these are not for you. Less is more as the saying goes, and they retail at a reasonable price.

This has been a highly enjoyable listening journey for me, enhanced by the craftsmanship of the wooden headphones.

Read original version at Top Dog Headphones Blog