TH900 Mk2 - Impressions/mods/thoughts?


#1

I am picking up a pair of Emerald Green TH900 Mk2. I’d be lying if I said that aesthetics wasn’t the main reason for this purchase… These things are just gorgeous. I wanted to hear some impressions from other folks who have tried/owned them and what mods they took to achieve the best sound.

I understand that treble may be harsh for some so I may look into toning that down while bringing the mids more forward.

Can anyone compare them to other cans I’ve owned? (CA Cascade, ZMF Eikon, Hifiman HeX V2, Klipsch HP-3, Meze 99, Focal Elear, Aeon…and others)?

I will be getting them come Thursday and I’m very excited. I sold off my Cascade to fund this purchase but I’m having some sellers remorse on that one. The Cascades had a beautiful warm, lush sound while remaining detailed and clear.

I currently own the Hifiman HeX V2, CA Cascade (sold). My idea was to have a neutral open back headphone that’s detailed and an easy listen. And a closed harder hitting headphone that’s fun and bassy.


#2

I can share some thoughts based on the TH900 Mk2 in stock form.

They’re an interesting headphone, and certainly very pretty. I went with the Emerald Green version as well - and it’s a bugger to photograph.

Right out of the gate two things stand out, a pronounced “U” shaped or “W” (with a smaller central peak) shaped signature. Bass, sub-bass in particular is significantly emphasized with excellent slam, growl and rumble. Sadly the bass levels are such that they bleed into the mid-range. And the top end is also quite pronounced - a bit too much so in fact. The resolve well, but the mids get lost somewhat so that’s not as apparent as it could otherwise be. They’re a lot of “fun” to listen to … but they can get fatiguing quickly.

vs. the ZMF Eikon - the ZMF headphone is far more neutral - in fact they have the best tonal rendering of any closed-back headphone I’ve heard, with just a hint of warmth. The TH900 Mk2 are somewhat more resolving, have faster transient response and offer more slam and a little better handling of rapid, large, dynamic swings.

vs. the Focal Elear - now you’re comparing two headphones with similar degrees of sonic flaws. They have different flaws. But they’re unmissable in both cases. Both have significantly elevated bass response, but the TH900 Mk2 is more convincing, especially for sub-bass presence, in that realm. The Elear wins in overall sonic agility, and is less peaky overall, with a smoother and less biting treble delivery. But the Elear still has a wonky tonal profile that requires the application of EQ (or Elex pads) to make listenable for me. With something like True-Fi, they’re basically a prettier Elex.

vs. the HiFiMan HEX V2 - the HEX have much better tonality than the Fostex. The Fostex have a much faster rendering, more prominent and impactful bottom end and a more aggressive sound - the HEX sound almost slow in comparison.

I really enjoy my TH900 Mk2 with music that really fits their signature. And they’re undeniably beautiful. But they are flawed. Even the similar but much cheaper TR-X00 Purpleheart are more neutral. They’re a high-energy, exciting, in-your-face listen, which is great when you want that, but otherwise can get fatiguing very quickly. Sticking TH610 pads on the TH900 Mk2 helps a fair bit, but is not a panacea.

(My comments here are based on currently owning, among others, the TH900 Mk2, ZMF Eikon and Focal Elear and having spent lots of time with the HEX v2).


#3

Thanks for the solid impressions and comparisons to some of the headphones I’ve listed! I’m definitely looking forward to these headphones, I just hope the mid dip and sparkly treble isn’t too much for my tastes.

I find the Edition X V2 to be stellar for what it is, and at it’s current price. However I want a compliment to the smooth, tamed, and organic sound of the Hex and I think the TH900 can provide that. The CA Cascade gave me that in spades but I fell for the upgrade-itis. That green is just too damn pretty to pass up on. I heard the new Sapphire Blue was supposed to fix some of the TH900 harsh treble but from the thread on Headfi, it seems to sound the same as the regular TH900.

Flaw may not be the correct word, instead I would think of them as characteristics that creates the unique signature I believe Fostex was going for.

Also very gorgeous picture. Background worthy!


#4

It’s a bit more than “sparkly”!

Though of course different people often interpret such terms in different ways. And I still have unusually good high-frequency hearing, so that tends to exacerbate anything with a hot/harsh treble.

I’ve no particular complaints with them (except maybe the build; an ongoing thing I have with HiFiMan’s entire line-up - possibly excepting the new Ananda). I certainly wouldn’t describe them as “slow sounding” on their own (unlike, say, the original HE-1000) - but next to the TH900 Mk2 lots of things sound “slower”.

They’ll certainly be very different!

I’ve heard the Bordeaux and the Emerald Green back-to-back. And the Bordeaux and the Sapphire back-to-back. In neither case was there any noticeable change in signature/delivery - so I suspect the only difference is in the coloring applied to the cups (unlike, say, the TH-X00 line which actually uses different woods). Hopefully I can get all three together at some point … even if it’s just for the pretty-picture opportunity!


#5

Looking forward to seeing what your first impressions of the TH900 Mk2 are. Hopefully they show up as scheduled!


#6

What differences are there between the TH 900 MK2 and the originals