Audeze Prototype Z, Stax and the new Fostex TH500RP – RMAF 2014

Fostex Box

Fostex is the grandfather of the classic DIY planar magnetic headphone T50RP, which has inspired many enthusiasts to tinker with their cans and even spark a few up and coming businesses like our favorite Mr. Speaker’s Mad Dog line. Their newest entry into the fray is the TH500RP – more letters, more numbers!

Fostex headphones

The new $699 headphone from Fostex features a “regular phase” (that’s what the RP stands for) diaphragm and “etched copper foil on the surface with high heat resistant polyimide film as the base material.”

Stax wide

Stax is one of the most highly respected (and costly) headphone brands currently on the market. While they didn’t take part in the Canjam area directly, they did have their own set up within the loudspeaker area with a room all to themselves. The spread they brought was quite a wide selection of both their electrostatic headphones and amplifiers.

Stax 009

Perhaps the most popular of the line, the SR-009 ($5k) was paired here with Stax’s own SRM-727 II ($2k) amp.

Stax amp

Audeze never fails to make the scene with their planar magnetic headphones. The product line has grown with their meteoric success within the community. They have even recently added a new brand logo and moved into larger facilities to accommodate the growing demand for their products.

Audeze Side

 

Audeze HZ

While last year’s prototype DSP DAC/Amp was surprisingly absent from the items on display, Sankar and the rest of the crew did bring along a few interesting products for attendees to listen to. The prototype featured above was housed in a LCD-X casing, but was a vastly different headphone internally. The “HZ” or ” Prototype-Z” headphone is quite a departure from the rest of the headphone line, especially when it comes to impedance.  From the press release: “The HZ features a new ultra-high-density voice coil, a first in planar magnetic design, along with a newly-patented diaphragm. The end result is a whopping 1200 ohm impedance.” That’s right, 1200 ohms. Why? Sanakar explains that with the right amplifier the juice is worth the squeeze. He intends the headphone to be paired with either OTL tube amplifiers (without a matching output transformer) or high quality “current-mode” amplifiers. While your standard headphone amplifier should be able to drive it, the gain and volume pot will most likely be turned way up. The final product should also include a new carbon fiber headband.

Audeze SE

Last but not least is the new Audeze special edition headphones. The SE’s will include a unique look with new color variants from the traditional black on wood design of the current lineup.

 

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