Review: Fostex TE-05 (A step in the right direction)
Firstly I would like to thank Matt at SCV for lending me these IEM's for review, I always try and write honest reviews and these have been burnt in for over 30 hours before reviewing, no differences were noted.
iPod Classic 7G > TE-05 (snugs tips)
- · Type: Dynamic
- · Frequency Response: 10Hz – 25kHz
- · Impedance: 13 +/-5% ohm
- · Sensitivity: 92 +/-3dB (at 1kHz, 1mW)
- · Maximum Input: 5mW
- · Plug: 3.5mm, 3P mini plug
- · Cable Length: 1.2m
- · Accessories: Spare ear tips (XS, S, M, L) and Leather Carrying Case
- · MSRP: £119
Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:
The packaging is similar to the TE-03 but bigger and a bit more luxurious, it has a window on the front showing off the IEM's with a magnetic opening flap on the front. Specifications can be found on the side, and additional information on the back of the box.
The IEM's are securely held in a foam in tray, with the tips next to them and the carry case below. The packaging is black and orange and quite low key and classy, overall it does its job to protect them as well as sell them.
Accessories are good but not great, you get a very nice leather carry case which I do really like, but the selection of tips could be better. They come with XS, S, M and L single flange, no Comply tips or bi-flange tips unfortunately. A cable clip would also be nice along with a airplane adapter too, not a great set of accessories, as I couldn't get a good seal with any of the stock tips.
Build quality seems very good, the inclusion of a detachable cable at this price point is very, along with the cable straight down design, as some do not like cables that route behind your ear like most detachable cable IEM's. The housing is slim and made of aluminium, the cable uses MMCX cables, but Fostex do no guarantee all upgrade cables will work. The stock cable has a firm click in to place, and has good strain relief all round.
Comfort, Isolation, Cable noise and Driver flex:
Comfort is good with the right tips, I couldn't get a good fit with the stock tips but using Comply tips will help a lot with comfort and also they isolate better. The housing isn't too big and doesn't cause any discomfort over long listening sessions, and the cable is nice and flexible which helps with the comfort.
Isolation is tip dependent, but these easily isolate enough for most commutes, they won't be the best on flights or the tube, but they isolate enough to get you hit by a car if you're not careful.
Cable noise is present, not massively but still there, and unfortunately there is no chin slider on these, or cable clip. You can wear these with the cable behind your ear, which does eliminate the cable noise.
Driver flex is slightly present sometimes, but most of the time these are fine.
Split in to the usual categories with a conclusion at the end,
Well these are definitely an improvement over the TE-03, the TE-03 had rather non-existent lows, yet these manage to have nice and extended lows, with body and articulation, but also speed and accuracy. They do not have huge presence but they do give the sound a sense of body, kick drums have some punch but not in your face, bass guitars have good tone and articulation but the lows never mask the sound, or become overbearing, they also manage to keep up with fast paced rock easily. The only fault is that kick drums sometimes lack a little body and can sound a little hollow sometimes.
I would call these mildly mid centric, vocals come through with excellent warmth and detail. Both male and female vocals fair well, and guitars are well separated and I cannot really find any real problems with the mids. They are very smooth and don't suffer from sibilance, and are quite relaxing to listen to, no hint of glare or harshness.
The TE-03 went a little overboard in the highs, and I'm glad to see these have been toned down, they are no way near as bright, and also never come across as harsh either. They are there in the background to add that bit of sparkle without introducing fatigue. They lack a little extension, but are always there when you need them. Sometimes they do get pushed back a little by the mids, and can sound a little veiled.
Instrument separation is fairly average, everything is well separated but these do not have an overly spacious sound signature. The soundstage is quite small and intimate, this gives them a fun and engaging sound but those looking for a more spacious sound may want to look elsewhere.
Conclusion, well these are a big upgrade over the TE-03, but do they compete with others in the price range. They do sound good, but I cannot help to think there is a slight metallic shine to the sound, however this does not detract from my overall enjoyment. For the price they do offer a fun and engaging sound without any real boosting of any frequency. The sound is quite well balanced, and they come with a detachable cable, competition for the Shure SE215 I must say, the mids on these are more detailed, the Shure have stronger lows though, a good buy for the price if you want a slightly more mid centric sound.
Sound Perfection Rating: 7/10 (A lot better than the TE-03 but still not quite there for overall sound/price performance)