Fostex TH808 Premium Open Back Headphones

Fostex TH808 Premium Headphones Review

Fostex TH808 Premium Open Back Headphones

When it comes to quality headphones, Fostex is a brand that knows what they’re talking about. They’ve released model after model of stunning headphone design, and the TH808 Premium Headphones are just another in a long list of greats. These are open-back, dynamic, and start at a whopping price of $1299.99. The reasons to love them just go on and on.

Fostex TH808 Box Contents

What Comes In The Box

  • Fostex TH808 Premium Headphones
  • Φ ¼” / 6.3mm gold-plated stereo standard plug
  • Leather Drawstring Travel Pouch
  • Owner’s Manual

Aesthetics and Functionality

To start, the aesthetic of the TH808 Premiums simply swept me off my feet. They follow the classic design seen in a lot of Fostex’s other models, like in the TH909s and the limited edition TH616s. The walnut wood framing the black, layered lattice work on the back of each ear cup makes these incredibly easy on the eyes. Cushions on the head strap and ear pads ensure a comfortable fit, and the aluminum accents give a touch of brightness that was much appreciated. The headphones cover the ear completely and comfortably, and during the hours that I wore them, not once were they bothersome or irritating. I can imagine that productivity and workflow likely skyrockets once anyone starts to use these for a project, since wearing the weight of the product on my head was hardly noticeable at all. Additionally, the headphones come with a leather carrying pouch for easy on-the-go storage and protection.

Aside from the overall look and feel, the usability of the headphones is definitely something to consider. It comes with a cable that has a ¼” male end, which splits off to connect to the ear cups themselves in a 2-pin terminal. These wires are the same seen in a lot of their other models, so previous Fostex users will be familiar with the setup it takes to get them up and running. For me, the connection to my laptop was a piece of cake. With a few adapters, and I began listening shortly after unboxing.

Fostex TH808 Cable Ends

Tech Specs

Let’s get into the technical side of things as we look at the sound profile. These open-back dynamic headphones have Φ50mm neodymium magnet / BIODAYNA diaphragm, and an impedance of just 25 Ω. Their frequency ranges from 5Hz to 45kHz, with 100dB/mW sensitivity and a maximum input of 1800 mW. All of that to say: these things are delivering some quality sound, and they’re not using a lot of power to do it. I didn’t have to crank the volume to get an isolated sound profile and tune out the background noise around me. Not only that, but the extended frequency range is a very exciting feature that allows for a more natural sound when listening. All of those things look great on paper, and now it’s time to see those things put in practice.

Listening Review


The soundstage of these headphones was truly impressive. The minute I put on the headphones, I am transported into my own space and the outside world around me just fades away. It is also noteworthy how there is no active noise cancellation technology involved in making these headphones. Between the over-ear fit and clear sound that it delivered, there was no need for any additional tech to provide some listener isolation. The sound was clear as day across the frequency range, and also gave the listener an impressive image of the stereo field. As with most (if not all) open-back headphones, the sound isolation itself is not great; you are likely to have some people listening in on your headphone mix. However, the open back design allows for a less compressed sound and more accurate stereo imaging, so it’s a small price to pay for premium audio. There was ample room for sound to exist and react and not feel like it was being limited to certain areas in front of me.

Low Frequencies

Low frequencies in the TH808s are nothing short of fantastic. All low drums or synths have a lot of space to ring out with the expanded range. I can feel the low frequencies just as much as I hear them, which makes for a more immersive listening experience. More modern tracks with tuned 808s are given the spotlight, as they have a lot of substance and depth. In a range of genres, you can hear how the lows are given space to truly have their moment. “NIMPHA – La storia di una ninfomane” by Madame, for example, has an expertly tuned sub and it is given excellent body throughout the whole song. Basslines in rock songs are not lost in the mix, and timpani rolls in classical are just as powerful as they would be live. All these moments were felt in my chest just as much as heard in my ears, and not once did things get muddled together or feel like they were falling short.

Mid-Range Frequencies

The mid range, similarly, was given stunning clarity and color. This range may be the highlight of this pair, as it was home of many layers and elements that were hidden in other pairs of headphones I’d previously had. Extra harmonies and added effects were given a featured spot in this soundstage. It made some of my favorite songs even more enjoyable. It was an added bonus that with these extra layers suddenly highlighted, the signature wasn’t too crowded or overwhelming. Guillem Roma’s “Ya Nunca Lo Sabrás” has an impressive array of instruments that spread across a wide portion of the mid-frequency range, but not once did it feel overpowering to the point of fatigue. Classical songs like Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor were expertly recreated in the soundstage, with the mid-range being home to the majoring or the instruments found in that mix. Vocals in a variety of genres were given the spotlight and didn’t get lost in new layers emerging from each track.

High Frequencies

High frequencies deserve all the credit and more, as the world would be dark and muddy without them. Bright and colorful, the TH808s really let resonant frequencies ring and have their stunning moment in time. Pop songs with their glittering hi-hats and punchy rhythms have space to breathe without feeling too crushed or compressed. Even with the low end being as substantial as it is, the highs come in with a nice balance that does not take the spotlight away from any other section. “Algo contigo” by Rita Payés is a brilliant example of how the highs and lows interact. The classical guitar melody is truly the most defining feature, with the reverb tracks giving it more body than a pair of earbuds ever had before. Harmonics really get a chance to come through with the frequency range being boosted to over 40kHz, so the notes dissipate naturally and don’t feel cut off.

TH808 Detail Close-Up


To put it simply: the Fostex TH808 Premium headphones are worth every penny. The amazing sound signature, incredible noise isolation, and aesthetically pleasing look are just a few things that make these great. Any person who works in audio will find these will bring premium quality to their work. Sound designers can get an accurate image of layers of a movie scene, and music production mixers will be able to deliver tracks without the worry of too much compression. I can see any audiophile using these to listen to their favorite mixes at home. They could even be used casually in an office setting when you want to lock in and get work done. Even gamers will find that this will give them an immersive experience while still providing comfort and quality. And yes, the $1300 price point is a bit daunting, but you’ll find that the more expensive model shares all the same features just few differences in design.

Pros: natural sounding frequency range / comfortable fit / resonant highs, clear and crisp mids, and substantial lows
Cons: Bit pricey / needs adapters to use in computer

The Fostex TH808 Premiums are available at Audio46.

About Author

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *