Fostex TM2 True Wireless Earphone Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fostex TM2 True Wireless IEM Review

 

Highly Flexible Top True Wireless Performance

 

Introduction:

The Fostex Company was founded in July 1973 by Foster Electric Co.,Ltd. (founded 1949), one of the world’s largest developers of OEM speaker and transducer products, employing over 50,000 people in nine countries/territories. Fostex continue to develop products for Professionals and HiFi enthusiasts such like DAC’s, AMP’s, Headphones, Earphones, HiFi Speakers and various HiFi components.

Fostex TM2 is the first True Wireless Monitor of the company and offers high flexibility due to the modular design (detachable three-piece configuration) which allows third party IEM’s to be TWS. It features a detachable Monitor with 6mm Dynamic Driver that is connected to the standard MMCX short cable.

Fostex Offical Website:  https://www.fostexinternational.com/

 

 

Disclaimer:

The TM2 True Wireless IEM was provided to me by the company Fostex for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Fostex beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.

The MSRP price for the Fostex TM2 is 299,00 USD.

Product Link: https://www.fostexinternational.com/docs/products/TM2.shtml

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The Fostex TM2 came in a rectangular box with upper ant bottom part, which has a small wrapper with Product illustration and Description. The upper cover sports the Fostex logo in silver color.

 

This box contains the following items;

  • 1 pair x Fostex TM2 In-Ear Monitors with 6mm Dynamic Driver
  • 1 pair x True Wireless Adapter Module
  • 1 pair x MMCX Short Cable
  • 3 pairs x Silicone Ear Tips (S/M/L)
  • 1 pair x PU Carry Pouch
  • 1 pcs x Charging case
  • 1 pcs x Micro USB cable
  • 1 pcs x Fostex Sticker
  • 1 pcs x User Manual

  

 

The Design, Build Quality, Fit & Comfort:

The Fostex TM2 is a True Wireless In-Ear Monitor which has a modular design with 3 different parts. Those are the main module, the detachable type flexible short cable and the monitor with a 6mm diameter dynamic driver. All parts are made of plastic in black color and have a high quality craftsmanship.

The Fostex TM2 has an IPX5 waterproof protection grade, which is a nice feature to protect the device from sweat that can be a case if you use it while exercising.

The main modules are the receivers and sound processors of the TM2. Each module features some important parts like a build-in battery and the Qualcomm QCC3026 SoC, etc.

On the front of the main module are a LED status lighter and the Fostex logo which is the sensor area of the device. This area is a touch sensitive surface that helps to make some commands like slide up or down with your fingers to increase or decrease the volume.

At the bottom of each module is a multi functional button, which acts as a power on/off, pair, skip tracks or call answer button.

Near the buttons are also the build-in microphones of the TM2.

At the backside are the left/right markings and charging connectors.

On the top are of the modules are the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) female connectors of the TM2.

The second part of the modular design is the flexible short cable which has MMCX male connectors on both sides and a rubber coating. They are two optional versions of those short cables which are the variant with the FitEar 2Pin connector and the one with the CIEM 2Pin that can be purchased separately.

The third part of the modular design is the Monitor/Earphone. Each monitor features a 6mm diameter dynamic driver and has a MMCX female connector at the bottom.

The right monitor/earphone has a red ring near the MMCX connector is a Right (R) side marking.

The monitor has an L angled shape and features the sound nozzle with a short profile. On the top of the sound nozzle is a filter in black color that prevents the insertion of unwanted particles like dust, ear-wax, etc.

The Fostex TM2 comes with a charging case/cradle which has dimensions of W138×D67×H35 and that weights 128g (except the TM2). The cradle is made of plastic and has a fine textured surface.

On the top of the case/cradle is the Fostex logo in silver color, while at the back side is a label with technical information’s and certifications and rubber stands at each corner.

When you open the case you will see the seats and connectors for the right and left earpiece. These seats have a magnetic surface to ensure the right connection for the charging process and to avoid any drop out of the monitors.

The charging case has no build in battery so you need to connect it to the Micro USB charging port which is at the left side of the cradle. Near the Micro USB port is a small LED that lights up when you connect it to a wall charger or to a device with a power supply.

What makes the TM2 really special is the feature that you can use the monitors/earphones and the Bluetooth modules independently. You can connect the monitors with your favorite upgrade cable that have MMCX connectors to use it as stand alone IEM and you can use the Wireless module to transform your favorite IEM’s to a True Wireless earphone.

 

 

Technical Specifications:
  • Bluetooth Version                   :Bluetooth ver.5.0
  • Output class                            :Class2
  • Transmission                           :FHSS( Frequency hopping type)
  • Transmission distance            :Approx. 10m
  • Transmission Frequency         : 20Hz ~ 20kHz
  • Profile                                     :A2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.6,HSP 1.2, HFP 1.7
  • Codec                                     :AAC, apt-X and SBC
  • Contents protection               :SCMS-T types
  • Transmission range                :2.4 GHz(2402 ~ 2480MHz
  • Driver Type                             :  6mm Diameter Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency Range                    : 10 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Impedance                              : 16 ohm
  • TM2 body dimension              :W40.2×D48.2×H8.8(mm)
  • TM2 body weight                   :11g×2(Including cables, earphones)
  • Battery                                    :DC3.7V (Internal charge Lithium-ion)
  • Charge time                            :Approx. 1 hour 30mins(Full charge)
  • Play time / Call time               :Max approx. 10 hours
  • Water proof                            :IPX5

 

 

Battery Life:

Each Fostex TM2 earphone/monitor has a build in battery which offers a playtime of approx 9.5 – 10 hours while listening to music, which is a pretty good result for such a small True Wireless In-Ear Monitor.

The charging case is able to fully charge the TM2 in approx. 1.5 hours (1 hour 30 minutes)

 

Pairing, Navigation, Signal Strength & Call Quality:

The pairing of the TWS600 with your source is pretty easy. You only need to turn on the left and right monitors when you first use them and do some easy steps to pair it with your Smartphone, Dap, Table, etc. that is written in the user manual.

Once you have pair the left and right monitors by the first use the pairing action will be done automatically. You only need to take it out from the charging box/case at the same time.

A female voice is announcing the status of your TM2 like power on/off or pairing.

The operating distance of the Fostex TM2 is approx. 10 meters which is also quite stable.

The Fostex TM2 is the best TWS earphone I have tested in terms of call quality and voice transmission. It has a very good performance compared to many other TWS product I used before.

 

Key Features:
  • Bluetooth 5.0 for stable connection via the latest Qualcomm QCC3026 SoC
  • True Wireless™ Stereo Plus mode connects with left and right units respectively for stable connection and power efficiency (with TWS Plus ready device)
  • Role swapping function automatically switches the master and slave for efficient battery consumption to realize long time operation.
  • Fostex high-performance φ 6mm dynamic driver unit comes as standard and can be swapped with your favorite IEM with MMXC Connector, or optional CIEM 2PIN Type or FitEear 2PIN Type Connector.
  • Use of either Left or Right unit independently (e.g. for phone calls)
  • Flexible short cable is designed to fit various shape of ears.
  • On-unit control via switch (Music play/Call control) and Touch sensor (Volume control, Fast forward, Rewind)
  • Water resistant of IPX5 class
  • App to be available in near future for iOS and Android that allows for blending in the environmental sound (Landscape Mode), 5-band EQ and Voice Assistant function.

 

Equipment’s used for this review:
  • IEM’s                          : Fostex TM2 True Wireless In-Ear Monitor
  • Source                       : Samsung Galaxy S9+, iPad Air2, iBasso DX160

 

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Spotify)
  • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
  • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Leonard Cohen – You Wnt it Darker (Spotify)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
  • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)

 

 

The Sound:

The Fostex TM2 offers a mildly pronounced, pretty soft and fast bass tuning and an emotional, smooth and musical midrange. The upper midrange has a strong character, while the treble presentation is forgiving, fatigue-free and mildly pronounced. The Fostex TM2 is an In-Ear Monitor with an intimate soundstage character with a midrange forward presentation.

PS: This review is written after a burn-in process of approx. 60 hours. I have used the stock black silicone tips that were included to the package.

 

 

Bass:

The subbass region of the Fostex TM2 shows an average depth and extension, while the rumble is noticeable but not very high.  The good thing about the bass of the TM2 is the speed, accuracy and naturalness, which is a nice ability if you listen to instruments in live music.

The midbass of the Fostex TM2 are more powerful than the subbass region, while the slam effect of the midbass is distinct, impactful and tight. The midbass are quite controlled and don’t bleed in to the midrange which is a remarkable plus point for the TM2.

The bass speed and control of the Fostex TM2 makes it a successful IEM for fast genres like metal music. The speed and tightness of TM2’s bass is especially for genres like jazz, classical, acoustic and metal music an important factor that increases the detail.

As a result, the bass quantity of the Fostex TM2 is maybe a bit too low for genres like EDM, Hip-Hop, Trance, etc., while the detail level and speed of the bass is the true strength of the TM2.

 

 

Midrange:

The midrange of the Fostex TM2 is more in the foreground than the rest of the sound spectrum and has a musical and soft tonality. The level of clarity, airiness and detail is ways above its price range, while the upper midrange is the star of the midrange.

The naturalness, energy and attention to detail of the midrange made me very surprised and pleased.

The lower midrange has good depth and warmness. It doesn’t sound thin or too dry which is an important factor for the male vocal performance. Male vocals have good depth, clarity and fullness, while they do not sound dull or muddy.

The upper midrange has a good balance and strong emphasis, which makes the female vocals presentation quite successful. There are no noticeable shortcomings while listening to in female vocals, they do sound sibilance free, slightly warm and have a pretty emotional tonality.

The instrument tonality of the Fostex TM2 is slightly warmer than neutral and quite musical in its presentation. Everything sounds very natural, from guitars to violins, while the vocals are in front of the instruments. The TM2 is successful in terms of separation and positioning of instruments and coals.

The guitars are warm, slightly bassy and quite detailed, while the violins have a bright and slightly warm tonality without to show negative issues like harshness and sibilance. Other instruments like Cellos are soft; the contrabasses are slightly accentuated and fast and violas are pretty emotional.

 

 

Upper Midrange & Treble:

The upper midrange of the Fostex TM2 is pronounced, but also smooth, balanced and controlled in its presentation. The upper midrange transitions are pretty controlled and soft, without to shows negative situations like sharpness or sparkling.

The treble range of the Fostex TM2 is less pronounced compared to the midbass and upper midrange region. The treble tonality is bit warm, soft and forgiving and is concentrated to the lower treble region. The treble peak is around the 7 kHz region and drops in a fairly controlled manner. The upper treble range sound s bit rolled-off, which is the main reason why the treble extension is a bit short.   The treble presentation is not sharp and aggressive which makes the Fostex TM2 to an ideal choice for longer listening period.

When it comes to the instruments, I can say that the speed of crash cymbals in metal music is quite. Crash cymbals do sound more pronounced than other instruments like Hi-Hats, while the extension is on a moderate level.

The level of airiness is in the treble range is on a sufficient level which avoids negative situations such as dullness.

 

Soundstage:

The soundstage of the Fostex TM2 shows a pretty sufficient performance for a precise positioning and separation of instruments and vocals. The performance in terms of soundstage depth and width are pretty similar and are on an average level. Although the Fostex TM2 has a close-up scene, there is no confusion or overload between the instruments. The gaps between the instruments and the neutral air provide a fresh listening experience.

  

 

Conclusion:

The Fostex TM2 is a great choice for those who are looking for a True Wireless IEM with a modular design that delivers a musical, rich yet detailed sound, for a pretty competitive price. The TM2 is also a very flexible and comfortable to wear product due to its modular design that offers at the same time a good material quality, low weight and long battery life. And don’t forget it is able to transform your favorite IEM to a TWS gear which makes the TM2 to a very special product.

 

Pros & Cons: 
  • + Bass Speed
  • + Midrange (Upper Midrange) Clarity & Detail
  • + Fatigue-Free Treble Tuning
  • + Modular Design
  • + Battery Life & Signal Strength
  • + Great Voice transmission
  • – Slightly Roll-Off in the Subbass and Upper Treble Range
  • – The Protective Case has no Build-In Battery
  • – No LDAC support

 

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