The Fostex HP-P1

fostex_hp_p1_02

Hot from the oven is the new Fostex HP-P1: portable digital transport, DAC, and amplifier all in one box. I have received the device straight from Hiroaki at Fostex Japan (thanks, Hiroaki!), and pairing the HP-P1 with the Ipod Classic, and out to Fostex’s TH-7B headphone (equally impressive, by the way), I am literally drooling at the sound quality this little DAC produces.

The HP-P1 takes on the same concept that we’ve seen earlier from the CLAS (Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo). By acting as a portable digital transport to the Ipod, then feeding it to its own internal DAC, it produces a source quality that’s superior to the Ipod’s built-in DAC. The HP-P1 also adds its own internal amplifier, making for a more complete product package than what you get on the CLAS. With a target MSRP of $799, the HP-P1 roughly takes in the same base price of the portable transport & DAC of the CLAS device, and adds some $300 for the internal amplifier circuitry.

The sound quality of the HP-P1 is simply mind blowing. The sound of the AKM AK4480 equipped HP-P1 is simply smooth and colorless. Taking a different stance from the heavily colored but analog sounding Hifiman HM-602 and HM-801 players, the HP-P1 gives me an impression of a very refined digital source. It’s very precise, very clear, transparent and colorless, and yet the whole sound is very smooth and refined with none of the nasty coldness often associated with digital sound. The soundstage layering is very precise and clear-cut, the frequency extension very good with one of the smoothest frequency extension I’ve heard on any DACs. Guys, this stuff is good.

Lately I’ve been a big fan of the older, analog sounding DAC like the PCM1704, the TDA1541 and TDA1543, which is why I heavily favor the HM-602 and HM-801 for their very analog sound reproduction. In phase with the vinyl revolution, these old DAC chips have been the ones heavily favored by the audio crowd as they give a very analog sounding reproduction with great sound ambiance, tonality and emotion superior from most of the newer DAC chips. The sound of the Fostex HP-P1 is quite the opposite, as it clearly takes on the stance of the more colorless, often dubbed “digital sounding” DACs. And yet, this may be one of the best version of the “digital sound” group I’ve encountered so far. The colorless sound and precise instrument separation and layering is very impressive, and while most other digital sounding DACs fail, the HP-P1 shines with a truly smooth and musical without the slightest hint of coldness to be heard. This is very impressive, even by desktop DAC standards.

Size comparison with an Ipod.

 

Size comparison with an Ipod.

 

Continue to the next page…

The Fostex HP-P1
4 (80%) 2 votes

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283 Comments

  • Reply May 2, 2011

    Thegreat_iskandar

    the 7 hours play time is a major turn off of this beautiful product, mike..

    • Reply May 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yea, that’s too bad. But most of the other “audiophile” players also maxxes out at around the same hour count (CLAS, Hifiman players).

  • Reply May 2, 2011

    Glen Waverley

    Nice review! Thanks!

    “Three levels of gain to cover anything from Westone 4s to the 300 Ohm Sennheiser HD800s.”

    Is HP-P1’s amp able to drive Hifiman HE-500 or Audeze LCD-2?

    • Reply May 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      I don’t have either headphones here at the moment, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

      With mainstream recordings I’m listening to the HD800 at 12 O’clock moderate volume, and crazy loud at 3 O’clock. The LCD-2 probably need somewhere between the 3 O’clock to 6 O’clock mark. The HE500 needs a little more above that.

  • Reply May 2, 2011

    Vince

    I’d like to know more about what kind of headphones is able to power, and how it attenuates with IEMs as well.

    • Reply May 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      Should be good for all of the Dynamics, but not so with the big orthodynamics.

      With a Westone 4 I am listening on the lowest gain level at around 9-10 O’clock on the volume control. Good enough I suppose.

  • Reply May 2, 2011

    Bcretty

    So when does this go on sale?

    • Reply May 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      Let me quote Hiroaki @ Fostex directly:

      “We have started shipment of HP-P1 to worldwide from last week. The target MSRP is USD799 equivalent although it depends on the distributors in each country. “

      • Reply May 9, 2011

        Noneya

        Who’s the US distributor from whom I can order it?

        • Reply May 10, 2011

          Anonymous

          Haven’t seen this product in US stores so far.

  • Reply May 3, 2011

    Anonymous

    Here is some internal pictures of the HP-P1:
    http://ameblo.jp/e-earphone/entry-10810695951.html

    I am also looking forward to getting the HP-A3 desktop DAC/Amp box:
    http://www.fostex.jp/personal/products/HP-A3

  • Reply May 3, 2011

    bass monster

    Does it work with iPad?

    Any hiss with your IEMs?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Reply May 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      A miniscule hiss on minimum gain level with the JH16 even at maximum volume, but nothing audible through the Westone 4.

      And yes it works with the Ipad.

  • “Run, wallet, run!”

    that shud be the tagline for the site. so painful, yet true.

    now, you just added “he-500” and “stingray” to my wishlist.

    • Reply May 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      Lol that would make a pretty hillarious tagline.

  • Reply May 3, 2011

    Que un DAC

    […] […]

  • Reply May 3, 2011

    Donunus

    This looks really awesome! I want one!

  • Reply May 3, 2011

    jendol

    I can’t wait to do A/B comparison with CLAS, hopefully can get some free time this coming friday…

  • Reply May 3, 2011

    Glen Waverley

    According to this post
    http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/542062/cypher-labs-impressions-thread/300#post_7444287
    the CLAS can play 24-bit/96khz music with FLAC Player V1.1.1.
    http://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/flac-player/id390532592?mt=8

    How about HP-P1?

    • Reply May 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Glen,
      That’s really impressive. I haven’t really did such tests, but I’ll try
      to find out.

      • Reply August 1, 2011

        GUEST

        Hi mike is the flac player working with fostex? I’m in a dilemma right  now

        • Reply August 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          Are you talking about the Ipad? 

          • Reply August 1, 2011

            GUEST

            Yes, ipad ipod touch or iphone.  I just want answer from Glen’s question, “the CLAS can play 24-bit/96khz music with FLAC Player V1.1.1. How about HP-P1?”

            • Reply August 2, 2011

              Anonymous

              I will test it after this and get back to you.

            • Reply August 2, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yes they work.

              I confirmed it with an Ipad v1, 24/96 FLAC playing with the FLAC player out to the CLAS and the Fostex HP-P1.

  • Reply May 9, 2011

    Brian

    Do you know how a HP-P1 and T50RP combo sounds?

    Brian

    • Reply May 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      It probably would sound pretty nice, but never tried that particular combination, so I don’t know.

      The T50RP is the nicest orthodynamic headphone from Fostex though.

  • Reply May 10, 2011

    Petri

    How it the volume knob like? Stiff or easy to knock accidentally to max? Have you noticed any inbalance issues?

    Petri

    • Reply May 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think there were slight simbalance issues on the pot at minimum sound level, just like most analog pots are. Im not sure though, I’ll have to double check.

      The resistance on the kmob is just good, I dont think I have any problems with it.

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Oliver

    JEEEEEZ. Talk about waking up from a dream.. That price tag is a real sucker punch.

    • Reply May 24, 2011

      Anonymous

      And just to make it worse, the last one that went on ebay sold for $915.
      🙂

  • Reply June 11, 2011

    Steino

    Hi Mike,  Thanks for your great review of the new Fostex HP-P1. Just got mine yesterday from Japan – and what a sound! Fantastic, just as you wrote (except the price, I had to pay over USD 900 plus shipping USD40).  But … really, really impressive. Use it with the Grado ps1000 headphone and you are in heaven!  I am!!
    Best,
    Steino

    • Reply June 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Steino,
      Great you’re enjoying the HP-P1. I was just listening to it today with
      the Sennheiser HD25-1 and the Marshall Major and I totally enjoyed the
      sound. The great thing about the HP-P1 is that you get to use the Ipod
      UI (and Itunes and Itunes store support), whereas a HiFi player like the
      Hifiman HM-801 doesn’t give you all that luxury. It’s a bit expensive, I
      agree, but top end portable rigs are never cheap. 🙂

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    Zowki

    In “Gears used for review” you mentioned that you used the Audio Technica M50 headphones in the review. How did the M50 sound with the Fostex HP-P1? Can I also use the Fostex HP-P1 as a USB DAC/Amp with my computer?

    • Reply June 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      The M-50 sounds great with the HP-P1. But no, you can’t use the HP-P1 as
      a USB DAC.

  • Reply June 17, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hey Mike,

    Does the HP-P1 also charge the iPod when it is connected to a USB power supply?

    Thanks,
    cansman

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      Unfortunately, no. That would’ve been awesome.

      • Reply October 7, 2011

        Anonymous

        Hi Mike,

        Just got my HP-P1. You know what, when the unit is connected to a USB power supply, it actually charges my iPod classic and Touch! There is however no charging icon displayed (except in the beginning when you first connect it to the HP-P1 and turn the unit on). I think it trickle charges the iPods. This means that with a USB power supply, I can use the HP-P1 and connected iPod indefinitely! Cool! This is a bonus!

        BTW, which digital filter setting do you prefer most of the time?

        Thanks mate!
        cansman

        • Reply October 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          Hi Cansman,
          Yea I don’t know if it’s really charging though as it does that at a really slow pace.
          Anyway on the digital filters, I mostly use the filter 1 setting. It’s not as engaging as the filter 2 setting (and I like an engaging sound), but I really enjoy the more spacious sound I get from filter 1.

          • Reply October 11, 2011

            Anonymous

            Thanks for your reply, Mike. Like yourself, I am gravitating towards filter 1. In terms of iPod charging, I have been playing my unit with my classic attached continuously now for 8 days straight (connected to to a usb charger). The battery icon on the classic continues to indicate full strength!

            Once again, I appreciate your website and reviews. Thanks so much for assisting me to choose musically satisfying products!

            Cheers & Blessings!

            • Reply October 12, 2011

              Anonymous

              Thanks cansman. I never realized that the Fostex charges the Ipod. 

  • Reply June 29, 2011

    tom

    “…of the CLAS device, and adds some $300 for the internal amplifier circuitry.”

    i think your math is a little off.  $799 – $579 (CLAS) = $220.  

    did you compare the HP-P1 against the CLAS + ALO Rx Mk2 Combo?  you’ve already said that you think the HP-P1’s DAC is better than the CLAS’s, but i’m wondering how the integrated amp stacks up against the Rx Mk2.  if it compares favorably, people can save $200 and get the HP-P1 instead of the $1000 CLAS + Rx Mk2 Combo.

    • Reply June 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well, sorry about the math.

      As for the Amp section, the ALO Rx Mk2 is definitely a superior amp than the HP-P1’s. The ALO Rx Mk2 has a superior bass impact, power output level, spacious big soundstage etc.

      • Reply June 30, 2011

        tom

        i had a feeling the Rx Mk2 would be better.  thanks for your input. 

        • Reply June 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          awesome.

  • Reply July 5, 2011

    Rymerace

    Thank you for your review.
    I agree your review.
    I ordered HP-P1 one month ago.
    And I really Suprised potential of this amp.
    HP-P1 is the best portable amp I have met!
    Cosmic black background, clear sound and also great musicality…..
    Great build quality is bonus. 🙂

    I felt this amp have more valueable than its price tag.

    TIP: I insist you Do use good quality digital cable. Bundle cable sucks. It sounds uproarius and ruins musicality.

    • Reply July 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Rymerace. The portable amp indeed is very good.

      I use either the stock Fostex USB cable or the ALO cable.

      • Reply July 7, 2011

        Wmg

        Do you hear a noticeable difference between the stock Fostex USB cable and the ALO cable? There seems to be the usual debate as to whether cables that just transmit digital data can make a sonic difference as long as they “work”. Would really appreciate the opinion of those who’ve heard both.

        • Reply July 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          Hi Wmg,
          I was talking on this issue a few weeks back on Twitter between me and Amos.

          Here is a brief of the conversation:

          @headfonia @blessingx
          I’m tempted to write a rant on common
          sense. Sensible people KNOW we’d never pass a DBT on subtle differences
          b/t gear

          @Currawong Well I have a few brand name
          USB cables and I actually hear differences between them. There goes my
          reputation as a reviewer.

          @headfonia Oyaide has measurements that
          show the digital signal in their USB cables vs. stock are different. How
          it affects sound though…

          @Currawong Well I’ve always used generic
          USB cables. But a friend sent me two cables and Fostex sent me one — so
          I tried swapping them.

          @Currawong I mean Fostex is not exactly an
          oil-snake product company, but I have no idea how USB cables change sound.

          @headfonia With any luck and help from a
          guy with $150k of equipment, we might be able to find out.

          I personally haven’t tried comparing the Fostex USB cable and the ALO
          cable. But as outlined in the conversation above, but with the regular
          USB cables (I was reviewing the DACmini at that time) the ACR silver USB
          cable sounded like a silver interconnect while the Wireworld copper USB
          cable sounded like a copper interconnect.

  • Reply July 6, 2011

    Dookie182

    any hint if fostex is planing on releasing the digital transport/dac part only (without amp section) ?
    kindest regards.
    Quentin

    • Reply July 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Quentin,
      Actually I haven’t heard of such news, but I’ll send them an email.

  • Reply July 6, 2011

    Dookie182

    any chance you’ll have the occasion to compare the dac section of the HP-P1 with some desktop ones, like the dacmini or burson “D” part?… as you seemed this impressed!!!

    • Reply July 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Dookie,
      Actually the HP-P1’s DAC is very comparable to the Cambridge Dacmagic so
      I would set its DAC section roughly at that level.

  • Reply July 7, 2011

    Andy

    For me, neither the CLAS nor the Fostex are very good options. The HP-P1 is too huge, and CLAS + amp is too expensive. I wish there were a product with the size of the CLAS and functionality of the HP-P1.

    • Reply July 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      Perhaps we’ll see better and improved products like these in the future.

  • Reply July 13, 2011

    Jason

    Hi Mike,
    I would like to know how HP-P1 compares to the cEntrence DacPort. I’m planing to find a dac/amp combo for my Audio Technica es 10 and possibly the Denon a100 in the future. It would be nice if you can compare them in terms of the dac quality and amp quality respectively. Thanks.

    • Reply July 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Jason,
      I would say that they are roughly comparable, with the HP-P1 being
      slightly more linear than the DACport. With the ES10 the HP-P1 would be
      slightly more ideal in my opinion.

      • Reply July 13, 2011

        Jason

        First of all, thanks for the comment. Greatly appreciated.  I have two concerns right now. Firstly, because from what I have read from the internet, the amp section of the HP-P1 is not as strong as amps like let say RS SR71 and Meier Stepdance. I have read your article about the 12 different portable amp. I’m wondering how does the internal amp section of HP-P1 stand against these 12 amps in terms of sound quality ( Like it’s on par with what amp)

        Secondly, I’m thinking about three setups. 1) Ipod Touch + Just Audio AHA-120 + headphone or 2) Ipod Touch + Fostex HP-P1 + headphone or 3) DacPort + headphone. But I value the first two options better because I listen to music mostly outdoor. I’m wondering which one would give me better performance and coherence between equipment if im using Denon ES10 and Denon A100.

        Thanks for patience for reading this and this is greatly appreciated.

        • Reply July 13, 2011

          Jason

           Also, I’m also considering the option 4) Ipod Touch + CLAS + AHA-120 + headphone. This might be an expensive setup. But I’m just trying to find a setup that can both achieve good results (Good sound quality) with a reasonable price. I don’t mind paying a bit more because I’ll not upgrade my setup in short term.

          • Reply July 13, 2011

            Anonymous

            Same answer. I feel that the HP-P1 would pair very well with the ES10.

          • Reply July 13, 2011

            Heisontam

             Alright, thanks for the input. These opinions help a lot 😀

        • Reply July 13, 2011

          Anonymous

          Hi Jason, 
          Yes that is correct the impact I get from the HP-P1 is not as strong as what I get from the SR-71A or the Stepdance. Sound quality? I don’t know I can’t think of a good base for comparison right now. Perhaps something at the level of the RSA Mustang, though the sound signature is a bit different. 

          I would go with the Touch + Fostex + ES10 set up. 

    • Reply July 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Jason,
      I would say that they are roughly comparable, with the HP-P1 being
      slightly more linear than the DACport. With the ES10 the HP-P1 would be
      slightly more ideal in my opinion.

  • Reply July 14, 2011

    Fishman3230

    My Shure & KRK happy testing & Very nice sound. Get it last Friday. Buy from DMT HK.

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Teixeira Vh

    Hi Mike,

    Have you tried the HP-P1 with the Beyer DT-1350?
    DT-1350 has landed today and now I’m looking for a portable daccy/amppy thing all I one, I think this litlle grey box can do the trick!
    What do you say?
    Thanks!

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Teixeira,
      Listening to it now. Very nice combination.

      • Reply August 6, 2011

        Teixeira Vh

        You’re a men of few words..lol
        But if it’s good it’s all that matters in the end…
        I found that the HM-602 doesn’t have what it takes to drive the Beyers to it’s full potential, hopefully the Fostex will 😉

        • Reply August 6, 2011

          Teixeira Vh

          Or it will need a dedicated amp?
          Have you tried the HP-P1 with any full-size cans like the LCD-2?

          • Reply August 8, 2011

            Anonymous

            It works, but it’s not too ideal. Full size headphones always need desktop amps to sound best.

        • Reply August 8, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well if you’re looking for bass impact, a separate amp would help, but otherwise the HP-P1 and the HM-602 should suffice.

  • Reply August 8, 2011

    GUEST

    Mike, would you prefer Fostex HP-P1 + Touch or just HM-801? The price of fostex is equal to hifiman. My headphone is edition 8, can you give me some advice? One guy says it is too warm and the bass can be muddy with the hm-801.

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      GUEST

      And another setup is CLAS+TTVJ Portable. About the same price same size but which one do you think is better? Thanks

      • Reply August 10, 2011

        Anonymous

        The Fostex HP-P1 has a better DAC section, but the CLAS+TTVJ is bound to have a more powerful amp section.

        • Reply August 11, 2011

          GUEST

          Do you think the TTVJ amp is better than the amp in HP-P1 and HM-801? Can the TTVJ amp drive the LCD-2? I think HP-P1 will have a good synergy with TTVJ rather than CLAS.

          • Reply August 12, 2011

            Anonymous

            I would rank the amp section of the TTVJ and the HM-801 being roughly equal, though the TTVJ has more voltage swing than the HM-801’s. The HP-P1’s amp is just nice sounding and transparent, but it’s not that powerful in terms of impact.

            TTVJ to the LCD-2, I think it can. But not the best solution. Desktop amps for big headphones, that’s the rule.

    • Reply August 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      Both would be a good set up. I don’t think the bass will be muddy with the HM-801, since the Ed8 has a very good articulation on the bass.

      I think it comes down to: do you want to live with/without the Ipod’s superior UI? Otherwise I think the HM-801’s weightier sound will be a better synergy to the Ed8.

    • Reply August 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      Both would be a good set up. I don’t think the bass will be muddy with the HM-801, since the Ed8 has a very good articulation on the bass.

      I think it comes down to: do you want to live with/without the Ipod’s superior UI? Otherwise I think the HM-801’s weightier sound will be a better synergy to the Ed8.

      • Reply August 9, 2011

        GUEST

        Actually I need a set up that can surpass the hm-801.

        • Reply August 10, 2011

          Anonymous

          Surpass in what sense? DAC section is very debatable. The HP-P1 has a good DAC and so is the HM-801, just different character. Amplifier section, the stock amp in the HM-801 is more powerful than the HP-P1’s.

  • Reply August 8, 2011

    Teixeira Vh

    Is the iPod 5G considered Classic?
    Meaning, will it work with the HP-P1?

    • Reply August 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      No guarantee with the 5G. I think I’ve tried some 5Gs and they didn’t work with the Fostex.

      • Reply August 9, 2011

        Teixeira Vh

        Really??
        Haven’t seen this coming…the 5G and a 3GS (16GB limit) is all i have…
        That’s a pity..

    • Reply August 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      No guarantee with the 5G. I think I’ve tried some 5Gs and they didn’t work with the Fostex.

  • Reply August 13, 2011

    Irawanjohan

    Does your hp-p1 makes hiss sound even when the volume is on the lowest level? Thank you.

    • Reply August 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      I didn’t notice that, but I’ll check on it. My HP-P1 is out on a loaner at the moment.

      • Reply August 13, 2011

        Irawanjohan

        Thank you bro, it’s hiss sound is more like soft crackling sound. I can hear it on my shure 530 when the hp-p1 turned on and no ipod is attached. When the music plays vocal/acoustic song, I can hear the noise.

        • Reply August 15, 2011

          Anonymous

          That is really weird.

          Yes I’ll check on it when the HP-P1 is back.

    • Reply August 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      I asked Rudi who currently has my HP-P1 to check this and according to him, with the Earsonics SM3 v2, there is no hiss even at maximum volume. 

      • Reply August 17, 2011

        Irawanjohan

        Hi Mike, I know my fostex is having problem, it makes not only hiss but smooth crackling noise only on the right channel. Thank you for your help bro!

        • Reply August 17, 2011

          Anonymous

          Alright, hope you can get a replacement unit because the Fostex isn’t cheap.

  • Reply August 13, 2011

    Meaderanizer228

    Is the HP P1  powerful enough to drive the AKG 701 effectively ?
    Also what IEM would you recommend for the HP P1 ?
    My listening is towards the melodious side from classical to downtempo etc ..
    hope that helps  & thanks in advance 🙂

  • Reply August 15, 2011

    Meaderanizer228

    Thanks  for response ,

    Would the ALO Continental match well with the fostex HP P1 , as one is digital and the other is tube ?

    Also  Mike  would you prefer ALO Continental + Teclast t51   or   HP P1 + Touch ?

    Your answers mean a lot to our growing knowledge base )

    • Reply August 15, 2011

      Anonymous

      ALO continental and the HP-P1? Of course it will, the Fostex’s digital part is only the DAC section, and all DAPs have that.

      Now, the second question is trickier. The HP-P1 has a better DAC section, but the ALO continental has a better amp section. I really can’t quite say which is going to be better. It depends on the set up, music, etc etc.

  • Reply August 16, 2011

    A83

    I just want to confirm one thing. Does the USB “input” just work with the connector adapter? Ie you can’t connect it to your computers USB port to make it work as an DAC/Headphone amp for your laptop? Thanks!

    • Reply August 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      No, I don’t think you can do that with the Fostex. It doesn’t work as a USB DAC.

  • Reply August 16, 2011

    Ste

    Hi, Mike. In your opinion, how it works fostex hp1, with 600-ohm headphones, especially with Beyerdinamyc T1. Out of curiosity I tried to use the T1 combined to ‘iPhone and 2stepdance amp, and I must say they sound very good! Reading your review I imagined what improvements could be using the DAC fostex alone or in combination with 2stepdance … worth buying? What do you think .. thanks .. Ste

    • Reply August 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      Ste,
      The HP-P1 should be able to power the T1 just fine, but it’s not going to be the best solution. You need a desktop amp and source for a full size headphone.

  • Reply August 20, 2011

    felix

    Hi Mike,

    my JH16 is on the way and I am now looking for a proper amp/source. You recommended the Pico Slim for the JH16.

    How would you compare the HP-P1 to the Pico Slim when driving the JH16?

    Thanks!

    Felix

    • Reply August 22, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Felix,
      The Pico Slim would have the better amplifier section, but the Fostex HP-P1 would have a better DAC section.

  • Reply August 24, 2011

    Jalo

    Mike, do you know which Dac chip is used in the Fostex Hp-p1?

    • Reply August 24, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, I mentioned it on the review: AKM AK4480.

  • Reply August 31, 2011

    SM

    Not sure if you’ve listened to the Westone ES5, but if you have, would you recommend the Fostex HP-P1 or the CLAS + A good amp such as the Meier 2Stepdance? Also, what genres of music would you recommend each setup for? Thanks in advance.

    • Reply September 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      Sorry but that’s quite a tough question to answer. I don’t know how the ES5 sounds like and I’ll have no idea what set up to recommend for what genre.

      • Reply September 2, 2011

        Secondserenity

        Really hoping you can try the ES5. Many people choose it over the JH13, and I’ve always wondered why.

        • Reply September 3, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes that’ll be good, but Westone isn’t responding to my emails and I really don’t plan to get another customs at the moment.

  • Reply September 2, 2011

    Secondserenity

    Noob Question: It it possible to connect the HP-P1 with another amp? (since it already has a built in amp, not sure if able to use another amp)

    • Reply September 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes the HP-P1 comes with a line out port.

      • Reply September 2, 2011

        Secondserenity

        Is it solely for iDevices, or can it be used on a computer etc? Appreciate your help, Mike. 

  • Reply September 3, 2011

    Dende Zwölf

    Would you recommend the Fostex with the JH16?

    • Reply September 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, definitely.

  • Reply September 5, 2011

    HKMan

    Does the LOD make any difference to the sound?  Since it’s just a digital out, I’m guessing not…

    • Reply September 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well I’ve tried messing with USB cables for desktop DACs and they do make a difference! I haven’t tried experimenting with the Fostex though, just use what it came with.

      • Reply September 6, 2011

        HKMan

        Thanks.  

  • Reply September 13, 2011

    Wyffels

    Have you had a chance to compare this against any of the headroom DAC/amp combos, and/or do you have a preference?

    • Reply September 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      I haven’t had any experiences with the Headroom units, Wyffels, sorry.
      But the Headroom stuff don’t let you tap the digital data out of an Ipod, and I think that’s the main selling point of this Fostex.

      • Reply September 14, 2011

        Wyffels

        This looks great. But for now will try the Yulong U100.

        • Reply September 15, 2011

          Anonymous

          Actually I may get some Headroom units coming.

          • Reply September 15, 2011

            Wyffels

            Nice! Let me know. I just bought the Fostex unit to try out. In the end, I need a DAC/Amp combo to use with portable music devices. I just want to make sure I choose one of the better units for this, or at least has the capability. 

            • Reply September 16, 2011

              Anonymous

              Oh definitely the Fostex is one of the better DACs around.

  • Reply September 17, 2011

    RainbowDash

    I am seriously considering pulling the trigger on this (Fostex).

    I have one question. What is the sound like with the included USB to ipod cable compared to say the ALO ipod/usb cable? Is there a sound difference in quality and clarity?

    If I was to purchase this I would very much like to get all the recommended parts at once.

    Thanks.

    • Reply September 19, 2011

      Anonymous

      One, I never quite do a comparison. Second, I was really happy with the stock USB cable that came with the Fostex.
      Just buy it and enjoy it, it’s a really nice product.

      • Reply September 23, 2011

        RainbowDash

        Thanks, I am also looking at the hifiman 601 also. I liked your comparison review (602,601).

        Currently using ipod touch 4G, with flacplayer app (FLAC tracks), Qable LOD and CMoy Royal amp (the one with the two big gold op amps).

        • Reply September 23, 2011

          RainbowDash

          Sorry, also using Triple Fi 10, and ATH-ESW9.

      • Reply September 24, 2011

        RainbowDash

        i tried it today and it definitely is a step up, i really enjoyed my second test of it.

        • Reply September 24, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes it’s a really nice product and I think we published our review a little too early, because retailers are just starting to get it now.

        • Reply January 4, 2012

          Thisiscalledplaceboeffect

          USB cables either work or they don’t.  They don’t sound “better” when you spend more money on it.

          • Reply January 5, 2012

            Mike

            Do you know how digital signals work?

  • Reply September 23, 2011

    Jerome

    Hi,

    The DAC section is definitely very attractive. What are your views comparing the amp section of the HP-P1 to say Pico slim?

    In your opinion, the amp section of the HP-p1 rank closest to which amp u had auditioned before?

    Jerome

  • Reply September 28, 2011

    Wyffels

    This unit is awesome. I am very happy with it and surprised of the quality and noticeable change it has made in my lossless portable setup. Thanks Mike!

    • Reply September 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      Glad you enjoy it, Wyffels. I actually haven’t found one guy who’s not satisfied with the HP-P1.

  • Reply October 17, 2011

    Zenfire

    Hi Mike, have you heard the HP-P1 with the AKG 701’s?  Modded Akg 701’s too?  Any advice as to best combo?  I will probably start with just the Fostex, and add an amp as numbers allow…  Cheers for all your hard work.  Z

    • Reply October 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Z,
      No, not with the K701s. I think it would work pretty well with the HP-P1.

  • Reply October 24, 2011

    Singh

    what do you suggest , HP-P1 > UM miracle  or istreamer> pico slim>UM miracle. 

    the i streamer work as a portable if a portable usb charger is carried along with it.
    both the setups cost about the same.

    How good is the amp section of HP-P1 , with  IEMs , if i get the HP-P1, will the addition of a pico slim improve the sound , if yes , how much ?

    also if i get the pico slim i will have another portable rig i.e. the ipod>pico slim> miracle 

    ( Portable for me is something that can be carried in a backpack , i dont need small form-factor , i zeroed down to pico slim as i have read for iems its the absolute best, also as my miracle is quite neutral it must pair nicely with them )
    any other suggestions are welcome as well.

    • Reply November 1, 2011

      Singh

      Bump .
      😀

      • Reply November 1, 2011

        Anonymous

        Hi Singh,
        I am not too familiar with the iStreamer. Doesn’t it need AC power to work?
        I would just go with the HP-P1 as the UM Miracle should be very good in showing the resolution of the DAC. As for an extra amp like the Pico Slim, I really wouldn’t bother, the P1 amp is already very good for IEMs. It’s just lacking punch for big headphones. But even if you do decide to go with the Pico Slim, I am not sure it is a good pairing with the Miracle as I’ve never heard it.
        The last UM product that really impresses me is a 6 driver Triple.Fi 10 refit. A bunch of local friends have gone for that recommendation after I told them how amazing it was, and they are all very happy with it now.

  • Reply November 8, 2011

    Fabio Rocks

    “I know that the $799 price tag can make you wish that you didn’t read this review in the first place” Really! 

    1) Is it possible to use the Hp-p1 with a Mac or Pc?
    2) Do you think in the future maybe we’ll see cheaper products like the hp-p1? (fiio and ibasso are you listening?) An ibasso d0 that works like the hp-p1 we’ll be a wonderful product for price and size
    3) to act like the clas and the hp-p1 you need some permission by apple? 

    I have some suggestion to Fostex for a cheeper version:

    1) price point 250 dollars
    2) size smaller (near fiio e7)

    Obviously I dont expect the same sound quality but at least 70/80 % of the Hp-P1

    Have a nice day Mike!

    • Reply November 10, 2011

      Fabio Rocks

      bump ‘,)

      • Reply November 10, 2011

        Anonymous

        Thanks for the bump. 😉

        1. Nope.
        2. Most probably, technology always get cheaper by the day right?
        3. I think they need to get the license from Apple, yes.
        4. I’m sure they’ll make it if they can, Fabio.

        Thanks, you too!

        • Reply November 17, 2011

          Joe Coquelle Di Lecce

          1) a DAC-USB A&B device that doesn’t works with the PC or MAC,
          sounds like a marketing strategy to sell also the HP-A3 or Apogee Duet 2 

          Thank you for the perfect review! ;D)))

  • Reply November 8, 2011

    Fabio Rocks

    “I know that the $799 price tag can make you wish that you didn’t read this review in the first place” Really! 

    1) Is it possible to use the Hp-p1 with a Mac or Pc?
    2) Do you think in the future maybe we’ll see cheaper products like the hp-p1? (fiio and ibasso are you listening?) An ibasso d0 that works like the hp-p1 we’ll be a wonderful product for price and size
    3) to act like the clas and the hp-p1 you need some permission by apple? 

    I have some suggestion to Fostex for a cheeper version:

    1) price point 250 dollars
    2) size smaller (near fiio e7)

    Obviously I dont expect the same sound quality but at least 70/80 % of the Hp-P1

    Have a nice day Mike!

  • Reply November 25, 2011

    Joezhou98

    Just got my Fostex HP-P1. While I enjoy the great sound, I found it often “hiccups”. When it does it, the red LED blinks. It happens randomly. It does not happen at the same sound track at the same point. I would not hear the hiccups for the same sound track at my computer at all. have you found it? is it a defect? I suspect it has something to do with the battery or battery power.

  • Reply November 25, 2011

    Joezhou98

    My set up is quite standard. iphone or ipod nano hooks up to the USB port. My headphone is a HD-650.

    • Reply November 25, 2011

      Mike

      Hi Joe,
      No, no hiccups on my experience.

      I think my friends told me that they are having slight issues that the Fostex makes faint clicking noise when running from an Iphone 4 (but not with the 3Gs). However they also told me that the newest Fostex HP-P1 no longer has that issue.

      • Reply November 28, 2011

        Joezhou98

        Mike, Thanks for sharing this with me. I  confirm that the hiccups or clicking noises  only happened with iphone 4, not with my ipod, my ipad 3G and ipod mini. The clicking noise happened quite often with iphone 4 and I tried with both airplane mode on and off, and it did not make much difference.  I guess for Fostex HP-P1 the clicking noise problem with iphone 4 has not been fixed.
        other than this one problem, I am quick happy with the HP-P1. Thanks.

        • Reply November 28, 2011

          Mike

          Yes, but the newer batches is totally compatible with the Iphone 4. At least that’s what my friends told me.

      • Reply January 6, 2012

        b3dz

        Yo Mike,
          I just received this bad boy yesterday. Sadly, i noticed hiccups when i feed the Hp-P1 into my Iphone 4.  Plz help!!!

        Firmware version: 1.1.0

        Hardware version: 1.1.2

        • Reply January 6, 2012

          Mike

          Indeed there is an issue of the HP-P1 with the Iphone 4. The newer version has this issue fixed though. Is it possible for you to get a refund? 

          • Reply January 7, 2012

            b3dz

            Actually, the problem is solved after doing third reboot.
            lol. Thanks for ur quick response!!!

            Btw, My HP-P1 sounded nasty when i listened to it right up the box.
            My guess is it will take a while to reveal the true potential that HP-P1 possesses.     
              Burn In FTW!!!

            • Reply January 7, 2012

              Mike

              Glad to hear that the problem is solved.

  • Reply November 30, 2011

    Steve

    Just pick up this unit with a Beyer. DT-1350 and iPod Touch, great portable combination for me.  I am using Moon Audio Silver Dragon IEM cables in the headphone and the Moon Audio iPod to USB as input to the Fostex.

  • Reply December 15, 2011

    Gary

    Dont belive a word about this Fostex HP-P1… it is GARBAGE, Headrooms Airhead amp which has no dac and costs only $100 is better than this handsdown when this is $700+ at the cheapest place, Both where tested with $500 headphones, Headfiona been paid to rap it up odviously, so I wouldnt belive a word they say.

    • Reply December 15, 2011

      mike

      you got serious hearing problem dude..:)

  • Reply January 10, 2012

    Glen

    After reading your review and a couple others, I made the jump and ordered the Fostex HP-P1. I was surprised by the size of it in person. I’ve been using a 2 year old Headstage Arrow V2 with my Zune HD 32 GIG. I really enjoyed this setup because it is very small and compact.  And using 320 kbps MP3 files, I was getting OK sound. I would except the compromise of the sound for portability. But in the pursuit of the Holy Grail of portable systems that I didn’t need to put a second mortgage on my home for, I tried the HiFiMan HM-602, so that I could use my FLAC files and not need two components to carry around with me. I was totally blown away by the sound difference through the 602. (I listen to FLAC and WAV on my computer using, again something that’s 2 years old and soon being exchanged for the Burson HA-160D, a Maverick Tubemagic D1. It’s a great sounding DAC/amp and am pleased with how it sounded.) But, After using the HM-602 for a few weeks, I returned it because I couldn’t get used to the button interface and the unit would just stop playing after 15 – 20 minutes of playback. So it went back. Now, after reading about the Fostex, I thought that I would come to the darkside and get an iPod classic 160. I’m not an Apple person, so this was a huge sacrifice for me to make. But, all in the pursuit of sound. But I’ve got me a bit of a situation. The iPod will not play the WAV files I have because perhaps of some encoding. And the iPod certainly will not play FLAC. Grrrr.
    So, my question to all is this; is there a way to play FLAC on the iPod or what are the encoding requirements for WAV. Sorry for the long intro for the question, but some background was needed I thought.
    Thanks.
    By the way, love the site. Your doing a great job with your reviews.

  • Reply January 10, 2012

    Glen

    Just some more info on previous post. I use MediaMonkey version 4 for all my organization of my files, I have over 20,000. And I use dbpoweramp to rip and convert my files. They both do apple lossless and apple aiff, but the iPod will not play them.

    • Reply January 10, 2012

      Mike

      Glen,
      That’s really interesting because I play Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAVs on my Ipod all the time. As for FLAC I don’t think there is a solution. You can use rockbock for the older Ipod versions (I believe up to 5.5) and that will give FLAC access, but not for the newer Ipod Classics I believe.
      As for the problem with playing AIFF, WAV, is it the Media Monkey? I use Itunes and I have no problems whatsoever.

      • Reply January 10, 2012

        Kiwidave

        FLAC Player app — and on the iPad 2 with camera connection kit, will output 24 / 96 kHZ, so could use with a powered USB DAC or a powered USB hub / usb dec

        http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flac-player/id390532592?mt=8

        • Reply January 10, 2012

          Mike

          Thanks Kiwidave,
          The Flac Player doesn’t work with the Ipod Classics though.

          • Reply January 10, 2012

            Kiwidave

            duh – you said ipod – heh, too long using iPod touch / iPhone, automatic insert those for whenever i see iPod :-). been what, 4.5 years since i even though of iPod as a “iPod” if you follow.

          • Reply February 24, 2012

            Brent Thomas Feorene

            My bad for posting on a topic already addressed…need to read further next time.

      • Reply January 10, 2012

        Happysuperlucky

        With the iphone and ipod touch 4G etc you can use Flacplayer app to use FLAC on ipods.Makes a difference (ALAC vs FLAC) for sure with IEMS on my ipod touch 4G.

        Also there are other apps: equalizer, EQu, SonicMaxPro (cowons BBE eq), stereophonic.

      • Reply January 10, 2012

        Glen

        Mike,
        Thanks for the quick reply. I’ve only had the iPod “classic” (per Kiwidave for clarification) for only a few days. Like just last Friday and haven’t had too much time experimenting with the codecs. But what I’ve found out to work the best so far is this;
        I use dbpoweramp music converter, in Aiff format and using the 16 bit depth, (iPod classic will not except 24 it seems) and 48 kHz for the sample rate, I get the right combo for the iPod classic to read the file. iTunes will play the 24 bit files though, so it was a little dis-heartening that the player wouldn’t except them. Anyways I’m off to sonic-niverna. Just as a side note, because of the size of my library, I decided to create a separate directory for iTunes to use. iTunes has terrible file management! So I have to limit it’s accessibility to the library. Seems to work, all it see’s are the files I convert to Aiff.

        • Reply January 11, 2012

          Mike

          Hi Glen,
          Yes the Ipod only supports up to 16/48, nothing higher. I totally forgot about that aspect.

      • Reply February 24, 2012

        Brent Thomas Feorene

        I play all FLAC files on my Windows 7 laptop set-up through J River MC17 and on my iPod Touch 4G using FLAC Player available from iTunes.  I only use iTunes to connect the iPod to the laptop. 

  • Reply February 2, 2012

    Anonymous

    Hmm… I was seriously considering the Continental before I came across this interesting device.

    Since it’s a Transport+DAC+AMP, is it comparable to CLAS+good SS portable amps( MKII, Pico, etc.)?

    Can the built-in amp on this thing properly power the HD-600?

    Also, this may seems like a silly comparison, but is the built-in amp of this thing in the same league  as the Continental, L3, or at least close to them?

    Thanks,
    Nattawat

    • Reply February 3, 2012

      Mike

      Nattawat, 
      The built in amp is enough for the HD600, but can’t be compared to the best portable amps. In fact the built in amp is a bit weak in punch and impact. 

      • Reply February 3, 2012

        Anonymous

        Well, I guess that’s to be expected. Is it at least a step up from the E7+E9 combo then?

        • Reply February 3, 2012

          Mike

          Yes, that too. 

          • Reply February 3, 2012

            Anonymous

            Can the built-in amp on this thing compare favorably to the ALO RX or the 2Stepdance?

            Thanks again,
            Nattawat

          • Reply February 3, 2012

            Mike

            The amplifier is quite nice, but not quite ALo RX or Stepdance level. 

  • Reply February 2, 2012

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike,

    I was seriously considering the Continental before I came across this interesting device.

    Since it’s a Transport+DAC+AMP, is it comparable to CLAS+good SS portable amps( MKII, Pico, etc.)?

    Can the built-in amp on this thing properly power the HD-600?

    Also, this may seems like a silly comparison, but is the built-in amp of this thing in the same league  as the Continental, L3, or at least close to them?

    Thanks,
    Nattawat

  • Reply February 2, 2012

    Richard Jacobs

    Mike, Thanks for the review. I have to ask… How does the Fostex HP-P1 compare in terms of performance and sound to the FiiO E17? I know there is a large difference in price. Therefore, it begs the question. Thanks!

    • Reply February 3, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Richard, 

      The performance is still better than the E17. The price difference is quite large, but Fostex can justify that price difference due to the performance of the HP-P1’s DAC. 

      • Reply February 20, 2012

        Richard Jacobs

        Mike, will the HP-P1 drive the AKG K-702 headphones well? Thanks.

        • Reply February 20, 2012

          Mike

          Yes, it should. I’ve tried it with the 300 Ohm Sennheisers.

  • Reply February 14, 2012

    ivan ka

    Hi mike. Im using hd25adidas and itouch 4th gen. I feel the bass is over whelming the detail of a song, not forward vocal, and soundstage is not wide enough. Do you think that fostex hp-p1 could accomodate my complain? Or should i get the rsa portable amps/ pico / pico slim?
    Thanx.

    • Reply February 15, 2012

      Mike

      The Fostex should help improve the soundstage. But if you feel the soundstage is not wide enough, perhaps it’s time to change to a different headphone. The HD25-1 isn’t quite known for a wide soundstage.

  • Reply February 19, 2012

    Alok Juyal

    Hello Mike, am a newbie and your site is heaven sent!! I currently listen to my iPhone+E11 set up on Shure SE535s or HE-300s. My music is rock+pop. The Fostex hp-p1 seems like a good upgrade plus add a DAC to my iPhone. What do you think ? Thanks

    • Reply February 20, 2012

      Mike

      I would recommend an amp first, since the built in amp on the HP-P1 won’t be sufficient to drive the HE-300s. Try something like the ALO Continental amp. It should pair nicely with the HE-300s.

      • Reply February 20, 2012

        Alok Juyal

        Thanks Mike, the Alo C is a super amp I have heard much of. Let me see if I can have one shipped over to Singapore. I guess it will do just fine with the 535s as well. I will leave the DAC for another day but for choice I guess the Solo will go well with this set up.

        • Reply February 20, 2012

          Mike

          Yes the Solo goes very well with the ALO Continental.

        • Reply February 21, 2012

          Mike

          You should be able to get the ALO shipped to Singapore with no problem.

  • Reply March 12, 2012

    klentwitt

    hi there, i know i’m kinda out of date, but is it working with rockboxed ipod classic 120GB ? thx

    • Reply March 12, 2012

      Mike

      Ufff… I don’t know, never tried a rockboxed classic with this.

  • it doesn´t work on pc as a dac/amp?

    • Reply March 13, 2012

      Mike

      No it doesn’t. Unfortunately.

  • Reply April 3, 2012

    Joon Jang

    Hey Mike, I’m in a bit of a problem spot here. I’m trying to upgrade my portable rig — I’ve got an iTouch with a lot of lossless files and an Edition 8 and I’m trying to fill in the gap. I’m thinking about the CLAS with Continental v2 but the HP-P1 seems all-too convenient a package to ignore. I think the Continental’s “tubey” sound will appropriately fill in the mids that are lacking on the Edition 8s, but again, the HP-P1’s simply more portable… Anyways, your advice?

    Thanks

    • Reply April 3, 2012

      Mike

      That’s the dilemma. Another option is to go with the Hifiman HM-601/2/3 series players. One player, and you’ll get a nice full mids that are character of the Hifiman players.

      • Reply April 3, 2012

        Joon Jang

        I originally went that route, but I found the iPod UI so much more comfortable that I would justify the price increases and whatnot. 🙂

        How do you forsee the synergy with the two systems mentioned above?

        Cheers
        J

        • Reply April 3, 2012

          Mike

          Yes.. the Ipod UI. 🙂

          The Fostex is nice, but headphone out is a bit weak and I don’t think it’ll do justice to the Ed8. You can get it loud enough, just it would lack impact.
          With the CLAS+Continental, or CLAS+National system, you won’t have that issue, but yes it’s going to be bigger and heavier overall.

          • Reply April 3, 2012

            Joon Jang

            Ok, thanks! Since you mentioned the National, have you had any experience with it? What are your impressions of it vs the Continental? (I hear the National is completely SS but designed to sound tubey like the Continental?) I can’t seem to find opinions anywhere about the Continental v the National.

            J

            • Reply April 3, 2012

              Mike

              Yes, I’m working on a review of the National..

          • Reply April 3, 2012

            Joon Jang

            Any chance of a sneak peek? 😉

            • Reply April 3, 2012

              Mike

              Ummm.. sure. Briefly:

              National:
              Slightly darker, fuller lows, mids are good and full, not as clean as the Continental. Punchy, full bodied, warm, overall very nice amp. Continental is more refined, cleaner, clearer, overall more expensive sounding amp, but I think the National is more fun.

  • Reply April 3, 2012

    Joon Jang

    Hey Mike, I’m in a bit of a problem spot here. I’m trying to upgrade my portable rig — it’s an iTouch and an Edition 8 and I’m trying to fill in the gap. I’m leaning towards the CLAS and Continental v2 combo offered by ALO as I feel it’ll fill in the mids that I feel lacking with the 8s, but I can’t ignore the HP-P1 for its convenience. I also realize there’s a bit of a price difference here, so I’m wondering if the CLAS + Continental v2 justifies the price. I listen to mostly vocals, rock, pop (in that order). Anyways… Your advice?

    Thanks,
    J

  • Reply April 3, 2012

    Joon Jang

    Oops, double post. Ignore my previous post below. 🙂

  • Reply April 17, 2012

    ZenFire1

    Hi, I have the HP-P1, and wonder, can I use the headphone out on my MacBook Pro into the HP-P1 audio in, then connect HP-P1 to an office amp and ceiling speakers to either play music from iTunes, or increase volume and locations for incoming Skype calls to run a conference for 50 people through the ceiling speakers?

    • Reply April 17, 2012

      Mike

      Just skip the HP-P1 and go directly from the Macbook Pro into your office amp.
      Or if you want get a good USB DAC like the HRT MS2 for $149.

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Odin k

    Great review. One question, can you use the HP-P1 while it’s charging?

    • Reply May 2, 2012

      Glen Bierworth

      Yes. I use it all the time while it’s plugged in. Most times I use it as a portable sound system while working, playing through my
      Soundmatters – FOXL v2 speakers. I use two in stereo. It’s quite the little rig. People cannot believe the sound. So, yes, it works while charging.

  • Reply May 3, 2012

    Marcus Lackey

    Mike,

    Thanks for all of your reviews.  I have a 7th Gen iPod and SE535-LTD (reds).  Since I am only using an IEM, I am looking hard at the Fostex HP-P1.  However, I’m also considering the SR-71A.  I recently purchased a Pico Slim but am going to be sending it back because it seems to have a narrow soundstage and a general coldness to it.  While the clarity is great in the Pico Slim, the music doesn’t sound as alive as I would like it to.  So my present dilema is choosing between the Fostex (superior clarity but questionable liveliness) and the SR-71A (warmth, liveliness but less clarity since no DAC).  I can’t afford to buy the SR-71A and the CLAS at the moment, but might be able to add the CLAS in 6-9 months.  So I guess my question is what would you do?  Am I going to be disappointed by the SR-71A for 6-9 months or am I going to be permanently disappointed by the Fostex?  Such a hard call!  Thanks again for all your time and help.

    • Reply May 4, 2012

      Mike

      Marcus,
      With an IEM I don’t think you need to go with the 71A. You can get the Mustang or the Shadow and be fine. The Fostex direct to the SE535LTD would be enough too, as you don’t need that much power with IEMs.

  • Reply May 10, 2012

    BANANA

    Any other headfonia members own the Fostex hp_p1?

    Any impressions you would like to share?

    • Reply May 12, 2012

      BANANA

      Whoops here are all my posts, hiding down here. Sorry for the spam Mike.

      • Reply May 12, 2012

        Mike

        Alright no problem. The new Disqus’ fault.

  • Reply May 11, 2012

    BANANA

    Any recent impressions from actual owners of the Fostex hp_p1?

  • Reply May 11, 2012

    BANANA

    Banana test post.
    Anyone care to share their fostex hp-p1 experiences. Thanks

    • Reply May 11, 2012

      Mike

      The post is there, I just replied to one of it.

    • Reply May 11, 2012

      Mike

      What you need to do is on the Disqus navigation menu, Discussion > Newest

  • Reply May 15, 2012

    BANANA

    I finally bought the Fostex hp_p1 tonight, sounded good right out of the box. Looking forward to see how it is after a few hours to loosen up.

    Thanks for the advice/s.

    • Reply May 15, 2012

      Mike

      Nice! Congrats for the purchase!

  • Reply May 25, 2012

    l3A7VA7VA

    Sorry for double post, joined up with disqus proper, All smooth now.

    • Reply May 25, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks.

      I’m still quite puzzled to how changing LOD fixed a channel imbalance on the Fostex???

      • Reply May 25, 2012

        l3A7VA7VA

        I`ve no idea myself.
        As I wrote earlier I tried all my headphones, the (R)right earpiece was always slightly louder or at least the sound was not central in my skull but slightly to the right.The only thing that worked was changing the LOD.The Apple LOD is a considerably much tighter fit.
        I`m no technical expert so I can`t really say anything more.

        • Reply May 25, 2012

          Mike

          Yes, thanks for sharing.

      • Reply May 26, 2012

        l3A7VA7VA

        Deleted and flagged my own posts, it may have just been my music files, please delete my erroneous posts. apologies.

  • Reply June 5, 2012

    Rawdawg3234

    Was wondering if my sennheiser hd 800’s would pair well with the hp-p1?

    • Reply June 6, 2012

      Mike

      It’s quite good, but better from a proper desktop set up.

  • Reply June 22, 2012

    Shirish Tiwari

    Run, wallet! Run!

    :D:D:D

  • Reply June 23, 2012

    Shirish Tiwari

    I had quite a few questions regarding this piece, but patiently reading the comments answered all of them.
    So I just bought this unit. Cost me $1007 here in India! Bugger! Grrrr 😡
    I am using this only with IEM’s, Shure 535 mostly. Thankfully my unit doesn’t make any hiss, glitch, hiccup, poo-paa or any other noises.

    And boy, does it sound AMAZING!! I have a big fat shameless grin on my face all the time :D:D:D

    • Reply June 25, 2012

      Mike

      Good to hear that, Shirish! I think the newer versions area all free of the glitches.

  • Reply June 25, 2012

    Ahmet Karalar

    does the dac work with the iphone? i couldn’t get it

    • Reply June 25, 2012

      Mike

      Yes Ahmet, it does work with an iPhone.

  • Reply June 25, 2012

    Stephen Loke

    Hey Mike,

    Will the HP-P1 and Ipod Classic be better or the HM801?

    • Reply June 26, 2012

      Mike

      I still think that the DAC quality of the PCM1704 based HM-801 to be best. UI, of course Ipod system wins.

  • Reply June 30, 2012

    Laurencewayne

    Hi Mike- Based on your recommendation I popped for the HP-P1. Absolutely perfect for making my HD 800 portable and even improving my AKG 3003i (have you heard these?) Since your responsible for this purchase ;-)) a question: nowhere can I find that I can charge the battery by using a wall charger into the USB (i.e. Apple phone-small or iPad-larger) The manual and all reference on line is to a USB on Mac or PC. Think I’d be alright and not hurt anything by wall charging? And thanks again and again for the effort to make such a great site!

    • Reply June 30, 2012

      Mike

      It should be okay to use a wall charger as long as it’s a USB spec. The voltage is a universal 5V.

      Thanks and glad you find the site useful! 🙂

      PS: IEMs, let’s say that lately I prefer single driver models. 😉

  • Reply August 3, 2012

    l3A7VA7VA

    What is the output impedance of the Fostex? Thanks.

  • Reply August 6, 2012

    l3A7VA7VA

    Mike, how would you compare/rate the amp in the Fostex hp_p1 with the Headstage arrow and pico slim?
    Thinking of creating a brick with my Fostex and another amp.
    Thanks again.

    • Reply August 6, 2012

      Mike

      Transparency would be better on the internal amp as the signal path is shortest, but the Arrow amp would be more powerful. The pico slim is an IEM amp, so you don’t get too much volume/loudness with it, but it’s also punchier than the Fostex internal amp.

      • Reply August 7, 2012

        l3A7VA7VA

        Thank you.

  • Reply October 24, 2012

    John Clare

    Hi Mike, just for the heck of it, how do you rate the fostex’s built-in amp versus the JDS c241? Thanks!

    • Reply October 24, 2012

      Mike

      Most noticable probably the C421 having better punch and impact, a little more grain than the Fostex built in amp.

      • Reply October 25, 2012

        John Clare

        Thanks Mike. I noticed when you reviewed the Matrix portable you talked about the CLAS being your favorite DAC, but in the Fostex review I got the sense that you preferred the Fostex at that time to the CLAS. What changed you back to the CLAS?

        • Reply October 25, 2012

          Mike

          Hi John,
          Initially I was very impressed with the HP-P1. It’s spacious, smooth and airy. The sound is more spacious and smoother than the CLAS.

          After some time, I started to appreciate what a good black background brings to the sound (from doing the KingRex DAC review, and also the Altmann Tera player), which the CLAS does better than the P1. But I think the finishing “blow” for me is the bass. The P1 is lacking the bottom end weight when compared to the CLAS. This is just my personal preference though, I can understand why some people prefer the P1.

          • Reply October 25, 2012

            John Clare

            Thanks for the detailed explanation Mike!

            • Reply October 27, 2012

              Mike

              You’re welcome, John.

  • Reply December 4, 2012

    thethirty3rd

    Hey Mike,

    How would this pair with the TG!334s?

    Also, if you’ve tried it before, would you prefer the CLAS to the Fostex with the 334s?

    I listen to basically every music genre, with about 60% of my library being modern-ish music (last 2 decades or so?)

    Might buy the new CLAS + DAC or the HP-P1 soon!

    Thanks!

    • Reply December 4, 2012

      Mike

      I haven’t tried the Fostex with the 334ToGos.. I think it should be great though.

  • Reply December 23, 2012

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  • Reply March 11, 2013

    Eric

    Hi, I currently have a hpp1. I really like its smoothness and naturalness it provides to me. I’m currently looking for a desktop dac/amp combo that has a similar sound to the hpp1. I’m looking for within 500 dollars. Do you have any recommendations, Headfonia? Thanks in advance!

    • Reply March 11, 2013

      Trent_D

      Have you tried the Fostex HP-A3?

      • Reply March 12, 2013

        Eric

        Yes I did. It is indeed very similar to the hp-p1, but I don’t find much improvement from the hp-p1 to the the hp-a3. It’d be nice if there’s some improvement from the hp-p1, but thanks for the suggestion anyway. Any more recommendations?

        • Reply March 12, 2013

          Trent_D

          Well, if you can spare two thousand dollars, there is the HP-A8. As far as resonably priced dac/amp boxes go, you could try the ALO’s Pan Am. It is a hybrid tube amp, with a built-in dac. By the by, what headphones do you use, and what types of music make up your playlists?

          • Reply March 16, 2013

            Eric Tam

            I apologize for the late reply, Trent_D! And thanks for the reply! Haha, I understand what you guys are saying. You pay for what you get! The more you pay, the more you get!

            My headphones of choice are the Audio Technica ES-10 and the Denon A100. They are both quite heavy on bass and the HP-P1 has complimented with my two headphones very well because the HP-P1 itself does not provide sufficient quantity of bass, but the quality of bass is definitely here by giving deep and “not muddy” bass.

            I mostly listen to Japanese Pop, rock and classical piano, so i have a mix of different genres.Overall, i’m not looking for a setup that is overly bassy and coloured. I’m leaning toward to more a neutral setup.

            Btw, Tread_D. What is your impression to the ALO’s Pan Am? I haven’t tried it, so I’ll need your input. Thanks!

            • Reply March 16, 2013

              Trent_D

              I haven’t actually heard the Pan Am, although I seem to be finding my preferences somewhat similar to Mikes. So I would go from his review. ALO has a 30 day return policy as well, if you want to give it a spin.

        • Reply March 14, 2013

          Mike

          Well yes, if your budget is around there…

    • Reply March 14, 2013

      Mike

      • Reply March 16, 2013

        Eric Tam

        Thanks for the suggestion, Mike! In your HP-A3, you had more emphasis on how the tonality compares between the HP-A3 and HP-P1. Would you mind to have a brief say about how HP-A3 and HP-P1 compare in quality? (Like is there one thing that a particular Fostex is doing better?)

  • Reply June 28, 2013

    Marshall

    Hi Mike,

    Is the Fostex compatible with the new iphone 5 and it’s lightning port? if not would you recommend any portable dac/amp that is. The V-Moda Vamp Verza perhaps? Any other suggestions would be great

    • Reply June 28, 2013

      dalethorn

      The digital out of the iPhone5 is the same as the digital out of the iPhone4, so the HP-P1 should work OK. I have just the Verza myself, which does more – i.e. it works as an i-device DAC, Android DAC (most but not all), and Apple DAC for both older iPods and the new Lightning types. I think the description in the above review has the HP-P1 as “digital sounding”, and I think that description more or less applies to the Verza too.

      • Reply June 28, 2013

        Mike

        Confirmed that the IPhone 5 works with the HPP1

        • Reply June 28, 2013

          Marshall

          thanks dale and mike. would you guys have any other recommendations for iphone 5 compatible portable amp/dac? what would be your personable favorite?

          • Reply June 28, 2013

            Mike

            The Sony is a good one.

            • Reply June 28, 2013

              Marshall

              Didn’t you say the Sonys were a big disappointment in your review?…

              • Reply June 28, 2013

                Mike

                I did. Funny the new batch I got sounds remarkably improved.

                • Reply June 28, 2013

                  l3A7VA7VA

                  Hmm, I may have to retry the Sony again then.

                  Just got a new Firmware on my Fostex hp_p1. Sounds better than ever.

                • Reply July 3, 2013

                  Sammy Wu

                  Can you elaborate a little more on the Sony? How would you compare it to the Verza and Fostex?

  • Reply July 24, 2013

    Hoang Nguyen Minh

    Hi Mike? How can i update new firmware from hpp1 by myself ?

    • Reply July 24, 2013

      Mike

      Ugh, try Fostex’s website?

      • Reply July 24, 2013

        l3A7VA7VA

        You can`t update it by yourself. You have to send it to Fostex or one of their distributors who have the license to update it. What is your current firmware and hardware (under general>about on your ipod).

        • Reply July 25, 2013

          Hoang Nguyen Minh

          Hi. My software version is 1.1.1 and hardware version is 1.1.2 .Does it good ?

          • Reply July 26, 2013

            l3A7VA7VA

            That is the software that 99% have. It is fine. I have 1.1.2 because i sent mine in three weeks ago. No need to update in my opinion.

            • Reply July 27, 2013

              Mike

              Yeah none of our customers have asked for an update too.

        • Reply July 27, 2013

          Hoang Nguyen Minh

          Thank you so much.! What’s hf do you use with hp-p1? I use my fostex with senn hd600. Do you think i need to buy another amp to improve sound quality .

          • Reply July 27, 2013

            Mike

            I think the built in amp can use some additional power yes.

  • Reply December 17, 2013

    Richard in St. Louis

    Mike, I am interested in your opinion on two subjects: 1. What are the best couple if options for iDevice based headphone/IEM DAC/amps. Specifically, your thoughts on the coming Sony PHA-2, NuForce iCon iDo and the like. AND 2. What are the best couple of options for computer server based headphone/IEM DAC/amps under $1000. Specifically, the meridian products, Dragonfly v1.2 and the like. I’m driving AKG K702 and Q701 headphones and Monster Turbine Pearl IEMs. Thanks.

  • Reply January 11, 2015

    DTSxJP

    How does the Fostex HP-P1 stand up against the Sony PHA-1 and 2?

  • Reply December 21, 2015

    jesus crespo

    When it comes to the headphones you use with this unit what would be the most impedance you can run before hpp1 starts to struggle with powering the headphones?

    • Reply December 21, 2015

      dalethorn

      I couldn’t say myself, but do this: Check the headphones you’re interested in – check their impedance curve graphs on Innerfidelity. See the impedance curve graph for the Beyer T1, for example. [http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/BeyerdynamicT1.pdf]

      See how the impedance has a big upswing around 100 hz, in the upper bass? That could be a problem. If you have something like that, then google the amp and headphone together, and you should find comments on them.

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