Review: Dekoni Blue – Anything but blue

Disclaimer: Dekoni Blue is a factory modification of the Fostex T50RP MKIII featuring Dekoni’s proprietary pads, and who knows what else. They go for 299$. I got them direct from Dekoni at SoCal 2018 at no cost. You can find out all about them here: Dekoni Audio Blue. 

I unbagged a cat in Fauxtaku Lounge’s latest video. In it I said that Sony’s MDS-JE780, a circa 2002 ATRAC TYPE-S Minidisk deck, was my favourite-sounding desktop audio device, perhaps of all time. It sings. Power, general smooth character, great extension, not to mention decent measurements. Yesterday I plugged into it MyST’s OrtoPhones, my long-time favourite Beyerdynamic DT880, and a couple other mid to high-end headphones. It sounded good- better, certainly than my Lynx HILO. But it lacked something magical.

As I boxed my headphones again, I sort of shrugged it off whilst returning to this essay. Then I returned to Dekoni’s Blue. Whoa. Wait…what? It appears that Blue was the missing link. Okay, the Sony still sounds amazing. But it really, really, really sounds good feeding the Dekonis. And the Deacons prefer its smooth, silky sound to HILO’s darker, drier tones. 

And, wow, at less than 300$, Blue is funner, fuller, more addictive – and certainly more comfy – than MyST’s OrtoPhones, eminently more listenable than Beyer’s DT880. Hardly fair, maybe. Headphones over 300$ trend more toward reference, where my listening preferences have begun trending toward the fun and the comfortable. Headphones priced less than 300$ often tack toward fun. But fun’s a nuanced term. There’s dry, boomy fun, and smooth-rolling fun. If the latter translates from bass to mids and then to highs fluently, eliding boom and duff, it’s practically end game for me. Blue may well be that end game fun. 

Not sound

The above is anecdotal. I love the Sony JE780. Love it to pieces. Its low-noise output has enough power for the Blue and almost enough for Susvara. It’s smooth as heck, and sports a nice stereo spread and high SNR. And, thanks to Minidisc having lost the war for both he desktop and the pocket, it goes for chips. 

It is my favourite among a long, long line of desktop audio products. But its marriage to Blue is really what battened that opinion down. Gosh, the two sound like heaven. And, together they can be had for less than 500$. 

There’s a lot to question about Blue. Why’s it go for almost double the TR50P MKIII? What, if anything, did Dekoni do to Blue’s innards? Is it just a paint job and some leather? Tal Kocen, Dekoni’s founder, explained at SoCal 2018 that Fostex Japan build Blue in their factory, making it something of a first-party modification. The super comfy pads are the sole work of Dekoni. I’m down with that. Blue is materially equal to any first-party production, and, in its own way, handsome. 

The pads conform to the head, the ears, and leak only the necessary in and out. Soft memory foam ensures comfort. Leather outer rings help with that whilst sidestepping the ugliness of pleather and vegan options. Porous leather on the inner and undersides probably do the most to tailor the sound. 

I love Blue’s blue cups. Dekoni’s branding and typography reminds me of Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire. If you like it, you might be an Ultima fan. I love Ultima, but I’m agnostic on Dekoni’s typography. 

If you get on with the T50RP MKIII, you’ll get on with Blue- only more so. The pads are gentle, but manage to seal a good amount of the outside out. My Blue has been busting around my bag, on airplanes, and has been avalanched by dropped paperbacks and sundry else. It’s a T50RP, and therefore tough. Your grind won’t stress Blue. 

Blue comes in a blue box with two sets of ear pads, one hybrid leather, one all pleather, both memory foamed. The cable is two metres long. There’s a 6,3mm to 3,5mm step-down cable in there. 

Sound and more after the jump:

Review: Dekoni Blue – Anything but blue
4.3 (86%) 10 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

3 Comments

  • Reply July 13, 2018

    El

    Very nice review. I saw them on Massdrop but didn’t buy them until I got a good feedback from it. God bless!

    • Reply July 13, 2018

      ohm image

      It’s a crazy good headphone. Enjoy.

      • Reply July 22, 2018

        AJ

        A lot of T50RP mods are, they’re just such a good base to work with. LOVED my Alpha Primes, it stung selling them.

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