This article first appeared in HWM August 2012.
Fischer Audio isn’t exactly a household name in the headphone space. To its credit, however, the Russian audio company has achieved some measure of success with previous releases, such as its flagship DBA-02 balanced armature in-ear monitors, and Wood Edition headsets, like their FA-002w series crafted from artificially aged oak.
The portable FA-004 v2 is a follow-up model to the FA-004. Like its predecessor, it sports a pair of over-the-ear, closed-back cans with non-swivelling ear cups. The v2 is now available in white or black - an option which the original FA-004 lacked. Each unit is also packaged with a canvas carrying case, two sets of velour and leatherette ear pads, and a 6mm stereo plug. The beige case is quite ghastly, but we do welcome the variety of circular pads. Those who prefer a less sweat-resistant but more comfortable material can opt for the velour alternative.
Despite its light weight, Fischer’s circumaural headset does offer a sturdy build. Its headband is padded in synthetic leather as well which adds to its comfort quotient. When tried, the v2 provides a snug fit but we would like it better if the headband exerted less pressure over the ears. The cups’ height can be adjusted via the metal rails, but its non-pivoting nature also makes it less versatile.
A retro print is emblazoned on the ear cups; complete with wings and old-school fonts etched on the off-gold caps. Again, this design might not appeal to everyone. We were surprised to find a coiled cable on the v2, given that such implementations are typically found on professional monitor headphones instead.
The v2 has a deliciously wide soundstage, and its attention to detail is quite exemplary for a pair of S$138 headphones. Its mid-range has a smooth and ample presence, although the headset works best when managing less ‘busy’ genres, like vocal jazz for example. Reason being, the v2 has an excitable upper range, and percussive instruments on mainstream songs can sound a tad abrasive.
Set in a quiet office space, we had to increase our Samsung Galaxy S’ volume to 80 percent to adequately drive the 32-ohm dynamic drivers. This can be mitigated by augmenting the headphones with a portable amp, such as the Fiio E11 used during our tests. The lower-mids sounded fuller and more pronounced with the equipped amp, as referenced on Worlds Apart by Bruce Springsteen and other rock tracks in our bid to test the headset’s audio fidelity.
All things considered, you can count on the v2 to deliver an expansive soundstage and a reasonably accurate frequency response. Warmth is a little lacking, but it’s one of the better closed-back headphones in its class, though do consider picking up a portable amp to get the best out of them.