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MrSpeakers Mad Dog Fostex T50RP Headphones Review

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MrSpeakers Mad Dog Fostex T50RP Headphones

The buzz on Headfi.org regarding the Mad Dog headphones by MrSpeakers prompted me to contact Dan Clark, the company’s CEO, to request a review sample. The first time I listened to the Mad Dogs was at the New York audio show in April. After hearing them and having a discussion with Dan, and being so impressed with the modifications that Dan had made to the Fostex T50 headphone, I knew I just had to listen to the Mad Dogs for a more extended listening session some day.

The Fostex T50RP headphones have had a cult following in the headphone community for the last four years. The T50RP was originally developed by Fostex to be used in the studio for voice-over work. The headphone community discovered this inexpensive planar magnetic ortho-dynamic headphone had the potential to compete with much more expensive planar headphones. Many DIYers began to modify the headphone so as to improve the sound. One of the revisions included the use of wood custom cups instead of the stock plastic cups that Fostex designed on the headphone. Another common change was replacing the ear pads and the stock cable that come with the headphone.

New companies started to emerge and hobbyists became entrepreneurs. The newly formed businesses started offering the Fostex T50RP for sale with modifications. Many of these companies could not keep up with the demand of the headphone community and some failed as a business and disappeared.

MrSpeakers just celebrated its first full year in business. Dan is not your typical headphone hobbyist. Dan’s background is in electrical engineering. He graduated from Swarthmore College and completed his MBA while employed by Apple Computer. His thesis was on amplifier design.

Dan’s time working for Platinum Audio in the later part of the 90’s led to the development of a Platinum monitor speaker. The speaker was highly regarded in the audiophile community. His motivation to start MrSpeakers was dictated by his desire to introduce products designed for either college students, high school students or audiophiles who were looking for products that were affordable and of exceptional quality.

The Mad Dog Fostex T50RP was introduced for a very impressive $299.99. The price includes the hand-tuned modifications, and the new alpha dog lambskin leather pads, and two cables. The first cable is a ¼ inch cable termination that is 10 feet long and the second cable has a 1/8 inch termination for use with portable amplifiers. MrSpeakers offers a one-year warranty on the headphone. There is also a new balanced version of the Mad Dogs offered at $349.

MrSpeakers Mad Dog Fostex T50RP Headphones

Design

Dan Clark spent the last year experimenting with different modifications. The modification Dan ultimately settle on shapes the frequency response to eliminate the ringing that is common with many closed headphones; the alpha pads are designed to provide more comfort and a better seal, and also improve the bass response. The headband has a leather strap fixed under the plastic stock band making it more comfortable for longer listening sessions. The ear cups have the MrSpeakers name on the top of the cup and Mad Dog on the bottom. The cable can be removed and can also be upgraded with an aftermarket cable. The Mad Dog is not a light headphone. It is similar in weight to the other planar magnetic headphones offered by HiFiman and Audeze. Still, I did not find it uncomfortable in my listening sessions.

19 Responses to MrSpeakers Mad Dog Fostex T50RP Headphones Review


  1. Looks good Frank – might have to try a pair for myself one of these days!

  2. Frank Iacone says:

    Hi John,

    Glad you liked the review

  3. thegunner100 says:

    Nice review! I was considering trying out the mad dogs and the paradox, but I found a pair of used paradox and went for those instead. If you could get a comparison between the two, that would be great!

  4. Frank Iacone says:

    Thanks for the kind words. I have not heard the Paradox yet.

  5. baka1969 says:

    Great review Frank. I’ll be anticipating your future reviews. Props.

  6. Frank Iacone says:

    Glad you liked it Ross. It was fun doing it.

  7. MacedonianHero says:

    Another fantastic review Frank…as usual. Thanks!

  8. magiccabbage says:

    Another great review. Will you be doing one on the WA5?

    • Frank Iacone says:

      Thanks. I will be reviewing the WA5 from Woo in a few months. I am looking forward to that product. It is the speaker and headphone amplifier. I should be getting it at the end of this month.

  9. Frank Iacone says:

    Thank Peter. Glad you liked it

  10. Dubstep Girl says:

    Another excellent review Frank!!!!!

    never got into the whole t50rp thing, but good to know theres cheaper alternatives to the LCD-2 out there.

  11. Warren Chi says:

    I’ve been a fan of Dan’s Mad Dogs – through several iterations – for some time now. If any of you have the stock T50RP, and you’re not a big fan of it, you should really try to audition them asap. I think you’ll be amazed at what a profound change his Mad Dogs are. I’d already have them if it wasn’t so hard scraping together an extra $300 together these days. Go Dan!

  12. Frank Iacone says:

    The Mad Dogs are a good value and for a closed phone very refined for the money.
    Thanks for the comments Warren and Dubstep Girl for the kind word also

  13. moodyrn says:

    Great review Frank! After listening to these recently, I pretty much agree with everything you said. I’m very close to trying to get my hands on a pair, but need to listen to the paradox before making a final decsion. But very well done!

  14. Lee Shelly says:

    Good stuff Frank! I need to hear these!

  15. David Cope says:

    I first heard the Mad Dog phones at the NY Audio Show and was astonished at the sound quality, particularly for the price. This was through the Schitt Audio Mjolnir. Yes, I liked the Audeze 3 through the Mal(something) amp, but that was$5k+, whereas the Mad Dog/Mjolnir combo was under $1,200.

    I bought the Mad Dog Balanced ‘phones Saturday at Dan’s booth at the Calif Audio Show and will be ordering a Mjolnir when I get home.

    The combo is fantastically musical, well-balanced and the ‘phones are built for all day comfort. Can’t wait to spend more time with them!

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