Today, we’ll be taking a look at one of Tascam’s budget-friendly items, the Tascam TH-02 closed-back studio headphones.
We’ll also be comparing them to a few of their competitors for good measure.
Our verdict on the Tascam TH-02
The only saving grace that these headphones have is their insanely low price point. They can possibly be used as a shotty reference in conjunction with nicer monitors and headphones, but besides that we don’t see much more of a reason to buy these.
If it’s all you can afford for now, then there is an adequate case to be made for their viability.
Power and frequency response
The Tascam TH-02 have a frequency response of 18 Hz – 22 kHz and an impedance of 32 ohms.
The low end is decent on these headphones, and is fairly flat up until we get closer to the high-bass, which is overemphasized by roughly +4 dB. This will cause the bass to sound boomy and bleed into the lower mids.
However, due to the tight fitting design of these headphones, bass perception varies from user to user depending on the quality of fit. Some users perceive much more bass than is actually present, while other experience the exact opposite.
The midrange is equally as inaccurate as the bass, carrying the +4 dB exaggeration up to 2 kHz. This may help vocals cut through a mix, but given the bloated lower-mids, it’s not of much help.
Above 2 kHz, we see a huge dip of -10 dB, which subsequently peaks around +5 dB at 10 kHz. The first dip takes away from the presence of lead vocals and instruments, while the 10 kHz peak makes sibilance sound that much harsher.
All this is to say that the Tascams are just about as inaccurate as you can get from a pair of headphones. Their only real saving grace is that they cost barely $30. But hey, you get what you pay for.
The build quality here is mediocre at best. Made almost entirely out of brittle plastic, the headphones feel like they might snap from the slightest bit of physical stress.
The cable is also not detachable, which means it isn’t replaceable. However, the cable is fairly thick, so we suspect that the headphones might break before the cable goes bad.
The ear cups are fairly small and shallow, so bigger ears might dig up against the drivers and/or not fit within the cups at all.
While the headband is decently well padded, it creaks a lot and feels generally cheap.
These weren’t designed for sport, and will fall off your head with any jogging or physical activity.
Also, since the audio cable isn’t detachable, they’ll be snagged off if the wire gets caught on anything in the studio.
Noise cancellation and isolation
The Tascam TH-02 weren’t designed to have active noise cancellation, and there’s absolutely no isolation in the bass region.
They cancel out higher frequencies above 2 kHz by roughly -20 dB, which is okay. Everything else though will cut right through.
Besides the headphones, you’ll be provided with your very own 1/8″ – 1/4″ adapter. Neat!
Compared to other headphones
Here are a few alternatives to consider before settling on the Tascam TH-02.
Tascam TH-02 vs. Mackie MC-100
These headphones are roughly the same, although the Mackies seem to be a bit more comfortable than the Tascams. We would probably go for the Mackies, but to each their own.
Tascam TH-02 vs. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x
The Audio-Technicas are much better. They’re more comfortable, have a better frequency response, and have a better soundstage.
Check out our Audio-Technica ATH-M20x review
For more budget-friendly options, check out our picks for the best cheap studio headphones to buy under $100 and $50.
Who are the Tascam TH-02 best suited for?
These are best suited for professional mix engineers looking for a harsh and uneven pair of reference headphones for little cost.
Think of these as the even cheaper, headphone-counterpart of the Yamaha NS-10. The Tascams are not suitable for casual listening, or mixing and mastering at any level below intermediate.
- Extremely affordable.
- Inaccurate and uneven sound.
- Not very comfortable.