Build Quality (8/10): The construction of the Oldskool ’70 is extremely simple and should prove quite foolproof. The metal headband is thick and sturdy and the glossy plastics and machined aluminum earcups have a quality feel to them. The headband length adjuster is easy to operate and feels smooth and controlled. The small foam pads are extremely soft and the rubberized flat cable, which exits towards the rear of the earcups, is strong and tangle-resistant. A carrying pouch is included.
Comfort (8.5/10): The Oldskool ’70 is a classic on-ear headphone made comfortable by pivoting cups, soft pads, and the extremely light weight. Clamping force is moderate – certainly enough to keep them planted securely on the head – and may bother those with an aversion to supraaurals. Likewise, the metal headband is unpadded and may not work for those with sensitive heads.
Isolation (4/10): While the Oldskool ’70 is technically a closed-back headphone, it is tiny enough that the closed cups don’t make much of a difference. When positioned perfectly, they cut out a small amount of outside noise but still have a tendency to leak sound.
Sound (7/10): The sound of the Oldskool ’70 is punchy, dry, and aggressive, fitting in well with its retro personality. The bass is tight and quick, with mild roll-off at the bottom. The average depth puts the emphasis on mid- and upper bass, which have good weight and texture. The low end is far from thin-sounding a-la Beyerdynamic’s DTX 300 p but the note presentation doesn’t have a whole lot of body or fullness. The pricier Oldskool 33 1/3 has more rounded, filled-out bass notes, as does Beyerdynamic’s similarly-priced DT235.
The midrange is crisp and clear, with good detail and no veiling. It is slightly forward, getting more aggressive towards the top. As with the low end, the texture is good but the Oldskool ends up sounding dry and a bit grainy. Instruments are very well-defined and vocals are lively and energetic, helped along by the slightly emphasized top end. Even next to the impressive accuracy of the Beyerdynamic DT235 and Sennheiser HD428, the midrange of the Oldskool sounds impeccably clean and detailed.
The top end of the ’70 is on the bright side, fairly well-extended, detailed, and crisp. It’s not very forgiving of low bitrates and throws off the overall tonality of the headphones, causing them to sound colored, but impresses with its resolution. The Beyerdynamic DT235 sounds darker, smoother, and more laid-back at the top while the HD428 takes a middle ground with its neutral tone and treble that is crisp but not overly edgy. Both the DT235 and HD428 also have larger presentations – the small, supraaural Oldskool doesn’t really have much of a soundstage. Its forward presentation is set off by good instrument separation, though, and it doesn’t have a tendency to sound closed-in or congested.
Value (7.5/10): A retro-themed on-ear headphone with contemporary performance, the Fischer Audio Oldskool ’70 is one of the more straightforward portables I’ve come across in a while. Those who don’t mind supraaurals will find a well-built, secure-fitting headphone with nearly nonexistent isolation and a simple, unassuming design. The dry, aggressive sound impresses with detail and clarity and the tuning is well-suited for the grime and grit of many 70s and 80s recordings. Being able to compete directly with the Grado SR60, Koss PortaPro, Sennheiser PX100-II, and a myriad of newer sets speaks volumes about the performance of the Oldskool ’70, though those who prefer a more conventional sound signature may want to look at Fischer’s similarly-priced FA-004 as well.
Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
Impedance: 35 Ω
Sensitivity: 112 dB SPL/1mW
Cord: 3.94ft (1.2m); Straight Plug
Space-Saving Mechanism: N/A