Pros: quality build, sexy look, excellent sound with enhanced bass, lots of accessories
Cons: not as detailed
This is a review of TTPOD T1E dual dynamic driver in-ear headphones. http://penonaudio.com/TTPOD-T1E-Bass
Here you go, another in-ear headphone gem for under $50! Though I was a bit skeptical approaching it, T1E turned out to be another giant killer where this dual dynamic headphone set delivered a sound quality on par with others that cost at least twice or more. When you factor in a unique design, amount of accessories, and quality of packaging, it makes you scratch your head with a question: "weren't they suppose to cut some corners in order to keep the price down?" Well, apparently TTPOD guys figured out how to make their product look like a million bucks while still being priced under $50. Here is what I found.
Starting with a package, it arrived in high quality all black box with golden print on top of it. On the back, it has a detailed specification listing, also in gold print, though a light background made it a bit hard to read. With a box cover removed, you have a semi transparent frosted insert with headphones stored underneath. Included with headphones you will find 3 sets of S/M/L eartips, one with a narrow bore, one with a wider bore, and one custom hybrid with a wide bore. While a lot of headphone manufacturers use commonly available eartip sets, I was quite impressed to find a set of hybrid eartips like I never seen before. You also get a shirt clip and a nice draw-string pouch.
The headphones itself have a shape of a molded dual chamber shell, and the transparent color I choose for my set (it actually comes in a number of different colors) revealed both of the drivers as well as wiring and all the internal connections. Though it might look a bit uncomfortable to put T1E in your ear, it actually has a very nice fitment. Starting with a straight gold plated slim 3.5mm connector with a short but reliable strain relief, it follows with a quality OFC cable which according to TTPOD is actually silver-plated. Moving up to y-splitter which matches the cylindrical shape and finish of the connector, you have a built-in chin slider (cable cinch) which slides right into the y-splitter capsule. A very neat design idea where together it looks like one solid piece. Moving up to earpiece shells, there is also a short and sturdy strain relief labeled with L/R and a raised dot on the R side to ID it by touch. Headphones itself are very lightweight and have rounded edges which makes a fitment very comfortable. Having a selection of correct eartips will greatly assist in keeping these in, and you can also wear them wire down or wire up where a soft cable shielding goes smoothly over your ear and chin slider keeps the cable tucked in.
Now comes the fun part - how do these sound? To start off, due to its excellent bass performance these have L-shaped (balanced with an enhanced low end) sound signature, very smooth, warm, and melodic. Starting with a bass, which is a star in here, you get a deep sub-bass with a sizzling texture and a fast aggressive mid-bass punch. Bass does spills a bit into lower mids, but has a very nice separation from upper mids. I was actually surprised expecting the bass to overpower the rest of the spectrum, but found this dual dynamic design keeping its upper mids clear and well separated. These are smooth and warm; they do lack some details since they are not as bright, but I don't consider it as a shortfall. Treble is clear, though not as extended which could be just a perception due to upper mids/treble being warm. This signature makes sound non-fatigue and great for extended listening period. Don't make my reference about smooth and warm discourage you since the upper mids have a great delivery of vocals with a lot of clarity. With a right set of eartips to create a perfect seal, I found T1E to provide a very good sound isolation. Also, soundstage was definitely above the average in width/depth. Furthermore, I didn't sense any microphonics effect from a cable wearing these wired down or up. Overall, the sound was quite forgiving even with lower quality music, thanks to its warm signature.
Since I have reviewed in the past a number of other giant killer headphones, I thought to write a quick comparison with a few other headphones in this "budget" category. With T1E vs KC06A, KC06 sub-bass is not as deep, but mid-bass has a similar impact; mids are brighter where upper mids a bit more recessed and more detailed, but feels a bit harsher in comparison; treble has a bit more extension due to brightness; soundstage is not as deep. With T1E vs VSD3S, VSD3S sub-bass is similar but mid-bass is not as aggressive; upper mids are more detailed, brighter and harsher; treble has more extension; soundstage is similar. With T1E vs B3 Pro I, B3 sub-bass has a similar quality but scaled down quantity, and similar fast punch, but less quantity with lows having less overall "weight"; B3 has a much better separation and layering; upper mids are more detailed and clear, no harshness at all; treble more extended and crispier; soundstage is the best of them all; and it requires a little more power to drive, about 15 more volume clicks in comparison to other headphones.
Overall, T1E is one sexy pair of in-ear headphones that doesn't just look good, but also sounds good. Without a doubt, bass is a star of their sound, and some might even find their performance borderline basshead, especially if you switch to narrow bore eartips which exaggerate low frequency by filtering down highs. But one important thing to note, with bass-enhanced headphones you often lose a quality of upper mids which results in veiled and recessed vocals. Here, upper mids/treble might not be as bright, but its very clear and perfectly balanced with low frequencies. Definitely a great pair of headphones to consider!
Here are the pictures.