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ACS T1 Custom Review and impressions thread! - Page 13

post #181 of 392

Twelvebears - nice summation of the T1s. Thats exactly how I feel about mine

 

CheekyChappie - you're a lucky man going to the Maldives, and this is a good time to be going - which Island are you going to?

I haven't been there in a few years..something has always got in the way...planning on going back next year.


Edited by kryten123 - 1/31/12 at 12:47am
post #182 of 392

The doctor at my university didn't really know even what an IEM was. I specifically asked for him to check for any wax even past the second bend of the ear canal. He did and he said there was none.

 

So I go to boots (can't force myself to trust acs directly), and the very helpful audiologist says that actually i've got too much of a wax buildup for safe impressions to be taken. So that appointment was canceled. Lucky that I wasn't penalised with a 'cancellation' charge.

 

I have to go back to uni doctors soon as harley street ENT specialists are asking for £350~£450 to do what the gp should have done. Heck- don't have that sort of money to throw around anymore BUT if I had, this is definitley what I would have done. Save me SO SO much time, hassel and all the rest of it!

 

This has set me back 2 in the minimum, and I only hope that with a printout from boots directing the doctors what to do, I will have my ears cleaned.

 

 

All this effort I never would put into getting a headphone. Never. Don't give a monkeys about how 'good' it's meant to sound. But it's the fact that acs make a custom earplug for sleeping and that's the reason why i'm putting all this time in. I mean I live near crazy people who work through the nights and make high volumes of noise. And then you have the church opposite my place (single glazing windows)- The bells rung around 30 times between 8 - 8:45am.

 

Anyway, i've tried everything to reduce the noise and the best so far is the soft putty like silicone earplugs (although they don't block out much noise!!). These custom sleeping earplugs when and if I ever own them, I hope will be the real solution.

 

Now using a single impression for the t1 and the earplug won't be wise- as the shape of the ear canal changes drastically when one is lying down. I've read about it quite a bit. I hope that boots guy can give me two impressions, but if only one- then screw the T1. You know the anticipation you have when your about to buy/recieve you latest headphone. Well, for me it's completely dead with the T1.

 

 

post #183 of 392
Quote:
Originally Posted by kryten123 View Post

 

CheekyChappie - you're a lucky man going to the Maldives, and this is a good time to be going - which Island are you going to?

I haven't been there in a few years..something has always got in the way...planning on going back next year.


Kryten - we are going to the W resort and spa, not sure the exact island but its about 40 mins by sea plane from Male

 

Got a nice email from ACS just to let me know that they had got the impressions ok and the notes and would let me know when they are ready, first class service so far

 

post #184 of 392
Quote:
Originally Posted by twelvebears View Post

So in summary, the T1s somehow manage to be all things to all men, musical magic bullets, and seemingly, proof that you can actually have your cake and eat it.


portal_-_the_cake_is_a_lie.jpg

... but thank you for your feedback!

post #185 of 392

Hello little T1 thread.  I haven't looked too hard for you but I figured I would find you when the time was right, and ... look at that - that time is now.

 

I took delivery of my T1s at the end of December and have been putting a good 1-2 hours a day on them so I'm getting used to them enough to comment.

 

Base system:

I use the T1s with my portable rig that consists of a current gen IPod classic 160 => CypherLabs Algorhythm => GoVibe PortaTube + => T1s.  Sources files are mixed: mostly FLACs converted to AAC with some mp3s and some 24/96 files as well.

 

Picking the T1s:

I went to the local Jaben outlet to up my inventory of IEMs. I listened to the my base system above and tried JH13 and 16 universals, the T1 (molded for someone in the shop) and a pair of Final Audio Design Piano Forte X-CCs. Though the Final's were one of the most unique listening experiences in my some 20-odd years of hi fi, I just refused to pull the trigger on a S$2800 pair of IEMs that felt like they  could barely stay in my ears.  The T1s were head and shoulders above either of the JHs for the 30-45 minutes I spent with each pair.  Not perfect but since the customs were molded for someone else's ears, I wasn't gonna get perfect in that environment.  And still they were far superior in almost all areas to the JHs, especially the tight bass control.

 

Fit:

Well, if you have a pair of these, you know that they are different than just about any other custom.  The fit was snug and a bit awkward at first, as I found the occasional trapped air pocket in my ear canal if I didn't screw the T1s in with due care.  

 

Initial impressions:

Once I got over the initial joy of 6 weeks of waiting rewarded with my new toy, I must admit I was a bit disappointed with the T1s.  Sure, there was a lot to like about them.  But I found the rolled off highs a bit off-putting. I like the air and top end in my music; it's just one of the things I am drawn to right away and the T1s were not what I was hoping for there. At least at first.  Looking back, I think that the T1s were so good in so many areas that I was being a bit unfair. Perhaps.

 

I used the T1s on my commute to the office, which can run to about 45 minutes each way.  In the office, I am lucky enough to be able to cycle through other headphone including my trusty Westones, some Grado GS-1000s and my now-dying UEs all played  from my PC through a NuForce Icon HDP and a Yamamoto SC HA02. So I was able to get some variety listening throughout the day and lo, the T1s started to sound pretty good in comparison.

 

What's to love:

If you're a bass-head, I can't think of an IEM that delivers better controlled and musical bass than the T1s. Oodles of it.  Never enough to overpower the mix, but more than enough for me to say "I've never quite heard that song sound like that" in a good way. Especially for the size of the package that is delivering that much control so effortlessly, it's truly impressive.

 

As a direct result of that ACS fit, the sense of isolation and quiet is really unique in the IEMs I've tried.  Acrylic castings just can't quite compare to this, though not for lack of trying.  Other than my own breathing, it takes a lot for me to hear the outside world while wearing the T1s.

 

Then there's the mix itself.  The aforementioned bass, mids and the highs were all firmly but equally blended.  Each time I though I thought the mids were being held back, after further comparison, I realized that I was hearing another headphone coloring the sound while the T1s were more neutral across the whole spectrum and not emphasizing any one part, with the exception of the still noticeable lack to top end air.  Neutral and balanced presentation to an extreme I would not really expect in such a small package.

 

With that mix and isolation comes a great sense of detail retrieval.  The 24/96 Beatles re-relases on the T1s literally made me stop several times in the street and shake my head at what I was hearing.  An awkward, sudden fade-in in the mix, a mi**** pedal note on Blackbird, details in John's conversation in Hey Bulldog.  My rewind button got a lot of use as I would say "did I really just hear that?"

 

I suppose it's more acclimatization rather than break-in (or maybe it's a little from column A and a little from column B), but  after a few weeks, I began to really warm to the T1's top-end presentation, especially on some of the more dynamic tracks I have (Russian Circles, Cloudkicker, and other post-rock bands) where the highs almost assault my ears over extended periods, even at moderate loudness.  The balance and even-handed presentation was really a plus here.

 

Post regrets and an Epiphany. Kinda.:

I couldn't help but feel I was missing something though.  So about a week ago, I went back to Jaben and asked for the JHs again. Out came the 13 and 16 universals again. 

 

And again, it was no contest, but maybe even moreso than the initial audition months prior.  The T1s kicked both of the uni-fits up one side and down the other.  And I came to a kind of peace with the T1s. IEMs are going to be flawed beasties, especially when used as portables.  And when I find myself grasping for flaws in the T1s by saying, I'm missing the top end air I get with my HiFiMan HE-500s and Liquid Fire, or the full range dynamics of my 2 channel system with Maggie 3.7s, then I've really gotta take a step back and say, "well, what were you expecting?  It's an IEM in a portable rig".  And even then, it does things that the other two (admittedly exceptional) systems cannot do.  That's some pretty rarified air itself there.  

 

So yeah.  I got it pretty lucky, and I think I'll be keeping these T1s for a while.

post #186 of 392
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheekychappie View Post



Kryten - we are going to the W resort and spa, not sure the exact island but its about 40 mins by sea plane from Male

Got a nice email from ACS just to let me know that they had got the impressions ok and the notes and would let me know when they are ready, first class service so far

Once you experienced the Maldives...you'll be spoilt forever
post #187 of 392
well, i had my impressions finally taken yesterday and I reckon i'm gonna need a refit.

You see, i was completely still for the first miniute. But then I leaned a bit forward, arching my back, and felt a sudden increase of pressure in both ear canals. I stayed in this position until the molds were removed- felt quite tight that did.

why did i move? my wonkey chair back support partially collapsed (must have been an argos chair) and i couldn't quite find my position.

I've asked a few experienced headfiers on this and they've told me what to expect from a bad fit.
Oh well another delay. People search for, buy, renovate and sell a house faster than it can take to get custom headphones.

when i finally get these, i'm going to feel like throwing them on the road and watch a big red bus run over them!
post #188 of 392
Thread Starter 

I think you PM'd me. I'm sorry to be late. 

 

I've had a number of custom impressions taken. (By no means is it anything compared to other people here, but it is enough to get a feeling of a good fit.) 

 

The bad fits I've had (with silicon) are none. With acrylic, are many. Acrylic phones don't change shape at all, while silicon bends to your own ear. Even with a slightly disturbed fitting session, the ACS, Sennsaphonics, etc., fit fine. That said, it is best not to move your jaw at all as it will change the impression fit. I had no problem with fit of any kind (acrylic or silicon) if I moved my back, just if my jaw moved majorly. 

 

I hope you have a good fit.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CantScareMe View Post

well, i had my impressions finally taken yesterday and I reckon i'm gonna need a refit.
You see, i was completely still for the first miniute. But then I leaned a bit forward, arching my back, and felt a sudden increase of pressure in both ear canals. I stayed in this position until the molds were removed- felt quite tight that did.
why did i move? my wonkey chair back support partially collapsed (must have been an argos chair) and i couldn't quite find my position.
I've asked a few experienced headfiers on this and they've told me what to expect from a bad fit.
Oh well another delay. People search for, buy, renovate and sell a house faster than it can take to get custom headphones.
when i finally get these, i'm going to feel like throwing them on the road and watch a big red bus run over them!


 

post #189 of 392
Thanks. oh right- it was just this sudden increase of pressure that i felt made me think, hey, something's wrong.

I don't settle for a less than ideal fit with even £20 iem's, so i wont change this for the t1's.

Oh well i guess i can only wait now, but if i had loads of time on my hands i'd be far less concerned/annoyed by this whole thing. At least I appreciate of the shelf universal iem's much much more.

ps. the audiologist couldn't believe that there existed custom sleeping ear plugs! I mean getting sleeping earplugs is meant to be an immediate thing- not like this.

But i should say on a positive note that a kind headfier guided me through to using these 'putty' like silicone plugs- and they're starting to work. He has used them for longer than i've lived, so he speaks from experience!
post #190 of 392

long time lurker here, never bothered signing up till now. Just got my ACS T1 Live!s earlier this evening - fantastic service from Monika at Protection4Hearing, same as Phil. Would certainly go through her again.

 

I really don't believe in burn-in for headphones but the highs.... really? Surely they must improve... I know my source isn't great but I started thinking that one set of drivers wasn't working. The highs are very rolled off to the point where I find vocals can get swamped by the bass in in a rock song. There is an awful lot to like here, the sound is very full and muscular and... likeable. Despite the lack of treble  it's still quite revealing, ie can hear the hammer hitting the string with a piano being played slowly, but I've just put my old Koss KSC-75s back on for a quick back to back and the highs go a lot shriller (seems clearer) and aren't as ... rolled off as Smeckles said, despite the overall sound being nowhere near as lush. It makes the T1s seem pretty distracting and muddy. Maybe I expected too much? Or maybe I'll get used to them. I always wanted to try custom IEMs but I had the option of fixing my much beloved but broken Etymotic ER4Ps and getting custom ear moulds for them which might have been a safer option.

 

Will update in a few weeks if I get used to them. The likeable bits are already extremely likeable, so this isn't buyer's remorse, just buyer's "wtf happened to the highs?"

post #191 of 392
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whirlio View Post

long time lurker here, never bothered signing up till now. Just got my ACS T1 Live!s earlier this evening - fantastic service from Monika at Protection4Hearing, same as Phil. Would certainly go through her again.

 

I really don't believe in burn-in for headphones but the highs.... really? Surely they must improve... I know my source isn't great but I started thinking that one set of drivers wasn't working. The highs are very rolled off to the point where I find vocals can get swamped by the bass in in a rock song. There is an awful lot to like here, the sound is very full and muscular and... likeable. Despite the lack of treble  it's still quite revealing, ie can hear the hammer hitting the string with a piano being played slowly, but I've just put my old Koss KSC-75s back on for a quick back to back and the highs go a lot shriller (seems clearer) and aren't as ... rolled off as Smeckles said, despite the overall sound being nowhere near as lush. It makes the T1s seem pretty distracting and muddy. Maybe I expected too much? Or maybe I'll get used to them. I always wanted to try custom IEMs but I had the option of fixing my much beloved but broken Etymotic ER4Ps and getting custom ear moulds for them which might have been a safer option.

 

Will update in a few weeks if I get used to them. The likeable bits are already extremely likeable, so this isn't buyer's remorse, just buyer's "wtf happened to the highs?"

I wouldn't wait a few weeks. Armature drivers sometimes fail in a custom, it happens with every BA-custom manufacturer. Get in touch with Monika and send them back.
 

 

post #192 of 392

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whirlio View Post

long time lurker here, never bothered signing up till now. Just got my ACS T1 Live!s earlier this evening - fantastic service from Monika at Protection4Hearing, same as Phil. Would certainly go through her again.

 

I really don't believe in burn-in for headphones but the highs.... really? Surely they must improve... I know my source isn't great but I started thinking that one set of drivers wasn't working. The highs are very rolled off to the point where I find vocals can get swamped by the bass in in a rock song. There is an awful lot to like here, the sound is very full and muscular and... likeable. Despite the lack of treble  it's still quite revealing, ie can hear the hammer hitting the string with a piano being played slowly, but I've just put my old Koss KSC-75s back on for a quick back to back and the highs go a lot shriller (seems clearer) and aren't as ... rolled off as Smeckles said, despite the overall sound being nowhere near as lush. It makes the T1s seem pretty distracting and muddy. Maybe I expected too much? Or maybe I'll get used to them. I always wanted to try custom IEMs but I had the option of fixing my much beloved but broken Etymotic ER4Ps and getting custom ear moulds for them which might have been a safer option.

 

Will update in a few weeks if I get used to them. The likeable bits are already extremely likeable, so this isn't buyer's remorse, just buyer's "wtf happened to the highs?"


The T1 is not bright and has a laid back treble, which in comparison to something like the ER4P will seem on the darker side.  I measure all of my custom IEMs for extension with test tones and the treble starts to gently roll off starting at 13K and the last test tone (5 KHz steps) is 16.5 KHz.  You can use something like this to test the extension.

 

While there may be a driver failure, there is a higher chance that the issue is with the fit.  If the angle is not right, or the silicon canal is bending a bit in your ear, that could cause a lack of treble.  Try to see if the treble sounds the same with the shells not completely inserted and also try moving them around in your ears while listening.

 

post #193 of 392
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunlun View Post

I wouldn't wait a few weeks. Armature drivers sometimes fail in a custom, it happens with every BA-custom manufacturer.

 

That's very true, but... equally on both sides? The chances are rather slim.
 

 

post #194 of 392

Whirlio,

 

The T1s are not bright earphones by any stretch. I cant comment on the Etymotic ER4P, but a previous pair of Etymotics I had, I found were extremely bright to my ears. I have always found the signature of the T1s to my liking, lush and warm yet never overpowering or "muddying" the mids and highs.

With all sorts of music I have never had any problem with the deep, "muscular" bass drowning out the vocals or high pitched instruments. In fact I have always been amazed by how clear instruments like cymbals still sound when piercing bass\mid heavy music.

I would guess that if there is not a fault with a driver, that your ears are not attuned to the warm sound of the T1s, coming from the Etymotics.

Give them some time and I think you will slowly come to appreciate just how good they are.

post #195 of 392

Hi Kunlun, Average_Joe, Sinocelt, kryten123. I have been away in a ski chalet with only local 3G and very militant web filters since last week so haven't been able to reply. It's as you say, I've slowly got used to them and the sound and have figured out where in the soundstage the treble is. It really did sound like I couldn't hear anything to start with, the bass felt very flabby and all over the place and the treble took a lot of getting used to, drums in a rock recording seemed like they were muffled, as if the drummer was next door, but it's all ok now. I'm sure it's mostly me getting used to them, as the seal is excellent and wasn't to blame. I don't think I could go back to universal fit earphones without complaining. I was also using my laptop as an emergency source which was not a good idea really - it's already got me thinking of a Pico or similar.

 

I'll edit my original post to reflect that I am now very happy with them and that I spoke too soon, with the problem likely being me than the headphones - how humuliating for my first head-fi post! As I have no basis for comparison except the ER4P and Koss KSC75s, I don't think I can write a proper review,  and I'm going to write non-technically as I have no experience against similarly-priced alternatives, but here's the things I like about the T1 Lives so far:

 

  • Bass felt overwhelming at first but I got used to it very quickly and it's a lovely sound. The Etymotics were good but this is great, sub-bass is all there but now sounds tight and clear (no more "whup", just "ooom", in a good way). To show how weird it felt at first, while I was getting used to the T1s, I even tried the ER4P -> S cable for a while to try and get the sound more familiar. It's not necessary now.
  • The sound separation / soundstage is quite incredible for in-ears, there really are all sorts of places the sounds can come from now. I'm guessing this is part of the graduation to custom-moulded earphones. I feel like I'm wrapped up nice and warm in the music. I was just listening to them, doing some work, and I got distracted by how lush the song sounded despite not actively listening to the music. That's never happened before I think. What I think is happening is that, with 2 pipes into my ears from the 3 drivers, high notes genuinely are very noticibly 'higher' in my ear than the low notes, which are coming out of the lower canal in the T1s. This makes music with a big range (say, busy electronic or classical) really dance around the soundstage. It's a nice effect compared to the single driver, single pipe in-ears I've heard before, and there's no wonder that the stage sounds so big and wide.
  • They're really easy to drive. which makes them fun out of bad sources, especially compared to my previous combinations of low-amped phones and laptops. This makes the music sound much more dynamic and actually works with my phone, luckily enough (HTC Desire). My favourite music sounds very dramatic without being tiring.
  • Very clear and revealing. Well at this price they should be, but there's still a few surprises for me on tracks I thought I knew very well. I am slightly surprised about this when coming from the Etys, which are no longer the kings of clarity and revalation this at all for me, despite how clinical they are. The T1s are the opposite, they have plenty to spare and make the sound fun rather than dry.  It's definitely a step up from anything I've heard before, probably helped by the big separation / stage for the music to fit into. In my prior post I complained about voices but they are coming out just fine now, and I have to work my brain hard to keep up with everything that's going on just now - I'm not sure I am managing it.
  • Now that I've figured out how to listen to the treble, it's a pleasure. As Kryten123 said, not that bright, but actually it's very likeable. I always thought treble was important to me, I can hear those anti-teenager or anti-mosquite high frequencies tinnitus-style devices despite being 33, and I thought I knew what headphones 4 times the price of the ER4S should sound like, but as you can see above, I admit that I was wrong and ACS was right. I can't stress enough how unhappy I was at the start, as I was tempted to re-buy some more ER4Ps that I saw in Dixons at Gatwick Airport (well done Dixons, I never thought I'd see the day) but have gone from "Dude, where's my treble?" to "aah this is nice". I'm listening to the KOSS's again just now and the shrill / bright treble and squashed sound is rather offensive in comparison.
  • Sources & file quality: My laptop, HTC phone and especially Spotify with their 160kpbs ogg vorbis mobile policy is now becoming a real problem (before was tolerable on the el-cheap Koss's as I got 6 months of Spotify as a christmas present after my Etys had died). I've already established that my laptop is rubbish, and I'm already getting the feeling that I need a headphone amp to help out the T1s. However I've gone down that road with a portable amp (Tomahawk) before and I think that is a waste of money with the diminishing returns from bad sources, so maybe a desktop amp? iPhone? Hmmm. The T1s are fairly forgiving but now the clipping on low quality spoken-voice podcasts is very apparent, for instance. As when I went up the the ER4Ps, I'm having to re-adjust my playlists to reduce a few of my favourite bands and add a few extras that I wouldn't have listened to normally, but are really nicely recorded and just sound good.
  • Service - Etymotics I can buy in an airport lounge or Apple Store, but this was a step up. Between work, work, more work and the occasional social activity I am not at home between 8am and usually 10:30 pm on weekdays (I'm on holiday now, writing this, before you ask), but Monika Schumacher at protection4hearing.co.uk was most accomodating and visited my home on a weekend to take the impressions. I got a good enough impression which was a relief, and Monika arranged for a small discount because I wouldn't be using the microphone and Live! pack, so the T1s were built without the microphone. I also put in a special request that these be delivered before my holiday if possible and at 7pm on the day before my flight, Monika came out again which I'm very grateful for, after pushing through the process. I'd first heard of her from this thread, and I would thoroughly recommend using her as an agent if you live in the London / Essex area. ACS London couldn't match that flexibility for taking the impressions. Separately, due to a mix-up,  I'm missing a letter on the laser etched-name I requested. Luckily it's on the inside of the earphones, and Monika has taken responsibility and offered to get this sorted.

 

So yes, I'm happy. For the cost, they should make me very happy indeed, and I guess they do. I wish I could directly compare with the broken ER4P / ER4S but I can't, however I'm sure these T1s are on a different level (someone else said that previously on the thread) and the treble definitely was working, just not how I expected it. Very very good indeed, and thanks to my beloved and departed Grandma for leaving me some money to "buy something nice", I think I've certainly done that.

 

Edit: update when I figured out the 2-pipes part of the sound separation, and clarification over the laser etching issue, which I'll get fixed for my first service (I can't replace the filters like I could with the Etys)


Edited by Whirlio - 3/8/12 at 10:04am
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