I observe that there has been a thread on this DAP, which is locked. If by creating a new thread on the subject I violated any rules, that was not my intention.
I was looking for a compact, well built, simple dedicated DAP with high SQ and reasonable warranty terms.
The choice appeared to be rather limited.
Although the price of Tera Player is rather steep, after some correspondence with the maker I decided to give the device a go, and I ordered one few minutes ago.
I intend to try it out with the headphones I my possession and to report on my findings in this thread.
I can only compare it with compact players, which I have, with colleagues' Apple devices and with a stationary solution; however, I would be very keen to meet smb. in the vicinity of Brussels who possesses a Hifiman and/or iPad/DAC/amp combo in order to compare the impressions.
I do hope that 'ad hominem' statements will be kept out of this thread.
I received the player on Thursday 15 March.
If you are impatient to know what is my first overall impassion, here it is:
Tear Player is the Holy Grail of DAPs, -- with a disclaimer that I have not heard too many of them, or at least not for sufficiently long sessions.
But back to the course of events.
The pckage was tiny, player - rather compact. Actually just the perfect size for me (but I guess I'm already biased...).
Tried to charge it, - just to realise that it was fully charged already, as the red LED went out after just a few minutes. Good!
And then it gave me a scare, -- there was no sound when inserted a fresh 16 GB HCSD (SanDisk, blue variety) card to which I just the day before copied freshly ripped WAVs from my fresh Mac mini (after a warranty repair followed by a number of glitches my HP laptop finally packed up, so I joined the dark side...).
After a couple of thoughts about Charles and his player which I will not utter here, I decided to try another memory card, and I copied some files on an older 4GB HCSD (identical type) -- and this worked fine. So I filled the card with some files (Autobahn, Glenn Gould's recording of Goldberg variations (1981), Rubber Soul (latest remaster) and 5 albums of the Doors.
Indeed it worked fine.
Much, much more than just fine.
I am listening to it through Ultrasone Edition 8 right now, and my first impression is that this is the best sound reproduction quality I have experienced. I will try other phones and compare the impressions to listening through speakers (which of course is smth. completely different), but the first thing which springs to mind is - no fatigue. Good balance, details, separation, etc., etc. Listening to some songs from Rubber Soul suddenly brought back memories of hearing them - probably for the first time then - on my LP player around 23 years ago. That might be not the player but some other 'effects' of the spring, still the feeling was there.
I am positively amazed how Mr Altmann managed to squeeze this in so small a box. The size is just perfect, exactly on the spot, and I actually highly appreciate the simple interface (indeed I sometimes choose Shuffle just for that, - unfortunately its sound quality, at least that of 2nd gen., is not as good as one could wish)).
I will be so bold as to say that Altmann Tera Player indeed lives up to the promise -- it IS the performance standard.
Again with a disclaimer that I have not compared with other portable Hi-End solutions (I use Hi-End here for the lack of a better term), so I may still need to alter my opinion.
Still I have a decent stereo (or so I think) and I have heard some more, and some live performances, so it is not completely out of the blue.
That being said, I make pauses in my listening sessions now and again - the experience is almost overwhelming. Thanks, Charles!
I briefly tied the player with beyerdynamic Tesla T5P and - even shorter - with Sennheiser HD600 yesterday late at night, and just now - with Sennheiser HD 25 Adidas (but between HD 600 and HD 25 I replaced most compositions on the card).
Apparently it accentuates the strengths of each of the phones, - keeping the weaknesses bearable.
T5P was just amazing with Glenn Gould's piano recording and fine with the rest, HD 600 was fine with everything (lively, well paced, although 'compact' soundstage), and HD 25 had more PRaT than ever. On some compositions which employ early stereo tricks I could actually 'see' where and at what angle is placed the right side driver of T5P, - but that disappeared once the stereo mix was more natural. I do not recall this when using T5P with Fuze.
As for HD 25, if, as Charles wrote, PortaPro sounds much better than HD 25, I cannot wait to try Tera player with PortaPro!
Between HD 25 and Edition 8 (just switched back to them while listening to Salty Dog (single)), the latter are much more refined and ultimately more enjoyable, still HD 25 remain very involving. Laurie Anderson's Big Science sounds just lovely, again I prefer Edition 8, but I could live happily with HD 25 -- if I had not heard Edition 8, that is. Not to forget about comfort (HD 25 win in a gym, Edition 8 - everywhere else).
I tried to zero the 16 GB card, and it still is not working with the player - I will see if it works with other devices. Should I go for Lexar, or upmarket SanDisk, or different card size??? Let's hear waht Charles says to this.
I also asked him about a difference between the central and the right side headphone outputs, -- I seem to have a tiniest preference for the central one, but it's so elusive I'd rather think it is a placebo... is there any difference at all? (edit 2)
Finally I wonder if Charles keeps count of them?
It could be a good idea to number the Tera-Players by an engraving on one of the end pieces. I guess that wont take up too much place -- three digits may suffice for now. Or would it be still two digits??
But indeed I wish he made more of these, and I can (and will) recommend to anybody who wants no-frills top sound quality on the go (although the price is on the extravagant side, it is fine with me as long as I have not encountered similar (or better) performance for less money and in a package not exceeding 150% of Tera player's size).
I had written quite some nonsense about the outputs. Compared them again, – they are identical. So much for the potential effects of a placebo...
Tried the player with k 701, Denon D-2000 and PortaPro.
It is too quiet for K 701.
It would have been wonderful if that was not the case. K 701s really are demanding as regards a source and an amp. Trea-player almost does it – unless you are accustomed to certain loudness. An option at home & with higher level recordings? – but that would usually mean a limited dynamic range, therefore – no.
Just a no-go.
I almost rehabilitated D-2000.
Now I see [again] why those are so popular. Still they are not for me. Considerable step up in SQ compared to Sansas– but so were the other cans, so D-2000 still won't have a chance to be used. This just re-confirmed that I should sell them. Besides, D-2000s are not really portable. And that defies the purpose of getting the Tera-Player in the first place.
So no, there is no point.
PortaPro –now that is a mixed bag.
They drawbacks are obvious, and, once you are aware of those, it is really hard to shake the constant nibble. Their bass is overemphasised, and the mids get muddy and loose definition. Nevertheless there is something special going on, some kind of a synergy between Tera-Player and PortaPro.
I will listen more to this combination, and I guess I will try the mod as suggested by Charles sooner or later.
Edited by Rudolfs - 3/19/12 at 1:49am