Gavin was meeting a customer of his yesterday to deliver his 1+2 and T1 amp personally, and they very kindly invited me to come along. I got the chance to audition the 1+2, the FitEar ToGo 334, the Sennheiser IE 800, and a universal fit version of the UE 18 Pro. It was a very informative afternoon of coffee and playing with gear that I won't be able to afford for a (long) while.
I make no excuses about my preferred sound signature: I am an Etymotic fan through and through and my 2 pairs of ER4's get more use than anything else in my humble collection. Sure, I wouldn't mind having a tad more weight in the lower frequencies or a bigger sound stage, but I stick with them because I value "transparency" over everything else. I could never really get into the W4 because it felt veiled to me, for example.
Of the high end IEMs I tried yesterday, I have to say that the 1+2 appealed to me the most. I think Tralucent might have solved the whole "how many bores should we put in the nozzle" conundrum by sticking the TWFK in the tip itself. It just sounded very clear and and articulate to me - everything from top to bottom. While the IE 800 flat out did not impress me, I wouldn't go so far as to say that the 1+2 trumps the 334 or the UE 18 Pro completely. I can appreciate why these IEMs get the glowing reviews that they do. All I can say is that for my personal listening preferences, the 1+2 is right up my alley.
As for the ensuing debate about value, I reckon the 1+2 is a more than viable competitor in its price range considering its build quality, appearance and most importantly, sound. Make of that what you will though, because they are all priced beyond my personal financial means. I am definitely not going to question the value of something solely because I can't afford it though.
Just to put things into perspective, the customer who was buying the 1+2 and T1 (I only met him yesterday and I am not sure if it is okay for me blow his internet anonymity) liked what he heard so much that he asked Gavin to sell him a second pair of 1+2s because he bought a silver cable and a gold + silver cable and he didn't want to switch cables all the time for fear of damaging the cable sockets. In a move of poor salesmanship or good after sales service, depending on how you look at it, Gavin talked him out of buying a second pair and promised to take care of it should he have any problems cable sockets. The 1+2 was clearly great value to this man.
And to this mysterious customer, please make an account and post your thoughts already! I know you are reading this thread. You have way too much nice equipment and disposable income to remain a Head Fi lurker