Telefunken TH-140 Cappuccino Review
These IEMs would probably not have had any appeal on me and I would have passed them for another pair of cheap earphones if I had not have seen some of things people were saying about them, most noticeably, musica acoustics likening them to IEMs worth $200. In reality these can be purchased for £35 from Top Dog Headphones in the UK who also stock the rest of the range and I would like to thanks them for sending me this pair.
The set-up I have used is the normal, as I have started using a new portable rig, which is the Hippo CriCri amplifier connected through a LOD to an iPod Nano 3G with Apple Lossless and MP3 on it.
I also used my old set-ups of my iPhone 4, Cowon J3 (with FLAC) and my iMac with my Objective 2 amplifier. I also have paired these with a few other amps such as the MiuAudio MRB.
These are great looking IEMs and they have a housing built of resin which leaves every pair having a unique look to it from the beautiful caramel swirls to the metal front end. These are design conscious earphones and they sure do not disappoint!
The cable used is OFC copper and high quality inside but the plastic sheath that it uses is one that heavily annoys me and is also used in many other earphones. It likes to tangle, not lay straight and just never want to do what you ask of it. That being said the right-angled jack that it has is nice and thin allowing it easily access iPhone cases as well as still being strong with a good strain relief. It does lack a strain relief that makes the upper cable always twist and act very annoying.
The cables entry into the housing is through a stiff piece of plastic that is not the best strain relief but may help prevent anything major happen. The resin at the back of the housing along with the metal at the front makes for very solid housings indeed which look very professionally and neatly finished.
With the earphones you get a triangular clamshell case that has to little pouches inside and both looks great and function well offering protection and great size. The tips you get included are in two varieties. They all come in a small, medium and large size. One of the tips is a more thin and flimsy feeling one which does not get as tight a seal and the other one is like a sony hybrid and gets a tighter seal. Getting the two types of tips is a great idea and they are so different as tips you get two different sound signatures.
The do not have any major issues regarding fit although they nearing the wider side compared to may IEMs which are rather thin these days which stops them getting very deep. They are comfortable worn down but I like to wear over the ear to remove microphonics but the cable likes to all of your in this wear style but some ear hooks solves that! One last thing is at the beginning of wearing them the metal at the front can be a bit chilly on your ear.
These are a ported dynamic IEM that does not get too deep into your canal and this alone rules it out of living up to the tip isolating IEMs but I did wear this on an airplane and it was not unbearable, in fact very pleasant so I would not worry about isolation issues.
Microphonics (Cable Noise):
When worn down as intended these do have some problems in regards of cable and wind noise. The lack of a shirt clip or cable cinch does not help as well as the fact that wearing them other the ear is a struggle.
By what I am about to write I do not want to cause any upsets or arguments as this topic can be seen as a sour subject. These have had roughly 100 hours now of use and burn in combined. As burn in is not scientifically proven this all could be mental and happening in my head but in the case that it does happen I recommend burning them in as in my personal experience I have noted improvements which have a massive impact on my enjoyment factor, so don’t make any irrational decisions after listening to them out the box.
The sound quality has impressed me for the price that is for sure although I do have to say that musica acoustics were bigging them up just a bit too much. Now it is not a huge secret that tips to alter the sound of an earphone to quite big extents and these are a pair that really has large effects. With the Sony Hybrids they have a warm cozy sound that is pleasant and non fatiguing and tiled towards mid-bass. Now we use these with more flimsy and larger bored tips and the sound loses a lot of the bass, like a pair of earphones that have lost the seal but not quite completely so the bass is they’re but very subtle and it is now tight and punchy. The mids clean up a bit and have better present and everything is more linear and clear. However I will carry out the rest of the review with the hybrid clones as I think this was the sound that Telefunken were more aiming for and I can see why because it is very consumer friendly.
Soundstage and instrument separation:
The presentation is quite open (it will sound contradicting to the next bit but this is how I am hearing it, quite odd really) but the actual size of the soundstage is small, it not wide and it lacks serious height and depth. This is not big, terrible problem because it is something that plagues most IEMs under £100 but is still something to note. Imaging is not terrible in the soundspace due mainly to the driver speed being nice and these really doing a good job and instrument separating, never do I think the instruments sound conjoined or too close to one an other.
The bass is where the sound signature is orientated around but it is not a big uncontrollable mass of bass but more a nice warm and bouncy mid-bass that does have a slight hump. It is a bit loose with a fair sized body but it never really hits to hard and is no slouch in speed. It reminds me of the mid-bass of stage monitor like my ACS T2 or the Westone UM2 just a bit less detailed.
Getting into the sub bass and it gets far but I would say that it is slightly under the mid-bass. It has good rumble and presence nonetheless though and I would just say the texture is just a bit too rough and it could be smoother an more honest.
The midrange is one of the nicest things about these phones just because they are undeniably good. So many times does a IEM in the price range have this amount of bass and then a huge recession in the mids making everything sound muddy and horrible. Now the mids are behind the bass but they do not sound thin, distant, distorted or seem to have any sort of problems. They are always there and sound honest with good texture, far from thin but not thick or bloated. High mids have a slight tilt towards them that gives female vocals a tad more emphasis. Timbre is nice with guitar string sounding warm and lush while other instrument having good speed. It is nice to see a midrange done well behind a slightly boosted bass.
The treble is there to complete the package. It does nothing wrong and is nothing to extreme. The extension is probably not the best and people could ask for a bit more sparkle but no one would say they want less, which means it, works for most people, as some people are sensitive to different parts of the treble. It all sounds smooth and is never overshadowed.
These are certainly a top buy for £35 from topdogheadphones who currently sell them exclusively and these are now my pick for a sub £40 IEM. They sound great with such a wide range of music, pair well with any source or amp that I have paired them with and they come as a great package. I do not think you can go wrong with these.
Edited by Swimsonny - 1/1/13 at 10:19am