Altone 250 takes a step up in housing build, featuring a titanium housing. It is a nice package with plenty of different sized tips and a zipper case. The 250 comes with two detachable cables. One is a black cable with a universal single button microphone and remote. The other is a red cable with no microphone or remote. Both are made of the same springy cable as the other recently released Altone models.
The 250 is a mixed bag in terms of tuning. I will start by saying that out of all the Altone series, these were the most enjoyable sounding WITH AN EQ ADJUSTMENT. The Altone 250 reminded me of an older favorite in the Sidy DGS100. In fact, both earphones feature the same configuration of a single dynamic and single armature driver, and both have a very warm lower midrange and midbass forward tuning.
I could hear a lot of potential in the Altone hidden underneath what I can only describe as overwhelming midbass. with an EQ adjustment to tame these frequencies, I found them to be the most enjoyable of all the Altone series. To my ears the midrange and treble frequencies are great with just the right quantity and plenty of detail. If only the Dynamic drive could have been tuned to not be so forward, we would have a real winner here. If you have the Altone 250, give the eq adjustment a try, and I can almost guarantee you will be happy you did. These are a great earphone being overshadowed by a cloud of boom.
Cons - Perhaps too much of a good thing; bass and high end emphasis can be overpowering
This will be an extremely brief review. I had these headphones for about 4 days. The timing was not optimal for me; I was about to head out on vacation when these arrived. The question was whether I should request an few days of extended listening or just send these alone to the next reviewer. I opted for speeding the review process along.
Testing apparatus: I used a FIIO X3 Gen II for most of the listening, and then a X3 Gen I to see what happened when I used hardware tone controls to tame the bass and treble. I played rock and traditional jazz (Mingus, Miles Davis) on the units.
These headphones are great if you want a "V-Shaped" sound profile from your IEM units. That would mean a very strong, almost boomy bass and a very powerful high end response.
I would have preferred that T-Peos make some kind of changeable filters available. I did not care for the V-sound signature. The bass was simply too much for me.
A benefit of a bass heavy design is that the ear pieces do not have to be jammed into one's ear to get good bass response. Even though the headphones are fairly large, I found them surprisingly comfortable to wear.
I also found the high end signature too strong on more than 40% of the audio selections I chose.
I did try using the hardware EQ on the first generation FIIO X3. With both bass and treble turned down, I enjoyed these units somewhat more. However, my primary player (FIIO X3 Gen II) does not have hardware Q and the software based EQ is not functional on hi res files. So while adjusting tone controls was helpful, in my case that can only work a small portion of the time.
I think some people enjoy a V-shaped sound signature and they should consider these units. I would look carefully at what other headphones are used by those who write positive reviews of these units.
I suspect those will also be V-Shared in the sound profile.
Build quality seemed good. The cable had some microphonics; but that is relatively common to all IEM units so I would not hold that against these.
In short, by design, these headphone are not designed for my listening tastes. They may appeal to others. I think T-Peos should often replaceable tunable filters. I would use the "boring old person" if it was available for these. With all that bass on tap, a neutral sound signature could be interesting.
Pros - Detachable cables. Comfortable for long listening sessions (cable down). Fun sound!
Cons - Bass has a tendency to overshadow some of the mids and highs. No cable cinch.
T-PEOS is known for their creativity and at times unique sound. They have truly been pioneers in the hybrid market. This trend continues with their new (50) lineup including the Altone 250 which will be covered in this review. A few months ago I had the pleasure of reviewing T-Peos' first generation Altone 200 and while it admittedly was not perfect and it certainly has its detractors its sound jived with me really well. Today I am happy to give my thoughts on its successor the Altone 250. A special thanks to @CTCAudio and @nmatheis for including me in this review tour.
The accessories included here are what I would say are average at this price point. Being a part of a tour I did not receive the original packaging though it seems all of the included accessories were included if you look at the product page on CTC Audio. Included in the package are 2 cables one with a mic and controller and the other just standard (though a nice catchy red color). Also included are an average selection of tips 3 pairs of standard (S, M, L) black silicone tips as well as 3 pairs of red (S, M, L) silicone tips. T-Peos also tosses in a pair of premium comply TX-200 foam tips for those of us who really value comfort. You also receive a set of ear guides, a rather large shirt clip, and a soft zipper pouch that is to be used as a carrying case. Overall a decent offering for the price but nothing quite like the accessory packs offered by Dunu or Vsonic back in the day.
The build quality of the Altone 250s is quite nice as far as the housing is concerned. Consisting mostly of metal the earpieces themselves are somewhat heavy but not when compared to something like the Dunu DN-1000/2000. Cables, however, are less impressive. Microphonics is a slight issue and may bother some listeners though the shirt clip can alleviate that to a degree. Having heard from others on the tour about the terror of trying to wear these over the ear I did not attempt it myself. Cable down fit me comfortably and I had little issue listening to these for long periods of time. The silicone tips worked fine for me but I do wish that I had some complys on me to try during my review period. Alas, no... Anyways on to the sound of these bad boys.
Bass. That is the first and most prevailing thing running through my mind during my entire time with the Altone 250s. After having heard and reviewed its predecessor the Altone 200 I must admit i was pretty surprised at what I heard. Riding on the heels of its TWFK driver the 200s felt like a much brighter and detailed earphone. There was a clarity there that seems to be missing with the 250s. Yet that clarity has been amply replaced by the bass. Perhaps to a fault.
Bass on the 250s at times can be a little heavy and slow with a little bleeding into the midrange. However, this did not bother me as bad as I thought it would. In fact most of the time I was listening to these I almost forgot they were in there. I was able to simply sit back and enjoy the music.
Treble and perceived clarity were enough at this price point though there are certainly better options out there if that is what you are after. In fact treble was really a point that surprised me as the other T-Peos offerings I have heard have had much more of a treble spike. Not so with these. The mids as well were fine but nothing to brag too much about. I personally did not do much 'eq'ing with these but I know some have met with success by doing so. I tend to be more of a plug it in and go guy when it comes to portable IEMs such as the 250s.
Coming from that Dunu hybrids soundstage felt a little small. Though I imagine it is pretty average (maybe slightly below) at this price point. If you are looking for a big soundstage than i would look elsewhere.
Summing up the sound section: If you are looking for a fun sounding earphone with significant mid bass and decent sub bass than you may be pretty happy with the 250s. If you are looking for clarity or fast and accurate there are better options available at this price point and lower.
Once again T-Peos surprises me. Just when I think I have them figured out they change things up on me. I came into this expecting a slightly more refined and perhaps fuller sounding Altone 200. What I got is something that, to me, sounds significantly different than its predecessor. While this sound is not for me I can see it appealing to some. Yet I just cannot get over the feeling that other hybrids at this price point will produce a better sound for your money. Once again I am grateful to CTC Audio and @nmatheis for including me in the tour. It was an absolute pleasure.