The Altone 200 is the grandpa of the Altone line, but is also arguably the best sounding as well. They feature a metal housing and a fixed and more flexible cable with less spring and memory than the new models. They have a straight barrel design that fits very well and works looped over and hanging under the ear. They are a hybrid design that has a single dynamic and two armature drivers. Their accessories package is formidable with a zipper case and some foam and silicone tips.
The Altone is somewhat of a legend in its sound. It is what I would consider to be a slight V-signature. The bass is punchy, fast and robust. There is definitely more punch than rumble to my ears, not to say that it doesn’t have sub bass, but more that it isn’t the star of the show. Whatever midbass there is, it is very high resolution and not overdone whatsoever. I wouldn’t say the Altone 200 is warm, but it’s not cold either. It lies right in between, and yields an INCREDIBLE amount of detail and clarity that competes with any IEM out there, and this is their strongest and best attributes in my opinion. Treble is very responsive, crisp and with great separation, with their one shortcoming being that at louder volumes the treble has a spike that can become fatiguing. This is not an issue at lower volume and I really enjoy the Altone 200 for quieter listening sessions for this reason. Also, the 200 pairs very well with warm sources.
If I had to pick one of the Altone line to keep, and had to give the others away, this would arguably be the one I would keep. They really are a gem in terms of tuning, and they can be worn over and under the ear. Doing this write up rekindled my appreciation for them.
Disclaimer: First off, I would like to thank Jeremy from CTC Audio for the opportunity to review this wonderful hybrid. I was privileged to be able to be a part of the CTC Audio Product tour and I must say that this is an impressive product offering from T-Peos! The product in this review can be found here: http://ctcaudio.com/collections/in-ear-monitors-iems/products/t-peos-altone200-3way-hybrid-earphones
The T-Peos Altone 200 is a triple driver hybrid featuring a dual balanced armature (TWFK) and a single dynamic driver. Amazingly they were able to fit all of this in such a small casing! This combination of drivers provides the listener with a more than satisfying listening experience. Throughout this review I will make various comparisons with the two other hybrids I own: Dunu DN-1000 and Dunu DN-2000. So without further ado on to the review!
Specs:Drivers: Dual Balanced Armature (Knowles TWFK) + 8.0mm Single Dynamic Driver Impedance: 22 ohm / 1kHz Sensitivity: 105 dB / 1 kHz Power: 100 mW (Max) Frequency Response: 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz Connector: 3.5 mm / 24 K Gold plated L-Type Plug Cable: Round Cable 1.2 m / Y-Type Weight: 16 g Accessories: We will begin with perhaps the most (only?) disappointing part of the Altone package. The accessories are minimal but there is enough here to get the job done. At the original price point that many were getting these at ($125) this accessory pack would have been acceptable. However, at their current price it is about average (some would say less than average). The box is small and does an adequate job protecting and containing the accessories that are included. Inside the box we have an updated accessory package with a total of 7 pairs of tips. 3 pairs (S,M,L) of basic silicone tips, 3 pairs (S,M,L) of dual colored silicone tips, and finally one pair of foam tips, which look to be medium sized. Also included is a pair of standard ear guides for those who chose to wear these over the ear. The cotton zip-up pouch is great for portability but clearly not very heavy-duty protection. Build Quality: The build quality of the Altones is par for the course at this price point. After a few growing pains at the beginning of their lifecycle T-Peos seems to have worked out the kinks and it has resulted in a solidly built product. The left and right markings are not labeled ‘L’ or ‘R’ but are clearly represented by the blue and red indicators at the point the cable meets the drivers. Cable is solid with a good thickness and suppleness to it. Cable cinch is also now present in the updated packaging, which helps to improve the fit. Angled jack with appropriate strain reliefs help to provide a good experience for those who want to pocket their phone/DAP while listening to the Altones. Fit: The Altones are the smallest of the three hybrids that I have had the opportunity to listen to. As a person with smaller than average ears I am grateful for the smaller profile. Wearing them cable down is a breeze as I can pop them right in and achieve a seal without much trouble at all. Driver flex is not an issue and neither is microphonics. I began by using tips from my Dunu DN-1000s. However, after getting two tips stuck in my ear I decided to give the included tips a try. I found that the dual-colored small tips gave me a good seal just about every time. Just plug ‘em in your player and pop them in your ears and drift away to audio bliss. Sound: Now what really matters. The sound! As far as the sound T-Peos does not disappoint with the Altone 200. My first audiophile IEM was the Brainwavz B2 and it was love at first listen. I searched in vain for a couple years for an earphone that could give me the clarity of the B2 yet with a greater quantity of bass. My search is now over! That is exactly how I hear the Altone 200. Great clarity and great bass together in a perfect marriage. I would say that soundstage is above average at this price point and I was never disappointed in this area. However, you will probably hear again and again in this sound section about just how great the detail is on these monitors. Note: The Altone 200s I received were new and they have been used/burned in for around 40-50 hours. In that time changes were minimal (perhaps a small reduction in treble emphasis). • Bass: Bass on the Altones are slightly emphasized above neutral. Bass is tight and very controlled and does not bleed into the midrange. Both mid bass and sub bass are clearly present and yet not overbearing. Whether listening to EDM, rock, or anything in between I found that the Altones gave me just the right amount of bass that the music calls for. Never too much and rarely too little for my tastes. Quantity and quality both punch way above this price point (even with their recent price increase). It truly is remarkable what T-Peos has done with this tuning. Other than the clarity and details the bass was easily my favorite part of these great IEMs. Compared to the Dunu DN-1000 the Altones have quite a bit less bass but it is tighter and more controlled. Bass really seems to be a matter of preference here between these two earphones. The Dunus have more quantity yet quality would probably go to the Altones. • Mids: As one would expect mids are done very well. When called for mids can be pleasantly smooth. For me the mids do not particularly stand out which can be a good thing. I notice the bass and treble quite a bit more. I noticed the mids most prominently when listening to alternative and softer rock music. The clarity really shines here especially in the upper mids and this makes progressive rock band Dream Theater really shine. While there are other IEMs out there that place a greater focus on mids you still will not find much better than these. • Highs: Highs are another shining star for these monitors. Clarity, Clarity, and more clarity. I have long had a deep love for crystal clear sound and these deliver in spades. Cymbal clashes have just the right decay so that the music does not lag behind. While I don’t listen to a lot of metal I can see these working great for that genre. Although if you listen to your music at loud volumes and are treble sensitive you may need to be weary during certain songs. I found it slightly fatiguing to listen to these loudly with certain genres for long periods of time. Not really enough to worry about however. Sibilance was not really an issue for these and I only noticed it on poor recordings or when it was naturally present in a particular song. Overall Sound (And Comparisons): Overall this will be the sound that many are looking for. A fantastic IEM at a great price that brings hifi clarity with rich and tight bass. I could see myself very happy with these for the long haul. Below is a comparison of the Altone 200s with the other Hybrids currently in my possession. • Altone vs. Dunu DN-1000: o Originally there was quite a price difference between these two. Yet now they are just about the same in price. Those looking for absolute clarity and details will want to go with the Altones. Yet if you value bass and soundstage over clarity than you are going to enjoy the Dunus a little more. I did a lot of comparison with these two and found that I really enjoyed both of these and it just depended on the mood I was in as to which one I would listen to at the time. · Altone vs. Dunu DN-2000: o I received the Dunus at the same time that I received the Altones. It made for one of the best packages I have ever got in the mail! Admittedly I prefer the higher end Dunus more. Yet the Altones really hold their own here. I would give the clarity and comfort overall to the Altones. However, mids and bass and build quality go to the Dunus. Yet at almost double the price that is to be expected.
Comfort: Altone > DN-1000 > DN-2000
Clarity: Altone > DN-2000 >DN-1000
Bass Quantity: DN-1000 > Dn-2000 > Altone
Bass Tightness: Altone ≥ DN-2000 > DN-1000
Mids: DN-2000 >>>DN-1000=Altone
Fullness of Sound: DN-2000 > DN-1000 > Altone
Soundstage: DN-2000 > DN-1000 > Altone
Conclusion: These truly are fantastic and I am absolutely thrilled that I had the opportunity to get these in for review. T-Peos seems to really be hitting their stride and if they can continue to offer this type of sound at these low prices other companies are in for some stiff competition. I also feel like they are making a great move in making their great products available through authorized dealers in North America like CTC Audio. This will surely help their products to get into more hands. Great job T-Peos and thanks again CTC Audio for the opportunity to review this quality product.
Cons - Nothing glaring at all...sparse package I suppose...
Once upon a time, I was a scruffy young gentleman, wandering the United Kingdom, far, far away from home and living out of a backpack. My roots were third-world, simple and rural, and the marvels of the first world still made me gape and feel awed.
The fancy boutiques in London, the trendy kids all decked out in crazy, hip clothes…but most of all, the music shops. Every town I wandered through had one, and each was curated by the same vaguely academic looking miscreant, with stubble and clothes just as scruffy as mine Inside were always racks upon racks of used CDs. This was pre-the now-unstoppably-pervasive internet for me. I spent all of my spare time in these stores, and frequently surrendered laundry money to them for that ever-elusive album by whoever I was listening to at the time. It was an era of beautiful musical discovery for me.
Fast forward a couple of years (well, almost two decades), and here I am in Southern California. Taking stock, I will freely admit to still being a little scruffy. I am no longer quite able to call myself a young gentleman without a sarcastic smirk crossing my face. I no longer discover music in quite the same way though. Obtaining it is still an adventure, but listening to it….that’s the new angle.
Headphones have changed my appreciation for production, artistry, and recording. At first I was simply a Grado-head….but through a little discussion and some kind sharing from a certain gentleman (@EmpJ) at CTC, I have started to dip my toes into the wonderful world of IEMs. I have no neutral vs. colored agenda. I am not particularly loyal to a format. I even, heaven forefend, sometimes deign to listen to mp3 files if I can’t find anything better. I will listen to anything really, but have a bent for jazz. I also compulsively look for the link back to jazz in modern electronic and world music as well as vintage blues.
Now that my long and self-absorbed preamble is done, let’s cut to the chase. CTC kindly sent me, as the second IEM for me to try out, the T-Peos Altone 200. The first was the HSA E212. The difference was like leaving Johannesburg airport and landing in Heathrow. I was very pleasantly surprised by the variance between the two. Given one is a single driver, dynamic, and the other a triple driver hybrid, I suppose, in retrospect I shouldn’t be too astonished. But for those out there in the realm of single-driver IEMs wondering if its worth the jump to something a little more high-end, I would like to say “…yes…it appears to be a notable shift…”
I used the T-Peos with my FiiO X5 (with the E12 amp and without). I also tried it out with the Clip +, an iPhone 5 and my old iPod Touch (1[sup]st[/sup] gen). I compared it to the Monoprice 8320, the HSA E212, my trusty old Yuiin PK3 earbuds, my Blox M2C, and my collection of Grados (all re-cupped in wood), as well as my newly acquired ZMF V1 (modified Fostex T50rp).
With the X5/E12, there was a significant amount of hiss. This hiss was also noticeable with the iPod Touch and barely there with the Clip +. With the Clip + it went away magically whenever the music played….even in quiet passages. It was not present at all in the iPhone 5 or with the X5 on its own, via its headphone out. Naturally I gravitated toward the X5 and the iPhone for all of my listening as a result.
The sound they put out is detailed and even-handed. It is delightfully crisp. With the X5 they sound brilliant…the bass is impactful, not overwhelming at all. Detail is ALL there. You hear decay on piano notes, bass strings, etc…and for those looking for crunchy, sexy guitar, yes it was there when I ran through some obligatory Hendrix…Instrument placement isn’t mind-blowing, but it is good.
Below are my listening notes, such as they are. I will say that the Altones are definitely worth all the hype they get. They make listening from an iPhone on the go pleasurable, and they do very nicely straight out of a decent player. They come with my heartiest recommendations.
(iPod Touch) Kenny Dorham “Quiet Kenny”
(Clip +) Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers “Moanin’ (RVG Edition)”
(X5) Aphex Twin “Syro”
(X5) Furtwangler, Philharmonia Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Choir “Beethoven Symphony No. 9”
(iPhone 5) the Beta Band ‘the 3 E.P.s”
(iPhone 5) Jimi Hendrix “Experience Jimi Hendrix”
(iPhone 5) Rodriguez “Cold Fact” –A little shrill and harsh…could be the recording…
All files 16/44 FLAC, except on iPhone 5. Amazon Music app (256kbps I believe….not sure).
Accessories: A pair of ear guides, a shirt clip, a little pouch thing and 7 pairs of tips.
Build Quality: Very good. The buds are metal and feel very solid.
Isolation: For a dynamic in there it’s very good. It’s about as close to a BA as a dynamic really gets. Still not one I’d want for a daily Tube commute but would be more than easily sufficient for normal or on a bus use. As ever, easily enough to get yourself run over if you don’t look where you’re going.
Comfort/Fit: Very good on both fronts. Up or down it was a shove in ear and done. I’d be surprised if anyone had issues with them.
Aesthetics: Quite nice. They are metal and shiny but nothing visual especially stands out in anyway.
Sound: All detail, all the time and right in your face with a distinct sense of urgency about it. Like a puppy that’s wildly running in circles and going wild because there is a stick it needs you to notice. It is all of the energy, all of the excitement, all of the wild dynamism and all of the time. Not unlike its kin the 100II but the additional mid driver in here makes the mids vastly more abundant and better. WAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!! If ever was an IEM I feel might benefit from a valium it’s probably this one. If you hate even the thought of boring then you could be onto a winner with this one. The bass is exceedingly taught and punchy. It’s a bit rounded and the extension isn’t stellar but with its party punch at work you’ll never mind it so. The mids are up front and centre, its comparable in quantity to the lows and highs but hyperactively open and clear sounding. If anything it’s all over explicit. Highs are excitable and crisp and wildly shimmery, excellent detail levels but again so achingly and hyperactively explicit about everything. Pair with a bright amp and crap bit rates and you will regret it. Feed it warmth and excellent quality tracks then just watch in wonder as every tiny detail comes hurling to life before you.
Value: Superb detail, but so wildly exuberant it may not suit all and not as generalist as things like the GR07 or DN-1000. This however is definitely one for the adrenalin junkies but maybe not so much for lovers of smooth and serene. Jaw dropingly good value.
Pros - a bright detailed sound, amazing bass quality and quantity, excellent build
Cons - gets a bit too bright in lower treble
This is a review of T-Peos Altone 200 3-way hybrid premium in-ear headphones. http://www.t-peos.co.kr (ordering info found in: http://www.head-fi.org/t/726736/t-peos-announce-closing-preorder-of-altone200-and-start-official-sale)
After reviewing a lot of single and multi-driver dynamic and balanced armature (BA) headphones, the next logical step for me was to look into hybrid in-ear headphones. Actually, in the past I tested a 2-way hybrid pair from another vendor, but wasn't too impressed with its tuning. Other multi-driver hybrid models I found to be too pricey, until I came across T-Peos announcement of their new Altone 200 model (VERY reasonably priced at $125 plus shipping for 3-way hybrid). T-Peos is a well known and highly respected company that delivered a number of hybrid headphones in the past, and now decided to introduce a more affordable 3-way Altone 200 based on their flagship H-300 model. With a dual BA driver to cover the upper frequency content and dynamic driver for low end side of the spectrum, the design of Altone 200 really captured the best of both worlds. Here is what I found.
Arrived in a very compact packaging box, you get a glimpse of these beauties through a small display window and can get acknowledged with specification and list of accessories on the back. In addition to headphones itself, the accessories include 2 types of eartips in S/M/L sizes (regular silicone and bi-color hybrid type), a pair of foam tips, a pair of earhook wire guides if you choose to wear these with a wire over the ear, a shirt clip, and a soft zipper case. I pay close attention to headphone cases, and this one happens to be very unique and with minimal protection. But as soon as you pick up Altone 200 shells in your hands you realize why you need such a light protection - these headphones are built like a tank! And yet, they are so small and lightweight that you can't help but ask yourself a question: how in a world was T-Peos able to squeeze in a dual BA driver and another dynamic driver in there?!?
Made out of what appears like steel and/or aluminum material with a machined finish, the earpieces look stunning and actually not as heavy as I expected it to be (only 16g). You will find a pinhole port at the base of the nozzle for sound shaping control and another one at the back of the shell for soundstage/air control. Strain relief is short but very sturdy, and actually color coded with blue and red (for Right side). Cable shielding is round and flexible enough for hassle free storage as well as being soft enough for over the ear shape fitment (even without guides) with assistance of chin-slider (cable cinch) to keep it tucked in better. Y-splitter has a matching brushed alloy finish with a short strain relief, and cable is terminated with a right angle gold plated 3.5mm connector with a durable strain relief. Overall, it was probably one of the better cables I have seen with a perfect balance of durability, thickness, and flexibility to keep it manageable and tangle free.
Though the looks and the build are important, for me a sound has a higher priority! Ironically, a few months ago I reviewed two pairs of headphones from another company, one with a dynamic driver and the other one with dual BA, and in a conclusion I made a comment that I wish those would be combined in our pair of headphones. Well, my wish has been granted in a form of Altone 200. You get a very detailed bright sound with a slamming bass in overall slightly v-shaped sound signature. But what impressed me the most was the surgical precision of the bass and upper mids/treble separation. It's almost like you are dealing with a sealed chamber design for each group of drivers combined at the nozzle - the layering/separation of the sound was among the best I ever heard. But at the same time, I have to warn you that if you are not a fan of bright vivid sound signature, these might be not exactly your cup of tea, though with some patience and creative tip rolling (switching between different eartips) you can actually fine tune the sound without even touching EQ setting.
Starting with a bass, which T-Peos got down to perfection, you get a deep sub-bass rumble with a fast mid-bass punch that all together is well controlled and very natural in timbre. Though you are dealing with an enhanced quantity, it's not overpowering and doesn't spill into lower mids. Once you cross that dynamic driver threshold, now you are in a land of dual BA drivers with a bright detailed presentation and crystal clarity of upper mids and crisp extended treble. As I mentioned before, yes it can get a bit too bright and uncomfortable for extended listening period, but playing around with a narrow width opening eartips or the eartips that will extend beyond the nozzle to cover that pinhole opening or Comply Foam eartips - you will be rewarded with a pure audiophile quality sound. Once you settle on the perfect pair of eartips and adjust the volume to a comfortable level to bring mids more upfront, the sound will surround you with a decent width/depth of the soundstage. These don't require a use of an amp, Altone 200 is easily driven directly from your DAP or a smartphone. Also, I didn't hear any microphonics effect.
Overall, this is a true gem for anybody who values details and clarity in their sound and don't want to compromise the bass quantity. I have tested a number of dual BA driver IEMs in the past, and noticed a pattern of great bright details with a common problem of neutral bass quantity, but not in case with Altone 200 sound. Considering 3-way hybrid design, a very durable build, and a sound signature that captures the best of both dynamic and BA worlds - these headphones have a great price/performance ratio for under $150 shipped and definitely worth looking into if you value a premium sound quality!
Cons - Rather simple accessories, but not a real issue at its price.
The Korean company really needs no introduction at this point. They have proven themselves as a capable IEM maker with a series of top of the line hybrid as well as some good sound yet budget friendly dynamic IEM. The new Altone 200 is the continuation of the company’s hybrid line of IEM, with a never-heard-of price point nonetheless. The best part? You are not getting lesser of SQ just because you are paying a cheap price.
Driver Units: Knowles' TWFK Double Balanced Armature + 8.0mm Single Dynamic Unit
Impedance: 22 ohm @ 1 kHz
Sensitivity: 105 dB @ 1 kHz
Power: 100 mW (Max)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz
Connector: 3.5 mm / 24 K Gold coated L-Type Plug
Cord: PVC Round 1.2 M / Y-Type
Weight: 24 g
MSRP: USD$145 + USD$20 EMS Shipping
Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
Since you are not getting lesser of a SQ, something else will have to give. In this case, the packaging is definitely not quite matching what the IEM can do. Same can be said to the accessories department as well. All you’ll get are the fairly basic silicone eartips of various size, a soft case, a pair of foam and a shirt clip. Not nearly as elaborate as the previous top model we have seen from T-PEOS, but I won’t really complain at this kind of price. The overall design is also simplified, where the removable cable design is, well, removed. But the overall build quality is still very solid, considered that the housing is still mainly made out of stainless steel like much of T-PEOS’s line-up. The good thing about the simplified design is that the earpieces are probably one of the smallest among all triple driver hybrid IEM, which is definitely not a bad thing comfort wise.
The sound signature of Altone 200 is warm and slightly sweet with very mild U-shaped frequency response. Bass reaches down deep, with just a small touch of rumble and quantity enough for most except for the most hardcore of basshead. Mid range is just a tab recessed compared to bass, though still retains quite a good amount of sweetness and texture while at the same time places the vocal just far enough to give good spaciousness but not enough to distance it from the listener. Treble reaches up quite well, but the upper extension is just a tab smooth and some of the top-end sparkle is missing. However, it still retains enough detail that you will almost never notice any missing of detail unless you are just switching from a bright and analytical set of headphone. Soundstage is fair. If its older brother the H-200 has a 3[sup]rd[/sup] row seat in a theatre, I reckon Altone 200 is more like a 2[sup]nd[/sup] row seat. It is not right in the face but you can certainly still feel the intimacy.
For the most part, the new Altone 200 is different from the older model (i.e. H-100 and H-200) in the sense that it exhibits the least ‘grand and open’ of a presentation, but not in a bad way. It is more upfront and intimate, and you probably won’t notice it as a 3 ways hybrid if you were not told. Those who don’t like the T-PEOS’ more V-shaped and opened sound in the past will more likely going to find Altone 200 enjoyable while those who do like the old sound signature shouldn’t feel abandoned either. While Altone 200 does have a more versatile sound signature that should better suited for different listening style and genre of music, the difference however doesn’t make Altone 200 a vastly better or worst sounding IEM when compared to the older flagship H-200. As with most IEM of this high calibre, you are really just looking (or listening, to be more precise) for the minute difference in presentation and how it fits to your taste rather than flaws in pure technical sense. It is more of an evolution of tuning, as opposed to a revolution of sound quality.
T-PEOS has made top quality IEM in the past, and continues so with the new Altone 200 – no surprise there. The true smasher here is however on the price. With a fraction of its competitors’ price, you are getting a tremendous amount of bang-for-the-bucks with an IEM that can compete in the top-tiers’ category. That’s, in every sense of the word, budget Hi-Fi at its best.
Pros - Excellent sound quality, very comfortable, and admireable build quality at a price that will not break the bank.
Cons - Lower treble emphasis may not be ideal for some...
T-PEOS is at it again… this time with the intention of pleasing the consumer market by offering an excellent sounding earphone without breaking the bank. The Altone 200 is the latest 3-way Hybrid Design adopted from their flagship IEM, the H-300. To achieve their goal, the main components such as the dynamic and balanced armature drivers are kept intact but extra features such as removable cables and premium accessories were excluded. Fortunately, the build quality of the IEM casing is excellent! Made from aluminium and steel with a superb smooth finish. The best part is how small and light these IEMs are… they can be easily inserted and stay comfortably in your ears. As for the most important question: how is the sound quality? Well let’s find out! T-PEOS was kind enough to send me a review unit and so here I am to share my first hand experience with the Altone 200.
NOTE: I did not receive the final retail packaging, so a few photos were taken from other sources.
SETUP: Colorfly C3 > JDS Labs C5D
iMac 2011 > JDS Labs C5D
Using Comply TS200 foam tips.
Dr. Chesky’s Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc
Dream Theater - Greatest Hit (…and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs)
Pantera - Cowboys From Hell
Tool - Lateralus
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Avicii - True
Adele - 21
Tina Turner - Greatest Hits
Jewel - Greatest Hits
Janet Jackson - Greatest Hits
Nirvana - In Utero
Bryan Adams - So Far So Good
Michael Jackson - Bad (Remastered)
This could possibly be the final retail packaging. Photo courtesy of H20fidelity.
BASS: I’m a self-confessed fan of T-PEOS bass and the Altone 200 is no different. The bass performance was a big step-up on the H-300 and I’m glad that the quality is just as good with this new hybrid. The only minor differences are the decay, which is a bit quicker and the air is a bit lesser with the Altone 200. I reckon the smaller casing is a factor for these differences and whether anyone would prefer one over the other is a matter of preference. If the H-300 is Batman, the Altone 200 is Robin (Dick Grayson)… not as brawny as Batman yet more agile and charismatic. I say “charisma" because the bass quantity is perfect for almost all kinds of genre. Extends deep, with appropriate sub-bass rumble and a natural timbre to match. Its impact and slam are forces to be reckoned with, so visceral that they'll keep you entertained especially with heavy metal and electronic music. I am confident in claiming that its bass is one of, if not the best in detail I’ve heard from an IEM. Listening to Daft Punk’s Giorgio by Moroder (05:24 - 08:44) exhibits Altone 200’s bass prowess, a feat one could not simply ignore.
MIDS: What’s remarkable about the midrange is its totally free of bass bleed despite the boosted bass. The transition between mid-bass and the lower midrange is seamless enough that I don’t get distracted by coherence issues. Vocals may sound a bit far back in the background when listening at low volume. Increase the volume and the Altone 200 will surprise you with detail and clarity. The key is to find the volume sweet spot; only then the smooth, clear, and detailed midrange is realised. In my experience, the Altone 200 sounds at its best around 50%-55% volume on iPod Touch 5th Gen or 25-30 volume on the Colorfly C3. Male vocals are rendered smoothly while female vocals are a bit lifted. Guitars sound really good with accurate thickness and a little bit of edginess for that added crunch… perfect for heavy metal, rock, jazz, and acoustic. Clarity is among the best I’ve heard while timbre is just slightly on the thin side and really only noticeable during a volume matched A/B comparison with the Noble 4. The Altone 200 is far from a mid-centric sound signature yet it’s not far behind in overall midrange performance. The balance between bass and midrange is impressive and the fact that it’s being compared to the Noble 4 is already quite an accomplishment.
HIGHS: T-PEOS is known for emphasised lower treble and its definitely one of the distinct characteristics in the T-PEOS house sound. The Altone 200 stays true to its origin and I’m happy to report that the lower treble emphasis is more controlled and refined than any of the previous models. Cymbals sound quite natural but can sometimes be brighter than normal depending on the recording. Sibilance is only an issue if it already exists in the mixing/mastering of the track. Honestly, I did not encounter any issues with high quality recordings even if the genre calls for a brighter than normal sound signature. Resolution is probably the best in this price range where micro-detail is easily heard and better than most mid-tier IEMs. Overall, I’m quite happy with the treble this time around… a lot better than any of the previous models. If I were to nit pick, a little more emphasis on the upper treble will be perfect. There’s a bit of a roll-off but fortunately, micro-detail and airiness are still there. Not vividly perfect but certainly good enough and nothing a simple EQ can't solve. PLEASE NOTE: I used Comply TS200 for this review and results may slightly differ with various types of tips.
TheREDstrain relief is a nice touch to distinguish between right and left earpieces.
IMAGING AND SOUNDSTAGE: Soundstage is wider than average and can easily be improved with a slight EQ bump in the upper treble. What I like about the soundstage is that the width varies accordingly to the track being played. If the track calls for it, the Altone 200 will certainly deliver. Not as expansive as the Dunu DN-1000 but certainly not far behind either. Imaging remains exemplary comparable to previous flagship models like the H-300. Instruments are well placed with near accurate distances within the soundstage that is quite immersive. Impressive I must say considering that this is almost a budget IEM.
CONCLUSION: I’ve been looking forward to the day when T-PEOS finally releases a product that’ll satisfy my sound preference. I was spoilt by the H-200, thrilled by the H-300, and now satisfied with the Altone 200. I cannot stress enough how happy I am with the direction T-PEOS is heading. The Altone 200 is proof that these guys take customer feedback seriously and then strive to exceed expectations. Good on you T-PEOS! Special thanks to Sunggoo Kwon of T-PEOS for the review unit and @H20Fidelity for his contributions in the development of Altone 200.
Pros - Vivid and clear presentation, captivating bass, stellar build, fit, value
Cons - Sparse accessory package (but not expected to be better considering value), blue foam tips too easy to come off in ear.
For larger views of any of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images
SWP Shinwoo (http://swpshinwoo.com/) is a Korean electronics company founded in 1986 who started developing earphones in 2012, changed their company name to T-Peos in 2013, and at the same time launched their first 3 way hybrid IEMs. Their focus is on quality (reading their website is impressive), and it shows in their latest product release – the T-Peos Altone200.
Until recently I did not know a lot about T-Peos or their product range – just a little information following the release of their H200 and H300 hybrid designs. I followed the reviews of my Australian “cousins” (H20 Fidelity, djvkool, D marc0, Loquah and others), envious of their proximity and ability to organise product tours – and wishing I wasn’t quite so isolated at my location - in the deep south of New Zealand.
The first I really heard about the Altone200 was a PM from Mr Sunggoo Kwon of T-Peos, saying that he had contact from Luke (H20 Fidelity), and was wondering if I would like to sample and review their latest offering. I accepted gratefully – and the Altone200 duly arrived from Korea a little over a week ago. I just want to take this opportunity to thank both Luke (for suggesting me) and Sunggoo (for the opportunity).
In the last week I have split my time between assessing and reviewing the Brainwavz S5, and also getting to know the Altone200. For the last 3 days I have listened to the Altone200 almost exclusively – and it has been a very pleasurable experience. To say that I am highly impressed would be one of the major understatements of the year! I’d estimate that so far I’ve logged around 30-40 hours with the Altone200.
I’ve listed price at USD $125.00 (normal list price exclusive of freight) – however this is not what I paid for them (they are a review sample). I will definitely be contacting T-Peos to offer payment for the Altone200 – simply because it’s one of the best sounding IEMs I’ve personally heard in the last 3 years.
EDIT : I paid T-Peos USD 125.00 for the Altone200s today. Although I could have simply kept them as a review unit with payment, I wanted to make sure i did pay for them - simply because the Altone200 has become my go-to pair of IEMs. Have since been told by Sunggoo that they are in fact sending me a 2nd pair - the first were a gift - and I am grateful, but also pleased that I have paid for these.
I was provided the T-Peos Altone200 initially as a review sample. I am in no way affiliated with T-Peos - and this review is my honest opinion of the Altone200. I would like to thank (again) Sunggoo for making this opportunity available.
PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)
I'm a 47 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portable (Fiio X5, and iPhone4) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP). My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD600, Beyer T1 and DT880. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs - and up till now it has mainly been with the Dunu DN-1000 (and more recently also the Brainwavz S5 and RockJaw Alfa Genus). A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).
I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced. I am neither a bass nor treble head (you could argue that I do like clarity though). I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the DT880.
For the purposes of this review - I used the Altone200 straight from the headphone-out socket of my Fiio X5, and iPhone 4. Sadly I did not log enough hours with the Studio V3, as I sold it very recently (miss it already). I did not amp them, as IMO they do not benefit from additional amplification. In the time I have spent with the Altone200, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (I do not believe in 'night and day' burn-in). Unlike a lot of other IEMs, I fell in love with the Altone200’s signature from day 1 – and that has not diminished over the last week. I will respect others choice if they believe in physical burn-in, but I am yet to experience it.
This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
Front of retail box
Rear of retail box - X5 adjacent for perspective
The Altone200 arrived in a quite small (by today’s standards) spartan black and white retail box – with an inner plastic moulded container housing the IEMs and a small inner box covering the accessories.
Inner box exposed
Altone200 + accessories
The packaging is utilitarian and very much no frills – and you would be forgiven thinking that this is simply a budget line of earphones. The retail box doesn’t really have any catch phrases or marketing ‘hooks’ – simply stating the Altone200 to be a 3 way hybrid. In very small letters toward the bottom of the box is the mysterious phrase “comfortable wearing, hit on the sound”. T-Peos could not be more understated. On the rear of the box is a list of the specifications and accessories. The only thing that I found slightly confusing was the reference to an in-line mic and controller – so I guess the box may have been used for an alternate line previously – or is a work-in-progress.
The accessory package (like the packaging) is also ‘limited’ – consisting of a card (warranty?) written in Korean, a set of 3 silicone tips (S,M,L) a set of blue foam tips, a shirt clip, and a soft carry case.
Tips and short clip
Tips and short clip
Whilst the carry case is a soft mesh (single pocket and zip), what I love about it is the ability to slip it into any pocket. It doesn’t offer the greatest protection – but T-Peos built the Altone200 so well, that IMO (as long as you wind the cord carefully), they only need minimal protection anyway. So what you get is the perfect slim-line portable solution. I love it.
Carry case comparison - Altone200 is bottom left
Carry case comparison - Altone200 is bottom left
Dual Knowles TWFK BA + 8mm Single Dynamic
22 ohm / 1 kHz
105 dB / 1kHz
20 Hz – 20kHz
3.5mm right angle gold coated plug
1.2m PVC sheath over OFC Copper
I have requested this information – but not sure if it is available. If it becomes available, I will re-edit the review and add the information later. For the record – I’m expecting a mild V shape with relatively neutral, or very marginally north of neutral bass (well extended though), relatively flat (maybe slightly recessed lower mid-range, slightly forward upper mids and lower treble, and clear and extended upper treble.
Edit : Frequency graph attached - raw data but (thankfully) mirrors my original expectations.
The Altone200 has a cylindrical but quite petite bullet style body made from a combination of stainless steel and aluminium. My sample is extremely well machined and very smooth. The body measures approx. 19mm in length from the bass to the filter at the tip, and has a diameter of approx. 10mm (it is really petite). I’d love to see the internals, as I’m quite intrigued as to how they got dual BAs and a dynamic into such a tiny frame.
Altone200 excellent build quality
Rear of Altone200
The nozzle stem is only approx. 5mm in length, but the lip is well designed, and I’ve had no issues with the included silicone tips or my preferred comply T400s. Unfortunately this does not extend to the blue foam tips included – which came off repeatedly in my ear. Trying my Monster Super Tips had similar issues with not staying on the nozzle.
Top view of mesh filters
Comply T400s fitted
The strain relief from the IEM housing is short but relatively rigid rubber moulded onto the housing. It could perhaps be a little longer but should do the job well enough. I would advise not adjusting the fit via the cable though (just in case) – always use the body of the IEM. The right ear piece body is marked with a small “R” (nothing on the left body) – but IMO this is not an issue, as T-Peos cleverly coloured the right strain relief red, so it is very easy to distinguish the two (the left strain relief is black). There is a small port/vent on the back of each body.
Cable Y split and cinch
Right angled 3.5mm plug
The cable is a 1.2m in length copper cable in an outer PVC sheath. It seems pretty solid, and doesn’t have a lot of microphonics – just some “bounce’ when jogging if I don’t have the cable tucked away properly. The cable has a cinch (neck slider) above the Y split – and it is very well implemented. It is quite small but holds its position well. The Y split is small and has relief at both ends.
The 3.5mm plug is 3 pole, right angled (this is my preference), gold plated for conductivity, and has very good strain relief.
Overall the build quality is stellar – especially at this price point.
FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well. I initially tried the included large silicone tips, and they actually fit pretty well. They were also quite comfortable. I also tried my trusty pair of Monster Super Tips (dense foam that almost always give me a complete seal). They also fit very well – but simply aren’t quite as comfortable as my preferred Comply T400s (plus they had an issue coming off the nozzle when removing the IEMs). The T400s fit perfectly, and I’ve had no issues with tips coming off. All of the tips I tried gave me reasonably good sonic results with only small changes to the overall sound.
Altone200 with T400 Comply tips
Altone200 with T400 Comply tips
Isolation with the T400s fitted is slightly better than average (nowhere near Shure’s almost perfect isolation – but reasonably effective), and I think they’d be good enough for long distance air travel (yet to try it). Because of their small profile (when worn they do not extend past the ear) so I have no issues at all sleeping with the Altone200. They would rank up there as one of the more comfortable IEMs I’ve worn – especially with the T400s
So what does the Altone200 sound like, and did they “wow” me ……… ?
The following is what I hear from the Altone200. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my Fiio X5 as source.
Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.
Thoughts on General Signature If I was to describe the signature in one word – I’d chose the word “vivid” – maybe “captivating” would also cover it.
I’m finding the Altone200 to be relatively balanced across the audio spectrum with beautifully extended bass, a slight dip in the lower mids, and boost in the upper mids and lower treble (but not excessive for my taste). This combination gives an extremely clear and articulate sound with fantastic bass slam that shows up when it’s needed, but remains firmly in the background when not required. The forward upper mids and treble definitely lend to a brighter sound signature – but I’m finding it pretty smooth. So far the only sibilance I’ve encountered has been on tracks where I know it is present.
Overall Detail / Clarity For this I always use both Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” and Dire Strait’s “Sultans of Swing” as there is a lot of micro detail in both tracks, and the recording quality for both is excellent.
The Altone200’s detail retrieval is simply incredible, and to me it sounds similar to my Beyer T1 – but the Altone200 is not quite as bright, and has far richer bass with both tracks. With Gaucho, the sax intro is simply heavenly – and although the overall presentation is definitely on the brighter side of neutral, there is no hint of peakiness. Cymbals in this track usually sit delicately behind the vocals and other instruments, and the Altone200 performs beautifully here. Everything sits exactly where it should be. What I love about listening to this track with the Altone200 is the contrast between the deadly accurate beat on the snare, the deeper punctuation on the bass, and then over the top there is the clarity of vocals, sax, and guitar.
Switching to Sultans of Swing, and once more the speed and clarity of the bass is stunning. Contrast that with the crunch of Knopfler’s guitar, and the coherency of the track just really sings. Detail is just incredible – but it’s not isolated to the upper-mids and treble. Everything about the track is exceptionally clear – and for a want of a better word – vivid. The contrast throughout the frequency range is intoxicating, and the music just seems incredibly alive. Separation of every instrument is excellent, and there is no evidence of smearing on any track I’ve listened to so far.
Sound-stage & Imaging For this I use Amber Rubarth’s binaural recording “Tundra”. I use this because it’s a pretty simple way to get comparative data on sound-stage.
It’s usually difficult to get a reasonable stage size from an inner ear monitor. The stage is often quite small / close – with an average impression of space. The Altone200 does give more of a sense of space than most typical IEMs, showing good width with this track. It doesn’t quite have the overall staging of Dunu’s DN-1000 but it’s better than most IEMs I’ve tried recently. Directional cues are once again excellent – so for a value priced triple hybrid its imaging is very good.
I also used Loreena McKennitt’s “Dante’s Prayer” and the Altone200 once again gave a captivating performance. The sense of space is nowhere near what can be exhibited on full sized headphones, but it’s not overbearingly intimate, and there are some directional cues present. In this track, the applause at the end is so well presented that with some headphones (HD600) I can actually close my eyes and imagine myself in the crowd. With the Altone200, the clapping does take me into the audience – and there is a sense of space. Bravo T-Peos.
Bass Quality This review could not be complete without mentioning both the quality and quantity of the bass on the Altone200. This (to me) is how bass should be presented - particularly on an IEM. Listening to Zoe Keating’s “Escape Artist” (Zoe plays Cello – and has a Bandcamp site – definitely worth looking her up!), and the cello’s depth and timbre is just rendered beautifully with incredibly life-like decay.
Then switch it up to something with huge sub-bass impact like Lorde’s “Royals” or Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” and the impact goes up a notch – yet still with that overall sense of vividness and clarity.
Change to the Eagle’s “Hotel California”, and you get the impact of the bass drum – but it’s where it should be, and it’s not overpowering – just providing a stunning backdrop to frame the rest of the track.
The Altone200’s bass is powerful when it needs to be, always articulate, never overpowering. I don’t think I’ve heard better bass quality from an IEM in this price bracket before.
Note 29 July - It has been pointed out by a few that they were expecting far more bass, and that the Altone200s may even be a little bass shy. I certainly am not finding this (with either pair I now have). I do acknowledge that the quantity of bass is going to come down to preference. What may be perfect for my "neutral-head" tastes could be very different to other's preferences. Please bear this in mind. The Altones are in no way bass monsters.
Female Vocals – A Special Note I had to add this section simply because around 60-65% of my music revolves around female vocals – be it jazz, pop, rock, electronic, or even opera. I’m an unabashed fan. For me the most captivating thing about the Altone200 is how it renders female vocals in virtually all genres I’ve listened to it with. Other IEMs I’ve owned in the past have sometimes struggled with some of the artists I like – and this includes IEM’s like Shure’s SE535 LE (upper-mids on the SE535 LE are quite forward). The Altone200 just nails everything though – often bringing an almost euphoric quality to the overall presentation. Artists like Agnes Obel can sometimes appear shouty with other IEMs – but two days ago I meant to just sit down and gather some notes, and ended up sitting back mesmerised by the whole album “Aventine”. Gabriella Cilmi’s jazzy track “Safer” is another example which reaches new heights for me with the Altone200 – and Norah Jones ……. let’s just say stunning, and leave the rest for you to explore!
Genre Specific Notes Again for tracks, albums, artists – please refer to this list: http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks
Rock – For me, the Altone200’s perform well with this genre, with the most noticeable feature being the incredible clarity (especially guitar), and also the very punchy bass. 3 Doors Down “Away From the Sun”, and Alter Bridge’s “Broken Wings” are both captivating – and the only slight criticism I’d have is that the vocals of Miles Kennedy don’t have quite their normal timbre – which might be the slightly less relative presence with the lower mids. But it’s a small price to pay for the overall presentation. The other thing that I’m surprised by is that despite the brighter presentation, I’m not getting any signs of fatigue (YMMV here – remember that I am not treble sensitive). Even on the much faster “Diary of Jayne”, although there is definitely a tinge of enhanced brightness with this track, I’m enjoying the presentation, and the drivers are having no problems keeping up.
Alt Rock – First up was Pink Floyd’s “Money”, and finally here is an IEM which able to do this classic track justice. Nothing is missing, everything is very clear, and the Altone200 is handling the complex changes of contrast with aplomb. The sax is pretty darn good too! Switching to Porcupine Tree’s “Trains”, and here is a track that again suits the Altone200 extremely well. The bass is fantastic – and Wilson’s higher voice seems to suit the Altone200s slightly better than some artists with deeper vocal registers. If you’re a PT fan, you should love the Altone200’s presentation.
Jazz / Blues / Bluegrass – Moving to Portico Quartet’s “Ruins” and this track is just toe tapping brilliance. The crispness of the cymbals is really matching well with the undertone of the double bass, and the sax is simply sublime. Switching to Miles Davis “So What”, and I’m struck once again by how well the Altone200 handles jazz. I think it’s the overall contrast (double bass, brass, cymbals and percussion). A highly detailed, yet at the same time, smooth journey. Very occasionally I hit a slight peak with Mile’s trumpet – which you don’t get with headphones like Brainwavz S5 – but the S5 struggles at times to produce the Altone200’s detail. So it’s a bit of a trade-off.
Next up was Blues – so I fired up Joe Bonamassa’s India-Mountain Time, a track that I like immensely. The guitar work is mesmerising with copious sparkle and crunch. Joe’s vocals are perfectly matched, and the bass is once again simply punctuating the overall experience.
Rap / EDM / Pop – Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is pretty good with the Altone200 but I can’t help feeling that some of Marshall’s vocal impact is not entirely perfect (needs to be slightly deeper – less bright) and with the Altone200 it’s just slightly missing the mark. The bass is really good though – but this is one track that definitely sounded better to me on the Brainwavz S5 I recently reviewed. Switching to Norah Jones “Light as a Feather” (a fusion of pop with jazz undertones), and as I alluded to earlier, it is pure vocal heaven (euphoric). I could lose hours, even days, just laying back and letting this wash over me. Switching to EDM – and Lindsay Stirling’s “Electric Daisy Violin”, just slams! Lindsay’s violin is perfectly clear, smooth, and utterly enjoyable – and the contrast is the bass - thumping, but clearly defined – the perfect compliment. I also tried some Little Dragon and some Flashbulb – and it is clear to me, my electronic music shines with the Altone200.
Classical / Opera – I was expecting some fairly good things with the Altone200 and for the most part it delivered. Netrebko and Garanca portrayal of Lakme’s Flower Duet was heavenly – and I found even Netrebko’s upper registers perfectly smooth (if you’re more treble sensitive you may struggle). Kempff’s Moonlight Sonata was once again very captivating, but I don’t think it delivered quite the same tonal balance that a slightly darker IEM (Brainwavz S5) can do with this piece. Still very enjoyable – but not perfect. Switching to Julia Fischer’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Violoin Concerto in D – and the magic is back again. I think the Altone200 sometimes needs contrast to show its strengths – and full orchestral passages are able to allow it to shine.
The Altone200 is very easily powered straight out of virtually any portable device, and I didn’t experience any issues with the 2 DAPs I tested (iPhone 4, or Fiio X5).
RESPONSE TO EQ?
This was a really tough one for me – because I pretty much love the way these are now. But for the review I thought I’d try and use Accudio Pro on my iPhone to EQ the Altone200 to give Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town” a little deeper vocal presence that better suited my personal preference. The Altone200 reminds me a little of the AKG K701/2 in it’s overall presentation of its midrange and treble – so I used this EQ preset, and left it as reference. Eddie’s vocals immediately gained more impact and without killing the rest of the Altone200’s overall coherency. It’s actually really enjoyable in this setting for anything requiring more depth in the lower mid-range – so I can confidently say that the Altone200 can EQ really well.
QUICK COMPARISON OTHER IEMs – T-Peos Altone200 vs DN-1000, BA100, Alfa Genus, and Brainwavz S5
IEM comparisons L to R - Alfa Genus, DN-1000, Altone200, S5, BA-100
Beautiful pairing - Altone200 and X5
For this exercise I’ll try and give you a rough general comparison with some IEMs which I have on hand, and which range in value from around USD 75 – 200 (the Altone200 sits squarely in the middle of this range). Rather than referencing particular tracks – I’m trying to make this general, as each IEM has its own strengths with different genres/tracks. I’ve volume matched as closely as possible when performing the comparisons (using test tones and an SPL meter) – but it is relatively difficult to do this without a perfect set-up, and I fear that the results may not be entirely accurate. So as always – take the following with a large grain of salt. Remember these are my preferences only.
Vs HiSound Audio's BA-100 ($70-100) The BA-100 are thinner through the mid-range, and have a lot less bass. The Altone200 have a lot more bass impact – and also bring a little more lower and upper treble presence. Overall perception of clarity is similar. The BA-100 sounds a little hollow in direct comparison. My preference Altone200
Vs Dunu DN-1000 ($200) This one is really interesting. Both have a similar overall signature – but the DN-1000 bass is IMO actually slightly overshadowed by the quality of the Altone200, and the Dunu’s upper midrange is a little more strident. The DN-1000 has a marginally better lower midrange to me – but the Altone200 is slightly more coherent over all. I’ve had the Altone200 in my ears a lot during the last week – so this may not be fair on the Dunus. Edit : After receiving a few more comments regarding the bass on the Altone's vs the bass on the DN-1000, I retested again. I've found that it very much depends on which frequency you volume match - as different frequencies will give differing overall presentation. An example - volume matching lower mids causes me to increase the overall volume on the Altones - making it's bass bigger than the Dunu. Overall -both hybrids have excellent bass - and this is augmented by the separation through the rest of the frequencies. My preference Altone200
Vs Alfa Genus (ebony filter) ($85) Alfa Genus has less bass presence and impact. Both have excellent clarity. Alfa Genus is slightly thinner through the mid-range, but has more balance between lower and upper mids The Altone200 has more cohesion over the entire frequency range though. I am looking forward to the third filter being developed for the Alfa which should bring some of the balance it’s currently missing. My preference Altone200
Vs Brainwavz S5 S5 has more overall bass quantity and darker tone. Altone200 has more bass impact and better bass definition. Both are very clear – but Altone 200 has more vivid presentation. S5 actually has better cohesion between upper and lower mids, but again Altone200 has better overall cohesion across entire frequency range. I do prefer the S5 for deeper male vocals, but the Altone 200 for everything else. My preference Altone200
ALTONE200 - SUMMARY
Sorry in advance – this review has been longer than most – but it’s a testament to how much I really have enjoyed the Altone200.
The Altone200 is an extremely well built IEM with a nicely balanced and coherent sound signature. It has excellent bass texture, definition and impact, with great extension into the sub-bass. The mid-range is slightly forward in the upper mids (but not excessively so), and perhaps very slightly recessed in the lower mids (again this is slight). The treble is full and extended and overall it has a bright tilt to the upper end.
IMO the Altone200 performs exceptionally well with female vocals, and overall delivers vivid clarity, with a dynamic presentation. Due to its size, and shape, the fit for me is extremely comfortable.
My litmus question is “would I buy these for myself”, and “would I recommend them to my family”. The answer to this question is YES (emphatically YES!), and I will indicate to Sunggoo without reservation that I want to purchase this sample pair. EDIT : and this morning (a day after posting the review) I did indeed pay for them.
I’m still trying to come to grips with the idea that a triple driver hybrid that sounds this good can be purchased for sub $150. T-Peos has set a new standard with the Altone200’s and I have no issues with recommending them. For my personal preferences I would take these over any of the IEM’s I’ve previously owned – and that includes Shure’s SE535 LE.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO T-PEOS
Don’t change a thing. Maybe reissue this model with a replaceable cable – that would be perfect