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Portable Amps item created by Lillee, Aug 20, 2012
Pros - Size, Sound, Bass, Treble Extension, Construction, Sound, Great Price, Jaw Dropping Bass.
Cons - None that matter
I joined this site specifically to round out my collection (why I don't know) of Headphone Amps sans DAC's. I have had the Amp/Dac combo's and I use an iPod Classic and I still don't hear the benefit or an expensive DAC. I own a couple of higher end Stereo systems and know good sound in the house - the headphone thing - surprisingly is relatively new to me at this late stage in the game.
So I read a couple of reviews of the T1 here and the one here http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/08/tralucent-t1-portable-headphone-amp-in-review/
Well one of the terrific chaps had one for sale so I bought it at a great price.
this is a short review and the Amps I own are the ALO National (great with my Grado PS500's), the Cayin C5 - sound great and will power anything - using it for the HIfiman HE-400i's - brilliant duo, the JDS Labs C5 (newest version with 3 position bass switch) I use with the Hifiman HE-300's and I have a C & C BH 2 I think it is , a very recent version - amazing this one and the battery seems to last forever.
Well the T1 stacks up very well against the ALO National and exceeds it in BASS Punch and authority - the Bass punch and authority is brilliant and is not flabby - beautifully extended like a well dialled in Subwoofer. Clarity is on a par and soundstage (not sure what that is actually) is simply different and I think in a good way.
It is as good as the wonderful Cayin C5 although the Cayin and has a different Bass authority - better perhaps but different for sure - with the Bass Boost Switch on. I dare say that right now the T1 is connected to the Hifiman HE-400i's which are relatively easy to drive, and may be as good or better overall the Cayin C5.
For whatever reason the JDS Labs C5 just never stuck with me - it is good with some headphones, not others and I think this is true of most of them. The National doesn't work or sound as good with the Hifiman HE-400i's, bested by the Cayin C5 and the Tralucent T1, both of which are considerably less money.
I was looking for one of the Just Audio (UK) units but have had no luck but what I can say is I will not spend more than a couple of hundred $'s on an Amp after hearing what the T1 can do.
The Vorzamp Pure II is off my list, as is the expensive ALO RX MK3 B+ - I don't need balanced anyway. And likely a few more I can't think of.
Did I mention the stunning bass punch and presence? - wow, amazing!!
And that little C & C Amp is wonderful as well simply not in the same class.
I really can't order the amps because each behaves differently with different headphones - I have the Grado PS-500's, the Hifiman HE-400i's (my favourites now), the HE 300's and the AKG K7XX and a pair of Grado RS-2's I modified with the Turbulent X drivers V5. They don't cut it in the bass department.
I grew up listing to the Beatles and Stones and now listen to pretty well everything and everything I can hear I can hear bass of some form or description - I could always hear the bass line Paul McCartney was playing in the Beatle's songs and I wanted that same effect in my headphones.
The right amp with the right headphone is the key and while its a crapshoot, I kept my price points in check and think for the money it is hard to beat the T1 and HE-400i's or the PS-500's and the National OR the T1 - its a toss up.
So that's it. One man's view of a few things having to do with hearing and I have tinitus in my right ear due to an old infection that a quack 'doctor' mis-diagnosed.
Pros - Small, good battery life, great resolution and clarity, mind numbing bass, silent background
Cons - fixed gain, but plenty of power to spare
Came with a high quality 3.5mm-3.5mm interconnect, some bands for your portable rig, some foot pads so it doesn't scratch your source, and some other goodies. The build quality is good, you can tell it's hand made, but you can tell it was made with pride with outstanding craftsmanship. Onto the details of the sound, out of the box I wasn't amazed by it and then the battery died shortly thereafter. After a full charge it seems like the whole dynamics changed. Details came out, sound stage widened, bass hit new lows, etc etc. I can't wait for it turn burn in, everyone says it gets sweeter after ~200 hours. Even my powers my HD600's to volumes louder than I need.
Customer service was perfect, I'm a very satisfied customer with a great amp.
More discussion here:
Tralucent T1 Appreciation Thread
Pros - Power, transparency, control, battery life, simple design
Cons - Signs of being handmade might bother some people
For a more thorough review, please see my blog: http://passionforsound.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/tralucent-t1/
The T1 is a new portable amp from a new audio company (Tralucent). Don't be dissuaded - it's a brilliant product!
The T1 is a stocky design for a portable. Here it is with the Fiio E11.
As you can see, the footprint is the same as the E11, but it's about twice as thick. For some that might be an issue, but the performance definitely makes up for the size.
The T1 is simple (in a good way)
The only options are power on/off and volume. No gain switches or bass boost switches, just clean, transparent sound. It charges via USB and will operate while USB powered to save the battery, but battery life is great so you don't need to be precious with the power. A full charge from flat takes around 5 hours apparently, but seems to comfortably provide more than 10-12 hours of continuous playback (I left it playing all night to burn-in and it was still going strong the next morning).
In terms of design, the T1 does look handmade (or at least hand assembled) due to a handwritten serial number and the fact that on mine the 3.5mm output socket is on a slight angle. It doesn't affect usability at all and in some ways endears the product to me a little more because it adds a touch of soul. Some people might find it disappointing, but plug it in and take a listen before you get turned off by minor "imperfections" like that. In the end it's pretty perfect in all the places that matter.
The T1 comes with:
rechargable NiMH 9V battery that you have to install yourself (so it can be shipped via air I guess)
Allen key to open the T1 (to install the battery)
2 x rubber bands to attach to your player
1 x high quality 3.5mm - 3.5mm interconnect
4 x adhesive rubber feet
USB charging cable
The sound from the T1 is clean, transparent and controlled. It seems to be very neutral without any discernible colouration to my ears. It's got plenty of power so you'll have the headroom required for good sound dynamics on most headphones.
Driving my IEMs (Re272 and SE535 LE) the T1 is just magic. Soundstage is clear, open and well defined and there is absolutely no background noise so the music has real presence and texture as it comes out of the "darkness". The sound is dynamic, engaging, controlled and exciting - without any colouration.
In reading over this I've noticed that I keep talking about control. The T1 does an incredible job of keeping the sounds tight and punchy, but still musical. There's no sense of artificial restriction to the sound, but it's SO TIGHT! I was listening to some Wolfmother and the individual sounds were so well defined and with such great impact that I had to go back and listen again. At the time my source was a 7th Gen iPod Classic which I find a little bit lacking in its presentation when compared to my iPod Video (5.5G) and Cowon X7 so for it to sound so good is a real credit to the T1.
When driving the HD650s, the T1 does a great job for a portable amp. It doesn't have the same dynamics as my Audio-gd NFB-5.2, but the general quality of the sound (i.e. silent background, clear and transparent presentation, etc.) is equal.
For me, the T1 sounds easily as good as anything I've plugged my IEMs into. Sure, it doesn't have the voltage swing to power less sensitive full-size cans, but for a portable amplifier it's going to be very hard to beat - especially for the price which is well below it's realistic competitors (2Stepdance, Voyager, RSA Hornet, etc.)
I hope to complete a full comparison review on my blog in the near future, but would already highly recommend the T1 based on it's merits alone. For the price I am very confident saying that you won't find a comparable portable amplifier!