T-PEOS Altone 200 Review by mark2410
Oct 18, 2014 at 6:33 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15
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T-PEOS Altone 200 Review
 
Thanks to T-PEOS for the sample.
 

 
 
First Impressions:  The box is a fairly uninteresting affair.  It’s a box, it’s got stuff in it.  Inside we have the normal array of tips, three thin silicon and three thick red cored ones.  Oh, there I see those little blue foamies, I’m thinking its certainty those will be the ones I’ll be using.  Shame case wise you only get the typical T-PEOS soft baggy thing.  Not that it’s terrible you understand, just nothing special.
 
Blue foamies on and into the ears they go.  With all the good things that have been said about these I have reasonably high expectations and I’m pleased to say they are living up to them.  It tonal balance isn’t my favourite style, I get the impression these, like the 100II like to show off.  There is an enthusiastic and energetic heart in these.  How much are these things supposed to be again?  Oooooh, ebay says £109.  I’m not sure Vsonic and DUNU are going to be best pleased about that.  Still I must remind myself, a dynamic and thrilling sound makes for a great first impression so I should not get carried away with myself. 
 

 
 
Source: Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., FiiO E7/E9 combo, HiFiMAN HM-601, Nexus 5, 1G Ipod Shuffle  and Firestone Audio FireyeDA.
 
Lows:  The bass here is rather elevated as you might expect that it would be.  Unlike things like the very V shaped H-100II the 200 Altone is considerably less so, waaaay less so.  Thing is the bass itself isn’t really lessened or altered much in terms of its tonal flavour or abilities.  Now given there is a quite price difference the bass isn’t as different as I might hope.  If bass is all you care about then here, for the money I find the linearity and extension to be less than I’d hope.  It’s just a bit rounded and humpy.  You know, I think it’s probably the same bass driver as the 100II and it’s not that it’s lacking per say but for the money I really would like it to be more linear and deep extending.  The bass however retains all the playfulness and bounce.  When you hurl at it some big ass humpy bass it raises to the occasion with aplomb.
 
This highly playful and rambunctious nature pairs up nicely with the slightly elevated but humpy low end.  Slap on some cheery bouncy pop with a goodly thump and it’s all a foot tapping, dancing in your chair kinda bass.  Just don’t be sat there thinking you’re getting some achingly polite monitor.  It’s cool, it’s clean and it likes a spring in its step.
 

 
 
Mids:  To continue a theme, it’s somewhat cool and dryish in nature.  This lead’s itself to coming over as exceedingly clear and open vocally.  Mids take on that tinge of breathy clarity that makes these feel such a grand improvement over the 100II.  A little Death Cab For Cutie, I'll Follow You Into The Dark just sounds so intimate and personal.  Like you and the singer, alone in a darkened room and your intruding on some deeply personal expression of a sad love.  Tonally I can’t help but notice it seems to lend its self exceptionally well to both breathy, particularly breathy male vocals.  Nora too is superb.  Oh and cello's sound just awesome, so laboured and yearning.   It is again that slightly dry tone that makes strings and guitars sound so raspy and clean.  It’s all such a feast of joy and liveliness.
 
In quantitative terms, the mids are bout where the bass and highs are.  It’s not very flat though, it’s more of a W shaped sound.  All bounce, all joy and just all party time.  Qualitatively the mids are really most excellent.  They aren’t without flavour but their detail levels are right up there as only a good BA can spit forth.  Nuance and emotive inflection abound.
 

 
 
Highs:  Well it’s no secret I think no BA nails treble like a good dynamic can.  However the 200 Altone is continuing the recent rash of BA drivers up top that are substantially impressive technically.  Again in comparison to the 100II I cannot truly say these are "better" and I suspect they are the same driver at work.  All tonally over on the cool and dry side which lends itself to a very explicit feel.  Dryness makes everything that touch more separate and make those treble impacts more distinct.  The danger in doing this is that you take it too far and do a DBA-02 and abound with brutal and abrasive detail.  Not so here thank god.  The highs and clean, distinct and yet have practically no harshness.  Even when paired up to the slightly bright Studio or the FireyeDA the highs stayed perfectly poised.  Not to over credit it, at its price its treble doesnt hold a candle to the miraculous old RE-0 but what does?
 
Quantity wise it’s all about the same as the mids and bass, that W shape remember.  So the treble is in fair abundance but it’s not one aiming for treble junkies and neither is it particularly relaxed or one for those treble sensitive souls out there.
 

 
 
Soundstage:  In terms of size it’s so so.  It’s much more adept at the imaging and instrument separation aspects.  The stage before you may be rather close and stretch quite far on either side, it has little in the way of real depth to it.  The instrument separation, as often seems the case with triple drivered and three way crossover IEM's, is top class.  Its three drivers working independently makes everything utterly distinct, granted at the slight cost of integration but who cares.
 

 
 
Fit:  Absolutely fine.  No weird shapes, no annoying ear guides no anything that is in anyway likely to upset anyone.  Oh and equally happy worn up or down.
 
Comfort:  Just grand.  Like with the fit, I can’t really see anyone having any particular issue with them.
 
Microphonics:  The usual, wear up none, wear down you do.  Still if you have to wear down the chin slider cures things adequately.
 

 
 
Amped/Unamped:  Well, like the recent 3 way triples from DUNU and its 100II sibling these really don’t need an amp.  Sure you see a bit of a benefit but even out of my little Nexus 5 it was easily adequately driven and still sounded most magnificently pleasing to the ear.  There was a slight pull towards the bass and the treble.  The treble quality out of the phone isn’t anything like as good as the Studio or DA and accordingly the treble was diminished.  Still, who cares?  These are so easily driven to utter magnificence even out of a lowly phone it’s something that just a few years ago would have been an impossibility. 
 
However it’s not like a much better source and amp are not things you should aim for with these.  Just because they sound exceedingly good out of just a phone its does not mean you won’t get even better with a real DAP.  It’s more that if you insist on using a phone, these are one that is very easy to drive.
 

 
 
Isolation:  With the foam tips on it’s rather good.  It’s at the rather good for having a dynamic in them, which still falls rather short of what you can get with deep seating, fully sealed BA gives.  So yadah yadah yadah, fine for on a bus, easily enough to get you run over but not really flight to New Zealand levels that BA things can provide.
 

 
 
Build Quality:  Just like its sibling the 100II the build is just dandy.  The buds are metal, the cable seems fine and the jacks fine too. 
 
Accessories:  You get the usual bunch of tips and you also get a soft pouch thing.  While I’m not really going to say the pouch is off putting but I’d have rather seen a hard case of some sort.  A few quid on fleabay will get you one if you want.
 

 
 
Value:  It depends how you look at it.  The 100II is about half the price of the 200 Altone and I can’t really say the 200 is twice as good, it’s just not.  Then I take another look at things and compare the 200 to the UM3x.  Both are three way triple drivered so it’s not an unreasonable comparison, then you look at the prices (well of the UM pro 30 which is the same thing) and it’s just under £300.  So £100 versus £300 it starts to look like a much less fair comparison.  Now as I A/B them the Westone wins by a margin but it’s not like they are different planets.  The DN-1000 though, now it’s really the one the Altone is up against and while the 200 is much more dramatic and attention grabbing I really can’t say its "better." still its right up there as arguably stellar value.
 

 
 
Conclusion:   There is no question the 200 Altone is a good step up on the 100II, that additional mid range driver is exceedingly notable in the presence of the mids.  For me this is a greatly welcome addition as I am quite the mid head, the mids are where human hearing is more focused and where all human vocals are to be found.  They are expressive and full of dry detail.  Guitars pluck and cello's sing.  I must confess I would rather it was a little more liquid in its presentation as the dryness can make some vocals err towards sibilance and that pleases me not.  It’s not a huge issue but when the competition is so brutally fierce it’s a point where they lose some ground.
 

 
 
The other side to this tonal nature is that it feels so very explicit and if anything over explicit.  The raw detail level is great but side to side with the GR07 and DN-1000 these are much more viciously attention grabbing.  They take detail and really hurl it in your face.  Great if you’ve gat a smooth dap with great bit rate tracks but if you have something brighter, like the Studio or 1G Shuffle poor treble really shows.  The vigorous crispness to the mids and treble can be somewhat wearing on the ear.  If you’re a bit treble sensitive like I, then this can be a quite unwelcome style but.......
 

 
 
In all things audio there is the inverse aspect of any trait.  The highly open sound makes every little detail you might not otherwise have noticed leap forth and dance a little jig.  Everything is in there and coldly offered up for your pleasure.  Particularly this coldly pithy bass makes it of the tightest and most grippy, aggressive low ends around.  There is no gentle expansion to soften and mute.  It’s right there, up front and square in your face.  Stylistically I’m more inclined to a more gentle, relaxed sound but the one here is massively engaging and exciting.
 

 
 
The scintillating treble, the dry breathy mids and the taut, vigorous bass make for an overwhelmingly attention grabbing sound.  The excitability and liveliness makes even the 1000 look positively muted in comparison.  In my mind T-PEOS are quickly becoming the archetypal thrill machine maker.  Party, dynamics, massive detail and brilliant vibrancy make for a wild drama cannon.  This really is either going to be its selling point or be what drives you away from them.  Do you want all of its wild forwardness?  Me, I like things a bit calmer but hey, that’s me.   I rather like sedate and if there is one thing the 200 Altone most certainly is not, its sedate!  It is at present, I believe, the most thrilling and excitable IEM £100 will get you right now. 
 
Oct 18, 2014 at 6:33 AM Post #2 of 15
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T-PEOS Altone 200 Quick Review
 
Thanks to T-PEOS for the sample.
 
Brief:  A wildly excitable 3 way party beast.
 
Price:  £109 or about US$176 (before HMRC get to you.)
 
Specification:  - Type: In-ear, - Driver Unit: 2 Balanced Armature & 1 Dynamic Unit, - Inpedance: 22Ohm / 1kHz, - Power: 100mW(maz), - Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz, - Connector: 2.5mm / 24k gold plated L-type plug, Cord 1.2m / PVC round type, Weight 16g      
 
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 taut 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.
 
Pro’s:   WAAAAAAA!!!!! DETAIL!!!!!!!!! PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
 
Con’s:  See pro's.
 
 
Oct 18, 2014 at 12:01 PM Post #3 of 15

getclikinagas

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Pro’s:   WAAAAAAA!!!!! DETAIL!!!!!!!!! PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
 

tongue.gif
 One can actually hear that way over in the other threads :D
 
Great review, as always Mark. Makes me want to audition them (and not because you weren't descriptive enough :p )
 
 
elevated
enthusiastic 
energetic 
dynamic 
thrilling
humpy
playfulness 
bounce
rambunctious 
cheery bouncy pop
goodly thump
foot tapping
dancing in your chair
raspy
clean
feast of joy
liveliness
party 
Nuance 
emotive inflection
dramatic
attention grabbing
expressive 
exciting
scintillating 
vigorous 
liveliness
wild forwardness
 
This may be the first time I've seen the style of writing match the sound signature :D
 
Oct 18, 2014 at 12:56 PM Post #4 of 15
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lol, well i do like to give a little lexicographical vibrancy to things.
beerchug.gif

 
 
using language to convey how a sound is heard i always feel is something that can never truly be done, without synaesthesia at play anyway. so one much attempt to provoke the same feeling with words as it does in sound.
 
Oct 23, 2014 at 3:10 AM Post #6 of 15

pat1984

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Great review @mark2410. Can you suggest any other IEM with similar sound signature as the altone 200 but maybe with a more forward midrange? I love the altone but find something missing especially in the midrange.
 
  Thx for the review !
 
But it doesn't look like something that can cost 180USD.............

 
Sound preference is very subjective so I am not sure how much an IEM would be worth to you in $ but IMHO I am not aware of many triple hybrid IEMs which have better sound and are as competitively priced as the altones... Just my $0.02...
 
Oct 23, 2014 at 4:58 AM Post #7 of 15
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id suspect if youre findng somthing missing in the mids that its not forwardness tahts lacking but thickness.  its mids are very clean, dry and airy so they lend not to give the same richness and viscosity that i myself like in a mid range.  i cant right now think of anything that has more viscous mids yet the highs and lows stay as is here, the UM3x might be of some interest. 
 
maybe you need to try something like the SE535, it would i think, satisfy your mid wants but bass and treble not so sure.  maybe try soemthing like the little PL-50, for mids its fab and would give you something very different to contrast and compare.
 
a last resort of course is if its just more mids you want, just eq down the treble and bass a bit.
 
Oct 23, 2014 at 5:35 AM Post #8 of 15

pat1984

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  id suspect if youre findng somthing missing in the mids that its not forwardness tahts lacking but thickness.  its mids are very clean, dry and airy so they lend not to give the same richness and viscosity that i myself like in a mid range.  i cant right now think of anything that has more viscous mids yet the highs and lows stay as is here, the UM3x might be of some interest. 
 
maybe you need to try something like the SE535, it would i think, satisfy your mid wants but bass and treble not so sure.  maybe try soemthing like the little PL-50, for mids its fab and would give you something very different to contrast and compare.
 
a last resort of course is if its just more mids you want, just eq down the treble and bass a bit.


Thanks I will try the PL-50. By the way, have you listened to the KC06? If you have, can you please compare their midrange to the PL-50? I love the Ostry midrange but find it lacking in other departments.
 
Oct 23, 2014 at 6:18 AM Post #9 of 15
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im afraid i have not.  i believe its not a million miles from the PL-50 though, so maybe you might be better woving up the food chain, SE535, RE-600 sort of stuff but..... i suspect they wont give you the ass and treble your after. the 50 being so cheap is less of a risk if its not what your after tonaly.
 
rich mids dont really come with punchy cold bass and cold dazzling highs.
 
Oct 26, 2014 at 6:59 AM Post #12 of 15
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Dunu dn-900 vs altone 200 ? I can get the dunu dn-900 in almost half the price of the altone200


hmm seems odd to compare two at diff prices.  well the 900 is a bit partyish, the 200 is vastly more revealing and vastly more excitable.  in pretty much every the 200 is just better.
 
cost wise the 1000 is more comparable and again the 200 is way more revealing and excitable.  arguably its much "better" too but with my treble sensitive ears i think the thrill ride that is the 200 would be too much for it ever to be my only IEM, the 1000 i could much more comfortably live with day in day out.
 
Nov 13, 2014 at 8:43 PM Post #13 of 15

olddude

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I agree that the Altones have an incredible amount of detail.  If you like detail, they may be just right for you.  If you like a more bottom-heavy iem then you might be better off with the (now) equally-priced Dunu1000.  Lots of bass from that one, but not nearly the detail.  The Altones have good bass punch, but they could never be called bottom-heavy.  They are perfect for people who want to hear what's going on inside the mids and uppers.  And trust me, you will.  They shine in that area.  AND they thump as well, but the thump doesn't hide the rest of what's going on.  I use mine with my Fiio X1, and they sound great together.  
 
Note that good iems and a good source player will reveal both good and bad recording, mixing and mastering.  If it sounds good you will hear it.  If it sounds bad you will hear it.  So if your music is poorly presented, you are going to hear it that way.  However, if your music is presented well, then you are in for a great ride with the Altones.  
 
I sold my Dunus and kept the Altones.  
 
Nov 18, 2014 at 7:59 AM Post #15 of 15
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well presuming that the W40 is identical to the W4 is sound.
 
they are different beasts.  the W4 is a monitor, its not wild, its not exciting and it is in no way trying to be.  the 200 is a thrill ride.  its dynamic and wild, i thrill seekers IEM.
 
comparing the two would be like asking how a Mercedes compares to a Caterham.  just totally different creatures.
 
 
the only aspect they come close to being comparable is in detail.  in that sense the 200s get frighting close to the W4 but it doesnt matter.  the two are just so different in every other way i would not think of them as alternates.
 

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