Constant monitoring of non-brand Chinese IEMs market has taught me that there may be companies that release successful models, but there are very little of them, who do this constantly without faults. One of good examples is Audiosense and their new flagship T800.
First of all we should note that there are brand Knowles transducers and both companies worked on them together, having created non-crossover setup that includes double BA31618 for lows, 4 custom transducers for mids and low highs and dual BA31736 for upper mids. Also T800 uses special acoustic setup with separate nozzle cameras that allows to minimize interference of the drivers.
Taking all this into account, the price astonishes. Most of “big names” would have put this 8-driver model into flagship status and would have sold them at a relevant price, but Audiosense T800 can be purchased for as little as 300 USD (the price as of writing this review).
- Transducers: 8 × Knowles balanced armature
- Frequency range: 5 Hz – 22 kHz
- Sensitivity: 90 dB
- Impedance: 9.2Ω
- Passive noise cancelling: ~30 dB
- Cable: detachable, with MMCX connectors, 1.25 m
- Jack: 3.5 mm TRS
- Single headphone weight: 6.3 g.
Packaging and accessories
The packaging is rather simple — usual black cardboard with minimum of printing. No striking elements, no full-fledged printing, however I think it won’t really disappoint someone, since the accessory range is on no compromise level and besides IEMs and stock cable you will get:
- 3 pairs of foam tips of different colors
- 3 pairs of silicone tips
- cleaning tool
- great plastic case that reliably protects the IEMs
Presentation tells us that Audiosense are very practical and have put everything you might need and everything that is of real importance.
Design and comfort
Another point for praise. Audiosense have used 3d printing with medical-grade epoxide resin and it gives almost the same results as with FiiO FH7 (spoiler: very good). Shells are rather thick but there are no faults like bubbles or dust. Dark bodies are still slightly transparent and you can see the insides and be sure that the manufacturer has fulfilled his promise and has put everything that has been advertised. The faceplates are ornamented with carbon and also contain the brand logo. The solution is rather simple but looks attractive.
The bodies are of standard universal ergonomic form. All the usability aspects are well thought over, the nozzles have correct angles and are long enough to provide above average isolation. T800 are very convenient (subjectively) if you use correct tips for you.
Stock cable reminds FiiO again (maybe they share the same producing plant?), it clearly resembles the C-series. The cable is averagely soft, of pleasant silver color, spirally twisted. There are hooks without memory effect and microphone effect is not present. The cable does not stiffen in cold weather and does not tangle heavily. Tight MMCX connectors are used, so you won’t have any problems with cable switch if needed.
I have used the following equipment for listening purposes:
- Yulong DA10 and Resonessence Labs Concero HP as DAC and amp
- Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2016 as a source
- Audirvana+ as a player
- Lotoo Paw Gold Touch, Astell&Kern A&ultima SP1000 and others as portable players
- Hi-Res recordings in Lossless-formats (Dr. Chesky The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc and others)
I have allowed burn in for 48 hours with no audible changes.
Upon the whole I can say that the IEMs are correct V-shape, the mutual work of the two companies has allowed to create sound that can underline the benefits of multi-driver armature models — resolution, clarity and transparency.
Bass is somewhat moved forward, however moderately in terms of amount, but it is weighty and springy. T800 in terms of this remind some hybrid and dynamic models. Bass is good not only in thickness but also with depth and this allows it to play slams and roars very well. Attacks and decays are somewhat accelerated, but it is natural for those types of transducers. Of course control and resolution are good here, if not maximal.
The mids are neutral with great details and balanced accent on micro details. Overall coherence is also astonishing, since the joints between transducers are barely audible and this is what you get when you don’t use crossovers. Of course the IEMs transmit all smallest nuances of all instruments and vocals and this will appeal to those who love critical listening. There is no additional weight in mids, so T800 are rather critical to recording quality and source. You will hear right what there is in the recording, not more, not less. This is relevant also to soundstage. It is above average on well-mastered tracks both in terms of width and depth.
Highs are accentuated as well in order to make the presentation balanced and to compensate the bass accent, so if you are too sensitive to this part of frequency range, you should have a listen to the model before the purchase. To my hearing the accent is not excessive and underlines clarity of T800. The highs offer good length and they bring lots of small nuances and overtones, but you will suffer from that if you try to listen to bad quality recording that is over compressed. Highs have good resolution with slightly accelerated attacks and decays, but there is still basic layering. Weight balance is just okay here.
For those who want to make accent on highs lower — you may change the acoustic filter that is present in the nozzle. You can find everything you need for that on AliExpress, but I have not done that since I like what I hear out-of-the-box. Also you will lose the warranty.
This time I have decided to stick to pure armature solutions of similar segment, since hybrids and dynamic solutions are too different.
Fearless S6 RUI Another company that has its own sound concept in various models. In terms of tuning here we get much less highs and more massive mids. T800 have better micro details on mids and are more thick on bass.
FiiO FA7 Despite similar appearance the sound differs a lot. FiiO model is less bright and has more accents both on bass and mids, showing unusual bump in lower part of the frequency range.
BGVP DM6/DM7 Quite close models in terms of price, but again very different in terms of presentation — they have more lows but they are less thick, have less micro details and brighter highs.
The headphones have low impedance and are also rather sensitive. They need a player that can cope with such load. What is needed here is low noise threshold and around zero output impedance.
Due to high resolution the IEMs are critical to recording quality, they reveal all problems without attempts to soften them and get 8 out of 10 from me.
Prince — Electric Chair When trees have been big and Batman was gothic (due to Tim Burton), soundtracks have been very important, so the OST for the blockbuster has been recorded by one of the main pop-stars of the time — Prince. Of course he has done his best and has offered everything, from pop music to rock. This track is not an exclusion, it has great drum section that is underlined by T800 and detailed mids and highs allow to take the most from guitar passages and vocals.
The Clash — London Calling I think I have already published this track in one of reviews, but if I have decided to go through soundtracks, I can’t help remembering this great remaster of one of the main The Clash hits that has made it into one of the best movie series of 2019 (Yes, I speak about The Boys). It is The Clash who have been able to lead the myriad of musicians why have understood that punk will be dead if it relies solely on protest — you have to learn to play. T800 show great technical ability, great drive on percussion and vocals energy.
Danny Elfman — Opening (from Terminator Salvation OST) Well, this one has been picked like — err, what suits best for T800? I have used the first chosen track as the guiding star, since Danny Elfman is the main composer in the projects of Burton. He is sometimes lost in the likes of his more famous colleagues, such as Shore and Zimmer, but his input is not less. The composition is full of things that show everything positive about Audiosense — massive drums, good volume and the power of symphonic orchestra.
It is clearly visible that Audiosense have put a lot of effort into those IEMs, starting from design and ending with the sound, and it has proved well. T800 feel expensive, play on quite a level and give the detailed but not boring presentation.
Translated by: Vadim Kolchev