AUDIOSENSE T180 REVIEW: Probably the very best single BA under 100$

AUDIOSENSE T180 REVIEW :

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SOUND: 8.5/10
CONSTRUCTION: 8.5/10
DESIGN: 8.5/10
ACCESSORIES: 8/10
VALUE: 9/10

THE PLUS:

  • Well balanced tuning with rich revealing mid range
  • High clarity from mid low to mid treble
  • Good constrution with excellent mmcx cable
  • Very comfortable

THE SO-SO:

  • Thin sub bass as expected with any single BA
  • Can sound congested with too much instrument/sounds playing togheter
  • Upper treble lack details and sparkle
  • Very source dependant (and capricious)

NO BS (SUPER) RECOMMENDED!

 

AUDIOSENSE have been into audio since about 4 years, but mostly active in China where they get good reception among audio enthousiast. Right now they make accessible to whole world their T serie earphones since they open a shop in Ali express. The T180 entry model I review today as been sell in China since 2017, due to success, they decide making it available worldwide.

They could have pass under the radar if something do not caught my eyes as well as the one of fews other audiophile : KNOWLES BALANCED ARMATURES DRIVERS.

What, really, like, really really? We know unserious shaddy chi-fi maker can often say they use special dynamic drivers or BA and it isn’t true, so I decide to ask multiple question to the company to finally conclude they factually use real Knowles BA once they show me the official BA board sent by Knowles to them. Anyway, by the professionalism and passionate information about their T serie creation and tuning process, I know I wasn’t talking to amateurish audio engineer and well, get excited even more.

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How could it be so cheap then? Well, level of profit is extremely low with whole T serie. At the begining, the entry model T180 was sell 30$ but include very basic copper cable, now that they upgrade it to high quality high end 8 cores SPC cable, the price jump to 40$. This time, I can promess you will not want to throw aay the cable included with your budget iem, so, yes, its among nicest cable I ever have with sub-100$ iem, the exception being the Alpha&Delta AD01, but it wasnt a detachable canle and they cost exactly 100$.

So, nope, you will never find the T180-T260-T300 or T800 in crazy Ali Sale, and seriously, we don’t care, because its the cheapest single Knowles you can buy right now on planet earth.

Even if it use an excellent Knowles BA, the T180 are to be expected as bass light in lower region, as well, it’s tuned neutraly with little extra mid range emphasis. This is audiophile targeted in-ear, but not monitor like with razor sharp treble and cold sound, because T180 aren’t clinical sounding and Knowles BA timbre is quite smooth and transparent compared to rougher, grainier, harsher and less controled chi-fi BA used in KZ, TRN and such.

You can buy the T180 for 41$ directly from AUDIOSENSE Ali Express STORE

DISCLAIMER: I wanna thanks Audiosense for selling me the whole T serie at very discounted price (40$). This is after long discussion that the idea of reviewing their products came out. I have absolutely no affiliation and my freedom of toughs is as always untouchable.

INFO & SPECS:

  • Brand Name: AUDIOSENSE
  • Control Button: No
  • Active Noise-Cancellation: No
  • Style: In-Ear
  • Wireless Type: None
  • Connectors: 3.5mm
  • Communication: Wired
  • Vocalism Principle: Balanced Armature
  • Volume Control: No
  • Frequency Response Range: 20-22000Hz
  • Function: HiFi Headphone
  • Function: Sport
  • Sensitivity: 100DB
  • Is wireless: No
  • Plug Type: L Bending
  • Codecs: None
  • Support Memory Card: No
  • With Microphone: No
  • Model Number: AUDIOSENSE T180
  • Resistance: 24Ω
  • Waterproof: No
  • Line Length: 1.2m
  • Support APP: No
  • Color: Orange
  • Driver unit: Single full Fruquency Knowles Balanced Armatu

ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :

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UNBOXING isn’t complete because I do not receive the review sample into official package, but from what I see its well presented in a classy box with T180 picture on it. Anyway, I got everything else including old and new cable, proctective case, silicone ear hook (no purpose for new cable that have installed ear hook on it), 4 pairs of silicone eartips and cable clip. Old cable is basic one with mic, new cable is top notch 8cores SCP cable.

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CONSTRUCTION is quite impressive. Begining with the solid plastic orange translucide plastic wich look quite sturdy but may make the long thin nozzle prompt to unwanted damage, in the sens that if you inadvertendly step on the housing, this will be the first part to break. If you look into the housing, inner construction look very serious compared to other iem of this price range, this isn’t just a BA thrown in there, it have acoustic chamber as well as a damper filter into the housing nozzle. All this little details to acoustic engineering confirm seriousness of craftmanship.

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DESIGN of the housing have been well thinked too, its a universal in-ear custom approach with an oval shape and long angled thin nozzle that will fit any ears types. They are extremely comfortable and easy to wear for long listening due to minimal pressure into the ears, no hard angle create discomfort to outer ears either. It slip in there naturally and will never pop out wich make them very good as sport earphones too.

ISOLATION is quite extreme, even more if you use foam eartips wich will make them near completely block noise like passive earplugs. Sound leakage is minimal as well.

DRIVEABILITY at 24ohm impendance and 100db sensitivity is more easy than it look, but will benifit from clear amping source. I find the T180 very source dependant and got mitiged result with someamping source that create distortion, so it should not be to low or too high, and more importantlyextremely clear source with low THD.

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EARTIPS are supremely important here, and due to long nozzle it isn’t easy task, if you use them the way its preinstalled, wich is push to end of nozzle so front nozzle is directly exposed, it will make the sound trebly and too fowards, stoling the most needed bass we can extract from extra air giving by silicone eartips vibration (I guess). I do not like foam tips cause it kill the little bass we got, as well, I tend to push silicone tips 1/3 or 1/2 lengh wich expend soundstage and bass to my ears.


SOUND :

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FIRST OVERALL impressions was a very detaile, spacious and trebly one with the first pair I receive, over treble emphasis was due to the fact the Balanced Armature damping filter wasn’t installed at all, so I contact Audiosense and they confirm me it wasn’t normal.

SECOND OVERALL impressions, wich is the proper one, was very good sounding neutral sounding earphones with transparent and natural timbre and soft upper treble. As even the best full range Knowles balanced armature cannot dig lower than 50hz, the bass is light but well define and textured, still, neither lower and mid bass will move air. What impress me its how delicate and natural it sound within a quite impressive soundstage.

SOUNDSTAGE is more about widnest and deepnest here, its not tall or particurly out of your head, but have a good intimate stereo like feel to it.

IMAGING is more about transparent layering, with extra accuracy in upper mids and lower range instrument separation. Again, limitation of single balanced armature can be evident with very energic and complex track that have multiple instrument, this will create congestion in rare case, especially at high volume

BASS is slightly dry in sub bass region, but with well textured timbre that permit good separation and accuracy with mid bass. Mid bass is rather soft, but more rounded up than sub bass. Its tigh and fast, but will lack energic impact for fan of electronic, rock or metal. For Jazz and Classical this type of softly textured bass that do not interfer with mid range will be a real pleasure.

MID RANGE is very impressive with very emphased presence, its fully covered without any strange dip, its the center of the show with its sharp accuracy, great details and imaging. Attack in this region is quite snappy giving violin and guitar good teeth that never sound too harsh, but the weight isn’t really there so piano note will sound too light some time. Anyway, the natural timbre of instrument is very delectable, its transparent yet realistic and full sounding. Female vocal are very enjoyable with the T180, they are very nuanced with excellent definition and a wide enveloping transparent presence. Male vocal are good but less bodied due to lower range limitation.

TREBLE is well extended and not peaky, its little roll off and delicate with slight extra lower highs sparkle but not alot of decay. Brilliance is good and give plucked instrument like classical guitar or harpsichord a great level of defition that isnt artificially pushed. For a single BA, its impressively well balanced, covering lower and mid highs smoothly until a little extra enery on top for extra air and decay. Upper highs have more cripsness and snapiness than all other range. This explain why higher register piano sound better than lower and medium one.

SUB : 6.5/10
MID BASS : 7.5/10
MID RANGE : 8.5/10
TREBLE : 8/10
TIMBRE : 8.5/10
ATTACK-DECAY : 8/10
SOUNDSTAGE : 8/10
IMAGING : 7.5/10

COMPARAISONS :

VS BRAINWAVZ KOEL :

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Both these earphones use Single BA, so we are into a fair fight I think. Still, the construction of KOEL is underwhelming with its rough plastic looking, as well, its about 1.5 bigger and have a strange shape with small nozzle that make it less comfortable than T180.

SOUNDSTAGE of KOEL is airier and more out of your head, this is about the only place where it win over the more intimate sounding T180, because IMAGING is more diffuse and lack accuracy.
BASS is more emphased with the KOEL, having a more bodied mid-high bass impact that can create distortion and warm lower mid range, wich give male vocal extra body but not alot of definition, femal signer feel more recessed, dryier and thinner in timbre comapred to fuller sounding and more balanced MID RANGE of T180, wich feel in another league in term of details, richness and balance. TREBLE is more peaky and coloured with the Koel, wich give extra airy but make highs sound metallic and tonaly wrong. We can say that Koel try to do a V shape single BA withoutt akign in consideration higher sound pressure of volume, this make it disastrously distorted and messy sounding sometime, way more prompt to congestion and muddyness than the more agile and accurate (and neutral) T180.

VS FINAL AUDIO E2000 (40$) :

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E2000 use a single micro dynamic drivers and is among my favorite sub-50$ in term of balance and timbre, but as it do not have detachable cable, overall construction can be considerate as inferior due to a rather basic cheapish cable. Anyway, this do not mean the T180 will be more durable, the plastic housing is bigger wich can be broke more easily than a small sturdy piece of metal like the E2000. As well, they are harder to drive than the T180.

SOUNDSTAGE is about same average wideness but T180 feel deeper while E2000 is a little more open and airy. IMAGING is more accurate with T180 due to better clarity and clearer instrument separation. BASS dig not as low with the T180, sub is dryier while the mid bass is tigher and faster with more impact than warmer more U shape type of bass of E2000. MID RANGE is where the E2000 feel warmer and way less detailed than T180, as well, instrument impact is more energic with the T180 compared to more laid back and natural sounding E2000. Vocal sound more intimate with the T180 and have lusher presence with E2000. Treble this time is more laid back with the E2000, wich make if feel dark and less detailed on top than T180. In other hand, the timbre of E2000 is thicker and more natural than brighter T180, as well, dynamic driver of E2000 can deal better with crowded music tracks without sounding congested or creating distortion.

VS BLON BL-03 (30-40$) :

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With its single balanced armature the T180 cannot offer a sound as spacious and airy than the BLON but its detailed imaging, even if a little congested, compensate its intimate soundstage.

BASS dig notably deeper with the BL-03, offering some rumble the T180 crualy lack, but its slower too, and show how capable is the T180 in term of fast mid bass, as well, we got some well textured sub bass line that is as well tigher but way drier and thin than muscular BL-03. In term of mid bass, its the BL-03 that crualy lack some punch and resolution.

MID RANGE is where the T180 show its bravado, its very balanced, with rich transparent slightly bright timbre, it can deal with impressively complex track and do not have unwanted peak like the more coloured BL-03 that give at it got for vocal forgetting to cover the rest with attack and grip that T180 hae in plentiness. Level of clarity, resolution and details is superior with T180. Here, the BL-03 is more about body and weight, wich give naturalness instead of hyper realism a la T180.

TREBLE is more balanced and linear with T180, but a little rougher too, wich can make percussion a little splashy. BL-03 have less micro details but more sparkling highs.

All in all, we have 2 very different iem here, T180 being a neutralish Mid centric and analytical iem while the warm, bassy BL-03 is more airy and natural with notably bigger soundstage.

CONCLUSION :

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Having try quite a lot of single or multi-BA’s earphones in sub-100$ price range, I’ve never been really satisfy by any of those, especially in term of timbre and overall balance, for example, the Brainwavz B200 dual BA sound marvelous for certain type of vocal or solo classical but lack proper separation in mid range and feel hollow in both low and highs as well as creating intense distortion when sub bass occur.

Again, I cannot say the Audiosense T180 are perfect sounding iem because the low range have some compromise as well as upper highs lack details, still, I would even say that for the Final Audio F4100 that while sounding superb with certain type of music can be messy and harsh with other one.
What I can say about the T180 is that its the more versatile single BA I try, due to a well done neutralish and mid centric tuning and very capable Knowles BA that do not create distortion with bass if well paired but still have limit to sub bass, even if yes, to my ears the T180 give one of better bass response similar to the Final Audio B2 in term of weighty mid bass and still hearable sub bass.

The T180 will pleas serious audiophile, mature listener as well as the one searching for an accurate well balanced sound that have an analytical mid range giving revealing musicality that do not feel too forced or artificial and an addictively rich transparent timbre, but you most be realistic about expection : nobody invent yet a full-response BA that can act like a single dynamic driver.

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