AUDIOSENSE T260 REVIEW:
- Smooth delicate sound with beautiful vocal
- Good transparency and sound layering
- Excellent cable
- Comfort and isolation
- Overly mid centric and bass light
- Overly soft attack
- Overly warm and dry timbre
After having reviewed the excellent Audiosense T180 single BA iem and the nice T300 Triple BAs earphones, it’s time I finish the T series tour with the T260.
Audiosense T260 is a dual Knowles balanced armature UIEM. I don’t know exact Knowles models it uses, but one driver is very big, while the other stick on top of it is smaller (but bigger than bellsing for example).
These 3 T series models all use same housing, the only difference is color and drivers used.
Let see in this review if the middle-brother of budget T Serie worth to be considered by demanding audiophile.
The T260 is price 59$ and you can buy them directly from Audiosense STORE.
Disclaimer: I buy the whole Audiosense T serie at a very discounted price. I want to thanks Elaine from Audiosense to give me the chance reviewing these products. I’m not affiliated to this company and keep my full independence of toughs as always.
ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN
UNBOXING is incomplete for me, but include all accessories that you will have in official product package wich is a carrying case, 8 pairs of silicone eartips and a great 8cores SPC cable.
CONSTRUCTION is quite impressive. Beginning with the solid white translucent plastic, it looks quite sturdy but may make the long thin nozzle prompt to unwanted damage, in the sense that if you inadvertently step on the housing, this will be the first part to break. If you look into the housing, inner construction looks very serious compared to other iem of this price range, this isn’t just a BA thrown in there, it has acoustic chamber as well as a damper filter into the housing nozzle. All these little details of acoustic engineering confirm the seriousness of craftsmanship.
DESIGN of the housing have been well thought 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 slips in there naturally and will never pop out which makes them very good as sports earphones too.
ISOLATION is quite extreme, even more if you use foam ear tips which will make them near completely block noise like passive earplugs. Sound leakage is minimal as well.
DRIVEABILITY at 25ohm impedance and 111db sensitivity is easier than it looks but will benefit from a clear amping source. I find the T180 very source dependent and got mitigated result with some amping source that create distortion, so it should not be too low or too high, and more importantly extremely clear source with low THD. The T260 is sensitive about audio source output due to its high 111db sensitivity.
Having received whole T serie at the same time, my first impressions of the T260 was rather minimalist and unforgiving. Simply put, they were my least favorite of whole T serie and still are, but this doesn’t mean they are bad at all, just less versatile than T180 and T300. In fact, they are the most gentle and laidback sounding of the bunch. Smooth, wooly, comfy mid centric sound that extends more naturally in treble than T180 but does not have same sharpness in clarity. Transparent layers of sound float in an airy soundstage, timbre is natural, tonality is warm, treble is delicate on top, but attack is very soft and bass is rolled off. For classical violin quartet, these are magnificent, for rock or electronic these are underwhelming. Think of a less bassy Brainwavz B400 with better tonality, and you’re not far from the T260 sound signature.
SOUNDSTAGE is average and avoid to be stock in your head without feeling particularly wide, it has good deepness, not alot of tallness.
IMAGING is very good, especially due to transparent layers of sound, so it’s more about deepness than spacious instrument separation. Highs tend to be better separated than mid range.
TIMBRE is slightly warm, not opaque, little cloudy in mids while sharper in the treble. Smooth and enough natural, not your typical bright or grainy balanced armature timbre.
TONALITY have a good balance of fundamental and harmonic and mix them in a smoothed, slightly warm way. It sound mostly right, apart from lower range instrument like cello, bass, and to some extent piano.
CLARITY is more about the resolution than sharp definition, in the sense that we have lot of details but edge is smoothed, thus making it slightly vaguely define.
BASS is notably rolled off, very similar to the T180 but with extra mid bass fullness. While we have some weight and body to mid bass, the punch is rather soft and tend to make kick lack in presence and impact energy and separation. As well, texture is minimal, which do not help to enjoy bass line. Sub bass sound very thin and boxy, we do not have natural extension and instrument like cello will not sound right, neither acoustic bass, tough slap bass will sound okay but lack bite.
MID RANGE is perhaps the best part of T260, it’s smooth, natural, and has a sense of fullness while keeping good amount of transparency. Female vocal are very addictive, they have wide presence and natural tonality and most of all avoid any sibilance. To me, it’s among best vocal performance you can get under 100$, but with serious sacrifice in other frequencies region like bass and mid treble. T260 really give it all to vocal, but instruments like violin sound marvelous too. For fan of folk singers or classical quartets, you’re in for a very musical presentation. For fan of fast rock, electronic or anything that need some grain in texture like electric guitar, you will find the T260 lacking in mids attack. It really isn’t an aggressive sounding iem, and have a cloudy warmth to it that affect definition sharpness.
TREBLE is a little confusing with the T260, it feels a little unbalanced yet laid back at the same time. I think we have extra energy in lower treble presence, but no peak in the dangerous zone that can create sibilance or harshness. Snare sound crisp, but not very fat, percussions stay in the back, not particularly clear or crisp while bell, woodblock and high treble sound can be trebly time to time. This is the strange part, which happen extremely rarely. I think it’s a fail attempt to add air to overall sound cause nope, we do not have lot of sparkle or decay with highs notes, some brilliance there and there and thats it.
-QUANTITY – -QUALITY-
LOWER BASS: 5/10———— 6/10
MID-HIGH BASS: 7/10———7.5/10
MID RANGE: 8.5/10————-8.5/10
LOWER TREBLE: 8.5/10——-8.5/10
HIGH TREBLE: 7/10—————8/10
TIMBRE: 7/10 ——————–8/10
VS AKOUSTYX R-220 (200$):
Sure, the R-220 is near 4 times the prices of T260, but it use 2 knowles balanced armature, wich explain why I feel it’s an interesting comparison.
Indeed, these 2 are very similar, but the first difference that hit me is more lively and punchy sound of R-220, as well as slightly more intimate soundstage and imaging. Bass is very similar, notably rolled off just before sub region, but R-220 have chunkier mid bass with more weighty hit, which make it easier to discern. Mid range is more congested with the R-220, and vocal are less transparent, more in your face with slight sibilance presence, still these two are mid centric with a twist. The R-220 twist is in treble region, it’s better balanced and more revealing and lively, snare sound fuller, percussions clearer and more natural, while T260 feel darker and more laid back.
All in all, R-220 is technically better and more balanced and lively while the T260 is more mid centric, darker and wider-deeper in soundstage.
VS ALPHA&DELTA KS1 (40$):
The KS1 is a single micro dynamic driver, so I expect better bass performance. Construction is really impressive and feel more durable than T260.
Indeed, first thing that I note is a better bass extension and presence, but a more V shape sound as well.
Soundstage is slightly wider and taller with KS but lack the T260 deepness. Imaging is better layered with the T260, more accurate and precise too, tough bass isn’t well separated compared to KS1. Bass is way punchier, weightier and more extended with KS1, but it tend to veil lower mid range too wich is ultra clean with T260. Mid range is more recessed with T260, timbre is less smooth and slightly grainy too, T260 is seriously more mid centric as well as more transparent. Treble is a little clearer and more sparkly with T260, but both these iem aren’t extended alot in upper range and keep their presence boosted in lower and mid treble. KS1 is less revealing sounding than T260. Tonaly, T260 sound more natural even if timbre is thiner.
All in all, these are very different iem, but the KS1 is nothing new in term of sound signature, so I guess it’s more accessible for the mass even if less revealing sounding.
While I’m a big fan of Audiosense line up, I feel the T260 is the black sheep of the bunch and would perhaps not appeal to a wide audience. With it’s warm mid centric and transparent sound, as well as it’s soft overall attack, the T260 may have the vocal that jump at you but the rest of the sound feel overly mellow and laid back, lacking in excitment and immediacy wich it’s little brother T180 give plenty.
Again, I must get reminded that these cost 60$, include real high quality 8 cores SPC cable, and use 2 Knowles balanced armature driver. The value is sure there, but this is the type of earphones I would suggest to collector of different sound signature or audiophile that listen mostly to bass less singer like folk, soul, pop, country.
The Audiosense T260 offer a unique sound with beautifull vocal and mid range, smooth and delicate tonality and good layering, but it’s soft attack and bass light sound might not be for everyone. Better jump directly to T300 (or T800) or stay with you excellent T180 if you already have a pair.