Tick­ing boxes

Sound + Image - - Test - JF

Here’s one of those prod­ucts that does pre­cisely what you’d hope, at just the price you’d hope to pay, but also of­fers some neat ex­tras. Which is es­pe­cially im­pres­sive from a com­pany which of­fers as yet only two cur­rent head­phone mod­els from its base in Sin­ga­pore, from where it pro­claims its goals of “lib­er­at­ing high-qual­ity au­dio from the con­straints of ca­bles and hard­ware”.

The in­ter­est­ing in­no­va­tions in­clude a small ro­tat­ing and press­able knob (see below) on the right ear of th­ese aptX-equipped Blue­tooth head­phones — at first we thought this odd, even vul­ner­a­ble, but we soon be­came ac­cus­tomed to and en­am­oured with the ease of spin­ning up the vol­ume with this knob, far bet­ter than usual blindly hunt­ing for but­tons. You can press it to take calls (there are full call abil­i­ties here, in­clud­ing some level of noise-elim­i­na­tion) or for play­back con­trol with play/pause and next/last track.

An­other in­no­va­tion is to in­clude both an in­ter­nal charge­able bat­tery and, in the left earshell, room for an AAA bat­tery. Given the T1 can also op­er­ate with a cable in pow­ered or pas­sive mode, this dou­ble-power sys­tem means you’re highly un­likely ever to find your­self mu­si­c­less from juice­less­ness.

And an­other — shar­ing. If you and a friend both have T1s, you can ac­ti­vate shar­ing mode and dou­ble press a but­ton atop each to have the same tunes flow through both. We couldn’t test this, hav­ing only one pair, but what a sig­nif­i­cant ad­vance on shar­ing a white ear­bud each!

We also found the Tach T1’s Blue­tooth un­usu­ally friendly in con­nect­ing au­to­mat­i­cally with our iPhone as soon as the power slider is en­gaged — no re-pair­ing via iPhone menus re­quired. An­droid users with aptX on their phone will be able to gain an ad­di­tional qual­ity bonus with that su­pe­rior codec; there’s no men­tion of AAC so we pre­sume Ap­ple users get the ba­sic SBC codec.

Friendly, then, and a friendly sound, too. They’re cer­tainly not sparkling up top; the treble is fairly soft, but never to the point of muf­fling the over­all bal­ance, while they’re par­tic­u­larly strong on the lower punch and thump, so that they drive their sound very well through the un­der­ly­ing rum­ble of a daily com­mute. The big drums in The Jam’s

Go­ing Un­der­ground were large in­deed; the bass of Rag’n’Bone Man’s Hu­man proved pos­i­tively skull-res­onat­ing.

We found that the Blue­tooth con­nec­tion only just got loud enough with some ma­te­rial on a com­mute, but switch­ing to the cable gave rather more level, as well as in­line con­trol; other­wise there seemed lit­tle sonic dif­fer­ence be­tween Blue­tooth and ac­tive wired, though both re­tained a small edge in the mids over pas­sive wired. Pas­sive wired will use more of your de­vice’s juice; ac­tive wired shifts the work to the in­ter­nal or AAA bat­tery. Bat­tery life (with both) is quoted up to an im­pres­sive 25 hours.

Just a lit­tle soft­ness to the sound, then, but a great pair of com­pact Blue­toothers with some cun­ning ideas on­board.

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