Preface: I’d like to thank ElektroAkustik, the local importer of T+A audio equipment, for giving me the opportunity to experience the Solitaire P (and matching HA-200 amplifier) and trusting me to do them justice with an honest appraisal and review. The opinions expressed herein are entirely my own, based on my personal preferences and music library.
There must be a certain point along the arduous climb to the summit of Mount Everest where even the tallest surrounding mountains start receding into the distance, and every breath becomes one of rarified air.
To date, I’ve been fortunate to hear headphones in this hobby that mirror that experience; transcending what many would still consider top-of-the-line and taking the fusion of high-end sound, form, and function to an altogether different level.
T+A’s debut, the Solitaire P, is one such headphone. Handcrafted from solid ingots of aircraft-grade aluminium, among other quality materials, the SolP – as it’s colloquially known – is the first attempt at a luxury headphone by the artisans at T+A elektroakustik. Headquartered in the picturesque town of Herford, Germany, T+A (which stands for Theory + Application) has a reputation for creating some of the finest German-engineered high-end hi-fi speakers, amplifiers, and sources, dating back to the company’s foundations in 1978.
The arrival of a debut ultra-high-end flagship headphone, after catering to the two-channel elite for so many years, was therefore both a surprise, but also not. The £4,800 / $6,400 / €4,800 retail price was also a big surprise, but considering the going rate for some of T+A’s more traditional hi-fi components, it could also be argued that it’s actually a relatively modest investment for the company’s regular clientele.
What’s beyond argument is that the SolP is rather unique, not only because the technology it uses was researched and developed specifically for the headphone, but also because it doesn’t follow the typical blueprint of high-impedance, low-sensitivity designs that proliferate in the headphone high-end. It’s an expensive gamble to be sure, and although it was tuned with and released alongside an even more expensive matching headphone DAC and amplifier (T+A HA-200, £6,600 / $8,900 / €8,900), the end result is a headphone that stands firmly on its own merits.
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