Details: Bass-heavy IEM sharing a housing design with the Padacs Aksent
MSRP: £99.95 (manufacturer’s page) (discontinued)
Current Price: £69 (est. $114) from amazon.co.uk (discontinued)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: generic bi-flanges; short bi-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear
Accessories (1/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes)
Build Quality (3.5/5) – The gigantic metal housings are finished in glossy gunmetal and feel very sturdy. Beefy strain reliefs protect the thin, rubbery cable on housing entry but not so much at the I-plug. Driver flex is moderate to severe
Isolation (3/5) – Good for a vented dynamic-driver earphone
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Tolerable when worn cable-down; good otherwise
Comfort (3.5/5) – Though the housings are quite large, they weigh no more than those of the average metal-shelled earphone and can be worn both cord-up and cord-down
Sound (7.1/10) – The 1V shares more than just its housings with the Padacs Aksent – it shares the bass-centric sound signature as well. The low end of the TFTAs is very attention-grabbing and undoubtedly dominates in the overall balance – if bass could be measured in units of weight, the 1V would have a ton. The last set I remember being this bassy was the Sony XB40EX, with most other in-ears simply being put out to pasture in terms of bass quantity. Bass depth is very good – while there is a touch more mid-bass than sub-bass, rumble and subbass power are plentiful. Impact is very good as well – the TFTAs are capable of moving lots and lots of air. The notes produced are a bit rounded and the bass sounds very full-bodied, even ‘fat’. On the downside, it also appears bloated and boomy much of the time, which is not unexpected considering the quantity.
The mids of the TFTA 1V are recessed in comparison to the low end, though there is quite a bit of bass bleed propping up the lower midrange. The bleed reduces clarity and resolution – on both counts the TFTA is about on-par with the Dunu Trident and lags behind reasonably bassy sets such as the Beyerdynamic DTX 101 iE and id America Spark. The overall sound is warm, full, and colored, with reasonably good detail and a pleasant thickness. Those who are expecting the mids to serve as a compliment to the bass should be pleased but listeners on the hunt for transparency can do better, even among bass-heavy sets.
Similarly, while the treble doesn’t have the same veil as the midrange, it lacks crispness and definition. There is no smearing but the overall detail level isn’t particularly great and those looking for higher-than-average treble sparkle will be disappointed. Compared to other bass-heavy sets, however, the treble is not bad – the Beyerdynamic DTX 101 iE, for example, is just as treble-recessed, and the Velodyne vPulse has similarly average detail levels. Top-end extension is moderate – better than with the id America Spark and about on-par with the vPulse.
The presentation is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the 1V and also where it differs most from the cheaper Padacs Aksent. The soundstage is wide and spacious, providing a ‘big’ sound so befitting the huge bass presence. The sonic space is deep and reverberant but unfortunately the bass dominance doesn’t help with separation – the low end is consistently intrusive and seems to come from everywhere all at once. It is often more enjoyable than the somewhat flat and boring soundstage of the Velodyne vPulse but a little more positioning accuracy definitely wouldn’t have hurt.
Value (7/10) – The TFTA-2100-2V1S is a basshead’s dream come true, a set that unabashedly refuses to sacrifice its immense bass for any reason. The housings, while large, are quite attractive and not overly heavy and the isolation and build quality are decent enough to make the TFTA easy to recommend for those who just can’t get enough bass from headphones. For other listeners – especially those who fear bass bloat – alternatives abound.
Pros: Well-built and attractive; large presentation; big bass
Cons: Very large housings; driver flex; big bloat