Review ACS T1 Custom-Fit IEM - say hello TMA!
ACS' newly overhauled T1 is a very nice earphone which will get some lovin' at TMA in the short term (think April). Similar to Sennsaphonics 2X-s, it is made of medical silicon and has a fixed cable. But unlike the Sensaphonics, that cable isn't twisted, and it is much longer. As you can see, ACS can also print onto the custom silicon. It is etched and ten coloured and looks great. My wife gave me the thumbs up - a first regarding customs which she thinks look like worms.
I can't help but feel the similarities in design which prompted both companies to adopt silicon, but the T1, with its hot instruction booklet, leather/pleather carrying pouch, and customisation options sure feels like it was meant to bridge the gap between audiophile and professional.
It is triple balanced armature and sounds it: thick and powerful, but not raw, and unlike the 2X-s, lacks slight treble fatigue. Let's leave it at that for now: more to come when TMA's review is ready.
A great review of the ACS T1 is at headfi by royhendo - check it out!
Here are the piccies:
I've only spent about a day and a half with them, but there are a few things which are immediately observable. Firstly, the T1 has a very strong cable. When walking about, the slim body doesn't weight it dangerously down, nor make you worry because of fray. It is very much like the bottom portion of the FitEar 333, so is resistant to sweat and crystallisation.
It is also microphonic, but not bad at all with the neck slider cinched up. The cable is also very long - stretched out, it is only shy of my length by about 20 cm or so and I am 185cm! Since it is a custom product, ACS can probably custom tailor its length to fit your demands, but that is something to take up with them.
Also, the T1 is a deep, yet ultimately mellow earphone. It fits with everything, the JH13Pro of silicon customs if you will! Bass is low and mids smooth, but my favourite portion is the great treble, something I've missed with the Sensaphonics 2X-s. I think detail freaks may enjoy other customs better, but the T1 is really, really a great match with everything from vocal to trance.
The tote pouch is lovely - tiny, flat, and easily storable inside a trouser pocket or a purse. Since the earphones are silicon, there is no worry of crushing them, so toting in a thin pouch seems fine.
Is there anything which stands out as awkward? Right now, the cable is long! but other than that, the only thing I can think which would stand these up to perfection maybe, is a strong (not thin pin based) detachable cable, but that really needs to be investigated further. Excellent work.
Well, gonna take these for some other beauty shots today. Had them with me on a recent flight to Japan: wonderful, a couple of bus rides: great, and even tried whilst sleeping: still find customs aren't great for sleeping. Warm, and thick is the signature sound, but quite neutral. I think ACS have done most of their homework right. I am still deciding about the cable; a custom is great to have with a removable cable for these reasons: they need to be quickly replaceable if they break. however, this is a very strong cable, so it may not be a bit problem.
Well, met with Etymotics' Michael Shaver yesterday to see his new products: headsets and earphones. ETY are using the same great cable (or very similar) as the ACS T1, meaning it will last a long time and not get trashed from greasy faces! Woohoo!
silicon vs. acrylic comfortwise
Hi shigzweo, I'm very intrigued with this all-silicon custom IEM.
I'm on the selection process of a custom IEM, and so far have reduced my options to SM5, UE Miracle, ACS T1 and maybe 1964 Ears.
Being a universal IEM user I have never tried a custom before, and living in South America, wonít be able to demo any of them, so will try an educated guess based on reviews at several forums. But Iím confident any of the mentioned custom models will be superior to the few universals I have heard before.
Currently me preferred universal is Fischer Audio DBA-02, I love their level of detail and transparency they produce. On the other hand, didnít enjoy much Sennheiser IE8 despite its powerful bass and huge soundstage. So, I consider myself a sucker for detailed sound. But donít mind a controlled, strong bass reproduction.
My main concern about going Custom relates to the fit and comfort, so I hope you could tell me a few things about how silicone and hard acrylic material differentiate regarding those aspects. Hope your comments will help me decide which way to go. Thanks in advance
Hello Josesol07, well met.
Most customs out there CAN trump even the best universals, but fit matters most. A great custom with bad fit will sound bad. So, fit is by far the most important thing. Saying that, silicons generally fit tight and because of that, can really belt out the bass. In some ways, that bass quantity is less than some of the popular acrylic models, but the impact from the soft silicon is more tangible because the sound waves can vibrate more in the softer tubes. The 2X2 and the T1 both have strong bass, but not necessarily in quantity.
It is like a quake rather than a boom, if you can get my drift.
The JH13Pro and 16 and 11 Pro from UE have more bass output, but at times, can sound softer in the low end.
Detail is generally a quick way to say high mid or low treble focused sound. Detail can also be low mids and high bass. There are all sorts of details to pick up in music. I get that you consider detail to be lower treble and high mids. In that case, the FitEar 333, 223, JH5Pro, ES3X, etc., may be more in your league. They are all great earphones, but they all sound a bit different.
Now, the most easy to drive among them are: Westone ES3X, Sennsaphonics 2XS, Earsonics EM3Pro. The JH13Pro are a bit harder to drive and the T1 a bit harder still. The FitEar 333 is best with a GOOD portable amp, though it and its 'hard to drive' brothers still sound good without amps.
Take a look at the TouchMyApps custom earphones reviews for more information.
thanks for such a prompt answer!!
I'm purchasing an Ibasso D4 amp to paired with whatever custom I choose and my current DBA-02.
which custom you have heard/owned you like the most sound and fit wise?
My short list od candidates so far are: Westone ES5, UM Miracle, ACS T1/T2. I have never even read about FitEar models!! will look into it!!
Is really hard to do such an expensive purchase blindly!!!
thanks again, Jose
Sorry to be late on my reply, josesol07.
The D4 is a great amp/DAC that I actually bought and owned for a while and had wanted to finish a review. Unfortunately, my main 'review phones' broke down twice and I was delayed long enough that I sold the D4 again as I needed to replace my dead headphones.
You know, customs are a funny thing. They are very nice and when fit is perfect, it is ... perfect. In terms of comfort, two types of customs really have it: silicon and semi-silicon. Westone boast the latter and ACS and Sensaphonics and a number of smaller firms in Sweden, Poland, and even America boast the former. FitEar look to have moved outside Japan for the moment and may try marketing outward - that is a good thing.
The FitEar are the hardest for an amp to drive, but they sound good even from a regular iPod. The thing is that they lose a bit of upper midrange in the process.
Customs are expensive. Do you have anywhere that has universal models of the customs to try? Have you tried the UM3X? That is similar to the ES3X but I've not tried (nor seen) the ES5. UM earphones are really clean, but I've never heard one - not yet at least. I assume it is good. That said, I tend to like the ES3X, the Earsonics EM3Pro, and the Sensaphonics 2X-s for this big reason: drivability. Each of these is easy to drive and does not 'need' an amp.
Out of them, the EM3Pro is perhaps the least exciting, but the most rich and the ES3X and Sensaphonics 2X-s duke it out for neutrality at the ear. Each of these, however are professional monitors and thus, imbued with flat lines or as close to flat lines as possible. If you want a bit more excitement, go for the Jerry Harvey or Ultimate Ears.
I've NOT heard the T2 yet but who knows. Honestly, I enjoy customs very much, but I've started spending more time with my universal favourites: CK10. Cheers!
On Tuesday I lost my beloved UE-10 Pro. Close to six years of service... shame on me.
After some reading and investigation, I've restricted the spectrum of choices to two models: T1 or EM3Pro.
The reason being that I don't want to deal with cross-continent shipping and customs. UK and France, from Italy, mean that I won't pay extra customs and shipping should not be prohibitive (important in case I need to work on perfect fitting).
I've read pretty much all the reviews I could find on the net but, since my appointment with the audiologist for the earprints is on Tuesday... there's still three days before I make up my mind.
Anyone with relevant information, please step up and talk.
I've discarded Compact Monitors Stage series, it's more expensive and I don't see the point in spending more without a proper cause (nothing I've read convinces me they're worth €200 more).
Edit: I've read shigzeo's two reviews. I'm currently more inclined toward the T1s (coming from acrylic I'm curious to try silicone) but I'm eager to hear your comments.
Edit 2: if shigzeo reads this, I'd be really curious about isolation. Him or anyone that's tried both acrylic and silicone customs. Does the silicone isolate more or it's just a matter of proper fit. Sensaphonics quotes -37db for their IEMs but ACS report the usual -26db. ???
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