Audiosense T180

disclaimer:  none needed, item purchased through their aliexpress store.

 

Unboxing / Packaging:

The T180 ships in a slip-cover style box with a large graphic of the earpiece on the front with details on the reverse and the sides.  The cable displayed is the with mic version even on those shipped without it (like mine).  Under the slip cover, the inner container has a foam tray that displays the earpieces and the soft case below them.  all other items are stored inside the soft case except the warranty card and instructions that rest beneath it.   The kit consists of the earpieces, cable, shirt clip, 4 sets of silicone tips, and the soft case.   Kit is about as expected at this price point but cable is a bit better than average.

 

Build/Fit:

Shells are made by mould using a GE composite material that claims to be 200% of the strength of the average polymer used for shells.   Shells are made in 2 parts with an inner and outer seam glued together after internals are mounted.  The seam can be readily seen above the mmcx connector in the photo as a small gap is left in that area.   Inner shells have T180 printed on the flat with either R or L printed immediately behind the mmcx connector.  Nozzles exit the forward most point of the shell and are long and narrow (T100 sized).   Shape is that of a tear drop with the point to the front of the ear.  The outer shell has an octagon pattern built into the surface and a honeycomb style mesh beneath.   Overall size is smaller than average and weight is extremely light making the T180 an easy and comfortable fit for long wear.

 

Internals:   

The T180 uses a single Knowles RAF-32873 extended range balanced armature driver in a custom housing and with custom damping to tune the armature.   Nominal impedance is listed as 24Ω with a sensitivity of 100dB/mW.   Interestingly, the pictures below shows no crossover in the path and Knowles data sheet shows a nominal impedance of 50Ω with a sensitivity of 112dB/mW.  I found the T180 to be slightly harder to drive than the numbers suggest it should be.

 

 

Cable:

The provided cable is 8 core silver plated copper braid from the clear plastic housed 90º gold plated 3.5mm jack to the barrel shaped brushed aluminum splitter.  Each Core in turn has 19 strands of silver coated copper wire.   A small knurled chin slider mates to the splitter when not in use. two 4 wire braids exit the splitter and terminate in clear pre-formed hooks, with clear mmcx housings.  The housings have either a red or blue ring to identify left/right with the earpieces having letter to match on the inner surface behind the mmcx connector as well.

 

Tips:

The T180 takes a much smaller diameter tip than the standard so finding extra tips is a bit more of a challenge.  These are T100 sized tips (per comply) rather than the standard (t400) style used for the nozzle seen to the right.   The provided tips come in four sizes with the 2nd from largest fitting best for me.   Basically, the tips have a true small and large tip with two slightly different sizes of medium in between as the smallest and largest are not distinctly different than other models that provide the standard SML tips.   Audiosense does have comply tips and extra tips available for purchase directly if you wish to do so.

 

 

Sound:

Bass:

The T180 is not atypical of single BA driven iems in that bass depth and punch are both limited.  If a good seal is not achieved the T180 comes across as a very bright iem as result.  Those looking for lots of sub-bass slam will want to look elsewhere.  On the flip side, those looking for an iem with good control of the bass, and a reasonably well textured mid-bass will appreciate the T180’s lower end.  Mid bass is well presented as it is both tight and clean with no bleed or slop and good speed on both attack and decay.

 

Mids:

Transition from mid-bass to mids is very linear with no bleed or bloom to speak of and no major dips or peaks.  Upper mids are a bit forward and lower treble is definitely the focal point of the T180 so vocal presence is very good if a bit too far forward for my tastes at times.  Strings are well rendered with good tonality for the most part but have a warm leaning that can be overly so at times.   Acoustic guitar and vocals are a good combination for the T180 as timbre is particularly natural and clean.  I particularly enjoyed Steve Earle’s early Exit 0 offering on the T180 as it seems to be the kind of music the T180 is best suited for.

 

Treble:

As mentioned above, lower treble is pushed considerably forward and is the main focal point of the T180. This gives vocals good clarity, but can be a bit splashy and harsh at times depending on source material.  there is good air and sparkle at the top, but at times cymbals can come off a bit metallic and sharp due to the tuning.   The treble shy will not appreciate the T180 while those looking for that last bit of treble detail will find something to like here.

 

Soundstage / Imaging:

Stage on the T180 is moderate with a bit more width than depth and a reasonable sense of height.  I found seating the orchestra was reasonably easy with no large anomalies and instrument separation was generally good but can get a bit dense as tracks get more complex and ensembles get larger.   Layering is reasonably good, but again best when ensemble sizes are limited or complexity is kept to a minimal level.   For me, the T180 is good for pop, rock, jazz, blues and to a lesser degree orchestral music.

 

Comparisons:

The compare below has left/right averaged for each in-ear.  Tests were run back to back on a single system without adjustments to settings using the same cable for all three models to eliminate any possible cable difference.  (The cable provided with the T180 was used).  Tips are Spiral dot on the Comet, factory large on the F1 and factory large on the T180.

KBear F1 / Campfire Comet  – I have previously mentioned that my F1 and the Comet sound very similar.   This is the first time I had run the tests back to back and it proves just how close the two are.  Other than a small bump in the very top end (which in fairness is where my test rig is weakest) they could be twins.  The T180 differs by having a bit more low end extension, shape of the curve is similar, but the T180 doesn’t start audible roll-off until about 60Hz as compared to the other two which start around 100Hz.  At the top end, the lower treble push that all three share is more of a plateau than a spike for the T180 as compared to the other two and that translates into more vocal clarity and a brighter signature than the other two.    The F1/Comet both sound warmer by comparison but not quite as vocal oriented.   Roll-off begins a bit sooner on the T180 so the trade off for a bit better bass and a bit more vocal push is a bit less air and sparkle at the top end.

 

Thoughts / Conclusion:

I am a big fan of the Campfire Comet and have made no attempt to conceal that.  It provides the user a similar signature to their Atlas model at 1/5th the price tag and is a decent value when compared to the ever-increasing price tags of flagship models.  Having said that, I believe I have now found a suitable replacement for the Comet at 1/4 the price tag again in the T180.  It brings a similar signature with a bit more vocal clarity and energy, and a polite enough treble that even with that extra lift, it isn’t strident or harsh.   The T180 is limited by its single BA driver, but for genres that are not sub-bass intensive, it makes a good comfortable daily.  I found it well suited to jazz, blues, blues rock, and classic rock which will cover an awful lot of readers catalogs very well.  If you are in the market for a comfortable, relaxed, easy to enjoy in-ear for genres other than dubstep, hip-hop, etc where bass needs more presence, the T180 deserves your consideration.   As for me, I may have to try the T260 and the T800 at some point.  If Audiosense can do this with a single BA, I expect good things of the upper models.

Audiosense T180

6.5

Packaging

6.0/10

Build Quality

7.0/10

Accessories

6.0/10

Sound Quality

6.9/10
  • 7/10
    Bass - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Mids - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Treble - 7/10
  • 6.5/10
    Soundstage - 6.5/10
  • 7/10
    Imaging - 7/10

Summary

Pros: well built, sound reminiscent of Campfire Comet.

Cons:  Limited extension on both ends