T+A Solitaire T

Headphone Test

T+A Solitaire T Review

A closed dynamic pair of headphones of the highest quality for both stationary and mobile use, that‘s what the T+A Solitaire T aims to be – but also to bring great pleasure with its Bluetooth and ANC features.

| Michael Lang

From the very beginning, T+A from Herford, Germany, approached the topic of new headphones differently. Decisions were made at an early stage: if we offer headphones below the price range of the world-renowned Solitaire P – read our review of the high-end headphones T+A Solitaire P here – and P-SE, then there has to be a close sonic relationship to these top models. This stood against the fact that the new headphones ought to be equipped with a dynamic driver instead of the magnetostats of the larger models for reasons of space and weight.

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T+A Solitaire T
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T+A Solitaire T Case and Cables
T+A Solitaire T Controls
T+A Solitaire T Chip

With a lot of fine tuning, the developers succeeded in making the Solitaire T something special sonically, even without electronic corrections. In addition to the strictly selected drivers made of a particularly low-resonance cellulose mixture with a diameter of 42 millimeters, which are installed at an angle in the capsules, a clever system of pressure chamber, sound guides and special acoustic filters contributed to this. All of this is supposed to ensure a bone-dry and deep bass performance as well as a linear frequency response.

This costs time and money, and most manufacturers bypass this process and rely on the "magic" effect of their built-in sound correction. We, however, hold a similar opinion to T+A: If it sounds right from the start, you don‘t have to correct it afterwards, or only minimally. The additional active mode, which also offers sound adjustments and active noise cancellation if desired, was only integrated into the earpieces afterwards.

But even here, the Solitaire T exhibits some special qualities. For example, the material quality of aluminum and high-quality plastics is an absolutely successful blend of strength, durability and a low weight of just under 330 grams. The earcups are large enough to cover the ears without causing excessive pressure that restricts wearing comfort; the adjustment range of the slim but nicely cushioned headband is also well designed for the real world.

ANC & Bluetooth As An Encore

The technical side of the "activation kit" can certainly be attributed to the "serious business" faction: Bluetooth duties are taken over by a top-quality Qualcomm chip, while Sony, which is considered the best option for active noise cancellation, contributes the noise suppression of low frequencies – as the ear pads, damping very well in the mids and highs, are almost ineffective there. Further options like telephone operation and control of various functions including an HD Bluetooth mode can be controlled directly on the earpiece or soon also via app.

The three meter cable with its balanced Pentaconn plug emphasizes that the aspect of sound quality was taken very seriously. If you connect the Solitaire T to a suitable headphone amplifier, all digital functions are bypassed and it works like any normal wired model. What these compact headphones offer in terms of sound contradicts their slim design.

If you listen to a choir from any opera by Verdi or Puccini, or a large orchestra, the sound is comparable to a very high-quality standmount speaker that plays powerfully and full-bodied; one that gives the impression of listening to a grown-up floorstanding speaker when your eyes are closed. Since the bass range of the T+A, for all its power, does not sound bloated or even unclean and blurry, as could be heard with Porcupine Tree, for example, the lower mids – voices and acoustic instruments – also remain beautifully identifiable in the soundstage and are not acoustically drowned out.

Even the cable hardly reacts to physical contact. The Bluetooth capabilities and the noise cancelling of the small and fancy headphones are also convincing – the pieces of the mosaic fit together perfectly, only the app was not ready at the time of this review. However, we are positive that it will smoothly fit into the excellent list of features that the Solitaire T offers.


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