Based in Herford, Germany, T+A has made a name for itself as one of the leading names in audio technology since 1978. In their own words, their mission in creating hi-fi audio equipment is “music reproduction in perfection.” Recently, T+A released the Solitaire P-SE, a lower priced ($3900) alternative to their award winning Solitaire P ($6900). In this review I’ll be focusing on the original Solitaire P. You can read our review comparing the two models here. Needless to say, I’m very excited to get my hands on these.
Look and Feel
At first glance, I got the impression that the Solitaire is not meant to be flashy or a fashion statement, but a tool to deliver a listening experience. The exterior is minimal, clean, and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to aesthetics. Upon closer inspection, you can see the painstaking detail that went into crafting these. Visually, every part complements the whole, from the color scheme to the subtle complexity of the textures. Despite their larger, bulkier design, I was surprised with how light they are. The fit is seamless and I almost forgot I was wearing them at times.
T+A designed every aspect of these headphones with the utmost scrutiny and precision. Every part, from the plastics and metals in the components to the material of the headband is made to enhance the overall sound of the headphones. The main innovation of the SP is its TPM 3100 transducer. By utilizing high performance neodymium magnets, the TPM 3100’s magnetic field follows a homogenous course, preventing airflow from interfering with the diaphragm.
The Soltaire P has a frequency response of 5 Hz - 54 KHz and an impedance of 80 Ohms.
Simply, the Solitaire P’s soundstage is impeccable. The sense of space I get from them is clearer and deeper than nearly any other headphone I’ve listened to. Everything in the mix has a place, so much that it feels tangible at times. The crystal clear tone is consistent throughout the dynamic range; even at the softest volumes on my amp, I could still hear everything in its place. Since they are open-back headphones, you aren’t going to get a lot of outside noise cancellation. This is a necessary tradeoff; these aren’t meant for your morning commute or the gym, these are meant for sitting down in a quiet place and listening.
Achieving good low end on a headphone is a delicate balancing act, and T+A achieved and exceeded that balance. The lows sit in an amazing spot in the mix. Regardless of genre, regardless of recording quality, these headphones can bring out a deep and rich texture in anything.
The midrange on these headphones remains true to the frequency response, and almost never accentuates any frequencies. Midrange has a natural tendency towards harmonic resonances, so eliminating this entirely is impossible, but the Solitaires come very close.
The Highs on the Solitaires are incredibly dynamic. They could be crisp and smooth when they needed to be, but could also bring out harshness when the mix called for it. I noticed much clearer attacks and sibilance on some of my go-to references mixes than any other headphone I have tried.
With the Solitaire P, T+A achieved exactly what they set out to do. These headphones achieve a level of clarity and mix-accuracy that is difficult to come by. They certainly live up to their ambitious price tag and even more ambitious goals. There are comparable headphone models out there, but the Solitaires' effortless gentleness is not something to be overlooked. I'm very excited to try its successor, the Solitaire P-SE in the near future.