T+A is a brand that is fairly new to me. I assume most readers might not be as familiar with this German manufacturer as much as others might, but they should definitely be a company to look out for. They have two high end headphones, the Solitaire P for $6,900 and Solitaire P SE for $3,900. These two headphones are like siblings, sharing similar designs but differing significantly in the sound signature. If you're interested in T+A and their open-back planar headphones, let's help you decide which one might work best for you.
Look and Feel
The Solitaire P and P SE both feature the same basic structure, with similar sizes for the headband and ear cups. Where these headphones come to a clash is with their materials used for their builds. This is where the Solitaire P first shows us why its priced the way it is. It contains the most durable components, using solid aluminum cups and yokes to support its frame. Comparatively, the P SE version just doesn't hold up to the quality of its counterpart, being comprised mostly of plastic components. That being said, both headphones provide a light and comfortable circumaural, but the actual seal of the earpads isn't as strong throughout both models.
Both headphones implement innovative planar designs, with the Solitaire P's TPM 3100 and the Solitaire P SE's TPM 2500 transducers. Both designs are meant to achieve the same effect, and that is to use its neodymium magnets to properly control the airflow through the diaphragm as to not cause any unwanted turbulence.
Solitaire P SE
It is no secret that both headphones share an immaculate soundstage. However, for the Solitaire P it won't feel that way at first. The Solitaire P doesn't immediately stick out as being wide or expansive, but the way it peels back its layers is what makes these headphones one of a kind. The way in which sound elements are positioned in the mix makes the Solitaire P so precise and accurate it's not like any open-back headphone I can remember. It just isn't very showy about its abilities like the P SE is, which will provide you with an airier stage with more exaggerated extension.
In the case of the low end, the Solitaire P and P SE both deliver a naturalistic response. Neither is very expressive with its tone, but the Solitaire P shows more exceptional lift and coloration to its overall timbre. The P SE is clean and transparent, but don't expect it to jump out at you in any significant way. Its sound signature is a lot more clinical in this region, showcasing fine detail without any significant bump to their texture.
Both headphones share a vastly rich midrange response. It comes to the point where you don't feel like you're loosing any considerable fidelity no matter which model you choose. They both offer a timbre that properly displays the sound spectrum in its purest detail. If I had to point out a slight difference, I'd say that the Solitaire P comes together a bit better in the midrange than the P SE, which definitely favors a selection of frequency bands over others.
This area of the frequency response can make of break which headphones you might prefer. With the Solitaire P you'll definitely get a smoother and less forward response from the highs, but the P SE will give you a touch more peaky tones which add crispness but doesn't shy away from harshness at times. The Solitaire P is much more consistent with its texture and level of detail, as although they don't provide much gain in the timbre, the frequency content itself is still clear and articulate.
Choosing between the Solitaire P and P SE can be a difficult task, but when really testing them for a significant amount of time, one after the other, the sound signature has some big variations that will better help you decide. I like a lot of what both headphone have to offer, but I think if you're looking for the purest sound signature then that's what I feel the Solitaire P is for. The P SE can be pretty selective in some areas, but will always deliver a rich and satisfying timbre in a spacious manner.
The T+A Solitaire P and P SE are available here.