Altmann Micro Machines Tera-Player Review

altmann_tera_07

Here we are, with a spartan digital audio player that costs 840 Euros. Let’s take a look at the features:

  • No screen display, only buttons.
  • Only WAV support, nothing else.
  • No EQ, no bass boost, no “sound enchancement” features of some sort.
  • Tank-proof build quality.
  • Exceptional sound quality (supposedly).
  • Extra long battery life.

If you do a conversion rate, that €840 price tag equals to a staggering $1,099 price tag in the US dollars. Much protests have been thrown at the pricing of the Altmann Tera Player, which is reasonable given the features people are used to having with their lower priced DAPs. Obviously we all know that it’s entirely Charles’ right to charge whatever he wants on a product that he developed from scratch and hand build one by one. But still, the question is “how good is this $1,099″ digital audio player really is?

It was really interesting to read through the process that he went through when developing the Tera player. The choice for an R2R D/A chip rather than the more common sigma-delta. How he went to write the instructions for the ARM controller chip in an assembly language (a really basic form of computer programming, and a very complicated one to learn). How he discovered jitter even when reading from a static SD card memory, and how he rewrote the instructions to eliminate that jitter.

This guy, in his frustration of not being able to find a good digital player, used all the know how he has and set out to create the very best player he’s capable of. And I’m pretty convinced that Charles is nothing short of a genius just by reading his websites. But is Charles’ best attempt good enough to take on the best players we have on the market?

Sound Impressions

The Tera is not a toy, nor a gimmick. No, it’s also not a scam. This tiny player impresses me as much as big dollar amplifiers such as the RSA Dark Star. Whilst portable DAC units like the CLAS and the Fostex HP-P1 are really nice, I think the Tera is in another step up. This player has got to have the lowest jitter number from all the other players I’ve reviewed. The background is very black, the sound totally unfatiguing. Details, instruments, vocals, are all distinct and real due to the super-black background. The sound is quite dark, but the frequency response is very linear from top to bottom. Something this good should be coming from a big desktop rig, not a pocket size player smaller than my wallet!

So, while everybody was out there posting why a player with such limited features can’t possibly worth $1,099, I just kept my mouth shut. When people asked, I told them that I’m loving the Tera and that they should wait until the formal review is published. Yes, it’s very expensive and personally my wallet is not thick enough to justify a purchase. But so are a lot of things in audio including $1K+ custom molded IEMs. And yet, people can justify those $1K IEMs because they know that the sound quality is real.

Or consider a typical iPod + outboard DAC solution like the CLAS or the Fostex HP-P1 stack. By the time you finish the package with a good amplifier, it’s easily over $1,000. Of course you get a far more powerful amplifier in the process, but at the same time that stack is barely portable anymore. With the Tera-Player, I have a true pocketable DAP with a source quality that makes the Fostex HP-P1 sound congested. I would definitely buy one if I can afford it.

 

Continue to the next page…

  • http://www.facebook.com/donunus Don Vittorio Sierra

    Seriously though,  is the volume even louder than what the e10 can put out? Its sort of a personal minimum requirement for my enjoyment. I don’t doubt the serious sound quality though if someone has really spent the time tweaking the sound to perfection.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Nope. Not even E10 loud. Strictly IEMs.

      • Anonymous

        I have never gone above setting 2 on the E10 with normal headphones…

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          I made a mistake on the volume. Must’ve been playing some very low volume mastered stuff, because with a mainstream recording I can get the volume to a good loudness level even with the HD580 (although maxxed out volume level).

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Yes I can get really loud with the HD25-1. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/donunus Don Vittorio Sierra

          For the he400 and the hd600, full is not enough for me :)

          • Anonymous

            Laptop + E10 + HD650: Volume is at 1.5
            Are you deaf? :)

  • Anonymous

    Nice write up Mike. Don’t forget that you can ask for more output volume when ordering. He said there was a margin for “more”

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks, L. Yes that’s true. Volume can be louder. 

  • Anonymous

    Possibility Mike for Flac support down the line?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      I have just the answer for that, and I’ve updated it on page 3 of the review. 

      • Anonymous

        It is a logical answer but only after he chose Wav hehe.. I wonder if he had of started with flac he could have still used a small memory output program and not revert to conversion. I don’t use wav sadly and for CLAS it was a pain redoing flac to alac already lol.. 

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          I don’t know I think FLAC needs a more complex algorithm to play while WAV doesn’t? 

          • Mateusz Ludwin

            For FLAC support you will need some additional memory chips for decompression buffers (not to mention many algorithmic difficulties like gapless playback). WAV can be streamed to the DAC unit directly from the memory card.

          • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

            Thanks for clarifying that Mateusz.

  • Anonymous

    Wow This is the Hifi ipod shuffle! The price is a little crazy.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      I KNOW!

      Only for the discerning ones. ;)

  • Andrew Smith

    Excellent review Mike. I commend your courage for reviewing such an esoteric, quirky and expensive DAP. I’ve been championing the Tera-Player on head-fi as an extremely satisfied owner and have been roundly condemned by other audiophiles who couldn’t believe that a guy in his workshop could make such a sonic marvel. Suffice to say that I feel vindicated by your review and I know that Charles will be chuffed too.  

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Oh it was a pleasure to do this review. I really didn’t see it as a burden and I’m loving every bit of the sound.
      Now we all want to take a listen to Charles’ other creations… ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/donunus Don Vittorio Sierra

        I wish he makes something with desktop amp power and huge storage. It doesn’t have to be portable

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          He can, but I would imagine it may cost $5,000+.

  • http://twitter.com/Andryi Andryi

    The valid point of nonexistent ui and file format support falls short when you actually hear this little thing. You.just.cant.go.back. 
    Andreas from Greece.

    P.S.: good job as always Mike.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Perfectly said, Andryi.

      It’s my favorite player.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Julian-Junishev/1525337896 Julian Junishev

    Such a price requires “i” in front of the name – it should be “iTera”. And the appropriate looks. It’s expensive but yet ugly and without “i” in the name. I won’t buy.

    • Anonymous

      Julian I find the Tera-Player to be aesthetically pleasing and very understated. It’s industrial and robust design is a refreshing change to the flimsy and easily breakable i designs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rūdolfs-Putniņš/100001284307683 Rūdolfs Putniņš

    Yay for going back to multipage articles!

    Damn, this thing makes even the QA350 look convenient in comparison. However, I’d be happier if they would omit the amplification stage altogether, since it seems that an amplifier is a must.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      In practice the QA350 is a bigger hassle to use. The UI is slow, and the 8-character screen is not very helpful either. 

      Not to mention that you can’t possibly fit the QA350 into a pocket!

  • Anonymous

    Rudolfs, Mike has stated that his comment about lack of volume was due to playing poorly recorded music files. I have successfully driven my LCD-2 using the Tera-Playerto moderate volumes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rūdolfs-Putniņš/100001284307683 Rūdolfs Putniņš

      Good to know. Btw, is there any way to get line-out level signal from it? Because  a good dedicated amp not only surpasses the power ratings but also amplifies with less aberrations in the original signal.

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        The only way is to take the signal from the headphone out. I tried using the JDSLabs C421 amp from the headphone out (I use the one in the middle) and the resolution is still pretty amazing. The amp was really transparent too and I was able to hear even better micro details. 

  • http://twitter.com/dookie182182 DEFAUT Quentin

     if the tera is not powerfull enough for the hd25-1, maybe the HD 25-based “Amperior” new sennheiser headphone will do the trick…. looking forward to march

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Actually it’s powerful enough for the HD25-1.

    • Anonymous

      Mike Did you heard the new Amperior? Tyll  says they are better than the Beyerdinamic dt 1350. Is my impression or they are smaller than the regular hd25? too sad there is not a black color at the moment (only grey or blue) 

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        Nope I haven’t heard the Amperiors yet.

        The HD25-1 is still the better headphone imo compared to the DT1350.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcos-Moreira/100001905706776 Marcos Moreira

    Too rich for me, Mike. But it sounds amazing (pun intended :).
    OTOH, if someone wants to use their Stax Omega or LCD-2 or HD800 on a portable setup, i can see why they’d pay that much for a greap player like this one plus a very good amp, makes sense. BTW, did you compare the Tera Player with any iPod+DAC setups? I know it would win, my only question is about how handily.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hi Marcos,
      I did make the comparison to an Ipod + DAC setup. Did you miss it on the review? Sorry it’s 3 pages long now.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcos-Moreira/100001905706776 Marcos Moreira

        Right, i saw it. Sorry i wasn’t too specific, i was actually talking about lower end, smaller options, like the C421 or the Fiio E17, mainly because i think the Fostex and the CLAS are a little too bulky to be portable IMO.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          So like a Tera-Player vs Ipod + C421/E17?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcos-Moreira/100001905706776 Marcos Moreira

            Yeap. I know its not very fair, but i just wanted to know if there’s any aspect in which they would be able to keep up

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              Yes I think it boils down to this: the Ipod set up would have a better amplifier, but what we’re talking about here with the Tera is a first class source quality.

  • Shaun Chong

    If the Tera Player had line-in then I would definitely buy one. I really want to use the Tera Player as an amp/DAC combo for my computer while at home.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      That would be convenient wouldn’t it? But again I think the Tera is very good because it sticks to one simple function: WAV player. 

  • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

    I took the Tera-Player to a local headphone meet today and everybody who had a listen to it were very impressed. 

  • Jerry Szprot

    I’d be very interested to see how the Tera player’s performance rates based on scientific measurements. With these ‘high-end’ players, it seems like the companies really like to rip-off rich audiophiles who are fooled by the placebo effect. The Hifiman players are good examples of this as their measured performance is sub-par compared to the ‘lowly’ Sansa Clip… 

    In the end, what you want from a player is a ruler-flat frequency curve and an amp that has as low output impedance as possible. Things such as 24bit playback etc. have been proved scientifically to offer no audible improvement over good old 16 bit Redbook audio. 

    It would be really great to see some blind tests of these players compared to cheap players such as the Sansa Clip….

    My honest guess – the Clip will most likely sound just as good.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Jerry,
      When you’ve been into audio long enough, you would know that there is a lot of things that the measurements don’t tell. That Sansa clip vs Hifiman HM-801 comparison being one of them.
      But it’s entirely up to you who you want to trust.

      • Jerry Szprot

        It is indeed entirely possible that something sounds subjectively better while measuring worse than some other device. However, your argument from authority notwithstanding, a device that measures better is always the better choice. One can always degrade the signal in a ‘pleasing’ manner using EQ or DSP, whereas a device that measures badly is forever flawed and this cannot be fixed.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Tell me how you can tell a good soundstage reproduction from looking at a chart.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Akagos-Yeo/1101247359 Joshua Akagos Yeo

            Phase response is used to predict soundstage in amps at least, less error = less altered soundstage and spatial cues, just fyi :) 

          • Jerry Szprot

            Soundstage is hugely dependent on the shape of our ears and ear-canals… What sounds like a huge soundstage to some might be very narrow to others. This is also the reason why S-Logic has such inconsistent results amongst people. Besides, the fact that we currently can’t measure soundstage reproduction as well as other aspects of a headphone does not mean that we’ll never be able to. I sure hope this advance is right around the corner since that will definitely improve the soundstage in future headphones.

          • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

            “Besides, the fact that we currently can’t measure soundstage reproduction as well as other aspects of a headphone does not mean that we’ll never be able to. I sure hope this advance is right around the corner since that will definitely improve the soundstage in future headphones.”

            So you have admitted that not everything in audio can be measured by graphs. 

          • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

            Joshua, 

            If you try measuring the phase response of tube amps, I’m sure they will measure worse than solid state designs. But take a listen to them and you’ll discover that the majority of tube amps have much better soundstage performance.

            Taking measurements to judge sound is like grading wine with electrical probes.

        • Anonymous

          Sorry Jerry, but stating that “A device that measures better is always the better choice” is just a load of old horse manure. Those of us that own tube gear, quirky audio products and other left field items know that scientific measurements are somewhat redundant when musical enjoyment is considered, as the perception of immersive involvement cannot be scientifically rationalised.

          • Jerry Szprot

            Once again, I am not arguing that equipment that is faulty in some way can sound subjectively better – tube amps are probably the best example of this. Nevertheless, they are still faulty in some way and I think buying such products when it is possible to buy a much cheaper product that measures better is just… strange. I’d like to see some blind listening tests between a real (expensive) tube amplifier and a cheap but better-measuring solid state amp with some tube-amp DSP activated. Wonder what the results would be…

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Akagos-Yeo/1101247359 Joshua Akagos Yeo

          Jerry, 
          Though sansa clip measures well, there are still a few areas of improvement to make with whether be its DAC section or HO. That being said, though Charles did not provide any specs. If you dig around deeper, you would see that he is not just any audio manufacturer, he developed the Tera with proper equipment as he already has them.

          • Jerry Szprot

            This is why I’d like to see some non-partisan entity measure the Tera Player’s performance. If it indeed turns out that it performs far better than any other player out there, its high price might be justified…

            Still, it has been already proved by rigorous scientific tests that already most differences between modern audio players are inaudible. So I still wonder if there is any reason to buy an expensive player like the Tera Player or the Hifiman or Colorfly, other than to basically use it for showing off. It is far more probable that any sonic differences that these players might have are inaudible, while people who claim that there are huge differences simply fall prey to placebo, confirmation bias etc.

          • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

            Again your demands on measurements is based on the premise that everything in audio can be described by graphs. 

            Human sense may be capable of making mistakes, but in many cases human senses can discover a lot of things machines are incapable of judging. Tell me how you can measure the flavor of a good wine for instance.

    • Anonymous

      Jerry, not everything that is deemed as ‘audiophile’ can be scientifically quantified, thus look at the measurements from bespoke tube amps, which measure horrendously yet ‘sound’ utterly sublime. I own both the Tera-Player and Sansa Clip and there is no comparison whatsoever, the Tera-Player is more dynamic, analogue and involving in a way that the Clip could never hope to emulate.

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        And everyone I know who’s heard both the Clip and the HM-801 simply can’t fathom how deaf the guy who started that thread was. 

      • Jerry Szprot

        People say the same thing about the Hifiman and that player measures worse than the Clip. Are you aware how powerful the placebo effect is on our hearing? You could just be imagining that this player sounds so much better than the Clip just by the price alone… 

        • Anonymous

          Jerry, suggesting that Mike, I and other people who eulogise about the Tera-Player are suffering from the ‘placebo effect’ or some other mass delusion discredits your other more rational observations.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Why do you always place the burden of proof on our side? 

          Where is the scientific proof that what we are hearing is just placebo? 

      • Kunal Raiker

        Guys guys, calm down here ok.
        There is nothing called as Portable Audiophile, does not exist!
        End of Story.

        • Andrew Smith

          Kunal, I beg to differ, as the the Tera-Player truly encapsulates what can be described as high end sound and is undoubtedly of `audiophile’ quality.  

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          So you’ve listened to the Tera ?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      “Things such as 24bit playback etc. have been proved scientifically to offer no audible improvement over good old 16 bit Redbook audio. ”

      Where is this proof?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      “With these ‘high-end’ players, it seems like the companies really like to rip-off rich audiophiles who are fooled by the placebo effect.”

      It seems like you’re basing your entire argument on something that’s not scientifically proven either, Jerry.

      Perhaps you can start by giving us proof that these so called companies really are fooling audiophiles.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/C7R2ANYP662H7E6GHV6VI33TAU Richard

    Simple questions: how would this work with high res sources like HDTRACKS.com.
    You explain that the upload is fast but it is not viewed via screen.  Correct?  How many songs would you port into this environment?  How do you edit down songs to make room for new ones?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Richard, 
      What you need to make sure is that the files from HDtracks to come in .WAV or be converted into .WAV. 

      What about the upload again? 

      Basically the whole song moving thing require you to copy your song files into an SD-card, similar to how you would copy your other files. 

  • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

    Anybody who wants to continue the discussion started by Jerry, please take your discussion to this page:
    http://www.headfonia.com/on-sound/

  • Finn Christensen

    Thanks for you review. I enjoyed it. It is truly not a unit for the mainstream crowd, but more likely a “designer” item for those who are willing/can pay the price.   Yes, some are willing to spend $1000+ for customs IEM’s, but will complain if the price of their source are above the level of a Sansa Clip, doesn’t really make sense to me.  I have no doubt about that it sound wise outperforms the Clip. I can’t afford it, but for those who can, why not go for it! No one is forced to buy it, right?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Yes, Finn.

      You know I am not exactly a rich individual (ask Lieven he knows). But I don’t go to a boutique and start getting mad at people for selling really expensive clothing. 

      I think it’s very childish for the folks who come in here without even the slightest appreciation to Charles’ work (and mine too) and start attacking both of us for what we try to do. 

      I am not perfect and neither is Charles. But we try to make something good. We don’t force people to buy the player or to visit the site. They have no obligation whatsoever. Yet they come here with such hate. 

      And it’s disappointing to see that. And I was really tired yesterday, having to reply to all those attacks. 

      I can take the easy way and press the “close thread” button. But I want to keep the space open for other people who have something positive to contribute here. 

      Thanks, Finn. 

  • 2xdaaim pp

    mike, as you well know, I have a good 10 days experience with this player, and I have to say that it is a good player. for the price though, I think I will keep my money for something else. Having said that, I have to support my decision with a few qualification; 1. I have most of my collection in FLAC format, and I don’t think I want to bother myself converting them to WAV, 2. I have several comparably good players which I enjoy very much, 3. I like to select specific songs to play, and the lack of UI in Tera is one factor that turn me off

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts in a civil and polite manner. :)

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks for sharing that my friend. 

  • Erwin Anciano

    Hilarious, 1k for a player with no screen, WAV only, and a measly 15 hours battery life?

    No offense but people like Charles whose greed in creating rip off products like this, and bloggers like yourself who sound pathetically silly trying to drum up hype for such under performing trash, are what is wrong with our hobby.

    Seriously, anyone with half a brain should see how stupid a product this is but that’s the sad thing about this industry, there are actually fools with too much money willing to buy junk like this because of the marketing bloggers like you generate.

    Personally I’d like to see bloggers with the balls to pan something like this as a public service. You people aren’t helping this hobby, you’re just justifying highway robbery and making it legit.

    Frankly, I’d sooner buy the High sound Audio Studio V before this, it has all the features this player has and then some… at a far cheaper price… but still about $400. I thought that player was a ripoff, guess what I think of this one? I don’t even need to hear this one to know it’s nowhere near worth its price tag.

    I urge people interested in a player like this to check the Studio V if you’re so against the iPods of this world. At less than half the price, it has the same small, rugged build, fantastic sound, more than double the piddly battery life of this player, and a far a better amp that can actually drive headphones, unlike this joke that can’t even drive an hd25.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      You are just sad, Erwin.

      You come in here, start attacking people who’s put in a lot of hours in designing a player, writing a review..
      To everybody else:
      Guys, let’s hope that Erwin will get better as he grows up. People who can’t create a good product tend to behave this way, attacking people who’s actually done solid work.
      Yes, limited functions. Tell that to the formula one teams. No A/C, only takes one seat, can’t drive in the winter, cost expensive as hell. What a ripoff.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UGJ3SZR3YRF4O4IZBPFIOIVFII Eugen

         Did you just give a F1 car as an example of simple design Mike? Think some more about it …

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Not simple design, but the lack of convenience features.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UGJ3SZR3YRF4O4IZBPFIOIVFII Eugen

             Like what, air conditioning? Satellite navigation? :D

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              Cup holder of course.

    • Anonymous

      Erwin, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but that doesn’t mean you should call the owner of the site “a marketing blogger”. We’re not telling you that this is THE player to get, we’re just giving our idea. Have a chill pill (not he blue ones)

      In that aspect I like what Finn wrote: “I can’t afford it, but for those who can, why not go for it! No one is forced to buy it, right?”

      L. aka The Easygoing half brained Headfonia reviewer

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        Awwww.. c’mon L. If you’re the easygoing one, what does that make me? ;)

        Damn I must be the hot headed one.

        • http://jupitreas.myid.net/ Jerry Szprot

          I think it does, as you banned me for posting something that was not nearly as offensive as Erwin’s post….

          Really, all I wanted to do was to advocate that the Tera Player, just like any other player (regardless of price) should be measured using scientific methods. This will give us a better idea of its performance and will help us determine if the high praise it received in the review on this website is accurate or caused by placebo effect. I wanted to engage in rational discussion on this topic as I do believe it is very relevant to evaluating this player, or any other player out there. As consumers we should strive to accumulate as much information as possible about the products we buy. 

          The Tera Player might not be a rip-off product that exploits the average audiophile’s propensity to fall for the placebo effect. It might indeed be the “Formula 1 of the audio world”. We won’t know this till we measure its performance using means that allow for valid comparison between other players. At the moment, what we have is the subjective view of one person who may or may not be falling for all of the psychological traps that are so common in the audio world. A review like this certainly is not devoid of value and it has been an enjoyable read for me, and it the reason why I read the reviews on this site at all. Nevertheless, it behooves us to investigate further, for the sake of this audio hobby of ours.

          Instead, my attempts at rational discussions were met with outright aggression and arguments based on logical fallacies. If this post will get me banned again, I shall return no more.

          All the best,
          Jerry

          • Anonymous

            I don’t see why this should ban you Jerry. The thing is we are a review site using our ears and not mesurements. It’s a bit like the whole Nwavguy story on Headfi actually.

            I respect your point of view on things but you also should accept that we give our personal opinion in reviews. If you can’t accept that then maybe Headfonia is not the review site for you. But I personally hope you will stay and contribute to the community (without arguing). the mesurement discussion can be continued in the new topic “On sound”

            regards
            L.

          • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

            Maybe I was a little hot-headed there, Jerry. But you never had a logical argument. You keep on pressing on your points regardless I’ve replied and shown where the logics in your argument fails. 

            I realize that you would be back with more comments like that and I just had to stop it. 

    • Anonymous

      Discussing things online is tricky.You sometimes find yourself arguing with 10 years old.
      I hope it is not the case here. 
      You have the right to express yourself but it has to make sense. It must meet some minimum standards of civilized conversation too.
      “I don’t even need to hear this one to know it’s nowhere near worth its price tag.”
      This is really ignorant statment and just summarize your whole post. Voicing your opinion based just on the player price is kind of like saying that you do not like sun because is too bright. Makes no sense. This guy Charles can charge 5$ or 5000$ for his product. You don’t have to buy it. I think Tera player is very expensive and I’m not buying it. But does this give me right to bash it?. No and it doesn’t give you this right either. Buy yourself Sansa Clip and be happy.

    • Andrew Smith

      Erwin, why are you so vitriolic and dismissive of a DAP that you’ve not even heard?!? Your disingenuous comments are fatuous and quite bizarre as they’re based on conjecture and pure supposition. People qualified to comment, i.e. folks who have listened to the Tera-Player, appreciate it as a sonically superb DAP. So please take your nonsensical bile elsewhere.

  • http://twitter.com/ahokzyasha Darmawan Hadisuryana

    great review!!
    would love to try and hear this :D

  • http://twitter.com/ahokzyasha Darmawan Hadisuryana

    great review!!
    would love to try and listen to this :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Kay/1107713019 David Kay

    I could live with WAV only, there are a few other audiophile DAPs that are also limited to WAV. FLAC takes a lot of processing power, and it’s ultimately detrimental to sound quality. No screen is a lot harder to swallow. It might make the player “tougher” but my HM-801 feels plenty tough. My Cowon S9 with its Gorilla Glass screen has fallen on the floor many a time, and it doesn’t have so much as a scratch. It also drives the HD25 without any issues, and my HM-801 drives any headphone I’ve thrown at it.

    This is the biggest problem I have with this DAP. Nearly $1100, and the headphone amplifier is so weak that it can’t even drive headphones that wouldn’t stress an iPod? If you’re stuck with IEMs, why wouldn’t you just use a JH-3A and skip this thing altogether? 

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      David, 
      In regards to comparisons to the JH3A, it still would not give you a great quality source.

      And as many have pointed out earlier, the lack of screen may be a problem to some (I pointed that out in the review anyway), but the moment you listen to the Tera, you don’t worry about the lack of screen anymore. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Yulianto-Iskandar-Zulkarnain/612326545 Yulianto Iskandar Zulkarnain

        EUR840, and still not a good enough source for JH3A?

        mike, i think your last comment just concluded itself that altmann tera is not a really good player for the price..

        *just my 2 cents

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Dude you are such an idiot.

          • Anonymous

            wow..why such a strong remarks, mike??

  • http://twitter.com/nightfly4257 Patrick Wong

    I am seriously  considering  buying one. I am not looking forward to the purchasing process, which I  have not seriously look into . Plus now I have  to  convert a good portion of my music to Wav files. Yes it’s expensive and it does hurt my pocket book , but there is once  fact that make me  want to buy it.  I love his comment  if his FAQ that when it come time to update the DAP software, that it has to ship back to him  because this will prevent the Chinese from stealing his programming if  he does  it online and preventing cheap knock off with in weeks.  This will  be a gigantic pain in the ass for us customers but it some thing that I seriously respect him for doing. As a Hong Kong born Canadian, I have  no problem paying a premium on products that is not made in China.

  • Finn Christensen

    There’s another thing that needs to brought into perspective, no offence, but just a fact.

    If you are a purchasing a European, in this case German,  designer product with or without a high quality sound, but still unique on its on terms.  
    The price will as for now be way above mass produced Chinese products, Walmart pricing or what some Head Fi sponsers  will offer you!

    Because it’s very simple, to manufacture a  pure European product you have to add  in that the average hourly income, or total average yearly income, is way much higher than in China or even the US.  Yes, it is for the few, no reason to get mad about this on this thread, blame someone else!!

    So, personally I have no issues with the pricing level of the Tera player. I actually do believe that  it may worth its price. Once I paid for a $4000 vinyl spinner,  many years ago, but I didn’t complain about changing albums every 20 minutes!

    These days I can’t afford the little Tera player, because my wife have dedicated our relative small budget towards buying designer clothing and shoes, but I don’t yell at her!!

    Just wish I could afford a Tera Player :-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FQCH2ZE22OUQXSNX2ZX23AXPCU Mocha

    Thanks for banning me from the site Mike, I know I came strong but I’m glad to know that you can’t take the heat and criticism and have banned me from posting further. I suppose I did deserve it for lambasting you and your site, but kudos for not deleting my post and leaving it here for people to see.

    I find it sad though that people (such as Mr. Christensen here) are fine to take it up from behind and actually want to pay these exorbitant prices for so much less. I don’t care what the sound quality is, it’s plain ridiculous.Anyway, to the comment that FLAC takes a lot more processing power (and thus battery life): well what does that say about the Tera Player, which is WAV only but can only do 15 hours, whereas something like the Studio V can play FLAC for 40 hours?  And we’re not even using a powerful amplifier in the Tera, whereas the Studio V has a very powerful amplifer.   Obviously, Charles skimped out on the battery quality in this player. This is what you people are willing to (or want to)  pay $1000 for. To the point on European products being more expensive than Chinese products, yes.Wages in Europe are generally higher. But this doesn’t really apply that much here with the Tera — the Tera is built by one person. It’s a one man operation! There are no workers being hired to pay higher wages to.  This argument does not apply.-Erwin

    • Anonymous

      Erwin, why do you persist in making detrimental remarks about the Tera-Player? Do you have a personal grudge against the manufacturer or are you just a belligerent dumbass? Democracy ensures that audiophiles spent their money however they wish, so stop decrying people for purchasing an expensive DAP, as your fatuous comments have become boring and repetitive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Niko-Adrianus-Yuwono/1428384358 Niko Adrianus Yuwono

    Listened to this yesterday, paired with SE215 and I think the sound is very nice despite the very bad UI. Very clean,black background and detailed and it came from this tiny DAP that even smaller than your palm it’s so simple, so you don’t need to bring your portable amp and the mini to mini or your big sized DAP anymore.

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da vinci

  • Adhya Kumara

    Noticing Pic # 5.. You have a crazy lab mike! haha.. i see voltage generator, turntable .. what else??

  • Andrew Smith

    Hi Adhya, photo 5 is actually a picture of Charles Altmanns workshop. The wooden plinth with components mounted on it to the left is the BYOB Amplifier and the two large black `boxes’ comprise the Altmann Superlative D/A Converter. 

  • Irvin Smith

    Well I’m a sucker for Mike’s reviews and I ordered a tera player. The conversion to wav is quite easy with dBpoweramp batch converter.  I was a bit concerned about the volume issue and spoke to Charles about it and it turns out there is a lot of leeway with setting the gain, right up to about 15X the volume of an iPod. Mine will be 5X iPod volume. It is expensive but still less than a pair of JH 16pro’s. I also like the idea of listening to whole albums-I’m getting a bit tired of random shuffles. 

    • Anonymous

      Irvin, purchasing a Tera-Player you will be richly rewarded with a sonically sublime DAP capable of reproducing subtle musical nuances with an unfatiguing and naturalistic soundstage. You are joining an elite group of audiophiles privileged to own a quirky, bespoke and beguiling music player. Enjoy!

      • http://www.facebook.com/negakinu Erik Wijnands

        This better be sarcastic, otherwise you just posted as the pinnacle of audiophile stereotype. :)

        • spudgered

          Erik, what’s wrong with being an audiophile stereotype?!? I was being serious and stand by everything that I’ve written. 

    • Anonymous

      That’s nice to read!  Enjoy your new DAP and keep us posted :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000857721965 Yohanssen Pratama

    Nice review Mike’s.. hope i can try this extraordinary player someday.. maybe it’ll be great to be paired with my jh11..