Tralucent 1Plus2 – More Grado Than Grado

Disclaimers: Tralucent supplied the 1Plus2 for the purposes of this review. The Tralucent 1Plus2 is available off-again-on-again from Tralucent Audio. It goes for 1300$ – 1500$. Find out more about it here.

My history with Tralucent goes back to the Tralucent T1 amp, which I reviewed at TouchMyApps back before Lieven and me were chums. The same amp made my year-end-ohmage list in 2013. Meanwhile, Tralucent’s head, Gavin, had an earphone in a constant state of update. That was the 1Plus2, which was one of the first indy hybrid breakthroughs. It is still in production, and today, it is better than ever.

The Marque

I can’t figure out exactly what Gavin is trying to do with Tralucent. I do know this: he commissions some of the best audio engineers out there. They know their shit. They just don’t always know how to design something that is nice to use. His earphones are as unwieldy as FitEar’s ToGo!334.

And they’re at least as well furnished. They come with good literature, clear branding, oroto-freaking-fon ear pieces, cleaning cloths, tote bags, a paint brush, and all of that put into a box that you won’t hide.

Tralucent is a brand to whom image is as important as execution.

The Cable

As you know, I’m not a fan of memory wire. And the 1Plus2 has 8 centimeters of it. It’s not great for glasses wearers, but it is a far, far better implementation of memory wire than is, say, the cable that comes with LEAR’s awesome hybrid, the BD4,2. And it’s way more comfy than the thing that comes with Earsonics’s EM32 and Velvet.

The list goes on.

Why the 1Plus2 cable betters them is that it is softer, more supple, and much better insulated. From end to end it is sheathed in heat shrink. And, its coaxial pins go in at a perpendicular angle, and are attached to pinch-friendly nubs which make the cable both easy to remove and to insert. Next, the cable is clearly labeled. Red turtleneck for right, blue turtleneck for left. L and R labels wear on the inside of the coaxial plugs. Excellent.

The neck cinch is beefy and clear. It is, however, a bit hard to budge up, or down.

The only gotcha is that the 3,5 plug goes in straight. If you’re an owner of a large modern DAP- say like the AK240, or Calyx M, or what have you, take care. Plugging this straight cable straight in, may, in the long run, damage your player. Ditto if you have an amp. Straight plugs are only good for desktop and home audio. For portable audio, they are a no no.

The Chassis

Compared to its most direct competition: LEAR, Rhapsodio, and even Earsonics, Tralucent’s chassis quality is a step above. It is blemish-free, well-tooled, precisely flanged, bears quality coaxial jacks, and, in even the carbon fibre-played-out world we live in, it manages a handsome-enough face.

But, like all top-of-the-line multi-driver earphones, it is huge. It sticks out like a cork, and doesn’t sit flush in the ear. And there is a lot of scribbling on its faceplate. The sound port looks good, but the squished trademark, not so good.

Being big means that 1Plus2 may not fit all ears. If you have medium to small ears, it would be best to demo the 1Plus2 prior to purchasing. I get on with it pretty well, but my wife does not.

Sound impressions after the jump:

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

8 Comments

  • Reply February 20, 2015

    Ngọc Ánh

    What do you think between this and K10?

    • Reply February 23, 2015

      ohm image

      They sound completely different.

      K10: all mids and feeling with great transition to highs and lows. The K10 is lower contrast, from end to end, too.

      This one is more aggressive, way wider in apparent sound stage, and feels faster. If the K10 were more of an all-rounder, this one is more specialised.

      • Reply February 23, 2015

        Nguyễn Công Bằng

        An universal which has bigger sounstage than ciem ??? I’m curious 🙂
        Looking forward to your Layla review…

        • Reply February 23, 2015

          ohm image

          Well, they are voiced differently. The K10 has a more fleshed out 3D image in the mid range, but the 2Plus1 definitely sounds wider, and more airy than the K10.

  • Reply February 20, 2015

    gregliss

    Compared to earsonics The Velvet which is better ?

    • Reply February 23, 2015

      ohm image

      What do you mean by ‘better’? What’s your preference?

      • Reply February 23, 2015

        gregliss

        I like EDM music.
        In term of sub bass, soundstage, instrument separation, sound details.
        Thanks !

        • Reply February 23, 2015

          ohm image

          I also listen to a lot of EDM, but I got into it via trance and DJ remixes and of course, space music. We are brothers.

          Regarding ‘sub bass’, I find this word misleading, as many people label what really falls in the regular bass spectrum ‘sub bass’. Sub-bass is barely audible, if at all, and most earphones can’t render it.

          The 2Plus2 has hard and fast bass, but isn’t capable of bringing forth strong sub bass. Again, no earphone really is and it wouldn’t be good if they could. Neither would it make sense.

          But the Velvet can be tweaked to emphasise lower notes. That said, it can’t make them really thwack, as sub-bass cannot, as per its definition, thwack.

          As far as instrument separation, spatial separation, and throw from top to bottom and left to right, the 2Plus1 is in a league all its own. I’ve never heard its like. Details: both are detailed, but the Velvet is more bass and lower mid detailed, while 2Plus1 is spatially detailed as well as high-mid detailed.

          For EDM, I’d go with 2Plus1 hands down. That is, unless I was really into hard-hitting bass. But even still, most hard hard bass hitters have a hard time rendering space.

          As an old trance-head that came to EDM for its break from monotony, I fell in love with the 2Plus1 like I’ve fallen in love with few earphones. As far as I’m concerned, its only flaws are its fit.

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