Macaw T1000 + Power Pouch Review

The T1000 is not the first Macaw product I’ve used. Earlier I had the pleasure of listening to the GT100s, a very interesting IEM. The T1000 is a Macaw’s first Bluetooth headset, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. It is very durable, and is even IP4 certified! To find out more, just read down below.

You can buy the T1000 off of Penon Audio here for $30.

Disclaimer: This review is based upon a sample unit provided to me by a manufacturer or distributor in exchange for my honest opinion and un-edited words. I do not profit in any way from the writing of the review. I would like to thank Macaw and Penon Audio for sending me this review unit.

Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.

My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.

Source: The T1000 was powered like so:

Nexus 6P -> Bluetooth -> earphones

or

Hidizs AP60 -> Bluetooth -> earphones

All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

Sound Signature

Initial Impressions:

The bass is really well-defined. Mid-bass articulation good. Treble is fairly tame. Mids are present, but veiled.

Treble: Songs used: White Flag, Midnight City, Outlands

Treble is certainly present, but is tame. Upper-treble is rolled-off a bit. Presentation is neutral and clear. The background details in White Flag were smudged a bit, but that’s something I generally expect from $30 Bluetooth earphones.

Midnight City’s synth intro was fairly far back in the mix when compared to the bass and had a softness to it. The smoothness makes for a laid-back experience on what is normally a piercingly contrasting song.

Outlands’ violins were present and separated decently. The micro-details in their presentation that I’d become accustomed to hearing on the GT100s were unfortunately not present on the T1000, something I’m not too surprised about.

Mids: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Good Life

Mids have a slight muffle to them. It’s noticeable, and did give me a hard time for my first couple hours of listening. However, after my brain had been given sufficient burn-in time I began to mind it less.

I did notice that lower-mids are pretty smudged. For example, the fret-sliding in the intro of Flagpole Sitta was a bit blurred. The guitars were audible, but had only a small amount of separation. The bass-guitar, however, remained clear and articulate the whole time.

Jacked Up’s pianos had a medium softness to them, indicative of a slower decay in the upper-mids. The pianos were audible throughout the entire song, and had above-average separation for Bluetooth IEMs in this price-range (I’ve heard a few at this point).

Vocals are balanced well with the rest of the mids. They aren’t too far back, but are also not too far forwards. Tonality is average, as is clarity. In I Am The Highway, Chris Cornell’s vocals rang out in solemnity. Whatever coloration and veiling the mids have thankfully doesn’t hurt the vocals that badly.

Bass: Songs used: Lights, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), Leave Me

The kick-drums from Ellie Goulding’s Lights had decent impact, with little-to-no shaping. I am once again unsurprised. This is what I expect from a Bluetooth headset of this price.

Gold Dust exhibited a good amount of impact as well, but similarly lacked shaping. The bass’s meaty presentation is sure to satisfy basshead’s though.

Bass extension is, again, average overall, but pretty good for the price. Bass presence is strong down to about 50Hz where it begins to roll-off pretty steeply. That doesn’t stop it from articulation pretty well during In For The Kill.

Clarity: Songs used: Throne, Map of The Problimatique, I’m Not Alright

Clarity is average, as smudging does tend to occur in the lower-mids and upper-treble. Bass, while emphasized a bit, doesn’t overflow too much into the mids.

Packaging / Unboxing

The packaging is built from a rather basic cardboard, but still feels decent to the hands. There is a magnetically-sealed flap that you can open to get a peak at the T1000 inside, which is a nice touch I didn’t expect to see from a $30 product.

Build

Construction Quality

The T1000’s real claim to fame is its build quality. The cable is military-grade braided-nylon. The stress-relief on the driver-housings and the inline-controls appears to be competent, so no worries there.

The driver-housings themselves are made from light-but-sturdy matte plastic. These things will take a beating, and are likely impervious to any day-to-day dropping (still don’t drop them though!). The main body of the housing is pill-shaped, but also has an earbud-like portusion upon which the nozzle rests. It looks almost as if Macaw couldn’t decide between an IEM and an earbud.

These earphones are IP4 certified as well, so they won’t be damaged from exposure to sweat or light rain.

Connectivity / Battery Life

The T1000 boasts Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and APTx support. I have to say that I am impressed at the connection quality. Macaw clearly didn’t skimp out of the Bluetooth chip as I’ve yet to have my connection stutter or drop, even with my Nexus 6P which is notoriously bad at maintaining stable Bluetooth audio connections.

Battery life is pretty good as well. The T1000 sports up to 5 hours of continual usage and up to 170 hours of standby time. Macaw must have been conservative with their 5 hour run time, as I managed to beat that twice — once by 15 minutes, and another time by 11.

The T1000 charges over micro-USB, and does so in a respectable amount of time.

Controls

The T1000 makes use of the 3-button standard layout: volume up, volume down, and play/pause. Pretty standard, and it works well. I like the physical positioning of the buttons, and they feel nice and clicky.

Comfort

Due to the T1000’s unorthodox shape, it took me a bit to find the correct fit. Once I did, however, I had no comfort issues with it. I went bike riding and skateboarding with them and didn’t have them come loose even a single time.

Accessories

The T1000 comes with a good stock of accessories, made even better by the inclusion of a Macaw Power Pouch. Inside the box you will find:

  • 2x pairs of silicone eartips
  • Carrying pouch
  • Micro USB charging cable
  • MACAW power pouch

The carrying case is very nice, and looks like it belongs with a much more expensive pair of earphones. It is soft to the touch, light, but still tough-feeling. A golden Macaw logo is emblazoned tastefully at the bottom right corner of the pouch, accenting the gold stitching nicely.

Additionally, the T1000 comes with a Macaw Power Pouch, which is essentially a squishy rechargeable battery with a micro-USB cable built into it. It holds 500mAh of power. That’s enough to recharge the T1000 more than 6 times over.

Summary

The T1000 is a Bluetooth earphone suitable for rough use in the outdoors. While the it could use a re-tuning, it’s impeccable build quality makes it a great value for anyone looking for a quick-and-easy way to get their fix of music while active. As an added bonus you get the Power Pouch, making this an even more compelling bundle for $30. While the T1000 isn’t daily driver material for me, it certainly has its place in my collection.

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