Tempotec Variations V1-A English Review

 

The Power of Versatility

 

Ratings

 

Packaging
75
Construction, Design and Comfort
92
Use and Handling
95
Sound
85
Quality/Price
90

 

Pros

 

  • Very low output impedance.
  • Dimensions.
  • Gapless.
  • Touch screen and controls.
  • Handling and quantity of options.
  • Sound, especially the sub-bass and the middle zone.
  • Battery life.
  • Versatility.
  • Ability to use two memory cards.

 

Cons

 

  • Sometimes the screen does not respond.
  • Limited power.

 

Purchase Link

 

Link 1
Link 2

 

Introduction

 

Autumn and new product to revision, Again, from the competent brand Tempotec. This time it is a small DAP, which has really reduced dimensions and weight. It is also tactile and has a 2-inch IPS panel. It also has physical buttons for the main functions. It has a large battery that provides up to 25h of autonomy in playback mode via Bluetooth, or up to 15h in direct mode. Another important detail is that it has double slot for memory cards, something almost unthinkable for such a small product. It should be noted that its interface is Hiby OS, which gives an idea of its tremendous simplicity and number of options it has. Finally, the DAC it uses is an evolution, two in one, of the AKM brand. This is the decoder chip and amplifier AKM4377ECB (768khz/32bit), capable of delivering 60mW to 16Ω, which is just over 1V RMS, a figure totally sufficient for IEMS and earbuds.

 

 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 81x45x12.7mm
  • Weight: 80gr
  • SNR: 125dB
  • Output power: 60mW/16Ω (mono channel)
  • Output impedance: < 1Ω
  • USB: Type-C (USB2.0)
  • Double memory card slot.
  • Maximum storage capacity: 256GB x 2
  • Battery: 1200mA
  • Battery life: 15h in direct mode.
  • Charging time: 2.5h (off).
  • Power supply: DC5V.
  • Jack Connector: 3.5mm Audio.

 

 

Packaging

 

The first thing that attracts attention is the small size of the box. Its dimensions are: 131x98x25. On the main side, there is a photo of the player, the brand and the model. On the back, again comes the brand and model, plus some specifications and warnings.

Inside there is:

The DAP, wrapped in a whitish plastic, embedded in a foam mold.

A white box, containing the charging cable and a USB adapter type C to micro-B.

A white cardboard envelope containing the warranty certificate, warranty card and instructions.

The screen of the DAP has a protector, which in turn is protected by a removable transparent plastic sheet.

The DAP has the Hi-Res Audio seal, screen-printed in the lower left corner. In the lower right corner you can see the V1 model.

The presentation is sober, almost minimal, but with a good degree of protection.

The accessories are also minimal, but of great quality.

 

 

Construction, Design and Comfort

 

The body of the DAP appears to be made of light metal. The whole front face is a panel, but the screen is only at the top, whose size is 2 inches. The sides are rounded, while the lower and upper faces are flat. On the right side there are three buttons, located in the area above. The highest button is the back button, the middle button, the play/pause button, and the last button is the forward button. On the left side, in the upper zone, there are two volume buttons, the «more» is up, the «less» is down. In the lower zone, there are two slots for microSD cards. On the bottom side, on the left side, is the USB type C connector. To the right, the 3.5mm stereo headphone jack. On the right side of the top face, there is a round button, to turn on/off the DAP. Next to it, there is a small two-color LED, in blue indicates operation, red load. On this side is the Bluetooth transmitter/receiver.

On the front panel, in the lower left corner, the «Hi-Res Audio» logo is printed. In the lower right corner is the name of the V1 model.

The construction is solid and because of its density, it can be seen that it is robust. The design is very functional, ergonomics and comfort improves, thanks to its rounded sides. Both the size and the shape are very suitable; the whole is manageable and easy to store.

Both the buttons and the display respond quickly. I would have preferred the volume buttons on the right, as they are located in many other DAPS.

 

 

Use and Handling

 

The Hiby OS is the differential element of this small DAP. The main menu has 8 icons:

 

  • Browse: Navigator of folders of the two memory slots. You can even connect a storage unit, via USB.
  • Category: Organization of music files via TAGS.
  • Bluetooth: Activation of this function
  • MSEB: Non-frequential equalizer, which allows the sound to be modified based on parameters such as temperature, bass extension, bass texture, etc.
  • Equalizer: 10-band equalizer
  • Play Settings: Multitude of playback functions, including activation of Gapless Playback
  • Settings: Screen settings, font size, themes, buttons customization…and a long etcetera.
  • About: Firmware v1.2

 

 

When you enter a menu, to go back, an arrow is shown at the top left of the screen.

While in the main menu, if there is a file playing, it is shown in a lower bar, along with the cover page.

 

The number of options it has is overwhelming. People who like to play with them will be entertained for a while. It’s great that it’s Gapless.

The MSEB is a very particular equalizer, which allows to modify the sound in a totally alternative way. Each parameter (Overall Temperature, Bass extension, Bass Texture, Note Thickness, Vocals, Female Overtones, Sibilance LF, Sibilance HF, Impulse Response, Air), modifies a particular section of the sound. Not all are equally drastic. But it is true that some work very well and adjust to what they indicate. On the other hand, custom settings can be saved. The scales can be adjusted from -20 to 20, from -40 to 40 and from -100 to 100, giving an idea of the excellent customization ratio it allows. The MSEB is an advantage that allows you to experiment with sound, offering a large number of variations, until you can leave it to your own taste.

The classic equalizer has 10 bands and moves in octaves, from 31Hz to 16kHz. Of course, it has 8 presets and the possibility to adjust it to our will.

 

 

On the playback screen, there are many small options: playback modes can be chosen from an icon at the top left. Below, to the right, there is a heart to add the current song to favorites. There is a «+» at the top right, which, after pressing it, shows an additional list of functions: access the list of songs, the album, delete the file, add to playlist, equalizer … Of course, from the bottom bar, you can change song, access a specific point of it, also pause and resume. If you slide your finger upwards, a small menu is shown, with options to change the brightness of the screen, the volume, the gain… By double clicking on the screen, the lyrics of the song are shown, in case you have it. The upper part shows the volume, the status, the time, the output and the battery.

To switch the device on/off, press the upper button long. If you press the short button once, it unlocks the screen.

The general use of DAP is very pleasant, although there are small options on the screen, which can be complicated to access, depending on the size of the fingers.

The operation is smooth, without delay, but sometimes, in the passage of screens, the movement is blocked. Clicking on the upper button, you get out of this situation. I suppose that in future updates these small inconveniences will be disappearing.

The battery life is the one that promises, above all it can be extended, using the “Low Power Mode”. All a great advantage.

As you can see, the use and the amount of options are extraordinary. There are so many that to list them all it would be necessary to dedicate a great amount of time and space. The result is an alance management of very few DAPs in this price range.

 

 

Measurements

 

Las medi The measurements, without reaching maximum power, with several impedances connected, are shown below:

 

  • No load               1.012V
  • 32 Ω                      0.995V
  • 100 Ω                    1.007V
  • 240 Ω                    1.01V

 

This implies that the output impedance is around 0.5 Ω, something completely extraordinary.

Performing the power calculation, assuming, by approximation, that it gives 0.99V to 16Ω, the output power would be the specified à  0.99²/16 = 61mW. With this, it is clear that the specifications do not lie. Although 1V may seem small, it is a fairly common figure in DAPs in this price range or below, enough to move low or medium impedance IEMs or earbuds.

 

 

Sound

 

Profile

 

The profile of the Tempotec V1-A is balanced, with a slight mid-centric tendency and inclination towards the sub-bass, without subtracting presence in treble. But it does give an idea of its clean and clear sound.

For the description of the sound, both the MSEB and the equalizer have been deactivated.

 

 

Bass

 

From the lower zone, you can already see the clean and effective look of the V1-A, vivid, with a well-defined and soft texture, the trademark of the AKM house. In my opinion, the V1-A has a predilection for the sub-bass area: the lower part receives a special treatment, which gives the range great depth and a particular energy. It does not enjoy a pretentious punch, but possesses the deepest and most sensory narcotic virtue of bass. On the other hand, the impact of bass is fast, controlled, dark background. They are picked up at good speed, giving the area a characteristic timbre, sweet, nothing rough, but with a very singular vibration, marked, something digital. As I said, the range has excellent depth, remarkable lamination, good ability to recreate layers and comes very, very low, without decay. The overall definition is quite good, as is the resolution. All these parameters provide the bass with that dark and deep colour, with a very perceptible and descriptive sub-bass, neutral middle bass and nothing bulky, as well as a great control, totally permissive with the rest of the frequencies.

 

 

Mids

 

The mids are perceived with great naturalness, equilibrated, well balanced; also close and near, vivid and frontal. The voices enjoy a soft and velvety timbre, which AKM proclaims so much. On this occasion, the V1-A is more AKM than ever. This generates a large dose of transparency, a very coherent and pleasant midrange, slightly warm, but without falling into a loss of resolution, definition, or darkness. The mids are far from analytical, as they sound more organic and dynamic than ultra detailed and profiled. Even so, those details are very well recreated and highly descriptive, based on that sensation of liquid sound, almost creamy and well threaded that it possesses.

 

 

Treble

 

The softness reigns in the sound of the V1-A, one could not expect anything else than high frequencies according to the realistic profile that this DAP possesses. If I said before, that the low zone had a digital aftertaste, the highs sound much more analogical, but with no trace of trimming, with a beautiful invoice, of very natural timbre and neutral color. They have a good dose of transparency, but without being analytical, despite the good resolution they distill. The high zone is quite expressive, with a good capacity of recreation of micro details, but without overdoing it, allowing a pleasant listening always. It is not a brilliant DAP, but it is precious.

 

 

Soundstage, Separation

 

The cleanliness, the naturalness and the sweetness of the sound, mark the profile of the V1-A. It enjoys remarkable separation, a clean background, but not abyssal. The scene is very realistic, natural, as it could not be otherwise. But not excessive or big. The sound is not lost at the ends, but is collected so as not to lose its velvety base. Globally, the stage feels more round than wide, more frontal than enveloping, easy to follow, with a good location and a certain origin, without ever losing the emitting focus. There is no remoteness, the sound is always well directed, with no trace of cloudiness, haze or cloudy focus.

 

 

Comparisons

 

xDuoo X3II

 

Tempotec V1-A outperforms xDuoo X3II in smaller size, better manageability, longer battery life and number of options. But not in sound or power. The X3II has a complete AK4490, its sound is simply bigger. It is initially appreciated in its greater scene and separation. The bass is tighter, has more forcefulness and a higher degree of energy in the X3II, while the V1-A is more concrete, with less air, extension and depth. The existing air is also a differential feature in the highs: the xDuoo has a more ethereal and extended presentation in the upper zone. Tempotec has more focused and marked trebles. The middle zone, above all the voices, benefit from the more frontal and nearer focus than the V1-A, a treatment of approximation and greater sweetness, as opposed to the greater dispersion existing in the midrange of the X3II, which dilutes a little its sound in this zone. The greater concretion that the V1-A has in the middle zone, makes it more enjoyable, close, full and forceful for this range. While the xDuoo sounds farther away, more relaxed and less dynamic.

In general, the sound of the V1-A is more limited and focused, given the freedom and space proposed by xDuoo with its X3II.

 

ACMEE MF-01

 

The MF-01 is a DAP that has bet practically everything on the sound section, leaving the handling to be something minimal and very simple. In this respect, the V1-A is light years away in versatility from what the ACMEE offers. The MF-01, is bigger, heavier, its screen is minimal, the battery lasts half…But, it is undeniable that it possesses a very particular charm. And that’s not just reflected in the sound. The V1-A has a minimum output impedance, while on the MF-01, it is high. The power is not comparable either, in favor of ACMEE.

The main difference is the forcefulness of the sound: the MF-01 possesses more energy in all ranges, including the mid-range, something that the V1-A can’t provide. The dynamics are also greater, but at the sound profile level, the differences are not so great. Both have a marked, focused and concrete sound profile, with good definition. The upper part of the MF-01 is more ethereal, but it is more extensive in the V1-A, although the definition of both is different, with a sharper, somewhat more tense point in the V1-A and sweeter and softer in the MF-01.

Bass are wider on the MF-01, although both sub-bass have a good amount of energy. I consider the lower part of the MF-01 more complete than the V1-A, with a harsher, rougher texture, but with that special colour I love, plus an extra dose of depth.

In the middle zone there is more transparency and depth in the MF-01, in front of the more direct and closer sound of the V1-A, something that is particularly appreciated in the voices. The ACMEE offers greater width also in this range, demonstrating that dose of extra softness, a more relaxed sound, but not so vivid and close. But it is true that both DAPs possess a very approximate realism and naturalness treatment, with a similar path, which possesses greater refinement in the MF-01.

The scene in the V1-A is more limited than in the ACMEE, given its nearer, closer, more vivid and direct sound. The MF-01 has a more backward presentation, which favours space, a more airy and wide recreation, with greater depth, a little more height and separation. But, really, what is gained on one side is lost on the other, especially in the midrange.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Perfection can be reached from many different paths. Tempotec has taken the path of ideal handling, to reach the heart of the most audacious audiophiles, those who do not want to give up the best use and performance, to obtain excellence in sound. And this brand has achieved it: there are very few DAPS on the market, that with their price, combine stellar performance, with a remarkable sound and excellent versatility. But that’s not all. Thanks to its very low impedance, the V1-A is fully capable of perfectly matching all the IEMs on the market, extracting the best virtues from each one. Anybody give more? May another brand prove it.

 

 

Headphones Used During Analysis

 

  • TFZ No.3
  • Tansio Mirai TSMR-2
  • BGVP ArtMagic DH3
  • TFZ My Love III
  • DB Monroe
  • OurArt QJ21

 

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