I picked one of these recently to use as my portable source. If you’re not familiar with the Altmann Tera-Player, it’s a portable audio player from German company Altmann Micro Machines. The man behind Altmann Micro Machines is Charle’s Altmann and if you read some of the forums online you’ll soon find that there’s a general love-hate atmosphere out there regarding Charle’s Altmann. Some of the hate comes from the price increases Charle’s has decided to offer the Tera-Player at. It originally retailed for around 600 Euros and it was openly stated to be an introductory price so it should NOT come to anyone’s surprise that the price would eventually increase. BUT, today, the Tera-player is priced on the Tera-Player website at 1780 euros. That’s a HUGE price increase hence the feelings of discontent out there.
So, what’s the big deal? If you read the comments of anyone’s who’s actually heard the Altmann Tera Player, you’ll find that the general consensus is that it sounds pretty freaking nice. Check out Headfonia’s review and most reviews mirror Mike’s thoughts. I have to agree, not sure if i’d spend 1780 euros for one today, but the Tera Player sounds pretty good. The best way I can describe the sound is that it’s not very digital sounding. I would describe digital’s sound, in general, as cold, analytical, mechanical not organic. The Tera-player sounds organic. Most people reviews highlight “non-fatiguing” which I will agree with BUT, I’ll be honest, the first time I heard it I thought it sounded a bit flat. But after listening to it a little longer, I realized that what I was hearing was full frequency sound without the harshness that comes with digital. It’s a nice musical sounding player that doesn’t sound very digital.
Some interesting things to note. Charle’s has his design notes for the Tera Player up online still so you can read how he first came up with the idea for the Tera Player and how it developed into what is being sold today. As far as I can tell, while it will play your 24 bit wave files you aren’t actually getting full 24bit resolution at the output. It will play the 24bit files but it’s not really outputing the full 24bits. The Tera Player uses a 16bit dac. Also, it’s my understanding from reading some online notes on the Tera Player is that the digital pot does not output the full bits until you listen to it at full volume. So, to get the best results from the Tera Player you’ll need to max the volume and add an amp, and I’m just guy to sell you an amp. 😉