CTM Explore P2 Review
The resident of Orlando headphones -Manufaktur Clear Tune monitor produces universal and custom-fit in-ears for sound engineers and music stars. With the 3-way in-ear monitor CTM CE320, which we recently tested, the manufacturer, which has been successful on the domestic market for years, has already shown that its products are aimed at professionals and audiophile users. Moreover, with the new true wireless model CTM Explore P2, the aim is to open up a further segment of the European market.
After our obvious enthusiasm for the CE320, we were naturally very excited to see what the TWS CTM Explore P2 headphones, which have a price tag of 119 euros, had to offer in the listening test and practice.
- Somewhat detailed
- Bleedy lows
Design and scope of delivery of the CTM Explore P2
The CTM Explore P2 tested here, with its almost ridiculously low 3.5 grams per earpiece, is designed as a feather-light, closed true wireless in-ear headphones. The highly compact model with a plastic body comes in subtle black with gray contrasting multifunction buttons and side markings in terms of design. A six-millimeter large dynamic full-range driver works inside each of the two headphones. In addition, both earphones each have an integrated microphone for use as a wireless headset.
The charging case, which is included in the scope of delivery in addition to a corresponding charging cable and exchangeable silicone ear tips in three different sizes, is equipped with a USB-C connection, has an equally simple, completely black exterior with gray CTM lettering and LED charge status display and is also made of plastic. At first glance, headphones such as the charging case do not look as valuable as some competitor models. However, we have known that that doesn’t mean anything, not least since the test of the CTM CE320. And so it will be interesting to see what the test person can do in terms of sound performance and practicality.
Bluetooth, battery, and functionality
The CTM Explore P2 true wireless headphones use the Bluetooth 5.0 standard and support both the SBC audio codec and the high-resolution AAC format; aptX is not on board. With a wireless connection that is stable up to a maximum of ten meters when the road is clear, the test subject is also within the usual market average. However, the little button in the ear is not as fond of solid walls as practice shows.
With the long-life 50 mAh batteries built into the earphones, the test candidate can already play six hours of wireless music on one charge. With four additional charges in the supplied 750 mAh charging and transport case, the small powerhouse can even last up to 24 hours. And in no more than one to two hours, the empty CTM Explore P2 is fully charged again. The TWS handset tested here then confirmed all of this manufacturer information almost precisely in our practice test.
The CTM Explore P2 can also convince with the support of voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant, and can also be used as a wireless headset thanks to the built-in microphones. And thanks to the IPX6 water protection class, the test candidate is even protected against powerful water jets; So always safe – regardless of whether there is a minor water accident in the household or the receiver is used outside in extremely adverse weather conditions.
The first TWS headphones from CTM in practice
The design of the CTM Explore P2 ensured a secure hold at all times in the practical test and also a comfortable, pleasant, almost completely indistinguishable fit in the ear – even if one or the other listening session lasted several hours. The silicone ear molds included in the scope of delivery are also intended to guarantee this for many users with differently constituted ear canals. Only the commands for music and call control, which are carried out by the test subject via the multifunctional button attached to both earphones and designed as a push button, could be perceived as a bit uncomfortable depending on the sensitivity – although this has a pleasant pressure point.
The music and call controls themselves functioned intuitively and always flawlessly in the practical test. However, during calls with the compact wireless in-ear, the user of the CTM Explore P2 had excellent speech intelligibility throughout. Still, the person on the other end of the line could only understand us poorly. Pity! – but also pretty much the only shortcoming that we were able to find in the test candidate.
Immediate pairing when starting up and the automatic reconnection with the last paired mobile device, as well as a remarkable shielding of ambient noise despite the lack of noise-canceling and IPX6 protection against strong jets of water, are some other conveniences with which the test subject comes around the corner. The latter feature also allowed the test person to easily survive a sudden downpour during a walk in the field; he just gave the downpour the cold shoulder and went on playing completely unimpressed and relaxed.
This is what the Explore P2 sounds like
Before the listening test, the TWS CTM Explore P2 listener went through the mandatory burn-in phase, before the test subject went through the HONOR 20 Pro smartphone and MacBook Pro as well as various digital audio players from the mini model FiiO M5 to the Pioneer XDP-300R to our reference DAP iBasso DX220. And that, so much in advance, it can – and in such an impressive manner that one would not initially trust the compact plastic earphone.
The test subject was generally noticeable because of a not quite delicate, extremely detailed sound image as that of the CTM CE320. However, this is not to be expected with the model category presented here and because of the price. Nevertheless, the CTM Explore P2 demonstrated a very fine resolution with a great sense of detail. In addition, the test candidate gave an overall very harmonious, authentic sound image; still neutral enough to make David Benoit’s “Things Change” seem coherent, but also with a pleasantly warm fine-tuning, from which, for example, the campfire atmosphere in Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” benefited.
In addition, the CTM Explore P2 showed a well-defined depth reproduction in the listening test, which accompanied electro titles, hip-hop, and R&B tracks equally with a super-rich bass foundation. The double bass was just as good to face in various jazz pieces. For example, the very physical and detailed representation of the center of the subject, for example, the vibraphone in “Limehouse Blues” by Arne Domnérus or in middle-heavy songs like Mumford & Sons’ “Little Lion Man,” is really impressive. It fits into the picture that the test candidate was not afraid of high-pitched voices or recognizing instrumental tracks at the upper end of the frequency spectrum. “Endurance tests,” which the CTM Explore P2 managed to carry out lightly and effortlessly during the soundcheck.
Furthermore, the truly wireless headphones tested here shone – especially because of its device class and design – with a truly impressive stage representation in width and depth. Thus, they presented themselves as headphones that are suitable for listening to classical music and live concerts. In addition, the small wireless in-ear offered a very good representation of reverberation rooms, for example, in Ulla Meinecke’s “Die Tänzerin.” After all, the test person also knew how to reproduce daring, dynamic leaps and rapidly successive impulses of different kinds just as impressively as he brilliantly mastered the subject of spatial representation.
Last but not least, the CTM Explore P2 delivered a convincing reproduction of demanding jazz and audiophile pieces such as Max. Babs “Human Intent” or “La vie devant soi” by Renaud Garcia-Fons in the listening test thanks to its qualities in terms of spatial representation as well as impulse fidelity and dynamic behavior. Overall, after the test of the CTM Explore P2, the impression that the US cult manufacturer Clear Tune Monitors offers users of its products astonishingly much sound for relatively little money – with the test subject now also in true wireless garb at all times.
The true wireless in-ear CTM Explore P2 is not just the second headphone available from us from the US headphone manufacturer Clear Tune Monitors, which has been successful in its home country for years. But, no, with the tiny and feather-light handset, there is now a long-term, extremely pleasant to wear and extremely powerful sounding TWS model at an entry-level price, which brings pretty much everything with it, from Hi-Res sound to IPX6 and a long-lasting battery to voice control you need in everyday mobile life.