We discovered this IEM through Massdrop – a relatively unknown ChiFi brand, Tin Audio has created a rather nice little neutral-bright sounding budget IEM.
After seeing this on Massdrop, we were quite curious as to how will this well regarded Chinese budget IEM performed and so quickly ordered one. Spoiler alert : this IEM is really worth the money!
|Driver Type||10mm Dynamic Driver woofer + 6mm Dynamic Driver tweeter|
|Frequency Response||12 Hz – 40 kHz|
|Cable||1.2m MMCX oxygen free copper silver-plated wire|
|Plug||3.5mm Straight plug|
Packaging & Accessories
As budget ChiFi products go, the Tin Audio T2 is actually quite nicely packaged. Presented in a humbly sized faux-leather box, there is evidently thought put into designing how everything fits and is presented in the small space which from the get go gave me a bit of giddy excitement about how it would sound like.
The Tin Audio T2 comes with a good amount of silicone ear tips in Small Medium and Large sizes, a soft blue foam tip reminiscent of Campfire Audio’s Blue foam tips.
The T2 is also supplied with a nice silver braided cable terminated in a Furutech-esque 3.5mm plug with gold and carbon fibre weave details. On the earphone housing side are clear plastic MMCX connectors, labeled with R and L for Right and Left. There is no memory wire in the cable – this may be preferable or not depending on personal taste. Although the cable is very soft and lends itself to not creating any microphonics, the drawback to it is that it is very easily tangled.
Design & Ergonomics
The Tin Audio T2 is not flashy – rather, it has a very utilitarian design kind of vibe with its simple, hard edged cylindrical form only broken by the wedge shaped extension for the MMCX cable connection. Made of a metal material, probably aluminium due to its light weight, with a hairline brushed finish, the T2 feels very well built for such a low price point – you don’t often get such quality at this budget price bracket.
Ergonomically, it’s not the most comfortable IEM I’ve tried, though it’s not uncomfortable. Even though it is designed to be worn over ear, there’s a slight feeling that it could come loose. It’s just that the cylindrical housing sticks out slightly, and unlike other designs doesn’t rest against the concha of the ear to give that feeling of security. Combined with a slightly long nozzle that also feels a little wider than average to me, it sometimes feels a little less secure than I would like, although I haven’t had it drop out. Perhaps this feeling could be mitigated if I used a cable with memory wire around the ears.
Because of its dynamic driver design, there is undoubtedly a need for driver venting. There is one tiny hole on the outside face of the housing, with another on the funnel-like form that transitions into the nozzle. Perhaps due to the vibrational properties of the metal combined with the vent holes, isolation is not great, even when using foam tips.
Detailed Sound Analysis
The Tin Audio T2’s sound signature is evident from the get go; it’s very neutral sounding with a slight bit of warmth in its polite, flat sounding low end, combined with a helping of brightness and shimmer in the high frequencies. Mids are deftly balanced as well, never upsetting the balance by standing out too much, and with a tinge more mid-high emphasis than lower mids, the T2 gives a smooth, slightly airy reproduction of vocals.
The T2’s bass response is decidedly lighter than what I am used to, but not in a bad way. Bass impact is light, especially in the subbass region where it seems to have some roll-off. The T2 can reproduce those low notes without any effort, but it stops there – if you’re looking for a head-rattling, deep, resounding low end impact, you’ll be utterly disappointed with the T2. Although it’s a gentle, soft hitting bass, the 10mm dynamic driver woofer still has the natural bass reproduction that I love.
The smooth mids and highs are where the Tin Audio T2 really shines. There is really no sign of harshness or peakiness to be found at all. While I do feel there is the slightest emphasis on the higher mids which gives vocals a more airy rather than warm, full sound which I prefer (probably also due to the rolled off bass), I didn’t find this to be a problematic as vocals so sounded tonally natural. I also enjoy the amount of high frequency detail, of which there is more than enough to clearly define cymbals and give snappiness and presence to details without ever getting sibilant.
While many budget IEMs may be able to reproduce smooth, well tuned sound, they often fall short when it comes to soundstage and separation. The T2’s does both things just fine – there’s a good, effortless sounding amount of width and height to the sense of soundstage. The dual dynamic drivers also do an amazing job at clearly reproducing all the different sounds without without distortion and turning it into a muddy mess.
The T2 honestly performs extremely well throughout the entire frequency range. It’s got a well balanced, smooth, undistorted sound with a good, gentle amount of clarity in the mids and high details, and while its soundstage is not super wide, it’s far from sounding congested. You don’t often get such a nicely balanced neutral sound in the budget realm, which is mostly littered with unrefined, bassy and muddy V-shaped messes, so the Tin Audio T2 really is a breath of fresh air. The sound is also extremely well resolved for this price point, with a natural timbre throughout. It’s also interesting because of its dual dynamic driver design with one driver for lows and mids and one tweeter for the highs – again, something that’s not often seen in the IEM world in terms of dynamic driver designs. Unless you are looking for a bass heavy sounding IEM, I cannot emphasise how great of a deal this budget IEM is.
From this graph, we can see that the Tin Audio T2 frequency response measures extremely well, with no huge dips or peaks apart from the 6k-10kHz region – and this is how it achieves such a smooth, balanced sound. The bass rolloff is also evident here. I’m really impressed by how well tuned the T2 is.
- Smooth, well resolved, neutral sound signature
- Amazing price
- Nice build quality and materials
- No sibilance
- Not a very ergonomic design
- Very light bass (this is really just a matter of preference here)
- Rather poor isolation for an IEM