Pros: Awesome finish, Bass isn't bloated, Excellent Treble extension
Cons: Cable is pretty bad, Definitely one of those 'hit -or-miss' iems, Definitely not for people with small ears.
Ok first of all I will be using my Sansa Clip as my source as I feel an iem should always be tested with portable sources. I paid $200AUD for them brand new, which is dirt-cheap by Australian standards. I do not believe in burn in, especially for armature drivers - owning and listening to many iems has shown me burn-in is just a mental phenomenon where the brain adjusts to a new sound signature. I will throw some quick comparisons to other iems I have tried, such as the IE8 and RE0.
Being used to the cold and analytical sound of the RE0 and the warm and bassy sound of the IE8 my first impressions were quite negative. The TF10 had a really 'mechanical' sound (very artificial sounding, not very natural) to it with ear-piercing treble. However, after about 30 minutes of use my ears adjusted to the treble and the mechanical sound disappeared. After that these wowed me with their detail, punchy bass and treble extension.
Design to me is quite good. Since the TF10 jut out of the ear there is minimal contact with the inside part of my ear compared to say, the IE8 or SE530 where the body of the earpiece makes more contact with the inside of you ear. The gun-metal blue finish is quite attractive. Build quality is above average which is expected for a iem in this price bracket. Fit for me is excellent, however, I can see how some people complain about not being able to get a good fit. The size of the shells are massive. Personally I have medium sized canals and have always used medium sized tips for iems. If you have small sized canals then I can most likely predict that you will have fit issues.
The cable however is very average - thickness of the wire is about normal for any iem, however the material is rubbery to the touch. The cable terminates in an not very sturdy looking straight jack which I absolutely hate and doesn't look like it could take a beating unlike the IE8 cable. However, TF10 aftermarket cables are in abundance and are not that costly (about $38USD for a good an ES8 cable on Jaben's website.). Furthermore, isolation is not terribly high. It has more isolation than the IE8 but definitely less than what Etymotic and Shure iems can offer. For me it is good for the daily commute and allows me to faintly hear cars in the distance for safety reasons.
Browsing around these forums, quite a few people claim that the bass of the TF10 is muddy and bloated, I couldn't disagree more. To me it sounds very punchy. However, bass quantity is quite high but not massive so to speak and does not have a lot of low end rumble.
TF10 vs IE8
Hmmm...a hard one to call. I cannot say that one is better than the other - just that they are different from each other. TF10 bass is punchy and has a lot of quantity to it. On the other hand the IE8's bass (set to minimum) is more rumbly with a hell of a lot more quantity to it. Neither of these iem's bass sounds bloated. However, from my own preferences it feels that the TF10 has more quality bass while the IE8 has more bass quantity that has a lot more ear shaking rumble.Whether one is better than the other simply comes down to personal preferences. For me the TF10 sounded better in the bass department with Trance music and the IE8 sounded a lot better with Hip-Hop style music.
TF10 vs RE0
After listening to the two TF10 bass sound's very punchy with a high level of quantity. RE0 on the other hand the bass sounds thin and un-energetic compared to the TF10. However, the actual quality of the RE0 bass is still excellent.
Midrange on the TF10 is nothing special. It does not stick out among the bass and treble, however, I wouldn't called it recessed either. Vocals sound a little bit distant. This doesn't bother me at all and I feel is a bit necessary for the TF10 in the way that the Treble and Bass is quantified. To me, having a boosted midrange would make the whole experience overwhelming and fatiguing.
TF10 vs IE8
To me the IE8's midrange is a little recessed. This drove me mad sometimes on a few songs with a lot of vocals as it sounded really...unnatural. Midrange is nothing special on either of these iems, however, the TF10s midrange is not recessed to my ears and hence I believe that TF10 wins out here.
TF10 vs RE0
Surprisingly the midrange of the TF10 and RE0 sound very similar. I could not discern any real difference between the two. Neither are recessed nor boosted in the midrange. However, vocals are a tiny bit less distant on the RE0. Which is better? Not a clue.
The treble on the TF10 is definitely one of the defining aspects of the TF10 sound signature. It extends well and has a lot of quantity to it. Some people may find it to be too much. On occasion I also find the Treble to be very fatiguing, but this is usually only when I am very tired. As I mentioned when I first listened to these I found the treble to be earpiercing, but my ears adjusted to it withing 30 minutes. I feel no sibilance with these.
TF10 vs IE8
Depending on your preferences the Treble on either the TF10 or IE8 will be more suitable for you. As was mentioned the TF10's treble extends very well and definitely comes in large amounts. On the other hand the IE8's treble also extends well (extends better than the SE530 so I am told to believe), but does not have a massive quantity to it like the TF10. Which is better? If you can't stand a lot of treble then the IE8's treble would be better suited to you. However, if you are like me and feel that a lot of treble couldn't hurt then the TF10 may be better.
TF10 vs RE0
Yes, the RE0 does emphasize Treble a lot. However, it is not dished out in the same quantities as the TF10. Both extend very well, pretty much both extend to the same level according to my ears. So basically I see the TF10's treble as a more quantified version of the RE0's treble extension.
General Sound Signature
I guess you could say that the TF10's sound signature is 'v-shaped' - boosted bass, normal levels of midrange, boosted treble. This provides for a unique sound signature I have not experienced in any other iem I have tried. The TF10 has a bit of a cold sound signature, not analytic though. A bit like the RE0's sound signature but with more emotion to it. A hit if you like this sort of sound signature - miss if you like a warmer or analytical sound signature like the IE8 or Etymotic/RE0 respectively.
RE0's sound signature is very cold and analytical. After listening to either the TF10 or IE8, the RE0 sounded extremely thin and lifeless without any emotion. However, after about 30 minutes of listening my ears adjust to the sound and the RE0 becomes a bit more full with a bit more emotion - still cold and analytical by many standards.
IE8's sound signatures is very warm and bassy. After getting used to the TF10 or RE0 the IE8's bass sound's very flabby bloated and with the recessed midrange sticking out like a sore thumb. However, once again, after 30 minutes of listening my ears adjust and the IE8's bass regains its awesome rumble and flabbiness and bloat mainly disappear.
To sum up the TF10 is a very good iem, however it is definitely one of those iems that you would either love or hate based on the sound signature and the sheer amount of treble relative to other iems mentioned here. If you can get your hands on one cheap then I suggest you give it a try - you never know - you might actually like what you hear.