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Tanchjim Darkside

Rating:
4.25/5,
  1. IryxBRO
    TANCHJIM DARKSIDE — do not underestimate the power
    Written by IryxBRO
    Published Nov 24, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - design and packaging, accessories, build quality, extended and detailed lows and midbass, good mids, instrument separation
    Cons - some harsh notes in upper mids, recessed treble
    Something very special to report about today: recently discovered artifact, a legacy of Empire, enclosing a portion of its dark powers — TANCHJIM DARKSIDE IEMs. Not a clue whether those were developed for the entire army of stormtroopers or solely for Darth Vader — we’ve only got one perfect sample which appearance shows that it was intended for royal members…

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    Not much know about its origin, except that it was found in China and there were no other dynamic-driver IEMs from the same company preceding DARKSIDE. A new experiment which potential is yet to be discovered. At least, we would try to do that today…

    Technologies:
    • Driver: dynamic, 9.2mm in diameter
    • Diaphragm type: graphene
    • Frequency Response Range: 20Hz ~ 20000Hz
    • Sensitivity: 103dB (at1000Hz)
    • Rated impedance: 32Ω
    • Headphone plug: 3.5mm plug (L-shape), gold-plated, 3-poles
    • Cable length: 1.2m
    • Cable type: 4 shares OFC silver-plated wire, single share 0.06mm X 18
    9.2mm dynamic driver diameter is the largest we’ve ever encountered. It should be capable of unleashing the full power of darkness…

    Package:

    Black matt cube with carton outer cover that contains product image, slogan, name and technical description. Design is very minimalistic and eye-catching at the same time.

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    Removing outer cover would disclose stiff black box with white TANCHJIM brand name and logo imprints. Nothing more…

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    The insides follow the same strict design guidelines and reveal neat placement of additional black boxes full of surprises.

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    IEMs are securely held in place by the foamy podium with special openings. First that attracts the attention is that one channel has brand logo, while the other is totally black.

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    Again, it resembles the overall catching design of the packaging and creates the feeling of very valuable possession.

    Inside:
    • IEMs with cable
    • 3 pairs of silicone eartips (S|M|L size)
    • Storage case
    • Product brochure
    • Couple of stickers with brand logo
    • Warranty brochure
    • Warranty card
    Even warranty card and product brochure deserve couple of words here: warranty card with the dimensions of a regular business card is made of aluminum… Aluminum, Carl!!! Why? Don’t ask. Perhaps, because it should stay with you eternally??? :) Or cause it should be used as laser shield? :)

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    And the product brochure is way much better than best design practices of many more famous brands — contains lots of high-quality themed images perfectly capturing the essence of this product.

    Another valuable and beautiful accessory here is the storage case. No words… Just look at those pictures:

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    IEMs are made of 2 aluminum parts — base and top cover, perfectly crafted and aligned. Right channel top cover contains white product logo while left is left totally blank.

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    Channel indicators, company and product name as well as compensation openings are located on the inner part of the base.

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    Output nozzles are protruding from the base, covered with non-removable aluminum protective grills|filters and have special notches for exchangeable eartips.

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    Cable is not detachable but its entry points are reinforced by IEM case standouts and transparent plastic earguides.

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    Besides that, cable is claimed to be OFC silver-plated wires, twisted, has the aluminum Y-splitter, L-shaped gold-plated 3.5mm jack with partially aluminum and partially plastic housing.

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    In overall, the design is excellent. We were so tempted by it that decided to spend much more time and efforts creating our own high-quality images. Serious argument here is whether to use DARKSIDE every day or leave it on the shelf to exhibit its beauty to public forever :) The best description for such design would be a «masterpiece».

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    Fit is good but not the best. Output nozzles might be a bit tricky for someone even with the smallest eartips (that tells us that stormtroopers might have some inclinations in ear structure) but once you’d find the best position it wouldn’t drop out. In our case not for the active exercising, though.

    Sound quality:

    Tested with: Hidizs AP200 DAP, Hidizs AP80 DAP, Hidizs DH1000 DAC&AMP

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    Lows:

    As already been stated DARKSIDE IEMs excel in the bunch by largest dynamic driver diameter we’ve ever had on our tests — 9.2mm. Huge driver that should be capable of producing powerful deep bass and lots of textures… In fact, it is the strongest and the most outstanding characteristics of DARKSIDE sound! The best part about it is that instead of simple boomy and smeared appearance we get precisely contoured, highly detailed and extended deep bass with decent texture reproduction and balanced delivery. Such compositions as Donald Fagen «Morph the cat» reveal lots of bass overtones. Despite high amount and power, lows do not dominate the entire scene abnormally — just to the point of accentuating its darker signature. This is like if you are a fan of armature IEMs due to excessive resolution on treble but vise versa — having almost the same effect of clarity on the lower end.

    Furthermore, midbass has the necessary amount of air and amplitude to reproduce tight, full-powered and lively sound of drum sections. Its peaking notes might have an excessive bite but it happens on very rare occasions. Absolutely love how this range sounds and definitely the best IEMs in this regard so far!

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    Mids and vocals:

    Instruments as well as voices in mid range sound naturally and rich. Very appealing sound of tube-powered electric guitars full of harmonics and overtones making those IEMs a good choice for rock, blues and other similar genres. Lower mids and male vocals sound a bit distant and recessed whereas upper mids are elevated. Female vocals are brought to front and might feel a bit harsh or produce some lisping at certain notes in case if original track EQ already had some additional gain in this section. Songs with more balanced tuning would not suffer from the same. Such compositions as Dire Straights «You and your friend» (vinyl rip 24bit/192kHz) exhibit a huge dynamic range while hiding vinyl noise and clicks behind its warmth. Mids are in good balance with lows, not overlapping, all sounds and instruments in both ranges have the adequate amount of presence and good separation.

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    Treble:

    Treble range is recessed, definitely having lower gain in comparison to upper mids and lows. Such tuning helps to keep sibilance under a full control. This recession is not severe, treble portion is still well pronounced. Extension and resolution are moderate compared to other ranges with the most of the potential revealed in music genres saturated with string or bow instruments. On the other hand, treble might sound a bit indistinct and soft when it comes to bass-oriented tracks.

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    Soundstage and instrument separation:

    A bit controversial results here. Special binaural recordings that are intended to create additional scene depth and width show moderate effect and distance with DARKSIDE IEMs. Whereas such regular recordings as Oscar Peterson trio — «You Look Good to Me» sound just excellent — with decent instrument separation, precise location, wide stereo panorama and enlarged stage.

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    Sound in overall:

    TANCHJIM DARKSIDE could be described as warm sounding IEMs with dark tonality. It is mostly bass and mids-oriented resolving most of the details and textures in those ranges. The most appropriate genres would be hip-hop, rap, drum’n’bass, rock, jazz, blues, etc.

    Compared to Anew U1:

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    Anew U1 is a great example of perfectly balanced IEMs based on a single dynamic driver. It only has 7.2mm diameter and cannot really compete with TANCHJIM in terms of bass texturing… But the sound is more neutral in overall. Therefore, would be more universal while loosing a fraction of details on the lower end and at the same time exhibiting more presence of treble. Although, we know that Master Yoda wouldn’t like it — too neutral for him. Han Solo is more appropriate candidate for having U1 despite its white appearance.

    Compared to Magaosi K3 HD:

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    Magaosi K3 HD are based on a combination of dynamic and armature drivers, having V-shaped tuning and lots of resolution on treble and upper mids. Bass is kind of smeared in comparison to TANCHJIM, mostly like existing instead of being detailed. We would say that K3 HD are more suitable for heavy metal and orchestra with it brighter tonality whereas TANCHJIM brings more warmth but might suffer in fast music genres saturated with lots of different instruments.

    Compared to EARNINE EN1J:

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    EARNINE EN1J are tuned to deliver the best resolution and presence of mids together with neutral tonality. Lows and treble ranges are recessed, midbass suffers from lack of capacity and power. These are great for precise monitoring of something like guitars but would not have this much of engagement while listening to music. Only few genres would do…

    Conclusion:

    We have defined all pros and cons of TANCHJIM DARKSIDE during our tests… Those IEMs really deserve lots of ovations for the decent crafting, rich box contents, attention to the smallest details and the enormous amount of efforts spent on the overall design which creates excellent first impression. Additionally, it design perfectly accentuate its nature of being dark-sounding, warm IEMs with outstanding reproduction of the lower end. Solid product impression achieved by the summation of many factors. Not without some cons, though… Upper mids might require a touch of EQ to eliminate rare harsh peaks in sound.

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    Finally, we can report that this artifact is completely examined and definitely represents a value for any dark force adept. The might and power enclosed inside would reward the most demanding followers or even persuade others to join the dark side. Time to make your choice, Luke. And let the force be with you!

    Join the DARKSIDE of the force visiting this link: PenonAudio

    More pics:

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  2. audio123
    Tanchjim Darkside - Emotional Execution
    Written by audio123
    Published Mar 12, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Smooth, Dark, Comfort
    Cons - Lack in Treble Extension
    Introduction

    Tanchjim is a new Chinese company that specializes in in-ear monitors. Their first iem is of a dynamic driver configuration. I would like to thank Tanchjim and Penon Audio for this review unit. At the moment, you can purchase the Tanchjim Darkside from https://penonaudio.com/tanchjim-darkside .

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    Specifications

    • Driver Configuration: 9.2mm Dynamic
    • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20000Hz
    • Sensitivity: 103dB (at1000Hz)
    • Rated impedance: 32Ω
    Unboxing & Accessories

    The Darkside comes in a black package that sports the brand logo and name on the top. It has black protective cover with an image of the iem, model name and brand name. At the back of the protective cover, there are specifications and instructions. After opening the package, there are the iem and 2 black boxes. The squarish box contains metal warranty card, eartips, stickers, instruction manual and information guide. The rectangular box contains a brown semi-hard carrying case with the brand logo printed on top.

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    IEM Build & Design

    The Darkside has a smooth matte black shell and it is formed integrally by 5-axis CNC machine tools. The left side has a plain black faceplate while on the right side, the faceplate has the brand logo printed. On the inside of each iem side, there are the brand name and model name as well as L & R marking on the left and right respectively. There is a vent and the nozzle is slightly angled with a golden metal mesh for earwax prevention. The iem has a fantastic ergonomic design and it is one of the most comfortable iems I have tried. I am able to fit the Darkside in my ears well.

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    Cable Build & Design

    The cable is not detachable and has a 4 core braided design. The cable has a memory wire section that is enclosed in a transparent heat shrink tube. It is very flexible. Both the chin slider and y-splitter are black in color with circular edges. The y-splitter sports the brand name and model name. The jack is 3.5mm gold plated right angled with strain relief.

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    Sound Analysis

    Lows

    The sub-bass on the Darkside has a moderate amount and it is presented well without sounding aggressive. It is able to extend moderately. There is a nice tinge of warmth which helps to produce a soothing bass presentation. The mid-bass on the Darkside has a moderate quantity and the slam has a laid-back approach. The bass decay is not very quick and the bass texture is rendered in a creamy manner. The bass presentation is controlled and each bass note is articulated with a smooth hit. There is a soothing listen.

    Mids

    The midrange operates in a warm and musical manner. It is able to express emotions well which gives rise to an intimate listen. The transparency and cleanliness has a moderate level. When tackling busier tracks, it gets slightly congested. The lower mids has good quantity and male vocals are expressed generally well in a lush manner. The upper mids is not very forward, resulting in female vocals presented moderately without sounding lively. The midrange has a moderate level of details retrievals.

    Highs


    The treble has decent extension with lack of crisp and sparkle. There is no sibilance and harshness. It is presented with smoothness. Treble presentation ensures a fatigue-free listening session without sounding too bright. The amount of air rendered is moderate and offers a nice airy feeling.

    Soundstage


    The Darkside has natural expansion in its soundstage. The width magnitude has a moderate level while the depth is closed in to offer the intimate feeling. There is an ordinary standard for the positioning of instruments and vocals.

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    Comparisons

    Tanchjim Darkside vs Mee Audio Pinnacle P2

    The P2 has more sub-bass extension than the Darkside while the Darkside is much fuller with extra sub-bass quantity. The P2 has the better depth for its sub-bass. The mid-bass on the P2 has less quantity than the Darkside but it is able to express with more agility. The Darkside presents its slam without sounding too hard-hitting and the laid-back approach makes it a relaxing listen. The lower mids on the Darkside has more quantity than the P2 and male vocals sound fuller with emotions. The upper mids on the P2 has more forwardness and results in female vocals sounding intimate yet energetic. The Darkside is able to provide a full-bodied approach. For the treble section, the P2 has more extension with crisp and sparkle while the Darkside excels with a good body and the smooth rendition creates a soothing effect. The P2 has slightly more definition here. Lastly, the soundstage of the Darkside expands more naturally while the P2 has a good width magnitude. The depth of the Darkside is slightly closed in and the intimacy helps in the vocals reproduction.

    Tanchjim Darkside vs TFZ Exclusive King

    The King has more sub-bass quantity and extension than the Darkside. The Darkside is able to produce a smoother sub-bass reproduction which gives a creamy feeling. The mid-bass on the King has a bolder slam with extra body and it is more aggressive than the Darkside. The bass texture on the Darkside is rendered more smoothly while the bass decay on the King has the slight advantage with extra agility. The Darkside is able to showcase control and gives a slow tempo. It is able to create a calm effect. The lower mids on the both has similar quantity but the Darkside is able to give a more emotional performance. The upper mids on the King is more forward and gives a nice bite. The Darkside sounds more controlled here and it allows vocals to be expressed well. Next, for the treble section, the King has the better extension with a more precise articulation. The Darkside excels in a different approach with a smooth presentation. The King sounds less controlled here. Lastly, there is a natural expansion for both while the King excels with a greater magnitude. The Darkside has a more closed in depth.

    Tanchjim Darkside vs Oriveti Basic


    The Basic has more sub-bass quantity and the Darkside is able to extend better. The Darkside has the ability to exert a strong control here and there is good mastery. The mid-bass on the Basic has more quantity and each slam is delivered with a good weight. The Darkside has a quicker slam. Bass articulation on the Darkside has better precision with a cleaner hit. The bass texture on the Darkside is rendered more smoothly while the bass decay is quicker with agility. The lower mids on the Basic has more body which results in thickness but may sound too dense. The Darkside is able to express male vocals in a more emotional appproach. The upper mids on the Basic has more forwardness and female vocals are presented in an intimate manner but there is better control on the Darkside. The midrange on the Darkside showcases a great finesse. Next, for the treble, the Basic has more extension while the the amount of air rendered is slightly greater. The Darkside has good smoothness and it is fatigue-free. Lastly, the soundstage on both expands naturally. The Basic has a greater stage width while the depth is very similar.

    Conclusion

    The Darkside is a dark and smooth sounding iem that is able to ensure a fatigue-free listening session and gives a relaxing feeling. It is able to invoke great musicality and vocals are expressed naturally. Furthermore, the Darkside has a fantastic ergonomic design that provides excellent comfort. The Tanchjim Darkside is their first iem and it is able to showcase an emotional unique sound.

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    For more reviews, visit https://audio123blog.wordpress.com/ .
      Moonstar likes this.