TinHiFi T3: What the T2 Pro should have been…$69.
Linsoul Audio: https://www.linsoul.com/product-page/tinhifi-t3-IEM
I will state this right up front. The T3 is what the T2 Pro should have been. While the T2 was pretty good, but nothing special; the T2 Pro was better. I will note that right away. But the T3 bests the T2 Pro in every way in my opinion. There…I said it.
Word to Chi-Fi operators: INCLUDE A CASE!!! PLEASE!!!
Driver unit: 10mm dynamic + Knowles BA
Frequency response: 10–40,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 95 dB +/- 3dB
Impedance: 16 ohms
Plug: ⅛ in (3.5 mm) carbon
Cable: 4.1 ft (1.25 m) 5N 8-core OFC-plated silver
In the Box:
IEM (in foam insert, top of box cut with window. Gives you that “look at me,” feeling)
OFC Silver-plated/copper cable, wound intro a square. Really cool, actually. Pliable.
Two sets of white foam tips.
Four sets of silicon-three red w/ S/M/L. One blue in M/
All prices in USD, unless noted otherwise
MEE Audio M6 Pro G2 ($49)
KZ BA10 ($81)
Meze Neo11 ($59)
Thebit Opus #2
MacBook Pro/iFi Pro iDSD
Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:
Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
twenty one pilots-Trees
twenty one pilots-Car Radio
twenty one pilots-Heathens
Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
The new twenty one pilots album, Trench
Opening exactly the same as the two previous iterations of the T-series, one opens the blue cardboard much like a book. Pretty cool, actually. But this time, there is a cutout on top so one may view the detached IEM’s nestled softly in a foam insert. With the soft gray color of the T3, you could almost imagine there is a sleeping tike inside…almost.
Under the foam insert lies the cable, neatly tucked into a blanket, err bag, as well as the six sets of tips. That’s it. No case. PuLEEZ include a case!!! This aspect still seems to be hit or miss, and I’d prefer a HIT. OK, enough about that.
It’s a light gray IEM, shaped like a bolt with a handle. Oh, and a cable. There seems to be a push with some IEM makers pushing for the bullet-shape lately and it could very well have started with Tin (this latest round). I don’t mind this shape at all, as it is comfortable and easy to use. Except I do have a hard time keeping the cable over ear. To utilize this as a bud, simply switch sides with the cable. Then wear it down. I prefer it up, and twist the MMCX cable inwards, like pushing the frame of a pair of glasses against your head. Don’t expect to do the Rumba, though. I do like the cable, but wish there was some shrink plastic on it, or a weight like some have. Meh, that’s OK.
Finish is top notch (as all iterations have been), with a good mix of polished and burnished surfaces. All those pieces fit together as one would expect. Near-perfectly. I won’t mention some much higher priced IEM’s, which do not have the same build quality of the TinHiFi. Nicely done.
The cable itself is soft and supple. Tangle free as well. Wound perfectly, there is a chrome jack with faux silver carbon face plating. Overall, the T3 looks the part, and I do like the look, feel and fit. With a bit of a lip on the nozzle, one need not worry about the tip coming off as well. A welcome feature and one we see more and more. Plus, the nozzle is not overly large, so long sessions can be had. No complaints.
When one receives an item, first and foremost you check to make sure all is good. You then test the sound and try as you might not to, first impressions can be had. I fall for it as well. Here, I was coming off some more expensive IEM’s, so I tried extra hard not to make a judgement. We are human after all and it can be hard. So, I had my saltine cracker (see wine testing) UM Mentor V3’s to cleanse my palette then listened. I immediately recognized that the T3 was better than the T2 and T2 Pro. To me in pretty much every way. That is how I came up with the title. After two minutes, I had it. And I stick by it.
There is a dearth of options at the $50-75usd price, so of course TinHiFi muddies it more with the T3. Squeezing into this overly crowded house can be tough. You almost need a pass or a protector bigger than the bouncer at the door. The history and acclaim of the T-iterations was enough to muscle in the door and take their rightly place at the bar. There are some very good models at this point such as the KZ AS10, Shozy Hibiki iterations and the CCA C10. Tough competition and all have their following. All of the above have differing approaches from the single dynamic driver of the Hibiki to the multi-balance armatures of the others. The T3 is a true hybrid, though with a single 10mm DD and a single Knowles BA. So, you can quickly see how companies approach this tight mid-fi market.
So, listed above I mention that the T3 is better than the two previous iterations. To me it is. Better control of the bass
, more defined midrange
, and a treble
that while is a bit sibilant, is not too grating for me. Vocals can bite a bit, but not enough to encumber you with too many problems. I did find the sound a wee bit troublesome, but not enough to warrant me throwing the IEM to the floor. TinHiFi is headed in the right direction, generally. But not fast enough for me. I do wish they would jump up several levels and produce a wonderful mid-fi IEM. THIS would be something to behold. And my bet is that it would be good.
TinHiFi T3 ($69) v BQEYZ BQ3 ($69):
Lifted from the BQ3 review:
As I have previously stated, the T3 is what the T2 Pro should have been. And the T2 Pro is what the T2 should have been. Of the three, I like the T3 the best. It has the most rounded sound of the three. The T2 was clear and concise but left any semblance of a bass sound at the station. The T2 Pro helped alleviate this somewhat, but not completely and in my mind at the expense of that clarity. The T3 melds the best, with a solid bass (not as much quantity as the BQ3 or C16), that gives a hint of rumble. And that is running through the Burson Fun with the warmer V6 Vivid OpAmp. So, it is still a little light.
But there is good sound and good clarity again. Mids sound a bit held back. I hate to use the word veiled, because that would inadequately describe the signature. Held back is a good analogy. For the price it presents good value and would be a competent alternative to the BQ3. Just do not expect the level of bass presence that the BQ3 has.
TinHiFi T3 ($69) v KZ BA10 ($81)/KZ AS10 ($70):
Clarity rules here. But at the cost of bass. Compared to the T3 it is essentially non-existent. Not there, nope. The best thing the BA10 has going is that the sound is pretty clear. I included it here, to show how far Chi-Fi has come in just two short years. For less money now, you can get a better overall IEM in my opinion.
I included both, for the BA10 was supposed to replace the AS10 as the “flagship.” Well to me, the AS10 is a better match to my sound takes, and better suited against the T3. With bass that is untamed and unwieldly there is no hesitance there. None. Deep reach, but not controlled. There is a lack of sibilance up top, though. That is why I prefer it to the BA10. Vocals can be somewhat lost in the mid mix, but this is one of the few mid-priced Chi-Fi entries in which I can raise the volume without bother. Another positive.
TinHiFi T3 ($69) v Meze Neo11 ($59):
I really like the Neo11. It is an outstanding value at the sub-$75 price point, and the “flaw” against it that might hinder a purchase was the microphonics of the cable. Other than that, it is quite good. Bass on par with the T3, better vocals, and a delicious reach up top in the treble range. Quite tasty.
That said, in many ways the T3 matches the Neo11. With slightly more bass, you feel
more with the T3. Vocals are not on par, and the mids slightly
muddled compared to the Neo11. Up top, there is no strain either. Fit is a bit worse on the T3 due to its shape. The cable is better, though. Gorgeous at which to look, and no microphonics at all. So, in this regard, I’d almost consider the T3/Neo11 a wash. Both are more than worth a look.
TinHiFi T3 ($69) v TinHiFi T2 Pro ($59):
This is a tough one. I really liked the T2 Pro as an upgrade to the T2 (which I liked as well). Going back to back, I get a bit better spatial awareness from the T2P. Almost holographic-like in nature, the mids are slightly more forward. There is also a bit more up top, which bothers me a bit. It’s not bad at lower volumes but raise the volume and it can a bit tedious after a while. Female vocals tend to suffer the most. This is less of a problem on the T3. That said, I still can’t turn either up to levels at which I would like to jam out. So, the T3 is a step forward in my mind.
So, this is the third iteration of the venerable T-series. And I can say that with each they tend to get better. The T2 was marveled as an affordable well-built Chi-fi with good sound. The T2 Pro added a bit of clarity and a bit more bass. This iteration, the T3 expands upon that further. Better control than the other two, with quicker bass decay, which to me aids in a solid succinct sound, which goes a bit away from the Chi-Fi norm…that too much sparkly top end. And I for one am glad.
Is this the best at the sub-$75 IEM price? Well, that is up to you to decide, for in my ears, and my ears alone it is a definite step forward for TinHiFi and I appreciate that tinkering. Now, if they would add a bit more bass, it could possibly be called the top five at this range (not that it isn’t in my mind), but again that is for you to decide.
Thanks again to Lillian and Linsoul for continued faith in this feeble old mind and ears. I do appreciate it.