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  1. B9Scrambler
    TinHiFi P1: Evolution
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Jun 19, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Refined, balanced tune with a proper midrange - Build and comfort - Price for performance
    Cons - Sub-bass could use a bit more emphasis - Foam insert fails to hold earpieces in during shipment - Cable could be better - Amping absolutely required
    Greetings,

    Today we’re checking out TinHiFi’s newest release, the P1.

    Back in October of 2017, TinHiFi (previously known as TinAudio) quietly took over the budget scene with the T2. It was a dual-dynamic earphone and it’s combination of low price, outstanding build quality, and one of the closest things to neutral without being deathly boring won over a crowd infatuated with hybrids and flashy specs. Since then TinHiFi has released a number of products in the T1, T2 Pro, and T3, all of which were well received, some more than others. Their strong lineup of sub 100 USD earphones has kept them relevant, and to some, a leader in a very competitive segment.

    The P1 is not only their first earphone over 100 USD, but also their first to move away from traditional dynamic and balanced armature driver tech. The P1 features a single 10mm planar magnetic driver per side. While that’s pretty cool, TinHiFi is not the first to bring planar tech to the earphone market, though I do suspect they’ll have been the most successful to date. Other brands have done it with varied levels of success, such as RHA with the CL2 and Toneking with the BL1. There are a handful of other examples out there if you take the time to hunt them down, all of which seem to have some critical flaw you either need to live with, or work around via EQ or some other method.

    Let’s take a closer look at the P1 and why I think this is a standout product in the sub-200 USD market.

    IMG_4673.JPG

    Disclaimer:

    Thank you to Lillian with Linsoul Audio for arranging a sample of the P1 for the purposes of review. The thoughts here are my own subjective opinions based on time listening to the P1. They do not represent TinHiFi, Linsoul Audio, or any other entity. The P1 will be releasing on June 20th at an introductory price of 149.00 USD. MSRP will be 169.00 USD.

    https://www.linsoul.com/product-page/tinhifi-p1-iem

    https://drop.com/buy/tin-audio-p1-iem

    Personal Preference:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. My preferences for earphone tuning are quite relaxed and as such their is no one signature I look for. The HiFiMAN RE800, Brainwavz B400, and Massdrop x MeeAudio Planamic are examples of earphones with wildly varied signatures that are enjoyable for different reasons. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when perusing my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

    Sources:

    Mobile: Shanling M0 or Zishan DSD paired with the Periodic Audio Nickel amp
    @home: ZiShan DSD or Asus FX53V laptop plugged into a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp

    While it’s sensitivity hints at it being a bit more power hungry than some earphones, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The P1 is a very hungry little earphone and requires a ton of power to get up to volume. Amping is absolutely necessary in my experience, unless you’ve got a stupidly powerful DAP available.

    Specifications:
    • Driver: 10mm planar magnetic driver
    • Impedance: 20 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 96 +/- 3dB
    • Rated Power: 5mW
    • Max Power: 10mW
    • Frequency Response: 10Hz to 40kHz
    • Cable: 1.2m mixed braided (5N OFC and copper alloy) with MMCX
    IMG_4366.JPG IMG_4367.JPG IMG_4633.JPG

    Packaging and Accessories:

    TinHiFi did a great job with the P1’s packaging, providing an experience reminiscent of something you get from much more premium brands. The P1 arrives in a large matte black box with a matte black sheath covering it. The overall design is quite subtle with minimal branding and information printed on both the sheath and main packaging. Sliding the sheath off and opening the lid reminded me of the HiFiMAN RE2000 unboxing. While Tin’s packaging is plain cardboard vs. the faux leather of the RE2000’s box, it’s no less impressive. The lid is restricted in the amount it can open thanks to a black ribbon. The entirety of the interior of the package is lined with a smooth fabric, imprinted with the TinHiFi logo and website. The P1’s ear pieces and leatherette carrying case are set within a foam insert lined with the same smooth fabric lining the rest of the interior. Lifting out the insert you find a simple manual. In all you get:
    • P1 earphones
    • 1.2m mixed braided (5N OFC and copper alloy) with MMCX cable
    • Leatherette carrying case
    • Single flange, wide bore tips (s/m/l)
    • Single flange, medium bore tips (s/m/l)
    • Foam tips (s/m)
    • Velcro cable tie
    Overall a decent kit. The tips are nothing special in terms of design or materials. I have plenty others like them and find they do a fine job. They’re durable and provide a reliable seal. The carrying case is quite nice and reminds me of the one Astrotec recently included with the Lyra Nature. It looks good, is spacious, and magnetically seals, though it’s not the most pocketable.

    Lastly, I do have one issue and that is levied at the foam insert holding the ear pieces. Both on this P1 and a previous version received, the earphones were loose and rattling around inside the box when I first opened it. They sit too loosely in the foam insert and fall out with little movement. I can see this resulting in damaged or scratched products being delivered to customers and as such is something that should be rectified ASAP.

    IMG_4369.JPG IMG_4370.JPG IMG_4376.JPG

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The P1 uses food-grade, hand-polished 305 stainless steel for the earpieces. Fit and finish is outstanding with the two sandwiched components that make up each side fitting together tightly and with minimal seams. Even the MMCX port out the top is integrated with minor seams. On the face of each earpiece is a unpolished triangular indent giving the design some contrast. It looks nice, but gives off the impression it was modelled after the face of a golf club. Perched in the pointiest end of the triangular depression is a pinhole vent. One more vent can be found near the laser etched L and R markers on the inner face of each earpiece, right near the bass of the nozzle. The nozzle itself protrudes at around a 45 degree angle and is slightly wider than what I consider average at around 5.5mm. A small lip is present just below the end of the nozzle and does a good job of holding tips in place. Lastly, the nozzle is protected by a stainless steel grill so you don’t have to worry about earwax or grime finding it’s way inside.

    The mixed 5N OFC and copper alloy braided cable is a nice inclusion. The clear sheath puts the copper coloured wiring within on full display and is very flexible and memory resistant, though the exceptionally loose braid below the y-split speaks of cost cutting. It takes a fair bit less material to make a 1.2m cable with a loose braid than it does with a tight one. This is one of the reasons I prefer the T3’s cable, though in the P1’s favour each strand is a hint thicker. At least the rest of the hardware is quality stuff. The 3.5mm straight jack is nearly the same as that used on the T3’s cable with the silver carbon fibre look swapped out for black. The y-split is a simple metal cylinder filled with plastic within which the cable splits off into two twisted strands per side. Strain relief is unfortunately absent, though the bead-like chin cinch makes a return. It’s a bit smaller and less obvious this time around which I like. The MMCX plugs are again nearly identical to those used on the T3, though the knurling is a hint deeper, and the taper at the top a bit longer. Colour coding is present with red and clear plastic bands at the base of each plug denoting the right and left channels respectively. Lastly, preformed ear guides are present. I quite like the angle and how tightly they cling to the cable. I find loosely applied preformed guides occasionally make crinkling sounds when the cable bends, as experienced on the T3’s cable and some third party cables from HiFiHear.

    When it comes to comfort, the P1 is outstanding. Sure, the steel housings have some heft to them but they are surprisingly small and free of sharp edges or unusual shapes that could cause hotspots or discomfort. The straight MMCX plugs also fit in well with the design pushing the cable up and around the ear at a natural angle keeping the cable from positioning itself in a way that rubs uncomfortably against your helix. While they will be a little cold on first touch if using them in chilly weather, I suspect that is about the only discomfort you’ll experience with the P1.

    The P1 has very good isolation. Without music playing and a video playing in the background at my standard listening volume, not much beyond some muffled vocals gets through. The same can be said for use outside in the real world, like a noisy coffee shop. The P1 does an oddly good job of muffling high and low sounds, with cloudy vocals being about the only thing that cuts through.

    IMG_4382.JPG IMG_4386.JPG IMG_4388.JPG

    Sound:

    Tips: The P1 seems to be pretty tip sensitive. Wide bore tips (ex. Stock set, JVC, etc.) were not my favourite option as they reduced the already reasonably reserved sub-bass presence. Small bore tips, like Sony Hybrids, softened the treble a touch and brought up the mid-bass making the experience slightly warmer. Medium bore tips (ex. Stock set, RHA Dual Density, etc) were my preferred option. They provided a balanced sound with just enough sub-bass presence to satisfy while doing little to alter mid-bass or treble. Foam tips also sounded great with a presentation similar to small bore tips, but with added sub-bass.

    TinHiFi does a great job of bringing neutral leaning signatures to the budget segment. Bass is well controlled but generally reserved. Mids are forward and clear. Treble is slightly (and in one case significantly) boosted to add excitement and energy. Sound stage is well spaced and airy. The P1 tweaks the TinHiFi formula resulting in their most balanced and accomplished earphone to date.

    It wasn’t always like that though. A few short weeks ago a P1 arrived. While I was excited to put them through their paces, it didn’t take long to realize there was something off. Kinda how I felt about another planar earphone I reviewed back in November of last year. What was off? Upper midrange and lower treble. Everything was completely veiled resulting in a product that had the worst clarity in Tin’s existing lineup. Not good considering this was to be their new flagship.

    Feedback was passed along to TinHiFi from a number of us lucky early reviewers, of which mine included the EQ settings I used to fix the midrange, and shortly thereafter news was passed back that the P1 was held off in favour of a quick retune. I suspected that wouldn’t be something TinHiFi could apply overnight, but only a week later a new P1 arrived. I cracked open the packaging expecting more of the same. Apparently TinHiFi can completely rework the sound of an earphone overnight because version two of this product is phenomenal.

    I suspect this is a story TinHiFi wouldn’t want shared, but in my opinion it is one that needs to be told. Unlike some companies, they did not go ahead and release a flawed product then issue a silent revision later on down the road, or worse, leave it be. No, they listened to the feedback provided, made the necessary changes, and as a result all of their customers are getting a better product the first time around. So, major kudos to TinHiFi. Seriously. Okie dokie, onto how this thing actually sounds.

    Treble is well extended without any significant roll off. For the most part brilliance and presence regions are fairly well balanced with the presence region seeing a mild hump. This results in an earphone that is quite detailed and clear, but not harsh and tiring. Some of the laser-like effects present in Tobacco’s “Berries That Burn” are quite sharp. Even at the relatively low volumes at which I typically listen (60-65dB, 80dB if I feel like “letting loose”), this song can be tiring. The P1’s treble is tuned just right to take off the edge without sacrificing clarity and detail. Decay is also quick. Not quite typical BA quick, but faster than all but the snappiest dual magnet dynamic based earphones I’ve used. This earphone has no issues with upper range congestion on tracks rich with treble.

    The P1’s midrange went from it’s worst aspect to it’s best as a result of TinHiFi’s tuning adjustment. What was once horribly veiled and extremely disappointing is now crystal clear and completely coherent. Both male and female vocalists are well represented with female and softer male vocalists getting a little more love, as evidenced listening to Muse and Big Grams’ “Born to Shine” and “Run For Your Life”. Sarah’s vocals are a bit warmer and sweeter with a touch more body than what you hear from her male counterparts. Other instruments fare well, such as the heavy guitar riffs and high pitched guitar solo on Havok’s “Covering Fire”. That said, guitars could benefit from some additional attack and anger. Piano’s fare even better with a more natural weight and tone. This makes the opening of Muse’s “Exogenesis Symphony Part 2: Cross Pollination” an absolute joy.

    Bass on the P1 is good but not amazing. While extension is there the sub-bass lacks emphasis. While there is some physicality to it, it’s less than I like. This leaves the somewhat punchy mid-bass region to carry the torch and while it does an admirable job, texture is also smoother than is preferred. As such, the grungy basslines oft used by Tobacco and The Prodigy lose some of the intended rawness. Speed is quick with the P1 handling the rapid bass present in a lot of metal songs, but it can’t quite match the rapidity of most armatures. It’s speed is alike that of the dual magnet drivers used by TFZ, but without the bass quantity or depth. Note that you can improve the sub-bass presence by blocking the inner vent, though the difference is fairly minimal.

    When it comes to sound stage, the P1 doesn’t disappoint either. It doesn’t provide the cavernous experience of the old Havi B3 Pro I, but it’s far from intimate. Width and depth felt equally present to my ears and whether I was watching John Wick or wrecking fools (more like getting wrecked…) in World of Tanks, the P1 did a killer job of immersing me in the experience. A big part of this was it’s impressive channel to channel imaging which is precise and accurate, as well as it’s ability to provide very definitive layers to music and other audio tracks. Everything comes across quite organic and natural in the way depth is perceived. Separation is very good too, though I prefer how it is handled by some of the better multi-driver earphones I’ve used.

    IMG_4391.JPG IMG_4649.JPG IMG_4667.JPG

    Select Comparisons (volume matched using Dayton iMM-6):

    TinHiFi T3 (69.99 USD): The T3 has a brighter, more aggressive presentation with more heavily emphasized upper and lower treble. The T3’s armature pumps out a little more detail at the expense of control with cymbal strikes coming across less well defined. The T3’s mid-range is similarly emphasized but lacks weight and body in the vocals that are present in the P1. This gives the T3’s mids more air and space, but it sounds less natural with vocals. I prefer the T3’s leaner presentation with guitars though. They have a more aggressive edge which is lacking on the P1 making it less suitable for metal and rock genres when compared to the T3. The P1’s tonality and timbre are more accurate otherwise. Bass on the P1 has a heavier feel and greater emphasis. Mid-bass is more prominent aiding in the overall warmer tone it has when compared to the T3. Texture and speed comes across as superior on the T3. While sub-bass extension is similar the T3 provides a slightly more visceral experience. Sound stage on both is quite good though the P1 is clearly superior. The P1’s default listening position sets the listener slightly further from the performance. The P1 can toss effects further away, and with a greater and more accurate sense of depth and movement. This also helps with it’s layering which is outstanding. Separation is also above average, though I’m giving the T3 the nod thanks to it’s leaner presentation which keep notes even more defined.

    The T3 and P1 are both exceptionally well built. I’ll give the edge to the T3 though. The design is more complicated and interesting, with fit and finish that is no less impressive. TinHiFi knows how to put together a quality product. The bleeds over to the cable too. As noted earlier, I prefer the T3’s cable. The tighter braid and extra material combined with similar hardware makes it feel a bit more premium in my opinion. That said, the P1 cable’s copper colouring looks better than the white and gold of the T3’s cable.

    Overall I’m torn on which I prefer. Pitting the T3 against the P1 just shows off how good it is, but it also comes across more analytic and worse off as an all-rounder. The P1 is nicer to listen to for longer periods, feels more versatile, and while it isn’t better in every way which might disappoint some, the final package gives off a greater sense of completeness and tuning maturity.

    BGVP DMS (159.00 USD): The DMS has a similar level of treble emphasis as the P1, though without the same expert balance. While fairly even, it eschews some upper treble emphasis for added lower. This gives it a drier tonality that drops some of the pleasing sparkle present in the P1. The DMS’ midrange also takes on a less organic tone, and with a touch less weight to vocals and instruments, though timbre is near equally good. Clarity and detail are also quite similar with the P1 having a very slight edge. Not sure which presentation I prefer. Bass is where the two really separate. The DMS is notably bassier with additional mid-bass and sub-bass. Mid-bass is punchier and sub-bass extends deeper and with a much more visceral feel. Texture is similarly satisfying on both. Could be better, could be much worse. Speed seems about similar with the DMS’s dynamic driver having a longer decay time. Sound stage on both is excellent with the DMS coming across slightly more confined thanks to it’s more intimate default position of the listener. Imaging is tighter and more accurate on the P1 though the the DMS rivals it pretty easily in layering and betters the P1 in separation.

    Like the P1, the DMS has a metal shell. Unlike the P1, the DMS’ shell is aluminum. It has tight seams too, but you can see lines from the machining whereas all that is smoothed over on the P1. The P1’s build feels more polished (no pun intended), whereas the DMS’ is unquestionably more interesting thanks to all the curves and prominent vents. I have a soft spot for the DMS’ cable given the old school flavour, but I can’t deny the P1’s more premium materials and design.

    Due to the differences in the low end, these two satisfy different crowds. When I want the technical competence with some extra low end grunt, the P1 cannot satisfy the same way the DMS does, even with the vent mod. But, if I want that lighter bass response and overall tuning balance, the DMS cannot do what the P1 can without busting out the EQ. After directly comparing the two, I lean towards the DMS due to my preferences for electronic music. However, I know could go either way depending on my mood. They’re both head of the class imo.

    Shozy & Neo CP (165.00 USD): Despite their vastly different driver tech, the CP and P1 are tuned quite similarly. Treble on both is similarly emphasized and balanced but I find the CP smoother and better controlled. The CP’s midrange is a touch thicker, warmer, and not quite as forward. Clarity is slightly worse out of the CP’s armatures while matching the P1 in terms of timbre and tonality. Neither has game changing bass but I find the P1’s more satisfying. The CP has a mid-bass focus and rolls off in the sub-bass earlier. While notes have a bit more punch through the CP, deep notes are mostly lost and lack the visceral rumble of the P1, however tame it still is through that earphone. Sound stage is larger on the P1 which has a wider, deeper presentation. Imaging is equally impressive on both. While the P1 is a hint more layered, the CP takes the freshly baked separation cake home with it.

    The CP and P1 couldn’t be more different in build and materials; steel vs. acrylic. Both are great examples in their respective fields, but the CP does what it does better. There are few earphones that can match the perfection of the CP’s construction, both inside and out. It’s cable is nicer too. While the MMCX plugs look to have been provided by the same source, and maybe the straight jack too, the y-split is thicker and more ornate. The wiring itself is about the same gauge but is more tightly wound (but still loose) and more flexible.

    Once again, choosing between these earphones is a harrowing experience. They’re both wicked good. The CP is a little smoother and more intimate with technical capabilities that are just as good. The P1 is larger and more open sounding with a more satisfying low end, but isn’t quite as refined sounding. I think the P1’s more spacious presentation and low end extension would win me over in the long run though.

    Final Thoughts:

    The P1 provides a very premium experience for not a lot of money. From the gorgeous packaging with it’s classy presentation and soft touch interior, to the top of the line build, to the balanced sound signature that does everything at the very least well, the P1 shows itself to be a fantastic all-round package free of any significant flaws. As a result of the consistency in positive experiences, the P1 is a top tier pick in it’s price range.

    Are there improvements I would make? Sure, though none to the sound (well, sub-bass presence could be bumped up a bit) since the final product ended up remarkably similar to what the original sounded like with EQing in place to address the issues. I would like to see TinHiFI revise the packaging to better hold the ear pieces in place. Nothing is worse than getting a damaged product, even if it is something as simple as a small scratch or mark. I would also like to see a cable with a tighter braid. The existing cable is fine and better than most, but the cheaper T3 has an arguably nicer cable in my opinion. If they could make it more sensitive without hindering performance, that might be a worthwhile change too. The P1 is currently a very challenging to drive earphone. Cell phone users and those with basic DAPS won’t get much out of the P1 without an amp.

    Thanks for reading!

    – B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)

    images

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    1. View previous replies...
    2. KopiOkaya
      @Starfinder: If you watch HBB's second video of the P1, he did mention it needs POWER to sound good. In fact, he positioned TFZ No 3 before of P1.
      KopiOkaya, Jun 24, 2019
    3. holsen
      I've had them for 2 days now, and the more I listen to them the more I like them. I would describe them as full, balanced, rich detailed and nuanced. I just fired up Derek Trucks Band - Song lines Album and I'm hearing things I've never heard from my Shures and the Bass has come alive. WOW. Give them time and listen to multiple genres and you'll be rewarded.
      holsen, Jul 11, 2019
      B9Scrambler likes this.
    4. Enolaone
      I have P1 for a while. Not sure where to place them. I enjoy them more and more. All is controlled and punchy..
      Enolaone, Jul 29, 2019
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  2. ezekiel77
    Tin HiFi P1 – Traversing Brave New Frontiers
    Written by ezekiel77
    Published Jun 27, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Durable build quality
    -Good packaging and presentation
    -Great fit and comfort
    -Balanced, detailed sound signature
    -Class-leading treble tuning
    -Expansive soundstage
    -Lightning-fast transient response
    -Value for money
    Cons - Below average isolation
    -Poorly-braided cable
    -Needs amping to sound its best
    -Sound signature lacks emotion
    -Subbass extension
    -Might be bass-light for some
    -Mids timbre and body
    -Average imaging capability
    A budget in-ear monitor (IEM) from China is nothing new. But how about a budget Chinese IEM with a planar magnetic driver inside? It’s the real thing with no gimmicks, and Tin HiFi proudly shows you the way to cost-effective aural bliss.

    My college professor once said, a small error is a mistake, whereas a big one is a blunder. The name of my home state, Perak, was born out of a massive blunder. When it was first colonized, there was much activity in the mines, as they were rich with silver deposits. Hence, the area was named Perak, which means silver in the Malay language. It was only later that the precious metal was discovered to be tin, and everyone in the state gave a collective facepalm.

    So it seems I am destined to review something from Tin HiFi to appease the tin gods, who are angry to this day. Let’s have it then. Formerly TIN Audio, Tin HiFi was established in 2010 in Zhongshan, China, to provide OEM solutions for audio. In 2017 they took a big leap and manufactured products of their own under the Tin HiFi brand, with the aim of providing high-quality audio at great prices.

    They succeeded, to put it mildly. Their IEMs garnered quite some attention among the HeadFi community. Newbie threads like “BEST IEM UNDER $50 PLZ” will invariably have Tin HiFi products mentioned. Even here in Headphonesty, Tin HiFi stuff has been covered a few times. What cannot be ignored is how quickly Tin HiFi shot up to the stratosphere in such a short time, with T2 already attaining legend status.

    Today we look at the new bullet in Tin HiFi’s chamber, the P1. Don’t let its unassuming name fool you, for what’s under the hood is extra special. The P1 encases a 10mm planar magnetic driver with a thickness of just 1 micron. Magnets on either side of this ultra-thin diaphragm produce strong magnetic fields to move the driver, theoretically with speedy-as-heck transient response times.

    So what’s the big deal? Simply put, planar magnetic drivers are normally found in much more expensive, flagship-grade over-ear headphones, like the Audeze LCD series and HiFiMan, and they are notoriously hard to drive. There have been a few stabs at planar magnetic driver IEMs too, but at predictably higher asking prices, like the $599 Audeze iSine 20 or the $999 Unique Melody ME1. They are scarce, like the only guy in the block with a swimming pool, and are treated like novelty items.

    Tin HiFi is one of the first companies to produce an easy-to-drive planar magnetic IEM for the budget-conscious, hoping to bring cutting-edge technology to the masses. The P1 retails for $169, but has a special introductory price of $149 at launch (20th June 2019). They are currently available via Linsoul and Drop (formerly Massdrop). Many thanks to Lillian of Linsoul for her swift communication and action in providing this review sample.

    This review was originally featured in Headphonesty.



    [​IMG]
    Yup, those are my daddy long legs in the reflection.



    Equipment Used:

    DAP
    • Sony NW-WM1A “K” Modded, FW 2.0
    IEMs
    • Tin HiFi P1
    • FiiO FH5
    • Fearless Audio S6Rui
    Albums
    • Adele – 25
    • Amber Rubarth – Sessions from the 17th Ward
    • Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
    • Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
    • Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
    • John Mayer – Continuum
    • Macy Gray – Stripped
    • Michael Jackson – The Essential
    • Prince – 3121
    • The Weeknd – Starboy


    Technical Specifications:
    • Driver: 10mm Planar Magnetic
    • Impedance: 20 Ω
    • Sensitivity: 96±3dB
    • Frequency Response: 10Hz – 40KHz
    • Rated Power: 5mW
    • Max Power: 10mW
    • Max Distortion: 1dB
    • Interface: MMCX
    • Plug: Gold-Plated 3.5mm
    • Cable: Length: 1.2m


    Packaging and Accessories

    You’ve been wearing tees and jeans all your life and suddenly your crush asks you to go to a formal event with her. It’s time to dress up! Tin HiFi, so comfortable and securely nestled in the budget, $50-ish price range, knows he needs to dress for success this time around, to impress a whole new audience.

    So dressed in a tux you go. The P1 comes in a handsome black cardboard sleeve with minimalist white lettering. The matte black box is quite large, with an inner lining made of felt which adds a touch of class. The P1 earpieces greet you in all its dazzling, lustrous glory. It’s an IEM you can’t wait to put your hands on, but hang on, there are other things in the box.

    Also included in the accessory set is a beautiful (but small) faux leather case, a matching copper cable and an impressive set of ear tips. You get eight pairs of ear tips in total, which includes three pairs of wide-bore silicone in small, medium and large sizes; three pairs of narrow-bore silicone, and two pairs of foam tips in medium and large. It’s quite a complete set for on-the-go, although the case should really be bigger.



    [​IMG]
    The website mentioned in the box doesn’t work lol.


    Design and Build Quality

    The P1 earpieces are made of food-grade 304 stainless steel, meaning they’re actually safe enough to be cutlery, for whatever reason you might want to go down that path. It doesn’t mean you can eat them. The earpieces are hand-polished and take on a mirror finish. They look professional and no-nonsense, like they came to kick ass and leave. Personally I’d prefer more colours, but I can’t fault the cool steel design.

    304 is the most common type of stainless steel, and contains a bit of chromium (between 15-20%) and nickel (between 2-10.5%) as its constituents. 304 stainless steel is widely used in household and industrial applications such as food handling and processing equipment, screws and machinery parts. This is because it has excellent resistance to a wide range of atmospheric environments and corrosive media, and can easily be formed into various shapes.

    As far as build quality goes, this isn’t your expensive, carved-from-a-single-block-of-metal type of construction. The P1 earpieces clearly have a front and back plate attached together to house the precious driver inside. But the food-grade stainless steel does denote good, reliable, lasting quality, no? How often do you have to replace your cutlery? So yeah, I’d say the build quality should be good.



    [​IMG]
    All dressed up for the big McDonald’s date.


    Cable

    Rather than using the most generic of cables, Tin HiFi invested in a quality copper cable as stock. It’s a 4-wire hybrid cable made with strands of 5N oxygen-free copper (OFC) and an undisclosed copper alloy. The single-ended 3.5mm jack, Y-split and MMCX connectors look well-built, and there’s an audible, satisfying click when connecting to the P1.

    Aesthetically though, I didn’t like it. The cable has a loose, uneven and slipshod braiding, giving me the impression that someone has been slacking. I thought FiiO’s LC-4.4C had loose braids, but this one takes the cake. Heck, it takes the whole bakery! The cable seems very likely to snag onto something and come undone, like how a thread gets caught in a tree branch and eventually the whole skirt is… well you get the picture.



    [​IMG]
    Look, but don’t look. The uneven braiding is a sight for sore eyes.



    Fit, Isolation and Comfort

    As I write this the P1 is just released, so you only have larger-than-life press photos to look at. Don’t be fooled by them, the P1 is no larger than a marble, and conveys an excellent fit for my regular-sized ears. The nozzle length is quite long too, so you can choose a shallower fit or like me, push them in as far as they go because nothing calms me down better than a fully-sealed ear canal.

    The stainless steel is lightweight, and when paired with foam tips, the comfort is supreme. They are just as comfortable with silicone tips too. No one has invented fabric-lined IEMs yet, so we’re nowhere near Slanket level when it comes to divine comfort. But for an all-metal build, this is as good as it gets.

    With vents at the front and back of the earpieces, P1’s isolation is predictably below average. The planar magnetic driver needs air to move air, if that makes any sense. Engine hums, wind noise, the TV in the background, you’ll hear all that. If it’s any consolation to you, the iSine series and LCDi4 by Audeze are open designs with zero isolation. Best case scenario for the P1 is, with foam tips and deep insertion, I managed to isolate about 60% of outside noise.



    [​IMG]
    If you squint you’ll see the vents. If you didn’t squint I haven’t done my job.



    Sound Quality

    Speed. Like the Keanu Reeves movie or the pep talk Lightning McQueen gives himself before the start of each race, speed is the essence here. The fast transient response of planar magnetic drivers, in general, are well-known, and practically advertise themselves. We’ve heard it on high-end headphones and high-end IEMs, but how about in a budget-priced IEM that looks dressed to kill?



    Overall Sound Signature

    The thing about planars is, even before you even assess the signature, your attention has been shifted to the overt transient speed of the P1. P1 sounds fast and snappy, allowing you to appreciate its detail and resolution levels too. You’ll also notice how roomy the P1 sounds. Not because the soundstage is huge, but rather how tidy it keeps the stage, aided by a stable, black background. Notes flit in and out briskly, leaving no mess behind. It’s great for neat freaks like me.

    The P1 has a neutral signature, but one that won’t scare you off. It doesn’t go off the rails to extract every minute detail, but aims to preserve musicality as well. It’s a wholesome, enjoyable sound with slightly elevated midbass to provide some flesh and meat to the airy and euphoric treble. Maintaining a tight balance is the name of the game.

    One thing you have to be wary of, the P1 won’t appeal to listeners looking for a warm, rich and lush experience. Emotion is a currency here. Notes are lean and sprightly, hitting in measured amounts and providing only what’s necessary. It’s like the scientific art of baking, where you need to follow every word of the recipe, or witness your cake collapse and die.



    [​IMG]
    Ghetto blasting, slum slamming.



    Listening Conditions

    Critical listening was done after 50 hours of burn-in to loosen up the planar driver, but who knows? I do it more out of habit. The main rig was Sony’s NW-WM1A Walkman modded by Project K with the stock cable. The ear tips of choice were the medium-sized foam tips, inserted deep, which gave me the most balanced sound and best isolation. The silicone tips gave a sound signature that was too airy, coupled with an anaemic bass, but the experience might be different for you.

    One thing I noticed was the P1 loves power. When driven by my cellphone, the detail levels were there but the bass lacked punch and authority. Even with the WM1A I drove the P1 on high gain, with volume levels between 60-80 out of a maximum 120 clicks. You might need a powerful audio player or an external amplifier for the P1 to sound its best.



    Bass

    Let’s go face-first and bass first. The P1 bass is like an expensive kiddie pool. It doesn’t go deep, but does great with what they have. I find the sub-bass reach lacking. It has a decent extension but doesn’t provide the visceral quality like good bass drivers can. So when I play my pimp-daddy tracks from The Weeknd and Bruno Mars, the urge to get down and dirty on the dancefloor doesn’t happen. It’s more like a lazy afternoon reading a book in the shade.

    It gets better moving up to the midbass. The body and fullness of the midbass provides just enough warmth to satisfy when the bass drops. Note hits are round, with adequate punch and slam in attack, before fluttering away Taylor Swiftly and leaving a trail of wind.

    It’s the flutter, or speed of the decay, that gets to me. The speed of the transients mean notes fade away like the wings of a hummingbird, with dollops of detail and easily-palpable texture. The bass has good warmth and resonance, yes, but is kept so tight, tidy and clean, it’s immaculate. You’ll have to raise your hygiene standards to keep up with the bass here, maybe with some aftershave and cologne.



    [​IMG]
    What it lacks in colours it makes up for in vibrant personality.



    Mids

    Remember when buying a television wasn’t a crazy spec race, and all you needed to know was how large it was and whether it had colour? Those days are long gone thanks to high-definition TV. Today we have Full HD, 4K, and 8K televisions, which, when I’m watching WWE, enables me to focus onto the wrestlers’ sweat beads and body hair. Nice.

    When it comes to high-definition in audio though, I’m all in, and P1 is as good as gold. Articulation is at its best here. From lower to upper mids, every ounce of detail from note attack to decay is captured, with emphasis on clarity, transparency and speed, glorious speed. The texture is so fine it’s like sand in your fingers.

    It does come with caveats though. Vocals sound admittedly throaty, lacking the relaxing soulfulness of the human voice, and replaced with a sense of snappy urgency. Instrument timbre is skewed towards brightness, and notes tend to sound a bit thin. You’ll miss the warmth. But for all the misgivings in tone, the P1 mids are still technically proficient.



    [​IMG]
    Sending monotone waves of marauding musical madness.



    Treble

    So the bass might be a bit light for some, while the mids might sound off-timbre, but when it comes to the treble, payday has arrived, baby. All the attributes inherent to planar drivers make their most brilliant impact in this region. With air as its friend and speed its second nature, P1’s treble is designed to thrill and enthrall.

    This is the sonic equivalent of drinking a refreshing lime soda, atop a hill, with the cool breeze blowing at your hair. The extension is very good, with a lower treble peak to aid in clarity. Notes are crisp, well-layered, and attack as quick as lightning, leaving behind a waft of airy spaciousness after the decay.

    What it accomplishes best is how much detail and texture is retrieved without sounding sibilant or grainy. While the notes begin with a crunch, a sense of immediacy, they end in a smooth, delicate way, like the aftertaste of a delightful cognac. This is the treble you’ve been waiting for, not just at $169, but at any price.



    [​IMG]
    Sounds so good, you’ll eat ‘em. I know it doesn’t make any sense.



    Soundstage and Imaging

    You’ve been listening to Toto, and are suddenly overcome by the majestic imagery in your head of blessing the rains down in Africa. You get the impression that the plains of Africa must be a spectacular and vast place, although most of us will never make the actual visit, not even Totowhen they wrote the song lol.

    P1 affords and divulges the thought as well, that the world is a big, curious place waiting to be explored. Being a vented IEM, the soundstage is generously wide and deep. Listening to Amber Rubarth’s Tundra, I swore I heard sounds a few feet from either ear. That’s Africa-wide, my friend. Also, Adele crept up behind me for a serenade, showcasing an impressive range in the Z-axis.

    The height is not imposing though, coming up a bit short (pun intended), in a low-flying birds pecking at low-hanging fruit kind of way. Separation and imaging redeem the P1 somewhat, being adept at macro-imaging. The stage diffuses naturally with well-positioned cues from left to right and front to back. It’s deficient in the micro-imaging front though, you can’t pinpoint objects to its exact location.



    [​IMG]
    Do they look like cunning, even evil eyes to you?



    Comparisons

    FiiO FH5

    Notice the price jump. Now try to unthink it. I’m not pitting the P1 against higher-priced adversaries by intention, just that I don’t have anything in the $200 range right now. The FH5 is sort of my gatekeeper to good mid-fi, and the tyrant loves a good fight.

    Right away the air and space of the P1 captures you. Music is rendered freely and more open, with a wider and deeper soundstage than the FH5. FH5 though, covers the technicalities well, and surpasses the P1 in imaging precision and stage height, giving a more fish-bowl like stage presentation than P1’s flat plains.

    FH5 has a warmer and richer sound, with better body in the notes, especially in the bass. P1’s lighter bass feel like a child’s tiny jabs at an annoyed adult, but renders more speed and texture. The mids sound similar, both are airy and stonkingly detailed, but FH5 has the edge in realism and timbre.

    Once we move to the treble though, P1 has a hearty laugh. It’s expertly-tuned upper end surpasses the FH5 in extension and excitement, and dares FH5 to go into the deeper end of the pool. FH5 plays it safe, sometimes too safe, preferring to give a smooth but robustly-detailed treble instead.

    The P1 went against an adversary twice its price and lived to tell the tale. While no match for FH5’s imaging precision, bass quality and mids timbre, P1 holds its own very well in all the other departments, and turns heads fully aware that he’s the new hotness.



    [​IMG]
    Fearless and transparent in all its undertakings. Naked too.



    Fearless Audio S6Rui

    I’m opening a present before Christmas, because I wanted to take my time with the S6Rui before unveiling it in a future review. However, given that S6Rui is also one of the darlings of Chi-Fi now, it’s good to be current. Again, this is futile, but try to ignore the S6Rui’s $389 asking price.

    The S6Rui has a U-shaped tuning, with glittery treble and an incredible mud-stomping bass. Its presentation is full-bodied and forward, in contrast to the lighter and airier P1. Right off the bat the overt warmth and aggression of the S6Rui threatens to take proceedings over. The bass is thumpy and bloomy, but lord is it enjoyable to the last drop. P1 can only look on in awe.

    The mids take a step back, providing some breathing space for the full-on sonic assault of the S6Rui. Here the P1 sounds clearer, more articulate and airier, but S6Rui delivers a smoother, more realistic mids timbre. Things come to a head in treble, with both nearly equal in extension and resolution. They manage thrill and excite, yet keep away from harshness. Both are stellar.

    The S6Rui’s tuning is unquestionably better, but its main weakness is a tiny soundstage and congestion. Here the P1 has the edge over the S6Rui, proving superior in stage size and imaging capability. Overall S6Rui is the stronger IEM, but P1 takes proceedings down to the wire, proving to be the better value buy.



    [​IMG]
    Barking up the right planar tree.



    Final Words

    It’s easy to dismiss the new kid doing new things. When I first heard of the P1 from Tin HiFi I reflexively thought “oh gosh, yet another gimmick”. Planar magnetic IEMs have so far been a hit-and-miss endeavour, so you’ll have to pardon my lack of enthusiasm at writing this.

    But what Tin HiFi has accomplished with the P1 deserves some notice. They took a traditionally large, expensive and hard-to-drive planar magnetic driver, and shrunk it to fit inside a tiny IEM form factor. Not only that, they made it relatively easier to drive and slapped a very accessible price tag to it. Now everyone can planar. This understandably, has people rather excited.

    The P1 has unassuming looks, like an old reliable, old-timey Oldsmobile. But as we’ve learnt all our lives, it’s what’s inside that counts. And P1, powered by its planar magnetic driver, provides a detailed, neutral signature that fits most genres. The sound won’t please everyone, but since planar magnetic IEMs are still at its infancy, we could be at the verge of something big. So do set aside your prejudices, and let the P1 take you to parts unknown.
      csglinux, Larethio, ShakyJake and 5 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Emelya
      The P1 looks identical to the Zodic Audio ET2202 from 2017
      Emelya, Jun 29, 2019
      ezekiel77 and Misson07 like this.
    3. Larethio
      Great review. As an ety lover these look interesting tonally but that cable is a bit of a put off.
      Larethio, Jul 5, 2019
      ezekiel77 likes this.
    4. csglinux
      Very nicely written :)
      csglinux, Jul 15, 2019
      ezekiel77 likes this.
  3. antdroid
    Tin Hifi P1 Review
    Written by antdroid
    Published Jun 27, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Best out-of-the-box tuning for a planar iem at any price point that I've tried
    detail and resolution is quite good at this price
    clean design
    very nice case
    Cons - upper treble is bright
    sibilance risk
    fit can be challenging
    small soundstage can cause congestion in busy tracks
    [​IMG]


    Planar Magnetic headphones have been around for decades at this point. My first taste of planar magnetic headphones was the Fostex RP series, which is popular in the modding community and as a budget headphone with very low distortion. More recently, a small handful of companies have attempted to micronized the planar driver into a smaller form-factor for in-ears including top names like Audeze and RHA with varying success.

    In my personal experience, I have owned and tried out a few of these – namely the Audeze iSine 10, the RHA CL2, and a universal and custom version of the Unique Melody ME1. These three IEMs have unique sound signatures from one another, but all have some tuning flaws that really require equalization to perform well. The Audeze series even includes a hardware-based DSP in the Cipher cables for iOS devices, as well as the Reveal plugin for computers.

    So when Tin Hifi, makers of the popular T2 and T3 in-ear monitors, announced they were releasing a 10mm planar driver at budget prices, I was not only surprised, but also excited to hear how it stacks up. The CL2 is the closest to the Tin P1, as they are both closed backs. Now, I just want to mention that there have been a recent wave of Chinese planar IEMs that have come out including the Toneking BL1, Senfer MT100 hybrid, Nicehck F3 hybrid, Sendy Aiya, a planar from AAW, and a new one in the works by Danico Labs. I have yet to try any of these new wave of IEMs, but the reviews for each one of them (sans the unreleased Danico Labs one) have been less than appealing, each with their own unique flaws – much like what the first wave of planar IEMs experienced.

    First off, I like to thank Lillian from Linsoul for providing me not only this production pre-release unit for review, but also an earlier build which was re-tuned based on initial feedback from reviewers. It seems like they’ve taken this to heart, as the new tuning is a significant improvement upon the original. I will post some links at the end of this review for presale purchasing.


    Build Quality, Accessories, and Fit


    The Tin P1 comes in a very cute mirrored metal shell that is very small and thin, but has a long wide nozzle. Inside houses the 10mm planar driver, and the housing also uses mmcx connections. The build is very well made, and looks from afar like the head of a golf club.

    Accessories are very standard here. It comes with 2 sizes of foam tips, and a selection of silicone tips in varying sizes and shapes. The package also comes with a faux-leather pop-up case that’s pretty nice to use, and reminiscent of a narrow watch box.

    I found the shell design to be less than ideal for fit in my ears. The long nozzle does not make up for the shallow and small size of the design, and getting good tip seal was a challenge. I struggled trying to find the right tips that remained in my ear and provided ample seal. Not getting good seal with these really deteriorated the sound quality and it’s very, very noticeable when you get that right tip in place. I ended up using Final Audio E tips, something I commonly have been using with other IEMs.

    Power & Sourcing


    This is important. The P1 has 20 ohm impedance, but it’s sensitivity is 96dB/SPL and that means that it is a little less efficient and more power hungry than many other IEMs. They still are nowhere near as power sensitive as an over-ear planar, but the P1 does require a bit of juice to make it shine. I did a bunch of testing on various sources and can safely say that more amping power provides a much better experience in terms of dynamics and bass response.

    First off, the Google Pixel USB-C audio adapter is very inadequate for the P1. At max volume on my Essential PH-1 phone running stock android, I was only able to get it to lower than average listening volume. Luckily, the Apple lightning adapter proved much better results using my iPad Mini 4 as a source.

    I used the RME ADI-2 DAC and I felt it was a little weak and underpowered using it’s IEM output, but at the time, I wasn’t completely settled on tips yet, so that could have played a large role in what I was hearing. I did have very good luck using a desktop Pete Millett Starving Student Tube Hybrid amp, which was a DIY creation. This one provided plenty of power and really made the P1 show it’s true potential.

    I finally received the Massdrop THX-789 amplifier, and my first trial was with the RME ADI-2 DAC paired with it using balanced connectors, and with the Tin P1 plugged into the balanced XLR jack (using a 2.5mm cable and adapter). I found that I was about 10-11 o'clock on the dial using Medium Gain (Setting II) on the amp, with the RME at -10dB volume.

    On the DAPs front, I own the Astell & Kern SR15 and Pioneer XDP-300R. Both were pushing higher volume requirements than most of my other IEMs, and even more than the Etymotics ER2XR that I purchased recently. The ME1, in comparison, is much less power hungry, in terms of pure volume loudness.

    For bluetooth audio, I use the Radsone ES100, which features both single-ended 3.5mm and balanced 2.5mm outputs. Here's my findings:


    ES100 with P1 - Source at 100% volume

    • 3.5mm : I'm at a good low listening volume at -15dB (-60dB to +6dB scale) but can definitely get louder if i wanted to.
    • 2.5mm : I'm good at about -15dB volume as well
    • in both cases -10dB would be my "fun" listening volume.
    Sound Check


    The P1 has neutral-leaning warm and laid-back tuning that will remind folks of a Diffuse Field/Planar bass and mid response up to 1K and then a more tone down upper mids and treble presentation that is reminiscent of the Campfire Andromeda tonality with less bass emphasis. The treble is definitely boosted above 10KHz and this is quite audible in my listening.

    [​IMG]



    The bass response is slightly rolled off, and if you do not have a good source, I felt that it was a little weak and missing something. When amped correctly, the bass is much more present, and has decent sub-bass rumble and pop. This tuning is more punchy that I expected, but still is rather lean compared to most other IEMs in this price range, and should be rather familiar if you like the Tin Audio T2/T3 bass response.

    In most songs, I found the bass presence to be apparent and available. It supplies clean bass notes and good decay speed, albeit a tad fast. This does help it stay taut and controlled. It doesn't have a lot of subbass boost, but it's present enough to provide a little rumble.

    Closing the front driver vent, near the nozzle, helps flatten the sub-bass and improves it’s weight and performance. I do not know if this affects anything with ear pressure or any other long lasting effects.

    [​IMG]


    The mids are generally coherent and good. They are forward, but sound slightly recessed in the background, if that makes any sense, especially when compared to Etymotics or the Moondrop Kanas Pro, partially due to not having as elevated upper mid-range and lower treble response, but they do not sound bad at all. I found some female vocals to sound nice and pleasant with no sibilance issues, with the P1 going through my normal gambit of Stevie Nicks in Fleetwood Mac, Norah Jones, Molly Rankin in Alvvways, Lauren Mayberry in Chvrches, and various country singers like Catherine McGrath and Allison Krauss. They are pushing the boundaries and you can tell, but it's controlled enough with that selection of music to not cause any major problems.

    However, later on, I started listening to some recommendations from reviewer Crinacle, and found excessive sibilance artifacts when listening to Rhianna tracks and some other songs I found in the pop genres. This sibilance was something I had already noticed in other songs, but really became apparent on some of these EDM and electronic-mashed pop tracks.

    Male vocals sounded a little bit off to me though, like they are slightly veiled and almost having the same effect I was experiencing with female vocals on the IO but not nearly as bad. For example, I found Chris Stapleton to lose a lot of bite and grit. That said, this isn't a deal killer, as it's not as noticeable unless I A-B with other IEMs, and perhaps I prefer a little bit more warmer lower mid-range.

    Sibilance and treble shrills could be related to the treble boost in the upper region, which I thought I may be immune to with age and concert-going life in the past. When I first heard the original test model of the P1, I didn’t notice it at first, but I let another audio-nerd, with ears half my age, listen and he quickly mentioned how shrill and bright the treble effected the music he was listening to. Since the tuning of the P1 was so “wrong”, I didn’t quite pick up on it then as there were many other issues with the P1 at the time. Now that the biggest issues with the P1 have been resolved, the treble edginess stands out, and can quickly make this IEM fatiguing and sound a little grainy and strained.

    I find it occurring in songs like “Get Out” by Chrvches, and “Juice” by Chromeo, amongst many others. It may lend itself to the electronic-pop and EDM type tunes more so than rock songs, but it’s still noticeable even on rock tracks. I found some Smashing Pumpkin tracks to be more bright than normal with Billy Corgan’s voice just a tad more “weird” than normal. The piano, guitars and falsetto-ish voice of Andrew Wood from Mother Love Bone on “Chloe Dancer” all have a lingering high pitch shrill to it that I can find a little annoying.

    Hi-Hats and Cymbal crashes have that tizzing sound from this treble spike that can add to the aforementioned fatiguing issues.

    If you can get past that, the resolution is actually quite good, if not excellent, as I’d expect from the low distortion planar driver. (I did not measure distortion, but just going by generic planar experience)

    The soundstage is slightly less than ear to ear (or about 0.85 MCM unit), which makes some busy tracks sound congested if there's a lot of instruments playing at once. This is partially due to really good detail retrieval and clarity at this price point, if not much higher price points. With all the little nuances of instruments present, and all of it coming at you at once, the width does make it a little over-bearing sometimes, like in "Contact" by Daft Punk. That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you like. But again, the resolution is really fantastic at under $170 and I have nothing to complain about.

    It’s been too long since I’ve owned the iSine 10 to really compare the two, but I feel like I am more impressed with the resolution of this one than I was with the iSine. There have been several moments in songs that I heard new things in more clarity that I have not heard before on most of my IEMs, and would only hear in my most resolute over-ears, so that is impressive. I don't remember feeling that impressed with the iSine 10 and it's definitely more resolving than the ME1 that I own. The CL2, with it's sharp 4-5K spike does resolve quite well as well, and these may be on that level of resolution, but without that harsh peak and the amount of treble veil.

    Tuning

    So with the stock tuning out of the way, and now that I’ve mentioned the flaws with it, I will have to say that the P1 is the best planar stock tuning I’ve heard to date. It’s only a sample size of 4 IEMs from larger companies, but it’s something to point out. Tin is the closest one so far to hitting it right. It’s not perfect though, as mentioned already. And just like the other IEMs I’ve tried out, the use of equalizer can really help make these sound much better than the stock tuning.

    Throwing a low-shelf filter at +3-4dB at 125Hz, and then boosting the 2-8KHz region a couple dB and reducing the 10KHz and above by (a lot) of dB can really make this IEM sound quite pleasant, at least to my ears. I also threw a slight dip between 500 and 1KHz to give it a very shallow U-shape curve, and it’s getting pretty close to my ideal target curve, and I find the P1 to be quite good, if not outstanding for $150-170, taking on the Audeze giants.

    [​IMG]
    My current P1 Equalizer settings (Pioneer Music App on XDP-300R DAP)
    [​IMG]
    RME ADI-2 DAC EQ Setting​


    General Overall Impressions


    That was a lot of stuff, so quickly recapping my impressions thus far:

    I found the build quality to be very good. The design made fitting and getting ample seal very challenging for me, but I was eventually able to find a good tip combination. They are comfortable, but not exceptionally good. I still like the comfort over T2/T3 though.

    The P1 is very power hungry for an IEM, so some phones and especially the Google Pixel adapter may not cut it. I thought the lightning adapter for iOS was good though, and quite clean. A clean DAP source would be ideal, and it scaled even better with desktop amps.

    Finally, the tuning has shortcomings that can be overcome with Equalization. Even without it, the P1 is the best out-of-the-box Planar IEM tuning I’ve heard yet, in my limited experience with planars (check introduction for the list). The subbass is rolled off, but can be patched with vent hole mod or eq. The mids are mostly good except male vocals sound recessed and tingy. The treble is consistent but then peaks up very bright in the upper registers which seems to affect how splashy some instruments sound, which can be very fatiguing.

    Resolution, width, depth, and general technicalities is excellent for this price range, and is only improved with equalization.

    So, there’s my short impressions of the Tin P1. I hope I gave you, the reader, a good overview of the pros and cons of it. There are definitely trade-offs here, and you’ll have to weigh your decisions accordingly.

    For me, I have some mixed feelings about it. I would prefer to not have to EQ but I have the ability to. The stock tuning, even without it’s treble flaws, is still not my ideal sound, but it does follow the popular Andromeda mid-range and lower/mid-treble tuning with less bass weight, and that should make a lot of people happy. That’s not my ideal or preferred tuning though, as I mentioned in a previous Andromeda review posted last week. I like a little more presence region boost (2-5KHz) and the P1 doesn’t do that without EQ.

    [​IMG]

    So, at the end of the day, I still give this IEM a cautious and mild recommendation. I would stay clear if you do like a little more bass emphasis or tend to listen to genres like EDM, modern pop, and hip hop and rap music. The leaner subbass and upper treble elevation may make those genres less enjoyable and in some cases sharp. I have been enjoying listening to it, despite its flaws. It's a very intriguing IEM at this budget price point and is really a sign of how things have changed in the headphone/IEM market in the past couple years. It's an exciting time right now and the P1 is an IEM that can rock the boat a bit, even with its flaws.

    Purchasing Info


    To purchase the Tin Audio P1, Linsoul is selling them on their Linsoul.com website, and they’ll also be released on Drop.com using the following links:

    Linsoul Audio:https://www.linsoul.com/product-page/tinhifi-p1-iem

    Massdrop: https://drop.com/buy/tin-audio-p1-iem
  4. givemeyourshoes
    Tin HiFi P1 Review: The Best Earphone I Won’t Rec
    Written by givemeyourshoes
    Published Jul 13, 2019
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Natural Trebel, effortlessly showcases micro details in all frequency ranges.
    Cons - Very bass light. Needs a lot of power. Not portable really.
    Intro:


    Tin HiFi really made a name for themselves with the release of the T2. I bought into the hype train and picked up the T2, and to be honest, at first I absolutely hated the IEM. At the time, my daily drivers were a set of old Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10’s reshelled into a CIEM, and a set of (also old) Westone UM3X. Both units seal well and provide great isolation. The T2 on the other hand, made almost no seal, fell out of my ear constantly, had very little isolation, and overall, sounded just...ok. Back in the draw it went, only to come out a while later with all the P1 hype. After some more tip rolling, I found that large comply foams got the T2s to stay in my ears, and the sound was much improved. They moved into my daily driver spot at work, and I have grown very fond of them. I skipped the T2 Pro and T3 given all the reviews mentioned that those IEMs were just different and not really upgrades. With 40+ IEMs, I don't need (or want) similar but different anymore. But now, the P1 comes along, and things get a lot different, and I was intrigued.


    The Tin HiFi P1 shifts from a dual dynamic (T2 / T2 Pro), or a dynamic driver and balanced armature hybrid (T2), to a 10mm planar magnetic driver. Several companies have tried this driver (this exact one, or one very similar) but failed to get the tuning right (Tin HiFi sorta falls into this camp too, but more on that later). Tin HiFi with their new P1 seems to have come the closest to nailing the tuning compared to the competition, assuming the musings of other reviewers are to be believed. Having spent over a week exclusively using the P1, I can say I am in love with this IEM, but that love is only half of a love / hate relationship.


    Accessories:


    The P1 comes well equipped with the standard S/M/L silicone tips, in both large bore and small bore, as well as a large set and a small set of memory foam tips (Comply clones). Note, the foam tips are not like the non-memory foam tips that Tin HiFi includes with the T2. The P1 also ships with a leather (real leather?) magnetic closing flip top case. Personally, I would prefer a zippered clamshell style case, as I have found the case open and the IEMs loose in my bag more than once now. And finally, the cable, oh that cable. The P1’s use MMCX connectors (I really wish these were two pin), and Tin has included a cable that is a major step back from the T2 and T3 versions. The cable on the P1 has pre-formed ear hooks, a standard Y split, a useless clear bead for a chin slider, and an annoyingly loose braid on the lower portion of the cable. Also, I wish the cable were a bit longer, because (spoiler) these IEMs are NOT great for portable use, and given that you really need to be at a desk with an amp to use them, the cable does not have reach to facilitate that use case. Luckily it is detachable, so you can replace it easily enough.



    Build and Comfort:


    The P1 is built like a tank, making nice use of full metal housings. These feel like they will last a lifetime. The only grip I have about the build is minor, and it’s that the P1 shells smudge up with fingerprints very easily.


    The shape of the IEM, and medium length stem allow for a nice fit and all day comfort. For the past few days, I have put these in my ears at the start of my work day, and left them in until lunch, about 5 hours, without issue. The same story repeats after lunch. I personally found the foam tips the most comfortable, but given that I do have to remove them from time to time to converse with co-workers, I have switched to the narrow bore silicone tips for ease of insertion.


    Sound Signature:


    Now on to the meat of this review, the sound! But first let's get some logistics out of the way. For starters, these IEMs need power. For the sake of this review, I will provide my interpretation of the sound when using the P1 with an external amp (FiiO E12A) and DAC (Venture Electronics Odyssey and Google Pixel USB C dongles). I tried a few other devices such as the FiiO E17K, my 2018 MacBook Pro, LG G6, and an older FiiO E7/E9 DAC Amp combo. Turns out, the P1 is picky with amps, and in my experience, sounded meh on all but the E12A.


    Trebel:


    This is where the P1 excels. Tin HiFi got the upper registers of this IEM tuned right. It delivers air and sparkle without fatigue or harshness. I have not experienced any sibilance. And the detail retrieval is simply addictive. The P1 brings out micro details in music effortlessly, and with speed and clarity that make the music very engaging. When listening to my favorite tracks while working (read: not critically listening) I found that I kept noticing details that stood out in the music that I would otherwise have to “listen” for using other IEMs.


    I have played in several bands, had a drummer for a roommate, and seen a lot of live shows. I know what cymbals sound like. The P1 delivers cymbals with amazing accuracy, and it’s very satisfying to listen to. In short, the P1 crushes the treble game.


    Mids:


    The P1 is a very vocal forward earphone, and both male and female vocals are delivered front and center, but without forcing other parts of the music into the background. I’ve not really heard anything quite like how the P1 treats vocals, and I have to say, I really love it.


    I found the tonaily of the midrange to be very natural, never overly warm, never impacted by bass bleed, but sometimes it did come off a bit dry and clinical. The P1, without EQ (read: foreshadowing) is very neutral, and some (including me) would say it’s bass light, causing that added warmth many of us prefer to feel absent, and leaving a bit of a hollow sound in more complicated musical tracks.


    Bass:


    Here is where the P1 takes a nosedive. The bass on the P1 is neutral, but just barely. Personally, I prefer a bit of a bump to the sub bass, with a more neutral midbass. The P1 delivers the neutral midbass, but lacks slam, and has poor sub bass extension. The IEM never feels dynamic in stock form. What bass is present is very well textured and detailed however, as the P1 gives the bass the same treatment as the treble when it comes to detail retrieval. This is a great thing, because with a bit of EQ this IEM turns into a whole different beast.


    Imaging / Instrument Separation:


    The P1 and that mini planar dynamic driver, as you may have expected, delivers sonics with amazing speed and clarity. This leads to fantastic imaging. You really get a sense for each instrument that is present in a mix. For instance, listening to fuzz rock such as Truckfighters, the bass line was very present, where as most other IEMs conceal it lower in the mix and force you to really try and pick it out. Orchestral records are a real treat as well with the P1, as you can definitively tell what is happening with each instrument section.


    Soundstage:


    While the P1 delivers micro details and instrument separation very well, it falls short on producing a wide soundstage. The P1 never really delivers music with any of that fun “out of your head” feeling. This isn't uncommon for IEMs given that they’re shoved in your ear canal though, and I really didn’t expect much in this category.


    That said, the P1 does manage to provide a deep stage, that lends to its ability of conveying quality instrument separation.


    Conclusion:


    So where does that leave us with Tin HiFi’s newest, the P1? Well, it’s a great IEM with a lot of potential. Stock, It’s not worth the hype it initially received. But, and this a large but, with a little help it turns into one of the best IEMs I have heard, and my personal favorite for daily use with.


    First, power. Give it good, clean power, and try several amps if possible. Second, EQ and / or bass boost. The FiiO E12A, on high gain, with it’s tastefully implemented 4db bass boost activated, does something magical to the P1. It takes them from neutral, dry, and analytical, to warm ,lush, dynamic, and oh so very engaging, all without any negative impact on the pros that the P1 possesses. Therein lies the problem with the P1. Stock, it’s ok at best. It’s terrible at being a portable IEM, and it really should be thought of more as a headphone alternative for desk / home use. But,when used in that situation, given a bit of EQ / bass boost, and some quality power, the P1 moves into a class well above its $169 asking price. This is not an IEM for someone looking for an all rounder, or that first high end piece. This is not an IEM for someone that wants to use it on a commute or outside the house. This is an IEM for the collector that wants something new and different, and knows how to put the work in to tweak audio gear to their liking. That is why the Tin HiFi P1 is the best set of earphones that I won’t recommend, but will love and use daily for a good long while.
      SturdyWasp, hqssui and SoundChoice like this.
    1. Khronos
      As stupid as this sounds, I wonder, how loudly does everyone listen their music to?
      I might be an extreme outlier, but I consider 80db to be quite loud.
      I simply wonder since, after doing some math even a hiby r3 should drive this to my own listening levels, even after accounting for the impendance. And yet, everybody recommends powerful portable amplifiers to drive this IEM.
      Thanks for your review!
      Khronos, Jul 17, 2019
    2. B9Scrambler
      @Khronos I listen at 60-65dB, up to 80dB with a track I really want to rock out to. Anything louder is unbearable for any length of time. While the P1's specs don't lend to it being that much tougher to drive than your average iem, in use it is a lot more demanding. A phone can bring it up to volume no problem, sure, it just ends up sounding dull and lifeless.
      B9Scrambler, Jul 17, 2019
      Khronos likes this.
    3. B9Scrambler
      @Khronos Bringing something more powerful into the equation, be it an amp or simply a powerful dap, even at the same volumes it results in a more vibrant sounding product. No idea why, and I don't really care, lol. All I want to do is listen to a product and enjoy it, and if that's what it takes, so be it.
      B9Scrambler, Jul 17, 2019
      Khronos likes this.