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The 8 BA per side, sonic chameleon


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    EIGHT BALANCED-ARMATURE DRIVERS WITH THREEWAY CROSSOVER: Designed to get the absolute most out of recorded, mastered music, the t88k uses eight masterfully-tuned balanced-armature drivers, perfectly crossed over, to deliver reference level audio, with extended range and harmonic content that has never been heard in a multi-driver earphone before.

    HIGH QUALITY AUDIOPHILE CABLE: T88k uses 4 strands of low-resistance high-purity silver-plated copper braided wire to create a lightweight, true hi-fidelity earphone cable.

    TECHNICAL SPECS: The Toneking t88k features eight balanced-armature drivers with 110 dB @ 1mW sensitivity, 15Hz - 45kHz frequency response, and an impedance of 16 ohms @ 1kHz

Recent Reviews

  1. thejoker13
    Sonic euphoria
    Written by thejoker13
    Published Nov 1, 2018
    Pros - Naturalness, coherence, speaker like presentation
    Cons - Same exact accessories as the lower models
    About me-
    I enjoy nice things, and most times nice things are expensive. I also enjoy getting things that seem way more expensive then they actually cost. This philosophy is what got me started in the chifi realm in the first place, and at times an iem comes along that transcends perceived value. How much are you willing to spend to find your audio nirvana? For me, it took thousands of dollars in buying the wrong iem's, before finally spending 400.00 on the right one for me.
    I enjoy music, I breathe music, and I listen to all styles of music, so finding an iem capable at being an all rounder is very important to me. I also am a vocal lover, and so mids are HUGE to me and my enjoyment of my music.
    Let me tell you about the iem that has changed my life and made me enjoy my music in ways I didn't know were possible, the Toneking T88k.
    My T88k were purchased from Hotfi and can be found at various other stores from $325.00-400.00. Here's the link for the ones that I purchased from the Hotfi store on aliexpress.
    The T88k I am reviewing is the newest model with the same nozzle material as the shell.

    There are 2 variations (batches) for sale. The older and cheaper variant has a medal nozzle and a slightly larger shell. The new version has an acrylic nozzle with 3 votes and a smaller, more ergonomic shell. The newer version is more expensive, and justifiably so. You can message the seller and ask which nozzle version they're carrying, before purchasing. The T88k that I am reviewing is the latest batch with the matching nozzle to the shell.

    You get the exact same accessory package as the T4 and T66s, which consists of 2 pairs of foam tips, and 6 pairs of silicone tips. You also get a cable clip and a very nice round, hard case.
    Lastly, you get a very nice quality 8 core copper/silver plated cable. The cable is super soft and tangle free, and is one of the absolute best I've ever seen or received with an iem.

    The T88k is a custom made iem, that is beautiful and of very high quality. I honestly do not see how it would possible to make it any better. They are the most comfortable iem's I've ever wore and they can be worn for hours at a time without any kind of war fatigue. Did I mention they're comfortable??? In case I didn't mention it yet, they're extremely comfortable and isolate better than any iem I've used yet. Somehow they are even more comfortable than their little brothers, the T4 and T66s to my ears, but of course your mileage may vary.
    The T88k are an 8BA per side own, using all high quality knowles drivers. The T88k uses dual 31618 BA's for the lows, and dual 30265 for the kids, as well as quad 30017 for the highs, and also utilize a 3 way crossover.

    Bass goes deep and has great impact for an all BA iem. The subbass is rumbly and textured, and it has more emphasis than the mid bass. The midbass has good punch and is very controlled and never bleeds into the mids. The bass has a quicker decay, but actually holds the note long enough to feel almost dynamic like. I feel the bass in the T88k is exceptional for a balanced armature bass.

    I am a midshead so it takes alot to impress me, when it comes to the mids. Ummm, the mids are the star of the show here folks. The mids are breathtaking and silky smooth, with a forward staging. They're very detailed and rich and both male and female vocals shine with a full bodied sound. I turn up the volume and close my eyes and am transported to my own room with the artist and get my own personal concert. I lose track of time as the hours pass as I'm lost in the seductive sounds filling my head. The mids are something truly special to listen to and only get better and better the longer I listen to them.

    The highs are smooth and non-fatiguing, but yet very detailed. The quad knowles BA's create the icing on the cake here and help complete what I feel is a beautifully tuned sound. The T88k never bring out any sibilance in a track, even of I know it's there in other earphones. What I find hard to explain is how the highs are so smooth, but yet I hear details in the high frequencies that I miss on other brighter iem's.

    The staging is wide and very deep, with great height. I'll give the songs that I use to track soundstage later in this review. The T88k are extremely accurate and image very well and again are some of the best I've had the pleasure to own, let alone listen to.

    The T88k are big sounding, and very natural, as well extremely coherent, with a reference tuning. There is a lack of a coloration and you get to hear the song as the artist intended. If I could use simple adjectives without context, I would use natural, silky smooth, creamy, and velvety, warm and with a full bodied musicality. Except that would be selling them short because I also would have to use more to adequately do them justice, like detailed, balanced, luscious, and natural. Also very lifelike and NATURAL!!

    I have owned these for about a month now and have used them extensively every day since their arrival. I wanted to spread the word about them as I've been in absolute bliss since acquiring them, but it's been a struggle. This honestly has been one of the hardest things I've done and it's only because I feel so passionate about them and want to accurately portray to you the readers, just how good they are. Toneking is known for their solid tuning and their flagship is the pinnacle of their achievements. The T88k is truly the chifi TONE KING. They're the most natural and life like iem's I've heard in this price range and compete with iem's way more expensive. I've had the privilege to audition many 800.00-2k iem's recently at an audio store in New York City and the T88k stood toe to toe with ALL of them. Keep in mind, I only briefly had each one in my ears so I can't accurately compare them, but they didn't immediately make me feel like I'm missing anything by listening to the T88k.
    Sources used-
    I listen to the T88k mainly straight out of my LG V20, but also use it alot with the es100.
    I tried it out of my ipad air2, as well as straight out of my LG Stylo 4 phone as well.
    The T88k is very easy to drive and sounds great out of all sources, but does scale well with better quality sources.

    Male vocals-
    Thrice- black honey
    Grateful dead- Althea
    Ryan Adams- when the stars go blue
    Todd Rundgren- it wouldn't have made any difference
    Slipknot- vermillion pt. 2

    Female vocals-
    Sia- I'm still here
    Melanie Martinez- play date
    Melanie Martinez- carousel
    Lake street dive- rabid animal
    Lake street dive- better than

    Supertramp- school
    Joywave- destruction
    Max Young- die young
    Toadies- send you to heaven
    Toadies- beside you
    Daft punk- motherboard
    Daft punk- The game of love

    Bass bleed/depth-
    The blaze- virile
    Melanie Martinez- carousel
    The Weekend- prisoner
    Daft punk- fragments of love

    Comparisons to other iem's-
    T88k vs Toneking T4-
    The T88k has more extention down in the low frequencies, with more emphasis on the subbass than the T4. The T88k has more sub impact as well. The T88k has the better bass in every category in my opinion.
    The mids on the T4 are thinner than the T88k. The T88k has more note body overall and a far smoother midrange, with equal details. This comparison is what cemented the T88k as a top tier midrange performer for me. I find the T4's mids to be their strength and yet the T88k again takes the strengths of the T4 and tops them in each category. The T4 is brighter with more upper mid emphasis, while the T88k is darker and smoother but again just as detailed as the much brighter T4.
    The treble on the T88k is more natural than the T4, while the T4 is again brighter. Both have a similar air and treble extention, but the T88k pulls it off in a smoother manner.
    The staging on them is very different, with the T88k having a little more width and depth with an almost 3D presentation.
    Overall, the T4 is a leaner and brighter sounding iem, while the T88k has the larger note shape, with thicker and bigger sounding tonality. The T88k sounds more lifelike and natural when compared side by side with the T4.

    Toneking T88k vs Toneking T66s-
    This one is more difficult to compare as they're more similar than different. The short of it would be if the T4 and T88k had a baby, the result would be the T66s.
    The biggest differences between them are that the T88k has more subbass emphasis and bass impact, which helps give the overall tonality a little additional thickness and smoothness. The T66s is just a TAD brighter from the upper mids to the upper treble. The T88k comes across as the more refined iem when compared side by side. The T66s sounds more colored and less lifelike snd natural in comparison to the T88k.
    Staging and imaging is very similar between the 2 monitors.

    Toneking T88k vs Flc8s (red, gray, gold)-
    The T88k digs far deeper and with more subbass quantity. The 8s has more midbass than the T88k. The T88k is more textured and has better bass layering. The 8s is alot thinner and brighter in the midrange, and exhibits glare and roughness in the upper mids.
    The treble on the 8s also is more vivid and colored in comparison and comes across as alot less refined than the T88k. I always considered the 8s as the best chifi iem I had heard, until the T66s and now the T88k. Comfort and build quality is another win for the T88k and they aren't even on the same level. The 8s is tunable with the filters, but will always vary it's base tuning, which is thinner and brighter with less refinement than the T88k. This comparison again proves the T88k's worth and value to me, and on my opinion is on totally different tiers.
    The staging is actually fairly similar, which surprised me because of how differently they're tuned. I would say the T88k edges out the win in width and depth, with better heighth, but it's not a landslide victory there.

    Closing thoughts-
    Again, this has been a challenge for me to write about. I don't want to build unnecessary or unwarranted hype. I want to accurately portray the T88k's and in doing that it, I feel like I undersold them and they're actually even better than what I was able to express. I hope you get a chance to audition them for yourselves at some point and see for yourself.

    Buy them if.....
    Buy the T88k if you value natural and lifelike sound, with a full bodied musicality. Buy them if you enjoy male or female vocal based music, or if you enjoy a reference and non colored sound. They will make any musical genre sound great and will sound just like the artist intended. I give them a hearty thumbs up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      TeaCake, sk7175, requal and 20 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Adnan Firoze
      @TheJoker: I am torn between this and the Moondrop Blessing. Friends are trying to convince me that the Moondrop Blessing is better and is also on crinacle's IEM rankings as A-. But for some reason I think this one will be better (t88k); I am a sucker for basslines (not a basshead at all but I like following the bass guitar playing in the back - every note) hence I strive for instrument separation. In these regards, can anyone help me choose one from the two? Great review btw.
      Adnan Firoze, Feb 16, 2019
      sk7175 and miorazam97 like this.
    3. sk7175
      thanks for the review! I am also torn between this and the moondrop blessing
      sk7175, Jun 18, 2019
    4. larry piencenaves
      Hello @thejoker13 is there any sound difference between the old and the newer model? also is this better than the shockwave iii?
      larry piencenaves, Sep 16, 2019 at 9:06 AM


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