TRI i3 Pro in-ear monitors 1planar+1DD+1BA

General Information

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Latest reviews

SHOOTINGTECHIE

100+ Head-Fier
TRI I3 PRO- A NEW PLANAR HYBRID IN THE MARKET!!!
Pros: Good sub-bass
Great bass
Great treble details
Great stage depth and layering
Good transparency with good
Good microdetails in the mids
Notes body definition were great
Cons: Not great treble extension
No good air in the strings
Lacking details in the treble region
Notes edge definition is not great
Not very wide
TRI I3 PRO- A NEW PLANAR HYBRID IN THE MARKET!!!

TRI is the luxury counterpart of the chifi manufacturer KBEAR. Given the reputation of both of the sister companies I have hopes that this I3 PRO will be a great iem and would overgrow the sales of the original TRI I3, which though I haven’t had the chance to hear but have had heard great things about. So, let’s dive into the review of
TRI I3 PRO!!!

DISCLAIMER- THIS UNIT BELONGS TO MY FRIEND @suman134 AND thanks to him I get the time to review it. Well as always, the opinions are mine alone and not influenced by friendship
😋 haha! 🤣

SPECIFICATIONS
  1. Drivers: 10mm Planar magnetic + composite 8mm dynamic driver + 1 balanced armature
  2. Impedance: 15 Ω
  3. Sensitivity: 103 dB/mW
  4. Frequency Range: 20 – 30,000 Hz
  5. Cable/Connector: 2PIN (0.78MM)
UNBOXING-

Now TRI is well known for their beautiful and practical unboxing experience and this didn’t disappoint in that regard. It’s mostly similar to every KBEAR products I have tried but still the box gives such chromatic vibes that I played with it more than check the iems inside 🤣. Rest I will let the pictures dictate for you all 😁

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BUILD & FIT-

The Iem is solid dense metal with 3 grooves. It feels dense yet not too heavy in addition the silver colour just makes its shine through. The finish is mirror / metallic so be wary of legendary scratches 😉 if you won’t be careful 🤣!
Fit for me was just right, it’s just a tad bit big for my medium ears, so adjustment after two hours or so is needed. No vacuum feeling with it either 😁

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CABLE-

The cable is excellent as always with the TRI products. It’s a 5N OFC (oxygen-free copper) cable which has no microphonics, is pliable and thick, has some weight added to it.

OTHER ACCESSORIES-
  1. Carry Box (feels a little bit small for this mirror finish iem)
  2. Lots of tips
  3. Cleaning brush and cloth 😁 will be needed trust me!!
  4. Paperwork
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POWAH REQUIRED-

This iem does need a bit of power for full potential but my DAP of 400mw was able to drive it fully too. So, depending upon the source it might be good / bad / okayish but try to give everything a bit of time (No burn in needed per se here no changes I encountered).

NOTE- This IEM is used with-
  1. N6ii and T01 module & R01(mostly R01 since it adds more naturalism to the iem and also better stage) for portable on chair listening experience for the most part of the review.
  2. On desktop- N6ii LO and A30s (Burson V5i D) and XDUOO MT602 Sylvania tubes (beautiful pairing but then low gain on N6ii and also volume at 08 but I would stay since it becomes a beautiful entity but this requires a better silver cable !!!😁) has been used.
  3. Sometimes LG G8x as phone source.
  4. Tips used were stock ‘M’ sized tips but I felt wide bore tips of E horn pro ‘M’ size would be great and hence I am using that.
NOW COMING ON TO THE SOUND OF THE TRI I3 PRO- (This is subjective and your opinions may vary)

BASS AND SUB-BASS-


Sub-bass is rumbly enough to satisfy my tastes. The texture is slightly present but makes up with the rumble. The decay is fast and precise but rumble goes on for quite a little longer than the body of the notes. Overall tone is slightly leaner but still is very close to being organic 😍. Addition of dynamism (not a lot but good enough) makes the experience much better. A lot of energy is present though which makes the overall experience pretty good 😁.
Now coming onto the bass, the interaction between both the sub-bass and bass is pretty great. Everyone respects each other and maintains the balance between “The Darkside and The Force” 🤣. The tonality is on the leaner but close to natural side. It has that wonderful midbass punch and has a lot of energy there. The timbre is present but the decay is fast, but the it does leave a trail to ponder upon. The projection ain’t that much into the head-stage but it does give you a good feel of it. Notes have a good beginning and body but edge definition needs a slight improvement. There is good amount of separation of the notes but this still doesn’t give the planar experience that I had while using the LCD I3 and the HIFIMAN SUNDARA but the layering is pretty good between the different percussion instruments.

MIDS-

Vocals are the soul of the music and this defines that beautifully. The body of the notes of the vocalists just shine throughout the song and makes you feel the energy and the emotion in the song 🤩. Notes beginning is also pretty great but this does lack some extension in the ending (you can’t expect everything 😞). The tonality will be affected by what tips you use since the upper mids and treble will affect the overall signature but with my use of E-Pro Horn tips and KZ reverse starline tips (both wide bore tips), this just gives such a great natural feel to the voice, it breaks my heart why they didn’t add such wide bore tips (why Tri !!!, hopefully they see my review and start adding wide bore tips to their arsenal 😁). The air in the voice does come up but it feels a little cut off on the edges further giving the impression of low extension. The thickness of male vocals needs to be more pronounced but female vocals shine through with this leanness. They feel more balanced and doesn’t leave more to be found, on the other hand male vocals needs more love. Dynamics aren’t lacking in either of them and the tonality difference is also well perceived. Overall, a great experience but still makes you want more.

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Instruments in the mids are really the best part of this iem. They are emphasized greatly and overall; the tonality is slightly on the leaner side with great dynamism in the notes. Timbre is confusing a bit, hi-hats and other metallic hits gives off a slight BA metallic timbre but guitars and other string instruments, even piano and other keys just seem have that planar presence and beautiful fast timbre. The decay is though fast and gives off a very small sense of projection into the head stage (don’t worry reverb is still felt though 😁). Notes are more beginning and body focused but with great emphasis on the body of the notes. Edge definition needs a bit more work but it’s still very good to give an enhanced sense of separation. The inter instrumental separation is great, every instrument has its own space and air, the layering is not top notch but still gives a planar presence to it. Lower mids does need some more thickness to the notes (even with wide bore tips it did improve but still needs more). Upper mids love the leanness and extend more than the lower mids but with using the stock tips, it was a sharp experience in some genre of music hence I shifted to wide bore tips. Otherwise, really a great experience with all genres of music.

TREBLE-

Treble presence is really good and energetic. It’s sparkly and really gives off a great feel when the trumpets and all go off 🤩. If you want a smoother experience this isn’t for you, but please don’t use it with stock tips use the wide bore tips, otherwise it will be a congested and very sharp experience 😅. The tonality is slightly lean here, closer to natural (with wide bore tips) but with much better decay than the mids. The tambourines and other metallic instruments still have that slightly metallic BA timbre, others though don’t have that and shine through. The notes are well defined in every part, even the edge definition too. Air and transparency are pretty good in the instruments for the price but extension is required more in the notes. Separation in between the notes is pretty great and this just goes through to the instruments too. Micro details do come through but will leave you, still wanting for more, a slightly more increased transparency might have been required. The dynamics are still great and gives you an enhanced experience overall and really brings more excitement and energy to the music.

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HEADSTAGE AND SEPARATION-

Now the head stage isn’t that wide but its quite tall and doesn’t lack at all. The layering is quite good and separation makes it much better. With stock tips, this might become congested but, wide bore tips it will become a different story all together. The depth (-y axis) is quite good and in stage depth is also enhanced with the planar driver presence. In between the instruments, there’s good space and some air, but slightly more width in the head stage would have been great.


RESOLUTION AND IMAGING-

Resolution is pretty great, not lacking in showing you the bad effect of badly mastered tracks too 😅. Microdetails are slightly lacking but its quite good for the price and whatever is there, it pops up albeit neither musically nor on your face, but slowly creeping up. Transient are easy to track though and doesn’t make you want for more. Imaging is pretty great added with the layering. Its slightly diffused, but is still pretty good in maintaining the presence of the instruments over the head-stage.


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COMPARISONS-

BQEYZ AUTUMN
Pros-

More balanced signature
Better mid bass tightness and definition
Better inter-instrumental separation
Texture is better enhanced
Better notes edge definition
More controlled and balanced notes
Wider stage

TRI I3 PRO-
Pros-

Better treble extension
Better treble details
Better sub-bass
Better stage depth and layering
Better transparency
Better mids
Notes body definition were better.

TIN P1 PLUS-

Pros-
Better treble extension
Better air in the string instruments
Better transparency
Better edge defintion of the notes
Better texture in bass


TIMELESS 7HZ
Pros-
Bass is warmer
Sub-bass is warmer
Better vocals than T1 plus
Less air
Less details


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SUMMARY-

The iem is pretty great for its price. It felt more like an DD with Planar staging missing out on the planar treble though. Using silver cable like TRN pure silver made it much more excellent and felt like the way to go haha!!! But overall, really good experience and I would surely recommend it😁!!!
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voja

100+ Head-Fier
A re-release done right! Short write-up about the TRI i3 Pro
Pros: Build quality
Design
Unboxing experience
Comfort (the new lightweight design really helps the IEMs disappear in your ears)
Improved mids
Improved highs
Value
Cons: The lows are inferior in quality compared to the original i3

The following are neither cons nor pros, just some differences caused by the minor design change:
Soundstage is slightly smaller compared to the original i3
The nozzle doesn't allow for two different settings anymore
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A re-release done right!

Oh yes, I can finally say that a company has not let down its customers with a re-release. How many times have you seen a manufacturer re-release a popular model and completely ruin it and change it up from the original version? I’ll tell you: too many times. The whole purpose of re-releasing a product is to refresh it, but most importantly, to improve the “bads” and keep the “goods”. As a customer, I do not want a downgrade in quality in a re-release, neither do I want a warm sound signature if the original one had an analytical sound signature (and vice versa). TRI masterfully kept the good's and implemented several changes and improvements. Welcome the i3 Pro!

Unboxing Experience

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As someone who greatly appreciates good marketing, all I can say is “My goodness! What an experience”. Hats off to the design team responsible for the packaging. The cover is what made my jaw drop. The design is very minimalist yet very modern and attractive. On the front, there are holographic lines which follow a circular pattern and are slightly dented into the cover’s surface. In the center there is a simple white print of the company’s name [TRI] and the model’s name [i3 Pro]. The background print resembles a purplish galaxy. However, the holographic details truly set this packaging apart. Also, it’s very nice to see that there is no repetition on the sides. The left side of the packaging features a large print of company’s name and logo, while the right side has a print of “Continue classic, beyond classic” in three languages (my guess is that it’s: Chinese, English, Japanese). On the back, there are vague details such as the driver setup, specifications, and company details.

If you thought the goodies stop there, you are mistaken. Once you slide the cover off, you are met with a rubbery matte box. So far, it’s the most pleasant material I have seen being used for a cardboard box. I hope the company keeps using this material in its other models, because it truly gives off premium vibes. In this box you will find all the contents placed inside of a foam insert — something I can say I’m used to.

Formal format of what’s inside:
1x cleaning cloth
4x silicone ear-tips (S/M/L)
5x KBEAR silicone ear-tips (S/SM/M/M/L)
1x 3.5mm cable
1x 3.5mm plug plastic cover
1x leather carrying case

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Silver Surfer is back at it again

It would be a true shame if the i3 Pro didn’t retain the authentic i3 silhouette. Fortunately for everyone, the silhouette is still here. The main changes between the previous i3 and the new i3 Pro are related to the physical size. A 26% reduction in size is the biggest and most obvious change. The purpose of this was to make the IEMs both more comfortable and more lightweight. Besides this, the shells still have the “wavy” design on the faceplate, they are still made of two pieces, and the overall shape is pretty much the same.

Some of the more notable changes that might not be as apparent are: 4 vents, 2-pin connectors, completely different nozzle design, different nozzle grill.

For reference: the original i3 only had a single small vent that was located on the side, and it used MMCX connectors. In my opinion, the switch to 2-pin connectors is a major improvement and step in the right direction. I think we can say that 2-pin connectors are a industry standard. Many people have a collection of 2-pin cables, which means they can finally use them. The nozzle on the original i3 model was both longer and the ear-tips could be placed in two different ways. What made that nozzle special is that it featured a lip in the middle of the nozzle, whereas the new i3 Pro (and many other IEMs) uses a lip at the very tip of the nozzle. The grills differ by design. The original grill featured a slanted oval design, and the new grill features a significantly more dense circular design.

Interestingly enough, while looking through online images of the TRI i3 Pro, I found that many of them featured the old grill… This leaves me to question which grill the IEMs use (there are clearly two different grill versions).

Edit: It turns out that TRI did release a 2-pin version of the i3 at some point in time. However, the original i3 that I posses uses MMCX connectors.

The reduction in size is without a doubt a huge improvement, but I’m uncertain whether I can say the same for the other changes that were implemented. The shorter nozzle that doesn’t give you the flexibility of two different iterations of the ear-tips is a drawback, if you ask me. At first, I experienced driver flex issues. However, that was because I received a prototype pair that had very dense grills. Since the i3 Pro features 4 vents, it made no sense as to why there was driver flex occurring. I haven’t experienced driver flex on the original i3, so it wasn’t logical for the more vented design to introduce driver flex issues. I suspected that the grills were the cause of these issues, and I was right! After I received a pair of grills that are included on the commercially available release, the driver flex issues were gone.

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Build Quality & Cable

““Life in plastic, it’s fantastic” is the complete opposite of what the TRI i3 has to offer - not a single plastic piece was used in its construction” — from my original i3 review.

This still holds to be true. The shells are still made of an aluminum alloy (according to the marketing, 7000-series aluminum alloy is used). 7000-series aluminum alloys are used in wing bearings and landing gears, which require the highest strengths and strongest reinforcements. Fun fact: 7000-series aluminum alloys have the highest strengths of all other aluminum alloys. Apple has used it in their watches, phones (e.g. iPhone 6s). TRI actually did reveal that they are using specifically the 7050 aluminum alloy, so there you have it.

In terms of the cable, it’s a 50/50. Don’t get me wrong, the cable itself is amazing, but I just have a thing for the old cable. The positive “50” is that it’s finally a 2-pin cable, while the negative is that it’s not the old cable. The funny thing is that it appears as though even the cable was later changed in the original i3. The cable that I am talking about is the same cable featured in the photos in my i3 review. It was a loosely braided 4-core cable. I liked it both for its pinkish look and its lightweight nature. I’m sure many prefer the new cable (referring to both the new i3 Pro and the newer versions of the original i3), but I personally prefer the old one. On the positive side of things, i3 Pro’s cable features all-metal housings (2-pin connector housings, chin slider, Y-Splitter housing, 3.5mm connector housing).

Comfort

I want to keep this section sweet and short.

Compared to the i3, the i3 Pro has a deeper fit and a more relaxed seal. The original i3 had a shallow fit, but had a very tight seal. Something to take into consideration is the fact that the ear-tips I use on the i3 are considerably larger and longer than the ones I use on the i3 Pro. This has an effect of both the insertion depth and the seal, so, keep this in mind!

Both IEMs are very comfortable and could be worn for hours. Obviously, i3 Pro will be the more logical choice to take if you are going outside, because the weight reduction truly does make a difference.

The change in the nozzle design is also noticeable in the ears. The new i3 Pro disappears in your ears, while the older i3 was always kind of present in your ears. The older i3 also feels heavier (the good kind of “heavy”) in the ears.

Sound Performance​

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Lows

The sub-woofer-like quality in the bass region is still here to stay. This is one of the key factors that made me fall in love with the i3. There is a distinct track that truly set the old i3 apart from other IEMs.

Let’s start out with my standard bass quality test tracks: “Hydrogen” by MOON, “Smoking Mirrors” by Lee Curtiss. Listening to the first track, I noticed that the mid-bass is thick and “heavy”. In other words, a lot of bass quantity. Upon closer listening, I came to the conclusion that the definition suffers a bit, the “cleanliness” isn’t quite there. The fast attack is there, but once the planar-magnetic driver puts out all of that bass, it sticks around for a bit, causing it to have a slower decay.

Sub-bass. Hmm. I absolutely adored the old i3 for its sub-bass capability, and am sure some of you are aware of my admiration of its performance in Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?”. This is the “one distinct track” that I was referring to in the beginning. i3 Pro carries a similar quantity, but differs in quality. Much like the mid-bass, the i3 Pro is less aggressive and has less “oomph” than its older brother. This was also apparent in Hans Zimmer’s “Why so Serious?”.

These differences in quality and quantity are very subtle. I for sure can see how one may not notice them if they are not performing analytical A/B tests. I had to go back and forth listening to a single element dozens of times to notice these differences. Once you notice them, you can’t really unhear them.

Update: After directly contacting KBEAR, I was informed that TRI i3 Pro is easier to drive than the original i3. However, after closer inspection, I found out that the specifications of these two IEMs are just about identical. Ms. Wendy from KB EAR clarified that i3 Pro should be easier to drive on your phone. With this in mind, I will take this answer as though there is no loudness difference between the two, making my comparison valid.

Mids

I’m tapping my feet because the new i3 Pro is very different in tonality and mid-range compared to the original i3. I did a simple test, having the i3 Pro in my left ear, and the i3 in my right ear. I went through a couple of tracks and noticed the distinct difference in tonality. I noticed that the new i3 Pro sounds much more natural and cleaner in the mid-range.

For example, the guitar in “Do I Wanna Know” by Arctic Monkeys, and the guitar & vocals in “Soldier of Fortune” by Deep Purple, are quite different. However, I later noticed that “Do I Wanna Know” has a guitar tonality difference on the left & right sides, making my initial impressions invalid. On the other had, “Soldier of Fortune” has a vocal that’s in the middle, which means that the difference I heard was true. The original i3 has a nasal-like quality in the vocals compared to the clean-sounding vocals in the new i3 Pro. I also noticed that the vocals are muddy compared to the vocals in the i3 Pro, which are not only more natural, but also have more body.

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Highs

I came to a similar conclusion here.

Going through my two standard treble testing tracks “Portia” by Miles Davis and “Stop Trying to Be God” by Travis Scott, I found that the new i3 Pro has slightly more edge. This is something that people like me will enjoy, but shouldn’t be a turn off for those who enjoyed the old i3. It’s not a drastic difference, but is an audible one. It’s one step closer to having sparkle (a trait I adore, but one that many are scared of).

I don’t wanna ramble for too long, as though I believe I worded my self pretty well in my original i3 review.

The point is that KBEAR listened and introduced more edge in the new i3 Pro. It’s the right move (imo), and makes the whole listening experience more enjoyable.

Soundstage & Imaging

Both of these have great soundstage and imaging, but the older model is better due to the greater shell size. I went back through my original i3 review and relistened some of the tracks I mentioned in the “Soundstage” section, and I have noticed i3 being more “larger-sounding”.

For example, “Dogs” by Pink Floyd, from mark 3:48 - 3:59 — both of these showcase great imaging capabilities, but the original i3 has the drums really rolling around your head. Perhaps, this has to do with its low end, because the drums sound bigger, have a bigger “thump”, and sound more voluminous. Both soundstage and imaging were i3’s pride, making them one of the few IEMs for which the term “holographic” holds true to its meaning.

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Conclusion​


I am aware that this review isn’t as thorough as my original i3 review, but I find these two IEMs to share a lot in common. I didn’t want to repeat myself, as though they only delicately differ from each other.

KBEAR didn’t ruin the original sound, but did make slight changes (whether they were intentional or were a result of the physical size change) that separate these from each other. Both the original i3 and the new i3 Pro differ enough from each other to make both worth keeping. This is something that matters in my eyes, because if the new fully replaced the old one, the original buyers might feel disrespected or even unsatisfied owning the original i3.

The original TRI i3, in my opinion, really put the brand on the map. It attracted a lot of attention. I remember when I was very active in the IEM forums on Head-Fi, and I remember seeing the i3 blossom. It started catching people’s attention, and I glad that I was able to be a part of those early stages. I can say that I put a great amount of effort into composing the original i3 review, and I was very happy to see it started getting recognized for the same qualities that I initially mentioned in my review.

The new i3 Pro is more of an “option” for those who either found the original i3 to be too large, too heavy, or not portable enough. It's for people who want to hear a more refined and toned down version of the original i3, but also at a smaller form factor. For those who found the original too bassy, and want to hear more qualities in the mid-range, this release might be worth your time… and wallet :wink:

Setup:
DX300 + AMP11 mk1
Gain: Mid
Volume: 43-47

Original i3 review: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/tri-i3.24171/review/23896/
anli
anli
Can you, please, compare subbass in terms of blurring/dry (that is long/short attack/decay) with Audiosense DT600, 7hz Timeless, Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk?
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voja
voja
@anli I would love to do that, but unfortunately do not own any of those :/
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Nimweth

Headphoneus Supremus
Smaller... but perfectly formed!
Pros: Powerful sub bass
Smooth open mids
Clean detailed treble
Expansive soundstage
Beautifully made and presented
Cons: Staging not as wide as the original
Treble could be more extended
Cable is a limiting factor
I would like to thank Ann from Keephifi.com for providing this item for review via Amazon.co.uk.

The TRI i3 Pro is the new redesigned version of the original i3. Like the first model, it sports an 8mm dynamic driver for the bass, a 10mm planar magnetic unit for the midrange and a custom balanced armature for the treble region. The size has been reduced by more than a quarter and the MMCX connection has been changed to a 2 pin interface.

The i3 Pro comes attractively packaged in a rectangular box with a colour sleeve featuring a graphic recalling a time-lapse picture of the sky. It features circular star-trails with an iridescent effect set against a starry background with the model name "TRI i3 Pro" in the centre. The reverse is printed with specifications. Removing the sleeve reveals a plain black box inside which the earpieces are displayed above the leather case.

In all the package contains:

* TRI i3 IEMs
* 8-core 5N OFC cable with 3.5mm plug
* Leather case
* 3 pairs white silicone tips
* 5 pairs KBEAR 07 silicone tips
* Cleaning brush
* Polishing cloth
* Documentation

This is a generous accessory set similar to that supplied with the TRI Starsea and KBEAR Believe.

The earpieces are crafted from polished CNC formed alloy and are similarly shaped to the original with subtle contouring but are significantly smaller. The 2-pin sockets are recessed and accept standard connectors. There is a row of four small vents for the dynamic driver on the rear of the earpiece. Although I had no problem with the fit of the original i3, the newer model fits very well and I think would suit more users.

The supplied cable is an 8-core single crystal copper type with 2 pin connectors and a red mark on the right plug for channel identification. The 3.5mm plug is in shiny metal and has TRI branding, and the metal Y-split has a trident logo. A metal ring serves as a chin slider but is not as easy to use as the bead type. The cable is supple in use and the ear guides are not too stiff, resulting in a high level of comfort.

The i3 Pro was principally tested with an Xduoo X20 DAP and the stock cable and the pre-fitted medium white tips were used. I also used a Grace-S balanced cable during testing. A burn-in period of 100 hours was allowed to stabilise the components. Like the original, I found the i3 Pro sounded at its best with additional power so drafted in a Fiio A5 amplifier for this purpose.

First Impressions
The i3 Pro displayed a well-balanced mild W profile with powerful sub-bass. The mid bass was lower in level and transitioned gently into the mids. The mids themselves were slightly forward and well-resolved with a natural timbre. The treble was clean and clear and fairly well-extended with a moderate peak before rolling off smoothly although perhaps a little early. The soundstage was expansive with a little more depth and height than width and separation and imaging were excellent.

Bass
The i3 Pro's bass was powerful and visceral with a good sub-bass presence and satisfying rumble. Mid bass was dialled back and gradually became near neutral as it approached the midrange. Transient attack and speed were on point and texture was also very good with a touch of extra warmth.

"Nuvole a Colori" appears on the album "Stagioni de Venezia" by Rondo Veneziano. It begins with a deep and powerful synth bass chord accompanied by descending diminished chords in the minor key. Percussion elements are added and a meandering violin solo plays arpeggios over the top. The bass was very impactful with good weight and depth, providing a perfect foundation for the solo instrument and showcasing the dramatic quality of the piece.

"In Church" is a part of the "Slovak Suite" by Viteslav Novak and features a prominent part for organ. In the version by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Libor Pesek, the depth, texture and power of the instrument was presented realistically and the lowest notes possessed good extension and natural timbre with a good reproduction of decay. The balance of the organ and orchestra was handled very well.

"Rock On" by David Essex has a superb production by Jeff Wayne ("War of the Worlds"). Founded on double-tracked bass guitars in each channel, they plumb the depths and growl menacingly while remaining clearly separated from the kick drum playing simultaneously. The texture and impact of the bass realised by the i3 Pro really impressed and brought the production to life.

Midrange
The i3 Pro continued where the original left off with excellent timbre from the planar driver but this time it was a little more forward and lively. As a result, clarity was improved and details were easier to discern but there was the impression of a narrower or more intimate stage.

Kevin Kern's brand of gentle piano music always enchants with its attractive melodies. "Through the Veil", from the album "The Winding Path", is a perfect example. A solo acoustic guitar plays a simple theme accompanied by the sound of a rain stick and then, after a deep bass drum the piano enters with the beautiful main theme. The timbre of the piano was very well realised as was the warm woody tone of the guitar. The resolution of the individual sounds of the rain stick was notable and the whole piece demonstrated the superb separation and imaging of the i3 Pro's midrange which was testament to the tuning of the planar driver.

"Bring him Home", from "Les Miserables" received a heartfelt rendition from The Piano Guys. The timbre of the cello and piano was very natural and authentic and the i3 accurately reproduced the subtle changes in dynamics which convey emotion, allowing the feeling of the performance to come through. The details of the bowing and of the decay and harmonics of the piano were very well portrayed.

Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos's colourful transcription of the "Suite Espanola" demonstrated the excellent timbre of the i3 Pro. Performed by the New Philharmonic Orchestra directed by de Burgos himself, the superb vintage Decca recording sounded fresh and full of life. In "Sevilla" the concertante woodwind parts in the central section were clearly depicted with believable timbre. Bright incisive brass and percussion provided an effective contrast while the lively and infectious rhythm drove the piece along in great style.

Treble
The treble on the i3 perhaps displayed the greatest difference from the original, being quite a bit brighter and possessing more detail. There was a gradual rise with frequency up to a moderate peak in the upper region after which there was a gentle roll-off. There was plenty of sparkle and life and the BA timbre was generally very good.

"Natural Light" is the title track from the album by Steven Halpern and Dallas Smith featuring Halpern's keyboards and the latter's delicate Lyricon work. Sustained electric piano tones underpin hypnotic swirling figurations from the Lyricon wind synthesiser embellished by crystalline electronic effects. On the i3 Pro the finest details were delivered with good treble extension and separation, fine resolution and a clean and natural tonality. The meditative feeling of the track was conveyed admirably.

Jacques Loussier's album "Play Bach No.1" was first released in 1959. The superb French Decca remaster from 2000 sounds fresh with remarkable fidelity. In the "Aria" from Suite No.3 in D Major, the subtleties of the brush work and the metallic quality of the cymbals were clearly audible on the i3 Pro although perhaps a little softer than ideal. The highest notes of the piano sounded natural and bright with the atmosphere of the intimate acoustic adding to the experience.

In the classic 1960 Archiv recording by Helmut Walcha, J. S. Bach's famous "Toccata and fugue in D minor" received an impressive display from the i3 Pro. There was a remarkably clean and etched quality to the high notes from the Silbermann organ which were reproduced with accuracy and immediacy. The tonality remained clear and crisp even during the most energetic passages and when accompanied by the powerful pedal tones the reverberation in the St Laurenskerk at Alkmaar was realised very effectively.

Soundstage
The original i3 possessed a very expansive stage and the Pro's was similar in depth and height but it was a little narrower. This derived from the more lively and forward mids or possibly an acoustic effect due to the reduction in size of the earpieces.

Sibelius's "The Swan of Tuonela" is a moody evocation of a Finnish legend. In the superbly recorded version by the Minnesota Orchestra under Eiji Oue, the orchestra was laid out convincingly with the cor anglais solo placed clearly in the centre and the distant bass drums rumbling menacingly in the background producing a feeling of uneasy serenity. The cello solo was very effectively portrayed and the atmosphere of the concert hall reproduced very faithfully.

"Desert Vision" is an album by David Lanz and Paul Speer celebrating the natural wonders of the American South-West. "Carlsbad" showcases Lanz's lead piano accompanied by elaborations from Speer's guitar. Supported by George Deuter's woodwind cameos and Jonn Serrie's lush synth backgrounds, the complex arrangement of the piece was expansively recreated on the i3 Pro with a huge stage and pinpoint imaging and exhibited excellent layering enabling the listener to appreciate the intricacies of the production.

In Clannad's "Theme from Harry's Game", Moya Brennan's ethereal voice is supported by banks of synths and augmented by vocal sections in the chorus. The i3 Pro made the most of this with an atmospheric and spacious delivery presenting the lead vocal clearly and effectively. The central part features powerful keyboards which showed good layering and the whole piece was set in a broad acoustic with impressive reverb and an attractive airy quality.

Change of cable
After thoroughly auditioning the i3 Pro in stock form, I changed to a TRI Grace-S silver plated cable. There was an immediate improvement in resolution in the mids and the treble appeared more extended with a silky quality and an increase in "air". The soundstage expanded, matching that of the original i3, the bass was tighter and cleaner and the background was "blacker". In this configuration I found the Pro preferable to the original i3. I also used the KBEAR Limpid Pro pure silver cable and obtained similar results so would recommend cable rolling to any owners of the new model.

Comparisons
TRI i3 (Original)
The i3 Pro does sound different from the original. Its profile tends more towards neutral with a somewhat forward midrange, a bass which is slightly less prominent and a well-behaved treble with good detail and extension, resulting in a somewhat brighter presentation and good technical ability. The original is warmer and more U-shaped with slightly recessed mids and a polite treble although the excellent planar tonality and timbre shine through in the same way as in the newer model, endowing it with a particularly musical and "cinematic" character. The soundstage on the original appears larger in size and more spacious with the newer model possessing a slightly narrower presentation and imparting a more intimate feeling but at the same time possessing a little more depth. These differences are subtle but audible and the choice between them is a matter of preference rather than anything else.

BQEYZ Summer
The Summer is a tribrid which has a large 13mm dynamic driver for the low frequencies, a proprietary BA covering the mids and a 5-layer piezoelectric unit handling the treble, all housed in a resin shell with 2-pin connection. It has a warm, well-balanced mild W or U-shaped profile with high resolution and expansive staging. Bass is deep, firm and well-textured with a powerful mid bass which sometimes dominates. It has a midrange which is clear and nicely detailed with good BA timbre and an extended treble courtesy of the well-tuned piezo driver. The musical quality is an outstanding feature and music is displayed in a bold "cinematic" fashion, similar to that of the original i3. The treble occasionally displays a thin tonality on certain material. The i3 Pro has a smoother treble, is better balanced across the frequency spectrum and has superior imaging and separation and there is more "weight" in the sub bass, whereas the Summer is faster and more snappy in its delivery with a brighter treble.

MT300
The MT300 is an innovative tribrid. It is beautifully made with a shell-like alloy housing and MMCX interface, and also includes a unique locking cable connection. It features a 10mm carbon DD for the bass, a Knowles 29689 BA covering the midrange and a TDK EST unit for the high frequencies. Its presentation is unashamedly bold and romantic and highly entertaining. It is a V-shaped profile but its resolution and impact are notable. The full-on sound does resemble the original i3 but there is a deeper sub-bass and more prominent mid bass, a recessed midrange which still has excellent timbre and presence courtesy of the Knowles driver, and a very extended, delicate treble with that EST magical tonality. The i3 Pro is more balanced in character with a superior midrange, but the treble is not as impressive as that of the MT300. In bass, it is honours even with the i3 Pro being tighter and more textured and the MT300 majoring on impact and depth.

Conclusion
Thei3 Pro has a slightly different character from the original i3. The emphasis has been shifted subtly from a warm U shaping to a more neutral and technically adept presentation. The bass has been dialled down a touch, midrange has been brought forward and the treble brightened resulting in a "flatter" response whilst still retaining most of the character and musicality of the original. The expansive and spacious quality of the former model has been generally retained with a more accurate profile being created and a change of cable did restore most of the qualities of the original. Add to this the smaller size, more comfortable fit and generous accessories and you have the recipe for a winner. With its unique driver configuration and high quality musical sound, the i3 Pro occupies a special place in the IEM market and is highly recommended.

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Buckeyedentite
Just ordered these! Curious how they compare to the P1 and the timeless?
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Isaac Rebolledo
Hi friend, I'm in a dilemma to buy this one for $ 115 as an upgrade to my HZSOUND. Do you want it to be worth going to the tri i3pro?
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Buckeyedentite
Very bassy and fun! Great set for the gym!

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