TRI I3

PhonoPhi

1000+ Head-Fier
TRI I3 - a mighty tribrid with a great sound stage and more for well under $150
Pros: Great soundstage, smooth fluent mids, capable bass with a good sub-bass extension, nice coherence for a trybrid, a very competent IEM overall.
Cons: Limited resolution is a most apparent shorrback - planar drivers tend to oversmoothen, which is quite noticeable with string pizzicato and woodwinds. For the latter, limitations of overtone series are also apparent in the sound reproduction. The shells are a bit on the larger size to fit everyone (a borderline for me).
A brief review. Most important points are already summarized in Pros & Cons.

I have purchased TRI I3 entirely with my own money, so really my own opinion, not a "quasy-nonbiased" one.

The purchase price was ~$120 ($150 Cad) on AE, without any extra coupons, while the price as low as $103-$105 was reported here - a really great deal for I3 given its overall capabilities, in my opinion.

Box/accesories: nothing impressive or very useful for me. The tips were tossed away, I use wide bores. The pouch, while nice, is hardly practically useful. The cable is OK, but I used balanced ones.

So TRI Through was a natural match for a cable (please feel your imaginary accolades how great the match was in accentuating what was needed to accentuate evoking the full power of imagination; or succinctly stating "transparency" of the cable for pragmatically minded).

Now, what is most important to emphasize is that in addition to a good source power, the synergy with the source rendering can be important to get the most of I3, in my experience.

Given I3 warmer, mid- and bass-oriented signature, resolving and crisp sources with unrolled treble worked the best for me, such as Fiio BTR5 and Shanling UA2 DAC with the phone - Sabre implementation ("veiled" velvet AK sound happens to be much less to my liking/preference).
My older Pioneer X30 has a warmer and somewhat treble-smoothened rendering of Sabre that matches well with my all-BA IEMs (naturally, it was the other way around) but does not match as well with TRI I3 for my listening preferences of predominantly classical music that is rarely overwhelming in treble.

Overall, I am really happy with TRI I3 (4.5-5 stars) as a really greatly complementary IEM in my simple collection that will be a part of my primary rotation for its great soundstange and seductive fluent mids.

P. S. Thanks to @ChrisOc & @baskingshark for their competent guidance to select I3 :)
ChrisOc
ChrisOc
Short and sweet review nonetheless informative.
Delightful review!
C
Codename john
Great stuff
shampoosuicide
shampoosuicide
So great to see the i3 still receiving love.

iceperry

New Head-Fier
Pros: Subbass extension and bass slam, Energetic sound signature with good layering, Not too hard to drive for a planar, Build Quality
Cons: Source and amp dependent, Too large and poor fit (YMMV), Bass was a little too powerful for my taste
Disclaimer: This review set is a demo set graciously lent to me by a friend from his personal collection. This review is written of my own accord and all thoughts here are my own. For more reviews like this, drop by www.perrivanaudio.com!

This is a review for the TRI I3 IEM, a triple driver earphone. It has a dynamic driver, planar magnetic driver and lastly a balanced armature driver. This is probably one of the cheapest pair of tribrid earphones around. Without further ado, let's dive right into the review.

Accessories and Build Quality (Score: 7.5/10)

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The TRI I3 comes in an understated black box, with a simple felt pouch and the two polished IEMs grabbing your attention the moment you open the box. Nothing too fancy and minimal but functional accessories.

The build quality is rather impressive, with an all-metal build and seem to be chrome-plated or polished, similar to the Moondrop KXXS. The large surfaces of shiny silver are unsurprisingly fingerprint and scratch magnets.

The included cable is a twisted 4-core copper cable which looks quite good when paired with the IEMs.

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Fit (Score: 6/10)

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I struggled with the fit of the TRI I3. This is one of the largest IEMs I have tried and the nozzle was really wide as well. I had trouble finding third-party tips that would fit the earphones and my ear comfortably. The IEMs have significant weight to them too and this weight is apparent when worn. These do manage to stay in the ear when I sit stationary so it's still passable as long as these don't fall out while listening.

Sound (Score: 8.1/10)

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Frequency Response of the TRI I3
Sources Used
  • Hiby R5
  • Lotoo Paw S1
Albums and Tracks tested with
  • Michel Buble - To Be Loved
  • Dvorak New World Symphony - Berliner Philharmoniker
  • Ragtime broadway Recording
  • The Vamps Night & Day (Day Edition)
  • Mama Mia Movie Soundtrack
  • Sheppard - Animals
  • Foster The People Houdini, Next to Me

Bass (Score: 8.5/10)

Trying these IEMs for the first time, the sub-bass really rumbles. The bass has a lot of quantity and there is an apparent sub-bass emphasis. This helps to create a strong yet defined low end without much bloat. The bass has good separation and texture, especially in songs like Foster the People’s “Sit Next to Me”. Bass lovers would definitely be impressed with the quantity and quality of the bass here. People who complained about the TinHiFi P1s lacking in the bass department would certainly be satisfied with the performance on these.

The best thing about the bass is the way it doesn't overshadow the mids or try to steal the stage for itself. A special mention is that snare drums had a nice timbre and impact on the I3s. The bass performance also does improve with decent amplification.

Mids (Score: 8/10)

Lower mids have a good texture, carried over from the bass. Male vocals are a little thrown back and unnaturally softer than the female vocals. However, they are still well-defined and have enough warmth to them. Female vocals manage to remain silky smooth with very nice clarity and tonality.

Upper mids are definitely more pronounced as can be seen from the frequency response. However, it can thin out at times. This is more apparent in trumpet instrumentals, where they can be a little piercing at times.

The TRI I3s aren't the best at detail retrieval and are a more musical IEM. On more crowded tracks, the I3 sometimes shows signs struggle as the sound a little crowded and messy at times.

Treble (Score: 8/10)

Treble is very safe on the TRI I3. It deftly avoids most sibilance. However, the lower treble peaks can be fatiguing when listening at higher volumes for longer durations. Other than that, the TRI I3 demonstrates good upward extension without excessive splashiness and plays a good complementary role to the mids. The treble doesn't have the best detail but is sufficient and sits safely in the "good enough for its price" category of technicalities.

Overall

The soundstage is not especially wide but above average. Imaging is pretty well done and enjoyable overall.

Turning the volume up too much kind of ruins the sound, especially on more powerful sources like the Hiby R5. There is a certain threshold on the TRI I3 where the sound signature transitions from pleasing into aggressively forward and messy. The I3s sounded decent straight from my phone, which was surprising, so users who intend to power it without an audio player or DAC would be delighted with this. This wouldn't have been possible with power-hungry IEMs like the TinHiFi P1. That said, amplification still has a significant impact on the sound.

The I3 is extremely source dependent in the sense that areas like the bass and lower mids certainly benefit from a higher power, however, listening to them at higher volumes would be rather overwhelming. It seems to unlock a different "mode" with the upper mids and lower treble getting shouty and overly "in your face". I especially liked the pairing with the Lotoo Paw S1 DAC, giving it a more organic sound while providing it with sufficient power.

Comparison

VS TinHiFi P1

The TinHiFi P1 is a single planar driver IEM released quite a while back. Right of the bat, it is immediately clear where what is missing on the P1 that the I3 has an abundance of - the bass. To me, the bass on the P1 is not anaemic but quite enough to keep the music enjoyable, especially when properly amped. However, the sub-bass extension on the P1 comes nowhere close to that of the I3. The P1 rolls off really earlier and lacks that bottom end support.

However, the overall tonality and tuning of the P1 are much more laid back, coherent and relaxing than the I3. I enjoy the overall tuning on the P1 more.

Fit isn't great from the P1 either, but its smaller size makes it more manageable and with foam tips, the seal is pretty good. With the foam tips, the treble is also tamed quite a bit on the P1 and I didn't find it tiring.

Conclusion

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TRI knew what they wanted to achieve by designing this TRI-brid (haha), using each of the three different drivers to their strengths, with a dynamic driver and a balanced armature to complement the weaknesses of a typical planar driver. The subwoofer performance dynamic driver clearly establishes its presence, something bass lovers would love.

To be perfectly honest, the TRI I3 isn't going to be the best thing ever or even the best planar performance, but considering how difficult it is to execute a successful implementation of a tribrid, TRI does an amazing job at creating a coherent tuning that many would enjoy at such an affordable price. It still has its flaws, such as its detail retrieval and tonal balance is occasionally off, and the presentation of sound can get messy at times. However, it would be unreasonable to expect the world out of such an innovative release at such a price point and the I3 already presents decent value. The biggest issue for me remains to be the fit and comfort of these and the size of my ears makes it hard for me to comfortably enjoy these.
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ppmanu

New Head-Fier
Perfect mids with nice highs and lows
Pros: Very detailed mids with a good amp
Robust manufacturing quality
Cons: You really need a GOOD amp
I already have a pair of DUNU 3001 non PRO in-ear monitors (IEMs) and they were used for comparison purposes with these TRI I3 IEMs. It is also important to understand that these earphones are totally different in construction to conventional earphones.

The TRI I3 have 3 different drivers one is a dynamic driver, that is doing the lower frequency, then whe have one balanced armature that is responsible of the highs and then we have the planar (they do the mids) wich is a thin membrane suspended in a strong magnetic field. The membrane is imprinted with a weave of wiring through which the audio signal passes and which causes the membrane to vibrate in the magnetic field. This "planar" technology produces a very clean full-frequency sound virtually free of resonances. Also the planar does require a burn-in time during which the membrane develops its flexibility, something which I have yet to complete , so the sound is great but it could get better which is amazing.

Unboxing

So now onto the unboxing of the TRI I3. The I3's arrived well packaged in a large black box with thin foam in the top and think foam in the base which contained the IEMs and a very attractive style case with a catch. There were two sockets in the foam designed to hold the earphones the I3's were actually not loose in the box . During the transport there was no indication that it caused any damage to the I3's.

The case contained an unbalanced audio cable with 3.5mm plug and a variety of silicone and foam tips for the I3's. The IEMs came ready fitted with medium silicone tips which were very comfortable but which resulted in very little bass, so I would say that the silicone tips are close to useless if you want a full-frequency sound. As a consequence I immediately replaced the silicone tips by the smaller of the foam tips and the difference was immediately obvious.

Wiring and physical fit

The I3's come with MMCX connectors meaning that the cable and earphones are separate. You can choose a better cable or swap between different types of cables eg between balanced and unbalanced (i have a balanced cable with 16 cores and that was the one i choose to use). In this respect they are similar to the DUNU 3001 non PRO with which i use a balanced cable. The provided braided cable is OK but it's a shame the braiding on the lower part of the cable is rather loose and that the cable is a bit stiffer than I would have liked. I've got use to slinky cables that immediately go straight when released. This is an aesthetic issue rather than a sonic one. I prefer **** cables (also available via Amazon) which are relatively cheap but of very good quality. I used both the provided cable and a black unbalanced **** cable with the I3's with no noticeable sonic difference. The attached photos show the I3's with the provided cable.

I found the in-ear fit with the provided foam tips very good but others may prefer to upgrade to high-performance foam tips that may provide an even better seal. The provided cable is designed for over-ear use with a stiff loop at the end to fit over the ear. And this is where I found the fit of the cable/IEM combination rather strange. Fitting the red cable connector to the right earpiece the IEM sat comfortably in my right ear but the cable connector stuck out meaning the cable wasn't sitting very comfortably around the top of my ear - see the picture where the triangle of the I3's is very visible. When I switched the red cable connector to the left earpiece it fitted far better in my right ear, almost invisibly in fact , and the cable lay very comfortably around my ear. So while your taste may be different, I decided that the earphones needed to be swapped over for over-ear cable use.

It's worth noting that the earphones are relatively heavy and solid-feeling. I put this down to the powerful magnets needed for these planar hybrid devices, but it in no way made them any less comfortable in-ear. The difference in weight is not noticeable once you are wearing them.

Sound quality

I've only been using the I3's for 7 days but the sound quality is excellent in conjunction with my IBASSO DX120 audio player. Despite the need to burn them in, they nevertheless sound extremely smooth across a range of music with no sign of sibilance which can arise with some IEMs. While I am really bad in analysing sound quality to the depths that some reviewers are able to, a key measure for me is long-term comfort ie, are they earphones that I could listen to indefinitely with no ear fatigue and the answer is an unqualified "Yes"! The flat frequency response may not suit everyone, especially "bass-heads". My DUNU 3001 non PRO seem to have a slightly greater bass sound and potentially a little more extended - but a small element of bass boost in the I3's may be the cause of it sounding more extended.

The one downside of these IEMs is sound level. I had no problem in driving them from my IBASSO DX120 DAP which I have hacked to remove the sound limiter. Even so, whereas I listen at a level of around 67-70 out of 120 with the IBASSO DX120, I was up at 100-107 with the I3's. Equally I could use them with my OnePlus 8 PRO using a BGVP T01 DAC usb-c but at close to maximum volume. So you do need to make sure you have enough power to drive the I3's.

Final comments

The I3's are brilliant IEMs at a ridiculously low price. They took a considerable time to arrive but I believe that is in part because demand is greatly exceeding supply and they are, of course, coming from China. The delay was fine for me as I was away on holiday over the summer and they were waiting for me on my return. The I3's are comfortable to use both physically and sonically but you may want to look elsewhere (or use a graphic equaliser) if you want more pronounced bass. Given the use of MMCX connectors you can choose your own cable including using a balanced cable if you have a DAP with a balanced output. The only real downside is the lower sensitivity, so you will need to make sure you have a powerful enough output on your preferred music players to drive them to their full potential. That said, it hasn't proved a problem for me and I warmly recommend these in-ear monitors.
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P
ppmanu
Hi right now a fiio btr5 thanks
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amanieux
amanieux
so what is your conclusion betweem i3 and dunu 3001 if you had to pick one ?
liteon163
liteon163
Is a Magni 3 Heresy a good enough amp?

Codename john

100+ Head-Fier
The affordable nirvana
Pros: Timber, Tonality, Soundstage, Imaging, Stereo separation, Fantastic mids, Agile textured bass, Vocals sound fantastic.
Cons: Heavy shells.
I have no affiliation with K Bear or Kinboofi. I bought these from Amazon with my hard earned money. This is my first review for head fi. I have to apologize for lack of audiophile terminology and ultra detailed reviewing etiquette... I have been collecting Iems for over a decade now. I'm a dj. A reasonably successful one. I have been involved in music in one way or the other since I was 13.I have been kinda quiet recently because of you know what! I have been in the game for 25 plus years. I have a deep love and passion for music of all kinds.So, let's be honest here, very few head fiers own the Solaris / Andromedas kilobuck Iems. It's like a faraway dreamland to many. That's why the chi fi explosion over the recent years has been so refreshing. You can get a very good all rounder for under the price of a meal nowadays. It's amazing that the tech used nowadays can be obtained for such a reasonable price. I'm old enough to remember when having more than a single driver in your Iems were the height of technology and endgame territory.. I own monitors going back to the heyday of Shure / Senheissers / Westone. I bought the ie800s a few years back for a decent price from a second hand store. I loved them. For many years they were endgame. Until I bought the fiio fh7 about 18 months. That changed the game for me. This hobby is a fascinating, expensive and addictive one. You can get purchase a pair of Iems for a week or so they will be the last pair you buy until of course the next big thing comes along..That's the nature of the beast. If you don't get real you can end up in financial meltdown.. Anyway, I digress. Recently I have purchased Moondrop Blessing 2, JVC FDX1 and IMR Red. All of them fantastic. They all punch way above their weight class. I thought that's it for me. I'm done. In these uncertain times this hobby has now got to stop. Until one day I was browsing the web and read a great review (check out his review @Nimweth) of the Kinboofi Tri 3. Buying blind is a real risk. You have to basically trust someone else's judgement. IEMS are not like over ears where generally what you get is what you get. So many variables are involved that make it such a risk. Eartips, Cables, Good fit and seal etc. You know the deal. So going on the review I took the risk. I purchased them on Amazon. They arrived within 24 hours. Within minutes of plugging in I knew I had made the right choice. To me Timbre and Tonality is kinda everything. I would rather good tone than an expansive soundstage any day. These have everything I love in an IEM. The bass is wonderful. It goes deep, never loses itself or intrude into the mids. In fact it stays out the way until called on. Texture and weight are perfect to my ears. Never sounding dark or moody. It has a great knack of keeping everything musical without intrusion. The mids are heavenly . U shaped maybe V shaped depending on your mileage. Clear, distinct, lush with fantastic resolution detail and importantly weight. Never sounding dry or thin. (Blessing 2 I'm looking at you). Treble is so fantastic. Lots of detail and shimmer. Silky delivery with good extension. Decay and speed are also top class. Credit to Kinboofi. The drivers (Dynamic, Plannar and BA) work with totl cohesion. No weird artifacts just superb layers of sound, depth and texture...The soundstage is the thing here. Maybe due to the size of the huge shells the stage hits as wide, deep and tall as I've heard.More often than not it hits you frontally and then spreads so wide at times it seems to take a space well out of the ear and extending pass the shoulder. If you have these you need to listen to So What / Miles Davis. The wonderful musicality makes Coltrane /Davis seem like they are jamming either side of you. Delivered with stealth and precision. A true out of your head experience. To be honest it's very very surreal. Great stage is nothing without speed, Imaging and separation. All of those things play with the magnificent stage to make you feel like your floating on notes at times. Instruments have perfect decay. Never lingering too long. Notes come and go very naturally. At times they seem to be doing a dance. Amazing! To me the best Iems make you lose your self in the music and forget you have small shells in your ears. That's what these do. They are immersive, addictive and so worth the money. They do everything right in my eyes. Of course it all depends on what your library consists of and your own personal taste of course. In these difficult times we can't all go and spend thousands on headphones. And to be honest I really don't think you have to anymore. You don't always have to be that guy. I'm not interested in bragging rights. For any price I would be more than happy with these. What I want is an IEM that makes music I love sound like it should and make you drift and forget these grim times. These do that in spades. If they make you feel like they make me feel then you will know what I'm talking about. Whenever the news comes on I reach for the Tri 3 and everything in life seems that little bit better..
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fizzytao
fizzytao
A nice expression with the i3. :L3000: Similar to you, the IE800 (old one without the S) are the most costly pair that I own. At the moment these Tri Audio i3 arrived at my home, I start to realize that kilobucks are not the only way. Let's enjoy music without breaking the bank! :beerchug:
I
init
Just ordered from aliexpres, hopefully they come before autumn 😂
I
init
And they came. For £90 it's one of my best purchases value to money ratio wise. I'm well impressed

Nimweth

Headphoneus Supremus
Thank you for the music!
Pros: Powerful sub bass
Clear transparent mids
Clean open treble
Excellent coherence between drivers
Expansive soundstage
Well built and presented
Cons: Needs amplification to give of its best
TRI is the premier brand of KBEAR and has so far released three models, the i4 (1DD +1 Knowles BA), the top of the range Starlight (1DD, 2BA and 4 Sonion EST) and the model reviewed here, the i3.

The i3 is a triple hybrid with the bass frequencies covered by a composite dynamic driver 8mm in diameter. The midrange transducer is a 10mm Planar magnetic type and treble duties are handled by a balanced armature unit (the type is not specified). The interface is MMCX and the earpieces are all-metal.

The i3 comes presented in a dark grey box with the TRI logo similar to that of the i4. Inside the IEMs are displayed with the cable and tips attached above a handy plush carrying pouch. Under the cut-out you will find the spare tips and documentation.

The contents comprise:

* TRI i3 IEMs
* 4-core copper MMCX cable
* Suede effect carrying pouch
* One pair of foam tips (M)
* Three pairs of grey silicone tips (S, M, L)
* Three pairs of white silicone tips (S, M, L)
* Manual

The i3 earpieces are CNC machined from a fairly dense silver-coloured alloy with a shiny reflective surface. They are smoothly contoured and weighty and completely plain with no decoration or writing on them. There is a small circular vent near the base of the MMCX socket.

The MMCX cable is 4-core and tightly braided. The material is OFC copper. The 3.5mm plug has a carbon-fibre effect and the Y-split is a simple metal cylinder with TRI branding. There is a clear plastic bead serving as a chin slider and the MMCX plugs are plain silver with colour coding for channel identification.

The connection was solid with very little rotation. Although the earpieces are quite large and heavy they are well-balanced in weight distribution and I obtained a good comfortable and secure fit and seal with the supplied cable and tips.

The principal source for appraisal was an Xduoo X20 DAP. A smartphone and CD player were also employed but the best results were achieved with a more powerful source, and a Fiio A5 amplifier (via line out) was pressed into service for this purpose. Further improvements were achieved by changing the tips to Spiral Dots, but after trying some other cables (including balanced), I found that the stock cable gave the most pleasing results. A burn-in period of 100 hours was carried out before testing.

First Impressions
From the first notes, the wide expansive staging caught my attention, along with superb separation and layering. Bass reached to the nether regions with excellent texture, the mids were open and neutral but slightly forward and the treble displayed very good detail and extension. The integration of the three disparate drivers was seamless and the overall effect was effortless, with a wonderful sense of musicality.

Bass
The TRI i3's bass was very powerful and possessed good extension, texture and resolution. The response held up down to the lower tens of Hertz. The delivery was fast and the decay natural.

"Skys" by Mychael Danna is an album of evocative sound pictures inspired by Canadian skyscapes. "Sky 7" features some deep sub-bass elements which create a foundation for the expressive synthesised orchestrations. These were wonderfully reproduced with even the lowest notes coming over with attractive texture and detail and complementing the melodic keyboard themes.

"Asturias" from the classic Decca recording of Albeniz's "Suite Espanola" conducted by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos features a prominent percussion section supporting the lively orchestral scoring full of traditional Spanish rhythms. The five bass drum strikes in the final bars of the main theme displayed impressive power with a natural timbre and decay and an authentic reproduction of the hall ambience. The transient capability of the i3 really shone in this piece with the xylophone clearly audible above the powerful bass and the rich metallic sound of the tubas in the brass chorale a joy to hear.

The i3 displayed excellent speed and transient attack in the bass. A perfect example of this was in "Sailplane", a 1981 single by the late Peter Bardens of Camel. Recording under the name OBX, referring to the Oberheim synthesiser of that name used on the record, the impact of the drum sounds on this track was extraordinary, with amazing depth and "slam". Accompanied by smooth, lyrical string synth and evocative vocal work, the i3's performance of this piece left an indelible mark on the memory.

Mids
The mids displayed extraordinary transparency and clarity which allowed every detail to come through with excellent separation. The response was even throughout the range with no bass bleed. The planar driver really showed its quality here.

In the vintage 1960 recording of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.3 conducted by Karl Ristenpart, it was as though the recording had been remastered. The section where the basses take the principal melody, the concertante parts for cello, viola and violin and the intricate details of the counterpoint: all these were reproduced in extreme clarity with the beauty of Bach's orchestration being revealed in the exuberant and lively performance by the Saar Chamber Orchestra. Even during the most complex passages the harpsichord continuo remained clear in the spacious resonant acoustic.

Arvo Part's beautiful and concentrated
"Spiegel im Spiegel" received a very impressive rendition from Tamsin Little and Martin Roscoe with the micro-detail adding to the realism and the details of the fingering, bowing and piano treatments all clearly audible. The ambience of the recording space sounded very natural and listening to this on the i3 was almost like a meditation.

Unsurprisingly, given the superb performance of the planar driver, vocal performance was of the highest quality. "The best is yet to come" is a gentle ballad by Clifford T. Ward. The warm and romantic character of his voice was portrayed beautifully by the i3 allowing the emotional message of the lyrics to come through unalloyed. The tonality of the piano and string accompaniment was very natural and was perfectly balanced with the vocals.

Treble
The i3's treble was open, clear and well-extended with no harshness or discernible peaks. There was a mild lift in the lower range and another rise in the extreme HF but these were handled very smoothly. Detail and micro-detail were very evident. Like the mids, the treble displayed excellent transparency. The BA was very well tuned.

This clarity came to the fore in Rossini's entertaining "String Sonata No.1" performed by the Age of Enlightenment Orchestra. The interplay between the lead violins and accompaniment was very effective with musicality being the priority. Owing to the i3's quick transient response, the rhythmic quality of the piece was preserved perfectly, demanding the listener's attention and delivering a delightfully entertaining result.

Isao Tomita's exciting transcription of Grieg's "Solveig's Song" was the perfect choice for the i3 to demonstrate its high frequency performance and superb dynamic range. The cascading arpeggios of synth strings swelled and subsided in impressive fashion with a clean and crisp crystalline quality in the upper registers. Set against a foreboding bass foundation, the stately melody swept along majestically, producing a thrilling effect.

The detail and attack of the percussion in "Walking in the rain" by Grace Jones was dramatic and immediate. There are multiple percussion instruments playing here as well as the incisive guitar work and on lesser equipment it can become confused and merged together. This was not the case with the i3. Everything was nicely separated enabling all the different elements to be differentiated, while at the same time allowing Ms Jones's somewhat menacing vocals to come over clearly.

Soundstage
The i3's staging was amongst the best I have heard with an effect expansive in all three dimensions. Layering and separation were first-class and imaging very precise.

The Minuet from John Ireland's "Downland Suite" is a light, airy piece with a bright and sprightly melody. In the version by the English String Orchestra conducted by William Boughton, the transparency of the i3's delivery allowed the delicate counterpoint to be clearly depicted with the various string sections spread out convincingly across the image, wonderfully detailed and displaying an almost conversational quality between them. The studio ambience in this recording was particularly well portrayed adding to the realism.

"Caverna Magica" is the second album by Swiss electric harp maestro Andreas Vollenweider. At the beginning two people encounter a cave and they walk round inside. The echo of their footsteps was beautifully captured and sounded amazingly real on the i3. A little later there is the sound of a bat flying from right to left which was very effectively reproduced. Water drips form a rhythm and the harp's resonant tones enter the picture with the main theme. The whole effect was extremely spacious and entertaining.

"Exogenesis" from "Rosetta" by Vangelis features a host of electronic and percussive effects, deep sub-bass elements and anthemic string synth themes. The i3 managed to present all this very clearly with a huge sense of space which allowed all the disparate sounds to breathe. Width, depth and height were all abundantly evident and the detail and imaging were pin-sharp. The tonality of the various metallic percussion sounds was very clean and accurate.

Conclusion
The i3 impressed in all areas. It is technically adept with powerful, fast bass, transparent natural mids and clean extended treble. The integration of the three drive units was most coherent with no discernible crossover artefacts. Added to this must be mentioned excellent detail retrieval and dynamic range and musical expression. Subtle changes in volume and micro-details enabled the artists' interpretations to be realised and the i3 was particularly successful at this while at the same time possessing a very natural timbre. There was a further improvement with extra amplification when the soundstage widened and detail became even clearer.

Well-constructed and presented, and delivering a well-balanced response of high quality, the i3 recommends itself. The innovative driver arrangement was really successful, making the most of the different technologies and producing a highly cohesive, musical and natural sound which was very addictive. On many occasions I was listening critically and ended up lost in the music. That's a good sign and the highest compliment I can give!
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Nimweth
Nimweth
Thank you! It's nice for someone to recognise that. After all, that is the purpose of this hobby!
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NeonHD
NeonHD
I've been reading many reviews of the I3 and only yours and Lucas' seem well on point with what I'm hearing.

Really appreciate your sentiments on the treble in particular. The I3 has been my go-to IEM for the past 6 months and one of those reasons has been the inoffensive yet bright and airy treble. Dunno why other reviewers have been complaining about lack of treble, as these probably have one of the most extended treble response I've ever heard on an IEM (aside from the Tape and KZ ED9). Edit: Oh and the LZ A6 ofc, how could I forget lol
NeonHD
NeonHD
@merouby I also don't hear much bass on the I3, but that is why people suggest amping. I3 connected to an amp with bass-boost on brings out the lows. Besides I like the insensitive bass response, as the bass only appears when needed.

JasonLucas

New Head-Fier
Tri i3 best iem I own
Pros: Awesome lows mids and highs 😍
Cons: Doesn’t sound good off any type of phone or low power dac
Tri I3 Review 🎧🥰😍🔥🔉🤩

Wow, amazing iem, my best I own

Excellent detailed low end that blends in but slams with sub bass when needed

Awesome mids with great detail and a slight planar touch

Airy good treble that extends up high

Great solid build and excellent cable

Bass head level of sub bass when pushed

Responds well to eq

Scales well with amps and loves power

Not for use with phone alone

Can become aggressive with high power

Works well with small medium large amp

Ba treble not extremely detailed

Heavy shell that is larger than other iems

Needs some eq and tip rolling to sound its best, cables can effect sound as well

A complex piece of gear that works well but takes some adjustment to tailor to your personal taste.

Definitely Recommend with the right set up
JasonLucas
JasonLucas
Can you buy a topping nx1 for 39.99 or nx3 for 69.99? They can power them a lot better than my lg g7 quad dac
gruiz3
gruiz3
I have a monolith thx portable at home was just wondering for on the go.
liteon163
liteon163
I'm looking forward to comparing these against my Etymotic ER2XR IEMs...

Wiljen

Headphoneus Supremus
Tri I3 - a Planar done Well!
Pros: fantastic timbre and tonality, great transitions between drivers
Cons: fingerprint magnet, needs more power than a cell/tablet will provide
Tri-i3-pair1-800x445.jpg


disclaimer: I requested the Tri I3 for review from KBear and received a modest discount for purchasing it to review. I have no financial interest in KBEar, Tri, or any of their resellers, nor have any of those had any input in this review. If you are interested in the Tri I3, visit KBear for more details or to purchase.

Unboxing / Packaging:
The I3 ships in an understated matte black lift top box with the Tri logo on the front and the specifications on a sticker on the reverse. Tri uses the same packaging with a different sticker for the i4 thus saving on packaging costs. Inside the box, the earpieces glisten in a black foam with the cable attached to form a heart shape. The rest of the kit rests in a cloth carry bag in the lower portion of the box. The overall kit consists of the earpieces, cable, 7 sets of tips (2 styles of silicones in SML and a single set of foams), the soft case, and a warranty card.



Build/Fit:
The first thing you notice about the Tri i3 is the weight. These are heavier than they look. The good news is with the tip up design, the cable and ear distribute that weight well and they don’t wear as heavy as they feel in hand. Most of the reason for that weight is the shells are CNC Machined from a solid aluminum billet so unlike some others, these are not cast into a thin shell and then polished to a millimeter thick. Tri states that the shell was custom designed to reduce resonance and reflections and improve sound quality. The outer shell is about 3mm thick while the inner shell makes up the bulk of the earpiece. Nozzles are a separate part at the lowest point of the form and have almost no rake and seat fairly deeply in the ear. the connector is an MMCX type seated in the top front of the inner shell with only a slight dimple in the faceplate to accommodate the curvature. The entire shell is highly polished to a degree that would lead the user to believe they were either Chrome or nickel plated. Tri assures me they are neither plated or coated and the mirror finish is the result of hours of polishing steps. For the record, doing your review photos in a tie dyed shirt when the earpieces are polished to a high mirror finish, is probably not the best idea. Hindsight, what can I say. I found comfort to be very good and didn’t notice the weight once seated in the ear. I did notice that due to the depth of insertion of tips and the density of the shell, isolation is above average.




Internals:
The I3 gets its name from its triple driver design. Inside the shell we find an 8mm dynamic driver, a 10mm Planar magnetic driver, and a balanced armature rounding out the mix. Nominal impedance is listed as 15Ω with a sensitivity of 103 dB/mW. While this would seem to suggest the I3 should perform well with low powered sources, I found it needed a bit more power to really perform to the best of its abilities. This is not a surprise as nearly all the planar drivers I have tried prefer a potent amp to do their best work. I found it really interesting that no crossover is mentioned in the advertising material, although it does say circuit board in one location, or visible in the exploded diagram of the i3. Admittedly, the diagram is a bit of a simplification as the drivers don’t attempt to show every detail and I suspect a more detailed breakdown would reveal a couple capacitors and resistors strategically placed to limit which drivers see which frequencies. With or without an active cross, the tuning required to make these 3 driver types work in concert (pun intended) is no easy trick.



Cable:
The provided cable is oxygen free copper. I have seen some references to a silver plated copper but the color on mine is a dead giveaway that this is pure copper. Starting at the source, the cable has a 3.5mm TRS Straight jack in a metal and carbon fiber housing with a short strain relief. The cable exits as a double helix two twist pairs twisted around itself. A cable tie is provided for storage. The splitter is a small polished metal barrel with a clear bead chin slider above it. Above the splitter, each strand of the helix runs to a clear plastic earhook topped with a polished metal housing and mmcx connector. the right is clearly marked with a red plate at the base of the connector.




Sound:


Bass:
Sub-bass is what you would expect from an in-ear with a dedicated subwoofer built in. Lots of rumble when called upon and good texture even down into the lower regions. Per the FR, sub-bass is mildly elevated above mid-bass but the taper is so gradual it sounds about level and if a distinction can be made your hearing has to be better than mine. The first place I notice a distinct drop is in the mids. Mid-bass detail is very good as well and the driver speed seems above average with fast attack and mildly slower decay giving the mid-bass a bit of weight and the tone a bit of warmth. There is very slight mid-bass bleed, but not enough to obscure or feel slurred as we move into the mids.

Mids:
Lower mids on the i3 are very good as is expected from a planar driver, what is a surprise is the transition from the dynamic to the planar is almost indistinguishable and extremely well handled. Big points to Tri on the tuning here. We expect mids to be fast and detailed from a planar driver, the thing I didn’t expect was how smooth the delivery would be. Guitar growl is very realistic while male vocals have a very natural timbre. I would classify the i3 as mid-forward or maybe vocal centric as all vocals are well rendered and the tuning seems to accentuate them. Strings also share that natural timbre and are better than they have any right to be on a $142 in-ear.

Treble:
The lower treble continues the climb started in the mids and have good energy and detail before stepping back a bit as we move into the true treble. The drop in the true treble makes the highs very polite, but make no mistake detail is still quite good, if not out in front of the rest of the signature. That step back also gives the i3 a bit more of a warm tone not usually associated with planar mids and BA treble. Snare rattle is very realistic with a nice sharp attack and quick decay. Cymbals are well done as well with a more realistic sound than anticipated and very little metallic edge to the sound. Top end has good air with roll-off not evident until above my hearing’s limits. The i3 has some sparkle as well but the tuning is such that it doesn’t cross the line into sizzle.

Soundstage / Imaging:
The stage on the i3 is deeper than it is wide in a reversal of what we typically see. It does have better than average depth and height, but width seems to be about 1/2 of depth. Seating the orchestra is straight forward as the instrument separation is way above average so despite the narrower than deep stage, I found no overlaps or oddities. Layering is also very good with no signs of compression or thickening even with the most complex tracks I threw at it. Imaging is equally good and very precise. Spatial cues yield exacting positions in space and movements are easily tracked and very tightly defined. If the stage were a bit wider, this would be a class leader for sure.

Comparisons:

BGVP DMS

I included the DMS here because while somewhat older than the i3, it shares a metal shell, a multi-driver hybrid construction, and roughly the same price point. The DMS has a single dynamic driver and 6 balanced armatures per ear but does not share a planar element with the i3. Shells on the DMS have a much larger vent to the exterior and lack the isolation of the i3. The DMS is a good bit lighter and smaller and may be an easier fit for some with smaller ears. The two have similar signatures, both have good bass, are arguably mid-centric, have good vocals and are polite at the top end. The i3 is a bit tighter in the bass to my ear and slightly more detailed in the mids. The DMS fires back with a wider stage and better proportion to the stage. Overall, if you liked the DMS, you’ll want to try the i3 as it can be thought of as an improved DMS.

BQEYZ Spring 2

The Spring shares several commonalities with the I3. Both are triple driver hybrids and both share a balanced armature and dynamic driver. The Spring 2 uses a multi-layer piezo electric for the top end and relies on the dynamic for mids, while the I3 uses a planar driver for mids and relies on the balanced armature for the top end. The resulting products both sound great though with the Spring having bigger mid-bass, both have similar mids and treble with neither sounding harsh or strident and both having good details. These sound more similar than not in many regards and the ultimate decision between the two is more personal preference and fit than differences in signature.


Moondrop KXXs

While both the KXXs and the I3 share polished aluminum shells, the I3 is larger and more highly polished. Both are fingerprint magnets for certain though. Sound wise, the KXXs has bigger bass and a bit more treble energy compared to the i3 which has a bit better linearity and more detail. The KXXs is warmer than the i3 as the driver is a touch slower and decay a bit longer lasting. To my ear, the i3 sounds more natural and has better tonality for both vocals and strings. Both are good, but the i3 is the better of the two to my mind and its cheaper besides.

Thoughts / Conclusion:

Shells are gorgeous, but large and heavy and may be a tough fit for those with smaller ears. The kit is only average or maybe slightly below average for today’s $150-200 class. What stands out is the I3 combines a dynamic driver, a planar driver, and a balanced armature. Dynamics are renowned for giving more visceral slam and rumble than any other driver type, but also known for the largest potential for distortion and non-linearity. The planar magnetic driver likewise is renowned for great linearity from mid-bass to lower treble, but struggle with extension at both ends and linearity in the treble region. The balanced armature is best known as a component driver as they tend to be good for a narrow range but struggle with extension and have a reputation for being a bit peaky.

So, did Tri manage to coax the best out of all three driver types, or is it a hot mess of problems? I think Tri succeeded well beyond my expectations. When given adequate power, the i3 has great lows, smooth transitions, fantastic mids, and enough treble to be open and airy without being harsh or fatiguing. I’ve gotten my hopes up for planar in ears before only to have them dashed and was fully prepared to be disappointed again as I had developed the opinion that it was going to take a least another generation of drivers before they were really ready for use in an in-ear. I stand corrected. The i3 gets an awful lot right and at below $150 USD retail, it delivers more detail and better transients than I thought possible. I cannot say strongly enough, if you have the chance to audition the Tri i3, you should. My bet is it will pleasantly surprise you too.
dharmasteve
dharmasteve
They must be good to get 4 **** from you as you don't take poor IEMs prisoner. I can vouch for the TRi i3......it is seriously good.
Wiljen
Wiljen
Griuz3, I think it is is you force it into high power mode. I'll say I that I think a dongle or small amp will prolong your phone battery life and give a bit better performance though so it might be worth looking at one.
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gruiz3
gruiz3
I have a portable amp, was just wondering for just a solo phone outing.

Wretched Stare

Head-Fier
One of my favorites now
Pros: Beautiful shell, great build quality , Bass , Mids, non sibilant highs with air and sparkle , extremely high detail for something with this much bass.
Cons: Okay accessories , a warm smooth sound maybe some might not like but sure do. Soundstage has depth but is slightly narrower than many in this class.
Lets start with the design build , comfort etc.
The TRI i3 is a solidly built IEM with a very attractive chromed shell and although it is on the larger size it is quite comfortable as typically Ive worn them for marathon listening sessions to test this. It ships in a solid box with a simple yet premium looking layout , consisting of a velour pouch, a copper cable similar to the Tin P1 and three sets of ear tips.. white foam like on the T3 from Tin and set of typical KBear smoke with red tubes and natural rubber like on the Singer IEM.

Sound:

As always well start low and go up.... just for reference this IEM has multiple personalities and will sound different on various levels of volume and power inputs , devices ,etc.

BASS: The bass is aggressive with good definition and power , its bloom is robust yet quickly has decay in the sub-bass. Mid-bass is refined has some good speed and kick to it, Making this great for pop , rock and hp-hop, really any music that benefits from bass will compliment these i3 earphones.

MIDS: although bass is dominant here it does not bleed into the mids leaving them clear. The Mids are focused and forward, there is some excellent detail retrieval here because the are positioned in front of the bass and have clarity. at lower power inputs its balanced and neutral very good details but pump some power into these and that planar will not disappoint with a rich and warm sounding Vocals that are so detailed and pleasing IMO.

TREBLE: Non harsh and yet some sparkle up top these wont impress a treble head but to everyone else the amount of details out of the BA is fantastic to me with clarity and speed I find them just right and detailed enough to enjoy without fatigue.

SOUND-STAGE: Is very natural but not very wide , it does have depth and is accurate. There is some nice imaging here too. If you like a wide and unnatural sounding IEM this is not for you.. That said it work good for this IEM and the TRI i3 is very spot on and sound-stage comes from a natural position. toward the listener.

My thought:
The TRI i3 is a well built and comfortable IEM with a decent amount of accessories, its has a great forward sound with rich controlled bass that extends deep, it can have perfectly warm vocals and this loves to be fed power but its doesn't need it although performance will be different because of this making this versatile and unique among it piers. I'm torn now between this and the companies KBEAR diamond for my Bass needs, although this does vocals better IMO. I like both but really love the i3, it checks all the right boxes for me.

Thanks for reading.

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pinnoy

New Head-Fier
Pros: Huge Soundstage, Loudness of the peripheral sounds, TRN BA5-like clarity, Starfield-like Bass, Quality of the materials used, Heft.
Cons: MMCX Cable (if you can call it a con. I prefer 2-pins)
Here's my first informal review at Head Fi.
IEM: Tri i3
DAP: Ibasso DX90

The lockdown has sparked my interest in a new hobby - high fi audio.

For the longest time, I have been using top of the shelf earphones only, and until then I have not craved for anything better. In a short span of time, I was testing the TRN BA5, V90, Tin T2, S. en.fer D-T-6, Blon BL03, Moondrop Starfield, QKZ VK4, QKZ AK6 and KZ SE4...and now the Tri i3.

The first thing I noticed was how wide the soundstage seemed to me. It was huge, and I was hearing even more things I never noticed before. I just love how it removes the veil from the sound of the peripheral music.

Sound coming from the left and right side seemed fuller, more alive and sounded like it can rival the music from the center. The left and right side seemed so good that I checked again with the other IEMS, and their left/right side music either sounded weak or veiled compared to the Tri i3.
Check out The instruments from either side seemed to me 'meatier' than the other IEMS that I have, as if they're as loud/clear as the music from the center. This might be a consequence /positive byproduct of the very wide soundstage the i3 has.

They're quite big, but they're quite comfortable actually and didn't seem heavy nor weighed me down even when using it for a long time.

Cable is solid, and I felt it is not prone to tangles.

Its bass packs a punch too. I can feel air being pushed on some bassy notes. Hefty and satisfying. The bass from TRN BA5 on the other hand, seemed clearer and defined, but lacked 'presence'...meaning I can tell the bass is there but it didn't sound as fun.

The IEM with the heaviest / meatiest bass for me is the Blon, meaning it feels like there is an enveloping bass presence whenever you listen to music, and as a result the tunes become so much more fun as you feel you are immersed in the music. Its bass lingers and you feel it all thoughout. They say that the bass of the song is the soul of the song, and here the Blon takes note and delivers.

The Tri i3 is a bit different. The i3's bass seemed it can envelope you too with a fun bass presence but lifts earlier than the Blon. That's why maybe when I listen using the Blon, I feel I am IN the music. As an another comparison, the Starfield, with its balanced Harman Target tuning, feels I am LISTENING to the music. The Tri i3 also gives me a sort of 'visual' experience - I close my eyes and I can imagine and 'see' everything around me playing. The other IEMs can do this too like but I don't think at the level of fun and clarity the i3 does. The bass from the Tin T2 seemed the weakest in my lot. Even the cheap QKZ AK6, which by the way is an excellent performer for a 3 dollar IEM, does a better bass job than the Tin T2, quantity wise. Tin T2's bass is clear and defined though.

As it stands, I think it is excellent already at what it does. Its technicalities are already very good to me and I find it hard to imagine how an IEM could top or better it. How can the tri i3 improve? Perhaps by tweaking the signature, by making a new Tri i3 mark II that has the heavy and sweet bass presence of the Blon Bl03. That Blon has that secret sauce, that makes you feel immersed in your music like nothing else in my collection can. I don't know, but the Starfield, even with its awesome technicality and balanced tuning, seemed boring to me during long listening sessions. I can't seem to pinpoint the issue, but the Starfield didn't seem as fun. The TRN BA5 is the most tiring for me as it can get quite sibilant. On the other hand I can listen to the Blon, Starfield, Tin T2 and the Tri-i3 for hours.

Back to the Blon, yes there are clearer IEMS around, yes there are bassier ones, but the exact combination of the Blon's qualities make it a unique and very very fun sounding IEM. When I found the right tips for me and the Blon, it's become one of my top 2 favorites.

I think the Tri i3 trumps the Blon technically, but the Blon stands its ground with its unique sound signature. I just love to kick back and relax listening on a Blon. If I want to listen to guitars/violins, the Tri i3 and the TRN BA5/V90 gives the clearest sounds in my collection.

Anything with bass riffs (like Paul Macartney's Silly Love Songs or Fleetwood Mac's Dreams I choose the Blon or Tri i3 or V90 for these.


For strings, again the Tri-i3 or the TRN BA5 or V90 are my picks. The song Ventura Highway by America is a good example of how good the i3 is when presenting the music coming from the left and right sides. . It does so by giving them a full sound, not tinny nor lacking, as in the other IEMs (for example the KZ ES4)

For vocals, like the Carpenter's Rainy Days and Mondays , I think most of my IEMs can do a similar job and perform equally well (Tri-i3, Starfield, BA5, V90). The BA5 holds and edge I think because of the way it presents the singer and brings you as close to the singer as possible (it feels like you are beside the singer).

UPDATE (Oct 16 2020):

I've tried around 12 IEms now amd the Tri-i3 is the best in the lot
Here are the ones I tried
Moondrop Starfield
TRN BA5
Tin T2
TRN V90
**** ****
Audio Tecnica Solid Bass
Opera Factory OM1
QKZ VK4
QKZ AK6
Blon BL03
KZ ES4
Tri i3
For me, the i3 has the details of the BA5, without the peak. It has that satisfying bass of the V90 but more refined and more mature. It has that organic sound that is even better than the Blon's. It is solidly built, with an All-Metal casing. Finally, It has the really awesome soundstage that is unique to the Tri-i3 among my iems. It is so huge, that it makes me forget that it is just an IEM. That soundstage alone can sell the i3 IMO.



At the moment Tri-i3 is my endgame IEM. I'd recommend wholeheartedly. Coupled with a DAP/DAC, it can really shine. Even with my phone (Pocophone F1) it performs good but the sound is weaker. The planars in the i3 must be awakened with a strong source.











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J
jmwant
Great review 👍!
Vestat
Vestat
Totally agree with what you say about the TRN BA5, I find them so much detailed and clear, I still have to find another iem with the same clarity and cleaness. Will try the i3 when the budget will let me!

voja

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Huge soundstage (so large in fact, that it can sound realistic)
Outstanding imaging
Clean treble performance (excluding the sparkle you would get from the top top-end)
Fatigue-free due to warmer mids and rolled off top top-end
10/10 ergonomics and comfort (especially for their size)
Good value
Cons: Top top-end rolled off, some may find it to lack of sparkle due to this
Mid-bass needs more punch, weight and definition
Source dependent, and source sensitive. You really have to find the perfect source that can bring the life out of the TRI i3
11268288.jpg


With the many brands in the Chinese audiophile market, KBEAR is one that I would pay special attention to. You may be more familiar with their single dynamic in-ear monitor - Diamond, or perhaps their F1 balanced armature model. One model which you should pay closer attention to is the TRI i3 - a hybrid setup that features three drivers; hence the name TRI i3. I found the combination of the three drivers to have quite a performance. Let’s clarify what type and size of drivers it is using:
A single 10mm planar magnetic driver + an 8mm Composite Dynamic driver + a Balanced Armature driver.

Let’s dive deeper into the TRI i3

Unboxing experience - Minimalist and simple

“Less is more” is how I felt with the TRI i3. A very simple black box (with some glitter/shimmer effect), one logo on the front, one label with the specifications on the back. That’s all it takes. No marketing labels/visual material. It almost felt like a luxury car unboxing, like the one of a key to an expensive car. There are no flashy and unnecessary graphics, just a stealthy black box.

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What’s in the box?

The presentation was very straight forward. I like how KBEAR chose not to use gigantic boxes (which waste both materials, and space). KBEAR TRI i3 came with a pre-attached cable and a carrying pouch which holds the extra ear-tips. The carrying pouch is made out of a soft, velvet-like material, and it’s in a brown color.
I already spoke with Mr. Bairon (the owner of KBEAR) about some suggestions - I personally preferred the hard carrying case with the KBEAR Diamond, and also the presentation was better with the Diamond.. although it was a larger packaging which did take more space than needed. I’ll speak about my (non-biased) experience and some information about Mr. Bairon in the following section.

What you get in terms of the ear-tips are two sets (S/M/L) of silicone ear-tips - one white, one grey. The white ones have a more straight and short shape, while the grey ones implement a more circular (breast-like) shape. This being said, the grey ones are taller, and they were the ones I preferred. You also get a pair of foam tips in a light-grey color. And to finish it on a positive note - no bad smells were present during the unboxing.

As always, here is everything you get in the box in a formal format:
1x carrying pouch
1x TRI i3
1x MMCX cable
1x S/M/L set of white silicone ear-tips
1x S/M/L set of grey silicone ear-tips
1x pair of foam ear-tips

Mr. Bairon and how he deals with business -

I had a chance to communicate directly over email with Mr. Bairon, and I have some respect for the man. Before I go on, I want to state loud and clear: this opinion doesn’t put any bias or alter my experience with the TRI i3, it’s just to show some respect for someone who deserves it.

He is somebody who is very humble, and the part which I respect the most: he accepts criticism and feedback. In the business world, this is something that is almost completely absent. When you are a business, especially an owner of an earphone/headphone/speaker company, the most important thing is that you listen to the users. There are a lot of owners who believe their product is the best and will either get offended or attack you if you give them criticism and feedback. Unfortunately, it’s a common issue. I am very happy to see somebody go the right way about their business. I personally gave some feedback and suggestions to Mr. Bairon - he listened and said he would be implementing it in his next product.

Mr. Bairon is somebody who works with the community. However, I don’t think anybody actually did enough to bring this to attention. Some people did and they are: @B9Scrambler (thecontraptionist.blog), @NymPHONOmaniac (nobsaudiophile.wordpress.com and also owner NBBA group on Facebook), and @Otto Motor (one of the tuners, author at audioreviews.org) himself. For KBEAR’s Diamond model, @Otto Motor and KopiOkaya (author at audioreviews.org) helped with the tuning, while @Slater (author at audioreviews.org and active Head-Fier) suggested the name. It’s nice to see that Mr. Bairon is able to be in touch with the community.. taking it a step further by involving some community members to bring his product to life.

It is clear that Mr. Bairon listens to feedback, and I can only see his company becoming bigger and better. KBEAR and TRI haven’t disappointed yet.

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Build quality -

One of the first impressions I got with the TRI i3 was how well built it is. “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. The only plastic used was on the chin slider (c'mon you cannot take this into consideration), all other parts were made out of metal.

I tried to find something which I didn’t like regarding the build quality. Something like a flaw, but I simply couldn’t find it. I was very pleased with the CNC aluminum alloy construction of the shells, the thicker metal grill, the metal housing for the MMCX, the metal housing of the Y-splitter, the metal housing of the 3.5mm jack.

The only thing which could be improved would be to have a metal chin slider (the same design of the chin slider on the Diamond). Another suggestion (based on my personal preference) would be to have a smaller housing for the 3.5mm (or 2.5mm) jack. I think that it’s more functional to have a smaller housing, it is also sleeker. It’s not as though the housing is too big, it’s more about the length of it, I think that shorter + sleeker ones are not only sexier but more functional - you never want a large “thing” sticking out of your source. At least I don’t, I don’t know about you.

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Design - Silver Surfer?

I was thinking to myself: T-1000 (from Terminator 2) or the Silver Surfer? I made the conclusion that it was more like the Silver Surfer. Why? I guess that the Silver Surfer was more silver and shiny.. but also more organic.

On a serious note, KBEAR did an excellent job regarding the design. The shells are gorgeous. They have a very organic shape with nice curves. I can say the same about the cable, highly flexible, and of great quality. The cable follows the standards in the industry (in terms of labeling) - red is right, blue is left.. oh wait. In this case, it’s clear, but as long as you have one Red/Blue, you will know which one is which. Let's not forget that the cable is a MCMX 4-core single crystal-copper silver-plated cable. Phew.. that was almost like a chemistry element. On a good note, I like how the MCMX connector stays in place and doesn't rotate too easily. I wish this was a standard with MCMX connectors (usually they are flimsy and spin all over the place)

I appreciate the subtle branding. There isn’t one place where you have KBEAR or TRI logo screaming at you. There is only “TRI” engraved on the Y-splitter, and it reminds me of Final Audio’s branding (in a positive way).

I already mentioned this, but the only thing that I would change would be the included carrying pouch, the one with the Diamond is more functional and convenient.

Comfort -

Those who heard my opinion about my first impressions (only based on 20 minutes with the TRI i3 that I spend when I received them) will know how I feel about the comfort aspect. These are among the most comfortable IEM’s despite their large size. They definitely have a nice weight to them, and you can feel them in your ears.

Ergonomics are 10/10 for me, the fit is perfect and the seal is tight like it should be. The angle of the nozzle and size of the nozzle also suit my ear, it’s very rare to find an IEM which has perfect fit out of the box. It only took me once to change the ear-tips (to the grey ones), and I knew they were the ones.

I don’t remember seeing this is any other IEM, but with the TRI i3’s nozzle (which has a lip), I discovered that you could get two different placements of the ear-tips: one which goes to the bottom of the nozzle (this should be the intended way, since the ear-tips goes below the lip which holds them). In this placement, the nozzle is closer to your ear canal. The second way to place the ear-tips is where they go the bottom of the lip (up to the lip). Mr. Bairon said that he intends people to wear them in the 2nd type of placement (where ear-tips go up to the lip), he said “Sound is more smooth and natural”.

I find this very interesting and pleasing, although I believe that KBEAR didn’t do this intentionally. Usually, the lip is located at the very top of the nozzle, but in TRI i3’s case, it’s placed in the middle of the nozzle. Either way, I like it and would suggest KBEAR to implement this “feature” in their future products.

I do have to say that this is one of the most comfortable IEM’s which I had in my ears.

Driver Flex -

None. Always appreciate no driver flex

Sound -

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Lows

The bottom end is well defined, although not quite balanced. The sub-bass is more dominant than the mid-bass, hence why the mid-bass can be lacking the definition and punch at times. It isn’t as tight and present (mid-bass) as you would expect from an IEM of this size.

You have to keep in mind that the TRI i3 features a planar magnetic driver, this means that a good source is a must. I found myself using the Tempotec Serenade iDSD for the majority of the time.

I find it (bass response) heavily depending on the genre, and it varied from song to song - In “Exhale (feat. Sia)” by kenzie, the bass is quite “aggressive” and has a very nice weight, while in some hip-hop (or trap) songs you can feel the lack of the punch.

On a positive note, the TRI i3 is the only IEM that was able to produce the thump in the introduction of “Do I Wanna Know?” by Arctic Monkeys. This is where I initially fell in love with it.

I loved how the TRI i3 kept up with the bassline in Kendrick Lamar’s “LOYALTY. FEAT. RIHANNA.”, it could reproduce the weight and body of the bassline. Overall the bottom end has very good weight, however lacks definition and punch, this is definitely something KBEAR can perfect. And I know that KBEAR is capable of getting it right.

“Lux Aeterna” by Clint Mansell is also a gorgeous composition to listen to for the lows (even though they are very subtle). I think that TRI i3 would benefit from a sub-bass extension (and also perfecting that mid-bass response) Interestingly enough I found that Jade Audio EA3 (my daily driver for the past 6 months) was able to hit lower notes - even in Lux Aeterna, you can notice it. While not a valid comparison, I would still love to see a KBEAR product that is able to reproduce the low region better.

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Mids

I have to say that this might be the best region (besides the soundstage) of the TRI i3. I really enjoyed its vocal performance and representation, I would say that they have very present mids. The timbre and overall tonality of the TRI i3 are done very well, it’s able to produce a very accurate sound of the instruments (although it lacks the lower and top-end extension to make the whole mid-range perfect). I do have to say that the mids are leaning towards the warm sound signature. The edge or sparkle is what has been softened.

While I did find them enjoyable for long-listening sessions, I did find the mid-range to be lacking dynamics - I’ll go over this in my conclusion. Mids are slightly forward and more present. This creates a fuller sound characteristic, more “crowded” if you will.

I strongly believe that the sound performance as a whole could be more lively if I found the correct source. I do have to say that the sound performance is a bit lifeless and “flat” (not referring to the frequency response) without the bottom end and top end of the mids.

I came to this conclusion after spending time with the TRI i3 - there isn’t one particular track where this is prominent. I could reference the same tracks as in my previous reviews; In “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen - a highly energetic track. Specifically, at mark 2:17 there should be more of the top end present, this is something I noticed through other songs where vocals are also energetic and “intense”. The same goes for "The Winner Takes It All" by ABBA or several tracks from Lana Del Rey.

This is something exclusive to my personal preference. Take a very clear note of this, because TRI i3 has a very good mid-range performance. I myself like to feel some parts of music. What can happen if you feel (a trait of lower bottom end, and higher top-end) is fatigue. KBEAR went the safe way and didn’t do that. I think the majority of people prefer this sound signature, and this is something you should be aware of. Even though it didn’t meet up to my personal preference, it definitely wasn’t bad. I actually did enjoy using the TRI i3 a lot, especially for vocal tracks. It’s just being nit-picky, that tiny piece which is missing to the puzzle - the piece which puts it all together. What am I trying to say here? The mid-range performance is good!

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Highs

While the TRI i3 doesn’t provide the sparkle and energy of the top-end, it is definitely not warm. It has a very clean treble performance, very pleasing to the ear. The top-end is rolled off, and thus some of us will find that it lacks sparkle and delivery of some higher notes.

Getting the treble tuned correctly is much harder than some think, you must know where the fine line is - the line where the treble isn’t bright and fatiguing, but also not too rolled off, to the point where you lose the details and energy from the top-end.

I could definitely feel the lack of the top top-end, especially considering that I listen to dynamic songs with open vocals, some intense guitar solo’s, and also music with the presence of instruments such as the piano or violins.

Jo A Ram’s cover of “Soldier of Fortune” is a perfect example. You can feel that there is a lack of some details, as well as lack of that top top-end which defines the violin itself. This can also be felt in a song that I often use for testing - Travis Scott’s “Stop Trying to Be God”. At mark 5:19 (where Stevie Wonder’s harmonica hits its peak) you can notice that the sparkle is missing.

This being said, don’t take it as though the TRI i3 is warm with the mention of treble being rolled off. I am just referring to the highest notes; besides them, the treble response is very pleasant and clean. This will also depend from source to source, it’s very possible that I haven’t found the “match” for the TRI i3 (I am talking about a source here). One thing is for sure - it’s fatigue-free, so you are safe for long-listening sessions. If you don't mind the sparkle and are looking for a good and clean treble response which mostly isn't rolled off, then the TRI i3 should be able to satisfy you.

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Soundstage -

The soundstage is quite large. In some cases, it sounded too realistic.. very close to an open-back headphone. Perhaps the eerily realistic “The Dogs of War” by Pink Floyd. Oh boy. It sounds very realistic, as though there is a mysterious creature breathing right behind your left ear.

This is seriously a great track, and I suggest you give it a listen- see whether it’s so realistic to the point where it’s scary. It isn’t? You need either a headphone or an IEM like the TRI i3 to experience it.

Can you imagine what this bad boy would do when watching movies? I’m curious too, I still didn’t have much free time to give any movie a watch.

Another track from Pink Floyd - “Dogs”. The guitar which is panned to the left is positioned slightly back. TRI i3 represents this space very well - like it should since this isn’t a very crowded track.

“Wish You Were Here” - Pink Floyd is another good example. You can hear the acoustical guitar being nice and distant (panned to the left), and another acoustical guitar being closer (panned to the right)

While we are talking about Pink Floyd, we cannot miss the track “Dogs” from their 10th album - Animals. I would specifically like to focus on imaging in this track, particularly from mark 3:48 - 3:59. The way TRI i3 was able to capture the drum rolling, it was a very realistic and accurate representation as to where the drum was. The drums roll around your head, and it’s gorgeous and enjoyable! As some say, it’s a holographic soundstage. Using this exact song, I found that Jade Audio EA3 (which is a much lower priced item) was keeping up with the imaging of the drums quite well (for its price)!

Lastly, how can we not include Fleetwood Mac. Let’s just take their record “The Chain - 2004 Remaster” - Blows your brains out in terms of both imaging and soundstage. The guitar panned to the left goes far beyond the IEM’s themselves. TRI i3 was able to very accurately reproduce that the guitar was located on the left, but it was more than capable of just representing that it was located on the left - it was able to reproduce that it was located behind the vocals. The interesting thing is that here it’s more about the depth than the width; I say this because the guitar isn’t panned far left, rather it’s fairly close to the singer, but it is very audible that it is placed behind the vocals.

I couldn’t find an IEM which was able to compete with TRI i3 in terms of the soundstage and imaging. Jade Audio EA3 could be mentioned only if we took width into consideration.. When it comes to depth, it simply couldn’t keep up with the incredible accuracy and representation of the TRI i3.

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Conclusion -

This is exactly what I wanted to hear from the TRI i3. A very mature performance. I think that the soundstage and imaging alone would be the selling point of these bad boys, but you can’t forget to mention the other fields in which TRI i3 has a very good performance. There is always field for improvement, this is why I took my time to give as much feedback as possible in this review. I think it is crucial, especially for a company that didn’t release many models yet. Most of the critics I gave were given due to the price range of the TRI i3, so keep this in mind.

TRI i3 is a fatigue-free IEM, but that fatigue-free characteristic has its traits. Due to the absence of the top top-end, and the weight and definition of the lower end (mainly mid-bass), TRI i3 can definitely have a much better dynamic range and definition of sound. This isn’t to say that it was bad, actually quite the opposite - it was good. There is always better than the “good”, and I strongly believe you should keep an eye on KBEAR and what models it will release in the future.

I am very pleased to say that I can recommend the TRI i3. It’s a great IEM and one which has a very mature performance, especially in its price range.

I will give my opinion and two cents about what can be improved. While the soundstage is huge, what happens in some more crowded tracks is that the sound takes up more space, leaving the sound characteristic to be not very spacious. This doesn’t use the huge soundstage efficiently, as though each note isn’t very defined, thus taking up more space of that soundstage. I strongly suggest that the team focuses on perfecting the soundstage, because it’s about taking advantage of the soundstage - not taking it for granted.

What I did notice is that TRI i3 would greatly benefit from more detail and definition in sound. I found the overall performance to be a bit flat. This is mainly due to the lack of mid-bass definition and quantity, but also top top-end (which contributes to sparkle, this is very important for intense vocals and instruments). Let’s put it like this: What makes a piano key feel like a piano key? I would say that it’s the sonic characteristics of it. When lower notes are hit, you will feel the bottom end of it, while when the higher notes are hit, you will feel that tingly feeling in your ears. This is also known as definition/resolution (“The ability of a component to reveal the subtle information that is fundamental to high fidelity sound” definition by @fordgtlover). You can only achieve this if the IEM is able to produce those frequencies with good clarity and detail. Clarity and detail are what would make the TRI i3 a different kind of performer. I would also recommend putting this field as one of the highest priorities. TRI i3 is only missing that depth to the sound which would take it to a whole different level.

As a quick note - unfortunately, the website which is printed on the packaging “triaudio.cn” isn’t their official website, so that’s a quick heads up. I am not certain about the email, but I would stay safe and be in direct communication with KBEAR - the manufacturer. I can assume that this issue will be fixed with the future products

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DallaPo

New Head-Fier
Pros: natural, relaxed and musical sound
no negative outliers over the entire frequency response
very good implementation of three different sound creation technologies...
Cons: ...yet maybe even more would have been possible
the bass could be a little tighter
the middles could shine even more with more presence
Rating: 8.5
Sound: 8.3

Intro
TRI has launched 3 products on the market so far. The i4, which would have deserved a little more attention for my taste, the i3 and their new flagship model, the Starlight. Thus the subsidiary of KBEAR focuses more on class (which I can attest at least to the i4 and, anticipating this, also to the i3) than mass, which makes it a positive phenomenon in the fast-moving Chi-Fi world.

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Handling
Are your hands wellwashed? Touch the i3 and we'll see quickly. With its chrome look it's a real eye-catcher (memories of the Kanas Pro will come back), but it's also a fingerprint magnet.
The case is surprisingly thick. Even though the i3 uses three different types of drivers, I'm convinced that this can be stored more compactly, but maybe this is resonance-wise well thought out to the last detail :wink: However, this does not have a negative effect on the wearing comfort, which is also very pleasant in the long run.

The scope of delivery is not as extensive as for example with BGVP, but still very appealing. The cable was copied from the TIN HIFI P1 (MMCX) and found to be good. I think so too, so it fits! It comes with a small bag with TRI logo, two kinds of silicone tips and a pair of foam tips. Very solid, but also a must for the price.

TRI could have paid a bit more attention to the workmanship, so that there are no protruding edges between the case and the faceplate. This reduces the haptic impression a little bit.

The isolation is quite good, but doesn't quite come up to the sealing of universal custom in-ears, which nestle even better to the ear.

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Sound
In contrast to the IEMs from the parent company KBEAR, TRI always provides us with a very secure tuning without having to sacrifice musical content.

The bass of the i3 is rather from the softer side and does not necessarily impress with a firm and fast punch. The bass is, so to speak, quite sluggish, which in turn provides a rather warm and full sound. It's not bloated, but sounds very natural in its response and gives notes more weight, which is definitely to my taste. Nevertheless it should be a bit tighter and develop more pressure.

The mids are a bit set back, but in any case one of the strengths of the i3. They simply sound damn authentic, no matter if voices or instruments. At the same time they are very relaxed and stroll effortlessly over the provided music material. Here you can quickly lose yourself and immerse yourself in the music. The bass thickens the mids a little bit, but they counter that as far as possible without building up excessive hardness. That's what I call contemporary educational methods. Concerning the resolution, there is still some potential for improvement, but the i3 still performs above average here. Sometimes voices get lost in the mix too much for my taste, but that shouldn't diminish the tonal qualities of the mids.

Like the bass and mids, the trebles are very balanced and pleasant and invite you to long listening sessions. One might think that the high frequencies lack a bit of level, but this is more likely to be due to the source device, as the planar driver prefers to be woken up with a bucket of water rather than with a birdsong alarm clock. The trebles have a very good extension and sound realistic without becoming artificial. Certainly nothing for treble heads, but some high-frequency sensitive people will certainly appreciate the presentation of the i3 without feeling that they have to do without information.

Separation isn't the i3's greatest strength, but for that it can score points in the stage expansion. It could be a bit more differentiated in depth, but the panoramic image is very well done and sweeping.

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Outro
The TRI i3 is a very relaxed, natural and musical IEM that lacks a little technical sophistication despite the driver configuration. You get the feeling that with the technology used (dynamic, BA & Planar driver) something more would have been possible, which could catapult the i3 into other spheres. What's left is a very pleasing IEM that will please a lot of people and provide information more subtly without hiding it. No peaks, mostly well controlled sibilants, an appealingly detailed and transparent sound that could have a bit more presence in the mids and also has potential in layering and level stability of the high frequencies. Hours of musical enjoyment are guaranteed with the TRI i3, without having to sacrifice musicality. It works better with a higher output level, especially with regard to the planar driver (tweeter). If the latter gets more power, the i3 opens up even more and offers more aha-experiences without being artificial.

Thanks to OARDIO for the review unit.
https://www.oardio.com/earphones/tri/tri-i3-iem-planar-tribrid.html

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More reviews: CHI-FIEAR
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baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Balanced tuning, coherent and organic tonality.
Big speaker-like soundstage.
Good timbre for a hybrid.
Good imaging.
Accurate bass.
Sublime mids.
Forgiving of poorly recorded material.
Cons: Super large shells that are fingerprint magnets.
Questionable MMCX quality.
Average isolation.
Lack of treble sparkle for trebleheads.
Clarity and details not the best.
Amping is quite mandatory to wake up the planars inside.
Disclaimer:
I bought the TRI I3 at my own expense from the HIFIGO Aliexpress shop. A slight reviewer discount was provided.

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Specifications:
  • Driver: 1x 10mm Planar Magnetic + 1x Balanced Armature + 1x Composite Dynamic 8mm Driver
  • Sensitivity: 103dB/mW
  • Frequency response: 20 - 40000Hz
  • Impedence: 15Ω
  • Cable: MMCX detachable cable

Accessories:
In addition to the IEM, it comes with:
1) Detachable 3.5 mm stock copper cable (MMCX) - well braided with chin cinch. Minimally microphonic.

2) Two types of stock silicone tips in various sizes - white and grey ones. The white stock ones have wider bores whereas the grey ones have narrower bores. I preferred the latter as they boosted the bass a bit more for my personal preferences.

3) Foam tips

4) Velvet pouch

I know not everyone here believes in cables changing the sound signature, but the TRI I3 is a warmish and analogue sounding IEM, and silver plated cables tended to sharpen the details and clarity subtly compared to the stock copper cable, which made it warmer. Also after tip rolling a few sets, I found tenmark whirlwinds provided the best fit and sound signature, but YMMV as we all have different ear anatomies.

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Build/Comfort:
The TRI I3 is seriously the largest shelled IEM I have come across in my past 30 or so owned or auditioned IEMs. The shell is not that heavy however, but in view of the large size, it is definitely not one for sleeping on, and there will be some element of protrusion from the ears. I have average sized ears and found the comfort level moderate.

I did not note any driver flex.

One thing to note is that the metal mirror like finish may attract fingerprints, so the OCD among us may not appreciate this.

I generally prefer 2 pin connectors to MMCX for longevity and even compared to other CHIFI with MMCX, the TRI I3's MMCX connectors do not look very sturdy during cable changing. I'm not confident they can survive multiple cable rolling, so best to just put one cable on it and leave it be.


Isolation:
Average isolation with stock tips.

I value isolation highly for stage monitoring and transit purposes, and unfortunately, the TRI I3 would not be the best options for these two activities due to the average isolation. Different eartips may affect the isolation to some degree, but don't expect superb isolation such as in the unvented or small BA type IEMs in general.


Drivability:
The TRI I3 is drivable from smart phones, though the sound is meh at best. Amping is quite mandatory to wake up the planars to help the TRI I3 scale to its optimal performance and hence achieve good soundstage, dynamics and details.

The TRI I3 doesn't distort with ramping up the volume, so there is even a danger of turning up the volume knob to enjoy the music more (though this might not be wise for hearing health in the long term!)


Soundstage:
Height, width and depth of soundstage are huge, probably one benefit of the sumo-sized shells. Some instruments can be heard at the back of the ears on certain tracks. I've heard more expensive close backed IEMs with slightly wider soundstages than the TRI I3, but the TRI I3 has one of the more holographic soundstages in a closed back IEM around $150 USD. There are similarly priced open backed type IEMs with possibly larger soundstages than the TRI I3, but you get penalties in isolation due to their open backed nature.

One thing to note is that amping is quite mandatory to achieve this wide soundstage as the planars inside need some juice.


Sound:
The TRI I3 is a warm set, being just a tinge U shaped, with very good balance, coherency and tonality despite the highly unique DD + planar + BA configuration. The analogue like sound does help the TRI I3 to be pretty forgiving of poorly recorded material.

I found the TRI I3's clarity and details to be above average but not classleading compared to some other midfi CHIFI eg Audiosense T800. Instrument separation and imaging are top notch on the TRI I3, assisted by the huge soundstage.

The timbre of the TRI I3 is very good, considering it is a hybrid. It won't beat some well tuned DD setups (eg KBEAR Diamond, BLON BL-03) in the timbre department, but it comes pretty close. Note weight is moderate.

Bass:
The TRI I3's bass descends linearly from midbass to subbass, so occasionally there is a lack of midbass punch, but I find the bass quantity adequate for my basshead preferences.

Bass quality is speedy, detailed and accurate with moderate subbass rumble. Extension of subbass is not the best, but amping helps the extension and bass quantity to some extent. There is no midbass bleed to my ears.

Mids:
Mids are the star of the show. The planars handling the mids are truly special and superbly smooth. There's a very slight lower mids recession with upper mids boost, but mids are overall detailed, clean and lush. The TRI I3 also avoids the usual CHIFI sawtooth upper mids peak, so they are generally very non fatiguing and smooth. (There's an occasional 3kHz hump, but it isn't harsh most of the time).

Treble:
The TRI I3's treble is safe and non fatiguing. Trebleheads may not look at the TRI I3's treble too favourably as such, and indeed there is some loss of details, sparkle and clarity in the treble frequencies compared to brighter CHIFI eg Audiosense T800. But I feel there is a tradeoff between a non fatiguing listen versus brightness and details, especially if you intend to have long listening sessions.

Sibilance in the TRI I3 is mild and quite track dependent. There's a slight 8 kHz peak which gives some shimmer to cymbals that is not overbearing.


Conclusion:
The TRI I3 can be summarized as such: Sumo-sized Shells, Silky Smooth Sublime Symphonia, Speaker-like Soundstage, Subdued Sparkle.

On a serious note, the TRI I3 is a good entry level midfi CHIFI for those looking for a balanced tuning, coherent tonality and excellent soundstage with a non fatiguing listen. Perhaps only trebleheads and bassheads may find the tuning not to their tastes, but this can be an easy recommendation for most others in this hobby. The smooth planar mids are the star here, though it truly needs amping to shine to its true potential.

Thanks for reading, and hope everyone and their families stay safe during this coronovirus situation!!
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J
jmwant
Nice review 👍

activatorfly

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Stunning mid-tier level rendering of micro-details, strings & vocals!
Big “live” energetic signature & refined treble extension
Sublime mid-centric balanced sound signature
Accurate & tight bass/sub-bass
Non-sibilant, non-fatiguing for prolonged listening
3D holophonic deep/ wide sound-stage, imaging & layering
Cons: Unpronounced bass/sub-bass (- but not bass-light)
Bulky housing shells – hence tip experimentation is required for correct seal
Metal shells are fingerprint magnets & cold touch in Winter
Average (- but usable) stock cable & tips
Poor quality MMCX connectors
Once again, dealing with the friendly AK Audio store (product link below) was an absolute breeze, the parcel dispatched speedily – arrived in time (totally avoiding the chaos of Chinese New Year!)
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000366807250.html

Out of the box, the provided stock accessories, cable and tips are usable but these are in need of upgrading - in order to reveal & maximize the audiophile qualities of the Tri-i3.

Whilst the stock cable sounds great (regardless of source) Tri - as a new company, recommends pairing their sets with quality Kinboofi cables. Hence, I opted to include a parcel upgrade bundle: Kinboofi 4-core pure copper/silver plated/ gold mix 2.5mm balanced cable – which was also acquired via AK Audio store, product link: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32968749034.html?

The above cable oozes quality from the jack plug to strain reliefs, its perfection & the results are jaw-dropping – taking the Tri to a much higher level sonically – presenting crisper micro details, improved imaging & adding an “airy” 3D stage. Mids totally spring to life & become embellished alongside a tighter, better resolved bass. In this case, coated/pure silver wins out over copper cable – as any added warmth is negated, because the Tri’s tuning is already perceptibly warm.


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Despite this, the i3 do have some caveats to take into consideration: the mmcx connectors are of questionable quality, especially with a view to possible repeated cable exchange – hence it’s probably advisable to leave the upgrade attached, rather than attempting any cable rolling.

Also the bulkier shells do take some getting used to – in comparison to those of a compact form factor…hence ear protrusion is more noticeable. Plus the CNC metal is very cold to the touch and is an obvious fingerprint magnet.

However, these niggles become totally insignificant once you experience their "floor speaker-like", superbly all-enveloping big sound…which transports the listener out of the realms of low-end chi-fi…..into wondrous mid-tier territory - instantly incredibly addictive!

Subsequent to achieving the best seal, & once you become accustomed to their size…the extra heft eventually becomes appreciated as an asset – the shells now seemingly redolent of Campfire Audio Andromeda ( - obviously minus the very much lighter wallet...haha!)


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Build/Fit:
The CNC metal is extremely durable and very eye-catching. Whilst not an amazing fit, the set is fairly ergonomic & streamlined enough to be retained by the ears’ tragus (worn over-ear.) As I was experiencing some tip slippage, Dsnuts recommended that I try using foam tips, as an alternative to achieve greater grip. Instead, I modded (wide bore) Spiral Dots & added a pair of the supplied tips, with their inner column cut off. Attaching these modded tips underneath the Spiral Dots, pads them out – which fortunately results in a much better grip & near perfect seal. Tri isolation is easily well above average - minimal leakage is heard, even with the volume cranked up.

Soundstage:
The large shell housing of the Tri is most probably the reason why their sound-stage is so large. I’m currently using my set to mix electronica tracks, that combines analogue synthesizers, with VST plugins, sequenced by iPad app or DAW via laptop – hence an increased stage, imagery and layering is greatly appreciated, whether actively composing tracks ( & listening passively.)
For some LP’s they are more 3D holophonic, both in terms of width and depth – now not just limited to height…but also front and rear placement also are perceived (- I’ve been reliably informed their stage is similar to Solaris!) Hence, complex tracks never get congested or too intimate, whereas on an experiential level they sound “live” – thus akin to binaural recordings!
Classical/electronica never sounded quite this good! - Instrument timbres really pop out of the mix – the combination of large shells with planar disc makes such a huge difference to the stage.
SciOC stated that in his experience with RHA CL2, after a significant burn in period, planar does improve over time (i.e. > 200 hours) whereby imaging and layering could potentially match or exceed high–end multi BA configurations, once fully burned in.

Tuning / Sound Signature:
The triple hybrid driver configuration is tuned to absolute perfection, resolving timbres of instruments amazingly well - adding to the overall authentic signature. Their warm tonality is very analogue rather than cold or analytical. Not overly bright, details are transparent & revealing, whilst retaining an energetic presentation.

Highs:
Treble extension is quite sublime, the planar driver doing an incredible job of reproducing timbres of instruments, whereby strings sound lush, classical instruments, guitars all sound stunningly authentic, whilst the attack and decay of percussion is extremely realistic. Not a trace of transient peaks, shoutiness or sibilance is heard – thus they are non-fatiguing with no post ear-ringing.

Mids:
The real star of the show are the truly sublime mids. They’re well extended and lush, maintaining the addictive nature of the sound signature. For fans of mid-centric iems this set is ideal. The stage, image separation and instrument placement all benefit from such classy mids.

Bass:
Once a good seal is achieved there is enough quantity of bass/sub-bass which underpins the mids rather than being too forward in the mix. Maybe the inclusion of a larger 10mm DD would emphasize the mid bass, thus giving it more energy. If bass notes could be tuned to sound slightly punchier, without overshadowing the mids - this would help improve image separation and instrument layering.
Switching from the stock copper cable to the upgraded 4-core Kinboofi silver cable, there is a perceptible improvement in bass tightness and low end rumble presence.

Amp Scalability:
Easily the best set I've heard in this regard, the Tri never distort, maintain clarity & always remain in control, with no treble or bass roll-off. Whether being amped via a warm SE/Balanced source – an audiophile hi-fi sweet spot is attained easily, whereby micro detail retrieval is bolstered, resulting in an engaging and encompassing listen.

EQ response: Responds amazingly well to an additional frequency boost via laptop & Behringer soundcard: Midas pre-amps make them really shine. Experimenting with different settings with software such as: Boom 3D - the stage goes way deeper than sets I've heard so far - seems to effortlessly convert tracks to binaural recordings! I found that increasing bands from 20-250Hz had an overall beneficial effect on boosting bass and sub-bass, without any muddiness. The bandwidth between 300-120KHz doesn’t need any additional EQ.

Musicality:
The truly outstanding quality of Tri-i3 in ear monitors is their musicality - their amazing authentic timbre (paired with Kinboofi cable) is like having a pair of my beloved Bowers & Wilkins speakers strapped to your head! (Mine are connected up to my Nad 3020a – a classic analogue amp!) Dsnuts agrees that their sound signature compares favourably with high-end sets such as: iBasso IT04 & CA Andromeda.

The warm tuning coupled with the extra energy and micro detailing provided by the Kinboofi cable – results in a very more-ish, refined, all-encompassing sonic experience.
Additionally, superb mids adds to an incredibly musical signature, excelling with a wide gamut of genres (especially Classical/Vocals & Electronica) imbibing tracks with a “live” presentation. After one week’s period of burn in, the planar seems to be more transparent & revealing.

Comparisons:
NX7: The three-way hybrid configuration presents an extra level of energy compared to the results in a more refined TOTL level set. The piezoelectric of the NX7 boosted bass, treble, and detail retrieval, however they were unable to reduce shouty transient peaks and produced inauthentic instrument timbres, & made percussion sound very plastic indeed. The triple hybrid of the Tri matches their energy & totally negates transients, with a more refined, better stage, mid-centric presentation.

DB3: extra bass from the single DD driver coupled with upfront mids helps with instrument timbres, separation and layering - but alas their bass presentation eventually becomes a bit of a one trick pony. The mid-tier Tri obviously trumps them on every sonic level.

Hibiscus Diamond: Star of the show is the supplied copper cable….providing extra warmth & bass/sub-bass, however the tuning of the carbon diaphragm dynamic driver, pushes mids far too forward. However they do remain a good mobile set, but again, not in the same ballpark as Tri.

Blon BL-03: A/B’ing this set with Tri-i3 totally reveals their shortcomings. Scalability of the Blon is poor; they become unlistenable at similar high volume levels. It’s also apparent how they lack energy/ excitement, treble is more smoothed out & rolls off. Consequently vocals & instrument timbres seem distant & unengaging; the stage is far less deep, when compared to the Tri.


Listening preferences:
Ambient Internet Radio (NTS) / Binaural Soundscapes / Live Gigs, Vocals / Jazz & Soundtracks.

Classical / Electronica / FLAC LP’s:

· Andy Dragazis - Afterimages ( 2019) Soundscapes appear visceral, airy and binaural, the timbre of strings is wonderful & otherworldly underpinned by suspenseful cello - a soundtrack that constantly leaves you in a state of endless goosebumps!

· Nicolas Godin: Contrepoint & Concrete and Glass – particularly stand out, traversing between traditional & electronic instrumentation. Tri effortlessly resolves tracks, maintaining timbre authenticity (– regardless of any genre switching.) Tracks fluctuate between electronica, pop, rock, jazz, classical & authentic - layered with silky female vocals & vocoders...simply devine!

· Anna Meredith - Fibs (2019) Tracks are incredibly busy, with complex multi-layering of guitars, classical instruments, electronics & female vocals. You are placed in the centre of all this aural activity, totally distinguishing placement & layering of instruments, the resulting imaging sounding incredibly 3D & holophonic!

Sources:
Balanced
: Best synergy is attained listening to FLAC files via Sony NW-ZX300a - DAP remains distortion-free at max volume. The Sony’s blue-tooth receiver mode (with vinyl processor adds extra “analogue” warmth) is an ideal way to experience balanced out from my Dell 7559 Laptop.
SE Output: Behringer UMC404HD / Xiaomi Mi 9T smartphone / iPad Air3 / Dell 7559 Laptop / Cayin N3 & NX4 DSD/DAC (- gain switch increases all frequencies plus quantity of bass slam / rumble of sub-bass.) Tri allows for volume levels over > halfway, with no distortion & resolve at optimum clarity.

Conclusion:
The triple hybrid configuration is tuned to absolute perfection….making this set the perfect introduction to mid-tier gear! It’s hard to nit-pick any faults with them, especially considering their incredible value & bang for buck!

I feel that the journey of collecting sets from NX7 > Blon, has resulted in this latest landmark mid-tier set. Obviously, affordable mid-tier budget sets are becoming quite a crowded area - all vying for attention. Tri-i3 should be included for consideration on any shortlist, hence I wholeheartedly recommend them!

I’ll definitely be looking forward to future iterations of this set, with boosted bass & sub-bass – maybe implementing, e.g. a larger 10mm bio-cellulose diaphragm driver into the configuration (- as used in Tri-i4.)

It will be essential to address the poor quality issue of the mmcx connectors– which will in turn improve confidence in future cable switching. Additionally, my wish-list would include: a smaller form factor, suitable for mobile usage (however, I wouldn't want to compromise the large stage!) Despite any drawbacks - the set excels with all genres and are an absolute no-brainer imho!

To continue the sporting analogy of the opening headline: With the release of i3....Tri have well & truly “Knocked it out of the Park!” :smile_phones:


Ratings:
  • Build: 93
  • Bass: 87
  • Mids: 95
  • Treble: 95
  • Imaging/Layering: 90
  • Soundstage: 90
  • Fit: 80
  • Accessories: 80
  • Price: 95
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warbles
Oh dear. AK Audio are the ones that sent me a useless set of Blons. And when i recorded the vid trying to capture how faint the sound was in one earpiece, they rejected it! Really messed me up ...will never buy from them again
activatorfly
activatorfly
All my dealings with AK store have been fine...they usually rectify any issues you experience...you could try to contact them again?
P
pinnoy
Just got these. Currently sits at the top of my collection as the best IEM I've had so far. I had the Blon BL03, TRN BA5, TRN V90, QKZ VK4, KZ SE4, OPERA Factory OM1, Tin T2, **** ****, Moondrop Starfield and Audio Technica Super Bass.

Soundwise, they have a fantastically wide soundstage. The separate sounds that you hear on your left and right are deliciously amplified and very clear, much like they sound as if they are also the stars of the show. This is the first time I've heard this on any earphone. On other earphones, the center is clear, while the sides can be veiled or they take the backseat. Not here. The Center and Sides both sound equally clear and prominent.
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