General Information


  • Dual DD: 10mm Beryllium Diaphragm + 6mm Titanium Diaphragm
  • Precision Switches
  • German 3D Printing Resin
  • N52 Strong Magnet System

Technical Specifications​

  • Brand: TRI
  • Model: Star River
  • Color: Blue/ Green
  • Impedance: 32Ω
  • Sensitivity: 110dB@1KHz
  • FR Range: 20-20Khz
  • Driver: Dual dynamic
  • Type: In-ear earphone
  • Cavity material: German imported resin
  • Interface: 0.78mm 2PIN
  • Plug: 3.5mm/4.4mm(plated with gold)
  • Cable material: Oxygen-free copper plated with silver
  • Cable length: 120CM±3CM

Latest reviews


Headphoneus Supremus
Cry Me a River
Pros: Moderately easy to drive
Decent accessories
Beautiful shells
Acceptable imaging
Cons: Switches are shenanigans
QC issues
Not the most comfortable
Tangly and microphonic stock cable
Average isolation
Second-rate technicalities (other than imaging)
Hot upper mids
Unnatural timbre

The TRI Star River is a personal purchase.

TRI Star River Cover Photo.jpeg

  • Driver configuration: Dual DD: 1 x 10 mm beryllium-plated dynamic driver, 1 x 6 mm titanium dynamic driver
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 110
  • Cable: 2-pin, 0.78 mm 3.5 mm or 4.4 mm, 5N oxygen-free copper-plated silver
  • Tested at $59 USD


TRI Star River Packaging.jpeg

Other than the IEMs, these are included in the accessories:
- 3 pairs of narrow-bore silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- 3 pairs of wide-bore TRI Clarion silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- Cable
- Carrying case
- Card pin
- Cleaning cloth

The accessories are quite decent for something retailing at sub-USD$60.

TRI Star River Eartips.jpeg

No foam tips are included. Of the two silicone tips provided, the black (narrow-bore) ones increase bass, though they compress the soundstage somewhat. The white Clarion tips have a wider bore and are more balanced – they also boost soundstage and treble.

TRI Star River Cable.jpeg

The 4-core, Litz braided, 5N oxygen-free, copper-plated silver cable is thin and tangly, with some microphonics. There’s a chin cinch for added stability during use. Consumers can choose between a 4.4mm (balanced) or 3.5mm (single-ended) cable when ordering.

While there is no lettering to delineate the sides of the cable terminations, as per usual convention, the right side has a red band.

TRI Star River Case.jpeg

Don’t lose the critical card pin! This is needed for flipping the tuning switches, as they are too small for a finger to manipulate. A semi-rigid zipper carrying case is provided. It has internal webbing and is pretty serviceable. There’s also a cleaning cloth for wiping down equipment.

The rest of this review was done with the stock cable and stock Clarion tips. No aftermarket accessories were used, so as not to add any confounders to the sound.


TRI Star River Photo 1.jpeg

The housings feature an exquisite marble star-like motif, in keeping with their namesake. The shells are fashioned from high-precision, 3D printed, non-allergenic resin from Germany via a seamless reverse molding process. One can opt for a green or a blue hued shell during purchase.

Strangely, the shells do not have any lettering to identify left from right. Experienced ChiFI aficionados should have no issues identifying sides, but those newer to the hobby might face difficulties.

TRI Star River Photo 3.jpeg

The sides of the earpieces house tuning switches, and the card pin is needed to flip these. The switches on one of my earpieces are so stiff that they require great force to toggle. The QC for my Star River seems dead in the water, and I doubt that the switches will survive many more manipulations.

Marketing documents state that the Star River housings are designed using an accumulation of data points and anatomical studies. The shells also integrate a unique pressurization chamber. There may be a grain of truth, as I do not encounter any driver flex in my set.

TRI Star River Photo 2.jpeg

Though the shells are light without awkward protrusions, I feel some tenderness with longer listening sessions, as the shells are huge. The Star River is heavily vented, and isolation takes a hit.


I tested the TRI Star River with the following sources:
- Apple dongle
- Cayin RU7
- Colorfly CDA M1 DAC/AMP dongle
- Creative Sound Blaster X5
- E1DA DAC/AMP dongle
- Hiby R3 Pro Saber 2022 DAP
- Khadas Tone Board -> Schiit Asgard 3 amp
- Khadas Tone Board -> Topping L30 amp
- Questyle M15 DAC/AMP dongle
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One WM1Z Plus v2 Mod)
- Sony Walkman NW A-55 DAP (Walkman One Neutral Mod)
- Sony Walkman NW WM1A DAP (Walkman One WM1Z Plus v2 Mod)
- Smartphone

The Star River is moderately easy to drive; amplification may be omitted, though feeding this IEM juice will grant greater dynamics and an increased soundstage.


This year seems to be the dual DD hype-train, and the Star River is one of the pioneers containing this technology. A 10 mm beryllium-plated dynamic driver in tandem with a smaller 6 mm titanium dynamic driver power this IEM. These are arranged in a parallel precision circuit, with N52 magnets and Japanese voice coils.

Beryllium has desirable properties, light yet elastic, allowing drivers to be rigid and rugged. TRI advertises that this beryllium DD generates a 1 Tesla magnetic flux, thus bestowing a clean sound with minimal distortion. TRI says the 6 mm titanium DD adds clarity and resolution to the high frequencies. Let’s read on to find out if this marketing promise is legitimate.


For a set whose main asset is the tuning switches, it is puzzling that the packaging manual contains zero information on what the switches do. After much searching online, there seems to be only a small diagram stating that there are four tuning permutations, with some flowery words with little substance.

TRI Star River Switches.png

In an era of audiophiles baying for graphs before deciding on a purchase, TRI seemingly dropped the ball by not providing any graphs. This lack of information made me suspicious of the claims.

TRI Star River Graph.jpg

Frequency response graphs of the Star River with various switches via an IEC711-compliant coupler.

Ah, it appears there is a duplicitous reason for this dearth of information. Two of the four tuning switches are useless! Even though there are a purported four distinct signatures on paper, as seen from independently measured graphs, only two variants of a V-shaped profile exist.

TRI Star River Switches 2.jpeg

The tuning switches on the Star River do not hold water and are literal switcheroos!

Of the two tonalities, one provides an old-school V-shaped profile with extended treble, whereas the other permutation injects a huge boost in upper mids with an early treble roll-off. The latter tuning augments the pinna gain to 11 dB, making vocals shouty and in-your-face but with a diametrically opposed dark treble.

I can't tolerate this second tuning option for more than a few minutes – the ice-pick upper mids combined with nasal timbre and missing upper treble are deal-breakers. So the rest of this review will be done with the first permutation, i.e., the extended treble with tamer upper mids, corresponding to the green/black graphs above.

Note weight is on the thinner side, and timbre has a metallic sheen in the higher frequencies, especially when acoustic instruments come out to play. The timbre is even more artificial when the red/blue switches (second tuning profile) are utilized, so timbre is not a strong point on the Star River.

With regards to technicalities, the Star River is very watered down in this area. Imaging is noteworthy, but note edges are blunted, the soundstage is average in all three dimensions, micro-details are middling, and instrument separation is mediocre. While the first tuning profile is the lesser of two evils, that’s a low bar to clear, and the Star River is a disappointment in tonality, timbre, and technicalities.

TRI Star River Photo 5.jpeg

The Star River is sub-bass focused. The bass is north of neutral but not at bonafide basshead levels. Sub-bass extension isn’t the deepest, though there’s some rumble heard in bassy tracks. The mid-bass is quite agile, though texturing is average, with some mid-bass bleed present.

In keeping with the V-shaped profile, the lower midrange is recessed. The previously mentioned mid-bass bleed warms this area, though the midrange is opaque due to the bass encroachment. The 1-3 kHz area is probably the most sensitive region for most ears, and unfortunately, the upper mids are very shouty on the second tuning setting. It is slightly mitigated on the first tuning option (green/black graph), but with louder volumes (Fletcher Munson curve), this frequency band can still be jarring.

The lower treble continues on from the over-zealous upper midrange, and the treble has moderate extension thereafter. The Star River is not too sparkly or airy on the first tuning option, and on the second tuning option (red/blue graphs), the treble drops off a cliff. Sibilance is present, and micro-details and clarity are not the best.


We will be comparing the Star River against other DD transducers. Pure BAs, planars, and hybrids are omitted, as the different driver types have their pros and cons.

TRI Star River Photo 4.jpeg

Simgot EA500

The EA500 is another tunable DD set, though this operates via screw-on nozzles. The EA500 can be neutral bright and a tinge shouty on one tuning option, but the other setting imparts a balanced Harmanish tonality.

These two sets are literally like oil and water. The EA500 boasts superior timbre and tonality. Technical chops are better on the EA500 – with improved instrument separation, micro-detailing, and clarity. Imaging is, however, superior on the Star River.

In addition, the EA500 is much easier to drive and come in a pretty mirror-like finish. No contest, if there is only one tunable DD king at the budget segment, the Simgot EA500 easily take the throne.

DUNU Titan S

The Titan S is a neutral-bright IEM. It has a more marked sub-bass roll-off but is more analytical and technical than the Star River. As a matter of fact, the Titan S is a cut above when it comes to imaging, micro-detailing, clarity, and instrument separation.

Timbre is slightly more natural on the Titan S, though the Titan S may also be somewhat uncomfortable due to long nozzles.

Tripowin Olina SE

Not to be confused with the original Olina, which was derided for being too shouty and fatiguing, the Olina SE sports a tamer upper midrange/lower treble, though with some loss of resolution and soundstage compared to the original.

The Olina SE is a league or two ahead in sonic fidelity, with a more expansive soundstage, superior micro-details, imaging, and instrument separation. In keeping with a somewhat Harman-like signature, the Olina SE’s tonality is also more pleasant than the Star River’s harsh and unrefined V-shaped profile.


It is truly tough to push through the troubled waters of the Star River. The Star River does not keep its head above water and is quite abysmal as an overall package.

TRI Star Sea Photo 6.jpeg

Besides the alluring design, a nice spread of accessories, and perhaps admissible imaging, the Star River sinks when discussing the triad of tonality, timbre, and technicalities. It is disquieting if aesthetics are the main redeeming points of an IEM, rather than its actual sound.

To muddy the waters further, QC issues rear their ugly head, and the Star River’s so-called tuning switches are a shtick, with only two signatures out of a promised four tuning variations.

The Star River is like a fish out of water when competing against other tunable DDs at this price point, with the Simgot EA500 the gold standard to beat. Cry me a river; I can’t recommend the Star River. Alas, it is back to the drawing board for TRI.


New Head-Fier
Neutral with Sub Bass Boost Done Right?
Pros: 1. Neutral sound
2. Well controlled bass
3. Light and airy mid range
4. Detailed treble and mid range
5. Great technical performance
Cons: 1. Lean lower mid range
2. Lack of mid bass

Review OF The TRI Star River



Many audiophiles are familiar with KBEAR, one of the businesses that specialises in producing IEM cables and IEMs. They have a solid reputation in the audiophile industry for providing extremely affordable IEMs that are priced competitively with those IEMs that cost more. The same business serves as the parent company for its subsidiary, TRI, which specialises in the same offers as KBEAR. Their IEM appears to fit into every price range that the market permits. Audiophiles not only appreciate IEMs but also their cables and DAC/AMP. Recently, there has been an increase in the popularity of inexpensive and budget IEMs that utilise tuning switches and a crossover, and TRI made the decision to launch their newest product, the StarRiver. Despite the fact that I already enjoy their Starsea and Starlight. Let's find out what the Star River can do. But first, let's go over a few things I want to talk about.



*Since this unit tour was organised by the kindly people at Linsoul, I am grateful to them. And as I've said in all of my evaluations, the same is true for this one: all of the concepts I've expressed below are entirely my own, original ideas that haven't been influenced by anyone else. If interested, go to this link.
*I am not associated with the connection, and I receive no financial assistance from anyone.
*For the remainder of the review, I will refer to these IEMs as "Star River."
*I am using different Ear-tips for convenience and better versatility.
*Finally, I will only evaluate the Star River based on their performance, even though I will explain how it feels and seems physically and aesthetically.


The Star River is an IEM with dual dynamic drivers that uses crossover and tuning switches to cater to the preferences of the listener. A 10mm Beryllium diaphragm dynamic driver is used for low frequencies, and a 6mm Titanium diaphragm dynamic driver is used for mids and highs. The voice coils that are used are copper wire voice coils imported from Japan. Four different tuning options are provided by the tuning switches. The resin shell has an astonishingly brilliant appearance. In my opinion, the face plate looks gorgeous because of the way the pattern flows. The resin used feels sturdy and solid, as well as light and comfortable in the ears. They sit very comfortably and without any issues. I have never before noticed a three-hole port air pressure release on an IEM that is positioned below the 2 pin connectors that Star River uses. When using the IEM, the included cable feels nice and high-quality while also being light and tangle-free. A straight 3.5mm termination plug completes the 120cm-long OFC with silver plating cable, which has a 2 pin connection on one side. In addition to the IEM and cable, the package comes with the following extras: a storage case, a microfiber cloth, a tuning tool pin, three pairs of balanced eartips in various sizes, three pairs of TRI Clarion eartips in various sizes. In terms of the technical details, the sensitivity is 110dB, and the impedance is 32 Ohms. 20Hz to 20kHz is the range of the frequency response.



In order to enhance the sub bass boost and upper mid range, TRI typically tunes their IEMs with neutral sound in mind. I encountered it with their other model, the TRI Starsea, one of my favourite in-ear monitors, so perhaps that is why. In general, the preference is probably to my taste. The upper midrange, lower treble, and sub-bass energy in the mix are all the same in The Star River. However, this time I noticed that the lower treble energy was more pronounced in the mix and the lower mid range was less present. Compared to most of their IEMs, the response was cooler and clearer sounding, which also highlighted the details most effectively. The notes' lean quality was audible, but it never dipped into offensive territory. The treble is nicely extended and sounds clear and detailed. If I had to compare such vocals, I'd say the Tin Hifi C2 vocals felt the same because of how forward and airy the mid range sounded, but because there was less note weight, it made them sound too light in my opinion. The mid- and low-bass boost in the bass response is almost nonexistent, and it also sounds very controlled and detailed. When comparing the bass region, upper mid range, and lower treble with the mix's more subtle nuances, the Star River sounds more like the Moondrop CHU. Although the upper mid range is more noticeable in the TRI Star River, the energy feels almost like the C2 when compared to the higher frequencies. If I had to personally sum up the Star River's response, I'd say the vocals shine broadly and unrestrictedly while the bass reacts precisely as I prefer it controlled with sub bass presence. However, let's just say that TRI Star River is the first to offer a response in this price range. Let's investigate the sound more thoroughly.



The treble on the Star River is generally consistent, and I hardly ever feel uneasy around such a powerful presence because of the metallic undertone that resides. Nevertheless, a response like that yields more insightful details than I had anticipated. I had anticipated the treble to be mostly sibilant and peaky, but I can hardly detect it. On the other hand, the vocals stand out with a light presentation, and the metallic timbre is unmistakably present, giving the instruments a sharp, edgy sound. In my experience, sets like TZKZ Ouranos or QKZ X HBB Khan sounded dull; this set is the only one in this price range that rejects offensive sound and welcomes clarity and details over it. On the other hand, the Moondrop Droplet responds to the idea and combines the best of both worlds while bringing a more rounded sound when compared to the Star River. The vocals reach and spread out completely without deteriorating into simpler notes, which might have caused audible sibilance in the mix, thanks to the nicely extended upper treble. The vocals sound airy and light, and I was able to pick up on subtle differences in the tracks I listened to—but only when I wasn't listening to tracks with a lot of intricate details. The instruments were precise and sharp, which gave each note a unique presentation. In the majority of cases, I was impervious to the sibilance or peakiness that the instruments offered, especially to sounds like cymbal crashes or percussion. The vocals had a lot of forwardness and great energy in the lower treble, which was comparable to the upper midrange response I felt when listening to the Moondrop CHU or the Tin Hifi C2. Although I didn't find the aggressiveness of the notes to be tiring to my ears, I did find the response to be interesting. However, after listening to it for a longer period of time, especially instrumental tracks, I began to feel uneasy. The vocals were very energetic, and the instruments had a good sound. Overall, the treble region sounds lean and metallic while being aggressive, detailed, and light in presentation.

Mid Range

The mid range has the same effect of energy as the lower range, or it may even have more because the vocals come across more forward and the instruments support them. The Tin Hifi C2 would be the closest IEM to it that has been heard, but even the C2's response is tamer than the Star River's. The Star River basically conveys a strong forward response in the mix without sounding odd or overpowering. Although the upper mid range contributes so much energy to the mix, the lower mid range reacts in opposition. The mid bass and lower mid range don't have a lot of presence in the mix. The reason why, when listening to higher frequencies, the notes appear lean and light in the mix. As previously mentioned, the upper midrange has a tendency to emit the same amount of energy as the lower treble, making the sound presentation extremely direct and approachable. The vocals and instruments sound even and consistent because of the seamless transition between the lower treble and upper mid range. The vocals are presented in an airy manner, and they are positioned in such a way as to increase the musicality of the mix. The same can be said of the instruments, which, despite sounding muted in sharp notes, provide nearly identical details that nicely complement the vocals. About the same vocal and instrumental presentation is provided by the Tin Hifi C2. However, I must admit that I liked the C2 response of the mid range better because it carried a little bit more note weight and had a more authentic sound. If there is any underwhelming part of the track, the light notes in the upper mid range bring it to life. This paints a picture of the sound as being lively and airy, which makes the details sound more progressive while keeping more of the mix's metallic flavour. However, the lower mid range's story is quite the opposite. The vocals and instruments sound weak and lack body in the lower mid range of the mix. Though the vocals have a presence, they still lacks the characteristics of notes. I think this IEM has the weakest lower midrange I've ever heard. The mid range's overall presentation sounds light and weightless while being airy, spacious, and energetic.


When it comes to the bass, it experiences the same problems as the midrange, but, to my surprise, I find that it sounds more comfortable. The relationship between the mid and sub bass is more palatable than the response between the lower and upper midrange. Although there may be more mid bass presence, the Moondrop CHU has almost the same amount of sub bass and follows a similar response across to the mid bass. However, to my ears, the Star River's bass response feels the same as the CHU's. The lower mid range is not affected by the mid bass because if it did, the sound would have been more characterised by denser notes and a strong hold build to support the upper mid range with timbre. However, the mid-bass presence is audibly audible. The sub bass is the focus of the bass, which extends well and deep and creates a supple rumble sensation. The CHU lacked texture, but the bass is very well controlled and has good texture. While the drums or bass sound cleaner, the bass resolves nicely but falls short in the realistic expression. Although the slams are weak, the mid-bass presence is audible, and the notes sound clear. As the tuning is primarily focused on bringing a neutral with sub bass boost response, where they do a good job, the approach to such a bass doesn't feel novel to TRI, but after using the Starsea and Meteor, I feel the lack of mid bass. When listening to bass-heavy tracks, the mid bass's very existence is called into question. The dynamics of such a response feel unrealistic and more analytical, even though it naturally keeps the bass under control and clean. What it lacks is a response's aliveness. However, one thing is for certain: the sub bass response is powerful and authoritative when listening to tracks with lots of bass. While lacking the organic presentation of mid bass, the overall presentation of the bass region is well-controlled, detailed, and authoritative.

Technical Performance

When it comes to technical performance, these are among the best available for the price they can be purchased at, or among the best in the price range following C2. Regarding the stage, separation, or imaging, it performs admirably. The resolution and details are flawless, and everything resolves much more quickly than one might anticipate from an IEM at this price. These are comparable to the SIMGOT EA500, if I were to make a comparison.


Soundstage, Sound Imaging & Separation

The soundstage is large and open, and every element is placed perfectly. This distance between each distraction makes it simple to understand how each element works and is unique in its own way. Compared to other IEMs in this price range, the imaging is the sharpest and clearest I have ever heard.

Speed & Resolution

The resolution of this IEM is among the best I've ever heard, with expressive, approachable macro and micro details. The response is clean and free of any muddle due to the fast-paced attack and decay of notes.

Sound Impressions

Tuning Switches

Except when the switch placement was like OI, I really couldn't detect any noticeable changes while experimenting with the tuning switches. And typically the bass response levelled off or up a notch as a result of changes in the treble and upper midrange response.

At IO (Enhanced low frequency)

The lower treble sounded a little muted under this placement, and the sub bass felt a little strong. The mid bass was still lacking even though there were no audible changes in the upper treble or overall mid range. Before explaining what follows, I'd like to note that changing the location of switches had little to no audible impact on the sound; therefore, my use of hyperbole may be overstated.

photo_2023-05-14_04-49-49 (2).jpg

At OI (Transparent vocals)

The energy in the upper mid range was stronger than before under this placement. Both the bass and the treble have been muted. The mid bass appeared to be absent, while the sub bass felt more in control and less approachable. The lower mid range also became less presentable in the mix as the upper mid range increased in presence. The response sounded more artificial and hollow than usual. The response took on a slightly offensive tone, adding tinny and peaky noises to the mix.


At II (Pop genre)

Everything sounded the same under this placement as it did under placement 'OI', with the exception that it was easier to listen to, the bass and treble came back a little, and the upper mid range had the same amount of energy as it did under placement 'OI'. However, the difference is only audible after prolonged listening; otherwise, it sounds like 'OI'.



Tempotec V6 - The treble expanded and became more detailed when used with the V6. Less airy and sharpness could be heard in the vocals and instruments as a result of the smoother sound. The bass lacked mid bass presence but produced punchier sub bass with stronger rumbling sensations in the ears. The technical aspects remained the same, but the stage appeared to be farther away and the imaging improved. Despite the fact that I usually favour this tuning, I didn't enjoy it with the V6.


iFi Hipdac - To my surprise, when used with the Hipdac, the midrange and lower treble were muted, making the midbass more presentable. The vocals' airiness or openness suffered a little but it made them sound more authentic. The bass felt lively and natural while the notes in the mid range sounded more weighted. The treble instruments shifted to a more relaxed state. The techniques remained the same, with the exception that the stage shrunk and the imaging slightly suffered. The Hipdac was a good match, in my opinion.



Balanced Eartips

The sound was wider and more open when using the balanced eartips with the Star River, with the treble sounding more detailed and the bass sounding more textured. The treble added clarity to the mix while the bass entered with force. In the mix, the midrange was light and prominently forward. The audio was roomy, finely detailed, and clear. Even so, I could still feel the absence of bass.


TRI Clarion Eartips

The sound felt wider and more open when using the TRI Clarion Eartips with the Star River than when using balanced eartips. The mid range became more aggressive to the point where sibilance was sort of introduced, and the bass became more responsive but the presence felt a little weak. I didn't like the sound because it was too lean and clean.


Azla Sedna Earfit Crystal

The sound was less airy and wide sounding when the Azla Crystal was used with the Star River than it was with the other two eartips. The treble and midrange sounded a little more muted, and the bass gained more prominence in the mix with powerful punches. There were fewer peaky sounds or sounds that produced sharp notes. The Star River worked best when these eartips were used.


Tracks Used

Luna Haruna - Glory days
Luna Haruna - Overfly
Rokudenashi - The Flame of Love
LMYK - 0 (zero)
Marina Horiuchi - Mizukagami no Sekai
Indila - Love Story
Indila - Tourner dans le vide
Earth, Wind & Fire - September
Tom Petty - Free Fallin'
Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Blue Oyester Cult - (Don't Fear) The Reaper
Guns 'N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
The Police - Every Breath You Take
Gojira - Amazonia
TV on the radio - Wolf Like Me
Bring Me To The Horizon - Can You Feel My Heart
Bring Me To The Horizon - sTraNgeRs
Avril Lavigne - Dare To Love Me
Travis - Love Will Come Through
Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know
DJ Shadows - Six Days (Remix) [feat. Mos Def]
Lady Gaga - Just Dance
Lil Wayne - Lollipop
Flo Rida - Low
Sebastian Lopez & Flug - Electronic Measures
Federico Mecozzi - Blue (Da Ba Dee)
Wayve - Not Enough
Kai Wachi & TeZATalks - Ghost
NGHTMRE, Zeds Dead & Tori Levett - Shady Intentions
Zeds Dead, DNMO & GG Magree - Save My Grave
Skrillex, Noisia, josh pan & Dylan Brady - Supersonic
Skrillex & Nai Barghouti - Xena
Skrillex, Missy Elliott & Mr. Oizo - RATATA
Kaifi Khalil, Eva B & Wahab Bugti - Kana Yaari
A.R. Rahman, Javed Ali & Mohit Chauhan - Kun Faya Kun


The neutral sounding IEM with sub bass boost that delivers clear vocals and a cool response with great details at the expense of some tonal quality to bring out the best details in the highs, mids, and lows is a pleasant surprise, and it brings an end to this review. They have an impressive selection, and I heartily endorse them for those who prefer neutral-sounding IEM with excellent details and controlled bass. Despite the fact that these IEM don't have a warm or balanced sound, I would still ask to at least give them a try.

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500+ Head-Fier
TRI Star River - Tuning switches for every pocket
Pros: - Lively, energetic, fun and detailed sound
- Comfort and isolation are great
- TRI Clarion tips are really good
Cons: - Male vocals could use more weight and warmth
- Realistically speaking, there are only 2 main tuning options and overall the set is very bright
- Stock cable could be better


TRI has finally done its own budget set with tuning switches: the Star River.
Some time ago there were only a few brands that were trying to offer this kind of solution (i.e. Tansio Mirai), but nowadays there are multiple companies that are trying to produce their own sets with this technology.
Let’s see if TRI did a good job with these or if this is just another “curious experiment” and nothing more.

Disclaimer: the sample was provided by TRI for free in order to write an honest review. I do not represent them in any way and this is not promotional content.
At the time of the review, the TRI Star River were sold for around $60 online.


Technical Specifications​

  • Configuration → 2 x DD (1 x DD 10mm, 1 x DD 6mm)
  • Sensitivity → 110 dB
  • Impedance → 32 Ohm
  • Frequency Response → 20 Hz – 20000 Hz
  • Cable → 1,2m silver copper cable with 0,78mm PINs, no microphone on this review sample
  • Connector type → L-type gold plated 4,4mm jack connector (there is also a 3,5mm version)


The TRI Star River come in a very simple packaging that contains a carry case in which the earphones are stored. One thing I’d suggest to TRI is using less plastic (e.g. the small plastic bags that protect the earpieces) and replacing it with paper, but overall the IEMs are stored in a very safe way.
The box contains:
  • The TRI Star River
  • A carry case
  • The 4,4mm cable in this case (as said above, there’s also a 3,5mm version)
  • A set of TRI Clarion tips and a set of more generic tips (for a total of 6 pairs of tips)
  • A SIM card tool to operate the tuning switches
  • A cleaning cloth
  • User manual


Design and Build Quality​

The TRI Star River are solid, the overally assembly feels good and surprisingly they are not as heavy as expected (this also due to the fact that most of the shell is made of 3D printed resin).
The faceplate shows TRI’s logo with a marble-like green painting in the background and the design is definitely catchy even though not excessively showy.
The nozzle size is average, there are lots of pressure vents (should be related to the new pressure studies done by TRI) on the shell and there are two tuning switches on the side (which can be easily toggled by using the SIM card tool).
The 2-PIN connectors on my sample need a lot of pressure in order to properly fit the cable connectors in, and even though this may be a sort of tolerance matter I do not think this is a real issue (cable connection is even more “solid” this way, so there isn’t a real issue).



The cable feels pretty cheap even though it’s stiff and feels durable. This kind of material usually tends to become more flexible when used for some time but can be a bit “rigid” at first.
It sports a chin slider and a 4,4mm connectors, so those who don’t have any 4,4mm output should opt for the 3,5mm version.


Comfort and Isolation​

Comfort and isolation are very good, and the fact that a set of TRI Clarion tips is included really helps in finding the best way and fit to use the Star River.



How do these sound?
This should be the main reason for reading this review.

  • DAC: Topping E30
  • AMP: Topping L30
  • Mobile phones: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
  • Dongle: Apple Type-C dongle, Truthear SHIO
  • Portable DAPs: Benjie S8/AGPTEK M30B
  • Other sources: Presonus AudioBox iONE
Do they need an amp?
The TRI Star River don’t strictly need an amplifier.

Sound signature
The TRI Star River slightly differ depending on the positions of each tuning switch as follows:


To be fair, it seems like the KE switch is the one that makes the difference here, and in fact if you keep the KE switch in the same position and move the ON switch up and down, the differences are negligible (the ON switch makes very small differences in the low-end).
Overall, the Star River are a sort of Harman-tuned set with boosted treble, and depending on the position on the KE switch you get an even brighter treble or a more forward upper-midrange.

Lows: the sub-bass is definitely present and it seems like the intention of the tuner was highlighting this region. Midbass is punchy, impactful, with enough speed for rapid basslines, and even though not the fastest and most textured bass out there, it still gets the job done.
The emphasized low-end does bleed in the midrange here and there, but it’s far from being a bloated mess and does not make this a basshead set.

Mids: the midrange is recessed, and depending on the KE switch you get a very forward upper midrange (or not). These are not great in rendering male vocals as they sound slightly thinner than they should, but female vocals are very energetic and engaging, although they can become nasal and shouty with the KE switch “up”.
Acoustic guitars and piano are just ok, whereas instruments such as Harps and violins sound very good.

Highs: highs are bright, that’s not a secret, but how much this brightness hits hard depends on the position of the KE switch.
If you move the KE switch “up” the treble is slightly less prominent and the overall energy is focused on the upper midrange whereas if you move the KE switch “down” then the treble becomes more forward and the upper midrange moves a bit back in the scene.
The detail retrieval is pretty good overall and the overall sound is generally airy in both KE switch positions.

Soundstage is slightly wider and deeper than average, with average height. Imaging is good, even though not razor sharp in very crowded moments.

Some comparisons (using Clarion M tips):
- TRI Star River vs KBEAR Ink -
The Star River is a more unique product, even if both are V-shaped.
The Ink have a more emphasized low-end and more presence in the treble region, but also sound slightly unnatural and don’t have the same female vocal approach of the Star River. Star River, on the contrary, have less low-end extension but better female vocals and less harsh treble.
Technical performance is not that different but the Star River play in a slightly deeper stage and their imaging is better.
Star River’s isolation and comfort are superior, Ink are sturdier. Ink’s cable is way better.
The Star River are more mature overall and sound better for less money (with the addition of tuning switches that, even if not making a huge difference, provide another sound option to try).

- TRI Star River vs TRI x HBB KAI -
These are totally different: the Star River are V-shaped, bright, with lots of details and focus on the higher frequencies, whereas the KAI are smooth, bassy, warm, very intimate and have a very safe treble tuning. Sure, the Star River are better in terms of imaging, detail retrieval and overall staging capabilities, but the KAI just drive on another road and with a different purpose.
Isolation and comfort are great on both sets, but KAI are better built and come with a slightly better stock cable.
If you are looking for a very safe, warm and relaxing set, the KAI are the perfect choice, whereas you should try the Star River if you want a lively, bright, detailed and fun set that also provide you some tuning switches (even though their impact on the overall listening experience could not be “that big”).

Final Thoughts​

The tuning switches are definitely something new in this price range, but they don’t affect the sound as much as expected. That’s not to say that it does not have any effect on the sound, but even though there are 4 possible combinations of the switches’ positions, there are mainly 2 sound profiles that become 4 with very slight adjustments here and there. In fact, the biggest differences in sound can be noticed when the KE switch is moved, whereas the ON switch doesn’t seem to be that influent.
Apart from this, the Star River are fun, engaging, and they are also very comfortable to wear. It’s not a game-changing product, nor is it unique in terms of signature, but it’s a very welcomed IEM in this period considering that most brands keep releasing products with very safe upper-end.
TRI is back on track and although this is not the best or most unique sounding product I’ve tried of their brand, I can’t wait to try their future releases.


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Last edited:
Its not their first IEM with tuning switches though. Starsea features them too
kin HGD
kin HGD
Starsea is the first one
@lushmelody @kin HGD
Forgot mentioning I meant that it was their first "budget" release with switches.
Fixed the first phrase.
Thanks for pointing out.


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