TRI Starsea


New Head-Fier
TRI Starsea: The Rising Star!
Pros: -Build Quality
-Excellent treble reproduction
-Smooth well textured bass.
-Forward and lush mids.
-Tuning switches for switching the IEM tuning
Cons: -Not for bassheads
-Sometimes it feels airtight
TRI Starsea is a triple Driver (2 BA, 1DD. 1 Knowles ED-29689 for mids & 1 custom designed BA for highs & a single 8mm Dynamic Driver for the low end.) IEM that retails for a pretty affordable 130 USD!
The build quality is excellent, The German imported Resin housing looks absolutely amazing and it fits nicely! and the fact that it comes with 2 tuning switches with 4 different sound signature option is an added bonus!
I'll try to keep the review short and sweet!


It comes in a lovely premium box that includes

-Hardshell carrying case.
-8 core silver plated pure ofc copper cable.
-Cleaning cloth.
-9 pairs of silicone eartips ( 3 different types in 3 pairs).
-2 pairs of foam eartips.
-Warranty card and Documentation
-A tool for changing the tuning

Sound profile:

The TRI Starsea comes with two switches that can make the IEM sing differently! The Settings are:
1. The Exquisite tone ( The Brightest one, both switches down )
2. Balanced Tuning ( The flattest and most neutral tuning, both switches up)
3. Amazing Bass ( The fun sounding profile, Slightly V shaped tone, Switch 1 up, Switch 2 down)
4. Beautiful Vocals ( It pushes the mids more forward, Switch 1 down, Switch 2 up)

I loved using the Balanced tuning, though the V shaped tuning sounds great and I think most of the people with prefer that!

My review is written using the Balanced tuning.

Sound Quality:

The Bass: (4/5)
If you want something that kicks your head like crazy and thumps you heart up, this is not the IEM!
The bass is clean, clear and some of the best under 200$ if you like a balanced sound!
The bass here is well controlled, And done just right!
The amount is adequate, The texture is good, the bass is not sloppy at all, It's agile and nimble, the texturing is done really well!
There is no bass bleed on the mids.
It shines on the mid bass while it lacks some sub bass ( The amazing bass settings helps overcoming this, but again, the the deepest)

The Mids: (4.3/5)
The mids on Starsea is absolutely amazing, It is forward and it sounds lush and weighty, specially if you pair it with a warm sounding source.
The detail and the clarity is superb for the price!

The Treble: (4.5/5)
The treble is where Starsea shines!
The extension is excellent, it sounds natural, not fatiguing at all.
It sounds airy and it got enough spacing that nothing sounds crowded!
The treble is sparkly without having noticable sibilance.

Final Verdict:
If you are looking for a great sounding IEM without busting the bank, this is it!

The only downside is it can be source picky.
So better get a warm sounding DAC+AMP with it, or use it with a DAP!
And sometimes it gives this air tight feeling.
But for 130$ this is a no brainer!



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Tri Starsea Review: “When the Stars Align...”


**For some weird reason my original pictures for this review refuse to upload properly on head-fi forums, to check out this review along with my main pics please visit my page The Audio Bloke, link provided at the end of the review, thanks**

Tips Used During Review:
Mostly Fiio FH3 stock Foam Tips.
Sources Used During Review: Fiio BTR5, DDTC 35, Hiby R5 Pro Saber, Redmi K30 Pro.
Cables Used During Review: Stock Cable.

Introduction: So, I had been using the Final E3000 for a while & wanted to try out a tuning which was opposite, not smooth, not warm & definitely more detail retrieval oriented. I was pretty set on the BQEYZ Summer at first but then I read a few reviews about it online and summer was definitely not the tuning I was looking for, if anything it would have been more an extension to my Final E3000’s not something different. So, I conducted a poll on many Facebook audio enthusiast groups highlighting the tuning I was looking for & also my budget and the TRI Starsea name kept popping up. A $130-ish dollar IEM with 3 tuning switches & not your typical in your face V-Shaped tuning? Yes please, Starsea definitely piqued my interest form the get go, from its gorgeous shell to its luxurious packaging, TRI had done an excellent job separating Starsea from the rest of the $100 IEM herd. For those of you not aware, TRI is a more premium sister concern of KBear, Tri Starsea has 2 Balanced Armature drivers, 1 Knowles ED-29689 for mids & 1 custom designed BA for highs & a single 8mm Dynamic Driver for the low end.



Packaging & Accessories: The retail box & the packaging of the Starsea is quite large with a star pattern which makes it look quite premium & sticks to its theme as well. The accessories are quite generous here, you get a 8-core silver platted copper cable, which is quite soft & extremely comfortable to use. It’s a 3.5mm cable (I would love the option to choose between a 3.5mm cable & balanced 2.5/4.4 mm one just like BQEYZ offers), it’s a 2-pin connector with an aluminum chin slider. The box also includes:
- Cleaning cloth
- Carrying case
- 3 pairs of silicone Ear-tips in 3 types (9 pairs in total)
- 2 pairs of foam Ear-tips
- Sim Ejector Tool
- Documentation/warranty



Design: TRI Starsea comes with a 3D printed, German imported resin shell, its mainly purple in color with hues of black & white glittered patterns. The faceplate looks absolutely gorgeous & is extremely lightweight. There are 3 tuning switches on the side of the shell, unfortunately these are too small to be operated via finger tips, you will need a tooth pick or sim ejector tool (provided in the box), to operate these tuning switches. My advice would be to use a toothpick as sometimes you need a bit of force to move these tuning switches & a sim ejector tool has a greater chance of scratching the surface or breaking the switches. The Starsea also offers a 2-pin connector, I am glad they decided to offer a 2-pin connection rather than mcmx. In the middle of the faceplate, there is a big TRI audio logo which looks quite attractive. There is long gold-plated aluminum nozzle meant for deep inserting & it has metal mesh included for protection.

Build & Fit (2.5/5): I wasn’t planning to include this section in my review but I was forced to do due to running into some issues with the fit of the Starsea. For me this is the biggest flaw in the Stasea’s design. There is a driver flex issue when using silicone tips of any kind, weird clicking noises happen when I try to fit it inside my ear. And also, after inserting there is a very weird air tight pressure feeling which leaves you uncomfortable & you won’t be able to enjoy the Starsea for long listening sessions (BA pressure build up). Although the driver flex issue does go away after a couple of minutes but the air tight pressure remains with silicone tips. I have tried a variety of silicone tips to remedy this issue, for example, BGVP A07, Final E Tips, Spinfit CP 145, stock Starsea silicone tips, stock BQEYZ Summer Spring 1 & 2 silicone tips but none of them could fix the driver flex or the air tight feeling issue. These issues were only fixed with Fiio FH3 stock foam tips, both driver flex & air tight pressure feeling were gone but I don’t like the fact that I am limited to using only a particular brand of foam tips to fix these problems. Note: Not even the stock foam tips provided inside the Starsea retail box could fix these issues. I let a few of my friends try out the Starsea with silicone tips & they all reported the same issues, there was one more user who ordered & bought from the same source I did & he reported the same problems as well. So bizarrely, it looks like I am not the only user facing these driver flex & BA pressure build up issues with the Starsea!

Drivability: Tri Starsea is a pretty sensitive IEM with its low impedance of 9.5 ohms, blasting it with huge amounts of power will result in messing up the frequency curve of the starsea. For best results it’s better to user gear with a low output impedance, the lower the better! And due to its bright nature Starsea pair very well with a warm source. For example, paring it with DDTC 35 opened up the bass extension a bit more. But at the same time details & and that spacious soundstage were missing which the BTR5 & my Hiby R5s easily accomplished. Driving Starsea from a K30 Pro made it sound tinny & lifeless, the notes were light & bass was all but gone, so its not like amping is not necessary with the Starsea. The maximum output impedance acceptable form a source for the TRI Starsea is 1.1875 ohm. I would like to give credit to @baskingshark for this part of the review, as he guided & advised me when I myself was confused regarding what would be the best source to drive the Tri Starsea.


Ok so the Starsea has 3 different tuning switches which provides 3 different types of sound, although this definitely is not a gimmick but there are some similarities overall in the sound, I am going to cover the general tuning & sound of the Starsea fist. And then talk in details about the 3 tuning profiles & what differences they bring to the table.

Highs (4.3/5): TRI Starsea has very impressive Treble, it has very good extension & decent amount of air with the occasional hint of sparkle. Highs are crisp & very detailed but not so forward in the mix that it will cause fatigue, I myself am treble sensitive but the Starsea high’s felt smoother rather than fatiguing. There is no Sibilance present thankfully, instruments like cymbals, violin, high hats & electric guitars sound natural with a hint of sparkle as I had mentioned earlier.

Soundstage, Imaging & Separation (4.7/5): Starsea creates a very spacious sound with all 3 of its tunings, giving a headphone like feeling even though it’s an IEM with only 1 vent hole. Instrument separation is above average but nothing to write home about at the same time, the same goes for layering & imaging. Clarity & Resolution is definitely excellent for this price point & one of the highlights for the Starsea. I didn’t find any metallic sheen, the timbre was bit on the bright side but enjoyable none the less.

Mids (4.8/5): The Midrange is the star of the show! Its very forward in the mix, very thick & lush. Although there is an emphasis on upper midrange which lead to shouty-ness very occasionally with bright sources, pairing starsea with a warm source tames the aggressive nature of the upper midrange. It also balances out when using the “Beautiful Vocals” tuning profile regardless if you are using a bright or warm source. Lower mids are slightly recessed but not to the point of a deep V-shaped tuning. There is no bass bleed from the lower end, keep things clean.

Lows (3.2/5): If midrange is star of the show, then low end is its Achilles' heel, well that sounds a bit dramatic, it’s not like there’s a total absence of bass on the starsea but even with the “Amazing Bass” setting you will be left wanting more. Compared to other dynamic driver IEM’s which handle their low end, here the sub-bass extension is not the deepest, there is definitely no sub-bass rumble. Even though sub-bass is more in quantity compared to mid-bass it’s still not enough to satisfy the bass heads. Due to slow nature of bass listening to metal tracks on Starsea is just not ideal, even that amazing bass setting couldn’t save starsea in this genre, although it did marginally improve things.


Tuning Switches:

“Exquisite Pure Tone” (Both Switches Down): To me this was the brightest tuning of the starsea and second most favorite one. Treble, Mid’s & Low’s all had decent extension giving it a more rounded feeling, Detail retrieval was on point, background vocals & instruments were highlighted brilliantly. There was airiness in the treble but more sparkle would have been appreciated.

“Balanced Tuning” (Both Switches Up): Just as the name suggests TRI does an awesome job keeping all 3 frequencies as balanced as possible, still upper mids take more of a center stage but that’s to be expected given how the base tuning of Starsea is. Important thing to the point our that this tuning has the thickest lower mids out of three tunings. Sub bass has decent extension here but still more in quantity than mid-bass. Overall bass takes a back seat here & you can barely feel its presence.

“Amazing Bass” (Switch 1 Up & Switch 2 Down): This is my favorite tuning profile for the Starsea, it has a mild V-Shape tuning, the mids are still very thick & forward. Sub-bass rises more in quantity & still take priority over mid-bass. Bass has decent texture but even with this profile enabled you don’t get that fast, thumping bass that you do get from other similar IEM’s utilizing a DD for its low’s.

“Beautiful Vocals” (Switch 1 down & Switch 2 Up): Well, you might be wondering I have already pointed out that mids are forward in the mix with the other tuning profiles, especially there is an emphasis in the Upper mids, so what does this “Beautiful Vocals” profile actually do? Well to put in bluntly unlike the other profiles it takes the midrange and puts it more forward in the mix than any other frequency. Vocals are clearer, you are inclined to notice the high-quality resolution & details, which is more in your face & as a result this tuning may lead to fatigue for some during long listening sessions.

Conclusion: Wow, this is the longest review I have every written but my intention is not to bore the readers. What can I say? TRI Starsea is an interesting IEM & it does deserve your time & attention. Is it an all-rounder? No. Is it going to satisfy the bass junkies? No. Is it worth the price? Most certainly yes. Despite its weaknesses Starsea has one of the smoothest & interesting tunings I have heard so far. Sure, there are certain things which it can’t do or accomplish, but there are other things the Starsea does so well that no other IEM in this price bracket can do. If it weren’t for the driver flex & air tight pressure feeling I would give the Starsea a 4.5/5 easily, but alas for now ma rating is 4/5.


Comparisons: ??? Right now, I am in the middle of reviewing BQEYZ Spring 1, 2 & Summer along with Fiio FH3, so I felt it appropriate to review them individually first and then do a massive $100 to $150 range IEM battle, to see who takes the lead! So please stay tuned, like & follow my page The Audio Bloke for future updates if you liked this review. Thanks! Here is a link to my page for those of you who are interested:
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New Head-Fier
These are mega fun!!
Pros: - Powerful bass with good separation.
- The treble is top-tier for the price.
- Impressive soundstage.
- Pleasing vocals (in "Beautiful Vocals" setting)
- It has sound profile options.
Cons: - The upper mid can make some instruments and vocal sounds unnaturally meaty.
- Average imaging.


TRI Starsea competes in one of the most competitive price brackets on the IEM market, the $100 to $200 bracket, and manages to come up near the top.

The powerful and exciting v-shape signature of these IEMs is done exceptionally well for the price. The bass is thumpy and hits with incredible power, an excellent bass-head IEM. The mids have decent tonality, and the treble is bright with good extension and detail. There's not a lot to fault in these IEMs that can be considered a definite "deal-breaker." Most of the problems that it has can either be mitigated by changing the switch combination on the side of the IEMs or is simply a matter of different listening preferences.

So the only real question to ask about these IEMs is, are these pairs a good fit for your overall taste in music? Let's find out!


Sound Breakdown


We are starting with the best part of these IEMs, the bass. It's powerful with great separation and a decent level of control. The bass also feels massive in scale, appearing extra "boomy" and rich. The bass also has a very comforting and deep feeling that's very easy and soothing to the ears while, again, being a powerhouse. Great separation means you'll also be able to pick out each bass element even in the busiest of tracks.

One thing to note here is the slight lack of sub-bass. It's there if you pay attention, but it's not nearly enough to be satisfying if you're a listener that looks for those in your IEM.

Overall, the bass is quite impressive. As long as sub-bass is not your top priority, these are some of the most satisfying bass responses under $200 that I've heard.



The midrange feels slightly aggressive near the upper end, which can benefit some vocalists. For example, vocalists like Frank Sinatra and Adele sound more powerful, fulfilling and gives their voices more grandeur and scale.

The strong upper mid can also make some vocalists sound unnaturally heavy. Artists like Ariana Grande, Owl City, and Maroon 5 all have more naturally high and lifted voices. The added upper mid can make them sound more grounded and heavier, not true to how they usually sound. Whether or not that's a bad thing is more a matter of preference than anything else in this case. For myself, I like robust vocals when it's warranted, but when it's not, it sounds a bit too manufactured and forced for my taste—switching on the "Beautiful Vocal" balances out the mid and bass, fixing that issue for me for the most part. Side note, for that reason, the "Beautiful Vocal" setting is my favorite setting for these IEMs.

The one genre that doesn't work well with the aggressive upper mid is orchestras. On these IEMs, the strings and woodwind feel too weighty, and they lose their natural light and beautiful atmospheric nature. Pianos can also come across as forward and muddy if the song lives mainly in the lower-mid region. Overall, not the best pair of IEMs for orchestral or piano tracks.

The detail and clarity, however, are overall great!

Overall, the midrange is a hit or miss depending heavily on your music library and signature preferences. I also recommend trying different settings to get the midrange that you want.



The treble is bright, distinct, and crispy clear. It's one of the most fun-sounding trebles I've heard in the $100-$200 range. It can be harsh sometimes, depending on the track, but not a huge percentage. I'm pretty sensitive to treble peaks, and I can comfortably listen to these for hours. I've even fallen asleep wearing these a couple of times. Treble extension is also great, giving the vocalists their whole range without congestions. Electric guitars, high hats, and cymbals have the sparkle and shine they need to feel satisfying. Percussion hits are spot on as well.

Overall, the treble here is fantastic—nothing I can fault at this price.

Sound Profile Options

Before we jump into the technical performance, let's first go over all the sound profile options available on these IEMs.

"Amazing Bass" - Switch Number 1 Up.
This option boosts the bass power slightly. It's noticeable but not a massive change.

"Beautiful Vocals" - Switch Number 2 Up.
This option lowers the bass and balances out the mids, giving vocals a more natural appeal.

"Balanced Tuning" - Both Switch Up.
This option sounds almost indistinguishable from "Beautiful Vocals."


Technical Performance

Detail & Separation

The TRI Starsea has great overall details across the board. Bass has good separation, mids are clear, and treble is nice and crispy. It may not have the depth of field or "3D" effect that more expensive IEMs have, but it's exceptional for the price.

Imaging & Soundstage

Imaging is meh on these IEMs, not the strong point, not bad, just average. Soundstage is a different story; it feels quite spacious and roomy, a step above the "inside your head" experience.

The Good & Bad

The Good

  • Powerful bass with good separation.
  • The treble is top-tier for the price.
  • Impressive soundstage.
  • Pleasing vocals (in "Beautiful Vocals" setting)
  • It has sound profile options.
The Bad
  • The upper mid can make some instruments and vocal sounds unnaturally meaty.
  • Average imaging.


There are many IEMs under $200, and we can be here all year comparing them all. However, the closest one and the one many people have a hard time deciding between it and Starsea would be the Fiio FH3. The FH3 is more of a traditional v-shape with more recessed and natural-sounding mids. The bass, while some say stronger than the TRI Starsea, I find them to be quite similar power-wise. The sub-bass is noticeably more prominent on the FH3. Treble is brighter and potentially less safe on the FH3, but not by much. Detail and separation are slightly better on the FH3, while the soundstage is better on the Starsea. So which one is better? It's all preference. If you like sub-bass rumbles and more natural-sounding mids, the FH3 is the one to pick. If you want a heavier sound profile with a more pronounced upper-mid and better soundstage, the Starsea will fit you better. I suggest looking at your music library to see which IEMs your playlist will benefit from the most.


I recommend the Starsea. I stand by what I said at the beginning of this review that it's one of the best IEMs you can get at this price. The technical performance from the detail to the soundstage is impressive. The treble is phenomenal, and the bass is satisfyingly impactful. The mid can be an issue, but the sound options can remedy some of that if not fix it altogether. Overall, a set worthy of being amongst the top of its price bracket.



New Head-Fier
Beautiful monitors
Pros: Clarity, Imaging, Spaciousness, Separation, Smoothness and Layering
Over all balanced sound
Cons: Source picky , can sound thin and weak on bass on certain amps and sources.
Not a bass head iem
Tri star sea

Four different sound profiles
Clarity Resolution and Transparency
Layering ,Separation Smoothness 3d imaging
Good Treble extension monitor like precision
Excellent packaging and accessories
Beautifully made and look good
Sounds better with small amp.
Faster tighter bass
Good isolation
Occasional sharpness in upper mids lower treble
Slight coolness to overall sound especially in mids
Bass is on thin side at times depending on source
Weight and slam varies greatly with source and amp ( not power but synergy ) prefers warm dac

Standard Tuning (both switches OFF)
This was bright and well-balanced and the sound was clear with some sparkle

Balanced Tuning (both switches ON).
flattest response of all the tunings

Amazing Bass (L=ON R=OFF)
bass extension and weight of low end more forceful

Beautiful Vocals (L=OFF R=ON)
Strongest vocals
2ba 1 dd 8mm composite silicon crystal
1 knowles ba and 1 custom ultra high frequency ba
Sound tubes
2 pin
High purity spc cable
129$ Cost

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Headphoneus Supremus
A star is born!
Pros: Four different sound profiles
Resolution and Transparency
Layering and Separation
Stereo Imaging
Treble extension
Driver integration
Excellent packaging and accessories
Beautifully made and look good
Cons: Occasional sharpness in upper mids
Midrange timbre a little cool
TRI is the premier brand of KBEAR and has previously released the i4 (1DD + 1 Knowles BA), the i3 (1DD + Planar + 1BA) and the Starlight (1DD + 2BA + 4EST). The latest model is the Starsea.

It is a triple hybrid featuring a 10mm dynamic driver with a 'silicon crystal biological diaphragm' covering the bass, one Knowles ED29689 BA for the mid/high frequencies and TRI's own TRI-Hi-A BA unit acting as a super-tweeter. The interface is 0.78mm 2-pin.

It comes sumptuously packaged in a large box. A printed slip cover features a colour image of the IEMs with specifications on the reverse. Removing the cover reveals a black linen finished box with a gold TRI logo. Inside, the IEMs sit in a plastic tray along with a grey textured case containing the accessories and two pairs of foam tips. The generous contents include:

* TRI Starsea IEMs
* 4-core silver plated cable
* Three pairs pale grey silicone tips, yellow bore
* Three pairs dark grey silicone tips, red bore
* Three pairs soft black wide bore tips
* Two pairs foam tips, red and black
* Grey textured carrying case
* Pink microfibre cloth
* Switch pin
* Instruction leaflet

The resin shells are nicely crafted and feature a swirling pattern of blue, pink, purple and black with metallic accents. The nozzle is gold with a silver mesh. They are smoothly contoured and highly polished with a silver trident logo in the centre and look beautiful. The 2-pin socket is recessed and there is a small vent for the DD unit.

The supplied cable is a 4-core silver plated type terminated in a straight silver-coloured metal 3.5mm plug with a TRI logo. The 2-pin connectors are colour coded for channel identification and the Y-split and chin slider are also made from a silver coloured metal.

The Starsea's USP is the pair of tuning switches located on the back of each earpiece. These can be adjusted to four positions providing four different tunings ranging from V shaped through balanced to bright. The switches are very small and a special pin is provided to adjust them.

Fitted with the medium black wide bore tips and the supplied cable, I found the Starsea very comfortable and achieving above average isolation. The tuning switches were initially set to "standard tuning" and a burn-in period of 100 hours was carried out, after which the sound showed significant improvement. An Xduoo X20 DAP was used for evaluation and adequate volume was achieved without the need for extra amplification.

Sound Quality
Standard Tuning (both switches OFF)
This was bright and well-balanced and the sound was immediate, clear and sparkly, displaying a mild U or W profile with the mids and treble being a little more emphasised. The bass was firm and clean with good impact and reasonable weight. Sub bass was above mid bass in level and there was no bass bleed. The mids were very detailed and slightly forward in the mix and the treble was very extended with an attractive 'live' quality. There was a moderate lift in the upper mids and lower treble which did give rise to occasional sharpness, but after burning in this was reduced. The imaging was very clear and the excellent soundstage, separation and layering were immediately apparent. The timbre was slightly bright with lower mids losing a little warmth but the transient response was very impressive and the resolution very good. It was an exciting, high quality and vibrant sound. I really enjoyed my music with this setting and appreciated the laser-like detail which revealed things in an almost hyper-real fashion!

Balanced Tuning (both switches ON).
This produced perhaps the "flattest" response of all the tunings. The soundstage appeared more spacious, and the apparent listening position moved a few rows back. The layering and separation were a little less defined with the imaging not coming through quite so precisely. The mids were less prominent and slightly less bright but at the same time the treble was nicely balanced with the rest of the range or a little above it. A little detail seemed to be missing compared to the first setting. Bass was slightly less powerful with the weight and impact not so strong and it was at around the same level as the mids. In isolation, it is actually a very competent and enjoyable neutral tuning but in comparison to the standard setting it just misses out on the 'magic' of which the Starsea is capable.

Amazing Bass (L=ON R=OFF)
In this setting, the bass extension and weight were more evident. Sub-bass was more satisfying with recorded ambience well reproduced and some welcome warmth was added to the mid bass. The timbre was a little more "natural" with a more "airy" feel. The mids kept most of their detail and were a tad warmer in tone. The soundstage expanded, gaining a little more spaciousness. The general profile was more V or L shaped, but the treble retained good extension, detail and clarity. The perspective was similar to the Balanced setting, being set back somewhat. There was a reduction in the sharpness in the upper mids. Layering and separation were good but perhaps not as clear as in the Standard setting. This was a very entertaining sound balance with an overall warmer feel, but with just some of the immediacy of the first setting being lost. Being the most genre-friendly of the settings, this was relaxing to listen to and perhaps more suitable for long-term listening, with a meatier sound approaching that of the i3.

Beautiful Vocals (L=OFF R=ON)
This was the brightest of the four settings. Like the Standard setting, the mids were pushed forward, but the bass was less prominent in this case, with some sub-bass presence but a reduced mid-bass. Along with a bright and extended treble, this resulted in a clean presentation with copious detail, especially in the mids, although the occasional sharpness mentioned earlier did recur on certain material. Separation and layering were once again more evident and stereo imaging very good, with solo vocalists and instruments clearly defined above their accompaniments. The resolution was particularly good in this setting and the soundstage was wide and deep with a decent representation of height. Midrange timbre was bright and perhaps not as "natural", favouring the higher notes of string instruments with the lower notes just a little "cold" in tonality. Allied to the flatter bass response and with an absence of bass bleed, the overall feel was neutral/bright with an emphasis in the upper frequencies.

TRI i3
Coming from the same stable as the Starsea and at a slightly higher price, many will be keen to see how the two stack up. Also fed from the X20, the i3 was used with a Fiio A5 amplifier as the planar drivers need more power to give of their best. The stock cable and wide bore tips were employed.

The i3 has a big bold sound with a much deeper sub-bass and a warmer mid bass. Mids are wonderfully neutral and smoothly detailed courtesy of the planar driver with its superb resolution. Treble is more reserved and less prominent but still possesses good levels of detail. Timbre is very natural and there is a notable musical quality. Soundstage is particularly good being very expansive in all three dimensions.

The Starsea's midrange timbre was also very good, especially for a BA, although a little cool in tonality, but detail retrieval, resolution and separation were superior and the treble more extended and very natural. The mids were more forward and the bass more reserved. The two IEMs are very different and they complement each other.

KBEAR Diamond
This single DD IEM features a DLC diaphragm and, like the Starsea, is well-made and presented. The excellent supplied cable and wide bore tips were used for comparison. Its profile is definitely V shaped with a warm powerful bass and somewhat recessed mids but with excellent DD timbre and a smooth treble. It is not quite as adept as the Starsea in resolving details but is still very good, however, separation, layering and soundstage are not in the same class. It is a very forgiving sound and adapts itself well to different genres.

The Starsea has a lot to offer. With its four different sound profiles, ranging from bright and neutral to balanced and V shaped, all of which are excellent in their own way, it is like getting four high quality IEMs for the price of one. The Starsea was particularly good with classical music and, for example, was able to easily resolve individual voices in choral works and separate individual instruments in a body of strings.

The various switch options add versatility, adapting it well to different styles of music and offer the chance to choose the appropriate setting for a particular genre.

TRI must be congratulated for their proprietary drivers, the silicon bass unit providing a fast and detailed sound and their own TRI-Hi-A BA treble unit the best I have heard so far. The three drivers are perfectly integrated and the transitions are seamless.

Using my preferred "Standard" setting, I found the Starsea to show superb layering, separation, imaging and resolution and it displayed a noticeable "live" quality which I found addictive. It does require a lengthy burn in period after which the initial sharpness fades away, and its unique sound may for some require acclimatisation but believe me when I say it is well worth the wait, just let the magic appear!

Sonically impressive, beautifully made and impressively packaged with an excellent range of accessories, this is another win for TRI.

I'm sorry Jalexis, that is a bit technical for me, I do not know what it means! Perhaps you could post this question on the TRI thread and someone will be able to help you.


Headphoneus Supremus
TRI Starsea Review – When You Wish Upon a Star
Pros: - 4 tuning switches that ain’t gimmicks, so one can change the sound signature to suit different moods and music genres (ranging from mild U shaped to V shaped).
- Very good technicalities.
- Good isolation.
- The TRI Starsea is quite “monitor” like, and in view of the above good technicalities, it can be a good set for audio work or stage monitoring.
- Very light and well fitting. No driver flex. Beautiful resin shells.
- Quality bass which is on the faster and tighter side.
- Generous accessories.
- 2 pin connector – better longevity than MMCX connectors in general.
Cons: - Very source picky: sounds good on sources with as lowest output impedance as possible, but fares badly without amping or on gear that has high output impedance (FR is skewed).
- Overall, when not amped, note weight and bass is on the thin side with some lack in dynamics. Not as “fun sounding” or “musical” as some peers, and can be sterile and subdued, especially when not amped.
- BA timbre in higher frequencies for acoustic instruments.
- Can get hot in upper mids with vocal and pure tone configs.
- Switches are very small, need a pin (provided) to flip the switches. Those with vision or coordination issues may have some difficulties.


I would like to thank KBEAR for providing the TRI Starsea review unit.


The TRI Starsea Stasi is not part of the East German Secret Police Apparatus.

The TRI Starsea is actually a hybrid with 4 tuning switches to give a potential mild V shaped to U shaped sound. It is rather versatile as such, and has very good technicalities. It focuses on a quality bass and the TRI Starsea may even make a good stage or studio monitor. Its shells are beautiful and well made. The TRI Starsea is rather source picky though, and is a bit thin in note weight when not amped. It does lack a bit in dynamics and “fun factor” and has BA timbre, but otherwise one can see it as getting 4 IEMs with 1 purchase due to the tuning switches.

  • Driver type: High-frequency balanced armature: Customized TRI-HI-A, Three-frequencies balanced armature: Knowles ED-29689, Low frequency dynamic driver: 8 mm composite silicon crystal biological diaphragm
  • Frequency range: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 9.5 Ω
  • Sensitivity: 106 ± 2dB
  • Cable Connector: 2Pin 0.78mm, 8 strands silver-plated Cable
  • Tested at $129 USD


In addition to the IEM, it comes with a very generous assortment of accessories:

1) 2 types of foam tips.

2) 3 types of silicone tips (each comes in S/M/L sizes). One type comes in black with a wider bore and is filmsier. The other 2 types (red and green) are firmer with a narrower bore and between them, they have slightly varying ear tip diameters. Do tip roll to see what suits you best in comfort and sound signature, but I generally found the wider bore black ones to boost treble, whereas the narrower bore ones boosted the bass. I preferred the firm green narrower bore ones overall, as I found they gave the thickest note weight. YMMV as we have different ear anatomies.

3) Nice PVC carrying case.

5) Pin to flips tuning switches -> don’t lose this! Good thing is the carrying case has a pouch to potentially store this pin.

6) Thick and well braided 8 core SPC -> it is of good quality but a wee bit microphonic. For cable skeptics, please move on to the next section. For cable believers, I find a pure copper cable generally synergizes better with the TRI Starsea as this IEM is a bit lacking in note weight (especially when not amped or with inappropriate source pairing), so copper cables seem to increase the warmth in the lower mids a tinge rather than the stock silver plated one.

7) Microfibre cloth

For the purposes of this review, I used the default green stem silicone stock tips and stock cable.



The carrying case has a little pouch that can fit quite a lot of stuff. Good for squirreling away stuff such as eartips or even the provided card pin for fipping the switches.


Foam tips aside, the different silicone tips have varying firmness and nozzle/eartip diameter. The different tips do affect the sound signature to some extent, so do tip roll to see what suits your preferences.


The TRI Starsea is comfortable and well fitting for me, despite its larger size. It is honestly much lighter than it looks. The shell is made of resin and has a concha protrusion, a bit like the BLON Cardinal and BGVP DM6 shell in terms of good ergonomics and looking like semi customs. I know some friends who love the concha protrusion, whereas others hate it as it may cause discomfort with longer sessions, so YMMV, as we have different ear anatomies.

The shell is very beautiful and comes in a purple hue with speckles of other colours. Well, some IEMs (cough cough Kinera) do look beautiful but sometimes the sound doesn’t measure up to the looks, so I’ll take a good sounding set over a good looking shell any day. It is a bonus if the sound and looks are both good, but I’ll still go for good sound over a crap looking shell.

I didn’t detect any driver flex on the TRI Starsea.

I liked that it came in a 2 pin config for cable housing, I had many bad experiences with MMCX connectors in general, for longevity.

Do note that the tuning switches are very small, one will need the provided pin or at least a toothpick to flip the switches (it can’t be flipped with a finger). People with poorer vision or poor motor control may have issues with flipping them. In addition, it might be difficult to flip the switches when outside on the go (eg say in a bus when it is moving).

Personally though, I prefer tuning nozzles than tuning switches, a friend of mine after doing repeated toggling of the dip switches of another IEM, he had the switch snap. Another said that after not using the dip switches for a few months, it sort of rusted in place and can’t be toggled anymore. I guess YMMV though. But I have a feeling most folks when using IEMs that have tuning nozzles/switches, they will probably just leave it in their most favoured config most days of the week. And there’s also the suspicion that tuners may have their attention divided when tuning gear with multiple tuning configs; some tuning configs may have been given more care and attention compared to other configs which may have been shoehorned in or just put as an afterthought?


I liked that the TRI Starsea came in a 2 pin housing, generally it has better lifespan than a MMCX type.


To show how small the switches are, this is a foam tip next to them in comparison. The switches do need some good hand eye coordination to be flipped, be it with the card pin provided or a toothpick. In a shaking bus during transit, flipping the switches is not easy!


Isolation on the TRI Starsea is good but not classleading, this is expected since it is vented, so it won’t beat unvented pure BA setups in this respect. The vent does let in wind noise too in windy environments.

It does a rather good job for isolation during commuting, but when not amped or with inappropriate source pairing, the TRI Starsea is not a basshead IEM (even on the bassiest tuning config), and as bass frequencies are the first to be lost in a noisy environment, I would still prefer to use the TRI Starsea at home. One might be tempted to push up the volumes while commuting to make up for the bass losses and this may cause the upper mids area to be hot in certain configs (eg Pure Tone and Vocals config).


I tried the TRI Starsea on a Khadas Tone Board -> Topping L30, Sabre HIFI DAC (ESS ES9280C PRO), Shanling Q1 DAP, Tempotec Sonata HD Pro, Ziku HK-X9 DAP -> Fiio A3 and a humble android smartphone.

The TRI Starsea is very picky when it comes to sources. It fairs the best with sources with very low output impedance, ideally close to zero if possible. The Starsea’s advertised impedance is 9.5 ohms (not sure which tuning switch this is measured on), and that is low for an IEM. Higher output impedance gear may affect the frequency curve of the Starsea, I find it skews towards the upper frequencies and makes the sound brittle and thin and basslite. I had a similar issue with the Audiosense T800, that had an impedance of 9.2 ohms, it was also a fussy IEM that sounded good on low impedance output gear, but may sound bad on other stuff like smartphones.

So the TRI Starsea has a thin note weight and has a bit of a lack in dynamics, and sounds subdued and “meh”, when just powered from a lower powered source or in a source that doesn’t synergize well. It sounds fuller when amped, especially for the bass heft and extension. The TRI Starsea is not as power hungry as the planar containing TRI I3, but dynamics, details and soundstage do scale slightly better with powerful sources, in addition to the aforementioned bass.

Even among sources with a low output impedance, the TRI Starsea benefits from synergizing with a warmer rather than colder source, in view of the above thinner note weight. Using a warmer source adds some lower mid heft and thickness, and adds more meat to the bones, so to speak.


The TRI Starsea has 4 tuning switches, they do change the sound and ain’t gimmicks (cough cough looking at you NiceHCK M6). I’ll try to explain the various sound signatures below:


Graphs courtesy of KopiOKaya from Audioreviews (IEC711 compliant coupler). 7 – 8 kHZ area is probably a resonance peak.


You can use the card pin to flip the switch on both earpieces for the above configurations.

With both switches down – “exquisite pure tone” – this is the default tuning the TRI Starsea comes in. The tonality sounds like a mild V shape with an upper mids and treble boost, with a slight bass boost. The bass is slightly north of neutral, subbass > midbass in quantity. It is quite comfortable in the higher frequencies and balances a fine line between shoutiness and a forward upper mids/lower treble. With louder volumes (Fletcher Munson curve), or in poorly recorded materials, then some shoutiness may show. Lower mids are depressed but not overly so like some other deep V shaped CHIFI sets. The treble is moderately extended here.

With switch 1 down, switch 2 up – “beautiful vocals” – overall, upper mids are boosted, but the bass is decreased. Hence the ears perceive it to be somewhat bright U shaped. There’s sibilance, and the upper mids and treble can get hot (due to the corresponding bass drop). Vocals are clearer, especially female vocals, though this tuning can get fatiguing with longer sessions due to the wealth of details and clarity. It has slightly less bass than the first “exquisite pure tone” config and approaches neutral in the midbass. Subbass quantity is still more than midbass, but subbass extension isn’t very deep and sounds like a BA bass in terms of speed and extension/decay.

Both switches up – “balanced tuning” – sounds like a mild U shaped. Indeed it is the most balanced of the configs as claimed. I think it is the most inoffensive of the tunings. It is probably the tuning that is quite similar to the big brother TRI I3, though the TRI I3 has a 3 kHz peak, but the peak in this configuration in the TRI Starsea has been shifted a bit earlier to the 2ish kHz region. This tuning has the thickest lower mids of the 4 tuning configs. Bass is north of neutral but not at true basshead quantities, especially when not amped/inappropriate source pairing. Treble is not the most extended here, trebleheads may find it overly safe.

With switch 1 up and switch 2 down – “amazing bass” – sounds mild V shaped approaching L shaped, lower mids are recessed with a subbass boost. Upper mids and lower treble are boosted, but less than the bass, so the ear takes the frequency response as a whole and it is the most bassy of the 4 configurations. Subbass extension is the deepest of the 4 tunings here. But subbass is not the deepest in extension compared to other DD containing basshead IEMs. Bass is north of neutral, subbass is more than midbass in quantity but this is not at basshead levels even though it is claimed to be “amazing bass”. When not amped, or with wrong source pairing, I find it lacking a bit in midbass punch and thickness (in note weight), but then again, I’m a basshead so YMMV. The midbass thickness and quantity does improve with amping, using low output impedance sources (as detailed above), using narrower bore tips or perhaps copper cables (if you ain’t a cable skeptic). Instead of pursuing a basshead quantity, TRI has gone for a good quality bass. There’s no midbass bleed and quite good texturing present. The bass is on the speedier and tighter side. On this tuning, the higher frequencies are rather tamed, smooth and non fatiguing.

Among the tuning configs, I found the pure tone and vocal configs weren’t my cup of tea, as they were hot in the upper mids/treble (especially at louder volumes), with some sibilance present, but perhaps trebleheads will like those configs. FWIW, I did most of my listening with the balanced and amazing bass tunings. I think other than bassheads, most others will find a suitable sound signature with the 4 tuning configs on the Starsea.


Technicalities are a highlight in the TRI Starsea, the imaging is very good for the price, with a dark background allowing one to pinpoint instruments easily. When amped, soundstage is above average in height and width, but average in depth and there are sets with better soundstages at the same price bracket (eg TRI I3). Soundstage is not as expansive when unamped, but I didn’t find music to be congested during complex pieces. Clarity is dependent on which tuning switch is activated, as boosted treble/upper mids usually give more clarity on the pure tone and vocal configs. Details are above average, and instrument separation is generally very good. In fact, due to the good technicalities and good isolation, the TRI Starsea will make a good stage monitor or tool for audio work. There ain’t that many $100ish and below CHIFI sets that are suited for monitoring work, so this area can be a niche market for IEMs like the TRI Starsea, what more so with the different tuning switches on offer.

Unfortunately BA timbre resides in the treble and mid frequencies, and has a bit of a “metallic” sheen sometimes for acoustic instruments. The frequencies settled by the DD bass has very good timbre for drums and percussion instruments. I’ve definitely heard worse timbre in other multi BA/hybrids (cough cough KZs and TRNs), but generally single DD type IEMs will achieve better accuracy of timbre compared to the TRI Starsea, though the TRI Starsea will probably beat them in technicalities, so different strokes for different folks.

Note weight on the TRI Starsea is on the leaner and thinner side, and the sound can be quite undynamic at times, especially when used on weaker sources or with inappropriate source pairing. So it isn’t a “fun” sounding or “in your face” set, but the TRI Starsea just portrays the music with accuracy, control and restrain, sometimes veering to the sterile side on the less bassy configs.


TRI I3 (1 BA + 1 planar + 1 DD) ($147 USD)

The TRI I3 is a very coherent and balanced sounding U shaped tribid, despite the weird mismash of driver configs. It is smooth and generally not harsh, except for an occasional 3 kHz spike that can rear its head during poorly recorded material (with say trumpets) or at boosted volumes. One negative area on the TRI I3 is that is has a bit of lack of sparkle in the treble for trebleheads, and was deemed overly safe in the treble.

The TRI Starsea is very different in tonality from the TRI I3, with the latter being more warm and analoguish and thicker in note weight, even on the balanced tuning where the FR is similar. The TRI Starsea as detailed above, is more “monitor” like and drier and leaner, especially when not amped or with inappropriate source pairing.

Isolation is poorer on the TRI I3, and the planars on the TRI I3 need amping to scale. The TRI Starsea as discussed also benefits from amping, but is less power hungry. Timbre is better on the TRI I3 for the treble frequencies, though the TRI Starsea seems to have better timbre in the lower end frequencies handled by the DD, such as in drums and percussions.

The TRI I3 has one of the best soundstages at the $100ish price bracket (in width/height/depth) when amped, and it beats the TRI Starsea in this area. The TRI I3 is more “grand” sounding when amped and more musical and more dynamic, with more spaciousness. Technicalities are close for instrument separation, details, imaging for the 2 TRI brothers, but with adequate power, I think the TRI Starsea is slightly better in this area, other than in soundstage.

I view the TRI I3 as the rotund extroverted big brother who is warm and outgoing, whereas the TRI Starsea is the skinny, introverted and shy younger brother, who quietly aces all the exams and is very intelligent and knowledgeable. The TRI Starsea is the more technical IEM, with more versatility due to the 4 tuning switches, whereas the TRI I3 is the one with the bigger and grander sound, especially in the area of soundstage (when amped). Different strokes for different folks, there’ll be fans who will be drawn to both tunings, so the TRI Starsea is a welcome addition to the TRI family, and it brings different things to the table.

Westone W30 (3 BA) ($400 USD)

The Westone W30 is a warm neutralish set, and also sounds very “monitor” like. Timbre is worse on the Westone W30 and notes lack an edge definition/bite on the Westone W30. The TRI Starsea beats the Westone W30 in technicalities at 1/4 the price, in the areas of imaging, instrument separation and details. Isolation is slightly better in the TRI Starsea, but the Westone W30 is slightly more comfortable due to the smaller bean shaped profile.

The TRI Starsea is a complete upgrade in almost all areas for a fraction of the price, and it is more versatile too due to the 4 tuning configs.

Audiosense DT200 (2BA) ($149 USD)

The Audiosense DT200 is another warm neutralish set, sporting 2 BA. It is non fatiguing and has a treble bordering on darkish. The DT200 is very smooth with no sibilance, and hence it is suited for long listening sessions. But on the converse side, vocals in the Audiosense DT200, especially female ones, have a bit of a lack of bite/edge definition, and ain’t as clear as the TRI Starsea.

The Audiosense DT200 is weaker than the TRI Starsea in soundstage and technical performance, probably a limitation of the 2 drivers. Subbass extension is also less than the TRI Starsea with a lack of rumble and decay. TRI Starsea is also more versatile due to the 4 tuning switches.

Toneking Ninetails (1 DD) ($125 USD)

I know it is strange to compare the Toneking Ninetails (a single DD set) to a hybrid in the TRI Starsea, as the single DDs and hybrids have their different strengths and weaknesses. But I decided to go ahead and compare them since the Toneking Ninetails is selling around the same price, and is another set that has tuning nozzles to change the sound signature.

Just a bit of a background, the Ninetails is a Far Eastern “fox spirit” in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cultures, which can shapeshift to take the form of a human. So it is quite a good naming convention, as the Toneking Ninetails IEM had a rear and front tuning filter to give 9 different sound signatures, from neutralish to V shaped to basshead. The tuning filters are not gimmicks and they actually worked, and it tied in nicely with the Ninetails namesake and folklore.

The Toneking Ninetails IEM was a cult classic with good reviews among owners, but a lot of people were hesitant to purchase it due to the unconventional looking design. Spoiler: the Ninetails is actually quite well fitting and comfortable once you know how to wear it, but the TRI Starsea is more comfortable with its resin shells feeling like semi customs.

The TRI Starsea has better isolation and accessories. The Toneking Ninetails has actually more tuning configs (nine) than the 4 in the TRI Starsea, and the Toneking Ninetails can become basshead on certain configs with a jawrattling nausea inducing headache, something the TRI Starsea cannot do, even on the most bassy config.

The single DD Toneking Ninetails, has weaker technicalities than the multi driver TRI Starsea, though the Toneking Ninetails has a better timbre for acoustic instruments, as per its single DD roots. The TRI Starsea trumps the Toneking Ninetails in details, instrument separation, clarity and imaging, though in view of the semi open backed design, the Toneking Ninetails has better soundstage (though at the expense of isolation).

One can see these 2 sets as sidegrades, and they bring different things to the table. The TRI Starsea has better technical performance, fit and isolation, whereas the Toneking Ninetails has better timbre and has a few more tuning options, though at the expense of isolation and technicalities.

LZ A7 (1 DD + 4 BA + 2 Piezoelectric Ceramic Drivers (7-layer piezoelectric parallel)) ($338 USD)

The LZ A7 has been having rave reviews, and the hype is deservedly so. It has great tonality, tuning, technical performance and a multitude of tuning options (via a switch and various tuning nozzles).

Other than the LZ A7 having more possible tuning sound signatures than the TRI Starsea, the LZ A7 has better timbre, a thicker note weight and a more refined tonality. The LZ A7 also has a bigger soundstage and better instrument separation, details and imaging.

It may be an unfair comparison due to the almost 3 times price difference between the 2 sets, but I view the TRI Starsea as sort of a poor man’s LZ A7, with the TRI Starsea having lesser refinement overall. Though, I brought up this comparison as the LZ A7 is probably the next tier upgrade from the TRI Starsea for a CHIFI that has tuning configurations (I haven’t heard the ThieAudio Legacy 3 yet, but I did read some concerning QC reports about the non CIEM version). Anyways, as per this hobby, diminishing returns are very real, and even though the LZ A7 is the better set in the 3 Ts of tonality, timbre and technicalities, it is not three times better than the TRI Starsea (as the price would suggest).


The TRI Starsea is a unique hybrid with 4 tuning switches to give a potential mild V shape to a bright U shape. It is rather versatile as such, for different sonic preferences or music genres, and one can view the TRI Starsea as sort of getting 4 IEMs with 1 purchase. It is beautiful looking and has good accessories and has very good technicalities at that price point. I think it can even be used as a stage monitor or for audio work due to the good technicalities and good isolation. The TRI Starsea, however, is one fussy IEM when it comes to source pairing, it fairs better with amping and with sources with the lowest output impedance possible (ideally close to zero). Even though the bass is not the most extended and is a bit leaner (especially when unamped or with inappropriate source pairing), it focuses on a quality bass over quantity.

However, the TRI Starsea does lack a bit in dynamics and may verge towards a sterile tuning especially on the pure tone and vocals tuning switches. It also unfortunately suffers from a BA timbre for the higher frequencies. Most consumers will potentially find some preferred options with the tuning, though the most bassy config is still possibly not for bassheads, especially when the TRI Starsea is run from a weaker source/inappropriate source pairing. Those wanting more dynamics and something “fun sounding” or “musical” will also need to look elsewhere, but I see the TRI Starsea as a mini LZ A7, for 1/3 the price of the famed LZ A7.

Nevertheless, the TRI Starsea is a good addition to the TRI family, providing a contrasting sound signature to the crowd favourite TRI I3, by bringing a different 4 course course meal to the table.
@Nealz if it is truly 0.25 ohm output impedance, then it will do well with the Starsea.

You can read more about source matching here: a headphone with an,driver control (damping factor).

Based on this "rules of eights" discussed here, they advise that the headphone/IEM impedance be divided by 8, and that is the maximum source output impedance that should be paired. Ie if you have a 32 ohm IEM, if this is divided by 8, then ideally a maximum 4 ohm output impedance for the source is the highest that you should be accepting for output impedance, so as not to affect sound quality. This is just a guide of course, exceptions exist and as usual YMMV.

(continued in next post)
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So this article states: " “…if an amplifier's output impedance is significantly more than an eighth of the headphone’s impedance, the frequency response and sound of the headphone can change. This results in bigger mismatches and creates more variation from the headphone’s default sound signature. The way that a headphone responds to an amplifier with output impedance higher than one eighth of the headphone can be entirely erratic – different headphones will respond in different ways, but generally the results will be negative.” - RHA Audio

For Starsea, it has a reported output impedance is 9.5 ohms, so 9.5 divided by 8 means a 1.19 ohm is the max source output impedance you should accept, and the UP4 should be good.
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@baskingshark hey bro thanks again for all this info, you've really helped me out. Otherwise I would've kept wondering if I'm using an appropriate source for my Starsea's.