Oh, Trinity. Synonymous for Hype without Frontiers. Now releasing the second In-Ear in the Phantom line-up. The Phantom Master 4. Featuring two addtional Balanced Armatures for some extra sparkle. But is it truly masterful, like the name suggests?
Enter Phantom Master 4 by Trinity
Official Phantom Thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/796729/trinity-phantom-series-new-thread-worlds-first-push-pull-hybrid-iem
I bought the Trinity Phantom Master 4 in the pre-order period for ~125€. The Value rating is based on the full retail price of around 170€.
Manufacturer website: https://www.trinityaudioengineering.com/
- All aluminium CNC machined shells
- Worlds first push/pull hybrid (actually that title goes to the Kumitate Lab KL-REF)
- Impedance: 16Ohm
- Sensitivity: 108db/mW
- Frequency Response: 20-20000hz
- 2 x 7mm Titanium diaphragm drivers + 2 Balanced armatures
- 2 Pin detachable cables x 3 (included as standard) 1 x standard Trinity multi-braid 1 x memory wire multi-braid 1 x fabric cable with remote and mic
- 7 x tuning filters.
- OFC copper cables
- Huge accessory package: standard case, 6.3mm adapter, huge selection of eartips (S/M/M/L silicone, double flange, S/M/L Memory foam, Spinfit tips XS/S/M/L)
Accessories are done in typical Trinity fashion. We get our pastery-style box with the individual eartips enclosed in a layer of foam. The triangular pouch, containing the 5.3mm Adaptor, a 3.5mm L-Shaped adaptor, a shirt-clip and last but not least, the all important filters. The filters are preserved inside metal tubes. That is all good and dandy, but why are the silver filters not in one of their own? Bob doesn't like silver? Who knows. Another little gripe: The filters tend to get stuck inside the tubing. Nothing major, but nonetheless annoying.
The final compartment under the pouch reveals 3 cables for your personal enjoyment. Two braided ones, 1x with and without memory wire and a mobile cable with an included microphone and button functionality. Overall really nice. Still an uni-body solution for filters (like the FLC8s has) could be something to consider.
Build and Design:
The PM4 utilises a rather uncommon Dual-Push Pull Hybrid design, only seen elsewhere in the Kumitate KL-REF. However the Master 4 is surprisingly small. It's sized somewhere around the upper-end Shure models with some additional thickness. It measures around 1.6cm in width, 1.2cm in height and 1.0cm in depth with the nozzle adding another extra 1.0cm. There are no alternative sized filters this time, however. Although, I don't think many will need them anyway. Isolation is quite commendable and highly improved. While it still lacks behind some of the closed Balanced Armature IEMs in that regard, it is certainly good enough for most commuting.
Aesthetics are well done. My model in particular is the matt black variant, giving it a classy looking feel. It also seems that the PM4 has improved build-quality. The PM4 looks more robust compared to the smaller brother, the Phantom Sabre. The Phantom line are using a proprietary 2-pin design which is not compatible with the traditional UE 2-pin standard. Myself and many other have had some issues with that particular connector. In case of a problem or issue, please don't hesitate to contact @Bobtrinity via. PM or write an E-Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- General signature is a fun U-Shape
- Soundstage is impeccable, Imaging is about average.
- Coherence is good, even in complex tracks.
- Sounds warmer compared to the rest of the line-up; more lower-mid emphasis.
- Very unforgiving with bad recordings
- THAT BASS!
- Weird sounding around 3.5kHz
- The Master 4 profits from amplification
- The Master 4 has a rather inconsistent impedance curve
- Low output impedance (< 1Ohm) gives it the best results
- Identical in drivability compared to the Phantom Sabre
- The Master 4 was tested with the Xduoo X3, the HifiMe Sabre 9018, various smartphones and an IFi Stack. All of which sounded ok.
Using the Delta-Styled filters, gives the PM4 a choice of 7 options to choose from. Generally speaking, changes are not drastic. The filters are only affecting bass quantity and some upper-mid to treble response. I personally enjoyed the Gold un-dampened and the gunmetal filters the most. Purple is also in my personal circulation. Silver is too aggressive in the lower-registers, IMO.
> Gunmetal filter: The Gun-Metal filter is declared the neutral filter, though to me this is not quite the case. Not even close, actually. The Gunmetal option has the second most prominent bass-line of all filters. It sounds eerily similar to the gold dampened filter, albeit slightly less subdued in both bass and treble.
> Purple filters: The Treble filter. Again not true in the literal sense of the word. The purple variant has just the least amount of bass, shifting the overall balance quite a bit. I still think that the bass is somewhat north of neutral, with reverb and overall visceral nature taking a slight backseat.
> Gold filters: "Perfect balance between gunmetal and purple". This is my go-to filter for most applications (un-dampened). Bass is prominent, but not overbearing. Takes a good in-between spot for many genres.
> Silver filters: The most V-Shaped out of the bunch. These are bass monsters. Sounds good with modern genres. Still, too much for my taste.
The dampening smooths out the somewhat inconsistent upper mids and treble. However with the consequence of making it sound slightly congested. To me, the treble is the weakest part of the overall sound. Airiness and reproduction of detail is quite good. But at the cost of sounding artificial, with various peaks in frequency-response. Soundstage is the strongest part of the Master 4. It extends well beyond my head-space. I'd say it has the single best soundstage in its price-class. Depth in particular is fantastic. The Master 4 sounds very dynamic, with good amount of detail to back it up. Micro-details are noticable, but not prioritized. The Master 4 is more about emotion. Jazz in particular sounds absolutely fantastic. Still, the tuning sounds ok to good with most genres. Although, I wouldn't recommend the Master 4 for mastering purposes. They sound too colored.
FLC8 (Red-Clear-Gray): [around 320$]
The Master 4 is overall warmer and more inviting sounding compared to the FLC8s. The FLC8s is less spacious sounding, but more precise in terms of imaging. Bass is much more evident on the PM4, with authority which simply cannot be matched by the FLC8s, albeit at the cost of sounding slighly bloated. Instruments are easier to depict with the FLC8s. Furthermore due to the smaller soundstage, the FLC8s has an easier time diving into the individual aspects of songs and music. The FLC8s has better detail-retrieval overall. The PM4 has more mid-bass and lower midrange emphasis, which makes it warmer and more "fun", whereas the FLC8s is generally more neutral and linear in presentation. My personal preference goes to the FLC8s. The PM4 has too many sonic weaknesses compared to the FLC8s, in particular in the upper-midrange to treble area. The FLC8s has better realism, more linearity and more technicality.
Phantom Sabre: [around 100$]
The Sabre is very similar in tuning. However the little brother sounds slightly less spacious and detailed compared to the Master. The Sabre has less emphasis on the lower-mids, making it appear more nimble. Treble sounds more linear on the Sabre, but has similar issues with peaks and dips. The PM4 sounds overall more U-Shaped, whereas the Sabre is more akin to the traditional V-Shape. The Master 4 is pretty much an all-around better Sabre.
So. Is the Master 4 any good? Yes. Very good. Considering the price of 170€. Definitely.
If you're looking for an all-in one package with an emotional and spacious sound, look no further. The Master 4 is your man.