TRN IM1 - Reviews
Pros: Polyvalent detailed soundsignature, Good vocal presence and texure, Good bass impact, Deep soundstage, transparent sound, smoothly extended treble with hint of brightness, non sibilant, Excellent construction, calibrate sound, Supreme good value.
Cons: Eartip include make no even if great looking perhaps have QC issue (one faceplate come of the housing)

SOUND: 8/10


Since the begining, TRN intrigue, but my first introduction was with there very first earphone wich is call TRN V10 but strangely have 2DD+2BA configuration. To say I was unimpress would be an understatment, I was litteraly beaten up and violented by the overly agressive bright and ackwardly analytical sound, so I let go other model call V20 even if now the consumers feedback was better than the disastrous first attempt. Still intrigue i keep an eye open about numerous models they come out at an impressive speed and decide to take a chance buying the well received TRN V80 : here my expactation was too high as well as my sensibility to trebly sound, V80 sure wasn’t a disaster like the V10 but not a masterpeice either and I was still displeased by sharp inconsistant treble response.


Why did I decide to buy the IM1 then?? Because of the outside construction and especially INNER design that include sound tube to separate both dynamic and balanced armature drivers. As well, I was hoping that with there experience and error in the past TRN sound engineer choose another type of soundsignature and from the description I read I find the word SMOOTH. I decide to take the plunge, without lot of expectation but ONE : no-too-trebly PLEASE! And budget audiophile god hear my wish, the TRN IM1 are far from dull and too warm sounding but offer a very extended smooth treble that do not hiss in upper mids or is too sharp in upper high! What a relief!

(Photo taken from original product description to show sound tube)


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Wait, did I pay 20$ for these TOTL looking IEM? Yep, but they normally sell at 25-30$ wich is still just non sens for this type of luxurious looking universal custom earphones. With its sexy metal plate and ear molded acrylic shell with 2 separate hole in an organic shape nozzle, these sure stand appart from any budget iem in sub50$ price range, in fact, this housing is unique and not a copy cat, and this is very rare in chi-fi iem market and something that TRN should be pround. These remind me of an even more better looking version of Kinera H3 in a smaller form factor and at third of the price (and shhhh, with a better sound too!), can’t say how much i’m sicnerly impress with this construction but If I search for little details, I would say metal plate isn’t perfectly stick and polish and that we can see some imperfection with a magnificant glass…who will do that really?
(EDIT: for god know what reason, I think its due to extreme cold here, but one of the face plate litterally pop up and I need to stick it back with super my IM1 are less sexy. sigh.)

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Design of this ear mold inspired housing is extremely comfortable, as well, its quite small for this type of universal custom. These fit easily at very first time I try them, and never hurt whatever the number of time I use them (alot!). Nozzle shape is very well thinked and give a tigh fit as well as a great isolation, I do suggest to use enough long ear tips so its not to near nozzle end as the stock tips kind of suggest.


Accessories are more than minimalist, I don’t know if its an error but I only have one pair of pre install silicone eartips and the cable and thats it. Anyway, I would surely not have used the included one as I use the KZ starline with big nozzle iem so it do not compress air pressure and open the sound. Cable is the same twisted black cable as all TRN products have, wich is one of the best in its class (you can buy them for like 5$ on ali too!).



SOUNDSIGNATURE is just slightly bright and energic with a U shape approach where bass have weighty authority, mid frequencies have pushed fowards presence without unwanted sibilance and highs good brilliance and attack with good microdetails.

SOUNDSTAGE is wide with above average deepness and good amount of air to give natural imaging.

BASS is punchy with good body in mid bass and enough rumble in lower end.
Lower end are well separated from mids and do not bloat on it, it even can feel somewhat dark sounding sometime, even if we can feel greatly the punch, as if both sub and mid bass mix togheter naturaly. Anyway, this do not make it sound not musical, just less well separated in lower region than other frequencies range. This type of bass, wich have more treble in sub region than mid one, is best with music that do not have lot of instruments in low, like, synth+bass+kick or organ+cello+male voice. In another hands, these sound fabulous for solo cello or string quartet.

MIDS frequencies have very good resolution and above average fine texture for its price range, they are more bright than bass without any hissing or an agressive approach but more a pushed up presence. Still, they sit right in there place without feeling too pumped up and have a hint of natural bass warm to give them more body. To my ears vocal feel more full bodied and present like if it was coming from a dynamic driver instead of a balanced armature, they do not feel appart from rest of spectrum or out of phase and have no sharp corners to it. I really like the mature mids of IM1 even if IM1 are not mid centric, it can deal beautifully with piano, violin and even cello when it need to. In ultra V shape music like rap, they aren’t too recessed either. Its subtle, but for me, this is an impressive approach for a hybrid earphone.

HIGHS are very revealing, especially in upper range where microdetails are harder to show. They are bright but just stop before going into sibilance or too sharp territory, perhaps ultra treble sensible people will still find them to fowards but for me that is more sensible to high mids hissing and fatigue they do not feel agressive at all, only in very intense electronic with high pitch noise and percussion I will heard a more energical sound pressure of treble, but for this music even warm earphone will feel agressive. Treble never make cymbals splashy or hit hat overly textured near distort, and unlike too bright IEM they will not feel like the percussion dude is in front of the band, he feel behin other transparent sounding instrument. When I say transparent its to tell that the IM1 sound more like a big dynamic driver than 2 different type of drivers earphone, sound mix togheter as music in real life will mix in the air, it not a perverse details craving iem and I respect that.


Eartips are UTTERLY important with this strange iem, I’m not even sure housing designer think enough about that as the one coming with it make no sens and have its outside hole way to near nozzle hole wich will make the sound feel ackwardly congested and unbalanced. As the nozzle have 2 hole in it with the driver having quite long tube connect to each, more than ever right fit and right tips is a MUST and ONLY your ears can really knowthe right one. One thing sure, you can change the soundsignature this way (and it work better than nozzle filter IMO). Sub bass willlove bigger silicone tips while more detailed-layered sound will love tri-fangle tips. Lot of fun!



VS TRN V80 (30$):

V80 are more V shaped and bright sounding than IM1 even if both are quite bassy. Sub bass line are more hearable with the IM1 and punch is less agressive but still on the bassy side. Mids have more presence with the IM1 and feel smoother too, while the more recessed V80 one feel brighter and can sound hissy in upper mid, as well, V80 have less transparency and naturalness to the vocal. Highs are more fowards and analytical with the V80 and give more details but can be too sharp too and sound metallic and splashy with percussion, the IM1 in other hands have bright but less fowards highs that aren’t as much invasive and over textured. Soundstage of IM1 feel more around your head, deep and airy, V80 have about same widness with slightly better layering but more edgy and compact. I find the IM1 more natural sounding as well as more permissive and versatile, for me its smoother more musical version of V80, with bigger soundtage and less agressive and detailed approach.

VS KZ ZS10 (40$) :

ZS10 have more thick low end compared to smoother IM1 wich feel more natural and less grainy. Vocal of IM1 are more airy and musical, less fowards but more pleasant and wide sounding while the ZS10 give a trebly-not-hissy type of mids. Highs are more detailed with ZS10 but lack brilliance and decay of IM1, still, ZS10 is more revealing and fowards. Soundstage have more deepness with IM1 because of a more transparent sound while ZS10 feel more panoramic with compressed but revealing imaging. ZS10 is not comfortable at all and about 1.5 times bigger-lager than ultra comfy IM1 that have as well a better construction with metal face plate instead of cheap transparent KZ plastic. ZS10 sound slightly artificial and trebly but not sibilant while the Im1 sound more natural, with more airy easy going sound.

VS KZ ZS5(v1) (30$) :

ZS5 have a more weighty bass presence as well as more sub rumble wich do not tend to warm the mids as the IM1 do with a less well separated bass from other FR. Mids of ZS5 are a little more bright and less vast and transparent than the IM1 wich have more presence and feel nearer to you than ZS5. About imaging and layering, both do very well and strangely it depend of music track but I feel IM1 are more versatile than ZS5 and will give a slightly wider and more realist presentation too because ZS5 do less good with signersongwriter and indie rock or folk. High have more brilliance with IM1 and feel more realist than ZS5 wich have better layered one but not as clean sounding wich make them sound a little more synthetic. All in all both have a pretty similar soundsignature but do nto excell in same music genre, for a better all arounder I would choose the more permissive IM1.

VS Tin Audio T2 (50$):

T2 have more sub bass and just a little less mid bass and punch, IM1 have better grip and rumble as well as a more V shape profil too. Mids are clearer with T2 and have more fowards presence. High are less sparkly and fowards compared too IM1 wich have more brilliance, both deliver plenty of details in deep soundstage but the T2 sound airier and wider. T2 have a less textured and slower sound presentation with a more mid centric approach than IM1, it feel a little more transparent too and offer a less analytical smoother approach. I adore both here and can’t decide...but I prefer comfort of IM1.


Only way for me to be no BS in review is to be subjective but true to my sincere appreciation that take in big account price value, should it be hysterical or not, must important aspect for me right now is : do it sound right in the musical calibration sens. The TRN IM1 musicality make me very very happy and stand appart in my 50 chifi iem collection for 2 reason : the incredibly well thinked and made construction And the masterfully well calibrate soundsignature. Some (too) serious budget audiophile will perhaps find them too bassy, but this is not because mid bass is slightly pumped up that the sound loose credibility, it just give extra energy to it, without being only made for a specific music genre. With the TRN IM1, where in better of both world, we have a detailed slightly bright sound without hissing or agressive mids or high and we have a bass that have enough authority to give proper punch without bloating the mids. This TRN IM1 is clearly my favorite of the three TRN earphones I try and even if not make to be spectacular sounding, I enjoy this more mature approach that offer more subtility in its sound presentation. TRN is a brand to closely watch in the futur.

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Good descriptions and the comparisons were most helpful. From your description it appears that these would be a good option for those who've missed out on the ZS5(v1).
Same here,What i really love the TRN IM1 is its treble part.natural sounding cymbals and its retrieval on microdetails.Some tracks that I've play show some presence of sibilance.The mids are thick and well-bodied.the bass is punchy and controlled.
Thanks for passionate effort to share your opinion! I ordered v80 for my family member (im sure it beats 10€ sony shes been using), but for ME, ill try im1, THANKS!
Have you tried jvc hxz100, i got it and trough tc bmc2 its signature resembles my sony sa 3000 in a way (sub, reccesed 550--650 hz, mids tonnaly wrong -as most of hps, overall bright) didnt expect such resolution from small drivers and mid pressence, but its still unreal with highs and vocals "float out"nicely...