TRN MT1 & TRN CS1 Review: "The hyper-budget brothers shoot out"
Disclaimer: This review is based on my personal experiences. Your mileage may vary.
The TRN MT1 is TRN's contestant in the hyper-budget IEM lineup along with KZ EDX and such. As expected with budget IEMs, many people were not afraid to blind buy the MT1. And those who have took a dive were surprised on what the MT1 has to offer. It gained popularity in the audio scene as one of the best budget IEMs money could buy.
However, weeks after the TRN MT1's release, TRN announced a new 1DD IEM along with the TRN ST2. The TRN CS1. TRN said the the CS1 will be a limited version and only 1000* sets is gonna be available on the market. And the CS1's price? Almost the same with the TRN MT1.
Now a question arises. With the two brothers being at the same price bracket, same brand, and same driver configuration. Which of the two of them will perform better? Will the CS1 be able to stand out against the MT1? Which one has the better build? Etc etc. Let's find out.
Right off the bat I will tell you that the TRN CS1's build quality better than the MT1... For me at least. The CS1 is very cool looking with that black shiny metal shell and silver grill accents. However the MT1, by no means is ugly. The MT1 sports a all-plastic transparent shell, you could see the driver inside the MT1.
Upon closer inspection, the TRN CS1's size is smaller than the TRN MT1. Although the both of them share a common IEM KZ-style shaped shells, so you have an idea on how they fit.
On the stock cable, the cable on the CS1 is thinner than the MT1. The CS1's jack is straight type, while the MT1 has a L-shaped jack. Although the ear guide on the MT1 is horrible, stiff and unmanageable. It's better to remove the ear guide IMO.
Both of them have similar sets of generic stock ear tips, but I wonder why the one that is pre-equipped in the IEM is different from the rest?
Phone/Laptop >Zishan U1 (ESS Version) > TRN CS1/MT1
All stock from cable to ear tips.
My TRN MT1 is the "dyuamic" version. (If this matters)
- For the bass, the CS1 has the upper hand on this section. The bass in CS1 is lively and impactful, it has a nice deep sub-bass and the mid-bass is strong. In the MT1, the subbass also has a nice depth to it, but lacking in mid-bass. Like you can feel the depth, but lacks the mid-bass slam.
- As for the mids, the MT1 has the upper hand. The upper mids on the MT1 is much more smoother compared to the CS1. The mids of the MT1 is thin sounding as it lacks body, but the upper mids makes up for it as it has a wide extension with no sibilance noticeable. The mids on the CS1 is much more well bodied, but suffers from midbass bleeding, where the MT1 only has minimal mid-bass bleeding. The upper mids of the CS1 is detailed and bright, but it's stunted extension makes it sound shouty. In fact the CS1 makes my head hurt after listening to it for a while. The MT1 can also get shouty at times, but the CS1's shouty tendencies is much more evident and annoying.
- Right away the treble of the CS1 is more detailed and bright, because of this the treble sounds harsh. The treble extension of the CS1 also lacks extension, same with it's upper mids. The MT1 on the other hand has smoother and more natural treble compared to the CS1, but it is not as detailed compared to the CS1's treble. But it has a wider extension and is not harsh sounding.
- The soundstage of the MT1 is wider compared to the CS1. Seems like the grills of the CS1 is only for show and it is not a true open-back IEM. I'd say that the soundstage of the CS1 is average, but average is not enough as the CS1's bass, upper mids, and treble have so much presence to the point that it sounds congested at times. The soundstage of the MT1 is above average, which is very good for the price. However it is not exempted as both the CS1 and MT1 struggles with busy tracks.
Conclusion and Thoughts:
To me the winner of this shoot out is the TRN MT1. For its price, the tuning is really good, natural, and more ear-friendly. The TRN CS1 however isn't a bad apple, but seems like a unrefined product that is rushed to ride the hyper-budget hype. Based on what I've heard it has a lot of potential to become a better IEM than the MT1, or other hyper-budget options. But first and foremost, they need to fix that goddamn ear guide. I also noticed that when the CS1 is paired with a warm source, like the Sony A55. It has become more bearable to listen to as it becomes more smooth and musical, but still can get shouty.