TRN TA1 Max Universal In Ear Monitor

Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
Maxed sound - budget price
Pros: + Massive bass while retaining great midrange and treble presence
+ Visceral and impactful
+ Natural timbre
+ Spacious soundstage with precise imaging
+ Easy to drive
+ Very comfortable and discreet
+ Good quality cable and plenty of accessories
+ Competitively priced
Cons: - Bass is somewhat resonant and not that well defined
- Mid-bass clarity is not the best
- Low end is not so tonally correct
- Flat soundtage
- Moderate passive noise attenuation
The review sample was kindly provided by Linsoul free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
I didn't receive monetary or any other kind of compensation and I don't use affiliate links.
The price of the TRN TA1 Max is $46 and you can order it from Linsoul

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TRN TA1 Max

The TRN TA1 Max is the successor to the TA1 bringing several new improvements and a more refined tuning.
It is a hybrid earphone that combines one beryllium plated 10mm dual magnetic circuit dynamic driver with one TRN custom Knowles 33518 balanced armature driver.
The design of the balanced armature unit placed on the sound nozzle reduces the loss of high-frequency sound wave propagation resulting in a better higher frequency response.
The TRN TA1 Max has a semi-open balanced pressure relief cover to effectively solve the dynamic balance of the air pressure in the cavity.
That improves the performance of the earphone unit, makes the sound cleaner, and reduces distortion.
The pressure is eliminated on the eardrum and achieves the effect of comfortable listening.

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Design and fit

The lightweight and very compact ear-shells are made from aluminium alloy with excellent build quality and finish for the category.
Wearing comfort is absolutely great and the earphones disappear in the ear while they stay secure and stable, offering a stress free user experience even after a prolonged time of use.
Unfortunately the semi open-design doesn't offer the best noise isolation so they are not the best for use in extremely noisy places.

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Cable and accessories

The TA1 Max has a 2-pin detachable cable which is made from high-purity silver-plated OFC copper.
The cable quality is actually very good with low microphonic noise while it doesn't get tangled.
The 2-pin connectors are reversed for better longevity and more secure fit.
The TRN TA1 Max comes with a black colored aluminum storage case and six different ear-tips.
Balanced (SML) and bass (SML).

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Listening impressions

The TRN TA1 Max was burned for 50 hours before listening tests.
Rated impedance is 22Ω and with a sensitivity of 118dBb, the TA1 Max is very easy to drive so I have mostly used entry level USB DAC dongles like the FiiO KA1, iBasso DC05 and ddHiFi TC35 Pro.

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The TA1 Max, true to its name, is maxed both in the sub-bass which has great extension and physical impact, and the bass which is boosted above neutral but not that much as too sound out of tune when it handles acoustic instruments.
Bass texture is somewhat boomy and resonant but not lacking in overall control and firmness.
The texture is amazingly visceral and weighty, the low end is impactful and dynamic but you can't fail to notice the lack of some clarity and layering, especially in the mid-bass, something that affects instrument definition and results in a mild masking effect.
The bass might be the undeniable star of the show but thankfully it doesn't cloud the mid-range nor take over the rest of the frequencies.
The TA1 Max has great coherency, mid-range clarity and presence are just excellent, you can hear every last note, vocalists and instruments sound well defined and articulated even in the most busy and bass heavy tracks.
The same applies to the treble which is sparkling, luminous and shiny, fast and agile without a hint of brightness or harshness.
The timbre is quite natural and realistic even when listening to classical music, not that accurate but still convincing, this is a bassy headphone but not to the expense of overall accuracy.
Clarity still remains impressive even in the higher frequencies, the TA1 Max is resolving and detailed, more than you can imagine, while it is smooth and forgiving without lacking in transparency.
The TA1 Max was enjoyable with all kinds of music even with classical music where I didn't mind giving up some tonal accuracy and technicalities for the scale of the presentation and the organic character.

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Upon first time listening to the TRN TA1 Max you are not going to believe how expansive and open the soundstage is with a surprisingly precise imaging for the category.
Depth layering is rather mediocre but the overall size of the soundstage is pretty amazing.

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In the end

The TRN TA1 Max is really "Maxed out" when it comes to sound quality with plenty of good quality bass and excellent overall clarity.
Musical and enjoyable is the perfect everyday companion while it is not afraid to become more critical when needed, a truly great earphone with a budget price tag.

Test playlist

Copyright - Petros Laskis 2022.
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SenyorC

100+ Head-Fier
Not for me but might be for you...
Pros: Build, comfort, price, decent performance...
Cons: Not a tuning that I like...
The TRN TA1 Max have been sent to me by Linsoul in exchange for the publication of this review, they have not made any specific requests, therefore I will do my usual best to be as unbiased as possible in this review, although you should always consider the fact that I have not had to spend any of my own money on these IEMs.

As always, I will leave a non-affiliate link to the TA1 Max via Linsoul on my blog, as it is the least I can do.

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Intro…

Lately I have had quite a few new revisions of older models come across my desk, such as the T1S and the CRA+, just to name a few. Today's set is also a set that I reviewed some time ago and has been revamped into a new release.

I will do some brief comparisons between the original TA1 and the new TA1 Max as I go along but, to be honest, apart from some brief listens this week to compare, it has been quite a while since I spent time with the originals.

Once thing I will say in favour of TRN is that the new model keeps almost the same price as the original, around 35€, which not only keeps them well inside my favoured sub 50€ category, but also means that they have introduced the upgrades without increasing the price.

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Presentation…

The IEMs arrive in a fairly simple box with an image of them on the cover. Inside the box we find the IEMs in their cutouts located at the top, with a hard shell, round, storage/travel case below, sporting the TRN logo on the lid.

Inside the travel case we find the cable and attached to the bottom of the foam holding the IEMs, there is a box containing the remaining accessories, these being 2 different types of tips, with 3 sizes of each included.

This is not a lot of content but is enough to be able to enjoy the IEMs straight out of the packet, with the hard storage case being a nice touch.

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Build & Aesthetics…

The TA1 Max are the same shape and style as the original TA1, round with a small cylindrical shape offset to the top which holds the connector for the cable. They are slightly larger in size than the originals, not by a huge amount but certainly enough to be noticeable. Personally I find them to be comfortable but that is going to depend on each person and their anatomy.

One thing that has changed quite a bit in comparison to the original TA1 is the looks. While the shape is still the same and the colour is also very similar (slightly more matte on the Max), gone is the anime art (on the Japanese version of the originals, or plane silver on the regular version) and has been replaced with an X type design that has cutouts and a grille below.

They do state that these are a “Half Open Balanced Pressure Relief Cover” and the vents are in fact functional, giving them an open back look and feel.

I actually like the aesthetics, preferring them over the originals, and feel that they have put some thought and originality into the design.

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Sound…

Let’s do the usual and show a graph of the TA1 Max vs the original TA1, plus my personal preference target, just as a reference point before we start.

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(all measurements of IEMs I review can be found and compared on achoreviews.squig.link)

I am going to go through my usual steps but straight away we can see that the overall curve is very similar to the original, with a few tweaks.

Starting off with the subbass, I really can’t hear any lack here but I must say that it is difficult to actually focus on the subbass due to the rather large midbass boost. If I actually pplay subbass tones, then maybe I could start passing comments but test tones are not really something I listen to. Therefore, let’s just say that I don’t think that people will complain about any lack of subbass on these IEMs.

Moving up into the midbass, here is where the low end is dominated by a strong focus on these frequencies. Now, as most of you probably know already (if you follow my reviews), I am not someone who likes an excessive amount of bass and yes, I find the amount to be excessive on the TA1 Max.

However, I must also say that the control over these midrange frequencies is impressive. With such an elevated frequency response in this area, it is very easy for a set of IEMs to lose control and become undefined and muddy in the low end, even carrying the excess through into the lower mids. The TA1 Max do a very good job of avoiding this problem.

There are certain tracks where I find the bass to be overwhelming, such as “No Sanctuary Here” (and quite a few more), but at the same time, it does let me distinguish between the notes and while the midbass is definitely the center of attention, it does still let other frequencies through. I feel that many people will find the pressure of the midbass slam very impressive but personally I find it tiring.

In the mids, there is a clear drop in the center but again, they surprisingly keep the mids present, and do so without overdoing the boost at the higher end of the mids. The higher mids follow a similar tuning to the original TA1’s but they have smoothened them out a little. Even the peak at almost 5kHz is not offensive to me, I don’t notice any harshness, and I am quite sensitive to those specific frequencies.

The higher ranges are also quite calm and collected. There are no annoying peaks, at least to my ears, and sibilance is kept in check without being overly dull. I would still say that the upper ranges are a little behind the lower ranges, with the bass being the center of attention, but they are surprisingly present, I expected much worse.

The soundstage is also not bad, on the higher end of average for a set of IEMs, although they do not sound as “open” as the aesthetics may lead one to believe. While the image placement isn’t going to win any awards for being the most precise, it is also by no means bad. Things are where they should be and details can be easily identified in the background. In fact, while these are also not the most detailed of IEMs, they are not bad in this regards either. I wouldn’t say you are going to be blown away by things you have never heard before but they certainly don’t come across as one dimensional and lacking.

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Conclusion…

Sadly for the TA1 Max, they are a sound signature that I am not a fan of, meaning that they weren’t off to a very good start. However, they have still surprised me by managing to keep an overall presence and clarity to the rest of the frequencies, they are not just a wall of bass.

If you are someone who likes having a lot of slam in the midbass range, then I certainly think that you should give these a listen as they are quite impressive, especially with regards to how they create such a sensation of moving air in those ranges without really taking over the rest of the spectrum. Yes, these are on the bassy/warm side, which is to be expected, but they still present you with plenty of coherency in the rest of the music.

Personally, I just don’t get on with this tuning but I know that and my personal tastes aren’t something that can lead me to say that these are not good IEMs, as they are.

As always, this review can be found in Spanish both on my blog (www.achoreviews.com) and on YouTube (www.youtube.com/achoreviews)
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Ceeluh7

500+ Head-Fier
TRN TA1 Max Immersive in every way
Pros: -Small and comfortable design
-Very immersive sound
-Non-fatiguing
-Great low end from Beryllium Plated DD
-Suits many genres
-Great look
-Price to Performance
Cons: -Treble can lack shimmer for treble-heads
-Fit might be funny on some
-Not the best cable
-Resolution isn’t a game changer
TRN TA1 Max ($46)
Full Review can be found at: https://www.mobileaudiophile.com/trn-ta1-max-2/
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The “TRN TA1 Max” is TRN’s 3rd entry into the TA line. We first saw the TA1 and then the TA2. I never had the pleasure of listening to the first model, but from what I have read the original was a pretty well-done budget tier iem. I’m not so sure what is “max” about this 3rd iteration, but I can at least get clued into how it compares vs some of its competitors.

I have owned and sold, or even given away quite a few TRN iems in the past. TRN has always played pretty well in the budget sector of the iem landscape. Pretty much par for the course like most Chi-Fi companies. TRN has had some huge budget successes and some which just fill a void in their release schedule. I’m just assuming. However, as of late TRN seems to really be stepping up their game of late. One after the other.

Recently the TRN BAX has turned some heads in the Audio community. Thus far they have garnered some exalted praise from people I feel I can trust. Also, the TRN Vx Pro has really done well in the $50-$100 price tier with great reviews. Check out Mahir’s review of the TRN Vx Pro here. It’s good to see a company start to figure things out. After all, most of the time we are the beneficiaries of their progress.

As far as the TRN TA1 Max is concerned, honestly, I had no gauge to go by. I hadn’t heard the first set in the series, nor have I heard the TRN TA2. Psst… I’m sorta happy I steered clear of that one. They can’t all be gems I suppose but also, I’m sure somebody loves it. Anyways, the point is, I honestly don’t expect much at all. I’ll start with some casual listening and then pursue the gauntlet which is my library of music. Finally, I will compare the Max against some iems of my choosing which make sense to me. Very likely they will be sets in the same price tier or stylistically are similar etc. Okay I dont like writing about boring stuff so, we shall proceed.

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Gear Used

Zooaux Dongle Dac
Fiio KA3
IFi Go Blu / Qudelix 5k
Ibasso DX240 w/ Amp8 Mk2
Fiio UTWS5


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Fiio Ka3 / IFI Go Blu / Fiio UTWS5 / Ibasso DX240 w/ Amp8 Mk2 / Qudelix 5k / Zooaux Dongle Dac

Later Comparisons:
Tripowin Mele / Shozy Form 1.1 / Kbear Ink / Hidizs Mermaid MM2

Packaging

Upon receiving the TRN TA1 Max I was met with a decent set of accessories and unboxing experience for the $40 I paid for this set. Most budget iem makers naturally hold back on the Unboxing, of course there are exceptions in the “iem-verse”.

You will see that TRN didn’t skimp on the ear tips as they added #3 smaller bore black “Bass” tips, #3 white semi wide bore tips and a pair of foam tips. Not bad (Not all the tips are pictured). You will also receive an “Ibasso” style round case. I really do like the case they provided. Granted I never ever use them, but I can see the appeal to those who do. It is black in color and pulls apart as two halves. Kinda like a makeup holder. Who am I kidding, just look at the picture I attached of it below. Again, not bad at all. Also, you receive a ¼” jack to be used with amplifiers if needed. Always a handy lil extra.

Next up is the cable, you will get this okayish QDC style, 2 pin, Silver Plated Copper cable which comes in white and terminates with a 3.5 single ended jack. I have to admit it’s not my favorite. So, for the greater portion of my review, I went with a balanced Tripowin Zonie cable. I’ll explain more later.

Full Review: https://www.mobileaudiophile.com/trn-ta1-max-2/

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TRN TA1 Max Packaging
TRN TA1 Max Packaging


Build/Design

The TRN TA1 Max is a well-constructed iem in this price segment. Very light and ergonomic are my first thoughts upon putting these in my ears. The Shells are made using a lightweight aluminum which is very solid to the touch. The Brushed aluminum housing covers the entire iem from front to back. TA1 Max comes in a bullet style design which is more user friendly than it isn’t. Taking off the tips you’ll notice the metal grill. It doesn’t look as though it’s some cheap mesh screen which can be found on a lot of budget iems. These look sleek and classy and seem more premium than those cheap mesh filters.

The shells have a semi-open back structure on the faceplates and are made with a slick looking design that is also very much functional. Other than the large semi-open back venting the Max also has a small vent hole in the front close to the nozzle. The tips don’t extend too far into the ear yet aren’t considered shallow either. Quite nice actually. I still tip-rolled to slightly longer tips to extend a hair deeper.

All things considered; I love the design. Reminiscent of the Fiio Fd3, Fd5, and Fd7 in their fitment and style. These sit nicely nestled in the ear and seem to get lost as they are fairly small in size. For myself they sit just under flush with my outer ear. The Max has a very functional and appealing look which almost anyone can appreciate.

The Driver’s which were employed here is a 10mm Dual Magnetic Circuit, Beryllium Plated Dynamic Driver used to capture the Lows and Midrange. TRN also went with a #33518 Knowles Balanced Armature Driver for the Treble area. A two-way crossover system doles out the duties for both drivers. Each of the drivers are used to their Max capabilities as TRN really gets the most out of each. It is very uncommon to find such quality drivers under $50.


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Sound Impressions

If I were to describe the sound of the TRN TA1 Max, I would say they are a U-shaped to a W-shaped iem. Truthfully these do lean more toward W-shape in my opinion. The TA1 Max has a very fun and immersive sound. This set just envelopes you in an acoustic landscape. The whole replay is just warm of neutral. The low end and low Mids are a bit warmer than the upper half yet remain harmonious as a whole. This is common in hybrid setups yet not all hybrids can pull off such a nice blending of the technologies.

The Bass is tight for its size and bountiful in its quantity. Speedy enough for its size as well. The Mids are only slightly recessed with a forward presentation. The Treble area is well enough extended and melts right into the rest of the signature. In totality I hear a cohesive hybrid budget iem that really does play with some pricier sets. Just do something for me, put on “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd and get engrossed… you can thank me later.

TRN did a great job in the tuning of the Max. I hear two different driver technologies which are unified in the soundscape of my music. Overall, the sound is smooth enough while keeping good resolution for the price segment. Nothing is fatiguing or piercing at all, and nothing is bloated or muddy. The Max has a clean signature yet remains vibrant and dynamic to the core. If you want fun, if you’re on a budget, if you like jamming out in a world of sound… my friends… the TRN TA1 Max.

I did decide upon a balanced cable throughout the majority of my listening to take advantage of a balanced source. While the single ended cable which came with the Max is perfectly fine (but not the best) I do notice a bit of scaling up with power.



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The TRN TA1 Max has a semi-open back design

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TRN Promotional Images (Copyright TRN)

Bass

TRN chose Beryllium plating as a driver material. Not many companies seem to capture the potential of beryllium. Especially in the budget arena. Truthfully most companies use the word “Beryllium” as a marketing tactic. They promise the benefits of the material yet seem to always flounder in the actual delivery of it. The Max is different.

TRN tuned this set forward in the low end. The Max (as I’ll call it) is big in sound, responsive and vast with a non-invasive energy that has a nice impact. I like how speedy this bass can be for the quantity they possess. There is a slight Mid-bass focus on the Max but truthfully it isn’t really audible in its difference. Also please don’t confuse my use of the word “speedy” as though I am calling this fast. I am simply saying that, for the amount of heft portrayed here the bass doesn’t linger as long as some other bass heavy budget iems.

The Sub-bass has that deep vibration, that resonance that JUDDERS! Some graphs show a slight roll-off and some show better extension…depending on whoever has done the graphing. I choose the latter. I don’t hear any roll-off… at all. I hear a very tight and even textured replay that you normally don’t hear at this price.

Just check out the first 10 seconds of “Paradigm” by The Head and The Heart. My word, so deep, and that haptic energy is tickling my ears.

Just under bass-head territory… right where I like it. Not too much, but just enough to make it fun. Bass like this encourages every song that BANGS in my library! I’m a sucker for it. Ill seek out tracks that hit hard down low. Ill search out songs with deep bass guitars or impactful kick-drums.

People, I like bass. What can I say?! I grew up in the Gangster Rap 90’s which echoed out of every car window with subwoofers that rattled the screws loose on old Chevys. My jaw rattling was considered a good thing. Seat leaning way back, one hand on the steering wheel type stuff. Now, I have graduated to actually preferring a better-quality bass and prefer ‘tight and controlled’ to ‘flabby and big’ every day of the week. However, when I can have ‘big and controlled’… you have a fan in me.

The same goes to the Mid-bass. The Mid-bass carries that nice impact brought on by a solid attack and a true toned decay. This area has a clean delivery that also has some texture to it. Keep in mind I’m talking about an under $50 set here. Even so, the Max plays with some of the bigger boys down low. Of course, this has to be your thing. Many of you may despise this tuning, if that’s true… you may want to steer clear of the Max.

The Mid-bass shows off on “I Love” by Joyner Lucas. The beat drops at around 25 seconds and the texture is evident. The boom and slam is evident. Still also the distinction from Bass to Mids is also very evident. They aren’t completely separate from each other. Instead there is a nice bleed over, appropriate actually. Nothing is boomy to me. Nothing is bloated to me. I only hear impactful Mid-bass that has that measured and edged-out attack and decay. Well done TRN!

The approach is one of fun, but fun with a small dose of maturity. The extension down low is nice and the separation in this area is a bonus. I hear quality throughout people. I keep putting these back in my ears suspecting I missed something. Like maybe it’s a one-time love affair that sleep will cure. Yet when the next day comes and the next song queues… it’s still there.

Please listen to “How to Play a Flute” by Macklemore… you’re welcome fans of Bass drops! Listen to the progressing bass lines as though there is a tiny person inside policing the layers and pace. Keep in mind that these are budget compliments, but they are compliments, nonetheless. We should always consider what field we are playing on and what budget we are glorifying but, good is good no matter the price.

The use of beryllium hasn’t always achieved the promised results, especially in the realm of budget iems. The TA1 Max separates itself from the pack of most budget iems that use the technology. With the TA1 Max there is an element of big energy while mixing quantity and quality. Passing timbre and an authoritative and boisterous slam of big bass drops can be heard. Bass guitars can carry that deep and textured growl. TRN tuned the Max with added color down low and certainly emphasized the low end while still retaining some control. I use “control” pretty loosely too, just an FYI. I do believe the beryllium plating has helped to achieve this type of sound.



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Midrange

The Mids are presented more forward than they are not… as a whole. There is a recession but really in the grand scheme of things that recession is not really noticeable. In fact, any closer or more voluminous of a Midrange would be unnatural. You won’t hear anything offensive in the Midrange. You won’t hear anything Grainy, and you won’t hear anything sibilant.

Starting off at the natural starting point, let’s first look at the lower midrange. The place where male vocals mostly reside with a few exceptions. There is a bold bravado with vocals here. Note weight is mostly true to life and comes through pretty clear. I hear a nice levelness or balance with the rest of the mix. The equilibrium within my mind has steady footing with the Max in my ears. The lower Mids carry this trend perfectly.

Males are forward. Breathy when they need to be breathy. Rotund when they need to have density. Take a look at Zach Bryan’s phenomenal song, “The Good I’ll Do” off of his newest album “American Heartbreak”. His voice is forward and emotional as he strums his guitar. There is a breathy realism coupled with a hearty sonority and tone.
I love the way everything seems to just flow together. I realize that is a very broad thing to say, but it is also true. There is an authority which takes hold of male vocals here. With that authority I hear an airy openness to everything I listen to that is realistic and can even be quite charming.

Instruments sit slightly back behind the vocals throughout the Midrange but still have elements of realism. Pianos for instance have nice texture and timbre along with other instruments which play here. Acoustic guitars have a great trail to every strum and sound natural. In “Bloom” by The Paper Kites, you’ll hear the nice guitar plucks are complete from the leading notes to the trailing decay. The simplicity that this song dances along to is featherweight in delivery, but hypnotic just the same and the Max does a commendable job depicting this.

Moving on to female vocals. Females replay with a nice and emotional tilt. Granted, they can lack a certain twinkle and glow. They have good weight but may slightly lack that last bit of shimmer. They’re not flat, let’s get that out of the way. I would say, as a whole, females simply don’t always have that next gear on the TA1 Max. At least not “all” the time. For instance, “High” by Caitlyn Smith is a powerful display of her vocal prowess. However, leading up to her breakout chorus she falls just under the rest of the frequency. Yet, once the chorus busts out… everything BLOOMS! Suddenly the shimmer is mostly there. An emotional crescendo opens up the TA1 Max with an ascending shine which shows up when it’s needed.

Don’t misunderstand, many sets in this price or even less carry this shimmer or sparkle and can do it much better. Please do understand... I miss nothing at all in the Midrange with the Max. The way the Max takes on vocals is awesome for the price when all else is considered. The more forward presentation is nice.

I will say, everything is in good control in the upper Mids and tonally we start to see the mix sway a titch brighter here. Yet there isn’t anything too shouty to me or ear gouging. You may hear a little bit of glare at times on higher volumes but for the most part these play nice. It’s a balancing act the Max is putting on. Using the best qualities of each driver technology. Cohesiveness is a mainstay which proves itself with every genre I threw at this set.

Balance is impressive on the Max and timbre is authentic to me. I realize this sounds like a hype, but I promise… I say what I hear. A Lot has to do with preference as well. Nothing will always please everyone. Also, we are talking about an iem under $50 people! There are much worse displays of Mids out there. I actually think they are quite good.



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Treble

From the lower Treble on-out I hear a steady and nice roll-off. The treble takes a nice extended glide down. Again, nothing is missed. I would say that if a person is more sensitive to treble, this set is a nice one to choose. Not that it is warm or not sparkly. The Max can be. There just aren’t those spikes that make your ears bleed like other budget BA trebles. The Knowles lineage is evident here. There is nice timbre and tonality that plays more towards the natural side of things. These drivers capture the Treble area with enough shimmer and brightness to uplift the whole sound of the Max. Still, I would never call this replay bright. I would call it vibrant enough. I would also say a sheen does exist up top which aids many genres of music.

Nothing is sibilant at all, and nothing is shouty. You won’t hear any metallic note ends or tizziness that so easily occurs. Instead, you are met with thick enough notes that have good space and room to breathe. The semi-open back structure helps a ton to bring an airy presentation to a warm of neutral sound. Even on songs that are sibilance inducing, the Max don’t really fall for the threat of it and stay well in control.

Using High Hats as an example of the upper regions, they have that tinsel laden tinge that decays properly enough. They are heard loud and clear and aren’t splashy to me at all. The timbre sounds right. Timbre is an odd thing to point out as what is correct to one may not be to another. To me though the balancing act is complete with them. Flutes and snares which poke around up in the highest areas of the mix come across just fine as well.

The con here is that the Max may come across dull in the Treble to some who enjoy that treble-head replay. I normally enjoy a slightly brighter Treble which is reigned in to sound in control. I normally like a sparkly shimmer somewhere. While the Max isn’t luminously shimmery and brilliant with a splash of dazzling fairy dust, it is still very well captured for the price TRN is asking. I quite enjoy the treble when coupled with the balance of the replay as a whole.

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Staging/Imaging/Details

Ilove the stage on the TRN TA1 Max. There is something so enthralling in this semi-open back sound. I was shuffling through a few songs when I first began listening. You know the song “Blinding Lights” I mentioned earlier. People I was immediately sucked into this expansive, and dynamic, and energy immersive environment that had me dazed for a hot minute. I truthfully wasn’t expecting much but I ended up stuck on that track for a while.

The sound of the Max is just BIG. The width is only average to above average I’d say. The depth is pretty nice, and the replay has decent height as well. The size isn’t some grand cavern of resonant echoes. No, the thing which makes it “Big”, is the way the sound comes together as a whole production. There is a boldness to every element, and it’s all tied together with this common thread. I hear a distinct vibrancy from the Bass to the Mids to the Treble that is so very well done for a budget iem. I’m sure the open-back design aids this more immersive environment.

There are certainly wider stages and more 3D stages but for under $50 I haven’t heard many as expressive as this one. I have to check myself and my descriptions as I am speaking of a budget iem. Still the Max rocks amongst its peers, rather easily too. It seems effortless. I say that while I’m still not blown away by the stage itself. Somehow it all works well as a package.

Imaging is just average for the price. This is what we should expect. There is nothing wrong with that. Average is what every iem should be… at the very least. Average is realistic and coherent. You may even say the Max are a bit above average here in the under $50 crowd. All instruments which play around in the psycho-acoustic stage have their place. Separation is decently defined within the stage as well. Right to left delineation is easy to hear.

Depth of the stage makes distinctions between instruments and vocals and places them proportionally front to back. This helps to create layering which is comprehensible and consistent which only adds to the replay as a whole. Every element is placed nicely and mostly without any flat plane effect going on. Maybe in congested tracks these aren’t perfect, yet I think this should be expected. That said, separation is decent and pretty well defined, as the TA1 Max has pretty good clarity and resolution everywhere. Maybe just above average in this department.

Details are above average too for a sub $50 iem. Most nuances can be heard throughout the gradations and subtleties of a song. Remember the Max isn’t exactly tuned to pick up every detail. Maybe not tuned in a way that normally uplifts details to the surface. Even so, the Max has good enough clarity throughout the mix to bring those details to the listener. I’m also not talking top tier so… try to reign in your expectations. Seriously though, I am impressed with what TRN has done.

TRN TA1 Max build quality
TRN TA1 Max attached to the Tripowin Zonie (Balanced)

Drivability

Let me start by saying the Max is easy to drive. With an impedance of 22 ohms and a sensitivity of 118 db’s, the Max are certainly created for the masses. Even the Zooaux Dongle Dac did well to bring this set to good volume. I heard a Dynamic display which is just fine. Know that playing these from a simple phone jack will likely suffice. Of course, I don’t own a phone with a phone jack so, take that with a grain of salt.

I also tried wireless setups. First, I attached these to the Fiio Utws5. I heard a great wireless sound with this setup. Perfect for on the go. The Utws5 drives the Max perfectly well. Even good synergy can be heard.

Moving on, I plugged the Max into the IFi Go Blu on 4.4 balanced. Wow, now we are talking. Okay, the Max scales well! Suddenly you hear them open up! Great harmony with the Go Blu. Obviously more output power does help. The same result with the Qudelix 5k. Only now I can EQ to my liking. Really fantastic for chores around the house or taking a walk or whatever mobile purpose I would need them for. Both the Go Blu and the 5k offer plenty of output power to really drive the TA1 Max nicely.

Stepping up to a wired setup with the Fiio KA3 adds another dimension still. Just more immersion of sound starts to play out. Tighter lows, better extended soundstage. Plenty of driving power.

Finally, I landed on the Ibasso Dx240 with Amp8 mk2. Just… WOW! I should state that the DX240 is a phenomenal sounding Dap. One of the best under $1500 in my book. With the TRN TA1 Max these two are ridiculously nice and seem to be made for each other. Of course, I say that a lot about any iem I connect to the Dx240.

What have I learned about driving the Max? Simple… if you can, add power. These scale in a way which clearly enhances the sound & makes them better… for sure. However, if you only have a lower output source don’t fret. The Max adapts fairly well and still sounds halfway decent. I have to get this across though; you won’t get the most out of this set with underpowered sources. Hence why the great majority of this review was completed using a balanced cable attached to the DX240 on medium gain setting. If you have a chance to check out the DX240… don’t hesitate.

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Left to Right: Tripowin Mele / Shozy Form 1.1 / TRN TA1 Max / Hidizs MM2 / Kbear Ink


Comparisons

Tripowin Mele ($49)

Tripowin partnered with the Hawaiian Bad Boy to create this single DD. Using a 10mm Graphene Driver, Tripowin had a big win in the V-shaped budget category. Deep, penetrating lows and a very smooth delivery as a whole.

Between the TRN TA1 Max and the Mele there is a very quick and substantial difference. The Max is just a lot more extended in the Air region of the upper treble. This gives the Max a much more open and wide sound. Details are more prevalent on the Max. Clarity, resolution and soundstage all go to the Max.

The Max sounds quite a bit more dynamic altogether. Energy is busting through on the Max whereas the Mele are more laid back and a bit more closed in. Highs on the Mele roll-off a bit sooner. Furthermore, the BA inside the Max really reaches nicely and adds clarity to the Treble and levity to the whole mix. A/B’ing the two back and forth proves the low end of the Max to have more texture and a faster attack and decay. The Mele feels a touch slower to me while having a bit more in quantity.

For fans of a more mellow and smooth sound, more than likely the Mele will be the better choice. The Mele has no sharp edges except some Upper Mid glare on a conducive song. They don’t sound as full in certain areas as note weight seems to go to the Max. The Mele still ranks highly in my under $50 grouping but I gotta tell ya… for me it isn’t even a competition. The Max simply beat the Mele almost across the board. What’s crazy is… I really enjoy the Mele.



Shozy Form 1.1 ($69)

Shozy did great things a few years ago with the Form 1.1. This being a hybrid driver setup with a 9.2mm Beryllium coated Dynamic Driver, coupled with an in-house Balanced Armature Driver.

The 1.1’s have a good shot here. With snappy and big slam in the bass and good extension up top they did well for their time. They have a warmer overall sound with decent clarity and air from the upper mids on-out. Compared to the Max technically speaking the 1.1 are on more of an even footing than the Mele.

Vocals are less recessed and more coherent, emotional and resolute on the Max. Both have good enough details, and both do what they were created to do very well. Honestly as a whole the 1.1 sounds great to me. I just don’t like the recession in the upper mids so much as females can sound flat and distant at times. However male vocals still have good weight and are similar in character to the Max.

The 1.1 lacks the cohesion of the Max as both sets have a two-driver system. Somehow this isn’t a fair fight as the audio world has come so far in recent years. The Form 1.1 is going on 4 years old. For the time, they stood out as leaders under $100. I’m afraid they don’t best the technical ability of the Max now. It’s close, but the Max has an airier presentation with more energy… everywhere.

Lows on both sets are snappy yet the texture of the Max wins out. The Max also extends further down with a deeper Sub-bass. Truthfully these are tuned differently from each other. The warmer replay of the 1.1 and smoother delivery can sound flatter. The missing energy in the Mid-treble area is a bummer. The note weight is thinner sounding, and some information is attenuated in the upper-mids through the treble compared to the Max. Also, the Max sounds much more open in soundstage benefiting from the semi-open build.



KBear Ink ($69)

Recently reviewed at Mobileaudiophile.com is the newest KBear semi-budget iem the KBear Ink. The Ink has gotten some very nice reviews. Touted as being a very fun and energetic single Dynamic Driver set. The Ink is packing a single 8.8mm Diamond like Carbon (DLC) Diaphragm driver and has a very class look. They are sleek and slick and built fantastic.

The Ink has a deeper Sub-bass on paper, but in actual real world listening…the Max clearly has a deeper bass. The Max have more in quantity and tactic feel in the deepest regions. This trend shows up in the mid-bass as well. The Max shows a more visceral and guttural slam with more energy than the Ink. As far as speed in the bass, these two-run side by side. Neither is necessarily better, so pick your poison really. Do you want more, or less?

Male vocals on the Ink are a bit more recessed while the Max come across louder and more forward. Female vocals on the Max are also a bit more forward. The Ink sounds a bit thinner in this area but also flatter in comparison. The Max just has so much energy and it shows plainly when you begin to compare other iems to them.

I hear more density to vocals and Instruments on the Max as the Ink are slightly thinner across the mix. Comparing them one after the other will quickly display this. However, the Ink may be a sliver more natural in some areas. The Max is tuned more exuberant with more added color in the lows and Mids.

The only other difference is in the upper areas. The Ink can be a bit shoutier on some songs. The Max is just more smoothed over up top, not as peaky. I wouldn’t call the Ink offensive but there is some added glare at times. Staging feels more 3D on the Max while the Ink may have a slightly wider sound. All in all, these are two very well done iems in the budget realm.



Hidizs Mermaid MM2 ($84)

A more recent entry into Hidizs “Mermaid” Line is the MM2. Housed within its shells is a single 10.2mm Dynamic Driver and one Magneto-Static Driver. I also recently reviewed the MM2 at Mobileaudiophile.com, check that out for a more in depth look at it.

These two sets sound very similar in the upper half of the frequency. Perhaps the MM2 have a bit better resolution and details. The MM2 are a little cleaner as a whole. Of course, the MM2 is nearly double the price as well.

The low end on the MM2 is a little less potent but it is snappier than the Max. More room is made for other pieces on an imaginary stage. That said, the Max have a quick enough bass for its size. This takes nothing away from TRN’s newest low cost iem. There is also a bit more bleed into the Midrange on the Max.

Mids on the TRN TA1 Max are more intimate but also more engaging to me. The MM2 sound thinner, especially with vocals. While I would never call them thin persa, the Max just have that thick and defined note weight and tonality.

I hear more depth on the Max, while width goes to the MM2. The TRN TA1 Max have a rounder, more dome like stage with better depth by a very slight degree. People always confuse this with better. I just say it’s different. I enjoy the soundstage on both. Nothing takes away from my library on either set and that is how it should be.

Both iems are technically proficient, yet both display this differently. I would give the nod to the MM2 if I had to choose which is better technically speaking. Depending on the music of course as well as the source. The Max are possibly a more fun and energetic iem, with a more engaging and engulfing sound. The funny thing is, in my MM2 Review I called it the same… fun and energetic. This would be a tough call for me between the two.

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Conclusion

To conclude this review, I hope you have a grasp of what the TRN TA1 Max sounds like. This is one of those iems where it either sounds very nice for its price to performance or you simply can’t stand it. As always, this hobby comes down to preference and I’m simply not qualified to answer if one thing is better than another. Everything is subjective. I see it all the time in reviews and truthfully, it’s an unfair thing to make such bold claims.

For me the Max is one of the better iems under $50. They instantly made my top 5 with ease. That’s just me though, obviously you may not feel the same. TRN has been on a roll of late and the Max only confirms this statement. With its tonal capabilities of big energy, big fun and nice enough control, the Max really capitalized on the two-driver system. The TRN TA1 Max is a very clean iem with a thick and creamy texture that proves money doesn’t always equate to better.

I thank anyone who has read this far, and I always hope this helps someone who is curious. That’s what this is all about. It gives me a chance to express my love of different gear and it helps others to hear a different take on a product. Please take good care.
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AhHuiReviews

New Head-Fier
Pros: sensitive of source can mention big different from any source . Fun and relax soundsignature .
Cons: bad BA timbre , feel fatigue while listen long time sension
Hello , I'm Ah Hui aka Mr Wong. I'm a K-pop fan and audiophile from Malaysia.

First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to TRN for sending me this review unit and giving me the opportunity to review the TRN TA1 MAX .
This is my few time reviewing a TRN product .I am very excited as I have always have opportunity to try out their brands . It driver configuration is 1knowles BA drivers and 1 Dynamic Driver .It's retails USD $46.22

PACKAGING :
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DESIGN OF IEM :
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accessories :
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PACKAGING :the packaging is typical TRN style box The unboxing experience is great too. Inside the box include 6.35mm to 3.5mm adapter ,few eartips , earphone casing and IEM Itself

Comfort: Comfort is great. It fits securely in my ears and I dont feel any sort of fatigue after long hours .Isolation also decent !

Design : stylish design faceplate .

PRO:
sensitive of source can mention big different from any source . Fun and relax soundsignature .

CONS:
bad BA timbre , feel fatigue while listen long time sension

BASS: punchy mids bass , layering sub bass , bass feel soft attack , but bass timbre bad , mid bass without bleeding . When I listen Woo!ah! - woo!ah! can feel the bass is punchy layering and feel soft attack but the timbre is bad .

MIDS :balanced mids presentation with detailed presentation . When I listen Woo!ah! payday I can feel the mid is very be mention but it's not on forward side more like in centre .

HIGH :treble feels here is well extended with bad timbre .you can mention 2khz to 4khz treble it is decently extended without any sibilance. When listening to IZ*ONE - Eyes ,you can hear its airy and weird timbre sounding treble here .

SOUNDSTAGE : it is wide and deep but I don't feel it's tall enough When listening to Lovelyz - Rewind, I can feel the sense of space and the wide and deep soundstage .

IMAGING : i can pinpoint the instrument and the singer on stage .It has good stereo positioning . it's more 3D image more mention the layering . When I listen Modern Talking - Ribbons Of Blue you can mention the singer on your right ears and the instrument between your left and right ears .

Details
: detail retrieval here is about average When I listen to some tracks, I cant pick up on the micro-details

Overall I can't recommend you because it's have bad BA timbre .But it's great with another part .
Hopefully in the future I will have the opportunity to review a TRN IEM again .

4/5 star.
disclaimer : This review done by stock M size eartips with Shanling UA2 connect to PC.

interesting to buy ? link : https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004245917458.html

Redcarmoose

Headphoneus Supremus
Take it to the Max!
Pros: Another 2022 open-back IEM
Super tiny ergonomic design
Super speedy bass response
Cohesive and coherent
Comfortable as an IEM can be
Knowles 33518 balanced armature tweeter
Beryllium-plated 10mm dual magnetic dynamic driver woofer
Tuned to sound like home-theatre and does
Cons: Not great from a phone or iPad but just “OK”
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This is a review for the TRN TA1 Max (above) there will be comparisons to three other IEMs, the TRN Bax, the TINHIFI T1S and the CCA CRA+.

the battle.jpg


A tale of intrigue and adventure the likes of Head-Fi has never seen before………. and most likely will never see again. Quite simply a comparison between four models and three manufacturers. Two 10mm full-range Dynamic Drivers and two Hybrids. With price ranges between $20 to $312.88, two models are close to the same and two models are different. Let’s get started shall we!


In order of left to right
1) TRN Bax-2 Sonion EST, 1 29689 Knowles Balanced Armature, 1 10mm Duel Dynamic Driver = $312.88
2) TINHFI T1S-1 10mm Beryllium Coated Full-Range Dynamic Driver = $20.00

3) CCA CRA+-1 10mm Patented Ultra-Thin Diaphragm Full-Range Dynamic Driver = $26.00
4) TRN TA1 Max-1 33518 Knowles Balance Armature, 1 10mm Duel Dynamic Driver = $46.00

While I already have my favorites, I will try and be as objective as I can. The TRN TA1 Max is just a slightly smaller Bax. OK, I lied, it’s way-way, smaller than the Bax, but that’s not a bad thing at all. They took what they learned from making the Bax and trickle-down engineered an economy version. It gets great gas millage and can park in smaller spots!


Just remember too, our other brands, The CCA and TINHIFI are relatively small due to there only being just a single 10mm full-range driver inside. Incredible as it sounds, the TINHIFI T1S is even smaller, being 50% the size of the CCA CRA+. Somehow size doesn’t always matter, price either. You can tell by the picture the TRN Bax is gargantuan, because it is!

https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/trn-bax.25781/reviews#review-28294

If you think I wasn’t swayed by the charms of TRN’s Bax, maybe you didn’t read my review from April of 2022. I found it playing tunes way above its pay grade. The Bax is a flagship which comes with 2 EST drivers for treble, a Knowles balanced armature for mids and a dual magnetic 10mm woofer. The Bax came in a big aluminum/magnesium shell with a stainless steel faceplate, all for $312.88. But guess what? TRN outdid themselves once more.........that’s right they simply took out the expensive ESTs and now charge you $46.00. That’s right TRN has done it again. So it’s no surprise I’m on board for the ride! Not only am I truly smitten with the TRN TA1 Max, I will try an explain how it’s even better in some aspects than the Bax. Truly I can’t believe I’m even putting these words down as fact? But I am, and the rest is history.

The TRN TA1 is breaking down barriers. It’s the first budget IEM to truly change the value paradigm. How? By simply being better by doing more with less. It’s more coherent and cohesive than the Bax. It’s pure..........it’s smaller in form-factor and it may be a better value? Of course if you put both on a table and asked me to choose one I would take the Bax. Why? Because it's the most expensive of course! No, that's only part of it. I understand its style. Meaning the intensity I like, the giant flamboyant bass I like, and even the big form fits me right. Still for many the TA1 Max is going to be the better purchase. After an evening of listening to both..................a large selection of the public would go for the TA1 hands down.

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Who is TRN?

Dongguan Zuodu Acoustics Technology Co., Ltd.


The TRN brand belongs to Dongguan Zuodu Acoustic Technology Co., Ltd. A high-tech enterprise engaged in Hi-Fi (High Fidelity) headsets, sports Bluetooth earphones, TWS Bluetooth earphones, and related fields. Now it integrates self-owned brand products, ODM and OEM. Each TRN product has earphone enthusiasts involved in the development process to ensure that it has the best performance and durability.

“TRN” makes 24 different IEMs. Right now, twentyfour. I’m not going to list what each does, how they are made, or what they cost.....simply to shorten this review. You’ll thank me later. They currently make a series of 3 different TWS driver modules, you know those things you add to any IEM to make it “TWS”. They offer a special decoding cable device as well 10 completely different cables at the moment. In addition they make 3 different TWS IEMs.

The amazing TRN Hybrid releases currently:

The TRN TA1, TA2, ST2, STM, V10, V20, V30, V90, V90s, VX, VX Pro, TA1 Max, M10 and Bax

Now along with the Max, that’s just their Hybrid offerings! 14 of them!

The Balanced Armature offerings currently are:
TRN BA8, BA15 and X7 Three of them!

Dynamic Drivers:
TRN CS2, H2, MT1, MT1 Pro, That’s four!

There are Bluetooth IEMs:
TRN BT1 and T300, both Hybrid TWS IEMs.

The TRS DD the AM1.....that makes four TWS IEMs.

They make 3 different sets of TWS Modules:
The BT20, BT20S Pro.

The above is not TRN history but all currently made headphones.

They also make cables:


TRN A1 TC Decoding Cable
TRN A2 Cable
TRN T2 PRO Cable
TRN T3 Cable
TRN T4 Cable
TRN T8 Cable
TRN TN Cable
TRN The Gold Plated TRN TX Model

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The TRN TA1 Max

  • Beryllium-Plated 10mm Dual Magnetic Circuit Dynamic Driver
  • TRN Custom Knowles 33518 Balanced Armature
  • Half-Open Balanced Pressure Relief Cover
  • High Quality Silver-Plated OFC Copper Cable & Rich Accessories
  • Ergonomic Design

The fact that it’s open back just like the Bax. You don’t have to worry about sound leakage at all. The Beryllium-plated Dual dynamic driver does a lot just like the Bax, but it supersedes it in many ways. Where the Bax has bigger, more flamboyant bass, the Max offers a style of faster, better controlled bass. There is no denying there is a small aspect of the Bax that is wild and uncontrollable. Believe it or not the TA1 Max is more sophisticated and refined. There is still the excitement of the Bax, only it’s been brought down a level. Though they left all the important stuff in the Max signature.

The Custom Knowles 33518 Balanced Armature dove tails in with the sound of the woofer flawlessly. It almost sounds like a single full-range single dynamic as far as cohesive playback. The Bax fails to even approach the TA1 Max in the coherence metric. The engineers simply had an easier time getting compliance of two drivers..........over the four in the Bax. Though there is that off time when you do wish for the vibrancy in the treble that the Bax has. Still the TA1 Max is not dull or boring, it simply doesn’t have the character of 2 EST drivers. So if you could imagine all of the frequency range is there just not the EST character. But what makes up for that is the size. Pretty much most of the time, almost 100% of the time, smaller is better. And if you know someone who has trouble with IEM fit, this is the IEM for them. The Max is so ridiculously small it’s not funny! It looks 2X bigger in the pictures here. The circumference is actually smaller than a US dime. Also they have done really well placing the R and L symbols on the cable as well as the IEM. Though I will warn you the letters are in relation in size to the IEM which means they are almost microscopic. Upon joining the cable for the first time you will actually experience a subtle click, well it’s not exactly a click, but upon joining the cable the 2 pin will react to pull the 2 pin in at the very end of placement. This single feature has the most rewarding/satisfying feel. And if you are cable rolling, it does it will every cable. It has something to do with the 2 pin female receptors on the IEM. This was a new discovery for me and one that I thought was cool.

Due to the size you’re more likely to get great fit right off. Truly I don’t imagine anyone not getting fit with these. The aluminum/magnesium shell goes to absorb resonance and provide clarity to the tone. Here we are gifted with a simplicity in design. Really it could win an award for beauty in design. Simply a barrel and a nozzle with the cable mount fitted as another smaller barrel. The nozzle makes the whole IEM about a third bigger in size. Also the nozzle has an ergonomic semi-custom design which has a gradual extension out of the barrel. Combine that with the qdc style of 2 pin and we really have a winner!

Due to the overall Bax size, I would be weary of jogging with it in place, even if I just robbed a bank! (I’m joking) Here the weight and form factor means running with the TRN TA1 Max is a dream. It’s a great sports IEM, as we never think of an aluminum/magnesium build as being optimal for weight, but in this case it’s fine.

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TRN TA1 Max Fireworks:
The bass is spread out into the ultimate area..............in an old-fashioned way that only a real dynamic driver could do.
Slightly slower in comparison to Planar response, but that’s the magic at hand. Not only is the pace special, but the timbre is spot on and the level of technicalities many more times the cost. What (part of) this boils down to is tuning. Tuning and the intrinsic tonal ability of the drivers. You know it’s a Hybrid only due to the delineation and separation at hand.Tiny sparklers lite-up and cross the sonic horizon drifting off as they pass, we don’t need anything more from the treble. The full audiophile experience is in-fact taking us away, somehow away to a new and different place.

If you read my Bax review or if you never read it, it can be summed up into one single word. That word is fun.

“Fun”
Fun is why we are here. Why else do you think we are here?

For some style of cultural enrichment? No! “Fun”

And strangely the Max is very close to the Bax. It’s probably because when an IEM does most things right, you simply don’t question it. That’s really what is happening. Like if you had workers that work for you and do their job well, you get to the point of not wondering about quality of workmanship. That’s what is happening here.

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Sound section
Bass:

It turns out not only is the TRN TA1 Max into good sources it also scales up with better material. That is just what you have..................Meaning I have played some of my low quality files and found them to be remarkably just what they are. Yep. Not better or worse than they are but simply what they are. Also 50 hours of burn-in seemed to help open up the soundstage and mature the imaging. Somehow the realism factor went up after burn-in? So in my quest to discover the greatest bass I stumbled across a soundtrack that is bonkers good.

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Dune
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Hans Zimmer

48 kHz - 24 bit

The trick here is the Max fully parlays the mood. How? Its ability to replay great instrument tone. Not only that but 59 seconds into the second song “Herald of Change” we are met with the first really really big bass drop of the OST. Now obviously it’s not the best ever sound response, but the best ever for $46.00. It sounds expensive and correct, in fact, the Max is more controlled on bass than the Bax. It’s more together and correct. Yes, it’s missing some of that over-the-top bass that the Bax does but it’s conveying the mood of the piece. Really the two IEMs end up complementary due to this way of doing the same style from two different directions. So if you already own the Bax and your reading this, be reassured you would be getting the Max for a slightly different experience that complements your Bax purchase. It is not a watered down version of the whisky the Bax is. It may be a cocktail instead of a full-on straight shot, but that’s what makes it that much more enjoyable.


At 2 minutes 33 seconds of “Bene Gesserit” we are amazed at the subtly of what is on the outskirts of the stage. Going back to the start of the song an ethereal choir takes us again by surprise. This tone, this music is from not another country but from another planet! Beautiful bass horizons take and hold everything in the center. At 2 minutes 12 seconds the bells start. Very small rings as a signpost to let us know changes are coming! Again is there any better low end in the whole audiophile world? To be realistic of course I have heard bigger and more involving replay of this, but at times it’s not something you really want up to be so big. It’s big enough as it is.

“Leaving Caladen” has amazing orchestrated drums at 28 seconds. The mood is thick and involving. There is a classic emphasis of pace and interwoven detail here. The 1 minute 34 second climax is just that, a summit topped-off with a bright female vocal blast..........a blast that only Hans Zimmer can do!

The start of “Ripples in the Sand” was the first glimpse of what the Max could do. A virtual jaw-drop inside of my mind. Is this real, how can this be? Truly bewildering is the tone of this humble $46 purchase. I’m still waiting to find fault? Still looking and searching? The bass drops are 100% quality and they are done the way you want them to be. Classic!

Interestingly both Bax and Max sport a 10mm beryllium coated drivers. If the divers are truly identical, I’m not sure? Funny though they have all the same specs! Though the Max has a single 33518 Knowles Balanced Armature and the Bax, a 29689 Knowles due to it only being a midrange. The Bax EST drivers X2 provide the treble. So it makes you start thinking in terms of vibrancy here. I know this is the bass section of the review except this topic really fits.

Bass Pace is a different story:
The CCA CRA+ is an amazing step forward for KZ. It’s also ground breaking for what it does for $26.00 USD. But to compare them starts with the bass. The last KZ I had was back in June of 2016. Coincidentally it was the very first KZ to go up on Head-Fi’s front page. Though CCA has made leaps and bounds in progress over the years. Don’t get me wrong, the new CCA CRA+ is great except you only get so much IEM for $26.00. Though they will sell a boatload of them due to being good and cheap! The issues arise with the bass pace. That and the whole spectrum of the CCA is slightly less vibrant than the TRN TA1 Max. For the extra $20 the Max costs over the CCA CRA+, just get the Max and be done with it!


Some backstory:
The T1A Max and the CCA CRA+ both came the same afternoon. Also they share a little of the same tuning. But the problem arises when you start to notice the technical ability of the CCA CRA+. I mean the CCA is nice and all but the main issue I had was the pace. Things just ran together and lost definition. Surprisingly the TRN T1A Max doesn’t do that at all. That’s the genius in side by side IEM testing. At times you’re truly surprised at what you find. Somehow you make adjustments and can listen to one IEM and not notice the issues at hand. But when you line them up and make a competition then truth ends up maybe to be found. It’s kinda like a beauty pageant only were are judging 100% on sound response. We are judging the IEM for musical beauty! Now what is truly interesting is when I first started listening to the CRA I knew something was off, but I couldn’t place it. I continued to go through listening to songs, maybe the timbre was off a little……..but then it hit me, of course it’s the pace.

So we discovered that the CCA CRA+ has pace issues, still not so bad for $26.00…………but why doesn’t the TRN T1A Max have these issues?

Why? I have no idea.
But I will say the TRN T1A Max is by far a better IEM because of this fact.

The TRN Bax pace:

The TRN T1A Max also has an advantage over its more expensive older brother. Yep! Can you believe it?
Where the pace of the Bax is great, there is still a overwhelming thickness that the Max never shows. The TRN T1A Max does a more polite and refined response that folks may even like better in the long run.............not everyone, but many. Does all this simply come down to preference? It may, but still basic technicalities are basic technicalities. One owner of the Bax loves the Bax response due to it making all his music sound live! And guess what? That is exactly what the Bax does. It’s over the top, it’s flamboyant and bombastic. It makes stuff larger than life..........just really big. And there is a whole group of us Bax owners who are all on the same wavelength, we understand what the Bax does and we like it. Still what about those times when you maybe don’t want intense color, and big, big sound, what if you want to dial it down just ever so slightly? Well…….that’s where the TRN TA1 Max comes in. You’re getting slightly less intensity, but at times that’s actually preferred.


The Midrange:
Ghost
Prequelle
Pro Memoria

44.1 - 24 bit

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So I have to say right off things are more balanced than the Bax! This is a totally middle of the road tuning. Now that doesn’t mean boring, it simply means it's generically good and non-offensive. It means there is an even complete and correct frequency response. Nothing is out of place and nothing is missing. At 10 seconds in we hear the illustrious violins. Aren't they a special into?

And at 11 seconds we hear the distance of the reverb. You know why? I don’t know why? But I like it…..in-fact the reverb is perfect here! Right at about 10 seconds we hear an additive sound, way high pitched? I think this may be white noise or almost a the tail-end of a cymbal sound? What ever it is we hear it's perfect. At 32 seconds we hear something inspired by Classical Music. Hay, wait a second, that’s not supposed to be here? I payed for a Heavy Metal record? This is how/why Ghost lost half their fan-base a while back. Too darn creative. What are they trying to do, culturally enrich us, or something? I truly love the way the brushes on the cymbals sound at 49 seconds in and the piano keys, beautiful. The vocals at the introduction have such spacious reverb and the Max does it, not only does it, it does it fully and just the way you would want. It’s at this point we realize we are listening to a $46.00 IEM and nothing makes sense. It’s just too good for the asking price? They introduce a church organ here right at 1 minute 26 seconds and it’s so smooth, like it’s always been there? And the main rhythm of the song has not even started. At 1 minute 38 seconds the drums start, but also the bass kicks in and a breath…….yet in the quite-time right before 1 minute 38 seconds, you could still hear those brushes on the cymbals leading up. Now we are complete as we have everything we need up to this point. The songs motor is started and running. The Max is showing us completeness. Completeness because all is heard, all is “there” in balance. We are inside the car, the motor is running and the car is moving. Though my most favorite part has nothing to do with this “motor”. The best part IMO is the vocals. Not only is the Max parlaying the vocals in exactly the right tone, they are totally heard. You know for many this is all they care about. Vocals. Somehow Tobias Forge is influenced by the 1970s, this swaying rock is pinned down by older sensibilities, yet new. The piano makes you think it’s almost an Elton John song. At 2 minutes 35 second mark you start to feel the gusto of it all. The car now is at full-speed and the TRN TA1 Max is taking us somewhere. At 2 minutes 40 seconds the guitar lead starts…..and again something strange.....................it seems like it has been played all along................so perfect, no surprises…........just entertainment. At 3 minutes 52 seconds they make an opportunity to fill the song with all kinds of instrumentation. Somehow you can hear it all................all of it. Probably due to this being a Hybrid, all the very small details come to life! There is placement in the soundstage, correct instrument tone and timbre. Since this is the midrange section, notice the violins right at 3 minutes 58 seconds….......so special. The choir at 4 minutes 44 seconds is the climax of the song. Nothing better to hear it with than the Max. Probably the open-back combined with the solid aluminum/magnesium construction controls resonance and allows this level of fidelity far, far beyond the price of admission?

Treble:
DCD
Anastasis
Agape

44.1 kHz - 24 bit

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I chose this song for starters as the electronic percussion has a tip-top-end effect, as cymbals or tambourine, probably they are world instruments, so I don’t know about them? Also I need to point out the strings on the intro are treated to heavy reverb and we hear the full decay. Incredible! At 46 seconds starts these unidentifiable treble sparkles, like fairy dust.............they are ignited to then fall, making the highest of notes maybe allowed to be heard! Wow, that Knowles is doing its thing! At 2 minutes 51 seconds Lisa Gerrard finally makes her entrance. And what an entrance IT IS, she waists no time in getting down to business. There is a world instrument much like a guitar that still is heard behind her. 3 minutes 49 seconds is the highest vocal rendition maybe? At the timestamp of 4 minutes 30 seconds a guitar sound travels in the reverb..........placed both right to left, taking full advantage of the songs climax. From 5 minutes 51 seconds things start to reiterate what has been musically said, as the song fades away.

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Comparisons Reiterated:

TRN Bax Universal IEM:
Laughingly, this comparison (Max to Bax) is basically what the whole review is about. Still I can sum it up simply. The Bax is wonderful yet not perfect. The TRN TA1 Max offers a more conservative and controlled rendition along with better fit. While somehow they have the same specifications of bass drivers, you wouldn’t know it by listening. The Max has less bass overflow, faster and cleaner. While it doesn’t offer the EST personality, the Knowles BA does the trick and seems to match perfect! The Bax does better with a phone, where the TA1 doesn’t. All and all the Bax is more vivid and colorful, it’s maybe more emotional too. Yet the TA1 is a better value, and that’s saying a lot considering the value of the Bax.

CCA CRA+ Universal IEM:
The CRA+ is really good. The fact that we are witnessing big manufacturers getting to this level of sound now from an IEM that costs the price of lunch is staggering. Well not all manufacturers only KZ and TINHIFI. They did it somehow, someway. The CRA+ is missing a little contrast. But that’s really expected when a single DD goes up against a Hybrid. KZ took a little off the top and a little off the bottom to reach nirvana in the midrange. The TRN becomes slightly more real, and that realness is filling up a better more mature playback, when you truly look at the difference in price the answer becomes noticeably apparent! (I already gave my recommendation as to which to purchase) Now with that said, remember they are doing the same signature almost. It’s just that the driver in the CRA+ can only do so much, still to think where we are right now, and how good the CRA+ is, it’s also hard not to give the hard tryer some respect! For what it is the CRA+ is amazing. My issue too is the CRA+ is distorted (in places) and makes an impressionist painting out of the song, again it’s not quite as real as the Max.

TINHIFI TS1 Universal IEM:
Somewhat maybe a little sleepy, the TS1 is the most relaxing of the group. With its rolled-off treble, it really never offends anyone. The treble stance would be perfect for late night when you are demanding a little less involvement. If you just want to relax and chill out the TS1 has you covered. Don’t let the price, the looks or the size fool you here. The TS1 is pure dynamite. The new shift in tuning talent is related to TINHIFI being able to milk so much more out of Beryllium. If you take a quick listen to even $200 IEMs from 4 years ago, it becomes totally obvious that a new dawn is upon us. And while I like the T1S better than the CCA, it’s only because it’s my sound. It’s very hard to be objective here. But the CCA is brighter. It’s entertaining but seems to have the midrange and treble “pushed”. Though also the CCA bass is faster which kinda just goes with the territory. For the price, it would be a good idea to get both (if you could afford it.) as they are complimentary. But as noted, the Bax is still king, though the TRN TA1 Max is a close second place. I just like the vibrancy the Hybrids offer. The Knowles BA in the Max goes miles to improve on the single full-range driver experience. To reiterate, the T1S doesn’t look like much but my bet is that it will win out on pretty much all of your 2018 and older $200 collection due to it’s capabilities. Now imagine what the $46.00 Max will do?


TRN TA1 Max
1DD+1BA Knowles Hybrid Driver Earphones

  • Beryllium-Plated 10mm Dual Magnetic Circuit Dynamic Driver
  • TRN Custom Knowles 33518 Balanced Armature
  • Half-Open Balanced Pressure Relief Cover
  • High Quality Silver-Plated OFC Copper Cable & Rich Accessories
  • Ergonomic Design
PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS
Product name

TRN TA1 Max
Transducer type-Hybrid In-Ear Monitors
Wear-Ear hook
Frequency range-10-40000Hz
Sensitivity-118dB
Impedance-22Ω
Pin type-2Pin
Plug type-3.5mm L-shape
Cable length-1.2m±3cm
Color-Silver

DSC_0043.jpg


The box-opening experience is first rate. Along with an aluminum case for storage, you get great assortment of ear-tips and a 1/4 inch adapter.

High quality silver-plated OFC copper cable. Special geometry, 4-core setup silver-plated copper adding to the bass response.

You are also provided with a warranty card and instruction manual.


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Build Quality:
I think it's made from a aluminum/magesium mixture, but it does not say it anywhere, but it feels like it. The semi-open shell means that no resonance or standing waves get in the way of clarity.

Tips:
Even with a perfect size and shape we need good tips so it all works out. TRN has you covered with a fabulous tip selection. You have the freedom choice from four clear silicone tips and three black silicone tips. The black tips offer a (just slightly) wider bore diameter for a possible increase in soundstage.

Form-factor:
Simply one of the most comfortable IEMs I have ever used. This goes along with it staying in place for hours on end. Never even an adjustment, it's like your not wearing anything at all. Such a fit actually goes a long way to increase the user experience. Also for people who dislike IEMs in general, this may be the option?


DSC_0086.jpeg

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Scalability with a 1/4 adapter to desktop or a DAP:
They include a 1/4 inch adapter. They are including a plug to join this particular IEM to desktop amplifiers. Reason being is the sound of the TRN TA1 Max actually gets maxed-out with better amplification. Yep!

This is a huge deal! Normally pedestrian $46.00 USD IEMs don’t have enough quality to “see” greater resolution from better sources or amplification. Here a DAC improvement and/or power improvement will take these through the roof. I’m not sure if I have witnessed such skills before? Don’t worry the Max will serve you well from a phone or iPad. In fact it’s great in a way due to it seemingly having the correct balance. But if you are curious as to why they gave you a 1/4 inch adapter to a seemingly portable IEM, your in for an adventure! Scale ability is no joke here, as the Max is now climbing to almost TOTL levels. Don’t let the price fool you, as in 2022 it means practically nothing.

We are gifted one of the best audiophile experiences. It’s not perfect, but as close to perfect as you can get for $46.00.

Conclusion:
Because of TRNs creation of the Bax I accepted the TRN TA1 Max with open-arms. Though to be frank, I truly was not expecting much. Their cheap price and diminutive stature left me with suspicions and negativity. Though upon placing the little things in my ears I was beside myself. Truly, I was fully amazed at what they could do. Could this be just connecting with the sound signature? I have to say no, because the CCA CRA+ has almost the same tune. The difference here IS the technicalities.

Don't let the size or price fool you.

This is the real deal…..it really is. While not performing all that smashingly from a phone, the TRN TA1 Max is an audiophiles dream come true. Combine it with the correct source and prepare to be blown away. I have no other words to describe it. Well, maybe one more word……………."mature". That’s actually the best word for it. The technicalities are what make playback real, the technicalities are what make the Max mature. I wish TRN the best at their audiophile endeavors, it seems they have truly started to hit home runs, one after another. As many things connect the Bax and Max, I favor the dissimilarities the most. But most of all I enjoy both for what they bring to the table…………..champagne sound on a beer budget.




Equipment Used:
Sony WM1Z Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm/3.5mm
Sony WM1A Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm/3.5mm
Sony TA-ZH1ES DAC/AMP Firmware 1.03
Electra Glide Audio Reference Glide-Reference Standard "Fatboy" Power Cord
Sony Walkman Cradle BCR-NWH10
AudioQuest Carbon USB

Apple iPad

Disclaimer:
The information you are reading is one individuals thoughts and ideas, your personal results may vary.



Available from Linsoul:
If you purchase from Linsoul you also get free world-wide shipping, and a 1 year warranty.
Linsoul website: https://www.linsoul.com/
Linsoul Aliexpress Store: https://ddaudio.aliexpress.com/store/2894006
Linsoul USA Amazon Store link: https://www.amazon.com/s?me=A267P2DT104U3C&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Disclaimer:
The TRN TA1 Max was sent to me by Kareena Tang of Linsoul in exchange for this review
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Last edited:
C
Carpet
It's nice to have an enjoyable read rather than just dry information. A lot of other reviews consist of a quick skim past the pro's and con's, then sound signature. You don't downgrade ratings because they don't match a particular preference, or compete with IEMs at a hugely removed price point. Please keep up reviews like this! :L3000:
Redcarmoose
Redcarmoose
Lol. Thank-you for the encouragement!

In all honesty the TA1 Max is a watershed release for TRN. I still can’t believe this level of sound is now available for this price. Not only the sound but the design and build are special too IMO. Can’t loose with this one!
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