I’ve never been a big fan of ear canal or IEM earphones. Somehow, I have never found a pair of IEMs that fit me without hurting and/or falling out. To be fair I have never tried any high-end earphones, all of the ones I have tried have been at the budget end of the spectrum, usually costing less than £30. However, recently I tried a pair of Brainwavz Omega earphones that came with a pair of Comply foam tips. Despite the fact that the Brainwavz Omega themselves are rather one-note bass headphones for EDM, I did find the experience somewhat of a revelation. It was not the IEMs themselves but rather the Comply tips that were the revelation. I learned that with foam tips, earphones can not only stay in place but also be comfortable. Could this be the start of a whole new adventure with me and IEMs?
A few weeks later Tin Hifi announced their new T4 IEMs, I’ve always been curious about the Tin Audio (Now Tin Hifi) T2 and T3, but always wary about spending money on earphones that I was likely to dislike. However, armed with the new knowledge that foam ear tips are the way forward, I got in on the Indiegogo campaign for the new Tin Hifi T4. As an early bird deal, I scored the T4 for $79 USD which worked out at about £62 UK this included one pair of T4 IEMs, 3 extra pairs of the blue Tin T2 ear tips as well as a $20 Linsoul gift card to spent at the Linsoul online store. The usual retail price for the T4 is set to be £83 or about $119. I put the $20 gift card towards a purchase at the Linsoul store that I was going to make anyway, so this worked out a good deal all in.
The unboxing experience is excellent, far more than is expected for a product of this price. The box is lined with a very dense foam that looks likely to be very protective. The IEMs themselves held into shaped cut-outs in the foam. The earphones come pre-fitted with medium-sized clear silicone ear tips. There are a further two ear tips of the same design in small and large size. Also included are 3 different sizes of black silicone ear tips and a single pair of grey foam ear tips of the type that were included with the Tin T3. Included with the packaging was a small baggie containing 3 pairs of blue foam ear tips of the same type as included with the Tin T2.
Elsewhere in the box is a brown leather carrying box with a magnetic closure. The logo Tin Hifi is stamped into the leather on the top. Inside is soft brushed or unfinished leather, the inside of the lid has a mesh stuff pouch that contains a Tin Hifi business card.
In this leather box we find the cable for the Tin T4. This is described as a high purity silver-plated custom cable. The cable itself is made from a twisted braided silver-plated copper with a white/silvery appearance. The cable itself is soft to the touch and very flexible. There are pre-moulded ear hooks and MMCX connectors. The cable is terminated in a 3.5mm TRS connector.
Ear fit and comfort is excellent, the foam tips stay put without causing any pain and discomfort. This is also aided by the ear hooks in the cable. I have never used an earphone with a cable that hooks over my ears. At first, I was worried they would conflict with my glasses, however, I did not find this to be an issue.
The external design is machined aluminium, similar to the
rather industrial design of the T2 and T3 with an added flair of design with
the circular spoked knurled design on the sides. This certainly makes them seem
a little more premium than previous models.
On the specification of the IEMs, they have a 32 Ohm
impedance and a sensitivity of 102dB SPL. So fairly easy to drive, although not
quite as efficient as I expected. Unlike the T2 which had a dual dynamic driver
(10mm woofer and 6mm tweeter) or the T3 which had a hybrid design dynamic
driver and balanced armature pair, the T4 has a single 10mm carbon nanotube
This seems like an odd decision and a bit of a step backwards at first look. The Tin Hifi T4 has seen a bit of a price bump vs the T3 and especially the T2 and yet they have moved down to a single driver model rather than a hybrid design as would be expected on higher-end or more expensive models. However, with the new CNT driver, it appears that Tin Hifi have opted for a single but higher quality dynamic driver rather than 2 somewhat compromised drivers. Let’s not forget that at $79 this is still a rather budget headphone; it is therefore much better that the budget is spent on one good driver than splitting that cost between two drivers of lesser quality.
I was worried that the single driver might mean a lack of extension or dynamics however nothing could be further from the truth. This is an incredibly dynamic headphone with a very balanced and somewhat warm, full-bodied sound signature. In many ways, this isn’t too dissimilar to the HD650 in overall sound signature. The T4 also has a surprising openness, I would never have thought an in-ear monitor could have such an open sense of soundstage. What’s more, imaging is also pretty impressive. So far I am very impressed.
Bass performance is quite excellent and articulate. There is
a good amount of fullness and body. This is not an overly bassy sound signature
like the Brainwavz Omega, but it is not lacking at all. This is very close to
what I would consider a neutral bass, something in between an HD650 and the
Midrange is excellent, perhaps a little recessed, but only slightly. In some ways there is a slight u-shape to the sound but only slightly. Some vocals are not quite as forward as they should be, perhaps at times sounding a little hollow but again, only slightly. Mids are generally quite relaxed, and sweet-sounding. This is a very inoffensive sound signature.
Treble is incredibly restrained, much like the HD650, there is a slight lean towards brightness or shout in the lower to mid-treble but never to the point that it becomes problematic. Upper treble starts to roll off and remains fairly neutral throughout the air frequencies.
Overall this is a rather balanced and somewhat neutral sound signature. There is a slight bright tilt in the lower to mid-treble and the mids are slightly relaxed. But on the whole, this is a rather balanced sound.
To say I am impressed is an understatement. Perhaps that’s because I never expected much from an IEM in the first place, but it could also be that the Tin Hifi T4 is really a fantastic set of earphones for an excellent price, that it is really difficult to not be impressed.