For the past year or so, Tin HIFI has won the heart of many a headphone enthusiast with their dual-dynamic earphones like the T2 and T2 Pro. Many people have raved about the natural, engaging sound and reasonable prices of these IEMs, but some also complained about the thinness of the cable and a lack of deep bass tones.
It seems like this is what they had in mind when they released the $69 T3, a model that improves upon their previous IEMs by using a new hybrid Balanced Armature + Dynamic driver setup for enhanced clarity and separation, along with including a thicker, herringbone braided, 1.25m 5N 8 core oxygen-free copper Silver-Plated cable which is excellent for the price point. I thank Linsoul Audio for sending out the T3 in exchange for my honest opinion.
Build & Features
The T3 comes in a pretty elaborate package for a sub $100 IEM. They showcase the brushed metal earpieces through cutouts in the white outer packaging, and upon opening that, out slides a blue and white foldout box that cradles the earphones like jewelry. Inside the box, along with the earpieces, you get the cable as mentioned above, instructions, two different types of Silicone ear tips, and a set of foam ear tips. I like this package, but I wish they also included a carrying case, or at least a drawstring bag. But as you will see, this is not the end of the world.
The braided MMCX cable is probably the best cable I’ve seen packed in with such an inexpensive pair of earphones. It’s very thick, which keeps it from tangling so much, and the preformed loops that go over the ear are firm enough to keep the buds in your ear but pliable enough to slip over the top of your ears with little effort. To me, the fit is supremely comfortable. The only caveat is you have to wear the cable over the ear; it is not designed to wear straight down.
The cable also looks cool, starting with the beautiful golden color, the ornamental metal y-split embossed with the company logo, and the round transparent plastic bead slider. The heavy-duty 3.5mm plug is also fancy looking, inlaid with a silver carbon-fiber pattern.
The earpieces are solidly built, made entirely out of CNC-machined metal. Each housing is double-vented to provide a wide soundstage, and they both contain a Knowles Balanced Armature driver along with a PU+PEK Dynamic diaphragm for what they call a pure, accurate sound. After listening to them for a few weeks now, I cannot disagree.
For my sound tests, I plugged the T3 into my LG40 with the ESS Sabre Quad DAC engaged and fired up some tracks from the TIDAL Android App. Tin HIFI describes the sound as having “sibilant-free high frequency, great bass performance while still providing accurate sounding midrange,” which sounds like they are aiming for a tonally balanced sound signature.
When I read this, I became excited, because I love balanced earphones, and I love a sweet midrange. If the midrange isn’t right, I won’t be able to listen to a pair of earphones for very long. A nice midrange and open soundstage are what I put the highest priority on when evaluating the sound of IEMs.
When listening to “American Dream” by J.S. Ondara, the T3 was a revelation; I really couldn’t believe they cost less than $100. The cascading layers of sound were captivating, and while there was a tad bit of brightness up top, there was no annoying sibilance. The music was wide open, instruments were vivid and lifelike, and the imaging was hyper-focused. The depth of the soundstage was remarkable. I also loved how they reproduced the timbre of strings and vocals so naturally. I was impressed.
Next, I listened to “Touch” by Daft Punk, and again, the instrumental timbre was quite convincing. The piano solo at the beginning was a thing of beauty, with the T3 skillfully reproducing the percussive strikes of the hammers inside. The midrange on these things was superb, and the separation of instruments was eye-opening.
For a test of the bass, I cued up “Motion” by Emotional Oranges, and reveled in the deep rhythmic bass, that blended so well with mids and highs. Everything was so crisp, without any bass bloat or bleed.
If it sounds like I’m gushing over these earphones, it’s because I am. While some may complain about a little brightness up top on some songs, the balanced, resolving, nature of their presentation is far more refined than it has any business being for $69. Combine that with the excellent build quality plus comfort, and you have a clear winner here. I don’t know of any other earphone I would recommend for critical listening at this price point. Highly Recommended.