Review : Tin Hifi T2 Plus
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Today, we review the latest successor to the T2 and T2 Pro by Tin HiFi, the T2 plus. Let's see how it fares!
Disclaimer : This unit is a personal unit purchased at retail price
When browsing the net for good budget IEMs in the market, Tin HiFi's offerings would always appear in my search results. You can easily tell them apart from the other products in the market: it spots a distinct design and silver color shell. Tin HiFi's offerings are usually praised for their sound given what it's priced at with an expansive soundstage.
On Tin HiFi's website, they advertise the T2 Plus as having a natural sound, and having an "ideal tuning for all performing musicians and sound engineers who require uncompromising reference feedback with precise imaging and accurate tonal response". Having tried the T2 a while back ago and being impressed by it, I decided to review the T2 Plus to see what it has to offer.
Sound : V-shaped
Driver : 10 mm NanoPure nickel-zinc alloy Dynamic Drivers
Socket : MMCX connectors
Price : 59 USD
Where to buy it : Aliexpress
Good quality bass
Wide soundstage and decent imaging
Good natural sounding vocals
Good build quality
Electric guitar and snare drums are somewhat lacking attack/bite
Isolation could be better
No carrying case included
Suitable genres : Vocals, RnB, Slower-paced songs with fewer instruments
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
2 sets of each different sized eartips (S,M,L)
1 x Foam eartips (M sized only)
1 x T2 Plus earphone
1 x 4-core silver-plated Kevlar enameled soft MMCX copper cable
The accessories given has most of the essentials, and giving 2 instead of 1 set of the eartips of each size in case you lose it. When I was starting out in this hobby, I always wished earphone makers could give extra sets of eartips cause I would always lose them before. However, if you keep them properly in a case, it's hard for the eartips to fall out.
On the other hand, I find the lack of an earphone case disturbing. Most earphones that cost lesser these days usually come packed with a simple earphone case too so I don't see why it wasn't included in this. It would have made the package complete.
To cut Tin HiFi some slack, I really like the build quality of the T2 Plus! It is made of aviation-grade aluminum alloy, which makes the earphone not only light, but also very sturdy and durable. I also like that it feels smooth but yet not a fingerprint magnet. The MMCX connectors also holds the cable very snugly in place with no wobble of the cable. Thumbs up to Tin HiFi for the superb build quality!
COMFORT AND ISOLATION
The T2 Plus sits really well in my ears and I can feel that there is a lot of space available in the concha of my ears. Though the nozzle of the earphones are larger than the average earphone, I find myself having to use the L sized eartips for it to have a good seal (normally I use S/M sized eartips). The earphones also have rounded edges which helps with the comfort, I never feel that the earphones are poking against the walls of my ears.
Isolation isn't the strongest suit of this earphones, you are usually able to hear what is going on outside while listening to the earphone. As I am writing this review in my quiet room while listening to Diana Krall with these earphones, I can still hear the sounds of my mechanical keyboard (which uses Cherry MX Brown switches) faintly. While I was sitting at a cafe testing these earphones, the barista started the coffee bean grinder which I could immediately tell. This is probably due to the earphone having 2 holes in its shell: one to act as a bass vent for the earphones and the other probably to widen the soundstage of the earphones. However, from what I recall, I believe that this level of isolation is a step up from those on the previous T2 model.
Overall, this earphone has a smooth and spacious sound that never fatigues the listener. I listened to this earphone for 3 hours or so and I did not get any listener fatigue from it at all. The amount of bass is generally acceptable, I personally listen to earphones that do not have a lot of bass too and this was alright. It has a 3-Dimensional level of sound to it that feels very surreal in certain songs thanks to its wide soundstage and I really like that about this earphone. To top it all off, this earphone has decent imaging, which further enhances the surreal feel and makes it sound like a tiny headphone.
This review will be done on my Cayin N6ii (T01 Module) with stock eartips and cable.
Treble on this earphone doesn't shout at you and it attributes to the non-fatiguing sound that I keep mentioning in this review. In faster paced songs however, highs tend to sound thin and it fades away quickly (fast decay). This is evident in Frederic's "Rererepeat" where the cymbals are very snappy but you tend to lose track of it when you aren't paying attention to it. Also when the cymbal crashes in the song, it doesn't have that much of an impact.
In most songs that I have tested on, high-hats/cymbals are snappy and have just enough presence for it to be noticed but it isn't quite as thick enough for it to be felt fully like in those of the Thieaudio Legacy 3.
However, the highs here are rather pleasing as it has enough air in them. When you focus on the highs, the cymbals and high-hats are of good quality: never sounding artificial and with just enough sparkle to it for it to sound good.
I realised the mids in this earphone have things that I love and have problems with so this segment would be lengthier than usual. Given the V-shaped sound of the earphones, mids are generally tucked in further behind than highs and lows. Vocals and lower mids tend to take more emphasis in this segment and they sound very natural too which I prefer.
As mentioned above, vocals sound natural and the singer generally sounds nearer to the listener than the rest of the instruments. Compared to the other instruments and sounds that fall in the mids, vocals sound the best and thus, I highly recommend this unit for vocals. Listening to Diana Krall's "The Look of Love" album on the T2 Plus is just something else, you can somehow feel the vibes of the song and it's scarily satisfying. You can hear the subtleties in vocals and the enunciation of her words in the song "Besame Mucho". Mac Ayres' "Slow Down", sounds really chill and it has a really spacious eerie feel to it, really making such slow-paced songs sound really good.
Going to the heavier side of things, rock and metal genres don't get much love from this unit. In faster paced songs and songs with more instruments, on the whole, it sounds alright but it does struggle to reproduce some minor details. John Mayer's "Something's Missing" demonstrates that the rhythm guitar is indeed missing at certain parts such as during the chorus or when there are more instruments. This also happens for Masaki Suda's "Soft Vinyl Figure" too.
However, I also noticed that this isn't the case with every song. In general, if the guitar is more pitchy or falls in the lower mid region (e.g. guitars with heavier distortion), it would then be more audible. Listen to the guitar solo segment in "ARCADIA" by Jupiter from 2:02 to 2:38, the two solo guitars and the rhythm guitar in the background is still audible on this unit despite it being very instrument heavy and lacking some bass.
I did notice this subtle detail while listening to Vulfpeck's "Cory Wong", and that is electric guitars and drums lack that bite/attack to it. Cory's guitar at 1:55 into the song doesn't seem to have that much of that unique "Twang" as compared to my other earphones. This observation also translates to the snare drums where it lacks that "attack" to it.
In all, this earphone does vocals really well but if you are intending to use this to listen out guitars or drums, it might take some effort to do so and might lack that kick to it.
Bass goes deep and has a nice rumble to it with a lot of texture that makes it really enjoyable. I notice that this bass generally hovers between the mid point of bass and sub-bass, where it does not overdo it with too much rumble but leaves you wanting more at certain times. This is not necessarily a bad thing as I believe that it would be more suitable for the general audience than tuning it to be bass heavy. Kick drums also have a nice feedback to it where you feel the kick of it.
In Polyphia's "40oz", there's a ton of kick to the kick drums and an ample amount of bass all within the first minute of the song. While the bass is being played, it doesn't mask the other instruments, making it even more enjoyable. Vulfpeck's "It Gets Funkier IV" really shows that the earphone is able to keep up: bass guitar goes deep without losing speed and you can feel the kick drums in your eardrums! Really helps to have such a bass on funkier songs.
The bass on this unit should satisfy most bass heads and listeners who are more sensitive to bass as it gives just enough to enjoy but yet, not overpowering the the entirety of the music.
This earphone is a really interesting one as it uses its vents to provide a wider soundstage at the expanse of isolation. As you can tell, I am really impressed by the soundstage of this unit. Let me first talk about soundstage on this unit.
I happened to listen to Frederic's "Sukiraism" and I noticed that at 0:34 to 0:44, there is a faint sound in the background that comes at you at 0:44. When I first listened to this song, I thought that it was some noise that came from outside my room and was about to blame the isolation until I rewound the song and found that it was from the song. The feeling was so surreal and spacious, it was really nice! Another song that really takes advantage of this surreal feeling is Daniel Caesar's "Loose", the amount of spaciousness in this music is just unbelievable. I think it is one of the widest soundstage I have heard from an earphone at its price point. The only drawback is that isolation takes a hit, but if you're willing to compromise, I think it's a good tradeoff.
Moving on to imaging, I noticed that on songs that have been mastered well, imaging is done well. In Chon's "Can't Wait", you get a very clear image of the instrument placements and the distance of them to you. Daniel Caesar's "Best Part (ft. H.E.R)" has this sound that bounces about from the left to right channels after the first chorus to the second chorus.
The T2 Plus is an earphone with a relaxing sound signature that provides an "out-of-head" experience. It greatly excels in vocals and slow paced songs by being able to properly reproduce the feels of such songs and making it sound very spacious. The lack of a carrying case does take away some points from it. If you're looking for an affordable earphone with a non-tiring sound that excels in vocals, look no further than the T2 Plus from Tin HiFi!