TIN HIFI P1 REVIEW: Exquisite (and capricious) planar musicality in ultra small format

TINHIFI P1 REVIEW :

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SOUND: 8/10
CONSTRUCTION: 9/10
DESIGN: 8/10
ACCESSORIES: 8.5/10
VALUE: 7.5/10

THE PLUS:

  • Transparent, well layered mid range
  • Crisp, fast and sparkly upper treble
  • Unique planar musicality (yeah, it really is fascinating!)
  • Sturdy invincible construction
  • Very small and comfortable

THE SO-SO:

  • Anemic bass
  • Rather small soundstage
  • Soft mid range attack
  • slightly unbalanced treble
  • Hard to drive properly

NO BS (Planar Lovers) RECOMMENDED!!

TINHIFI (formerly name TINAUDIO) do not need presentation as they make their name from mouth to ears between audiophile due to the phenomenal popularity of their best seller earphones call the TINAUDIO T2. This constant praising about T2 still occur in fact, but they never sit on their laurels and continue to take risk by creating different technologies in earphones like hybrid dynamic+knowles BA drivers with the T3 and now….nothing less than a 10mm PLANAR DIAPHRAGM DRIVERS for their new flagship in-ear P1 model!!

The TinHifi P1 use super thin nano-diaphragm of only 1 micron thickness for their planar driver, wich promise wide dynamic response and super fast transient response.

Compared to other Planar earphones, they were able to fit this 10mm driver into a very small housing, making the P1 the smallest planer iem on market, as well as surely the sturdiest due to thick metal housing.

Now, it will be the first pair of planar iem I try, but i own a pair of Magnepan MG-2A planar speakers, so I have a little idea of the particular sound flavor of planar technology, it do not move as much air as dynamic driver but have more bass than a balanced armature and is able to deliver high frequencies range effortlessy. It tend to sound more flat, transparent and neutral than dynamic drivers too.

Let’s see in this review if TinHifi have been able to tune properly this drivers, wich is a very complex and difficult task.

The TinHifi P1 is priced 170$ but can be buy for 150$ on DROP (ps : plus a 5$ checkout discount AND 20$ signup Discount=125$!)

DISCLAIMER : I’m a big fan of Tinhifi since I buy the T2. I finally got the chance to review the T3 in the past and now I was curious to review the P1 so I contact them to know if they would be interested I do one. After a long wait, the P1 arrive a month ago. I wanna thanks Tinhifi for this free review sample as well as not puting pressure to influence the content of this review.


INFO & SPECS :

Model : Tin HiFi P1

Driver : 10 mm planar diaphragm

Impedance : 20 Ω ± 15%

Sensitivity : 96 ± 3 dB

Frequency range : 10 Hz – 40 kHz

Rated power : 5 mW

Max power : 10 mW

Max distortion : 1 dB

Interface : Gold-plated MMCX connector

Cable length : 1.2 m (3.9 inches)

ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :

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UNBOXING experience is surely the more luxurious one I ever had, and this include way pricier earphones packaged with less attention to presentation. The big black box is thick and classy, it look like a james bond gun suitcase (hum…) and when you open it you have a sober minimalist presentation that is a joy to look at. What you see is the beatifull metal earphones (and yeah, you are destabilize by how small they are) and a very elegant leather protective case (i smell it, its real leathers pals!). When you open this sexy protective case, you enjoy a rather nice 4cores OFC plated copper cable and generous amount of 8 pairs of eartips, including 2 pairs of memory foams one. At this price, I feel spoil by the number and quality of accessories.

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CONSTRUCTION is very impressive and consist of 2 thick piece of metal stick togheter with a gold plated female mmcx connector that will never broke on you. Housing is extremely small and quite heavy for its size, wich proove the metal used is not alluminium but something way more sturdy. Cable is above average in term of quality and very similar to the one included with Ibasso T01. As i’m not a big fan of ear hook, I do not really use it.

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DESIGN is near perfect, the housing is small, have a triangular shape that fit perfectly the ears and a quite long and thick nozzle. Only issue I have with design is that the metal border to stop the eartips is too near nozzle end, wich make eartips fitting a little unstable. To solve this I use long silicone eartips, but I would love to use wide bore eartips too wich is difficult as said.

ISOLATION is above average but it do not block as much noise as universal custom. Sound leakage is near inexistant due to little venting hole being in front of housing.

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DRIVEABILITY is extremely capricious with the P1, you need quite powerfull amping to make them shine. With this earphones, i need a portable amp even with my powerfull Ibasso DX90, and they will sound better with my Xduoo XD-05+ or TA-10 that both have 1000mW of output. Don’t buy this if you plan to use them with your phone or even most of the DAP available on the market. More you put power in the P1, more the dynamic range expend as well as bass, imaging and soundstage. Simply put, they are the most difficult iem to drive I own, and this include the Final Audio E5000.

PAIRING (amped) give the best result with ultra clean and near analytical sounding audio source, not a one that is too agressive in treble, just very revealing like the Ibasso DX90 or Xdoo X20 (amped!). I do not suggest using warm audio source with the P1.

SOUND :

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SUBJECTIVE SOUND APPRECIATION was mitiged at first due to how capricious about source power can be planar audio gear. Sure, i know they need some good power, but at 20ohm impedance I was thinking my IbassoDX90 will do well and I was wrong. So, the pairing quest begin and I find the answer with my Xduoo XD-05+ dac-amp that have 1000mW of power output. No more stockin your head soundstage, alive was not the dynamic, hourray! What suddenly it me is the transparence of timbre, wich isn’t thin neither grainy, just smooth and full and airy. Now, I recognize the planar flavor, treble is effortless and not peaky in upper region, everything is super resolved yet sweet tothe ears. Bass as expected was a little underwhelming in lower region, it do not move air, in fact, planar breathe soundwave instead of hitting your eardrum with it, but nonetheless the mid bass have good impact and weight wich make it. What really blow my audiophile mind is the overall imaging as well as extremely immersive mid range, violin and piano sound so sweet and gently polished.

SOUNDSTAGE is just enough wide to step out of your head, tallnest is above average as well, but most of all deepnest have no limit and give alot of extra (much needed) spacial freedom.

IMAGING is uniquely presented with the P1, its effortless in the way it can add transparent sound layer and even if its show in a rather intimate way, the level of accuracy of instrument placement is extremely refined and lively but not very realist or spacious. Its moreabout adding sound layer that properly place them at you right and left. Everything feel very centered with the P1.

CLARITY is natural, never forced, slightly organic and more revealing in tonality color and definition than texture and micro details. Mid range have extremly transparent presentation while the upper high are sharper in definition. This type of clarity is more for active listener than passive one waiting for a clinical presentation of their music details.

TIMBRE is gently wooly and velvety in a rich appealing way, not in a negative way, as if the texture was polished to avoid grainyness but keeping its contrast. Its thick as clouds, keeping lot of natural air in its soundwave. This type of timbre is unique so i can’t compare it to any other earphones I own. But it tend to give a sens of breathiness to female vocal.

PRaT (Pace, rythm and timing) is on the soft gentle side, but have extra energy and attack in mid bass and upper treble wich make percussion quite lively and accurate tough mid range instrument like piano cannot follow the pace as fast and tighly.

LOWER END is a little rolled off around 40hz and do not move lot of air, its more about a flat dryish but well define kind of sub bass. It have body, but not particularly textured, more about round presence that can be overshadow by more hefty mid bass.

MID BASS is well rendered, have good weight and punch, its round and transparent but not particularly fast or tigh, it do warm lower treble a little but in a layered way that avoid serious veiling or messy mixing. Even if punchy, its quite soft and not the more energic or foward mid bass, kick have a natural sens of weight and we do not struggle to hear it, this work better for jazz than fast rock. The P1 are neither suggested for basshead or bass lover, listening to any type of electronic even IDM isn’t very exciting. Acoustic bass sound better than digital bass, tough slap bass lack grip and attack too. Cello, piano and acoustic bass sound enough good due to good sens of body and thick transparent presence, but the texture isn’t very revealing.

MID RANGE is my favorite part of the P1, again, with a very distinctive planar flavor to it. I consider the P1 as mid centric with extra upper highs sparkle, wich make the mid range laid back in attack but fowards in presence. Its revealing yet smooth and warm in tonality. When I listen to folk, i like the mix of guitar sharpness and vocal sweetness, but when I listen to jazz or classical, it depend of mix of instrument to achieve an appealing musicality. Piano do sound marvellous -weighty, thick and transparent-, sometime violin too even if it lack bit of texture and proper energic attack. For vocal, it depend, male will have more warthm and fuller body while femal signer will be a little thinner and more recessed. What is fascinating with the mid range is how effortlessly the different instrument play togheter keeping great tonal balance and clarity with an intimate laid back aerial musicality.

TREBLE is particularly crisp and sparkly on top, wich instrument like harpsichord show greatly. For example, when it play in mid range or lower treble register, the clarity and attack is rather ratained and lack natural brilliance, but when its in upper register harpsichord or acoustic guitar are greatly defini with great snapiness and natural decay. This upper treble push tend to put fowards percussions line wich mix perfectly with kick drum but tend to overshadow mid range instrument. Snare is a hit or miss, in the sens it will sound more high pitched than it should and lack roundness. I consider treble balance to be a little too peaky sometime, but when the music fit for it, the result can be phenomenal.

SUB BASS : 7/10
MID BASS : 8/10
MID RANGE : 8/10
TREBLE : 8/10
SOUNDSTAGE : 7.5/10
IMAGING : 8/10
TIMBRE : 7.5/10
CLARITY : 8/10
PRaT : 7.5/10

RANDOM TRACKS TESTING :

Vassilis Tsabropoulos & Anja Lechner ¨Melos¨,¨Song of Prosperity 1¨

Okay, there two songs in this video (its now complicate to find music on youtube so this is what I find). Anyway, both is a duo between a great pianist and excellent cellist. Listening to them with the P1 is ethereal, transparent and aerial. Unlike some other iem that tend to shadow piano because of too thick or textured cello, the P1 offer a lighter and more contemplative approach. Cello is full sounding but mellow and transparent as well, its not very textured but we hear the smooth attack of the bow, some breathing too, but nothing that will tend to distract from overall tonal naturalness. Piano note float in they air and mix gently with cello layers, keeping its soft clarity intact. Mid range of piano is less snappy than upper range wich have more decay and brilliance. This type of listen is perfect the eye close so you let yourself drown in the liquid, sweet musicality with velvety transparence.

Geir Sundstøl – Kamelsnurr

The P1 love acoustic guitar as well as steel pedal guitar layers, and this track show it beautifully. Sure, their more decay and natural resonance in upper range, wich the first minute of the song show perfectly with the crips, extremely clear and brilliant note plucking, but when slide guitar is playing togheter its addictively transparent as well. Now, when the big heavy tom play, its suppose to sound weightier with longer decay, wich do not happen here and affect overall musicality. In other hand, with too bassy iem this would have dangerously veiled the other instrument. Everything sound addictively transparent and well detailed except the bass tom, but i rarely heard as much sound layer in such a innoffensive way than with P1.

COMPARAISONS :

VS BQEYZ Spring1 (140$) :
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SOUNDSTAGE of Spring1 is notably larger, taller and more out of your head, while it lack the deepnest of more intimate P1. IMAGING being more spacious, the Spring1 have a more accurate instrument placement with a more holographic feel to it, instrument have space between them while the P1 is an addition of transparent layers, overall result is more lifelike and clearer with the Spring1.
BASS have more weight and texture, better attack making the Spring1 feel quite muscular compared to more relaxed P1 that lack sub bass extension. With Spring1 you do not struggle to hear bass line, they aren’t as transparent as P1 but resolution is better and thicker.
MID RANGE is slightly brighter and seriously more detailed in both texture and dynamic with Spring1 than more laid back and darkish P1, attack is more energic-agressive and timbre more textured too wich give a more immersive and lively sound for the Spring1.
TREBLE is more emphased in upper highs with the P1, wich give extra brilliance and sparkle but stole details in lower and mid treble that Spring1 deliver with plentiness, this tend to make the P1 sound a little more airy but unbalanced too.
All in all, these 2 iems are opposite both in tonality and timbre, P1 being warmer, more transparent with a tamed in attack V soundsignature while the Spring1 have a very energic W with tamed upper treble and extremely rich timbre.

VS FINAL AUDIO E4000 (150$) :

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SOUNDSTAGE is just slightly larger with E4000 but still feel more intimate than P1 due to extra deepnest it have. IMAGING is quite similar but E4000 have more horizontale space between them wich make instrument placement more accurate and spacious than P1 compressed layerings.
BASS have more slam with the E4000 and a more U shape sound that tend to warm lower treble a little more than P1, attack is weightier tough mid bass kick is softer.
MID RANGE is slightly more recessed with the E4000 (when bass occur) but have brighter tonality, lusher timbre and better attack, wich make instrument like piano or violin grain in pushed presence, P1 is more airy, transparent and laid back.
TREBLE is more laid back with the E4000, but sound more balanced and detailed in lower highs. P1 have more micro details on top and serious emphasis in upper highs that give extra brilliance and sparkle the E4000 crualy lack even if the overall result is more musical and natural.
All in all, these two have some similarities, we can say E4000 is a more bassy, energic and balanced version of P1 with less transparent timbre and rolled off treble.

CONCLUSION :

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From what I read about other planar iem like the pricier Audeze isine20 or RHA CL2, the sound rendering of such drivers is near always polarizing, should it be about overall sound balanced, bass extension or treble emphasis, it will really depend about both pairing and music you listen to to get the best musicality.

The TinHifi P1 isn’t completely an exception to this Planar niche soundsignature but have the advantage of being very affordable as well as offering a rather easy to listen soundsignature.

Sure, it need quite a lot of power to get the best of it, but once you do, audio nirvana can sure happen time to time, with the right music, like well recorded jazz that will have very appealing mix of energic percusion, transparent bass and piano line and smooth transient response only a good planar driver can offer.

Tough I will never suggest this iem to bass lover, I sure think the unique sound experience it offer will please a good amount of audiophile, if not the mass. For those that search for an appealing mix of well layered transparent mid range and super crisp upper treble, I think its time you try the TinHifi P1 to taste the most affordable (and perhaps the greatest) planar iem on market today.

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