TFORCE YUAN LI Review: The Chinese Emperor of Versatility

PROS:
Very versatile tuning, Natural&well-balanced tonality, Smooth present mids, Good macro-resolution, Holographic soundstage, great layering, good transparency, Weighty attack, safely tuned yet not boring, treble sparkle-decay, free of any harshness or sibilance, warm but clear, beautiful female vocal, beautiful-sturdy-comfy construction design, generous fancy packaging, nice cable, good price value

CONS:
Warm bass that lacks some definition-separation-extension, average resolution-imaging-accuracy, attack lack bite, need some power to scale up

TONALITY: 8.8/10
TECHNICALITIES: 8.2/10
CONSTRUCTION: 9/10
PACKAGING: 9.5/10
SOUND VALUE: 8.2/10

TFORCE is a new audio company from China, and their goal is to deliver high price value IEM that give great care to tonal balance as well as prime construction. With TFORCE, it’s all about the whole package you get for the price. As well, they give great care to consumer’s feedback and suggestions, to the point of having created an IEM solely based on their vote for the tonal balance they wish to listen for their latest ”Project BRAVERY”, a 4BA earphones. But today, I will not review the BRAVERY but the very acclaimed TFORCE YUAN LI iem, a single Dynamic driver with a Diamond-like Carbon Diaphragm (DLC). As stated in the product description, the Yuan Li is the first model of a trilogy of ”high-resolution” IEM serie, it seems they will all be named after a specific Chinese emperor, Yuan Li being the first one of Tang Dynasty. As seen with the tremendous amount of positive ratings here, the Yuan Li are very promising earphones, so let’s check in this review if they are worthy of their hype.

—–PACKAGING&CONSTRUCTION——

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Tforce gives great care to their packaging presentation and design and it pay off because it’s a real delight to the eyes. As well, it’s very refreshing to finally see an hommage to Chinese culture like the mythological dragon found on the box cover or the imagery inspired by Shan Shui painting like the decorative cardboard of landscape painting. The result is sumptuous, professional and eye-appealing.

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In term of accessories, it follows the same level of care for quality by including a real-leather magnetic carrying case of great quality, well-presented ear tips package that include 6pairs of silicone eartips (2 models) and 1 pair of memory foam ear tips. The cable too is another good surprise, it’s a more than decent 6N OCC 2 cores braided copper cable that doesn’t urge the need to upgrade it.

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CONSTRUCTION is made of thick aluminum, with a beautiful glossy finish and curvy organic shape. It’s both light and sturdy and the ergonomic shape is very comfortable, slipping effortlessly in our ear canal with secur fit. The nozzle seems made of copper, it’s long enough due to the front housing ear-canal-like shape. The 2pin connector is perfectly embedded in the body and is flush to it’s shape which means you will be able to use a wide range of 2pin cables with it. Another proof of great care for details can be found by looking at the small color dot at the back of housing which is there to identify left (blue) and right (red) IEM. Isolation is above average too, another plus.


—–CRITICAL SOUND IMPRESSIONS—–
(Gear used mostly: Xduoo X20, Xduoo XD-05+, Audirect Beam2)

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TONALITY is a smoothen W shape with warm bass, lean lush mid and crisp but relaxed treble. The balance is natural, cohesive and organic due to bass resonance that gently embraces lower mids. Nothing is aggressive with the Yuan Li, yet it isn’t boring or too lean and polite, the dynamic is weighty, the timbre is dense and the attack edge is softened. Overall tuning follows Harman’s target and reminds me of a crisper Moondrop Starfield or more L-shaped Aune Jasper.

BASS has a warm slam to it, it’s not the tightest, neither the most controlled bass, just a bit boomy but in a juicy euphonic way. The rumble is more about resonance than proper bassline articulation, this bloom a bit the kick presence and its punchy singularity, but did permit to glue the whole tonality together cohesively, so unless you need the fastest and most flexible bass response for crazy fast drumming, you will not encounter any issue. The lower extension isn’t very linear, and definition and accuracy are just average. The texture is very polished too. The overall definition being on the dark side, the bass attention is more physical than visual. The tone never feel unnatural, its have good density and weight as well as a flexible presentation that give extra punch and thickness to tonal balance.

MIDS are very well done, natural with a great presence that doesn’t feel forced. It’s smooth, well resolve with nice transparency. It isn’t the cleanest-crispest mids, especially in lower mids section where you have slight bass warmth. Female vocals are lush, free of sibilance and better extracted than warmer male vocal, it have an bit of breathyness to them which add density to the body. Woodwind instruments sound particularly good with the Yuan Li, should it be the saxophone of Arve Henriksen or the Trumpet of Miles Davis, the tone is right, their no stridency, shoutyness or graininess, and it sounds open with an airy layering. In fact, tone of any instrument is realist, it’s just the edge of definition that can be lacking for instruments like violin or electric guitar and to the piano in lower pitch register. The Yuan Li aren’t clinical or analytical in it’s approach even if extra treble extension can give a sense of good micro details retrieval. The mid-range is safely tuned and inoffensive both in attack and brightened clarity. It goes with the natural flow of your music and is sweetly balanced so nothing feels over-focused.

TREBLE is the part that impresses me the most with the Yuan LI, it’s delicate yet full and sparkly, their no sharp peak and while you have some extra upper highs boost it feels perfectly balanced with the rest of the spectrum while adding much-needed air to the top. Acoustic guitar sound marvelous, having both string snap and enough decay that is fast enough to deal with complex chord, it have good brilliance and highest clarity than low or mid range instruments like piano. Violin too can be good when in higher register, because it have better attack lead than in mid range which lack a bit of proper definition. While the treble is well balanced, it did have a darken area in mid highs section, so some instrument will sound more textured than other and I wish it was like this for all instruments. This dip do enlight micro-details boost presence, adding a bit of excitment to the otherwise innoffensive tonality.

TIMBRE is a bit dark, natural to organic, with great density yet good transparency too. It isn’t emphasized in texture and benefits more vocal and woodwind instruments than electric guitar or drum.

SOUNDSTAGE is wide and holographic but limited in deepness and not very tall. Eartips can inflict on spatial depth.

IMAGING isn’t the highlight of the Yuan Li, while layering is decently articulated the clarity isn’t enough crisp and the attack enough edgy to offer proper instrument separation and placement. The presentation feel centered with an addition of wide sound layers.

TECHNICALITIES are quite good with the Yuan Li and just above average for its price range. The macro resolution is excellent and treble attack speed too. Apart the slight bass bleed that is more about tonal balance, the transient response has great flexibility that benefits sound layers projection and their timing. Treble decay is well controlled and never go splashy, as well, it can deal with a fast busy track like ”Skink” from Elephant 9 (pumped up) jazz-rock band without sounding messy or muddy, thanks to fast layering capabilities. So yes, the transient response is very fast, but affected by tuning damping and filter used to achieve a smooth tonal balance. The highs are well extended, have fast snap and natural decay, which is an evidence of good dynamic driver.

PERSONAL APPRECIATION

The Yuan Li are very easy to love and for me it was the female vocal presentation as well as natural instruments tone that hook me first. After, it was the layering capabilities and the lack of sibilance or any type of harshness. Safely tuned yet not boring due to it’s weighty dynamic, I was impressed by everything including it’s bass until I go into grumpy critical listening mode. Then, I see the bass issue and begin to be nit-picking about it, searching for proper drum kick punch instead of mixed up juicy slam. I mean, the bass can be incredible when you don’t have multiple instruments playing in this range at the same time, the density of bass line can be addictive but can mix up with high low and low mids easily. That and the hollow imaging are the guilty part of my sincere pleasure to listen to the Yuan Li. These IEM have a special way of showing your music, it’s holographic and circular, not very deep but dense in sound layers, the cohesion is homogeneous, so it’s good for laid back long listening session and just let yourself drown in it’s immersive organic tonality. The fact Yuan Li aren’t too analytical make the permissive for bad recording too, which in fact can sound better this way, like old jazz recording, it will extract sound layer and make the presentation smooth and holographic. An IEM that has a versatile tonality is always precious to me.

Side Notes
At 32ohm of impedance and a rather low sensitivity of 103db, the Yuan Li do benefit from proper amping, I would suggest a minimum of 150mW@32ohm for driving them properly. As well, due to their warm nature, a sharp-sounding audio with high resolution and vivid dynamic will pair well. Still, the Yuan Li doesn’t sound bad or underwhelming with a phone or not powerful source, just less full-bodied and open.
Ear tips inflict alot on tonal balance and soundstage, shorter is ther ear tips, more forwards will be the sound.
Included cable pair very well the Yuan li even if it keeps it’s warm nature intact, the timbre is more natural than SPC cable I try and with stock cable the treble is still sparkly without sounding thin.



—–COMPARISONS——

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VS NFAUDIO NM2+ (170$):

TONALITY is more V shape with more upper mids emphasis, brighter and more grainy and saturated in texture. Treble is splashier and less airy-sparkly-extended. Bass is more thumpy and less extended in sub bass. Tforce is warmer W shape to neutral with less energic mid-bass and treble.

RESOLUTION is notably poorer, transparency too, you have more tone nuances with the Yuan Li as well as sound info even if the presentation is less in-your-face and treble axed.

SOUNDSTAGE is way bigger, wider, taller and deeper: you can dig in the Tforce sound while the NM2+ offer a ”wall of sound”. Layering is more organic and articulated, instrument placement is easier to spot too with Tforce.

TECHNICALITIES is from another league with the Tforce, attack is faster and more controlled even if bass move some air, the impact is weighty and less shouty, Transparency, resolution, precision are all better, As well, bass and treble extend more naturally (+sub bass and +highs decay).

All in all, NM2+ have a more aggressive tonality and less refined technicalities and feels very overpriced compared to Tforce.


VS MOONDROP ARIA (80$):

TONALITY is in fact similar, both having their own interpretation of ”harman tuning”, both being smoothened W shape signature. Aria is a bit crisper, cleaner and more organic, with a lighter airier dynamic. It have slightly more sub-bass emphasis and extension. So, the biggest differenceence is in timbre between those too, and sens of clean transparency which higher with the Aria. Tforce has a bit more bass warmth and less mids presence and timbre is less thin. Both male-female Vocals are slightly more present with the Aria. The bass dig deeper and have better sub-kick-mids separation.

RESOLUTION is near on par with both, but due to better transparency and more extended sparkly treble of Aria I conclude they are crisper, especially when bass slam occur which doesn’t hollow mids of the Aria.

SOUNDSTAGE is about the same wide, a bit taller and deeper with the Aria. Imaging is more accurate and precise and you can dig in the sound further with the Aria due to great transparency and layering.

TECHNICALITIES are just a hint better with the Aria, the transient is faster which improve attack timing and layers articulation, the resolution is higher as well the treble extends further so you have more micro details and sparkle-decay.

All in all, Tforce is the lusher, warmer version of Aria which has less cold timbre, less weighty dynamic but a more refined, crisp and mature tonality.


VS HZSOUND MIRROR (50$):

Hail to the HZM King! Did the King can fight with an IEM at more than twice it’s price? YES, without any shame it can, but….

TONALITY is quite different, HZM being crisp neutral to vivid yet not aggressive W shape with tamed bass presence. BASS is cleaner but has less slam weight, it extends in a leaner less boomy way too and keep the mids clean. Sub-kick separation is better and fast bass line more accurate. Mids are colder, thinner, crisper, more energic and more transparent and detailed. Upper mids are slightly peakier. Treble is more energic, detailed and extended.

RESOLUTION is notably higher with the HZM, you will not lose any percussion hit with them which can be darkened with the Yuan Li. Transparency is similar to Aria, but layers being more compressed and higher in number than the Tforce, we can’t dig as far in the sound.

SOUNDSTAGE is less wide-tall and deep with the HZM even if cleaner. IMAGING is more saturated-compressed in layers and intimate but crisper and more precise. You see more stuff going on with the HZM but it doesn’t surround you like the Tforce which is more holographic.

TECHNICALITIES….this will be polemical….but they are notably better with the 50$ HZM! Transient is faster and better controlled in both lead and decay. The resolution is crisper. Both bass and treble extend further and have a cleaner presence. You have more sound info and layers. You have more micro details and texture nuance. More transparency too. But less impact weight and timbre density.

All in all, again, your tonal preference will decide which you prefer, the Tforce is more musical, smoother and laid back as well as more bassy and safely tuned, but the HZM prove again he’s the sub-200$ single DD KING of technicalities, just mind-blowing and a perfect complement to the Tforce!


——-CONCLUSION—–

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To say i’m impressed by the first offering of this new audio company is an understatement because in fact, the Yuan Li feels like it’s been tuned by a very experienced company that understands how to find right balance between tonal and technical importance. A company that can be put in the same league as Moondrop, Tanchjim and other prime chifi IEM makers.

The Tforce Yuan Li is beautifully crafted and tuned, both comfortable to wear and listen to. Its tonality is versatile and permissive, yet weighty in dynamic, lush in timbre, and crisp in treble.

This hit all the right spot and will please bass or mids or highs lover.

Do you want weighty slam? You got it. Do you want great vocals presence and dense mids? You got it. Do you even want some highs sparkle? Your dream comes true here because you got all of this without the drawback of aggressive treble, vocal sibilance or lack of bass impact.

TForce has a bright future ahead of him in IEM world, and perhaps should be called Tour de Force because their tuning and craftsmen capabilities are more than promising.



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PS: I wanna thanks HIFIGO for the review sample, which was already arranged months ago on my request. As always, these are my 100% honest and independent opinions of an audio product. I’m not affiliated nor pay by any audio distributor or company.

You can buy the Tforce Yuan Li here:https://hifigo.com/products/tforce-yuanli-10mm-dlc-single-dynamic-driver-in-ear-monitors

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