TRI I3PRO Review: Holographic immersivity


PROS:
Good resolution despite a warmed tone, incredible mid-range, good layering, immersive holographic sound, beautiful vocals, smooth timbre, quick mid and high attack, good transparency, easy to love, fair price for such a hybrid planar

CONS:
Uncontrolled and poorly calibrated bass, poor sub-bass and kick-drum separation, lack of air, lack of precision in the separation of instruments, not super textured, tonal balance isn’t perfect, planar driver potential isn’t fully exploited

TONALITY: 8.2/10
TECHNICALITIES: 8.5/10

CONSTRUCTION: 9/10
SOUND VALUE: 8.2/10


TRI is the sister company of KBear and aim for more audiophile minded earphones with higher end audio technology. Today I will review the I3Pro model, which is I3 with smaller body size and different dynamic driver and overall more balanced tuning. This hybrid have an 8mm composite DD for low, a 10mm Planar driver for mids and unknown balanced armature for the highs. As a guy that was both disapointed by the Obravo Cupid (bad balance) and Tinhifi P1 (no bass), i was very eager to give these a try, so let’s see in this review if they pass my grumpy critical hearing test!

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CONSTRUCTION

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CNC carved aluminum alloy shell material with mirror finish, feel sturdy and is very eye apealing, it have interesting curves too. Thanks god it’s 26% smaller than first I3 because it’s not the smallest IEM either. It feel very sturdy and durable as well as carefully built without sign of bad gluing-fitting. Like every mirror finish, this is a finger prints magnet.

DESIGN have an organic shape that slip easily in there and will fit most ears size. Due to it’s 4(!) venting port at it’s side, it most be noted that sound leakage is very present and isolation is just average.

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CABLE
The 5N OFC braided copper cable included is very good, nothing to complaint here even if it does add slight hint of warmth to the tonality.

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SOUND IMPRESSIONS
(using mostly Xduoo X20, SMSL SU-9+SH-9 and Xduoo XD05plus. Stock cable. KZ Starlines eartips)

The TONALITY of the I3Pro is well balanced for the heterogeneity of the transducers used, although the sound is not the most natural, but it is organically cohesive. The frequency balance is U-shaped to smoothen W shape à la Harman, without obliterating the presence of the mids, which are flat but clear, transparent and nimble.The bass is boosted in the extension and spills into the lower midrange, creating warmth and affecting the overall sonic cleanliness.

Here is the biggest flaw of the I3Pro: its warm and poorly controlled BASS. All of its power is emphasized on the sub-bass and mid-bass, there is no flexibility of impact and a lot of resonance. The kick drum gets swallowed up and darken by this loose rumble and the attack speed cannot keep up with the faster mids and highs. The texture isn’t very rich either, due to its hazy tone. We have more quantity than quality here, despite having anemia in the high lows. Likewise, it seems that the planar transducers mix its bass with the dynamics driver, making its definition and separation too opaque. But it’s not all bad, I mean, if you remember the complaint about Tinhifi P1 lacking bass, the I3Pro solve it by adding some juicy boom. It’s perhaps not very detailed or refined, but it does add fun slam to an otherwise very refined tonality. It’s mostly problematic for acoustic bass and toms.

The midrange is the best part of the I3Pro, thanks to the talent of the planar which delivers high resolution and complex articulation with ease. The tone is dense with nuances, the attack is fast and the rendering is open and panoramic. Despite a slight boost in the upper midrange, there is no problematic sibilance. The female vocals are more prominent than the male ones, but both have no shortage of content. The piano sounds realistic, but doesn’t have much of a natural resonance after the impact of its notes, but it does allow for a clean articulation and well defined in impact albeit blurry in its contours. Wind instruments sound particularly realistic, with an airy layer and nice density, in fact, I have rarely heard a saxophone sounded as well as with the I3Pro, because it is neither too dark nor too textured. In fact, I would consider the midrange perfect if it weren’t for the bass that denature them. The attack is fast and tight, and it will not go messy with fast busy track unlike the bass. The planar driver deliver a mid range that have a precision and effortless resolution we rarely if ever find in sub-200$ price range.

The treble is also a strong point of the I3Pro, although it is not the most complete or balanced there is due to some coloration. Here it’s the micro details that are brought to the fore, quite delicately and some upper section is darkened to keep the sound smooth despite a high degree of musical information. The upper highs bite more than anything below 8khz and can sometimes distract us or seem too frontal. But that’s nit picking, because their alot of IEM that are not as well balanced than I3Pro. Still, it brings extra energy and also an illusion of sound clarity, air and brilliance. On the other hand, the rendering can be unpredictable, benefiting the texture of some instruments in the high harmonics, like the acoustic guitar, but lacking in definition for others like the electric guitar.

The soundstage is large and open at the periphery, but shallow, especially when the bass renders cloudy.

The imaging is well articulated in its layers, but not precise in instrumental placement, making spatial decortication difficult.

The sound timbre is mixed, as the bass has a warmer, darker, meatier timbre. The midrange tone is the most natural and the high is the coldest.

Technically, the I3Pro would be extremely impressive if it weren’t for the immature and poorly calibrated low frequencies. The mids and highs are quick in attack, high but not forced in resolution, transparent and well controlled-articulated.

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COMPARISONS:

VS TINHIFI P1 (1 PLANAR-160$)

The P1 is more mid centric than I3Pro, as well it have a faster attack, richer texture, more transparent timbre and overall more realistic tone…but the bass i not there at all.
SOUNDSTAGE isn’t as deep, but imaging is clearer and more precise.
TIMBRE, while thinner, is more textured and life-like.
BASS is leaner and notably more rolled off, its more textured and balanced, as well, it doesn’t bleed on mids like the I3PRO. But it doesn’t have punch, weight, body and can make bassy music intensely underwhelming unlike the I3PRO.
MIDS are similar but cleaner and bit brighter, more snappy and crisp, attack is even faster and clarity is higher.
TREBLE is where the P1 feel superior, in the sens it’s fuller, leaner and more accurate. It doesnt have a dip in texture section and feel more cohesive than BA treble of I3PRO which is a hint more artificial.
All in all, I do prefer the I3PRO as a whole, because it most be noted the dynamic impact is easier to achieve with humble amping, so, it’s easier to drive, have more bass slam, similar planar tech plus a BA that extend treble further but isn’t as well calibrated as the P1. Both are guilty pleasure for different reason, but the P1 is more serious and sterile.

VS OBRAVO CUPID (1DD+1PLANAR-240$)

While these have similar driver implementation…they aren’t similar at all. Obravo being more agressive V to W shape with upper mids brightness.
SOUNDSTAGE is wider but less tall and deep. IMAGING is inferior, too saturated and messy.
TIMBRE is notably brighter, more artificial and saturated with grainy texture.
BASS might be faster, but it’s all about punch. Sub bass is more rolled off and the body is less full.
MIDS are more recessed but more fowards in upper mids, it’s more shouty, agressive and artificial. It can’t deal as well with busy track to. Vocal are displeasant, female being too screamy and male being too messy. You will encoutner way more sibilance with the Cupid too.
TREBLE is way more intense. peaky and out of control than I3PRO…so much in your face and not refined. It’s more rolled off too.

VS BQEYZ SPRING2 (1DD+1PIEZO+1BA-140$)

What hit first is how the SPRING2 is cleaner and clearer than the I3PRO even if brighter and less transparent in timbre.
SOUNDSTAGE is very similar, but more holographic and out of your head, as well as deeper. IMAGING is more accurate, it have more clean space between instrument too.
TIMBRE is way more textured, brighter and less transparent.
BASS have less sub-bass emphasis, resonance and extension, it’s more punchy and thick. It’s clearer, tighter and more textured. It’s less warm and organic .It’s faster in transient too. Kick drum sound notably better and realist with those Spring2.
MIDS are brighter, more fowards and textured, less transparent and natural.
TREBLE is more agressive, it have more bite and micro-details, it’s a hint more splashy due to longer decay. I3pro highs are thinner but better balanced and more delicate.

I love both and both have their quirks, but if your treble sensitive, the I3pro is a better bet even if warmer and more hollow in resolution.

CONCLUSION:

While the I3pro isn’t perfect due to it’s bass imbalance with poor control, it still have plenty of trick in it’s pocket that offer an immersive and appealing holographic sound experience. In fact, this might be the best Hybrid planar in term of full sounding tonality with a mid range technicality that only Planar can achieve. Still, I wish the planar have more presence than bass and ba.
All in all, I really love the I3Pro for what it give: a warm, rich, fun, well resolve bassy sound that doesn’t offend the ears and have a balanced tonality with weighty dynamic and soft treble.


I do think TRI is on something and should continue their efforts with planar based IEM.

PS: I wanna thank KEEPHIFI for this review sample. You can buy the TRI I3PRO fromtheir store HERE.

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