Review by Mhark Jhoshua Q. Torres
Thank you Linsoul Audio for letting us give our honest take towards the Tin Audio T3 pro. Given that the review unit is from Linsoul audio and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.
Linsoul Audio Online Stores:
Direct store: https://www.linsoul.com
Tin audio is a chi-fi contender that appeared last Q1 of 2018, their first IEM was Tin Audio T1 (based on what I’ve read) and it was followed by the T2 and T2 Pro which became a lot more popular in comparison to the T1. Their IEMs are known for being bass anemic, since they are tuning their products into a neutral sound signature despite the use of all DD. “Tin Audio is committed to deliver an uncommonly refined tuning.” this is what they said in their Facebook page and based on what I’ve heard from the T2 pro and now the T3, the statement is legit!
The Tin Audio T3
The T3 is made out of metal just like the T2 and T2 Pro that makes the overall feel to be premium and reliable, it’s still astonishing for me to have this well built IEM under the 70 USD price tag. Just like the T2 Pro, the nozzle is still a bit short, the filter is fine, and there are two vents per side one facing the ears and one at the face plate. The T3 pro has slight changes at the face plate whereas there is more styling on the T3 as compared to the flat and simple T2 Pro, the cable is far superior too in terms of aesthetics.
- Driver unit: 10mm dynamic + Knowles BA
- Frequency response: 10–40,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 95 dB +/- 3dB
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Plug: ⅛ in (3.5 mm) carbon
- Cable: 4.1 ft (1.25 m) 5N 8-core OFC-plated silver
- Interface: MMCX
The packaging of the T3 is now bigger, The styling of the box is better too with transparent part to show off the IEM itself. The blue box contains everything from manual to tips, there is still no carrying case just like with the T2 Pro, I hope that they include even a small pouch in their future IEMs. The gray foam tips is the one you’ll get OOTB but it is huge for my ears to fit, good thing that Tin audio included 8 pairs of extra tips for tip rolling. Lastly I was really amazed, I can confidently say that the cable included must be one if not the best under 150 USD.
Fit and Comfort
The T3 is made out of metal and there are few sharp edges unlike other IEMs that has CIEM-ish build therefore the fit of the T3 is sub par in comparison to other IEMs in this price tier (eg. TFZ lineup and Shozy Hibiki). The isolation of T3 is very dependent with the tips used with proper tips, the isolation is pretty good, the nozzle is short too hence the insertion is shallow.
I love IEMs and earbuds with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.
- Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
- Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
- LANY – Thick And Thin (Mid Bass, Mids)
- Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
- Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
- Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
- Radiohead – Life in a Glasshouse (Imaging Layering, Bass, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
- Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
- Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
- Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)
Slight roll off on the sub bass region but still enjoyable (at least for someone like me who isn’t a basshead) since the quality, texture and speed is properly done to fill the lack of extension. The sub bass is presented linearly, neither forward nor recessed. The intro of Bridge Burning by Foo Fighters is very audible. Mid bass is still tight, rounded and agile just like the T2 Pros but this time it has a bit more quantity resulting to better punch on bass notes, I’d say that the bass of the T3 is not bass anemic anymore, quality and texture remains excellent but take note that the bass quantity and positioning is still not for bass-heads, it is still linear and no elevation to be called warm or bassy.
Tin Audio is molding its house sound, transparent, lean and clean mids that packs a lot of details. The lower mids of the T3 is very resolving though the body is just sufficient for the male vocals not to sound hollow or dry, stringed instruments are really nice sounding with the T3, but for those who love their velvety mids you won’t enjoy the transparency of the T3. Upper mids is definitely sweet, despite its neutral positioning the female timbre sounds stellar for the price. I tried Reese Lansangan, Clara Benin, Sara Bareilles and UDD and it is simply one of the best sounding upper mids under 150 USD, though I’d say that it is unforgiving since playing bad recorded tracks will result to slight sibilant. Playing every tracks of the album Capacities by UDD, there is no emphasis on “S” like what I’ve observed with other indie OPM singles. Details and texture is great and the timbre is close to natural, hands down to T3.
Not the peaky and aggressive treble you’ve hated with the T2 and the T2 Pro, the treble of T3 is definitely more controlled and relaxed without losing the great definition and extension of the T2 and T2 Pro. The decay is pretty fast delivering pacey tracks such as Asphyxia by Cö shu Nie excellently as it doesn’t sound congested at all. The positioning is still more or less at the middle ground as it never overpowers the mids and bass. Extension is better as compared to the sub bass, lastly the treble is still airy enough to give a natural sense of height and depth though it is not as airy as the T2 Pro anymore maybe due to the single BA instead of a DD (tweeter).
Sound Stage and Resolution
The sound stage of the T3 is still commendable for the price range it belongs, listening to live tracks is very enjoyable since the height, depth and width are all above decent. The sound stage isn’t something “monstrous” but it expands naturally whenever it is needed, also transitioning from my Moonbuds Bunting to the T3 is not as painful as with other IEMs, the boxy feeling is not as bad as compared to the KZ AS06 or TFZ Galaxy T2. None of the three major frequencies sounded smooth nor muddy in the T3, from sub bass to treble the texture and details are nicely rendered and is very audible. Separation is definitely better than the T2 Pro, and layering also improved but still not groundbreaking.
Synergy and Sound Signature
T3’s sound signature is more neutral than the T2 Pro, the bass is linear and clinical and just enough to give a taste of thump in your tracks. The mids and treble is placed close to neutral as well. The upper mids is a bit sibilant with some tracks but most of the times I don’t hear the emphasis on ‘S.
The M3s is known to be intimate sounding DAP with balanced sound signature and stellar mids, despite the characteristics of M3s, the T3 doesn’t sound too intimate at all in fact it is wider than TFZ Galaxy T2 and KZ AS06 even when I’m using them with Cayin N5iis. Bass is nicely delivered with no noticeable bumps, good details retrieval and enough body to give life to EDM tracks. Mids of this set is simply stellar, each of my favorite artists shined very well with the T3 and M3s. Lastly the Treble is defined and packs a lot of details, the extension is not the best but still enjoyable. I’d say that this pair is definitely great for those who loves quiet and neutral-mid centric sounding set.
Smartphone (Huawei Mate 10)
The Huawei Mate 10 has a sound signature of neutral-bright, sound quality is not on par with the N5iis, noise floor is a bit high. The bass lost its extension and texture, the mid bass became smoother and less impactful. The lower mids became thinner and smooth reducing the texture of the mids, the upper mids still sounds sweet. Lastly the treble is well extended while the presentation is less airy and detailed. The T3 can be easily powered by smartphones but the potential will not be maximized, the bass quantity will be reduced but the overall sound quality is still great.
TFZ Galaxy T2 and KZ AS06
If we are talking about the quality and texture, the sub bass and mid bass goes to the T3, but the quantity and placement is more of basshead level for the AS06 and Galaxy T2, both are kinda smooth and warm with better extension compared to the T3. The mids simply goes to the T3, better quality, transparency and details it is also has the most neutral positioning among the three, both AS06 and T2 Galaxy sounds recessed, veiled and smooth in comparison to the T3. Lastly, the treble though the AS06 is smoother I’d say that the treble of T3 has better sparkle, definition and extension on the other hand the T2 Galaxy’s treble is quite splashy. Sound stage goes to the T3 and same goes to layering, imaging and resolution. The only con of the T3 is the bass quantity. it is not really for the bass-heads.
The bug fixes from T2 pro are well executed, I want to commend tin audio for listening and following the feedback from consumers and reviewers. Sub bass is textured and decays quick but falls short with extension, mid bass is punchy, resolving and agile with linear positioning. Mids is just stellar with lean, sweet and transparent presentation, tho it sounds sibilant with badly recorded tracks. Treble has good sparkle, definition and extension and is definitely controlled compared to their previous models. Technical performance is superb too as it renders nice details from bass to treble, sound stage is above average and lastly, imaging and layering is improved too. PS: the build quality (especially the cable) is definitely worth acknowledging.