*Thanks to Stars Picker Audio Library sent us the review sample of Tin Audio P1, they are the official distributors of Tin Audio products in Malaysia.
*Pictures taken in this review is not that nice and I apologize for that, been extremely busy lately and I only have 10 minutes to shoot three items, thanks for understanding, cheers!
Tin Audio has gained some popularity among ‘Chi-Fi,’ mostly because of the exceptionally well priced IEM that can output great audio quality for little of the money spent. Today we are looking at their top of the line Tin Audio P1, a 140USD metal IEM that employs a 10mm planar magnetic driver, which is super rare and even rare in this price, majority of IEM is using dynamic and balanced armature drivers, it is really groundbreaking for Tin Audio that able to put in a 10mm planar driver inside and overcome the technical challenges, I really wish that we can see more and more planar magnetic and electrostatic IEM in the lower price range IEM, of course, the drivers that manufacturer use is not the only reason for a good sound quality, the tuning is essential as well, comfort and durability are crucial factor to consider on an IEM, so don’t judge them by what technology they are using, listen to them instead.
Tin Audio P1 (140 USD)
The Planar driver in the P1 steal the show, it is a 10mm planar driver, a lot of audiophiles crazy about planar drivers headphone and I can say most of the Planar headphones I listened to sounded very good (except for 1 or 2), we can’t blame the audiophiles cannot sit still after knowing that P1 is implementing a Planar driver for price tag of 140USD!
The IEM is exceptionally well built with some metal housing, there is an MMCX connector which makes your life easier if you want to swap cable, I will not swap the cable though because the original cable is built with very good of quality, it is beautifully braided and has nice color tone, I love them, not only that, the cable connector’s looks are well suited to the overall design of the IEM too. The construction of the IEM looks promising too, as a package, I can’t believe what we are able to get for just 140USD. Tin Audio even included a very lovely IEM casing for you to store the P1 (I don’t have this with my review unit), I admire Tin Audio’s capability to squeeze out all they can in a relatively affordable package.
Even the comfort level is quite good too, P1 itself is quite light (the cable is heavier than regular IEM but not something we can say is heavy. Noise isolation is only average, and I think the fit is not entirely fit and not deep enough, it is not bad in any way. Still, in terms of fit and noise isolation, you can easily beat P1 down with even a lower price, however, do rest assured because I have found that it is quite comfortable to wear.
One thing to complain, though, the silicon ear tip will fall down from the IEM easily. It seems like the IEM’s design cannot securely hold the ear tip, sometimes when I took out the IEM, the ear tip is missing, not a deal-breaker. Still, I believe Tin Audio should pay more attention to their design. This should not happen. To be frank, it is not ‘super easy’ to fall of type, but occasionally it will. Otherwise, I don’t really have any complaints in terms of finishing and build the quality of P1, it is beautiful and well built.
Now, P1 is actually quite challenging to drive when compared to majority of the IEMs, for example when listening with the Sony Walkman NW-A105, I need to turn the volume to 80-100 range (out of 120) to have decent listening volume, whereas, on the Tin Audio T4, I only need 40-50 of volume level, my KZ AS10 is quite loud at 40 of the volume level, the planar driver requires more power than usual, I am thinking that driving it directly from your smartphone should be a bad idea, you at least need reasonably powerful DAP and DAC/Amp combo to power it adequately. I believe that if you can get enough listening volume with your phone, it will sound uncontrolled and cramp. Stoner Acoustics UD125 is enough to let it sing. Still, you need something like JDS Labs Element to make it really shine, for your information, Sennheiser X Drop HD6XX need about 100 out of 120 from the A105 too for good listening volume (but HD6XX can stand more sound pressure, even at A105 maximum volume level), P1 really need some power.
I have listened to Tin Audio P1 with Sony Walkman NW-A105, JDS Labs The Element, Stoner Acoustics UD125, Stoner Acoustics UDXA, and M2Tech Marley II. The review unit is a retail demo unit, so it has been burned in before, an extra 24 hours of burning in was given before writing this review.
As beautiful as the P1 looks, the tonal of the sound is equally as beautiful too. It is a sweet and beautiful tuning, which never sounded harsh and forceful, it is neutral and clean sounding. However, I do think that P1 significantly lacking some bass, you literally can’t find any rumble and sub-bass with it, the mid-bass is clean and fast, with little impact and diffused. Come on, if you have listened to a Tin Audio before you will know what we are talking about, to be honest, the low energy in the bass is not too bad, especially for those who love clean sound and want something that rumbles less, to be fair I found P1 really need a powerful headphone amplifier to bring the bass out, from JDS Labs The Element I found the bass to be adequate and enough, although still not at satisfying level by any mean. For those who love fast, clean and clear bass, will really appreciate Tin Audio P1 tonality.
The midrange is flat and tonally beautiful, gentle, and sweet. This is probably my favorite part of the sound, I love to listen to vocal-oriented music with P1. The vocal is, in my opinion, poisonous, when I am describing it ‘poisonous,’ it is not that kind colored or lush vocal, the vocal is clean, clear, natural and gentle, I like it very much. The instrument in this range played very well too, clarity and transparency are excellent, the texture seems reasonably well rendered too, 140 USD can really get you quite far nowadays, tonality is excellent.
Treble is excellent, transparent and elegant, but don’t really what I will describe as bright, because it is not thin and is diffused nicely, the treble extends to the furthest end, this is a treble that I believe treble head will like, but treble sensitive guy can accept because of the tonality of it.
Detail level is decent too, although I don’t think it is all that obvious because the details came in a very gentle way, not those forced to your ears type of details, which is nice and never harsh. Speed like I said, is breakneck and amazing, the decay is excellent too, no matter how fast is the music P1 can easily catch up, timing is excellent too, a quality that we won’t usually see an entry-level price point, well done Tin Audio! Soundstage is okay but not what I will describe as wide, instrument and vocal seems closer than usual (only slightly), the distance between you and music is quite close, not a bad thing as everything seems more emotionally involved and clearer, no, don’t worry if it sounded harsh or forceful, not at all because of the diffused and gentle tonality. Stereo imaging and instrument separation are okay too, but nothing spectacular, in my opinion, hooked it to a power amplifier, and these will be improved drastically. If you want something impactful and dynamic that gives you good PRAT, P1 honestly can’t do it. It is not an IEM that can make you dynamically impressed, especially on the bass. Still, the tonality is so crazily beautiful, for those who love the clean sound and enjoy vocal/treble, look no elsewhere, this is it, at this price, unbeatable!
I usually don’t enjoy IEM this much. Still, I can assure you that I genuinely enjoy P1; in fact, I use it every day for the 2 weeks I am with it; the sound is sweet, gentle, and tonality excellent. I don’t necessarily use it for Classical and Jazz music. However, P1 is still good for them. Still, I definitely enjoy vocal music more with the P1, P1 is all about tonality in my opinion, for those who love the house sound of Tin Audio I congrats you, because Tin Audio seems quite consistent with their tuning, not much manufacturer still doing sound like this. For some reasons, most manufacturers seem to mess with this sound signature and often come out with something thin and sharp, not with P1, the tonality is excellent, and technicality of drivers still remain, I can’t help but recommend it to those whom really appreciate clean and tonality beautiful sound, just make sure you have a nice amplifier to unleash it.