Tin Audio T2 Pro, the Pro version!
Available on Massdrop right now for $49.99: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/tin-audio-t2-pro
I want to thank Lillian from Linsoul Sound for the sample. All that was asked is an honest review.
Many times, when an item comes out, the next generation, or “updated” version is already in the works. That is just the way business works and the audio industry is no different. Innovate or die as they say. Here though, the TA T2 has been out for about a year, so this isn’t a true upgrade of speed, but rather of judiciousness. Espousing such virtues as increased upper end, with better reach down below, tied together with better detail, the Pro is indeed considered an update to a VERY popular unit. I really liked the original T2, and it still fits into my queue, when I can.
I will state that the original was not perfect (nothing really is…), but in the price range of $50-75, it was on my recommended short list. After a brief listen (family obligations), I can already state that the Pro will be as well.
- Tin Audio
- Driver: Dynamic 10mm woofer, 6mm tweeter
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Frequency response: 12 Hz–40 kHz
- Interface: 3.5 mm
- Plug: ⅛ in (3.5 mm) carbon
- Cable: 4.1 ft (1.25 m) 5N OFC silver plating
Included accessories are exactly the same as the T2, three sets each of single and double flange silicons, as well as the mounted blue foam (my choice). The blue foam has a pinhole on the front, which acts as a bass port, helping keep the bass tight and quick. Pushing the foams in does enhance the bass (by closing off the port), but I would not say that these are ground breaking bass by any means. Competent and worth the listen.
I really liked the original with regard to overall quality, and the Pro is identical so, I like this as well. A bit lighter in color than the original, the gray looks good while fit is good. Worn either as an earbud, or as an IEM (with no memory wire/plastic) the Pro gives the same choices as the T2. I prefer wearing these (as the original) as an IEM and they are eminently comfortable. And they stay in place. The flexibility of the soft cable aids in keeping the IEM tight in your ear. I was afforded good fit, albeit without as much isolation as I’d like. I could clearly hear me pecking on my keyboard (which is darn loud as it is…), so isolation is a bit less than the original.
Quality metal rules the roost as far as build goes. Hearkening back to the original, I liked the unique shape and quality of the original (ye, I’ll keep comparing…) and this does not dissuade me from that opinion. It can be a bit cold upon first fit, but it’s not like I’m sticking a chunk of ice in my ear…sheesh. Overall finish is industrial, but quality is top notch. No mismatched seams that IO have found on some recent cheaper Chi-Fi items. The quality is there from the look, which aids in the overall appeal to me. No qualms here. I do wish that a case was included, but this is becoming the norm…no case. I’d prefer not having to choose a case…just include it!!
The cable is the same as the original, which I do like a good bit, with no tangles and excellent feel. That feel lends itself to being used over-ear of which I approve. I am an unabashed over-ear memory wire (plastic, etc…) kind of guy; but here the lack of memory wire actually aids in-ear retention. With a tight bend around one’s ear, there is no place to go. And the Pro just stays. I do wish it had a bit more protection, since that bend is right at the insertion point of the mmcx cable. But, I have had no problems with the original. A small bit to consider. And there is no tangle at all. An upcoming review will be downgraded for their cable, but not here. I really like the feel of this cable. And, as I am a foam-type the following will be only with the mounted blue foams. Others may tell you about the silicons, which I rarely utilize. Sorry ‘bout that.
Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:
REM-Losing My Religion
Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
twenty one pilots-Trees
twenty one pilots-Car Radio
twenty one pilots-Heathens
Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
AAW-Shozy Hibiki MK2
It can be hard going in to a review without preconceptions. Sometimes I WANT to know what others think, especially when I have no idea about the company or unit itself. Other times, I keep myself purposely in the dark (especially with flagships) as I want that first moment to be exciting and anticipated. The Pro would be a combination of the two. I went back to my review and reread what I liked about them (much), as well as anticipated the new sound because I liked the original so much. Of my early offerings back at the time, the T2 was at the top of my list for recommendations. Why? Well it provided a nearly-balanced sound, with decent bass, good sound stage and decent detail. It was “uunobnoxious” and held no pretense at being either a flagship or a DO ALL END ALL. It just participated in the “fight” without question. I considered it like my Dad when he was alive…he listened thoughtfully and prepared his statement, which everyone listened to because it was so reasoned. Man, I need to be more like him…
The Pro is of the same vein, but with a bit more impact. If there were two “flaws” in the original, it would be details and a lack of sparkle. While decent in both (I considered them very good), the Pro took those “deficiencies” and “corrected” them. I use parenthetical repose because I do not really consider them deficiencies or problems. Just noting the differences in the upgraded model. The Pro is definitely more detailed in response, with more sparkle up top, but not so much that they become grating after a listen. I have a pair of those on hand and will espouse that “virtue” upon review. Not here, it doesn’t happen, and I approve.
With the first cool weather of Fall, at 50 degrees, I devoured the smell of fresh Roasterie bean KC blend coffee as I entered the kitchen, and immediately knew it was a Bailey’s type of morning. Windows open, coffee smelling, Bailey’s entering, cool breeziness, I listened to Shine On You Crazy Diamond as I took in the sunlit morning with Fulham v Watford on the tele (Watford are quite good this year, with five wins on the trot). You could say that it was an excellent morning, but that would be an insult. It was a GLORIOUS morning and the Pro was there along the way, hooked to the excellent Shanling M0. Man, what a cacophony of sensations.
The one item I wish they had fixed on the Pro is the bass. With a 10mm DD, and 6mm tweeter, there is good presence, but I desire more bass. One review stated that by inserting the blue foams into their ear more, the bass became all but huge and rumbly. I would respectfully disagree. There is not much rumble with the M0/Pro combo, but good solid detailed sound. This might be from the M0’s fault but listening to other IEM’s through the Shanling do not disappoint in the bass department. Maybe disappointment is too strong a word. Simply lack of deep reaching bass would be a better descriptor. Bass present, but it does not assert itself the way that the upper reach now does. And by assert itself I do not mean overrun. Present but respectful.
Switching to the QP2R, the bass is more prevalent on Peter Gabriel’s Mercy Street, but still not as much as I would like. This is a good critter, regardless. I consider the tie between all sounds good to very good, without stepping on anyone’s toes. The treble definitely takes front stage now, but not at the expense of the mids or bass. Here, the treble enhances the detailed presentation to me. And I consider this a good thing. I keep coming back to detail as representation of the Pro, and I do believe that would be its biggest value. Few of late in my queue can boast that level of detail, regardless of price. That said, few are meant to be listened in that vein or regard. Sometimes detail is the bane of an IEM’s existence (to me), and here that would not be the case. Here detail is wanted, and I could see the Pro as very good for EDM or dance as well as classical; where detail is needed to fully experience the sound.
TAs I said above though, Pink Floyd certainly comes through just fine. I would also state that I usually do not pigeonhole IEM’s into cubbyholes of genre. I’m just not into that. If I like it, I listen. I’m more of a mood-type of listener. And today the mood definitely fits the Pro.
Talk by Coldplay shines through deep and full, with that detail of which I champion. I am enjoying the sound and the day. Easy to drive, I can quickly reach uncomfortable listening levels, but the Pro does not shout through those higher volume levels. Often with me, when I raise the volume the sound becomes intolerable due to enhanced treble or something, and I have to turn it back down. That would not be the case with the Pro. I can leave it louder than I would normally listen and enjoy that extra juice. This is a rare case lately in my queue.
I would also consider the sound stage to be on par with the original. I lent it towards a more intimate setting, but with the Pro I find it more expansive in width, with good depth. Height is average to me, but certainly acceptable. Not the highest, not the lowest of ceilings. I approve but would not mind a higher ceiling.
That width does allow for good separation of instruments, and aids a bit in layering, but here is where that lack of ceiling hinders the layering. Think multi-layer cake, but thinner layers. Not bad mind you, just do not expect cathedral-type of response. Coming through clearly on Robert Cray’s Pardon though I hear excellent details again, but also good separation of instruments. To me his songs are excellent at discerning the finer details as well as separation. Most of his music is sonically busy, so a good point of reference for separating individuals. Plus, his voice is so sumptuous, worth the price of admission alone.
So, what’s left? Well, a quick listen to others, so that you may garner the “worth” of the Pro v others. So, briefly here you go:
T2 Pro ($49.99 MD) v T2 ($45):
This really doesn’t need hashing out again, so it will be quick. Better detail of sound, better reach up top and a bit wider of stage; the Pro is better on all accounts. Plus you get that wonderful cable on both. Enough said, besides what I wrote up there…
T2 Pro ($49.99 MD) v AAW-Shozy Hibiki Mk2 ($65USD):
From memory, the Hibiki has better bass depth and quality. The Mk2 has a darker signature, of which I like. A lot. But with that signature and added bass comes a less detailed signature as well. I like warm signatures the most but here that darker sig is a liability when compared to the T2 Pro. The Pro trounces the Mk2 in the detail checkmark. Not mindboggingly different, but most definitely signatures of a different breed. And meant to be. That warm saucy sig is one in which I relish (food ref…), but for details, the Pro wins. Plus, the cable makes me want to throw it away, period. It is a mess…
T2 Pro ($49.99 MD) v Kinera SEED ($49):
No getting away from it, but Kinera is on a roll. From the SEED to the iDun to the flagship Odin, they are a hot topic right now. As such, a very fair comparison. When one aims high, you go against the high competition. And here, the T2 Pro again holds its own. While the detail of the SEED is quite good, it falls a bit behind the Pro. It also has a politer signature as well. I can remember when I received the SEED. I liked it a lot (and still do), but I compared it to the T2 at the time and preferred it to the T2. Here, the tables are turned. The Pro edges out the SEED in overall detail retrieval, and width of sound stage. A nice comeback.
So, what’s left? Well, the word salad as such espousing the virtues again ad nauseum, and summarizing what the critter does well, and what it might not. Oh, the heck with that, just go buy the Pro, you will not be disappointed. I also thank Lillian for the continued support. It is top notch as is Linsoul Sound. Good stuff, indeed.