Pros: Very good build.
Still unique shape.
Best iteration yet, moving in a good direction.
Sound is just slightly bright of neutral.
Nice case. Cons: Cable is not good.
I do not like MMCX, this was hard to take off and I pulled one cable out.
Bass still a bit light.
TinHiFi T4 ($109): Iterating towards grace.
I thank Lillian from Linsoul for the review sample. It is the understanding of this reviewer that the unit maybe asked to be returned at any time. Until then the item is mine to keep. There is no monetary compensation for the review, and words are mine and mine alone. Any reference to other reviews is for your viewing and additional knowledge only. This is not an endorsement of said links, but they are pretty darn good.
Based in Guangdong, China, TinHiFi, which was formerly known as Tin Audio is an IEM maker. The T4 makes the 5th iteration of their vaunted T-series with the former models T1, T2, T2Pro, and T3. Each iteration had their near-cult-like following, and to me built upon the sound of each. I found the T2Pro better than the T2. I found the T3 better than the T2P. I find the T4 to be the best so far, with a well-rounded sound and none of the peakiness of some of the formers. I have also liked the look of all iterations, with the svelte polished look adding what I will call “grace” to the picture. I will also admit this was surprise package on my porch as I had been expecting another audio product. Needless to say, this was a nice surprise.
Upon receiving and checking to make sure all was well; the unit was placed upon my Shanling M2x (and others as necessitated) for well over 100 hours. You either believe burn in or you don’t. My ploy is to present something beyond the new candy-store look and sound to the “I’m used to this after 6 months; how does it feel now?” appeal.
The Story of TIN T4
“As a successor to the famous T and P series, the TIN HIFI T4 is a game changer that features a revolutionary new 10mm CNT dynamic driver to ensure outstanding sonic accuracy, musical tuning, and high-resolution sound across its entire 10-20kHz frequency range. Born for the audiophile and music enthusiasts on the go, its high-end level acoustic performance will drive you to experience the evolution. Step up to brilliant sound quality and professional styling with the T4.”
For an excellent synopsis of the T-series heritage I suggest Headfonia’s repose: https://www.headfonia.com/tinhifi-t4-review/
SHELL MATERIAL: Aerospace-Grade Aluminum
DRIVER: 10.0mm High Quality CNT Dynamic Driver
CABLE TYPE: Detachable MMCX 3.5mm carbon multi- dimensional heavy plug. Gold-plated MMCX Connector.
SENSITIVITY: 102 +3DB @1kHz 0.126v
FREQ. RESPONSE: 10- 20000Hz
DISTORTION: 1% @ 1kHz
In the box:
- the TinHifi T4
- 6 pairs of silicons (3x white / 3x black)
- 1 pair of foam tips
- one leather case to protect the IEMs
All prices in USD, unless noted otherwise
TinHiFi T2 ($40)
TinHiFi T2Pro ($50)
TinHiFi T3 ($60)
Shuoer Tape ($129)
Dethonray DTR1 (w/ HA-2 as well)
XDuoo x10t ii/iFi xDSD
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
The new twenty one pilots album, Trench
The new Mark Knopfler album, Down The Road Wherever
To say this box opening was different from past T-series would be an understatement. Normally clad in an all-white sleeve over a blue “book,” the T4 comes in an all-black box like many today. Opening the top turtle shell, you are met with two “compartments.” The bottom holds the leather case complete with cable. The top shows off the cylindrical IEM’s, replete with spoke-like wheel on the back side. Under the IEM you find a box, which contains the tips, 6 silicon and one foam. There is an informational card as well. That’s it. Not too much, not too little.
I have always liked the look of the T-series, with the heavy machined-industrial touch, and the T4 is no different. Adding the bespoked wire-wheel look on the end, adds a touch of turbine effect, which complements the line and look. Made from four pieces including the nozzle, the construction of aluminum pieces is good and fit together well. The “sleeve,” which contains the MMCX connection is a bit larger diameter, but I think this is by design to give a better grip. I find it all quite appealing. A small lip allows for good connection between tip and nozzle, without the need for Herculean strength to place the tip. A welcome addition. A screen covers the nozzle so no ear “stuff” will fall in.
The cable is another thing all together. Why TinHiFi did not stay with the wonderfully soft cable of both copper and silver I do not know. It was supple and worked extremely well. The current cable is of a lightly braided 2-wire design and I do fear for its safety upon snagging something. I prefer more tightly wound cables, but this one does play well, even with the stiction. This is about the stickiest cable I have seen in a long time. My fear was that it was so tacky the cable would stick to itself or clothing. Thankfully, neither has happened and it lays well. With a long jack, the cable is well protected. No dedicated ear guides, but with a bend the cable fits neatly over my ears and glasses. I did not find a problem such as others may have experienced, but I can understand why it may happen. The cable is less prone to staying in place, and hence may come out over one’s ear. So overall, I do believe that TinHiFi blew it with this cable. Go back to the other one.
It seems that with each iteration, the sound gets better. Or maybe I enjoy the sound characteristics more. The same would hold here. I consider the T4 to be the best yet. To me each iteration tamed the harsh tonality of which I heard. And this made me glad. The T4 is no different. Bass is the strongest yet to me of any iteration, showing wonderfully, but without that earth shaking of some on Please Don’t Tell Her. Clean and fairly deep, the bass reach falls short, but the quality is quite good. Fast decay aids in a tight clean bass. To me about as good as it can get at this price, without being too boomy.
Coming off some very, VERY good TOTL IEM’s, it can be hard to shift gears; but the T4 fit the bill for an excellent lane-changer. That one of those flagships had a mid-forward signature, which could become tiresome made me analyze the T4 even more closely. With regard to those mids of T4 iteration, I found them to be placed pleasantly and without shoutiness. These Days Without You came across like the love song it is. Todd’s voice melodious and seminal. Placed right in the heart of the song, I find myself enjoying this song as much as on those other flagships. A grand song, with a moderately defining mid tone. Just about dead center in the stage, it neither grates, nor deflates to the background. Pretty darn even.
And to top it off, the treble comes across just as I like. Slight sparkle and rolled a bit. Again, neither grating or piercing. Just fits in well to the overall schema. Midnight In Harlem is a favorite of mine for judging the top end as well as female vocalizations. Susan Tedeschi’s voice is simply sumptuous and melodic. The kind you would enjoy with a fine single malt watching the sun set from your front porch over the mountains of the west as summer comes on. And the T4 would be a good fit for that occasion. Softer edges to the treble than previous iterations (but still a bit sharper than I prefer), TinHiFi seems to be edging closer to my preferred signature. Not a bad thing.
Getting back to the music, cymbal clash behind the vocals seem to be a bit artificial, as many ChiFi (old term I know) do at this level. Still, they improve with every generation. But when focusing on the vocal aspect, they sound quite lifelike and true. Close to reality, making one feel quite welcome to song and IEM. I appreciate it when companies try to improve upon each iteration and not just to throw new models out; but genuine improvements. There are those of course who still prefer the T2 or T2 Pro (and I do the T2P), but to me the T4 is better in every fashion. To verify, I switch to my current favorite test artist, Joey Alexander. That a 16-year-old can be so accomplished makes me feel both joy and grief. Joy that I get to listen to his musical talents. Grief that I have not done enough with my life! Warna is a song, which I do enjoy hearing repeatedly for its melodic adeptness. Efficient of key, but spontaneous in generation. Joyful in representation it is, and the T4 provides enough to enjoy the song without thinking too hard on the down sides (a few as mentioned) of it.
When complications arise, the T4 can feel compressed and compromised. I liken this to me just being darn picky and a want of the flagships, which left. With good fit and tip, the T4 can provide good musical talent of its own and the merits outweigh the downsides. Just listen. Also, with a decently wide sound stage, the T4 gives an openness, which belies to technology inside. Airiness is there in decent shape and talent, and quite adequate for this range. Layering does suffer a bit with that complicatedness, but I do not mind for the song is rich and slightly warm. As the most expensive T-iteration one should expect good solid characteristics. And the T4 does provide. Mosaic (Of Beauty) follows from the same Warna album, and I forget the dribble written above and simply enjoy.
TinHiFi T4 ($109) vs TinHiFi T2Pro ($50):
Each comparison should get a little bit harder as the models ramp up the sound. So here, I will bow to the conclusion of my T2 Pro review: …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.
But the T4 bests the T2P in all regards. End of discussion.
TinHiFi T4 ($109) vs TinHiFi T3 ($60):
So, to continue, from my T3 review: …So, this is the third iteration of the venerable T-series. And I can say that with each they tend to get better. The T2 was marveled as an affordable well-built Chi-fi with good sound. The T2 Pro added a bit of clarity and a bit more bass. This iteration, the T3 expands upon that further. Better control than the other two, with quicker bass decay, which to me aids in a solid succinct sound, which goes a bit away from the Chi-Fi norm…that too much sparkly top end. And I for one am glad.
You see where I am going…the T4 is better yet.
TinHiFi T4 ($109) vs Shuoer Tape ($129):
I will start this by openly stating I absolutely HATE the case, which came with the Tape. It is the dumbest case in which I have ever had the displeasure of opening. It is slick, slippery, slidey, and WILL NOT OPEN without me taking two extra glasses of single malt. As Adam from Myth Busters might state, “please, please, PLEEAASSE, change it!” Once open, though you find a small tasteful IEM, which comes with a 2.5bal cable attached and includes a 2.5bal to 3.5se adapter. A nice touch. More in an upcoming review.
As for the sound, the Tape is more vibrant of signature, harkening back to the older T-series with regard to brightness. It also has a kind of funky flat mid sound. Not pinched, but different. That could most definitely be the electrostat, and the price of said electro, but it does put the signature off a bit. Gauging between the two purely on that, the T4 wins. But for some reason, I am enamored with the Tape the more I listen. Notice I did not say like, but enamored. It piques my interest and will do so more in depth. But head to head at this point in time, I prefer the T4 for its more even presentation and control of bass.
Ah, it works with everything I tried. And did so without fuss. The Shanling M2Xfit the character very well. Warmer than neutral, the M2x added a bit of hominess to the sound. On in which I enjoyed and would gladly use on commute or gym or trail. The Dethonray DTR1 is one of my current fancies, especially hooked to the HA2 amp. What a wonderful sound. Alone, the DTR1 is amongst the cleanest sounds I have. Period. Hooked to the HA2, the added juice and warmth makes for a melodious pair worthy of pretty much anything this side of a Grover Cleveland. That said, you must be VERY careful when running the lineout aspect of the DTR1. It is loud of connection and does not take much on the HA2 as a result to raise the volume to extreme levels. I warned you.
There you have it. Another iteration of the venerable TinHiFi staple, the T-series. I continue to like the whole series but find the newer one more to my liking. It would be as if you liked your younger children more than the older ones. NO, not really! Seriously, you fell for that? In all honesty, the T-series moves upscale a bit with each iteration, and so does the price. This is the price of progress, I guess. And one where at least in this series, TinHiFi is playing it cautiously. Some will immediately jump to the $500 range with the “upgrade,” when it really isn’t. Here though, TinHiFi takes a more cautious approach, modifying and tweaking a near-cult classic. That is all right in my book, and so is the T4. It is indeed the best T-series yet.
I again thank Lillian from Linsoul Audio for the sample. Without support such as this, there would be far fewer reviews of good (or mediocre, it happens) products with which to choose. In that regard, this is a definite positive. Cheers.