A while ago, I took a peak at the Tin Hifi T2 Pro – a budget earphone with an impressive sound. Now, I’m looking at Tin’s latest offering – the T3. Still landing below the $100 threshold, this $69 earphone promises solid audio for the budget-minded audiophile. But can it live up to that promise?
Tin Hifi T3 Review
The T3 comes in a box with eight pairs of eartips.
An included detachable gold-plated OCC/SPL cable connects to the T3 via MMCX connectors. The cable measures a fairly standard 4 ft (1.2 m), and looks fairly stylish with its braided design.
Like other models in the Tin Hifi lineup, the T3 uses a brushed aluminum housing. Inside, a single BA driver handles sound quality for lows, mids, and highs.
Overall, the T3 imparts an impression of quality, whether being held in my hands or worn in my giant elephant ears. But the fit is sublime as well, offering a fair amount of isolation from the supplied tips, and an even better listening experience using some from SpinFit.
Frequency Range: 10-40,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 16 ohms
The specs for the T3 reveal a wide frequency range and a low nominal impedance. These babies require very little power, and finding adequate volume in any listening environment is fairly easy. While Tin Hifi doesn’t offer a sensitivity rating, it seems relatively likely that it would fall right around 100 db.
In the low end, the T3 distinguishes itself with just a slight amount of punch. While nowhere near bassy, the sound is articulate and clean, but emphasized over the sound of the older T2 Pro. This low end works well for folks who like a little bit of energy in this part of the frequency range. And yet, the sound never strays too far from neutral.
Here we see the real meat and potatoes of the T3’s sound profile: loads of detail with solid fidelity overflowing into your ears, leaving them panting for more. Instrumentation sounds fantastic, but vocals exhibit a characteristic sense of clarity that enlightens even as it stupefies. The result crystallizes in form of a rich, fully-formed midrange that imparts something special on everything in touches. Oh yes.
Less bright than I was expecting, the highs in the T3 remind me of the best BA earphones – sparkling with clarity, but refraining from a piercing, all-out show-of-force. Instead the T3 holds back, tempering its presentation (or, to quote the Tao, blunting its sharpness). Vocals sound deliciously, velvety, buttery smooth. Instruments sound crisp and precise, with just enough edge to give the sound some teeth, allowing these highs to sound phenomenal whether you’re cranking classical or K-Pop.
A little more intimate in its spacing, the T3 still sounds as deep as the T2 Pro. Compared to any other earphone in this price range, you can still expect a fairly impressive soundstage, but the more mature-sounding mids and lows may come at the expense of Tin’s fabled soundstage. Is this a dealbreaker? Hardly. Whereas the T2 Pro felt just a little lopsided in favor of high-mids and the high end in general, the T3 does it all.
Let’s say you have $70 to spend on earphones. Buy the T3. For an all-around sound that works equally well for any genre, can’t best this beast. It’s strong, durable, lightweight, stylish, and actually packs a pretty mesmerizing sound.
But what if you have very specific listening tastes? If you’re into hard rock and hip hop, skip this model and get the legendary Final E3000 (at $54). Or, if you’re an iPhone user, I’d recommend my new favorite consumer earphone, the Strauss and Wagner SI-201 (at $49). Both of these models offer a thicker, punchier bass that will result in head-bobbing, toe-tapping, eye-rolling musical enjoyment.
Still, if you’re a fan of classical tunes or God’s gift to the world, that sonic sweetness known to mankind as K-Pop, then the older, cheaper T2 Pro (at $58) offers a better-suited sound. With it’s mesmerizing highs and vast soundstage, the T2 Pro sounds best with either genre. In fact, for classical or pop music, the T2 Pro easily trounces any other earphone up to the $200 price point. Yowza.
But most people don’t just bump one single style of music. People get curious. They want to listen to different stuff. Hence the need for that earphone that can handle it all – like the T3.
All things considered, the Tin Hifi T3 could cost a lot more – and by any sense, it should. At $69, this earphone seems nothing short of an outright steal. Working equally well as a budget audiophile earphone or a throw-away listening solution, it’s a solid buy for anyone who knows good sound. Our take? This Tin is straight-up gold.
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