The last IEM I reviewed from TRN was the ever-so-affordable TA1 Max. Just slightly above that price is another set from TRN in the form of the ST5, which costs only $59.80. So far, this brand has yet to let me down so I am excited to jump right into the ST5 and give my thoughts. Is the ST5 another great IEM for audiophiles on a budget?
What You Get
- TRN ST5 Earphones
- Detachable 2-pin cable
- 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm connection
- 2 sets of silicone tips
- 1 set of foam tips
- Warranty card
Look and Feel
It seems there’s a common theme with TRN IEMs having this sleek silver housing. The ST5 is no different with its construction, and it is a great look overall. With its aerospace-grade aluminum, the ST5 gives off a real premium feel, which is awesome for a fifty-dollar IEM. I have no criticisms in terms of its fit either. The ST5 sits naturally in your concha and never feels too big or weighty. An all-around great build for an IEM at this price.
The ST5 uses a hybrid design that includes a 10mm dynamic driver and four balanced armature. Its dynamic unit is coated in beryllium for a more natural output with quicker transient response. You have two 30095 tweeters for the highs, and two 50060 balanced armatures for the midrange. Electronic crossover circuitry is implemented for soundstage properties like separation and layering.
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Impedance: 22Ω @1kHz
- Sensitivity: 120dB
Judging by the past few IEMs that I’ve listened to from TRN, I was expecting something good, even with its generous price. The ST5 promises a lot with its hybrid design, and at least in the soundstage, this IEM delivers. While not the widest or deepest, the ST5 goes above and beyond its price point. Its spatial abilities are what really captured me, as the ST5 is able to display an open image with dimension. Not quite three-dimensional, but the imaging feels so freeing that its wrap-around mimics a holographic soundstage. Some instruments and vocal performances appear in front of you, resulting in a lively mix. Nothing about it feels linear, but don’t expect the ST5 to have an open-back feel either. The ST5 does a ton with its notably smaller bubble of sound, but it is still impressive nonetheless.
Most of the bass performance I felt to be a little lacking in separation and depth. However, the ST5 still provides a gripping pool of expressive tones that excite a surface-level response. There’s a lot of leanness to it, but the sub-bass does come up to add little bits of sweetener. My biggest gripe with these lows overall is just their lack of proper weight. Even though the bass feels fulfilling, it comes across as too relaxed at points where it should be more alive. This doesn’t stop the mid-bass from at least giving off some solid punch that gives these frequencies a more significant presence in the mix.
While there are some notches in the midrange, the timbre is still very clean. The dynamic separation between the low and high mids helps give the tonality a fullness that might be missing elsewhere in the sound signature. The ST5 does a good job making sense of a lot of tracks with busy instruments, showcasing clarity and detail where it can. Vocals have an elevated presence to them, both in terms of height and timbre. It is by far the most elegant and crisp area of frequencies, revealing the voices with great realism and fidelity.
Extention of detail makes its way into the treble region of the ST5, offering natural highs with impressive resolution. The ST5 handles its more articulate high frequencies with great control, minimizing harsher textures and highlighting glistening qualities. If you enjoy treble regions for their sparkly texture, the ST5 will definitely deliver on that front. In terms of gain, I think the highs could actually use a bit of a bump, but TRN plays it safe while still giving you some nice height.
After listening to the TRN ST5 for quite some time, I think this is another winner for audiophiles on a budget. While not perfect in terms of fidelity, there’s a lot to bite on for the price, including its open soundstage and crisp vocal delivery. There are a lot of good IEMs for less than a hundred dollars out there, and some of them I have reviewed here just in the past few months. TRN already has one in that category, but the ST5 is worthy enough for the small upgrade that it is.
The TRN ST5 is available at Linsoul.